A Stylish, Eco Hotel Designed by Quintana Partners


We leap to attention whenever Quintana Partners complete a project. Based in Barcelona and Menorca, Spain, interior designers Pol Castells and Benito Escat specialize in what they term “giving waste a second chance.” Translation: they like to begin with historic, often derelict structures and deftly renew them by exposing hidden layers—”the beauty behind all the paint”—and by introducing shored-up antiques. Sustainability guides their “reutilization mission”: see, for instance,  The All-Vintage Renovation and A Way With Old Kitchens.

In their latest hotel project, La Bionda Hotel in the Costa Brava beach town of Begur, they transformed a 17th-century townhouse into an eight-room parador that feels like a portal into another era. Working with owner Carla Lloveras, Pol and Benito built their design around the concept of a fictitious character, a 1930’s woman salon host who invited women artists, singers, writers, and actresses from all over to come stay.

Join us for a tour. The hotel is open to guests (and taking extra safety measures);  for those of us not not going anywhere soon, every room is filled with design ideas worth trying out at home.

Photography courtesy of Quintana Partners, unless noted.

The tiled entry opens to a signature Quintana Partners&#8
Above: The tiled entry opens to a signature Quintana Partners’ mix of textures and patinas. The hotel debuted on May 15.

In addition to preserving much of the original structure, Pol and Benito built sustainability into the design: the hotel’s website notes, “we generate most of our electrical energy through photovoltaic panels that use solar energy, and we generate cooling, heating, and hot water through an aerothermal system that uses energy from the outside air.” Photograph courtesy of La Bionda Hotel.

Just add red lacquer: the front desk was created from two vintages pieces renewed with glossy paint. The surfaces here range from newly laid herringbone brick to freshly plastered walls and a ceiling preserved in its excavated state.
Above: Just add red lacquer: the front desk was created from two vintages pieces renewed with glossy paint. The surfaces here range from newly laid herringbone brick to freshly plastered walls and a ceiling preserved in its excavated state.



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8 Favorites from A Vida Portuguesa


Where do shopkeepers shop for fun and distraction? We recently featured the Winchester, England, home of Victoria Suffield, owner of the celebrated indie-department store The Hambledon, and asked her where she’s willing to pay retail. Her response didn’t surprise us: she loves A Vida Portuguesa, an emporium that we happen to have been perusing often of late—as both armchair travel and joy browsing.

Founded by Catarina Portas, a former journalist with a fondness for nostalgic design, A Vida Portuguesa has five locations (four in Lisbon, one in Porto), plus a well-stocked website dedicated to celebrating “the brands that have survived the passage of time and highlighting the quality of Portuguese manufacture.” These range from household tools to textiles, and from the very humble to the elaborate. Here are eight that speak to us.

For &#8
Above: For “guarding the beauty and health of wood,” Encerite Wax Paste, €4.85, is still sold in its original 1927 packaging. Available in five colors, including castanha (chestnut).
&#8
Above: “Few regions in Europe boast the variety and richness of popular embroideries found in the Douro and Minho regions. And none are as original, innocent, and well-loved as the ones produced in the city of Viana do Castelo,” explains the A Vida Portuguesa catalogue. This 200-centimeter (78.7 -inch) Round Cotton Tablecloth comes with a set of 10 napkins; €212.
To be filed under A Must-Have We Don&#8
Above: To be filed under A Must-Have We Don’t Really Need and Never Knew Existed. This looks like a decorative funnel but in fact is a Fruit Picker, €11, for use in an orchard: you hold the base and angle the scalloped edges to catch and cut apples by the stem—the fruit neatly lands in the center hole.



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A Shopkeeper’s 1930s Family Home in Winchester, England


One of our favorite remodeling projects from the last year or so is London art director Sandy Suffield’s Engine House: see A Romantic Rescue in the English Countryside (Available for Getaways). When we toured it last summer, Sandy mentioned that her mother and sisters are shopkeepers with their own inventive quarters.

