As I stare down the barrel of facilitating online kindergarten (lawd help me), my mind is wandering to any and all escapes. While I sadly cannot exit our current reality, I can dream about a far-flung destination. At some point during a mindless scrolling session, idyllic images of a beautiful sun-soaked location kept cropping up in my feed and I had to know more.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

These incredible pictures are of a townhouse nestled in the village of Sóller on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Designed by Berrow Projects, the Canoneta Townhouse was built in 1910 by Parisian architects and Berrow has painstakingly updated the property to meld beautiful old-world bones with contemporary details and finishes that make this home feel both timeless and contemporary. All I know is that I’m totally smitten.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

Every detail of this island home is picture perfect. This custom kitchen features cement floors with radiant heating and a beautiful mix of custom oak cabinetry and honed stone countertops. The views out of those french doors have me swooning. I can see myself enjoying a morning matcha at that island right now.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

The house’s dining room offers a perfect indoor/outdoor feel with those large picture window french doors and oodles of natural light. I spy built-in bench seating at the end of the space. And I’m always a sucker for built-in shelving too.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

This townhouse has six bedrooms and six bathrooms! A main bedroom features a cast concrete soaking tub and a beautiful mix of concrete and geometric tiles to mimic carpeting. The continued use of warm oak softens the space. And again the views! What a dream.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

I love the cross hatch caning on the custom wardrobe cabinets.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

The bathroom is a beautiful, smooth homage to minimalism. I love the single basin for the double sink.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34 Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

But let’s talk about this home’s incredibly garden. It features a lap pool and spa, sunken seating area and covered outdoor dining table along with an expanse of yard and established orchards of orange, lemon and other fruit trees. The townhouse gets its name, Canoneta, from the native orange variety that grows here and brought prosperity to the region in the late 19th century.

I think I could stomach homeschooling and a really uncertain future if I was sitting next to that pool, a Spritz in hand.

How about you?? Did I mention this house is for sale?!!! I have officially found my exit strategy.


For more Daydream Destination inspiration, CLICK HERE.

images courtesy of berrow project

This week’s Daydream Destination is a bit further afield. Even though any chance of a European adventure is on perma-hold for those of us in the U.S., I’m always racking up destinations to add to my travel wishlist. When images from the newly opened Hôtel Le Sud in the south of France crossed my desk, it immediately jumped onto my wishlist.

Daydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of France Daydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of FranceDaydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of France

This boutique hotel of just 29 rooms is in Juan Les Pins, a small beach town between Nice and Cannes, known for its white sands and seaside promenade lined with small boutiques and eateries.

When approaching the design for this family-owned hotel, interior designer Stéphanie Lizée did her own subtle take on the traditional style of typical of the Côte d’Azur. She blended traditional materials including plastered walls, sandstone, terracotta, stripes, and wicker with vintage objects found in the area and custom-designed furniture, many made by local craftsmen to lovely effect. The spirit of southern France shines through, updated and reinterpreted in an unpretentious and genuine style.

Daydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of FranceDaydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of FranceDaydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of France

The region’s artistic and cultural wealth was a major source of inspiration, both for the palette of colors and for the graphic elements and decoration used in the hotel’s guest rooms.

The hotel rooms’ decor is imbued with the souls of Pablo Picasso who spent summers creating work in the south of France, along with Fernand Léger, Jean Cocteau and the ceramicists of Vallauris—a tribute to the radiant Côte d’Azur that so inspired these mid-20-century artists. Lizée painted bands of colors regularly seen in the French Riveria including Klein Blue, terracotta, pine green and yellow across the top fo the guest rooms. Those same hues were used as handpainted accents on the beds’ curved headboards and on the striped bedthrows.

This artistic influence was also the underlying theme adopted by artist Franck Lebraly, who designed the hotel’s logo, the murals and the artwork in the rooms.

Daydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of FranceDaydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of FranceDaydream Destination - Hôtel Le Sud in the South of France

I can easily envision myself lounging on the Hôtel Le Sud terrace, breathing in the fresh sea air, enjoying a cocktail under the Côte d’Azur sun. For now, I’ll continue my endless daydreaming. I hope you keep dreaming too.

