Life

Day 5 of 30 Exterior Decorate Positano Italy

Filed Under: Italy, Life, Tips, Travel - Kim Levell
Positano Best Villa

Positano Best Villa

Yesterday on my shopping spree I met this woman at a store. In the course of helping me she asked, “whya youa alonea”? I said “because I’m writing a book”. Then we worked out a conversation between her broken but much appreciated English and my zero Italian albeit hands a waving she learned what I was up to and suggested I go-a to-a the antique store to meet Giacamo pronounce Jauque-a-mo. He has the best house. I was to ask him if I could see it. I did and he agreed for 9:30 the next day.
Raffaele arrived at 8:30. Apparently there was a stuck bus which is very plausible considering Positano roads at two lanes are like American one way streets shoulders included. I hopped on the back of moped and was ready to go for another adventure! This time we were off to one of the most exclusive hotels, Pietra Santo. It’s just outside of Positano proper. Like most luxury hotels in Italy with property they grow some of their own food which usually amounts to a quaint side garden; however, this place had an entire hill side dropping down towards the beach. It was magnificent!

San Pietro Hotel Garden

San Pietro Hotel Garden

After this hotel it was off to Giacamo’s place. Funny thing is I had actually taken photos of this door the previous day. Giacamo, Giacamo, Giacamo…you unassuming little guy! Apparently not only does he own one magnificent villa, but 3. This being his latest edition it was decorated by a high end designer from Umbria. The villa was run by Domenico Cuom, a sophisticated city guy who left Milano for the simpler life hosting high end clients by the sea. I spent a good part of morning taking photos and imaging how nice it would be to spend time with my family there. 

Once back at the shot we reviewed my photos from the previous day and it was now agreed I needed a flash other than the one provided by the camera itself. As I said on a previous day the shop was well equipped and I was able to pick up a Metz which was according to Raffaele a very good German flash. I ha also asking why my big landscape shots weren’t vey crisp an he felt I could have a higher quality lens. Ey, yi, yi I am learning what it means to be a photographer!
With flash in hand I headed out for the sun setting light shots which made for one long, hot, exhausting day.

Positano Private Villa

Positano Private Villa

Day 2 of 30 Exterior Decorate Rome Italy

Filed Under: Italy, Life, Tips, Travel - Kim Levell
Via Tagliamento

Via Tagliamento: Best street in Rome for beautiful homes

Day 2: My dear friend Melissa happened to be visiting Rome at the same time as myself. She had a brilliant idea to find a photographer for a lesson and introduced my to Franceso Amorosino (f.amorosino@gmail.com). Honestly I had become a little lost after my first day of shooting. My camera was just not doing what my inexperienced manual disregarding self wanted it to do. I decided to meet him at one of the best streets in Rome for luxury and unique homes. The street was called Via Tagliamento. I sat down on the center fountain at 8 a.m. in the shade thinking it would be great if I could just lie down on the sidewalk but I’m not sure how that would go over for our first introduction much less the affluent neighborhood with the morning commute to work under way. Francesco arrived with a warm smile and lucky for me not only did he have 3 years at photography school but we also shared the same camera the Canon T3i. You see meeting up with a friend in Italy is great but drinking a few bottles of wine is not so great! The mornings here have been really hot and I was feeling like I had been out to sea after a stormy night. What I did learn is what I needed to know, which is how Francesco shoots and what symbols he selects on the camera. M good, move this button for light great, manual focus, amen…we were off to a great start. He suggested we get me a cup of Italian coffee for it surely cures all. After a little more lesson at the cafe we both realized I was under equipped and would need a telephoto lens. So instead of shooting at my insistence he offered to take me to a camera store and translate. While we waited for the salesman I wondered over to the tripods just to see if they had lighter ones. Oh yeah much lighter. In fact it made my tripod feel like a I was lugging around a 10 pound sack of potatoes. Ugh! Well the lens was around 300 euro so I passed. Our ticketed number was up and it was time to buy my new 50mm-250mm lens and a new charger for my battery. Before I left home I was packing and came across a grey cord that looked like it went to a radio. I guess it wasn’t just some random cord after all. In my opinion my photo lesson at 130 Euro was priceless because navigating the Roman streets to find the best camera shop Fotoforniture Sabatini on Via Germanico near the Vatican would have been a challenge much less knowing what would be the right gear. Francesco explained I didn’t want under 50mm because I already had that in others lens which was also very good to know! Although I was still a out of my element I was beginning to feel like I can do this. Sent from my iPad

