Patricia Gray Interior Design

We're Here for a Good Time ...

This song is dedicated to my good friend Ann who is about to embark on a journey of great magnitude to Morocco....

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago

Italian Shoes are the Best but....

Italian Shoes are the best but I am also attracted to these new designs for fall from Tory Burch...

Salvatore Ferragamo 'Varina' FlatSalvatore Ferragamo 'Newness' FlatSalvatore Ferragamo 'Nory' Pump


Tory Burch 'Reva' Ballerina FlatTory Burch 'Leelee' Colorblock FlatTory Burch 'Sophie' Wedge

Tory Burch

"Though I am grateful for the blessings of wealth, it hasn't changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I'm just wearing better shoes."

Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine

Patricia Gray writes about Interior Design inspirations, emerging trends, and the world of Design. 
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Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago

Sunday in Milan

I am back from my one month magical Sabbatical in Italy but the memories linger on. I have been thinking about the end of my trip and the 5 days I spent in Milan. To start at the beginning of my sojourn in Milan, I checked into a Hotel recommended by Albarosa's niece Valentina (more about Valentina at the end of this post). Albarosa is a native Milanese who now resides in Vancouver and is a reader of my Blog. When she read that I was going to be visiting Italy she offered me travel advice, which I promptly took her up on. The Hotel recommended was appropriately called "Hotel The Gray" and is an ultra stylish Boutique hotel which among other things was very conveniently located between the Duomo and La Scala (one of the world's most famous opera houses). And best of all it is footsteps from the 19th-century Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the largest and most famous indoor shopping malls of its kind and literally next door to "Hotel The Gray" was the famous, high end department store La Rinascente. The timing of my trip was fortuitous on three accounts:
1. July is the super sale time in Italy.
2. The Duomo and La Rinascente facades were sparkling clean and new refreshed.
3. All of the city had not yet closed down and retreated for their annual month long hiatus to the seaside which happens in the month of August. I now understand why the Italians exit their cities to find some refreshment because the temperature was hovering in the low 40's with about 60% humidity.

Hotel frontentrance to bar

The Hotel Gray entrance.  I liked checking into this \hotel and signing my name on the register.  A view from the lobby to the bar (above right)               

image The Gray Hotel - Milan - Italy

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My room was beautiful and I loved the touch of the fresh green leaf in the Bathroom sink


The Gray Hotel - Milan - ItalyThe Gray Hotel - Milan - Italy

The night of my arrival I dined in the Hotel's restaurant "Le Noir" which is very famous for its style. I had a very elegant meal, accompanied by a very fine wine from the Veneto region, but not an entirely romantic meal because I was dining solo. Oh well, one of the things about dining solo is that I get to fully observe my surroundings and even sketch on my napkin.

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Super lounge chairs on the rooftop lounge of The Hotel Gray

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The roof top lounge at The Hotel Gray

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A view of the facade of La Rinascente department store as seen from the rooftop lounge at The Hotel Gray.


But now back to how I spent my Sunday in Milan. I was recommended to visit 10 Corso Como by Valentina and Albarosa. 10 Corso Como is a very stylish restaurant, boutique and book store. So I set out to get there by the underground. The subways in Milan are equally as forward thinking in design as the Milanese are in fashion and furniture design.

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There was a series of fans blowing cool air that was scented (someone told me that the scent was to counter pollution). And there were big screen video monitors playing music.


By the time I arrived at 10 Corso Como I was ready to have brunch in the courtyard garden.

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Sunday brunch - an omelette served with white rice and drizzled with Italian olive oil, which is simply the best.


After eating I spent some time browsing in the 13,000 square foot boutique and looking through the famous bookstore which has the best selection of Design, Fashion, and Architecture related books. While there I was very excited to see my friend Jackie Von Tobel's book on the shelves. Way to go Jackie!! I couldn't get pictures of the boutique or bookstore, but I would highly recommend a visit.

My next stop was The Bulgari Hotel designed by Italy's famous architect Antonio Citterio. It is the only hotel within the city walls of Milan with a garden. I thought it would be the perfect spot for an afternoon aperitif of Zucca, (my newly acquired passion) a refreshing Italian liqueur. Its base ingredient is Rhubarb combined with zest, cardamom seeds and other curative herbs. It has a delicate and pleasant bittersweet taste and is served mixed with soda water and ice. It became an afternoon ritual during my stay in Milan. To my dismay I cannot find Zucca in North America. If anyone has a source for it please let me know.


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A picture of the Zucca bottle on the bottom right


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The garden at The Bulgari is large, reportedly 4000 sq metres. The furniture is set on pads of pea gravel surrounded by grass. I love the crunchy sound underfoot.

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The seating areas have these interesting twig screens. The top of the coffee tables is black glass which casts nice reflections.


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A nicely detailed steel staircase takes you down to a private area in the rear of the garden along a pea gravel pathway.


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The metal railing detail throughout the garden has an undulating ribbon effect. A view of the main facade of the Hotel in the background.



A view through the restaurant to the garden


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Entering the lobby and adjoining lounge. The decoration of this Hotel has been described as: "a fashionable chocolate box of browns, blacks and whites".  The
furnishings have an unmistakable B & B Italia look, which is not surprising as the Designer and Architect Antonio Citterio does all the store design as well as designing furniture for B & B Italia.

