04 April 2010

Must Be Nice!

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Unlike everyone else in the United States, my daughter’s high school is just now celebrating Spring Break.  We are always off schedule because our break comes during Passover week.  One bad thing about being on our own schedule is Passover always falls so close to the end of school and summer vacation, that the kids have a hard time getting back into the groove of school after their long break.    This year,  Ben and I got to spend Spring Break alone at home, while our soon to be graduated and just turned 19 year old daughter took off for a Spring Break to end all Spring Breaks.  One of her classmates invited three friends to tag along with her parents to Anguilla, staying in accommodations Elisabeth’s father and I only dream about.  Like I said, it Must Be Nice!  That’s Elisabeth with the hat on, of course.  

There’s no cell phone on the island unless you want to pay exorbitant international fees, so we are Skypeing each other.  I think I’ve talked to Lizzy more on Skype than I do when she’s in the same house.   Most of her conversations have been about how beautiful the house is that they are staying in.  Talk about rubbing it in!!!!    And speaking of Skype, why does everyone look so horrid in the video?  They need to do something about that!   

 

 

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Here is where the gang is staying.  Yeah.  OK.  I could probably get used to this.   They have the house on the left.  Another family from Chicago is staying in the house on the right.    Both sides are available for rent.  I get lustful feelings just looking at this picture!!  I hope Elisabeth is grateful and appreciative, especially vocally to her hosts.  She sent me the URL to the rental company so I could see how beautiful the beach house is – I think she is really just showing off a little.  Ever wonder what 19 year old girls think about?   She told me she would love to have her “destination wedding” at this beach house.  Trying to act like this is a reasonable topic for discussion, I replied that she might need to find a boyfriend first, then graduate college, then we’ll worry about her where she’ll have her “destination wedding.”  And why are those so popular today anyway?    My idea of a destination wedding is when the reception hall is across town from the church.

 

 

 

image The back of the house overlooking the ocean.

 

 

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The view of the ocean.  Anguilla is closest to the island of St. Martin/St. Maarten.  The stone steps divide the pool between the deep end and the baby pool.  There’s a hot tub too.  I wonder if the girls are swimming  here or in the ocean? 

 

 

image At dusk:   walking in through the front door, you can see all the way through the house, out to the ocean.

 

 

 

image There is a small pond in the front, which you walk over on the stepping stones to get in the front door.   The front pond mimics the footprint of the back swimming pool, which is also situated up against the glass windows.   Inside, rocks are placed at  the window to create the illusion the pond continues into the house.

 

 

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Looking out towards the entry court and front pond.   Elisabeth excitedly told me “ Mom, there are lanterns everywhere – you would love this!!”   Of course my dear, of that, I have no doubt.

 

 

image The middle section of the large living area.  On Skype, Elisabeth showed me the two garden stools  “just what you love, Mom.”  Aw, she noticed the interior design!  Maybe there’s hope yet for her to join me in my business.

 

 

 

imageThe main sitting area – white leather, which is so beach friendly.  I would like this better, though, with a blue and white striped rug ala Something’s Gotta Give, but you already knew that, I’m sure. 

 

 

 

image The dining area has large, comfortable gray tufted chairs.   The table is trendy limed wood, but – I’m not sure what to make of the white iron base??

 

 

 

image The view at night.  The kitchen is on the other side of the wood wall. 

 

 

imageThe kitchen has aqua countertops and stainless appliances.  I love that refrigerator.   

 

 

imageOne of the bedrooms with a white cowhide rug. 

 

 

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The media room upstairs.  I imagine the  girls are spending most of the time at night in this room.  Hopefully they aren’t bar hopping!!

 

REAL LIFE FOR ELISABETH WEBB:

image At dusk, the view from our rental on South Padre Island, Texas.