For more Daydream Destinations, CLICK HERE.

images courtesy of Hôtel Le Sud

If finding design savvy Airbnbs was a profession I would have my dream job. I consider it my internet searching superpower to unearth vacation rentals whose aesthetic doesn’t make me want to gag. It’s either a superpower or a sign that I have waaayyy too much time on my hands.

Regardless, I think where you stay when you travel is just as important as the place you’re visiting. Our physical environments have such massive impacts on our mental health and we need all the self-care we can get right now. Today, I have a stunning new Daydream Destination for you. This one is just two hours up on the coast from San Francisco – and it’s so good I’m tempted to keep it all to myself. But I know how badly we all need reprieve these days, so I’m hoping this Airbnb might bring someone else joy. Just staring at the pictures of it calms my nervous system!

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34

I’ve traveled up and down the coast around San Francisco, from Big Sur up to Mendocino, throughout wine country and east to Lake Tahoe. But I’d yet to spend time on the Russian River. It’s this amazing little pocket of old-growth forest tucked only a handful of miles in from the Pacific coast. You feel like you’re in the middle of the woods, but can float the gently meandering Russian River, head out to the Pacific Ocean or go wine tasting all in less than 20 minutes.

Cabin Cazadero is perfectly situated among all this natural beauty and is a beauty in and of itself. A classic a-frame set against Austin Creek, this might just be the cabin of my dreams. The design effortlessly mixes Scandinavian modern with sophisticated design elements that prove you don’t have to use “rustic chic” style just because you’re in the woods.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34

The cabin was given a new life by the founder of Studio PLOW – a San Francisco based, multidisciplinary architecture and design studio that does everything from commercial to residential and product design – and her husband (who is also an architect and design director at Rapt Studio). The couple made pitch-perfect design choices to accentuate the classic 1970s a-frame architecture while creating a truly modern escape. Aka my new happy place.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34

The wood-burning stove was original to the cabin, now accentuated by adding a geometric pattern of large scale black tiles behind it. A sconce from Wo & We Collection is a beautiful old world touch.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34 

The living room offers a cozy seating area to relax with a book. While there is wifi here, there is no TV – it’s designed to help you be in the present moment. You know I love a good round coffee table and the one pictured here is by Resident.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34 on Apartment34  

The cabin features my go-to color scheme, oak floors against bright white walls and dramatic pops of black. The black kitchen is particularly epic – I promise we’ll come back to that. Britt used Sherman Williams Alabaster white to turn the space into a glowing jewel box, maximizing the natural light that filters in through the old-growth tree canopy above.

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The lofted upstairs bedroom has ample space. Floors are painted to match the walls creating a bright, airy feel. A custom king-sized platform bed sits beneath another Wo & We Collection sconce and IKEA cabinets offer storage under the eaves. A hammock found in Mexico hangs from a beam, creating a perfect spot for a five-year-old to play hide and seek. For those without littles, it’s an idyllic calming retreat.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34 on Apartment34

Now let’s have an in-depth covno about this kitchen because I am OBSESSED. Every moment is perfect.

The cabinetry is IKEA covered in custom fronts the owners made from engineered wood. The counters and backsplash are cold-rolled blackened steel. It’s not only an extremely durable material but also takes on a beautiful patina. Counter space is maximized by putting in refrigerated drawers rather than a freestanding fridge. Double stacked ovens from Fisher & Paykel keep everything sleek and streamlined (they also work incredibly well – I definitely put them to the test!). Fully equipped, you’ll find everything you need to cook in this kitchen, along with beautiful vintage pieces mixed with modern CB2 glassware and ceramic dishware by Berkeley-based Sarah Kersten among the kitchen accessories.

The kitchen table is another amazing story. Found on Craiglist and purchased for $200, the owners then had the table honed down to a matte finish and recut into a race track shape (another favorite of mine!) to accommodate the space and add some soft lines to the angular kitchen. Genius.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34 on Apartment34design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34on Apartment34 

They used one of my favorites, the AIM pendant light from Flos, to great effect.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34 on Apartment34

The second bedroom features another custom bed and side table – it helps that Britt’s brother is furniture maker Barrett Karber Wo & We Collection scones, and beautiful accessories.

design savvy airbnb in the woods on Apartment34 on Apartment34

But the on-suite bathroom is the highlight of this space. It’s such a perfect use of a limited footprint. Previously a closet, all of the custom work, from the cabinetry to the mirror and floating shelf is stunning. Matte tile runs vertically from the floor up the wall. The pully pendant light is from Studio WM.