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A surprisingly long cantilevered glass shelf runs the length of the lounge. This same meticulous attention to detail was seen throughout the Hotel.



The slipcovered chair in the background, the sofa, and the black leather chairs in the foreground are designed by Citterio for B & B Italia's - Maxalto Collection. There were stacks of books everywhere and comfortable places to sit and beautiful views out the windows.


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A close up of the cantilevered glass shelf shown in the second above picture.


A view of the front lobby seating area with one of my favorite sofas by Citterio, slipercovered in a heavy cream linen.
The sofa as well as the ottoman are from the Maxalto collection.


 Sofas and armchairs: SMDC

The above sofa showing it's delicately curved back


After this refreshing visit I had at the Bulgari Hotel it is time to get back to my Hotel and change for supper. I am being taken out to dine at Dolce and Gabbana's Gold Restaurant by new Milanese friends, Valentina and Davide, who are both Architects and work for the famed Italian Pomellato stores. (Valentina is the niece of my friend Albarosa in Vancouver). Valentina is VP in charge of Marketing and Davide is chief Architect designing their new stores. Currently Davide is overseeing the completion of their new store in London. In true Italian style, Valentino and Davide arrive to the restaurant by motorbike (their car was in the shop for repairs). Valentina is the picture of beauty, fashionably dressed and beautifully shoed in elegant heels. There is something so magical about Italian women. They always look wonderful and feminine even when stepping off of a motorbike. We had a marvelous evening and my only regret (well two regrets) is that I didn't get a picture of us together, and that the evening wasn't long enough. Valentina and Davide were wonderful hosts and gave me a great list of things that I needed to see and do the next day.



The above pictures of the Gold Restaurant are the "Bistro" located on the main level. This is where we dined in one of the circular banquettes. The food is international Italian — simple, seasonal dishes and the wine we had with dinner was superb. The décor, a kind of midcentury modern with a bling injection. Gold is used everywhere from the golden bamboo bathrooms down to the water-bottle labels.





Upstairs in the Dining Room Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's iconic ‘Brno’ chairs have been customized with metallic fringing. Not for the faint of heart, the decor of this Restaurant "more is more" is typical signature Dolce and Gabbana. I wonder how Mies van der Rohe would feel about the metallic fringing on his chairs as his famous and most quoted saying is "less is more".

Stayed tuned for my "Monday in Milan" coming soon!!

Patricia Gray writes about Interior Design inspirations, emerging trends, and the world of Design. 
While you're here, subscribe to this feed so you don't miss out.

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago

Language Translator


After coming back from Italy and navigating the Internet in a foreign language I realized how important it was to be able to read articles in my native language. It made me think of all my foreign visitors who may want to read my posts in their own language. So for all of you whose language of origin isn't English I have added this nifty "Translator".

Please let me know if your are using this feature and if you find it helpful........


Patricia Gray writes about Interior Design inspirations, emerging trends, and the world of Design. 
While you're here, subscribe to this feed so you don't miss out.

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago

Hotel Mascagni Rome - BEWARE



I feel I have a responsibility to my readers to tell them of my experience and WARN them about booking a stay at the Hotel Mascagni in Rome. I wrote about my trip to Rome and my anticipation in staying in this hotel (see the post here) This Hotel came recommended to me by a client and, although I was satisfied with my stay, I am extremely unsatisfied with the way they handled my booking and their discounting of room rates via the Internet . I booked this Hotel online 3 weeks prior to my arrival In Rome and two nights before I was set to arrive I went online to send an email to the Hotel to confirm my reservation, and to my surprise I found that the room rate had been discounted ENORMOUSLY!!! In my email to the Hotel I brought this to their attention and requested the new "lowest available price". This request was ignored by the Hotel in their email reservation confirmation back to me. When I checked into the Hotel, I again enquired about the lower rate posted on the Internet, and I was told to talk to the Manager the next morning. Well for the next three mornings the Manager was not available and finally upon check-out I again requested to speak to Mr. or Ms. Manager, but this time I clarified it by saying that I would not finalize my bill WITHOUT speaking to Mr. or Ms. Manager. Miraculously Mr. Manager appeared. When I requested the lower Internet pricing that was available before the time of my check-in, I was told it was not available..... It seems that they have RULES (that are curiously not posted on their web-site), and as I apparently did not know "THE RULES", I was out of luck and out of pocket. I was told that THE RULES are:- "I should have canceled my reservation for the higher rate on-line and re-booked at the lower rate on-line"! This would have put me,the customer, in a precarious position of traveling to a foreign country and not knowing for sure if I would indeed be able to re-book my room. I expressed my dissatisfaction with this Unwritten and therefore Secret RULE, but was met with a blank stare and silence!! It was like I was being dismissed by Meryl Streep in the movie: The Devil Wears Prada" with a curt "That's All"!

So I would like to duly warn all of you readers of my Blog:


In North America I am used to booking rooms online and being guaranteed the "best available rate". But dear reader, please beware that this does not Apply for the Hotel Mascagni in Rome.


Patricia Gray writes about Interior Design inspirations, emerging trends, and the world of Design. 
While you're here, subscribe to this feed so you don't miss out.

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago