All posts by Alyssa Gautieri

Changing the Travel Narrative

Jessica Nabongo is many things: writer, blogger, entrepreneur, pub-lic speaker, travel influencer. She is also a woman, a Ugandan, and a first generation American. In February 2017, Nabongo was inspired to begin her journey to every country in the world, with 60 countries already under her belt. As of June 2019, she has visited 175 of 195 countries. 

“Most things have already been done, but they have not been done by you. I am not the first person who is going to travel to every country in the world,” says Nabongo, who was greatly inspired by the journey of Cassie De Pecol — the fastest person and first woman on record to visit every country in the world.

For Nabongo, traveling has always been a lifestyle. “From a very early age, my parents opened up the world to me, and it was normalized,” says Nabongo, who first left her childhood home in Detroit at age four to travel abroad. “I’ve always wanted to visit every country in the world.”

She is often asked why she choose to embark on such a time-consuming, life- altering journey. “Number one, I wanted to do something that no one else has done. But beyond that, it is about representation. The travel space is super white and very male, so it’s important for me to do this,” says Nabongo, who wants to use her plat-form as an African woman to change the travel narrative.

“The world is not as scary as [the media] wants us to believe, and that is what I love about social media. I really want to change the narrative about the black traveler, and to show women, black people, and everyone else that you can do any-thing you want to do.” 

Riyadh. Saudia Arabia. Photo courtesy of Jessica Nabongo. 

Nabongo says she often experiences judgement from others when she speaks about traveling to “controversial” countries such as Afghanistan, North Korea or Iraq, and what she does or does not see in those places.

“I am traveling to every country in the world,” she jokes. “North Korea is a country … I have never visited a prison in the United States, so why would I visit a labor camp in North Korea?”

“The world is not as scary as [the media] wants us to believe, and that is what I love about social media. I really want to change the narrative about the black traveler, and to show women, black people, and everyone else that you can do anything you want to do.”

Nabongo encourages travelers to keep an open mind and stop visiting places to affirm assumptions. “Travel with an open mind, not to confirm what you think you already know. And, stop taking advice from people who have never been there,” she says. “You can find beauty anywhere; it is how you choose to look at places.”

China.

Barbados.

Yazd, Iran. Photos courtesy of Jessica Nabongo.

“I love using my platform to help teach people about the world, and also to break down these stereotypes and ideas that people have about different countries,” she adds.

Nabongo talks about understanding the “power of a post” and trying to use her “influence for things that matter,” such as changing the narrative about black and brown countries, advocating toward the reduction of single-use plastic, and empow-ering women to travel freely.

Krygyzstan. Photo courtesy of Elton Anderson. 

Meroë, Sudan. Photo courtesy of Elkhair Balla. 

Nabongo talks about understanding the “power of a post” and trying to use her “influence for things that matter,” such as changing the narrative about black and brown countries, advocating toward the reduction of single-use plastic, and empowering women to travel freely.

“I am not here to convince anyone to travel to every country in the world, because it is ridiculous,” she jokes, “but what I do want people to get from this story and this journey is that your dreams are valid. Dream big, make a plan and go after your dreams.”

Nabongo, referred to as The Catch Me if You Can on social media, tries to paint each country she visits in a positive light, while prioritizing honesty. “If there is going to be a single story, I believe that that single story should skew positive, especially about a country that is not my own…. Maybe I didn’t like a country, but that is not a reflection of what your experience will be.”

Ultimately, the biggest lesson Nabongo has learned: “people are mostly good.”

With horrific things happening around the world everyday, Nabongo acknowledges that it can be difficult to find the positivity in everyday life. “There are all of these negative things going on in the world, and it can really make people feel depressed… The fact of the matter is, 99 percent of my travel experiences are positive. I move through the world with positive energy, therefore I attract positive things to me.”

Yemen.

Myanmar. Photos courtesy of Jessica Nabongo. 

Armenia. Photo courtesy of Elton Anderson. 

Whether it’s borrowing cell phones in Nepal, or asking for directions in Japan, Nabongo says strangers are “always” ready to help her. “I have too many examples of the kindness of people during my travels,” she says.

With less than 20 countries remain-ing, Nabongo hopes to end her journey on October 6, 2019 in the Seychelles, on her father’s birthday to celebrate his memory.

Reflecting upon her journey, Nabongo notes that being an entrepreneur has proved a challenge, often testing her strength and dedication. Nabongo advises, “Whatever it is you are seeking, whatever it is you are creating, be careful not to quit too soon.”

8 Rules for Life, From Jessica Nabongo

  • You have one life to live.
    Don’t live it for anyone else.
  • Trust the universe. It conspires in your favor.
  • Discover what makes you happy.
    Question why it makes you happy, and find a way fo fill your life with whatever it is.
  • Be yourself, love yourself and know that you are enough.
  • Be fearless. Fear has no place in this one life we have to live.
  • Know when to move on and when to let go.
    Then move on and let go.
  • Create teaching moments and learning moments everyday.
  • Take the time to listen to each other.
    Talk to people who are nothing like you, because each
    and every one of us is living a completely different life and there is wisdom in that. 

*As of October 7th, 2019, Jessica Nabongo had reached her final goal of traveling to every country in the world, finishing her list in Seychelles.

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Exotic Getaways Closer to Home

Many travelers want to experience adventure while discovering a remote, exotic destination. But the hassle of long flights and extensive travel can often be a deterrent. For those who want to explore the world without wasting a huge chunk of time on travel, here are some exotic getaways closer to the U.S.

Want Bali?
Try Belize.

For those who want Bali’s ancient ruins, pristine jungles, tranquil seascapes and laid-back lifestyle, try Belize. Located along the tranquil Caribbean Sea, travelers will be able to experience preserved Mayan Temples, lush jungles, rainforest canopies, archaeological sites including the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, and the second largest barrier reef in the world and ultimate world-class destination – The Great Blue Hole. 

Photos courtesy of Belize Tourism Board

Want Ibiza?
Try Cancún.

For those who want Ibiza’s ultimate party scene and beach retreat with world-class DJs, try Cancún. Cancún has long been considered one of the top beach quick getaway vacation destinations in the world with sparkling, turquoise blue water, Ancient Mayan sites, mouthwatering cuisine and a pulsing nightlife. 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Melody Maker Cancun

Want Barcelona?
Try Mexico City.

For those who want Barcelona’s historic streets, world-class museums and mouth-watering culinary offerings, try Mexico City. Cosmopolitan and cultured, Mexico’s largest city boasts a flourishing culinary scene and a cultural renaissance with similar vibes to the Catalan capital. Explore the mysterious Teotihuacan pyramids, become immersed in Mexico city’s vibrant culture, taste local bites and visit Michoacán’s craft workshops.

 

Photos courtesy of Original Travel

Want the Galapagos Islands?
Try Kauai Island.

Known as Hawaii’s “Garden Island,” Kauai Island is filled with tropical rainforests, emerald valleys, and unbelievable mountains. Perfect for adventurists and foodies, Kauai has all the activities and restaurants that guests can ask for. Go ziplining through Kauai’s lush valleys, surf along the heavenly Hanalei Bay, or hike Waimea Canyon aka The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. 

Photo courtesy of Aqua-Aston Hospitality

Want Siquijor, Philippines?
Try Miches, Dominican Republic.

Those seeking a vacation destination with stunning waterfalls, lush palm groves, secluded beaches and Insta-famous swing sets without 24 hours of travel time can head to Miches, Dominican Republic instead of Siquijor, Philippines. 

Photos courtesy of Club Med

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Docent-Led Destinations

With the guidance of experts, travelers are able to experience more than simple sightseeing.

Spanning across Africa, Europe and The United States, these expert-led trips — curated by Architectural Adventures — blend world-class vacations with a deep appreciation for culture, history and architecture. Serving as the official travel program of The American Institute of Architects, Architectural Adventures plans each trip alongside knowledgeable architectural experts — unlocking the historical, cultural, and aesthetic significance behind the world’s most notable architecture.

©istockphoto / Daniel_Keuck

©istockphoto / TomasSereda

“In both Barcelona and Rome, we stay in the same city, and each day discover more about it. Staying in one place affords developing a more intimate look at the architecture and culture of the city.”