There’s a second bathroom in the cabin that’s yet to be updated. I can’t wait to see what they do with that one.

Out along the rear of the cabin are a series of decks that stretch toward the Austin Creek bed. A fire pit is perfect for roasting marshmallows while a green egg tests your grilling skills. This little slice of vacation rental heaven was a perfect spot for our family to escape the repetitiveness of life at home. I’m already looking for another weekend we can return.

You can find this Airbnb RIGHT HERE. You don’t have to thank me. Actually you probably should!

For more daydream destinations, CLICK HERE.


Design by Studio PLOW and Photography by Suzanna Scott 

For years, our Gotta Getaway series has been a staple on this blog. Travel is one of my main forms of therapy. I use it to clear my head, get perspective and be re-inspired. Even during the times when I didn’t travel much, like when I’d just had a baby, I was constantly thinking about travel, planning it, wishing for it. While we might all watch our 2020 travel plans slip away and wonder when we might get to enjoy safe travel again, I do think it’s important to continue to dream, wish and plan – even if it’s for an unknown future.

So at the risk of torturing you (and myself!) I’m starting a new series – Daydream Destinations, basically as a way to bank a list of all the places that will be atop my travel wishlist once the world comes out the other side of this pandemic.

And I’m starting with a relatively attainable option – a stunning Airbnb tucked away in Joshua Tree – Villa Kuro.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34Villa Kuro on apartment 34

Set in the beautifully remote hills of Joshua Tree National Park, Villa Kuro is a much needed reprieve from your typical Palm Springs vacation rental. No swinging 60’s decor, no bright colors, no manicured lawns. Instead, this space is subdued. It is serene. It feels like you’ve been completely transported. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be transported right about now.

This stunning, tranquil space was actually on my radar before this all started. I’m kicking myself for not getting there when I had the opportunity last fall.

I love the white appliances in this kitchen – I think they’re making a comeback! The built-in niches also offer a laid-back, yet architectural storage solution. Wood beams in the ceiling warm up all of the hard surfaces.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34

Renovated with a nod to wabi-sabi, what was a 60’s ranch style house now features natural materials and textures, highlighted by oodles of natural light flooding through the oversized doors that connect you directly the desert landscape beyond.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34

I spy foraged branches! You see – the trend really does work no matter where you are.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34 Villa Kuro on apartment 34

A perfect mix of both custom, collected and vintage furniture add to the highly curated vibe of the home (the TV also comes pre-packaged with all your Netflix binging needs – but we may have watched everything that’s ever existed by the time we get here).

Villa Kuro on apartment 34Villa Kuro on apartment 34

But the piece de resistance of this vacation rental has to be the tea room – seen in the first image in this post. The designers realized the original garage had the property’s best views so they converted it into a tea room / meditation space, complete with a low slung table, woven mats for sitting and a desert zen garden. What I wouldn’t give for a little more zen right now.

I love the mix of woven elements  used throughout this house – lampshades, baskets, rugs – they juxtapose with the smooth plaster walls so beautifully. Also is anyone else noticing that backlight mirror in this bathroom? Genius move.

Being home is showing us how little we truly need to survive – food, family, a comforting environment – but I do think stepping outside the confines of our world offers points of view you really can’t acquire from your couch.

And I love Villa Kuro’s point of view.

While I’m certainly no medical expert, I’m beginning to consider staying in a vacation rental sometime over the summer. Vacation rentals in California are starting to become available again now. Maybe we won’t have to leave Villa Kuro in the day-dream category for too long.

images courtesy of villa kuro

When I started Apt34 (more than 12 years ago!), the primary purpose was to gather and share inspiration created by people much more talented than I. It’s still my favorite thing to do and the primary reason I’m still here after all these years. Hence why I have a little end of the year gift for you today – a tour of what has to be my new favorite home shop in San Francisco – The House by Tracy Simmons Design. 

A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34 A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34

You might think that San Francisco is awash in amazing home decor stores, but that’s actually far from the truth. The gems are few and far between which is why The House feels like a breath of fresh air. Chic, swoon-worthy fresh air.

