Patricia Gray Interior Design

Florence - Bellissimo Windows an...

Below are some pictures of window and doors that caught my attention on my recent trip to Florence. I am sure that one could spend a lifetime there and still not run out of beautiful treasures to feast the eyes on! Everywhere you look there is splendor, attention to detail and the utmost respect for beauty. I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Florence Day 2 019
This photo was taken from the rooftop cafe at the Uffizi. The whole rooftop had a railing of this "quatrefoil" design.


Florence Day 2 022

This is another view from the rooftop cafe of the Uffizi. You can see more of the quatrefoil railing.

Florence Day 2 035


A modern awning, that doesn't detract from the architecture, that I find very appealing in it's simplicity.


Notice the initials in the center of this beautiful ironwork balcony

Florence Day 2 083
Magnificent beyond belief this window in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. This cathedral reportedly holds 30,000 people. The cornerstone was laid in 1296.

A interior transom window over a door in the JK Place Hotel. I fell in love with this Hotel and their wonderful staff and I will be devoting a whole posting to it.

Florence Day 2 066
This was one of the simpler windows and only one of a few that I saw with flowers. I don't know why they don't have more flowers in Florence, if not only because it is so very, very, very HOT there.

Florence Day 2 042

You can see the scale of the architecture. The man in the window is dwarfed in proportion.

Florence Day 2 045

I can only imagine that this glass is a recent addition. I found it a little out of character, but at least they didn't have a neon sign blasting away at you.

Florence Day 2 086

I loved the clock set between these two windows and the gold arms on it. I wonder how long it has been telling the time for the Florentines.

Florence Day 2 002
Look up at the ceiling through this window and you will see the most beautiful vaulted ceiling adorned with frescoes.

Florence Day 2 093

And of course Chanel was in a very prominent position right on the Piazza della Signoria facing the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio. You can see


009Florence Day 2 073

Florence Day 2 074

026 Florence Day 2 063


Florence Day 2 009 007
The picture on the left is one of the staircases in the Uffizi. There are a mere 200 stairs to climb to reach to top floor of the gallery.
The Uffizi was originally built as offices for the Medici family who were astute bankers. It is now one of the oldest and most famous art museums in the world.

Florence Day 2 038 Florence Day 2 039

Florence Day 2 097Florence Day 2 096

These were the only painted doors I saw in Florence and they particularly stood out for that reason. You can notice that the black door has a very attractive Carrara marble surround that lines the deep door casing.

Florence Day 2 076 Florence Day 2 074

Florence Day 2 088

Florence Day 2 098

Notice the beautiful frescoed ceiling and the intricately detailed marble mosaic floor, to say nothing of the iron and glass door!!!!!


Post Note: I have arrived in Ferrara and spent today riding around this 15th Century walled city on bike. Tomorrow morning I start my studies at the University of Architecture.

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago

FLORENCE - Hotel Santa Maria Nov...

3 clip_image001

Section of the dome of Florence Cathedral

City of Florence: panoramic viewFlorence will be my first stop in Italy on my way to study Architecture at the University in Ferrara (see my post here). I have always wanted to visit this city. FLORENCE, capital of the region of Tuscany, has a population of around half a million inhabitants. Florence is called the capital of arts; according to statistics produced by UNESCO, 60% of the world's most important works of art are located in Italy and approximately half of these are in Florence.
This is the birthplace of Dante and Michelangelo. Wow do I have allot to see in this city. First things first. Where to stay. Well I wanted to stay at JK Place, but unfortunately it was all booked (pretty popular place in spite of the very expensive room rates ). JK Place recommended the Hotel Santa Maria Novella, which is right next door. I checked it out on line and I liked what I saw!


It is centrally located, situated two steps from Florence’s central train station, (which is good because I will be traveling by train to Ferrara to start my studies) and it is in one of the most exclusive areas of Florence in the presence of so much beauty and History. It faces the piazza of the Santa Maria Novella Cathedral and dates back to the Nineteenth Century. All the better and I have booked a room with a "view" of this.

hotel-plaque-on-front 400X288
I love the polished chrome door plaque. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and I'm impressed.

A beautiful marble statue graces the entry foyer.

