Design Details of the Caribbean

Bonjour monde!

It is nice to be back home and bring with me images and memories of an unforgettable trip to The East  Antilles islands of the Caribbean. Here are some beautiful design details that I spotted while traveling in St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barthelemy. Please enjoy with a shot of vanilla rum.

Beautiful tile design going up the outdoor stairs at Le Petit Hotel in Grand Case the food capital of St. Martin (French side).

Hand painted tiles on the outside steps at Le Petit Hotel

Wall details with contrasting soft colors at hotel’s lobby

Dropped textile ceiling, dramatic light fixtures and Roman arches at Holland House Hotel’s lobby in Philipsburg the capital of Sint Maarten (Dutch side).

Bright colors on balcony  at Old Street, Phillipsburg.

Dutch details on Old Street

Red wooden balcony on Old Street

Yellow house, red roof and beautiful flowers inspiring pigeon courting

Contrast of street elements and vernacular architecture

Beautiful and original recycling system at Anse du Gouverneur in St. Barth

Hand painted tiles used for the beach’s sign.

Graffiti spreading love on a sign at Anse du Gouverneur.

Making signs much more fun to see.

The beauty of building codes reflects when all the roofs are terracota at Gustavia the capital of St. Barthelemy.

Detail of hand painted floor tile at Bistrot Caraibes at Grand Case.

And the most beautiful design of all, mother nature in the form of sand, water and sky at Shoal Beach in Anguilla.

Au revoir!

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Messenger/Bicycle Bags for Women? do they actually exist?

My frustration has been building over the last few years, and today I am sharing it with the world.

About three times a week, I ride my bicycle, and many times I carry a lot of things with me (books, clothes, tapeware, groceries). About four years ago, I decided to invest on a Timbuk2 messenger bag. Not only I wanted to support local designers, but I also was inspired by seeing all the bicyclists in San Francisco sporting their Timbuk2s. Once I started using my cool messenger bag, I realized that it wasn’t made for my body. When carrying a lot of things and leaning on my bicycle, the strap that was supposed to go across my chest started pushing my breasts. It was painful. Since then I have tried to change my pose when riding my bicycle, put pads around the straps, and pull the straps every five minutes, but I am loosing patiente with it. And please dear Timbuk2kers do not take this wrong. I love your designs and support them fully, but I am not sure if you thought about women when designing this product. Trust me, I would be more than happy to go over your studios and help brainstorming on how we may develop more female friendly messenger/bicycle bags.

My messenger bag

Because I am a designer ,and I cannot just sit and cross my arms when facing a design problem, I have decided to see what would be possible for bag developers like Timbuk2 or The Norh Face or even Jansport  to look at when designing a messenger biker bag for us women.

We women love tote bags and bags that  can be carried on the shoulder.

Super functional tote bag

Many of us dislike pink and flowers, so please do not think that by simply changing the color of the backpacks you have made them for us. You must be aware that we have anatomical diferences.

Pink messenger bag for “women” … because it’s pink

We love soft materials and leather. We actually like earthy/natural tones.

Leather messenger bag that still needs to adress the issue of comfort when being used for bicycle riding.

We like bags that are thought out throughly for us, taking into consideration our needs, our anatomic challenges, our tastes, and our busy schedules.

Vera Bradley’s Barcelona backpack.

The thing is that, we probably don’t want to show up to girls happy hour with a backpack … that makes us feel too high school like.

I personally dream of a bag that doesn’t push my breasts …

Study of my current bicycle bag straps pushing my body

I also dream of a bag that can be multifunctional, and when needed, I can carry on one shoulder, and when riding my bicycle, can be carried on my back with the help of my chest … not my breasts.

Front solution for my dream messenger/bicycle bag

From tote to backpack … that is perfection!

And that hopefully uses reclaimed materias such as the beautiful bags from Cyclus Colombia .

Really cool design, made out of reclaimed rubber tires … that is what we like!

I can’t wait to get/develop the perfect messenger bag for women. If you want to team up or get some feedback, please feel free to contact me. It would be my pleasure!

Happy biking everyone!

Head over Nails

It has been about a year since I started getting full exposure to the interior design world, and many things have changed on the way I see furniture, accessories and spaces. I must say, one of the most dramatic ones is my view of nailheads. I am going crazy about them.

Little I knew about the beauty and versatility  of nailheads, and I am still learning. Here a quick introduction to Nailheads 101 … to go head over nails.