This past spring, while London was going into lockdown, Sandy went to stay with her elder sister, Victoria, and family in Winchester. And for a period there was unexpected time for cooking together, gardening, evening walks in water meadows—and photo sessions: Sandy with some help from her niece, Mercy, captured these images of Victoria and her husband Phil Webb’s much-loved 1930’s brick house known at Barton Edge, and shared them with us as a pandemic pick-me-up. Victoria, like her mother and sisters, has an eye for display and for objects that gladden the heart: “junk shopping is my retail therapy.” Cue the Masterpiece Theatre music and join us for a look around.

Photography by Sandy Suffield, unless noted.

Victoria and Phil and their three children moved to Barton Edge almost  years ago. Built in the Arts and Crafts style, it&#8
Above: Victoria and Phil and their three children moved to Barton Edge almost 10 years ago. Built in the Arts and Crafts style, it’s near the center of town and Victoria’s shop, The Hambledon, voted the best independently owned department stores in the UK in 2018 and featured on The Shopkeeper’s Top 10 Lifestyle Stores list (its Home floor has an inspired selection ranging from petite engraved Crystal Vases to classic American Braided Rugs in an English palette).

As mentioned, retail runs in the family—for 52 years Victoria’s mother, Wendy, ran the original Hambledon Gallery, a lifestyle shop in Dorset that sells “everything but fruit and veg,” now managed by the youngest Suffield sister.

Above: The family had previously lived in a skinny Victorian down the road and were in need of more space. Explains Victoria: “Phil found the house. It was hidden behind a flint wall and from the road looked a bit spooky. On our first visit, the drains were blocked, a ceiling had caved in upstairs, and the shed was the most well-appointed part of the property. But as soon as we walked through the front door it had a really lovely feel: generous rooms flow off a central corridor and there are lots of windows (original Crittall). It could accommodate our then-teenaged family in separate spaces (if required), but we could all be together comfortably, too.”



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Hand-Carved Wooden Spoons, Brushes, and More by Sophie Sellu


Sophie Sellu’s wood carvings straddle the line between utility and sculpture. Based in London, the Manchester School of Art graduate took a summer course in wilderness survival skills, and came away with a passion for wielding axes and whittling spoons. In her parents’ garage, she continued working with wood and interest in her shapely creations led to the founding of Grain & Knot, her one-woman business.

An uncle who renovated period houses supplied her a while back with enough scrap timber to supply her for years. She was also helped by a loan, classes, and a business mentor from Prince Charles’s youth charity, The Prince’s Trust. Sophie gave herself six months to make a go of it; that was several years ago, and she now has such an avid following @grainandknot that every month or so, when she restocks her online shop, everything tends to sell out overnight.

Just before London&#8
Above: Just before London’s lockdown, Sophie had a pop-up shop in Islington Square.
Sophie&#8
Above: Sophie’s now lives and works in her own home in South East London’s Crystal Palace. Thanks to tree surgeon friends, some of her wood comes from storm-fallen trees that require air drying followed by time in her wood kiln.
Try this at home: in a bedroom converted into her office, Sophie artfully displays her designs on a wall. (For more ideas, see  Ways to Display Wooden Spoons, Artisan Edition.)
Above: Try this at home: in a bedroom converted into her office, Sophie artfully displays her designs on a wall. (For more ideas, see 10 Ways to Display Wooden Spoons, Artisan Edition.)



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Stylish Indoor-Outdoor Doormats Made from Recycled Plastic by Heymat


One of the first details visitors encounter in your house, the doormat is an object worth considering. How welcoming—and environmentally friendly—is yours?

Admired in our recent tour of the Mjölk Shepherd’s Hut: a mat that looks like a raked Zen garden. Made by Heymat of Oslo, Norway, it’s one of a line of indoor-outdoor designs composed of 50-to-100 percent recycled plastic. They’re also made to last: “the quality is the equivalent of an industrial mat with high absorption capacity,” notes Heymat. Here are some of our favorites.