 

Truthfully, my daughter is really not used to such luxuries as the beach house in the Caribbean,  so I hope she is really appreciating her trip!   As most of you know, we don’t travel a lot and leaving Texas is not my husband’s favorite thing to do.   Consequently, we vacation at the beach on South Padre Island, at the very tip of the United States, where Mexico meets Texas.  In fact, the international border is only 3o minutes away by car and probably 5 minutes by boat.    We don’t own a condo there and nice hotels are pretty scarce on the island, so we rent.    The problem with renting condos is most available aren’t really fancy, to say the least.   The one we rent is about 25 years old and has seen better days;  it’s had very little remodeling or updating done to it over the years.   I know we could find one nicer, but it’s right next door to my friend’s condo, so the location is perfect.   

 

 

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Our rental last summer.  Ouch!

 

Do your eyes hurt?   We rented this unit last summer.   We chose this particular unit over the other ones available in the building because it has white tiled floors which means it would at least be cleaner than the carpeted rentals.   Last summer we stayed here a month so I did try to make it a little more homey.   Each summer I go through a little drill when we arrive at our rental:   I walk through the unit and hide all the pillows, accessories, paintings, fake plants, area rugs and assorted clutter  in the guest closet.   I can’t do anything about the paint job, so I just pretend it’s not there.   Over the years I have accumulated an assortment of ready made slipcovers for the rentals, along with throw pillows, drop cloths, and Indian bedspreads which make great cover ups for nasty condo furniture.   The picture above is off the rental web site – isn’t that couch a beauty?

 

 

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Here’s what it looked like after I cozied up our unit.   I used blue and white ticking ready made slipcovers for the sofa and love seat.   We bought the pillows on sale down in Padre at the best (and only) decor shop on the island:  Park 100.   I brought the Dash and Albert rug with me.   I’ll buy flowers at the grocery stores and add candles to atmosphere.  The books come from home to read while we are there.   I ruined by Saladino Villa on the beach and ended up having to replace it.   The wicker coffee table was actually kind of cute – about the only cute thing in the condo!

 

 

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I moved the blue and white lamp from a bedroom to make it look a little nicer, and came THIS CLOSE to buying a new shade for it.  Sad, I know.  The white tiled floor is a plus.   Whenever we are choosing a rental, we always opt for tiled floor over carpeting because at least you know it will be clean then.    I learned my lesson one summer when I had to personally have the carpets cleaned the day after we arrived.  Yuck!!!   We take a SUV down to the beach, so we have a little extra room to pack up all the decorating materials.   After doing this now for over 22 years, Ben is resigned to my summer condo redecorating.   It took a few years, but I finally broke him in.   Now, I think he actually appreciates the clean slipcovers over sitting on old upholstery. 

 

 

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In the dining area, I put a Dash and Albert blanket over the wood table to try to soften it up a little.   I added the cute Vagabond Vintage bucket bag from Olivine.  The “captains” chairs – well, there wasn’t much I could do about those and just had to forget they were there.   I don’t have pictures of the bedroom, but the Indian bedspreads sold at Urban Outfitters do wonders for quick makeovers.    You can actually use one for a make-do dust ruffle and layer another on top for a coverlet.    I also put down a few more cute throw rugs in the bedroom and bathroom, which really add a lot to the decor.

 

 

 

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Even beach towels and bags can become a decorative element. 

 

South Padre is home for us.   I’ve been going since I was a little girl and our entire family loves it.   It’s a laid back, very casual beach town, with not much night life, which is exactly how we like it.     But still, a Spring Break  holiday in a gorgeous contemporary  Caribbean beach house Must Be Nice!!!!  I just hope Elisabeth doesn’t get spoiled.   This summer, she’ll be back in the land of vintage tufted cream sofas and vivid blue painted walls.

Do you do summer rental decorating?   My sister-in-law does the same thing I do, she even brings her own  kitchenware and sheets – I’m not quite that sick – yet!   I would love to see pictures of your own summer rental decorating.  I need some new ideas!!!

 

P.S.  Check out the new Skirted Roundtable – San Francisco interior decorator Scott Wood is interviewed.  AND he even serenades us!!!  hehe – that is NOT to be missed.  HERE.

  

 

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And finally, here’s hoping everyone had a wonderful Easter Weekend!!!