A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34

Every item in The House is hand selected by owner and highly accomplished interior designer Tracy Simmons. Many of the items she’s carrying are custom designs made exclusively for the shop. There are a variety of lovely ceramic collections speaking to the on going handmade trend, but the pieces in The House are an elevated take on the look. The ceramic fruit bowl by SIN that typically has a rustic or boho vibe in other contexts, feels elegant and refined when paired with FRAMA soaps, Aieul candles and the crisp modern fine art photography collection by my dear friend Bess Friday.

A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34

Everything from the the yummy cashmere throws by Teixidors to the 100% non toxic fragrances from LA-based Fiele are luxurious but approachable. The custom designs from Sheldon Ceramics and one-of-a-kind vessels created by ANK Ceramics beg to be to touched and admired up close. All of the textures are so warm and inviting.

A New Gorgeous Design Spot - The House on apartment 34

Tracy and her team also use the space as their design studio, which almost makes the environment feel like you’re in someone’s home – where you want to drop by and stay for awhile! They always have a cup of tea or a little bubbly to offer you – and who am I to say no?!

The House is a fantastic addition to the San Francisco design scene and I feel lucky it arrived in time for holiday shopping – even if all the shopping I’m doing is for myself! With a soft opening this month, The House will celebrate its grand opening on January 16, 2020. I have a strong feeling only more gorgeousness is going to be added between now and then and I for one am so excited to have The House on my regular design shopping rotation.

The House by Tracy Simmons Simmons Design is located at 3307 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, California. The store is open from Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For our entire Retail Therapy archive (featuring stores all around the Bay Area and beyond) CLICK HERE.

photography by bess friday

Italy has a special place in my heart. I studied Italian in college and attended an Italian university in Siena my sophomore year. I’m sending my son to an Italian immersion preschool. And it has long been my dream to take my entire family there to help them better understand my obsession (I have no Italian heritage to speak of – I think I just must have been Italian in a former life). My dream finally came true this summer with a nearly four week trip that took us to Puglia – a dream destination – and also took me back to Rome, a city imprinted on my soul even though I hadn’t visited in 20 years.

Rome has changed in a myriad of ways, but also remains the Eternal City. Large, noisy, hot and potentially overwhelming, Rome is also just…magic. You just have to know how to break through the crowds to discover the city’s heart and soul. Keep scrolling for my best tips on how to take an Apartment 34 approach to Rome (read great design and delicious food!).

TIP 1: Find a Home Away From Home

They say that Rome has turned into the land of vacation rentals and while this causes many a problem for the Romans who still attempt to call the city home, it offers you a plethora of wonderful places to stay. Traveling with a pres-schooler meant I wanted an apartment with at least two bedrooms, a terrace to enjoy adult time in the evenings, a good kitchen for easy cooking and a convenient location to return to for afternoon naps. Enter onefinestay.

Onefinestay prides themselves on offering private homes with unique features and design-forward style that help you feel like a local, even if only for a week. You’re greeted at your rental by a onefinestay staffer who helps walk you through the house – already stocked with initial provisions – pasta, coffee, sauce, vino – all you really need to survive in Rome. It makes the arrival process so smooth.

We stayed in the Trastevere neighborhood – once a hotbed of artists, traditional Roman eateries and coffee bars –  it has now become a bit of tourist haven, yet the neighborhood still features a raucous night life, plenty of delicious food and a lovely location next to the Tiber river. It was a nice jumping off point to explore and I would gladly return. And onefinestay is now going to be my go-to for international travel!

TIP 2: Stick to One Iconic Sight Per Day

How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34

Visiting Rome’s major tourist attractions have certainly changed since I last visited. But of course the iPhone had yet to be invented! These days most ancient attractions have massive security checks, timed tickets you need to purchase in advance and still plenty of long lines. But if you’re strategic you can take in all the ancient sights – even with a four-year old in tow – and everyone can have fun. You just have to plan in advance.

Start out at the official website of what you want to visit – for example, the Colosseum. You can purchase skip the line tickets for 19 euros. Not too bad. Children under six are free, but take note – they still need a pass to enter (which is another line). Even with skip the line tickets you still have to go through security and at places like the Vatican and Colosseum can have waits of an hour (or more!). You can also purchase combined tickets for things like the Coloseum, the Forum and the Vatican Museums but I don’t recommend those for smaller children. They can be overwhelming and extremely crowded.