Heymat is an off-shoot of a three-generation, family-owned industrial cleaning business—after years of leasing mats to commercial customers in Norway, the company decided to start making their own and enlisted designers to come up with the patterns. The Lyn, shown here, is available from Austin-based Nannie Inez in two sizes starting at $9.
Above: Heymat is an off-shoot of a three-generation, family-owned industrial cleaning business—after years of leasing mats to commercial customers in Norway, the company decided to start making their own and enlisted designers to come up with the patterns. The Lyn, shown here, is available from Austin-based Nannie Inez in two sizes starting at $159.
The Heymat Løype design comes in four colors and three sizes, starting at $0. These mats are machine washable, and have enough weight that they won&#8
Above: The Heymat Løype design comes in four colors and three sizes, starting at $150. These mats are machine washable, and have enough weight that they won’t curl up at the corners.
The Sand Outdoor Entry Doormat—the Zen design we admired in the shepherd&#8
Above: The Sand Outdoor Entry Doormat—the Zen design we admired in the shepherd’s hut entry—is available from Mjölk’s online offshoot Minka for $245 Canadian Dollars. It’s also offered by Nannie Inez in two sizes, starting at $188. The dirt-catching textured pile is made of 100 percent recycled plastic and has a non-slip rubber backing.
The Hand Travertine mat comes in six sizes priced from $0 to $500.
Above: The Hand Travertine mat comes in six sizes priced from $150 to $500.

More mats with Curb Appeal:

Also consider making your own—see our DIY Woven Rope Doormat



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The Ultimate Backyard Extra Room: The Mjolk Shepherd’s Hut


Back in March, when John and Juli Baker and their two kids left Toronto for their farmhouse near Lake Ontario, they packed for spring break. On Day One the news came: school, not to mention the couple’s design shop, Mjölk, would not be reopening after the holiday. “With the entire country and much of the world shut down, we settled into isolation, indulging in baking, gardening, bike rides,” says John. Things went well thanks to the magical retreat the couple had recently finished—see An Antique Stone House Revived. But with online learning and business happening simultaneously, space started to feel tight.

That’s when, as John explains it, a familiar quarantine fantasy came over him: “I dreamed of escapism, a room where one can be alone.” The predictable prefab shed was not part of this picture. Eternally pondering elegant design solutions, John started to “work on drawings of a building archetype I had become fascinated with, the shepherd’s hut.” Common for centuries in the UK—and now often converted as vacation cottages and even kitchens—these rolling, one-room shacks were built as shelters during lambing season. “The honest farmer Gabriel Oak stayed in a shepherd’s hut in Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd,” points out John. “They can be carted wherever needed, and their lovely curved roofs and small proportions allow for simple comforts.”

Simple, yes: no bathroom or electricity. But how to build one of your own? Astonishingly, John figured out a way.

Photography courtesy of Mjölk.

The Baker family&#8
Above: The Baker family’s extra room was conceived in April and delivered in July. 

“What made the hut a reality was our proximity to the Amish community here in Eastern Ontario,” John tells us. Conveniently, an Amish sawmill and a producer of buggy carts are three miles from the Baker farm—and John happened to notice that “the language of shepherd’s huts and the buggies are similar: they both have curved roofs and steel wheels, so I thought this would be my best chance to find a producer.”

John showed the local sawmill owner his hut plans—&#8
Above: John showed the local sawmill owner his hut plans—”based on 19th-century catalogue images I found online” —and was directed a few houses away to the man’s nephew Eli Swartzentruber who “makes very fine sheds, chicken coops, and gazebos.



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Duravit’s Luv Washbasins and Bathtubs Designed by Cecilie Manz


“You don’t have to speak loud,” says Danish industrial designer Cecilie Manz of her elegant—and surpassingly quiet—renditions of everyday objects. For years now at Remodelista, we’ve been obsessed with her Caravaggio light: we singled it out in the Remodelista 100 section of our first book as  “a celebration of light, dark, and shadow.”