This is a view of the classically decorated dining room where a buffet breakfast is served, or to enjoy an aperitif, nightcap or a light snack later on. It has views of the Santa Maria Novella Basilica across the square.

I love the "Grisaille" wallpaper and the enormous vase of yellow roses.
"Grisaille" (noun) A style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray, used especially for the representation of relief sculpture.



Regal in Royal Purple & silk bed canopy and draperies that frame a view to the Historic Piazza and Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. I even have a flat screen TV. But don't think I will be watching it.12

image 2

5 9
Beautifully detailed bathroom all clad in sumptuous Carrera Marble. Just what I would expect in Italy.

Florence Hotel view-from-terrace

A glance of admiration from my room towards the sumptuous church of Santa Maria Novella

This is just a partial list of what is close to my Hotel:

Santa Maria Novella Church – 50 metres
Duomo (Cathedral) – 200 metres
Congress Hall – 200 metres
Exhibition centre – 200 metres
Ponte Vecchio – 1 kilometre (0.5 miles)
Uffizi – 1 kilometre (0.5 miles)
Academy of Fine Arts – 1 kilometre (0.5 miles)
Palazzo Vecchio – 1 kilometre (0.5 miles)
Pitti Palace – 1.5 kilometres (1 mile)
Boboli Gardens – 1.5 kilometres (1 mile)


Two of my "must- do" visits are: Uffizi & Academy of Fine Arts or Accademia Gallery. Both offer private guided tours which I have booked on-line.

The Uffizi is the most famous museum in Florence and houses works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian and Rubens.


Botticelli Birth of Venus, 1484

The Accademia Gallery in Florence houses Michelangelo's most famous work - the statue of David
The David Tribune

the Venus and Cupid by Jacopo Pontormo.

Boboli Gardens (Giardino di Boboli)Pitti Palace & Boboli Gardens

Together with Pitti Palace, in 1550 the Medici bought the Boboli gardens behind the building. The name of Boboli is thought to come from the prior owner.

Nicolò Pericoli, was called in to transform the area into one of the most spectacular Renaissance gardens. Pericoli worked at what he called his "green architecture" masterpiece until he died.

Interesting note: Boboli became a model for all European Royal gardens, including those in the Palace of Versailles.

Florence Skyline

Florence skyline

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago

Italian Lighting Design

Some Beautiful Italian designed lighting fixtures.  I love them all, but especially the first image of the "Feather Chandelier".  How fun is that?! I would hang it in a bedroom, closet area, or maybe powder room.  The second image is a classic "Fortuny" style design.

image image




image image



These would be nice over a kitchen island

360 Italian Design

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

Ferrara Italy - The University o...


It's official, I am going to be studying at the renowned University of Architecture in Ferrara Italy for the month of July 2008!!! This University is situated in the Medieval walled city of Ferrara and has been the top ranked University of Architecture in Italy for 8 consecutive years. The University of Ferrara was founded in 1391, and that makes it one of the oldest Universities. I feel very honored and privileged to be studying at this facility under the tutorage of top Italian Professors in the "Facolta di Architettura di Ferrara".

image image

Location of Ferrara in Italy This is a map of Ferrara and you can see the
outlines of the wall around the city.

Ferrara is a city in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River. The town has broad streets and numerous palaces dating from the 14th & 15th century. It is a walled Renaissance city, surrounded by 9 kilometers of ancient red brick walls. For its beauty and cultural importance it has been qualified by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. Ferrara is a "bike city". When I arrive, I am given a bike to ride back and forth between campus and the Residence. It is apparently a 10 minute bike ride. Very European and very energy efficient, as well as good exercise.
ferrara picture italyimage

The city walls and one of the gates into the City of Ferrara Ferrara is a bicycle city--as you can see from
in front of the train station.
photos James Martin

I will be taking two courses juring the month of July:

Univ external picc.JPG
The Faculty of Architecture building

The first course is 19th - 21st Century Design
History of Italian Architecture, Interiors, Furniture & Graphic Design
Taught by Prof.ssa Dr. Giulia CERIANI SEBREGONDI
My text books for this course are two "Bibles" of 20th Century Architecture and Furniture Design