Sophia Gruzdys

Barcelona, Spain

Whether she’s embracing the local language, indulging in local cuisine, or exploring historic architecture, Sophia Gruzdys — an Architectural Adventures expert since 2017 — brings her own perspective to each tour she plans.

The licensed architect and educator has led tours in Barcelona and Rome, and will lead two Barcelona tours in 2019. “In both Barcelona and Rome, we stay in the same city, and each day discover more about it. Staying in one place affords developing a more intimate look at the architecture and culture of the city,” Gruzdys explains.

In Rome, travelers explore a wide range of architectural styles — including Contemporary, Fascist-style, Art Deco, and Renaissance. Meanwhile in Barcelona, travelers visit Antoni Gaudí’s iconic Sagrada Família and recently opened Casa Vicens, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famed Bareclona Pavillion, and the modern urbanism of the @22 District. “It’s fascinating to compare the styles that emerged in our culture in different periods of history in different cities,” Gruzdys says.

Gruzdys, who encourages travelers to engage with local languages and embrace local culture, values the importance of hands-on experience. “It’s so rewarding to travel with people who are interested in the architecture — and to share their enjoyment. Each time I visit the sites, I’ll notice something new, and continue to learn from the experiences of others,” she says.

©istockphoto / TomasSereda

“I have traveled all over the world, but traveling back to San Antonio makes me more aware of its architectural history, and its many layers and textures.”

Jane Martin

San Antonio, Texas, United States

First discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1600s, San Antonio’s identity has always been strongly rooted in Mexican culture, history, art and architecture. From exploring the city’s Spanish colonial past at the Alamo and other UNESCO World Heritage Missions to cruising along the San Antonio Riverwalk, those who travel to San Antonio will be deeply immersed in local culture.

Jane Martin — architecture educator, historian and resident of San Antonio — will lead her first trip with Architectural Adventures in 2019 in her hometown. “I have traveled all over the world, but traveling back to San Antonio makes me more aware of its architectural history, and its many layers and textures,” she says. “There is a lot to see in San Antonio, and I am constantly discovering new things. There are a great variety of architectural styles — with everything from Spanish Colonial, all the way to International Modern.”

Travelers will also visit Sir David Adjaye’s cutting-edge Ruby City, the newest of the city’s world-class museums, and learn about historic Pearl Brewery, now a 22-acre complex with housing, retail and fine dining. “I hope this trip helps to bring San Antonio to the world, encourages people to sign up for the tour and enjoy the city,” Martin says.

©istockphoto / Marco_Bonfanti

Milan, Italy

From marveling at Milan Cathedral, touring Santa Maria delle Grazie (home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper), to visiting the UniCredit Tower, those who travel to Milan will surely learn a great deal from Architecture Adventures expert David Rifkind.

Leading a nine-day tour in 2019, the architectural history professor and practicing architect will explore the city’s range of historic architecture, as well as its recent cultural renaissance — which led to the creation of new museums, sustainable architecture, and Contemporary art exhibits. “I was surprised to learn that architects tend to be very interested in Contemporary architecture,” notes Rifkind, who also finds that non-architects tend to be more interested in historic structures.

Rifkind’s trip to Milan will bring together a unique group of travelers, consisting of both architects and non-architects from around the globe. “The dynamic of the people on the trip really does impact the experience in a really positive way,” Rifkind says. “Experiencing architecture first-hand is a unique pleasure, and alongside a group of diverse people who share your passion is truly magical. It has been rewarding to learn how travelers experience places that I thought I understood.”

While Rifkind understands the importance of an informative lecture, he also highly values hands-on learning. “It is really fascinating when a relatively small group of people experience a city together,” says Rifkind, who made unique contributions for this trip to contrast classroom learning.

“Experiencing architecture first-hand is a unique pleasure, and alongside a group of diverse people who share your passion is truly magical.”

David Rifkind

©istockphoto / Daniel_Keuck

“Although my studies will be very helpful, leading an Architectural Adventures tour will be a new experience for me. It will be very interesting to give tours to travelers who are already immersed in architecture.”

