All posts by Marlene Ridgway

Flowers & Diamonds

The delicate and fleeting beauty of nature has been preserved in Earth’s hardest natural substance resulting in the perfect combination of jewelry and flowers.

Jewelry inspired by flowers is not a new idea, but an enduring concept. When a stunning color or intricate design appears naturally that delicacy is what makes it memorable. Solidifying these two elements creates a unique union of fragility and strength that can last throughout the years. Diamonds, the hardest natural substance, exist far beneath the Earth’s surface for millions of years and the fragile life of a flower only blooms for a short time before it is gone. The perfect balance has been achieved in these pieces.

There’s no longer a need to choose between flowers and diamonds when selecting the perfect gift or adding to a collection. Whether it’s a ring, necklace or brooch these examples are the best of both worlds.

Alex Soldier’s Cornoair Brooch

Alex Soldier offers a multifunctional piece that is an unforgettable representation of nature. “Flower motifs celebrate life in its many beautiful manifestations,” says Alex Soldier, the president of the self-titled company. With the same intricacy found in a flower, the Cornoair Brooch with Mandarin garnet and colored diamonds appears as a work of art that can be cherished throughout the years.

Handmade in New York City, the piece is adaptable and can be worn as a brooch, ring, necklace, or a cuff. Soldier explains that in jewelry design there is “passion in detail.” The brooch is made of 18 karat rose gold and over 800 stones, including light and dark champagne diamonds, chocolate and black bead diamonds, rubies and more.

Photo courtesy of Alex Soldier

The Flower Diamond

 

The Flower Diamond stands out among other gems because of the flower-shaped inclusion that appears as if it has bloomed in the center of the stone. The pear-shaped, modified brilliant-cut diamond encases a perfectly symmetrical, six-petal flower, making it a natural marvel. Similar to a snowflake, the pattern that appears in the heart of the 3.02 carat diamond is one-of-a-kind.

Originally discovered in the jungles of Minas Gerais, Brazil and recut to showcase the flower shape, the main stone was mounted in a gorgeous, platinum necklace with a total of 32 carats of diamonds. John Humbert, the owner of Sterling Promise Inc. says, “You need to see it with your own eyes to understand how incredible it is. It’s hard to believe it occurred naturally.”

 

Photo courtesy of Sterling Promise Inc.

The White Gold Flower Ring

 

“There is something very romantic and beautiful about the simplicity of a flower,” according to Lauren Wolf, the owner/president of Lauren Wolf Jewelry. The White Gold Flower Ring has a 3.18 carat cognac diamond that is speckled with intricate inclusions that adds to the organic quality of the ring. Serving as the petals, are champagne marquis diamonds that are shockingly clear, according to Wolf.

“I’m attracted to the floral motifs from the late Victorian period and the early 20th century,” she says. “The idea that this symbol can carry such a special meaning throughout time is powerful.” The ring generates a sense of imperfect natural beauty that is typical in flowers.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Lauren Wolf Jewelry

Gold Astra Brooch With White And Black Diamonds

 

With the true detail found in a flower and the power of a stunning diamond, the Gold Astra Brooch is an unforgettable union of two iconic symbols. “Aster flowers have long been symbols of enchantment and mysterious allure,” according to Soldier. The 127 stones that make up the piece contribute to the authentic feel and overall romantic allure that Alex Soldier manages to capture.

Photo courtesy of Alex Soldier

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Luxury Boho: Its Many Different Forms

Boho may bring overwhelming patterns and a mix and match style of colors to mind but these refined expressions of boho are bringing a whole new touch of elegance and class to the term. 

Choose the bohemian blend that is perfect for you and your home.

Photo courtesy of Sweetpea & Willow

Photo courtesy of ABSTRACT HOUSE

African Boho

When many people think of boho style, they think of African inspired bohemia, namely the bright colors, clashing prints and metal tones that are often introduced into the décor of a boho themed living space. Include lanterns, jewel-colored cushions, and ottoman style seating to achieve this laid back vibe.

European Boho

European boho is a little more refined in its mix and match approach, though strives to look spontaneous. European style boho is characterized by vintage style furniture paired with rustic beaded curtains and quirky wall art. Layers, mixed fabrics, and statement wall décor will make or break this look.

Photo courtesy of Lights4fun

Photo courtesy of Flo & Joe

Western Boho

The 1960s and 70s saw a resurgence in bohemian style, one that was influenced by community living that became a prominent characteristic of the counter culture. The western bohemian style relies heavily on natural materials and fabrics to complete the aesthetic. Think exposed beams, tribal prints and pouffe’s or floor cushions rather than traditional seating.