20th Century Furniture Design Modern Architecture Since 1900 by William Curtis
by Klaus-Jurgen Sembach The front cover is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Brick Villa Project, plan, 1923

2. My second course is Sketching and consists of three nodules
Module 01 taught by Prof. Mario MANGANARO
- Proportioning an drawing plans and elevations
- Direct perspective and exercises on representing elementary volumes
- Field exercises
- Examples of travel sketches (Rome, Venice, Naples, Palermo)
- Field Exercises

image image

Module 02 taught by Prof. Salvatore SANTUCCIO
- Part One: a theoretical lecture focused on sketching history in recent architecture from the experiences of Le Corbusier in the Middle East and Delacroix in Maroc
- Part Two: "on site" sketching in the city centre of Ferrara. At the end of class students should have a rich sketch book with some different drawings of Ferrara to show on final examination.

image image

Module 03 taught by prof.ssa Carolina CAPITANIO
Tools and methods for a sketching survey to highlight the major elements of an architectural text
Consists of 3 lectures on developing the sketching survey through:
The rules of classic architecture
The rules of modern Architecture
The interiors survey
The building survey
The townscape survey
The landscape survey

image image

As well as having classes on campus we have 3 field trips planned in Florence, Rome, Venice, and Milan.
I can hardly wait as I have never been to Florence, Rome or Milan. And what makes it even more interesting to me is that instead of studying Antiquity, we will be visiting 20th Century Architectural sites. I will have an extra free day in each of these cities so of course I will visit the museums and Historical sites.

Stay tuned and I will fill you in on my adventures in these four Cities

I love this quote by Mark Twain:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.
Dream. Discover.

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago

Ottomans, Benches, Foot Stools, ...

Ottomans have become a favourite of mine to use in family/media rooms and dens. I like using them for several reasons. First and foremost they serve as the indispensable coffee table. I like to make mine with tight tops and rather flat as opposed to padded with a pillow effect. This way you can set things on top of them without worrying about them toppling over. Secondly you can comfortably set your feet on them and be in a semi-reclining position to watch TV, read or maybe even fall asleep. Thirdly I can have them made any size to fit the requirements of the room. This is a real benefit because large coffee tables are hard to find and are more costly than having an ottoman custom designed for the space. In the space below the ottoman is made out of deep chocolate brown faux Ostrich. This family has two young daughters and they use the ottoman to color on and do their craft projects and have snacks. Spills can be wiped up easily, and the deep brown faux ostrich adds and a nice textural interest and makes a dramatic center focal point for the room.

Laurel 8408
Patricia Gray Inc. Photo Roger Brooks

Laurel 8393
Patricia Gray Inc. Photo Roger Brooks
These ottomans (in the same house as the photo above) go against my tight top rule, but who couldn't resist sitting down in this den and putting your feet up on a down filled leather pillow top ottoman.

Louie 13

Patricia Gray Inc. Photo Roger Brooks

Gray-Louie 4A LG

This ottoman is large by ottoman standards 5 feet by 3 1/2 feet. It is covered in Holly Hunt, Hair on Hide Leather, in a creamy butterscotch color. It was made long so 3 people sitting on the sofa could all put their feet up on it, and I made it deep enough to that there was still room at the back for the inevitable books, magazines, remote controls and trays for snacks and drinks. It also doubles as extra seating for parties. What coffee table has that much versatility?

pat_gray_homer_1 Patricia Gray Inc. Photo Gary Beale
The Ottoman in this penthouse I had made in charcoal gray Beacon Hill "Pashmina". It is soft and luxurious like a Cashmere blanket and makes a nice warming contrast to the leather sofa. It sits on top of the same color of Belgium wool area carpet. Facing the sofa is the view with the TV hung and framed between the windows. Where else do you put the TV in a room that is all windows & view.

Patricia Gray Inc. Photo Gary Beale

Below are some more designs for ottomans, benches, foot stools, and hassocks that I like.

tufted bench1 tufted bench5

tufted bench3 tufted bench4

tufted bench tufted bench.jpg2

madeline stuart greek key ottoman Tangier hassock michaelbermanlimited  ottomans

Madeline Stuart Greek Key Ottoman Tangier Hassock by Michael Berman

Posted by Patricia gray
over 11 years ago