Stanley Ira
Hallet

Morocco

From volunteering in Tunisia for the Peace Corp to lecturing at the University of Kabul in Afghanistan, Architectural Adventures expert Stanley Ira Hallet’s range of cultural experiences has prepared him to lead a tour throughout Morocco in 2019.

“Although my studies will be very helpful, leading an Architectural Adventures tour will be a new experience for me. It will be very interesting to give tours to travelers who are already immersed in architecture,” says Hallet. The trip will include visits to the Hassan II Mosque, the French-designed Habous Quarter, and the Majorelle Garden (a two-and-a-half-acre botanical garden).

Whether travelers are exploring the ancient capital of Mauretania, Volubilis, visiting the medieval school of Bouanania (which was built in the 1300s), or marveling at the Sahara Desert, Hallet says they will partake in a “completely different urban experience.”

Hallet, who also has a passion for photography, hopes the trip will offer travelers a more complete story of Morocco.

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On Location: Entryway to the Sea

Upon entering Puerta Cortés — a 500-plus-acre property in La Paz, Baja California, I was immediately intrigued by its essentially untouched landscape and its proximity to the marvelous Sea of Cortez.

Puerta Cortés, is surrounded by the world’s richest body of water — home to rare sea life such as whale sharks, dolphins, grey whales, humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and more. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s sea life is represented in the Sea of Cortez, making it a prime destination for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sea life exploration.

With seven marinas, Puerta Cortés demanded that I spent a day out on the water to discover Isla Espiritu Santo, swim with whale sharks, and explore sea lions habitats. I followed my day-long boating excursion with an ocean-view dinner as the sun set on the water.

Vista Mar

El Cortés Golf Club

Only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the small town feel of La Paz.

El Cortés Golf Club, boasting sweeping views of the Sea of Cortez from 17 of its 18 holes, is accompanied by a cliffside Clubhouse with views unlike any other. The perfect destination for a Mexican-style breakfast, the Clubhouse evokes a peaceful atmosphere — complete with a calming morning breeze coming off the sea, views of the course’s lush greenery and the crystal blue Sea of Cortez, and an assortment of growing cacti to complete the mountainous desert landscape.

Las Colinas

After spending a morning at the golf course, I headed to Blue Cortés — the signature beach club at Puerta Cortés — to enjoy an afternoon soaking in the sun, relaxing in the infinity pool, and indulging in fine international cuisine while poolside. 

Located only two hours from Cabo San Lucas, La Paz offers an experience that heavily contrasts the bustle of a major city. Downtown La Paz offers an authentic Mexican city experience, while Puerta Cortés exudes an unparalleled feeling of privacy, serenity and comfort.

“I love the fact that even though you are in the city, you have this feeling that you are not really in a city,” says President of Ascendancy Antonio Davila, who admires the authentic, comfortable and small town feel of La Paz. 

When Davila visited the property with his wife six years ago, he immediately fell in love with the serene landscape of La Paz. 

“My wife and I were amazed by the fact that La Paz wasn’t better known, because we just found it to be the most beautiful place we’d ever seen,” he says. “I was mesmerized by its beauty, spectacular scenery and extraordinary amenities.”

Last year, Ascendancy — a Mexican-based family office and asset management firm — purchased the property and launched a $5 million renovation, which should be complete within the next 12 to 18 months. 

Currently the property offers two residential options — Las Colinas and Vista Mar, and Ascendancy is negotiating the construction of two, five-star hotels. The property will also soon sell cliffside, ocean-view lots. Other upgrades will include additional restaurants, an expanded on-site market, and a complete face lift for the beachfront.

“Puerta Cortés is an exclusive hideaway for those seeking unparalleled, coastal living and adventure in one of the most privileged locations in the world. I have met so many well-traveled visitors and residents who have seen and experienced some of the most incredible destinations in the world and have decided Puerta Cortés is where they want to be,” Davila says. 

The biggest draw of Puerta Cortes “to me is the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, its beautiful colors and wonderful sea life.” Davila says his favorite thing about living in La Paz is “being about to go out on the water with my family and experience all of the beautiful sea life. I love the quality of life that my family gets living here.”

Photos courtesy Puerta Cortés

This editorial appeared in the Unique Homes Ultimate ’19 Issue.

