The other day we were invited to a friend's house in the countryside, about 25 minutes from Vienna. It was a beautiful area and our friends have an equally beautiful house, which they have been renovating for a number of years. With the kitchen and baths updated, they're now working on the living room decor. Of course, I wanted to hear all of their plans. One thing that struck me was that she was looking to incorporate a sectional. Most people I know have strong feelings about sectionals, one way or the other. Personally, I like them provided they don't overwhelm the space. They make a lot of sense for family rooms and can make a room feel super cozy and intimate. Lets take a look at what I mean:
This first image is very, very similar to (though a bit smaller than) our friend's living room. They have hardwood floors, exposed beams, white walls, a large window on the far wall, etc. I think this sectional really works here.
This Pottery Barn picture is gaining a lot of steam on pinterest. Since I pinned it, it has been repinned 21 times. I added it because of its neutral color. However, the room is too beigy for my taste and in my opinion, needs more contrast.
Love love love this room! Though I just endorsed neutrals ... don't be afraid to go for the color (especially if you have kids). It will hide the dirt. I love this color palette: eggplant with the burnt orange.
My back is slowly getting better - thank you for your kind 'get well' emails. Fortunately, I found a great osteopath through a recommendation of a friend and he helped me get my back in order. But, it has taken me close to two weeks to recover and I am still not 100%. Sitting at the computer still hurts my back so I need to take it slow with blogging.
So, here is snapshot of what we have been up to in Vienna.
Luke at Schloss Schonbrunn (the summer castle of the Austrian Imperial Family....now a tourist attraction). Kids get to dress up in the last 18th century garb (in the time of Mozart). Here he is as Konig Luke.
Here he is in another get-up. I hope those wigs don't have head lice.
Here is Luke and mommy outside the Schloss Schonbrunn. Yes, this is their summer residence!
During our stroll one afternoon through the center of Vienna, we stumbled onto a woodcarver's shop which housed adorable wooden clocks, dolls, etc. for children. Here is Luke with Pinocchio.
A dinner out with the family am Naschmarkt (outdoor market blocks from our house). I find that it is really easy to go out to dinner with kids here in Vienna.
Here is Luke on top of the Vienna Aquarium. In good weather, the view is supposed to be really good. You can see Mariahilfastrasse Kirche (church) in the background. Just think this is a good picture of him.
This is the family at Prater, a large park over near toward the Danube. It used to be the Imperial Hunting Grounds (off limits to commoners like us). We had a picnic.
I think E has a question - since she is raising her hand.
At Prater there is a minor amusement park with a couple of rides (most of Prater is a walking park with lots of green spaces.) Anyway, Luke and Kevin went on the bumper cars. He was so excited to drive!
That is it for now! Hope you are enjoying your weekend! Today, we're off to a friend's country house! Excited to see the Austrian landscape outside of the city.
With my back still killing me, I’m turning today’s post over to my husband. Thanks K …
Vienna has been great – and not just the city. I mean the experience of learning the city with Fran and the kids. Little slices of our time here are in Fran’s previous Grüß Gott posts (ice skating, playgrounds, etc.). But I get to see another part of Vienna in the morning.
New York is renown for being the city that never sleeps. Well, not Vienna. The Viennese take time off and sleep. That’s not to say they’re lazy. Quite the contrary, my experience is that they are smart and industrious people. But things don’t open early. And on Sunday, they don’t open at all. Seriously. Last Saturday I didn’t make it to the grocery store before they closed. As a result, we had no milk until Monday; Luke was not amused. My point? Early mornings are very quiet here. And a few times a week I get up early and go for a run. It’s peaceful and you get a different look at Vienna – minus the people. Today I took Fran’s camera with me and took a few pictures along the way.
The Vienna Opera House around 5:20AM (we don't spring forward until late March).
One of my running routes: Kämtner Straße , a major shopping area. It's completely empty. This takes you to Stephensplatz.
St. Stephensplatz and Kirche (Church) is the epicenter of the innerstadt. This gothic cathedral stands on the site of the original St. Stephen's Kirche, built in 1137 and dedicated in 1147, as local nobles were heading off for the second crusade. Note the stylish chevron roof. The roof was destroyed by fire at the end of the second world war. It was promptly restored, as a sign of Austrian resilience.
Kohlmarkt, arguably the most touristy street in Vienna – absolutely empty. The dome at the end is part of the Hofburg Palace. And Fran and Luke’s favorite bakery/sweet shop (Demel) is down on the right.
After running down to the Danau Canal and then up past the Rathaus, you come up to the Austrian Parliament. There’s actually a car on the road! See bottom right.
Karlsplatz and Karlskirche (St. Charles’ Church). This is where we attend Mass, about a 15 minute walk from home. Right behind me (as I take this picture) is another of Luke’s favorite playgrounds, which is usually teeming with kids. For the moment, it’s completely still.
It’s really hard to describe exactly how empty it feels in the morning, particularly when you know the hustle-and-bustle that is coming in just a few hours.And somehow the solitude makes me feel connected to the city - like it’s mine.In fact, the other day I was annoyed with the crowds and I complained to Fran about the tourists.She looked at me incredulously and said, “But you’re a tourist.”We both had a good laugh.