How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34

The earlier you head out in the morning the shorter the lines. Make sure you pack water, snacks for the littles (Italian breakfast cookies proved a strong motivator), fans and wear hats if you’re visiting during summer’s peak heat. You’re often standing in direct sun. After an hour or two ooohhing and ahhhing over the world’s antiquities each day, we’d be ready for a long leisurely lunch (keep scrolling for food recommendations), a gelato and a good afternoon nap in blessed air conditioning.

How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34

We also bought tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus for one day – you know those obnoxious double decker tourist buses. But in a city already obnoxiously teeming with tourists, you might as well see it from a leisurely seat that also offers historic commentary while you ride. It’s a great way to help you get your bearings without have to drag your kids from one corner of the city to the other. Tickets can be purchased in advance (you’ll bet the best deals this way) or right on the bus.

TIP 3: Enjoy that Piazza Life

Piazzas are the center of Italian culture. Every neighborhood has their own square, sometimes multiple, where everyone gathers – be it in the morning for the farmer’s market in Campo di Fiori, or to hang out around the fountains in the afternoons, or watch street performers as the night begins. Most often car-free they are designed for socializing. The piazza is where you can go for a Spritz, where you wander during the evening passeggiata (the daily evening walk around 7pm) or hang out late into the night – Piazza Navona (seen above) is one of the many wonderful options. Yes, you’ll be surrounded by tourists but also locals. No one is on their phones. Everyone is enjoying themselves and the piazzas are spectacular (and free, without security or lines!).

TIP 4: Wander Aimlessly and See What You Discover

Rome is simply a sight to behold. Its architecture, obviously, its ancient monuments and treasures, but also its grit, its rough edges, its living, breathing underbelly is just as interesting. This is a city to get lost in. Sadly, less easy to do with a four year old, but we still tried to stroll and simply discover whenever we could. Monti is the next neighborhood I want to explore when we go back (someday!).

TIP 5: Get on Italian Time

How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34

The Italians know how to live my friends. Their pace of life is slower. More deliberate. More intentional. They appreciate delayed gratification. If the good mozzarella doesn’t come in until Thursday, you don’t get the caprese salad until Thursday! Traditions and beliefs are deeply rooted and time honored. So why fight them? Ditch your American expectations of lightening fast service, 24/7 availability and a go-go-go pace. Wake up a little later and enjoy a cappuccino and a sweet pastry standing at the local coffee bar (no one sits fyi). Enjoy a multi-course lunch with wine – but not until 1pm or later. No one eats lunch before then. Plan to take a siesta in the afternoon – many shops are closed from 2pm to 5pm. Dinner doesn’t begin before 8pm. That offers ample time for the passeggiata, an aperitivo, and a Spritz before dinner.

We fully embraced this lifestyle and it worked wonderfully for our family. Our son often slept in until 9am everyday, would take 2-3hour afternoon naps and then had an average bedtime of 11pm! We had zero meltdowns, only a few tough moments. It felt bizarre and wonderful. We all got to enjoy Italy the way Italians enjoy it.

TIP 6: Don’t Expect Young Kids to Walk

I wasn’t too keen about hauling a stroller all around Italy but had heard from many a friend that a four year old would not do well hiking around Rome. I got away with it in Puglia as villages were relatively small and we often drove from place to place. But thankfully I found the ultimate fix – Travel Baby. The site rents strollers in major cities and was my savior.

Upon arrival at our onefinestay, a Babyzen YOYO stroller was already awaiting us. Sometimes we went without it. Short walks to restaurants or evenings that had substantially cooled. But it went with us more places than not. While I may have gotten some weird looks pushing my rather oversized preschooler down Rome’s cobblestone streets (the stroller held up very well btw), it saved us in the intense heat, in long lines and late at night. Couldn’t recommend this service enough.

TIP 7: Be Picky About Where You Eat

How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34

It’s possible to eat extremely well in Rome, but it’s not exactly easy. The city is filled to the brim with restaurants, trattorias, coffee bars and gelaterias but not all are made equal. Many are tourists traps selling quick food with cheap ingredients that are….mediocre. But you’re in Italy! There is no excuse to eat bad food. You simply need to know how to hunt out the special stuff.