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Embrace Warm Tones

Whether it’s in the form of art displayed on the wall or accents situated on furniture, incorporating warm tones in your home will make it feel calm and cozy. 

Warm tones typically consist of reds, oranges, yellows, browns, and tans. 2019 has been all about being in touch with nature, and these earthy tones keep that trend going. Whether you opt for deep forest browns and berry-red, or desert-inspired terracotta and sand, there are so many ways to make your house feel more like a home.

We are proving just how versatile warm tones can be. You can arrange diverse color palettes to create almost any atmosphere, from bright and lively, to tranquil and welcoming. Here are some looks to explore. 

Photo courtesy of Modish Living

Rustic Style 

Using nature-inspired textures and earthy colors, a rustic feel emphasizes natural beauty. Layer autumnal oranges, browns, reds and creams to create a rustic feel in your home.

A Bold Statement 

Use bolder warm colors, such as bright yellows, oranges and reds, to create a bright and lively space. This Tumeric-colored soft bean bag ottoman forms the perfect bold centerpiece for a group of bean bag chairs.

Photos courtesy of Lujo

Photo courtesy of Viadurini Collezione Notte

A Mix of Warm & Cool

Add a single warm accessory to balance cool neutrals (whites and grays). For example, add a soft brown comforter with natural green accents to an all-white room to keep your space fresh, yet authentic. 

Inspired by Nature 

For a nature-inspired look, incorporate wood-inspired colors. “Wood furniture and surfaces support warm color palettes. To keep the look from going cabin, limit the use of actual wood and incorporate wood-inspired colors,” according to Better Homes & Gardens.

 

Photo courtesy of Essential Home

Photo courtesy of TOM TAILOR

Retro-Inspired

Warm tones can liven up any style, even a retro-inspired interior. Add a pop of bright orange or red to further your look. 

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With Bundles of Joy

Lauren Behfarin saw a need for sophisticated design geared toward growing families.

Arriving home from the hospital with your newborn for the first time, rocking your infant child back to sleep, reading a book with your talkative toddler — a nursery will become the setting for endless, lasting memories as your child grows.

From falling in love with their first smile to cheering along their first steps, parents will inevitability spend many heartwarming hours in their child’s nursery — which means the space should bring joy to both parents and children for years to come.

Designing the perfect nursery may seem intimidating, but luckily this interior designer understands the importance of creating a space filled with love, care and joy.

Five years ago, Lauren Behfarin designed her daughter’s nursery in preparation for her first child’s arrival. She quickly discovered a gap in family-friendly design, and created Lauren Behfarin Design. “Once I had a family, I wanted to do more work geared toward children and younger families,” says Behfarin, who previously worked for Drew McGukin Interiors.

With a growing clientele, the trendy NYC-based interior design firm now designs spaces for new parents and growing families that are vibrant and sophisticated yet comfortable and livable. Understanding the emotion and love that goes into each space created for a child, Behfarin has found that “nurseries and children’s spaces often become an extension of a home.”

Although she designs a range of spaces, Behfarin’s favorite projects are always nurseries for first-time parents. “Nurseries are always so fun, and so full of hope, life and excitement. It is such a special time to watch new mothers experience pregnancy and for parents to experience a baby for the first time. We are always honored when families include us in that time,” says Behfarin, who works alongside her associate, Abby Gruman.

As a parent of two, Behfarin values convenience and function. After designing a nursery, first-time parents may soon realize that a makeover is required less than two years later. In order to keep the transition as simple as possible, Behfarin tries to “anticipate the next steps of a child’s life” with her designs.

Using various patterns, textures and bold colors, the team is sure to incorporate fun elements that feel young while also considering the next five or 10 years of a child’s life. “As I experience these phases with my own children, I am really learning what works and what does not work long-term in a space. We are learning what elements transition with your child and which do not,” Behfarin says.

Born and raised in Manhattan, Behfarin also understands the need for storage in a compact apartment. Utilizing items such as cribs that turn into toddler beds or bunk beds that double as two twins beds, Behfarin “makes sure that clients have the best items for their children to grow.”

Whether it’s furniture that won’t cause injuries to a newborn or toys that won’t grow tiresome, first-time parents often look to Behfarin and her team for more than simple design tips.

“They’re looking for great design, but they are also looking for advice. We take relationships to heart when we have clients who are experiencing this for the first time,” Behfarin says. “I am here to guide, push and challenge clients, but I always deliver something that they love.” 

How to Design the Perfect Nursery

Accent Walls — “There is always an accent wall, whether it’s a really cool decal, cool paint color or interesting wallpaper,” Behfarin says. “There should always be a fun backdrop to one of the walls in a nursery, and it’s usually the one with the crib.”

Minimal Themes — Cautious to not take a theme too far, Behfarin always suggests incorporating components from a theme, such as accent pieces or different colors. “There are ways to bring in a theme that are not too thematic,” she notes.

Neutral Colors — “There has been a shift toward gender neutral colors, such as grays, creams and whites,” Behfarin says. “People are prioritizing style. The standard pink and baby blue are not popular right now, and I think it is because style, form and function are so big in the city right now.”

Acrylics — This year, Behfarin is seeing a lot acrylics. “Homeowners are loving acrylic cribs with acrylic bars, or chairs with acrylic legs,” she explains. “Acrylic accents have shown up a more recently, I think as way to make a nursery modern.”

Organized Spaces — Whether it is a bunk bed with shelves, a coffee table with compartments or an ottoman with storage inside, Behfarin appreciates and understands the fluidity of space. “Homeowners are constantly reimagining how their space is being used,” she explains. “The hustle and bustle of the city has caused us to pay attention to creative and innovate ways to save space.”

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Magic Unfolds: Bang & Olufsen Debuts Beovision Harmony

Like a butterfly opening its wings, two meticulously crafted oak and aluminium front covers fan out, and a thin screen rises to perfect viewing height. 

Bang & Olufsen has unveiled Beovision Harmony — a TV experience that elevates the design of any living space and fills it with spectacular sound. When Beovision Harmony is turned off or just playing music, the thin screen rests close to the floor, partially covered by two meticulously crafted oak and aluminium front covers. When Beovision Harmony is turned on, the front covers fan out and the screen rises to the perfect viewing height. Turn off the TV, and the finely choreographed sequence plays out in reverse.

 

“Pristine picture performance combined with truly immersive sound ensures a mesmerizing viewing experience. But the presence of a big screen is rarely a welcoming addition to living spaces. With Beovision Harmony, we wanted to create a meaningful object for the interior that reduces the visual presence of the TV and transforms it into something that people will develop an emotional attachment to.” — John Mollanger, Bang & Olufsen’s executive vice president of brand and markets. 

The oak and aluminium front covers conceal a sublime and powerful sound center, delicately tuned by hand and ear to reveal all details of music and sound. The intricate grading pattern is carefully designed to maximize the acoustic performance of the three-channel, fully active DSP-based sound center.

The concept behind Beovision Harmony builds on some of Bang & Olufsen’s most cherished products. The Capri series, introduced in 1959, was designed to fully integrate with the living room. Hence the TV was built in teak, which was the preferred wood for furniture at the time.

“We have been sharing an obsessive passion for almost 100 years, and it has been a mission of ours to perfect the techniques used to reproduce sound and vision and to embody it in a design that people are proud to have in their homes,” says Mollanger.

Beovision Harmony is designed as a centerpiece for home entertainment. Boasting a robust speaker system with serious sound capabilities, Beovision Harmony offers impressive music streaming with integrated music services like Tune-In and Deezer. Beovision Harmony also comes with LG’s most recent webOS 4.5 platform, which allows you to access your favorite media service providers.

Images courtesy of Bang & Olufsen

Beovision Harmony is estimated to retail from €18,500 and will be available in Bang & Olufsen stores starting October 2019.

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Beachfront Sanctuary in the Bahamas

Combining island chic and luxury beachfront living in San Salvador, Bahamas, this ultra-private, 35,000-square-foot property boasts 400 feet of private white-sand beach. 

“This home, feels like a private get away,” says listing agent Margaret Glynatsis of Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty.

“From the keyless entree pads, remote-controlled air conditioner and lighting system and the positioning of the home — with slight elevations allowing for most rooms to look out into the horizon — no thought or detailed was overlooked.” 