Day 1 of 30 Italy

Making my way to my hotel in Rome I would be staying in an area called the ghetto. I found my hotel on hotels.com which I found lists more European hotels then its counter parts. It was small with only six rooms. My room was neat, clean, the a/c worked, and the internet was free and not spotty. The place was called Regola Suites and the only draw back I found was if you come in late at night after having met up with an old friend for wine the door isn’t double locked you are just malfunctioning. However, this is day one and that comes later.

After I got cleaned up from my very long flight I had remembered someone who travelled a lot to Europe told me you have to rally and stay awake until it’s time to go to bed on their clock. So I headed out with my camera to start my architectural exploration. One thing that strikes you when looking at residences in Rome are the door pulls. They are always brass and you will see some very cool ones with unusual designs. Door after door, pull after pull I could tell I was in for a very long month of taking pictures.

Always stop to smell the roses! What is you favorite scent?

Filed Under: Life, Tips - Kim Levell
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Always stop to smell the roses! What is you favorite scent?

Sheer Bliss

It never seems hard to come a upon a small rose garden when walking thru many parks in the US. I challenge you next time to stop and smell the roses. I like to make it a game almost smelling each one, finding the scented roses, then proclaiming my favorite. It’s really a fun idea for all involved. Doesn’t everyone enjoy a beautiful fragrant rose?

R.K. Witherspoon

The Sheer Bliss and RK WItherspoon passed my sniff test. They were both fresh and fragrant! I enjoy more citrus like scents.

 Make another game up by simply picking your favorite by beauty too!

Vavoom

Need I say more…

Chapel Hill Herbs, teas, and more at the Farmer’s Market of Goodness

 

Chapel Hill Herbs, teas, and more at the Farmer’s Market of Goodness

 

Water Dog Farms

 

A few months ago I started making frequent visits to North
Carolina. While my usual annual trip was to High Point to scout for amazing
new furniture, fabrics , and accessories it’s now because I’ve met an amazing  guy. Fortunately for me he lives in the great
little college town of Chapel Hill. When I visit any new place one of my
favorite things to do is check out the local farming scene and what better way
to do that than find the obscure outdoor markets. On Saturdays of every week throughout
the year you will find a great group of people converged in a small parking lot
to the side of a well know Chapel Hill gourmet supermarket called A Southern
Season. I’ll save that little gem for another blog.

A Southern Season

A Southern Season

So I’ve got my market shopping
technique down. I’m like the local market sleuth scouting out each booth for the best of the best while
trying to remain incognito keeping my eyes perched on the goods. I find it
nearly impossible to avoid contact in North Carolina. No matter what
store you go into they will do some Cirque du Soleil yoga move to position
themselves in your direction, give a big warm “hi”, and it’s all over! I’m spending some cash on whatever they’ve got. I’m a sucker for sweet people! While
I consider myself to be a friendly person having been born in the salt of the
earth city of Pittsburgh, and raised from age of 10 in sunny Florida,  I don’t come close
to being as hospitable as this truly cool group of North Carolina Farmers.  Pace yourselves!

http://waterdogfarms.wordpress.com/

 