This weekend, I stumbled onto the blog called, And George, which is authored by Christy Ford. The mother (Jan Roden) and daughter (Christy Ford) duo run a fantastic store called, And George, in Charlottesville, Virginia. I need to make a point to visit.
In one of the posts, Christy talks about her children flip flopping rooms more times than her husband would like to count. Ever since her home was published in Southern Living's November 2010 issue (see here), I have been a long time admirer of her children's rooms. One of my favorites is seen here...
So adorable. The soothing pastels, florals and small prints - what's not to love? Well, I guess at one point her son, Henry, moved into this room and Christy did a fantastic job decorating the space for a boy.
It looks as if the same paint color (Tranquility by BM) was kept which makes re-decorating so much easier. I love how both rooms are filled with such personal style that they are magically kid friendly. Neither room is over designed. I love it. And, can I just say how much my son would love those bunk beds?
It is always fun to find a new designer or blog that you find inspirational. As a fellow New Englander, I was very excited to find Katie Rosenfeld Design via her blog Bogle Street.
Bogle Street, which I spent over an hour reading, is packed full of useful design information, expertise and tips. On top of that, her designs are so inspirational. They are classically inspired, but full of punch with colors and patterns. I've posted a few of my favorite images above and below.
Make sure you take a moment to check out her blog and portfolio. You won't be disappointed!
I like layers. It's really hard to explain (to someone not obsessed with interiors) what that means. But the other day I was browsing Tommy Smythe's portfolio and I saw a very clear example of layering. I thought it was a brilliant idea and wanted to share.
Do you see the stool/bench underneath the night table? Its purpose is like a nesting table, individual tables inside one another, providing more surface area for your things. However, unlike a nesting table, the upholstered bench adds another dimension/layer for your eye to look at. The light fabric on the bench breaks up the wood, creates contrast and softens things up. If the bench wasn't there, it wouldn't be as interesting. Now, that is a layer!
We see Tommy do this again in another one of his bedrooms. Now, this could have been purely done for styling purposes, but I tend to doubt it. Here, we see the exact same bench used exactly the same way. Like a nesting table, the bench could easily slide in and out from underneath the table. Practical.
Here is another example of a similar layer (not Tommy Smythe). A round garden stool underneath a night table. The circular shape of the stool breaks up all the straight lines in the room and creates another interesting thing to look at.
Here, in one of Ashley Putman's older bedrooms, we see a bench propped in front of a chest. I think this might've been done strictly for styling purposes, but nevertheless do you see how it adds one more dimension for your eye to study? The white painted bench with the black and white damask fabric creates contrast and adds another page to a virtually all black and white color scheme.
So, do you like layers too? Would you try this in your home? I just posted this idea in bedrooms, but you could try this in any room, really...
I'm sorry I've gotten so behind with my Gruss Gott posts. Oh well. I'll start off with week 6 and 7 will catch up soon with the rest.
A couple of weekends ago, we met up with one of Kevin's friends and her family. They went to Michigan together and her family was here in Europe also doing a sabbatical too (Germany and Italy). Anyway, we met for dinner at Zwolf Apostlekeller, built in 1339. And, it was great fun!
So, part of our daily routine here in Vienna, is the playground. Practically everyday after I pick up Luke from school, we hit the playground. What is great about where we live is that there are four fantastic playgrounds all within short walking distance from our apartment and Luke's school. And, it is not uncommon for Luke to meet up with his school buddies and just run rampant.
Am Naschmarkt (literally a block from our apartment)
A little zipline action
E taking her first stab at the slide
What amazes me is that regardless of the weather (rain, freezing cold, sun or snow) kids are always playing at the playground. They just throw on their rain gear or snow gear and hit the playgrounds. It is pretty awesome.
The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, they celebrate carnival here (or Fasching). It's a bit like Mardi Gras expect not as wild. Kids dress up in costumes and everyone eats Krapfens (jelly donuts). These are true bakery donuts, more of a pastry than a Dunkin Donuts type donut. The idea is that kids get their fill of Krapfens on Tuesday and then give them up for Lent. Anyway, Luke, of course, dressed up as a pirate and they had a big party at school. I'm still waiting for the school to send me the pictures, but I thought I'd share Luke's costume.
This is a store window of one of Vienna's most famous bakeries (Demel) and this window is dedicated to Fasching. Do you notice the puppet's bodies?
They are all Krapfens! How cute is that?!?
Last weekend Luke and I went to the Naturhistorische Museum with Luke (see some of the pictures here). It was great for both of us. The architecture was unbelievable and the exhibits were interesting for both of us and very interactive. Definitely a must-see for families with kids.
Okay, well, that is all for now. Will update more later. Tschuss!
This mama is ready for the weekend! After a week of sick children and a sick mama, I am looking forward to the weekend of just relaxing and getting out and about. I hope all of you have a lovely weekend - spring is in the air!! I couldn't resist and had to post this picture - I love the colorway orange and brown! See you next week!