The first trick? Look for restaurants without sidewalk seating. While there’s a rare exception to the rule – don’t worry I have a list below, you can keep scrolling – most truly good Roman restaurants are tucked-away holes-in-the-wall that you would never know where there unless you knew where to look. I think they kinda like it that way. That’s where you’ll find truly authentic Roman dishes – the best cacio e pepe, the best pizza or the most amazing amatriciana.

How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34

The second trick is to get off the beaten path. It’s fairly obvious, but bears repeating that you are not going to find good food around the tourists attractions. They just want over heated, hungry customers and they’ll even approach you on the street to try to get you to sit down. Keep walking. The extra few hundred steps is worth the effort and gives you the additional calorie burn you want for your daily scoop (or two!) of gelato. It’s down the lesser known streets and little alleys where some of the best restaurants reside.

How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34 How to Survive Rome in Peak Summer on apartment 34

TIP 8: Don’t Eat the Poofy Gelato

Friends, I know it’s tempting. Those picture-perfect, brightly colored mountains of gelato seem to call to you from every corner of Rome, but you must resist. That gelato is usually made with a mix, filled with artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives. Sure, it’ll taste ok, but you’re missing out on the true gelato experience. You want to look for gelato served straight out of round metal canisters. You have to look down into them to see what the flavors look like. No – the display isn’t spectacular, but that’s where you’ll find the traditionally made gelato that only uses real foods and fresh ingredients. And you’l find amazing out of the box flavor combinations like gorgonzola with hazelnuts!

So there you have it. My quick survival guide to Rome. I can still hardly believe I was wandering its streets, my son dunking his head in the public drinking fountains that pump crystal clear waters up from the ancient aqueducts, eating gelato two times a day and fantasizing that we would stay forever.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten many a tip so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Next up – Puglia…but there is so much to see and do there..that one might have to be a 10 part series.

How I packed for my four weeks of travel in a carry-on is right here.

My Top 10 Roman Restaurants
(this is only a small sampling – I bookmarked over 40 spots. You should also note you need reservations at most restaurants in Rome so be sure to plan your meals ahead of time!)

Trattoria Da Enzo in Trastevere for dinner

Otaleg Gelato in Trastevere – the best gelato!

Osteria La Gensola 

Caffe Propoganda in Monti for lunch

Salotto 42 for an evening aperitivo 

Il Sorpasso near Vatican City

Ristorante Fiammetta for pizza 

Trattoria al Moro – our most authentic meal – filled with Italian businessmen in suits for lunch!

Pianostrada – our best meal in Rome

Fatamorgana Gelato – a small chain with multiple locations serving artisan gelato with spectacular flavors

If it feels like I’ve been a little MIA of late, there’s quite a good reason. One week from today I will be stepping on a plane departing for Italy – for an entire MONTH!

the Ultimate Summer Vacation on apartment 34

I know, it sounds insane. It feels insane. But it is happening. I’m packing the whole family, yes the four-year-old included, to have what I hope turns out to be the experience of a lifetime. I’ve been putting hours and hours into putting this summer vacation together, finding exceptional accommodations, planning itineraries, sleuthing the best local restaurants, getting an entire family packing down to a science (I’m attempting only one carry-on per person for four weeks of travel!) and now I’m just crossing my fingers that it all pays off.

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We first head to Puglia. I’ve had a long obsession with this part of Italy (as documented here, and here). Nestled down in the heel of the boot, Puglia still feels slightly untouched and certainly very different from Tuscany, Venice or the more stereotypical Italian landscapes you typically see.

Dominated by Masseria (walled homes that were often former farms) and Truli-style homes, whitewashed towns like Ostuni and Lecce and stunning cliff-side beaches Puglia promises to be a magical place to both explore and relax. I can’t wait to taste the world-class olive oil, shop the famous ceramics and spend a good amount of time with an Aperol Spritz next to a pool. Don’t hate me too much.