Contemporary Boho

So what’s happening now with Boho style? Contemporary Boho style borrows from its processors but combines elements of the classic boho styles with modern minimalist living. Think white walls and floors, wicker seating and animal head wall art. Cushions and rugs add splashes of color while décor pieces can range from vintage to African to contemporary.

Photo courtesy of Melody Maison

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Overwhelming Perceptions

Bruce T. Martin uses photographs as words to create a vivid story about the culture and history of Mayan caves and cenotes of the Yucatan and more.

Photography by Bruce T. Martin

“In 1975, my father gave me a Pentad Spotomatic 35 mm camera, that I still have today,” says Bruce T. Martin, an American Fine Arts photographer. Even early on Martin didn’t pursue other careers or jobs outside of photography. Initially, his interest in cameras and capturing moments sparked when he was studying abroad in Europe 1976 and he’s been studying the art form ever since. Now, Martin explains that he takes a literary approach to his photography. “Images combine like words do in a sentence to tell a story,” he says. “My motivation is to use photography to document our world, explore our perceptions and question our viewpoints. ”

 

Martin grew up in Chautauqua County in western New York where he studied at Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. His connection to photography continued to grow even building a darkroom in his parent’s basement and later began apprenticing for Irving Penn in New York City. “That experience opened my thinking to a whole new world of possibilities,” says Martin. Although the young photographer already had an affinity to landscape photography, his job at the Chautauqua County Office of Planning and Development led to a deep appreciation for architectural structures. One responsibility of Martin’s new job was to “contact the owners of interesting and important architectural structures in the community to secure permission to photograph their homes and buildings.”

 

Gruata Milenio, Yucatán 2012

In terms of style, the photographer has “tried to combine the excellence of many photographers such as the technical mastery of Ansel Adams, the unique viewpoints of Andres Kertesz and the eloquence of Irving Penn, to name a few,” says Martin. However, from a technical point of view, Martin describes his approach as direct. “Positioning my camera in a place where I believe will reveal what I feel is most important to the image … then waiting for or creating the lighting that best reveals the detail and color to express the emotion and purpose of the image.”

As an artist, Martin is always working on a number of projects such as a larger portfolio of Boston cityscape and architecture. A series called “Fragment Landscape” is also in the works and involves overlapping images gathered in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. However, there has been one persisting project that Martin has been expanding on since 1987.

“I have been working on a project on the Maya of Central America, using historical documents, academic research, and current events in conjunction with my photography and recordings from the field,” according to Martin. The first phase of the project resulted in the book and exhibit, “Look Close See Far, A Cultural Portrait of Maya”, and has now progressed into the next component. “Seeking Sacred Landscapes, Maya Caves and Cenotes of the Yucatan”. Martin describes the project as, “beautiful, mysterious, and compelling.”

The series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” is a combination of images of the Yucatan’s caves and cenotes with archeological, historical, and environmental essays by established authorities, according to the experienced photographer. Martin’s images compel you to look closer at the detail that has formed over the years within nature.

It’s hard to imagine what being in those types of caves would be like, but Martin describes it as a time full of anticipation. “Knowing that I will experience and learn something new each time fills my mind as I begin the descent into these underground chambers.” This experience has been building over the years. When the project first began Martin became interested in many of the Mayan’s core mythology concepts, which later led to his deeper understanding of the culture. “Harmony in life is a daily struggle. With the rapid development of recent years, many contrasting and violent viewpoints have been introduced, so that the Maya and their environment are being overwhelmed,” says Martin. “Surviving these disruptive influences and maintaining their cultural dignity is the challenge for an uncertain future that the Maya now face.”

The series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” is a combination of images of the Yucatan’s caves and cenotes with archeological, historical, and environmental essays by established authorities, according to the experienced photographer. Martin’s images compel you to look closer at the detail that has formed over the years within nature.  

It’s hard to imagine what being in those types of caves would be like, but Martin describes it as a time full of anticipation. “Knowing that I will experience and learn something new each time fills my mind as I begin the descent into these underground chambers.” This experience has been building over the years. When the project first began Martin became interested in many of the Mayan’s core mythology concepts, which later led to his deeper understanding of the culture. “Harmony in life is a daily struggle. With the rapid development of recent years, many contrasting and violent viewpoints have been introduced, so that the Maya and their environment are being overwhelmed,” says Martin. “Surviving these disruptive influences and maintaining their cultural dignity is the challenge for an uncertain future that the Maya now face.”