Of late, we’ve been admiring Luv, Manz’s growing collection of bathroom sink and tub design for Duravit. The first silhouette for the minimalist-classic line began in typical Manz fashion: “I was inspired by a bowl filled with water on a table.”

Cecilie Manz with some of her greatest hits (that&#8
Above: Cecilie Manz with some of her greatest hits (that’s the Caravaggio pendant light) and the latest incarnation of Duravit’s Luv line: a washbasin on a console with height-adjustable legs and push-to-open, self-closing drawers.
The matte-lacquered consoles come in a range of sizes  and finishes with counters of quartz or American walnut. They&#8
Above: The matte-lacquered consoles come in a range of sizes  and finishes with counters of quartz or American walnut. They’re shown with Duravit’s C.1 faucets. The outsized mirror has integrated dimmable lighting and a heating option that keeps it fog-free during hot showers. The freestanding tub, like the basins, has “particularly precise lines.”
The bathtub is also available in a back-t0-the-wall and corner version with a ledge. The console is shown here with a walnut counter; the top drawers are available with wooden dividers.
Above: The bathtub is also available in a back-t0-the-wall and corner version with a ledge. The console is shown here with a walnut counter; the top drawers are available with wooden dividers.
The staged designs remind us of the hushed domestic scenes by the great Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi (see A Kitchen Inspired By a Painting). The Luv collection is widely available; find more information at Duravit.
Above: The staged designs remind us of the hushed domestic scenes by the great Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi (see A Kitchen Inspired By a Painting). The Luv collection is widely available; find more information at Duravit.

For more ideas, peruse the Remodelista Bathroom Resource Guide, including:



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10 Easy Pieces: Modern Metal Toilet Paper Holders


We’ve all learned never to take toilet paper for granted. Now it’s time to give the humble, hardworking toilet roll holder its due. Here, from couture to off-the-rack, 10 ways to lend your bathroom a little lift while dispensing TP in style.

Patinated Brass

Fog-Linen-brass-toilet-paper-holder. Above: Fog-Linen’s satisfyingly simple, made-in-India Brass Toilet Paper Holder is $30.
Lostine-Roland-toilet-paper-holder Above: Lostine’s brass and maple Roland Toilet Paper Holder, $55, is a scaled-down version of its Roland Paper Towel Holder, $65.
KBH brass toilet paper dispenser. Above: From Remodelista favorite KBH Københavns Møbelsnedkeri of Copenhagen, the KBH Paper Holder comes in two finishes: brass (as shown) and dark brass; €206.

Bright White

Curva toilet paper holder. Above: WS Bath Collection’s painted aluminum Curva Toilet Paper Holder is $91 from Modo Bath.
Kroft-white-modern-toilet-paper-holder Above: We love small Canadian company Kroft’s hooks and bathroom accessories, including the Modern Toilet Paper Holder, $79, of powder-coated steel and solid wood.
Petrified Designs toilet paper holder Above: Petrified Design of Austin, Texas, makes its Toilet Paper Holder, $50, in 12 powder-coated colors.
Sibella Court The Citizenry Banded Toilet Roll Holder Above: The Banded Toilet Roll Holder of powder-coated cast-iron and brass, $50 AUD, is one of several TP dispensers of note from Sydney, Australia’s, The Society “captained” by Sibella Court.

Modern Black

CB2 Rough Cast-toilet-paper-holder Above: From CB2’s Rough Cast bathroom accessories line of rough-hewn aluminum, the Black Toilet Paper Holder is $24.95.
New Made LA toilet paper holder Above: NewMade LA specializes in “affordable vintage-inspired home goods made in Los Angeles.” The NMLA shelf-style Metal Toilet Paper Holder comes in six powder-coated colors, $55, and brass, $65. Madewell also offers it in black, white, and yellow for $55.
Ferm Living toilet roll holder. Above: The Ferm Living Black Toilet Paper Holder of powder-coated metal and black-stained oak is $35 from Burke Decor.

We have a longstanding interest in the mundane things we use the most. Here’s our 2017 roundup of Indie Toilet Paper Holders.

Also take a look at:

  • 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Robe Hooks
  • 10 Easy Pieces All-Glass Storage Containers
  • 10 Easy Pieces: A New Wave of Organic Laundry Soaps



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stylish tiny house beach shack with Ikea hack kitchen Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop


To be filed under: The Ultimate in Simple Summer Living. Marcia Mihotich and Durrell Bishop’s tiny beach shack stands right in the sand at the mouth of the River Thames in Kent, England, and like its neighbors is little more than a wooden tent. The pleasing simplicity continues inside.

The couple happen to be two of London’s most interesting creatives—Marcia is a graphic designer and illustrator (her clients include Donna Wilson, the School of Life, and Studiomama, whose own shack is just two doors away) and Durrell is an interactive product designer at Line-us. Not surprisingly, they took a hands-on approach to their getaway. On tackling the remodel themselves, Marcia says, “It means that you often don’t quite finish everything, but it’s much more fun and you do get to know how everything works.”

Photography by Marcia Mihotich, except where noted.

Located an hour and a half from London, the couple&#8
Above: Located an hour and a half from London, the couple’s house (second from the left) is part of an enclave of 20 raised beach huts that overlook a part of the Thames Estuary known as The Swale. The nearest villages are Seasalter and Faversham, and Whitstable is an hour’s walk along the beach. Photograph via The Modern House.

The house was built in 1954, a detail the couple learned from a stamp on the wood in the ceiling. “We also came across a photo from the fifties that showed our house as fairly recognizable as it is today,” says Marcia. “I don’t really know about the inside, the previous owners had made it very much their own and we did the same.”

Marcia and Durrell&#8
Above: Marcia and Durrell’s 15-year-old son, Hal (L), and Durrell’s mother, photographer Bridget Bishop (@lostruralindustries), in the living room, a mere 10 meters (about 33 feet) from the water at high tide.



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28 tranquil all-white bedrooms


Who doesn’t long for a bedroom that acts like a lullaby? If you’re sleep-challenged—isn’t everyone these days?—consider creating your own cloud chamber. Fans of all-white bedrooms use words like “tranquil,” “blank slate,” “no distractions,” and “Zen” to describe the appeal. There’s also an automatic tidy look that comes with opting for all white: a single color creates cohesion and, like a T-shirt, can stylistically go in any direction.

Too much etherealness, however, can be chilly and soporific (not necessarily in a good way). The key to a successful all-white approach is to introduce texture, slip in subtle patterns or varying shades of pale, and to accessorize with books, art, plants—or simply a wonderful view. Here are 27 standouts that demonstrate the great versatility of all white.

Under the Rafters

White on white in Rivka Baake and Wilfrid Kreutz&#8
Above: White on white in Rivka Baake and Wilfrid Kreutz’s bedroom in a converted industrial building in Hanau, Germany, where the couple make Calder-inspired mobiles. See Living Above the Studio: At Home and Work with Lappalainen. Photograph by Marc Krause, courtesy of Lappalainen.

How to select the right white for your room? For advice, take a look at 10 Easy Pieces: Architects’ White Paint Picks and How to Choose the Perfect White Paint.

Architect Sheila Bonnell designed a whitewashed aerie for herself and her husband, Mon Cochran, in their house on Cape Cape. Note the bed&#8
Above: Architect Sheila Bonnell designed a whitewashed aerie for herself and her husband, Mon Cochran, in their house on Cape Cape. Note the bed’s built-in drawers, which enable them to do without bedside tables. They don’t have shades either: the couple like to wake up at sunrise.

Explore the whole project in our book Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.



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