While my focus is primarily on Puglia for this experience, we are also going to spend a week pretending we live in Rome and I could not be more excited.

the Ultimate Summer Vacation on apartment 34

While there are so many sights to see in Rome, I actually have little interest in playing tourist. I’m lucky enough to have had that experience years ago. My biggest goal is to simply try to experience the city as Romans do. With a child in tow, I suspect that will include a lot of cacio e pepe and gelato. But I’m hoping to get lost down little traveled alleys, stumble upon some parks, and spend copious hours people watching, a glass of vino in hand.

the Ultimate Summer Vacation on apartment 34the Ultimate Summer Vacation on apartment 34

So I hope you don’t mind a lot of travel content coming your way. I’ve been documenting my planning process, I plan to share tours of each of our rentals, I’m writing down all of my packing tips, all the things. Is there anything else you would like to know about this trip??

And of course, I would love your help too. If you’ve been to Puglia or to Rome recently I would be forever grateful for your insider tips. There’s nothing better than a good recommendation from someone who was just there. This will also be my first attempt at international travel with my kiddo and I won’t lie, I’m a touch scared – especially for the 12-hour flight. I will take any and all magic tricks to survive an overnight flight with a preschooler.

Italia here we come!

images via the style bungalow, masseria san giovanni and petite suitcase

While #MondayMotivation is all the rage, there’s no reason to think it’s too late to get on the you-can-do-it bandwagon. Inspiration can strike at anytime and everyday presents the opportunity to be your best self. I’m certainly feeling like I need to get my sh** together after getting a peek into my friend Lauren Nelson’s newly finished interior design studio. As someone who either works from the couch or squeezed into a tiny desk in the corner of my guest room, I’m owning all the envy of her seriously gorgeous work space, recently featured on Lonny.

Equal parts functional and beautiful, this office has all the comforts of home, but a perfectly designed one. For example every workspace should come equipped with an elevated kitchen! You won’t find any microwaves crammed in into the corner of a dark room around here. That stone backsplah is next level and I love the injection of a dusty blue with the cabinetry. The wood shelf keeps the space from feeling too fancy, and makes your morning coffee all the more fabulous.

I will never tire of art leaned against walls. Black frames and black accents add a strong punch as does that piece of killer photographic art.

Lauren’s conference room uses two Blu Dot Strut tables and a mix of vintage chairs to create a a bright and airy space to walk through her team’s always stunning design ideas. Definitely need to improve my moodboard game!

A co-working desk allows for easy collaborative conversations.

A simply chic bathroom features another of my current favorite trends – a sideways sink!

I’ve long loved Lauren and her work. We’re currently cooking up some fun surprises related to This Old Victorian that I’ll be sharing with you quite soon!

To learn more about Lauren and her stunning workspace, check out the feature on Lonny here.

photography by bess friday

There’s almost nothing I love more than discovering a killer new home decor shop and today I have a real find for you.

Contrary to popular belief, shopping for good design in San Francisco is a little….tough is probably the kind way to describe it. But things recently got a little easier thanks to Prevalent Projects, the brand new Mill Valley based home decor store that is all kinds of good.

For starters, Prevalent Project’s vibe is minimal, yet warm and with a healthy dose of cool on the side. The shop features a combination of clean Scandinavian and Japanese designs with some Californian ceramics, beautiful photography and unique textiles mixed in. Every piece in you see in Prevalent Projects, from the turned wood light fixtures to the clean-lined home furnishings, is highly curated and well thought out.

But an added bonus to this refined California vibe now at San Franciscans’ fingertips? Everything at Prevalent Projects is sourced with a focus on sustainability. They are making a point to only feature brands that use sustainable, nontoxic materials and production techniques. They’ve even gone a step further, making their own furniture pieces when what’s already on the market didn’t live up to their high standards. Their in-house furniture line is handcrafted in California from FSC certified rift sawn white oak with a nontoxic finish. I also hear a wool rug collection is in the works!

It makes sense that this shop has such a specific point of view and a keen sense of style. The founders recently decamped from LA after working for 25 years in photography and film production. And I’m thrilled they’re now sharing their discerning eye with the Bay Area.

While perusing the Prevalent Projects space in the heart of Mill Valley is quite the pleasure, you don’t have to be in San Francisco to get your hands on their finds. The store has just launched online sales. If I was going to do some recommending, I’d point you toward the incredible Sun at Six side chair, the classic Lostine Table Lamp and a candle they swear smells like Big Sur.

I’m certainly thrilled to welcome Prevalent Projects to the scene! I know I’ll be stopping by frequently!

Prevalent Projects
Open Tuesday – Sunday 10AM – 6Pm
61 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA. 94941


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