Through images that help to shape and tell a story, Martin is hoping that the series “Seeking Sacred Landscapes” will attract some attention to these struggles. “With a greater awareness of their issues, a more productive dialogue on the Maya and their land can begin, which will promote cultural diversity, protect their environment and respect for their fading traditions.”

Each part of Martin’s experience pushes him further and enhances his ability as an artist. A journey from architectural to landscape photography has proved there is more than what originally meets the eye, which can be seen in the details of his photos. According to Martin, “Each of these naturally-occurring, organic caverns and cenotes are unique yet similar architectural spaces that overwhelm your perceptions and preconceived notions of the world we live in.”

Cenote Ik kil, Yucatán, 2016.

This editorial originally appeared in The High End Spring 2019.

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Are you Ready for Summer?

Check out these luxury pools for summer inspiration. If you’re working on your own backyard or searching for a summer getaway, these elegant and fun pools offer the perfect oasis.

photo courtesy of Panorama

photo courtesy of 5000 North Ocean

What’s better than a breezy afternoon by the pool? Enjoy your summer to the fullest with these refreshing pool trends that can apply to resort or backyard living.

Consider Transparent Fencing

Safety first, but don’t sacrifice your view or elegant backyard. Although there are plenty of options when it comes to the fencing around your pool, this transparent option is inspiring. The gate adheres to all safety requirements while embracing the view just beyond.

This see-through choice also encourages a very open atmosphere that adds to the relaxed feeling that your summer may be missing. 

Don’t Be a Square

Embrace the soothing flow of water and the natural elements with an oval or circular shaped pool that breaks tradition. There is a softer feeling that comes with an oval, with the exclusion of sharp right angles and boring straight lines. 

Socialize or Relax but Make it your Own

Use an afternoon around the pool as an opportunity to gather or rest in solitude. Make your space a relaxing paradise with luxurious seating, plenty of shade, and a stunning landscape. An outdoor area with a pool is another chance to bring your own personal style to life.

photo courtesy of RIVA Residences

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Inspiration from Rug’Society

Transform your space with the perfect area rug. Trust stylish finished designs or customize your space with a tailored project.

Customize Until You’re Content

Rug’Society offers a bespoke customization service that is flexible and fun. Customers choose from a variety of colors, shapes, patterns, and textures to create a rug they can enjoy for years to come. The company also offers the help of a brand expert to guide you through the process.

Complete any room in your home with a rug that is uniquely you. Whether you’re looking for warm colors and plush textures, or an elegant neutral rug, there’s plenty from which to choose.

Choose the Right Rug for You

Bare floors are the perfect canvas for an inspiring, conversation-starting area rug and they are often a focal point in a room. Choose a larger area rug to create a gathering space in your living room.

 

For the bedroom, create a cozy domain by placing a rug under your bed allowing it to extend forward. This can give the appearance of a bigger space full of comfort.

 

Consider what type of traffic a rug will endure before purchasing. If you need a rug for your living room, remember to choose something that can withstand the occasional coffee spill or stray crumb.

 

Darker colors, whether they are on your walls or your floor tend to make a space feel smaller, while lighter shades can open a room up, making it feel larger.

 

Place you’re furniture along the edges of a beautiful rug making it visible for you and your guests to fully enjoy. This also helps create a more spacious feel.

Trends You Don’t Want to Miss

Neutral Colors — discreet tones can add an elegant touch.

Asymmetrical — the trend breaks tradition with eye-catching designs.

New Vintage — classic themes mix perfectly with modern elements.

Neo-Cubism — geometric shapes and 20th-century avant-garde expressions.

Photos by Rug’Society

 

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The Arch: Where it came from and why it’s here to stay

According to The Architectural Review, “The arch was used as early as the 2nd millennium BC, but it was the ever precocious Romans who began the systematic use of the arch, in their greatest engineering feats and as a means of celebrating their greatest military victories.”

Photo courtesy of https://parlourbrooklyn.com/

The Colosseum is an iconic historical site that is recognizable for its grandeur and the well-known arches that make up the exterior. But other cultures and builders throughout the world have also embraced and embellished arches in their architecture. The pointed arch, as seen at Tintern Abbey, Wales and in other gothic architecture, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and The Leaning Tower of Pisa are just a few examples of arches found around the world. Arches are often marveled at for their complex structure and their seeming ability to defy gravity.