With 3,200 square feet of living space, this home features an open-concept floor plan with 12-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, two beds, two baths and a master bedroom with a floating bathtub, shower, double vanity, walk-in closet, office space and balcony looking out into the turquoise ocean. 

“My favorite room of the home is the master bedroom as it includes 1,500 square feet dedicated to pure luxury and comfort,” says Glynatsis. “The really unique and stunning feature here is the stand alone tub in the center of the room with views of the never-ending ocean.” The home, listed for $1.499 million, is complete with a wrap around deck just steps away from the beach. “This beachfront oasis is perfect for someone looking to live off the grid, but still have access to every day modern amenities,” says Glynatsis. “San Salvador itself is a hidden gem that most people have yet to discover — the land is full of undulating hills, beautiful beaches, numerous salt water lakes, and amazing reefs that surround the greater part of the island.”

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5 Design Trends in Luxe Outdoor Modern Fireplaces

Often serving as the focal point of a living area, a fireplace can take a room from ordinary to extraordinary.

Whether it’s a fireplace that hangs from the sky or a fireplace with multi-colored LED lights, European Home has compiled research to form the definitive ‘what’s hot’ list of luxe outdoor modern fireplaces for the summer of 2019.

This is what’s trending in modern outdoor fireplace design.

Fire that hangs from the sky. For example, the suspended Ergofocus by Focus Fires combines the humble backyard fire pit with the high art of the sculpture garden at MoMA. This fireplace even rotates so you can enjoy every square foot of your outdoor living space.

Ergofocus by Focus Fires
Image courtesy of Focus Fires

Paxfocus by Focus Fires
Image courtesy of Focus Fires

A linear fireplace with a twist (or a corner rather). The J Series: Corner outdoor fireplace can dramatically draw attention to the architecture of your outdoor living space with its unique wraparound corner design.

 Industrial textures. This wall-mounted outdoor fireplace features a rusted, corten steel finish which is the perfect textural accompaniment to an industrial or minimalist outdoor living space.

The architectural fire pit. At actress Courteney Cox’s Malibu home, custom seating becomes an extension of the patio and surrounds a teak and steel gas fire pit.

Custom Architectural Fire Pit. Photo by Simon Upton
Image originally published by Elle Decor

Color + Illumination. The JM2 outdoor fireplace offers the ability to illuminate the interior of your fireplace with multi-colored LED lights so you can create a tantalizing outdoor ambiance with or without the flames.

The fireplace is the epitome of luxury, and many other brands are also creating innovative fireplaces. Here are only a few:

napoleonfireplaces.com

modusfireplaces.com

flarefireplaces.com

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Making a Statement

These bold staircases are making a statement.

In 2019, designers are paying attention to creating staircases that leave a lasting impression — whether the staircase is made of wood or metal, or shaped as a spiral or curve.  

Regardless of style, a staircase can often serve as a home’s focal point. These staircases have been intently designed to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Spiral

The free-standing, white-plaster spiral staircase at luxury condominium 277 Fifth Avenue was designed by famed interior architect Jeffrey Beers with a custom-made, commercial-size chandelier composed of 18 strands of brass-trimmed pendants that suspend down its center.

The staircase was intently crafted to create a visually stunning and dramatic connection between two floors that house 7,000 square feet of amenity spaces, including a game lounge and state-of-the-art fitness facility.

Courtesy of Pentagram

Suspended

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach features a unique multimillion-dollar lobby designed to cater exclusively to art enthusiasts and world travelers boasting a $500,000 Piero Lissoni-designed staircase as its focal point. Leading up to the second floor library, the staircase is designed for both beauty and function.

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Residences

Wood

Skyline Tower’s glistening bronze and wood staircase was crafted to create a dramatic entryway to the condominium’s expansive Residential Lounge, cascading elegantly into the open-air common space, which was designed to feel like an extension of each resident’s home.

Courtesy of Binyan Studios

Floating

The graceful floating stairs that take you from the foyer to the rooftop in the penthouse at Nine on the Hudson. The staircase leads you to a modern glass atrium that captures the sunlight and serene Zen garden, bringing in natural elements into the home.

Courtesy of VDP

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