Nailheads have been used as a traditional upholstery detail for hundreds of years. Nowadays they are having a come back in all sorts of places.

They give style and spice to simple pieces of furniture ... and you can add them yourself.

  • First of all choose the piece of furniture that you would want to revamp
  • Choose your favorite nailheads, and make sure they match your piece and your style
  • Define the distance that you want them to be from one another and where on the piece you would like to see them
  • Start nailing them and seeing how they look
  • Enjoy the project and the final piece
  • More detailed instructions at: Isabella & Max rooms

Use them on lamps such as this Mitchell Gold Leather Lamp

On mirrors such as this exotic Safari Mirror from Ralph Lauren Home

Play with designs on cabinets such as this pristine Visconti Large Cabinet from The Bungalow 5 collection

Or why not beautifying your waste basket like the peeps at DRANSFIELD & ROSS have done it

Giving style to simple pieces such as this Happiness Round Ottoman from Tomlinson/Erwin-Lambeth

And even adding them to that one room in need of a unique touch

There are rustic iron nails such as these from Mexico

And many other materials, sizes

patterns, finishes, light and dark, shiny and matte

Even artists such as Korean Sculptor Jae-Hyo Lee use them on their furniture!

Happy nails everyone!

An article on iDo Colombia – My master thesis

An article on iDo Colombia – My master thesis

I wanted to share with all of you an article on iDo Colombia my masters thesis. It was published last night at the College of Creative Arts blog from San Francisco State University. 

In addition, I wanted to update you. I have been selected as one of the SFSU winners to compete at the California State University Research Competition in Long Beach, CA, May 2012. Wish me good luck. 

Much love,

Isabel. 

Lighting Fixtures … To never leave your house …

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a lighting design lecture at the San Francisco Design Center and learnt about three incredible lighting designers. Here are they designs …

CLEAR BAND PENDANTS by John Pomp Studios. ~ Hand-blown crystal glass pendant fixture with thick clear band lens and edison bulb.

INFINITY CLUSTER by John Pomp Studios. ~ 15 pieces of hand-blown/sculpted glass crystal with iridescence.

NESTING CYLINDERS SCONCES by John Pomp Studios. ~ Two tiered hand-blown glass cylinders on blackened steel frame.

Ballad Wall Sconce by McEwen Lighting Studio

Signal Floor Lamp by McEwen Lighting Studio

Barrel Ceiling Lamp by McEwen Lighting Studio

Richelieu Chandelier by Jonathan Browning Studios

Cinq sconce by Jonathan Browning Studios

Keule 5 Light Chandelier by Jonathan Browning Studios

Now dim those lights and finish the day with a delicious glass of Carménère.

Breathing Carrara’s White Marble

On Thursday, I had the opportunity of attending a “Quarry to Counter” lecture at Walker Zanger in the San Francisco Design Center. The lecture offered a door towards the world of marble and a breathtaking lesson on the process marble … Continue reading

Loving Well Designed Jewelry by Talented World Designers

Yes, I am a jewelry lover and am always enchanted by the power of a well designed piece. Jewelry speaks for your style and what’s in your mind, and it does so either in a classy, quiet or loud way. … Continue reading

Taken by a muse called Coco

You heard it right. I have been taken and converted into a Coco Chanel … Interiors … admirer and lover.

Chanel needs no introduction in the world of fashion, but many may not be aware of her interior design tastes. She was sharp and sophisticated and reflected her style in her villas and apartments in France. For that, she could not go unnoticed in the world of Interior Design.

This is why …

Her so well known taste for ivory and black - 31 Rue Cambon, Paris.

Her superstitions ... see crystal spheres on coffe table at 31 Rue Cambon.

Open space, mirrors and unique lounge chair - 31 Rue Cambon.

Diva/Muse on her chair. Black and Ivory the law of color.

Mademoiselle Chanel on the stairway connecting her fashion shop and her apartment.

Clean touches reflecting her fashion statements - Foyer at her Paris Ritz Suite.

Always forward thinking on all sorts of design - Paris Ritz Suite.

Time for a bath at the Ritz, then apply some No. 5 and conquer the world of design.

Top Five Bookends for Young and Not so Young Adults

Hola from the darkness! No, I have not forgotten about you. I was just finishing my graduate studies and was sucked right away into a few intense interior design projects. So Christmas is here, once again, and you may wonder … Continue reading