Photo courtesy of https://parlourbrooklyn.com/

Here and Now

The Parlour

In an effort to honor the historical identity of Brooklyn’s highly sought-after Park Slope enclave, INC infused classic elements from the neighborhood with a modernized approach into the design of the new boutique residences at Parlour.

                                                                                                Photo courtesy of https://parlourbrooklyn.com/

The custom-crafted, mullion-free arched windows from Europe are an homage to the signature arched bridges in Prospect Park, and the limestone brick a nod to the limestone townhomes with arched motifs that face the park.

Photo courtesy of https://parlourbrooklyn.com/

Luna

Also, located in Brooklyn, New York is Luna — 39 condominium residences designed by Luca Andrisani with a host of amenities tailored to make every day a holiday, according to lunagowanus.com

Building Rendering: Credit PAX Brooklyn

130 Williamby David Adjaye in New York City

“At 66 stories and nearly 800 feet tall, Adjaye’s first New York City high-rise tower is an important contribution to the New York City skyline. 130 William’s hand-cast concrete facade creates a striking form against the cityscape of Lower Manhattan,” according to the 130 William website.

130 William also includes the intriguing arched windows. At the top of the building, the theme has been turned on its head, with upside down arches lining the upper floors.

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Sustainable Shoes and More by Nisolo

Nisolo, a sustainable fashion brand, shares its impact report online and offers everything from jewelry and accessories, to heels, boots, bags and more.

This company focuses on more than low prices. The handcrafted process involves intentional designs, an ethical work environment, and comfortable fashion that can be worn every day.

We sat down with Devon Murrie, brand partnerships manager at Nisolo, to learn more about this industry.

What is the inspiration behind your company?

Nisolo has the vision to push the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction — where success is based on more than just offering the cheapest price — a direction that not only values exceptional design but the producer and the planet just as much as the end consumer.

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What are some of the biggest challenges when creating sustainable shoes?

One of the biggest challenges of sustainable production is gaining complete visibility into every level of a supply chain. We took a much deeper look into our supply chain in 2018 after learning from Patagonia about their material traceability practices. We still do not have 100% visibility into every level of our supply chain (we regularly visit all of our factories and tanneries, but no farms to date), however, after speaking with representatives of our tanneries in León, Mexico, we know that a lot of our leather comes from farms in the USA and northern Mexico, and is a byproduct of the meat industry. Diving into this further is a priority of ours for 2019.

What does sustainable mean to you?

We at Nisolo feel a responsibility to the ethical treatment of our producers. We work to ensure living wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and additional benefits such as healthcare, time off, and bonuses for our producers. We also feel a responsibility to understand our supply chain and mitigate our environmental impact. All leather used in our supply chain is a byproduct of the meat industry, and we’re utilizing the more eco-friendly vegetable tanning method across many products.

Please explain why your company stands out among others?

Two things really set Nisolo apart: our attention to good, functional design and our vertical integration. We actually own and operate our factory in Peru, which allows us both visibility and flexibility into our design and impact practices.

Despite our confidence in those areas, we know greenwashing has reached new heights in our industry and we felt it essential to obtain third-party certification from a highly respected organization. So in 2017 Nisolo also received B Corporation certification — recognizing us as a company that uses the power of business to help solve the social and environmental challenges our world faces today.

Photos courtesy of Nisolo

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Grand Re-opening of Palmilla Beach Golf Course

Palmilla Beach Resort & Golf Community is taking their community to the next level with a new golf course, slated to open Saturday, June 1st in Port Aransas, Texas.

Red McCombs, the developer of the Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community, says “the damage to our golf course caused by Hurricane Harvey gave us a great opportunity — not just to rebuild the golf course, but to reinvent it to be much better, especially for vacationing families.”

Grand Re-opening

Palmilla Beach Golf is open to the public year-round, and everyone is invited to join the grand opening celebration from 10am-3pm on Saturday, June 1st.

Festivities will include:

  • Live music
  • Games
  • Prizes
  • Demonstrations from Callaway and a Dulce Vida tequila tasting tent
  • Guests can ride the new golf boards.

 

Palmilla Beach appeals to families looking for a luxurious community or vacation stay and has made changes to the golf course to include all types of golfers, including children, beginners and more.

“The improvements to Palmilla Beach Golf were influenced by changing consumer and golf trends,” commented Joe Shields, McComb’s grandson. “Play at traditional courses is down and Port A visitors want more variety, entertainment, and fun from their vacations.” The new course is a terrific activity for friends, families and novice golfers, yet still challenging from the tips for serious golfers, according to Shields. “It’s designed to be fun for everyone. And we are excited to bring these positive changes to the great game of golf.”

Additions to the course:

  • 9 holes of true links-style golf (still the only of its kind in Texas)
  • The LOOP, a 3-hole short course
  • Class A driving range  
  • Electric golf boards (plus traditional golf carts) 

 

In addition to booking a 9-hole round of golf, Palmilla Beach Golf is introducing the 12PACK and 21PACK. The 12PACK combines the 9-hole course plus The LOOP, a 3-hole, 85-100 yard pitch and putt. For avid golfers, the 21PACK allows players to play the 9 holes twice, followed by The LOOP.  The course also includes a full-size Class A driving range with five target greens, plus a short game practice green.

 

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Explore the Combination of Architecture and Nature

Architectural tours are gaining popularity as designers revamp historic sites with fresh perspectives and classic details.

Photo by Eirik Johnson

The Glass House found in New Canaan, Connecticut, is an architectural icon and offers ideal tours for families, architecture and nature lovers, and more. The stunning grounds and architectural wonders make for an intriguing visit full of history.

The Glass House is one of 14 structures that can be found on the 49-acre site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in New Canaan, Connecticut. The structure dates back to 1949 and has since been restored to near pristine condition. Described as a pavilion, best used for observing the surrounding landscape, the structure’s walls are made mostly from glass. The house is 55 feet long and 33 feet wide, with 1,815 square feet.

Photos by Michael Biondo

According to The Glass House website, “Philip Johnson, who lived in the Glass House from 1949 until his death in 2005, conceived of it as half a composition, completed by the Brick House. Both buildings were designed in 1945-48.” The Brick House was completed just prior to The Glass House and sharply contrasts the near-unobstructed views by being almost totally encased by brick.

Photo by Eirik Johnson

Other structures on site include the Da Monsta, Studio, Painting Gallery, Pavilion in the Pond, Sculpture Gallery, the Ghost House, and more.

Photos by Michael Biondo

Three tours are offered. Find the one that works for you!

Glass House Tour – One hour

  • Tour the glass house and promontory
  • Minimal walking
  • Concise and enjoyable

Glass House and Galleries Tour – Two Hours

  • The most popular
  • ¾   mile of walking
  • Visit the Glass House, Painting Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, outdoor sculpture, and Da Monsta

Glass House Extended Tour – Two and a Half Hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Michael Biondo

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Tips For Bohemian Mountain Chic

Enjoy the fun of Bohemian details and the comfort of mountain inspiration with the addition of some clean lines and modern finishes to achieve Bohemia Mountain Chic. These perfectly blended concepts will transform any space, whether it’s a penthouse apartment or a vacation ski-home in Colorado. Color, textures, patterns, and more will help bring the colorful ease that can already be found in Residence 501 West in Snowmass Base Village.

This style is undeniable fun and full of surprises, including a mixture of patterns and textures, pops of unexpected color, greenery, and calming tomes. The addition of natural materials, such as the various wooden surfaces have a way or working together rather than competing with other elements in the space.

 

 

Start with a simple base that will support your accents.

A neutral wall color may feel like a bland move but it creates a canvas for creativity around the room. A lighter shade on the walls will also give the impression of open space. This will also help if the space begins to feel overcrowded or busy.

Botanicals are a big part of any Bohemian look.

Natural elements, such as greenery are a great way to tie the outdoors and indoors together without flooding the room with oversized plants that are difficult to care for. A few plants displayed in a glass vase bring that little bit of life into the room. If there are large windows in the room the spattering of the outside is highlighted to add the perfect touch.

 

Get creative with patterns and textures.

It’s okay to mix and match in this situation. This tactic will not take away from the modern feel if it is done properly. Trying new textiles and fabrics offer up and opportunity for creativity. It can be surprising what colors will actually work well together. If the room begins to feel a little disjointed or unorganized, try using a neutral color scheme but in a variety of textures.

Other Tips

— Mix bright colors with metalic accents. Nothing makes color pop like a smooth reflective surface or a shining accent. This sleek nature also adds to the modern feel.

— Natural elements, such as a wooden table and some greenery mesh well with classic Bohemian details.

— Be bold with colors!

— Don’t’ be afraid to layer fabrics and materials.

Photos by Gibeon Photography

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