Two of my favorite “hello’s”  came from Christopher and Rickie of Water Dog Farms in Hurdle Mills, NC.
These two guys cashed in their chips to try their hand at
farming. Their crops of choice are sustainably produced flowers, teas, herbs,
and native plants. Geez… just sing my heart song why don’t you!  Although I picked up the bergamot and few
other great ones I really loved their fresh Roselle Hibiscus Tea! On this day
that I visited they were serving it on ice with local organic honey. It was
totally refreshing and pretty too! Ok so I know it’s not exactly ice tea
weather for many of you but if you are able to find the beautiful ruby red roselle buds
in your local market than pick some up for the holidays and color your water pink!  I think it would be beautiful to throw a
handful in a clear glass pitcher or maybe you serve one up in a martini. I see
limitless holiday party possibilities here. After all this plant is used as a tonic for digestive and kidney funtions. Now who couldn’t use that over the holiday season!

 

Here is how these boys recommend you brew if you would like
to enjoy this splendid herbal tea for your sipping pleasure.

Boil fresh seed pods with calyces for 5 minutes until the
water turns dark pink. Remove from boil and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain
out the water and drink or pour over ice. Oh and don’t forget the honey
although stevia is a good thing too!

 

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ROSELLE’S GO TO: http://aginstitute.suagcenter.com/ResearchPrograms/Sustainable/Hibiscus.pdf

 

Olympic Flowers!

Filed Under: Life, Travel, What's Hot - Kim Levell

 

 

Olympic Flowers!

I thought I would share this picture a friend of mine sent taken at the Olympics in London today. Thank goodness the English garden is still ever so present amongst all the excitement! 

 

 

For the love of it!

For the love of it!

 

www.exteriordcorating.com

Kim Levell

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I think blogging for me has actually been the hardest part of my entry into television more than anything else. It always happens the same way. I psyche myself to work on social media. I type for hours making 10 blogs to run consecutively and then bupkis, nadda, zip. You won’t hear a word from me for weeks.

I started asking myself why is this so darn difficult? Why do I dread this part of the process? Quite honestly I simply don’t enjoy coming up with copious amounts of content. Which is why I do what I do. Otherwise I suppose I would be a blog writer.

So hear is what I proposed to myself. As an exterior designer I pour my heart and soul into every job that best suits my spirit and those of the people I am creating for. Why not tell people why your job gives you such joy. Write a blog about how you completely surprise people with how absolutely comfortable and happy they are in the exterior space that you have created for them. That subcategory is called Inspiration and from time to time I hope I inspire you to get out outside and get closer to nature!

 

 

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters

Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waters

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Waters

 

 

Pathway to Falling Waters

When I was a small child my grandparents moved from Pittsburgh to Indian Lake Pennsylvania. I couldn’t wait for breaks from school so that my brother, sister , and I could go to Gram and Poppie’s house just 2 hours outside of Pittsburgh. Once off the turn pike it’s like we entered a new world. It was so peaceful and beautiful. The air was crisp, the sky without light pollution seemed to magically glisten, the trees tall and dense represented every shade of green imaginable. It was heaven on earth. I can see why the Kaufmann family loved this place to get away from it all. While there home was just  a 30 minute drive away from my grandparents, it was nestled in those same Pennsylvania mountains I like to call my home away from home. I can’t think of a better architect than Frank Lloyd Wright to capture the essence of the area. He was so gifted and sought to develop architecture to be harmonious with nature. I’m guessing, but I think that falling waters could be thing single most significant representation of that on this planet today. I was lucky enough to arrive on a rainy day.

Moss lined walls at Falling Waters

 The beautiful moss growing on the stone surrounding the house was postcard, the sound of the falling water emphasized like a symphony coming to crescendo, and the peaceful sound of the rain dripping through the trees made me feel one with Mr. Wright’s vision.

Falling Waters Sculptural Art
Falling Waters Sculptural Art

Falling Waters Sculpture

 

 

One of my favorite things about the garden areas surrounding the home were the stragegic placement of beautiful sculptural art. Everything had it’s place. If you are planning a visit go to www.fallingwater.org for more information.