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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The Lavender Ghost: In the Hudson Valley, a Creative Couple’s Victorian Home with an Old Soul


When Amy Ilias began her search for a weekend home in the Hudson Valley, her husband, artist Jim Denney, had one request: “Just not an old Victorian with plaster moldings.”

Fair enough, she thought. So the couple, who back then counted Brooklyn as their home base, looked at industrial spaces instead, even though Amy had already fallen in love with a Zillow listing—of an old Victorian with plaster moldings, no less. “But out of respect for Jim, I let it go,” she recalls.

Fortunately, their broker intervened and insisted on showing them the house. The minute they stepped inside, Jim had a change of heart: “Can you imagine if it were painted white?” (She could.) And when they discovered that the home was owned by Brice and Helen Marden (a power couple in the New York art world), the deal was all but sealed.

“I had seen a feature on one of their homes in The World of Interiors in 2009 and was so taken with it that I saved it for years. We’re drawn to similar things—a very eclectic mix of modern and vintage, lots of pattern and indigenous textiles, and art. It almost felt predestined,” says Amy, who as executive vice president of art and design at ABC Carpet & Home, had her hands “in everything creative” at the storied New York City retail destination, from vintage and antique buying to restaurant and store design.

The couple purchased the house in 2017 and have since been steadily renovating it while taking care to keep its spirit intact—including its signature purple exterior. (The inside, per Jim’s original vision, has been painted all white.) “The Mardens chose the exterior color and painted the house. It’s an amazing choice—it often almost disappears against the sky,” says Amy, who documents the renovation on her Instagram account The Lavender Ghost.

Amy left her job recently, and the couple are now happy to be living full-time upstate. Let’s take a tour of The Lavender Ghost, a unique home that’s a little bit bohemian, a little bit punk rock, and always artful.

Photography by Amy Ilias.

Amy and Jim&#8
Above: Amy and Jim’s eclectic style—a mix of vintage and modern, street and hippie, all against a lot of white space—is apparent as soon as you cross the threshold. The walls, ceilings, and moldings are painted Benjamin Moore’s Super White. On the left is a painting by Jim, whose art is displayed throughout the home.
Three cats share the home with Amy and Jim. This is 3 (yes, his name) roaming the spacious living room, which is appointed with vintage and antique finds. The one new piece: a sectional by Saba, the couple&#8
Above: Three cats share the home with Amy and Jim. This is 3 (yes, his name) roaming the spacious living room, which is appointed with vintage and antique finds. The one new piece: a sectional by Saba, the couple’s only investment in furniture for this home.
The house gets amazing light through its many large windows. Here, a quiet corner next to the fireplace in the living room. &#8
Above: The house gets amazing light through its many large windows. Here, a quiet corner next to the fireplace in the living room. “Jim made the yin yang painting for me. We later used it as our wedding invitation. It hovers alone on a large wall like a protective planet,” Amy wrote on her Instagram.
On the other end of the floor, open to the living room, is this sitting area, anchored by a daybed/sectional. &#8
Above: On the other end of the floor, open to the living room, is this sitting area, anchored by a daybed/sectional. “We designed it. Jim made the base, and Cisco Brothers made the mattresses. I went to summer camp as a kid, and loved it. This was an homage, except that they have an organic fill, and they do not smell moldy,” says Amy.
The old Victorian cabinet is lined in blue velvet and holds some of Amy&#8
Above: The old Victorian cabinet is lined in blue velvet and holds some of Amy’s favorite treasures, including mother-of-pearl snuff boxes, antique textiles from Turkey and Japan, antique bowls from Vietnam, and abalone shells from her childhood.
The view from the sitting area to the rest of the living room. A statue of Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of mercy and compassion, watches over the scene. This open space is Amy&#8
Above: The view from the sitting area to the rest of the living room. A statue of Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of mercy and compassion, watches over the scene. This open space is Amy’s favorite room in the house: “It gets incredible light and has beautiful plaster work.”
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Above: “The sofa [in the library] is Art Deco and belonged to my Great Aunt Susanne. I inherited it when she left everything to another aunt who did not want any of it,” says Amy. Today, the sofa is cocooned in a linen slip cover. The drawings between the windows are by Jim.
Billie Pilgrim, a calico, sits atop a cabinet from her childhood home. &#8
Above: Billie Pilgrim, a calico, sits atop a cabinet from her childhood home. “Most of our mid-century furniture was inherited from my parents. They were complete modernists and had a very minimal aesthetic. My collecting probably started as a form of rebellion,” says Amy. The wooden shutters are an eBay score: “Five sets for the price of one new set!”
The dining room and kitchen are housed in an extension that was added in 03. Unlike the rest of the home, the walls in this two-story addition are painted  gray. &#8
Above: The dining room and kitchen are housed in an extension that was added in 2003. Unlike the rest of the home, the walls in this two-story addition are painted  gray. “It doesn’t fit in with the rest of the house, so I’m running with that—I’d like to really clean it up and make it a modern, somewhat Brutalist glass box.”
Every piece has a story. Amy rescued the Eames chairs out of a dumpster in midtown Manhattan. &#8
Above: Every piece has a story. Amy rescued the Eames chairs out of a dumpster in midtown Manhattan. “Now they sit with other mid-century chairs covered in silk velvet by Jack Lenor Larsen, my parent’s dining room chandelier, and a table made by Jim from reclaimed wood and recycled steel,” she wrote on Instagram.
Adjacent to the dining room is the stainless steel kitchen, presided over by McCabe, a Maine Coon. The floors in this part of the home are made up of 3- by 7-foot porcelain tiles that resemble concrete.
Above: Adjacent to the dining room is the stainless steel kitchen, presided over by McCabe, a Maine Coon. The floors in this part of the home are made up of 3- by 7-foot porcelain tiles that resemble concrete.
Amy and Jim removed the wall that concealed the back stairs. In its place, a modern railing adorned with colorful textiles.  &#8
Above: Amy and Jim removed the wall that concealed the back stairs. In its place, a modern railing adorned with colorful textiles.  “I love mid-century glassware, Aesthetic Movement transfer ware, old scraps of fabric, Chinese embroideries, printed velvets, handmade rugs, handmade ceramics. I love patina, signs of life and history like fading and fraying.”
The second floor landing with both sets of stairs visible. The wood floors are all original to the home. Amy and Jim had them sanded, then &#8
Above: The second floor landing with both sets of stairs visible. The wood floors are all original to the home. Amy and Jim had them sanded, then “rubbed in a little white into the wood to knock down the warmth, and added a matte finish.”
In their bedroom, an Art Nouveau tooled leather-covered armoire, painted white by Amy more than  years ago, houses their television. The neon yellow art of the couple as a two-headed creature is by Jim.
Above: In their bedroom, an Art Nouveau tooled leather-covered armoire, painted white by Amy more than 20 years ago, houses their television. The neon yellow art of the couple as a two-headed creature is by Jim.
A Paul McCobb dresser, another mid-century hand-me-down from Amy&#8
Above: A Paul McCobb dresser, another mid-century hand-me-down from Amy’s parents, abuts the wall to the ensuite bathroom. On the other side of the pocket door is a cabinet from India, behind which is a stacked washer/dryer (the cabinet acts like a partition).
In Amy&#8
Above: In Amy’s office, an embroidered Chinese textile panel works as a makeshift curtain.
A peek of the lavender exterior. The couple continue to work on the home and plan to next focus on the outside. &#8
Above: A peek of the lavender exterior. The couple continue to work on the home and plan to next focus on the outside. “Our idea is the same inside and out: Keep and stabilize everything that is original and modernize what is dated and broken. All but one of the windows in the old part of the house are original,” says Amy.

For more inspired renovation and restoration projects in the Hudson Valley, see:



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Staying In: How to Set a Valentine’s Table for Two, Courtesy of Ajiri Aki


Instead of dining out on Valentine’s Day—in a restaurant packed with strangers and dripping with paper hearts—wouldn’t it be more intimate, in every sense of the word, to stay in? That’s always been our preference: candles, a table set for two, and perhaps pajamas over crowds and cold.

When we emailed recently with Ajiri Aki, the France-based doyenne of stylish, effortless table settings (she runs the vintage tableware shop and linen purveyor Madame de la Maison), we were happy to hear that she feels the same, all the way over in Paris. Here’s how she sets the table for a simple Valentine’s dinner for two—plus her tips for making it just a bit romantic, never fussy.

Photography by Ajiri Aki.

1. Resist the urge to go pink.

Just because it&#8
Above: Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you should drape the table with all the pink things you can find. “As much as I love pink everything, I wanted to go with a simple, soft, romantic look using the orage tablecloth and sable napkins,” Ajiri says. “The orage linen is grey-ish blue, kind of like a storm. Orage means storm in French. It’s a soft color palette without going full-on pink.”

2. Choose petite flowers over big bouquets.

In lieu of a big (quite possibly overpriced) bouquet or centerpiece, tuck just a few small stems into mix-and-match glass jars. This is an intimate dinner at home, remember; the scale should be small. Ajiri used vintage apothecary bottles and vanity jars; simple jam jars work, too.
Above: In lieu of a big (quite possibly overpriced) bouquet or centerpiece, tuck just a few small stems into mix-and-match glass jars. This is an intimate dinner at home, remember; the scale should be small. Ajiri used vintage apothecary bottles and vanity jars; simple jam jars work, too.

3. Sprinkle some roses.

Above: “I always add one little stereotypical element that connects to the holiday,” Ajiri says. For a romantic touch, she scattered a handful of dry rose buds down the center of the table.

4. Use the good china.

Keep the meal simple, but serve it with favorite pieces. &#8
Above: Keep the meal simple, but serve it with favorite pieces. “These mussels in white wine sauce take a whopping 20 minutes to make, but they are always served in beautiful antique finds,” Ajiri says.

5. Embrace imperfection.

Let the table be a little beautifully imperfect, not prim or overdone.  &#8
Above: Let the table be a little beautifully imperfect, not prim or overdone.  “I rarely iron my linens because I find the texture beautiful,” Ajiri says.

6. Sit kitty-corner.

Set two places kitty-corner from one another. It&#8
Above: Set two places kitty-corner from one another. It’s more casual than facing each other—and you won’t have a table between you.

P.S. See more of Ajiri’s entertaining tips in Joyeux Noël: How to Throw a Holiday Party the French Way. And here’s our original feature on her work: Vintage French Style You Can Rent: Madame de la Maison in Paris.



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Blush in the Bedroom: 9 Unexpectedly Unfussy Pink Boudoirs


Up ’til now, I admit, I’ve much preferred earthier colors—for wearing and for interiors—than what I’ve always thought of as somewhat frilly, not-me pink. But lately I’ve surprised myself by being rather drawn to it: There’s a slew of pinks out there to love—not all of them bubblegum or tutu—from dusty mauve to soft salmon to just barely barely pink. And, contrary to my previous (maybe popular) belief, pink in interiors needn’t be fussy, or young-looking: It can be bold, romantic, playful, unexpected, even a little cheeky.

Proof? Just take a look at these bedrooms—some with just a touch of pink, others dressed head to toe—that I’m seeing in new light.

A lush salmon-colored canopy frames the bed (and dark-blue velvet headboard) at the Grands Boulevards Hotel in Paris. See more of the dramatic guest rooms (each with a touch of pink) in Beds Take a Bow.
Above: A lush salmon-colored canopy frames the bed (and dark-blue velvet headboard) at the Grands Boulevards Hotel in Paris. See more of the dramatic guest rooms (each with a touch of pink) in Beds Take a Bow.
There&#8
Above: There’s a dreaminess to all of the rooms in costume designer Céline Sathal’s country house near Tolouse, France, and this blush bedroom is no exception. Sathal sews the mix-and-match pillow cases herself; “every sheepskin was bought for the birth of my children,” she told us. See more in La Vie en Rose: Inside a Costumier’s Dreamlike, DIY Maison in France.
I&#8
Above: I’m into the whimsical hotel rooms at the aptly named Quirk Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. Opened in the 1916 J.B. Mosby and Co. department store building, each playful room is done with various swaths of pink.
Another pinkish hotel guest room, at data-src=
Above: Another pinkish hotel guest room, at 11 Howard: A Scandi Paradise in SoHo, New York.
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Above: I’ve been enamored of Twig Hutchinson’s bedroom since we featured it almost exactly two years ago. How did she manage to make a bedroom with lots of pink feel sophisticated and balanced? With, she told us, a neutral backdrop and dashes of black. For more of Twig’s tips, see Tips for a Softly Moody Bedroom from a London Stylist.
Julie&#8
Above: Julie’s daughter’s room on Cape Cod, awash in almost lilac-pink (it’s Farrow & Ball’s Peignoir) with a patterned quilt.
If you&#8
Above: If you’re like me, this bedroom at Baixa House in Portugal didn’t even register as pink at first glance. But that’s what works: white linens and earthy tiles make up a neutral, spare backdrop, and a vintage pink textile-as-blanket adds softness. (Want to recreate it? See Steal This Look: A Portuguese Bedroom with Vintage Charm.)
At this inventively colorful English inn, walls painted a deep Rhubarb by Paint & Paper Library pairs with black floors and velvet fabric in a floral pattern by Liberty London. “I really pushed for this color,” the stylist told us. “Everyone was against it, but I got quite obsessed.&#8
Above: At this inventively colorful English inn, walls painted a deep Rhubarb by Paint & Paper Library pairs with black floors and velvet fabric in a floral pattern by Liberty London. “I really pushed for this color,” the stylist told us. “Everyone was against it, but I got quite obsessed.” Take a look at the full color treatment in The Rose: A Singular Seaside Inn on the English Coast, Color Edition.
And, last but not least, this monochrome pink bedroom in Brooklyn is a longtime favorite of the Remodelista team—the first time we realized all-over pink could look sophisticated and serene. See more in The Sentimental Minimalist: A Young Architect’s Bed-Stuy Townhouse Makeover.
Above: And, last but not least, this monochrome pink bedroom in Brooklyn is a longtime favorite of the Remodelista team—the first time we realized all-over pink could look sophisticated and serene. See more in The Sentimental Minimalist: A Young Architect’s Bed-Stuy Townhouse Makeover.

Psst: We’ve rounded up our favorite pink rooms elsewhere in the house—and paints, too—here:



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