Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Your grandfather's hardware store it isn't: Restoration Hardware is more then hammers and tape measures
I know that Restoration Hardware is a nationwide chain of stores, nearly 100, and 8 in Florida alone, but it has always seemed more welcoming, friendly and comfortable then most big chain stores. I think because of the name it doesn't scream "expensive furniture store," even if their prices for a leather couch are the same as a nice used car. They really offer tons more then beds, mirrors, chairs and bathroom cabinets. In defense, their chairs and sofas are probably very well made and will be heirlooms handed down for generations, but I do wonder who buys some of the things. I love the floor lamps and wooden and metal easels for holing photos and small artwork. They are much more then way-costly leather furniture and chrome lamps. Every Christmas at holiday shopping time, I stay far away from malls and only shop at smaller, more personal shops. Every year there are more recipients with stockings then there are dollars to match and I found that Restoration Hardware cannot be beat, cannot, for creative, inventive, fun and affordable stuffer gifts. The name of the store should be a hint of some of the unusual and useful gifts they pile around the store and registers. Very cool levels, flashlights, folding everythings including whatchamacallits of every size and description. They have all the most loved and popular board games you remember playing as a kid. Plus, hand warmers in fuzzy cases (perfect for Florida's cold, 75-degree wintry nights), hammers for breaking car windows as we plunge off mile-high bridges and must escape the murky fathoms. They even pride themselves on cool, almost irresistible how-to books, toys and games from the wild and woolly 1940s-50s...think wooden blocks, Slinkys and kits for building forts to keep frontiersman safe and little boys in their coonskin hats. I am always surprised at their wide selection and do buy something here for everyone on my list (even if they haven't a clue what it is or how they would use it. It's the thought and I loved buying it here.) Right now they are selling photographs of Rock icons of the 1960s such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. This store is much, much more than fancy-smancy leather library chairs. It's full of great stuff! Where else would you go for 1920s Naval Binoculars and tripod. 9In stock now!) Come on. Think. So if the the binoculars and super-detailed, handmade wooden sailing vessels are your thing, they got 'em.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
The statue Transportation, also called the Henry Bradley Plant Memorial Fountain, faces the West Veranda and entrance to Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel, today the
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The Glazer Children's Museum is well under construction and on track to open in 2010. Its riverfront location, just beside the soon to open Tampa Museum of Art, is part of a transformation of the area between the Hillsborough River and Ashley Drive. The 53,000 square foot facility will provide an opportunity for children and all the adults in the lives to play and learn in new, creative and totally fun and unexpected ways. This afternoon's bright blue skies, puffy white clouds and warm weather made it an ideal day to enjoy some leisurely boating on the bay and river. This view, from Plant Park, provides the perfect vantage point to watch progress on the building of the new museums, addition to the Riverwalk and restoration of Kiley Park as the entire riverfront is remade to the city's plan for a Cultural Arts District in Tampa's downtown.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Morrison House, at 850 South Newport Avenue, is the oldest home in Hyde Park. Built in 1879, it is a late 19th-century Italianate design. William Morrison, whose farm and citrus groves surrounded the home and continued down to Hillsborough Bay, had the house constructed of an early concrete block (click to see the block detail.) Each block was made on the site. Interestingly, which you might be able to discern by looking at the photo, the house is facing to the right, away from the street and toward the south. When it was built and sited, surrounded as it was by his groves, he wanted to face the open bay. In the 1870s the view then without the mature oak trees - and now other homes - was unobstructed, and he could see the beach and sailing ships coming into the harbor. The home itself is very identifiable as Italianate Revival. Also called the Italian Villa style, it can be found in Scotland and England following its rediscovery as an architectural style around 1800. The most well-known example is Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight. The off-center tower and heavy masonry are just two of the characteristics that Morrison incorporated in his design. Apparently, from my research, it was a popular alternative to the Gothic style for suburban and rural homes of the time period. The garden, in the smaller photo at upper left, leads guests in off the street, and then the walk turns left up to the steps and porch. It is very beautiful and simple, set to the side of the house as it is, similar to Charleston and Savannah style homes. Note that a For Sale sign is on the front lawn. Price for the single family, 4 bedroom house, with 3+ baths in 6,391 square feet? $3,750,000 or 2,616,888 EUROs. Geez!! Nice house, right?
Go to Tampa Daily Photo HERE to see a Hyde Park home in the Prairie School style of architecture made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Friday, August 21, 2009
It's interesting that right over my shoulder is a historical marker. It gives a brief history of Hyde Park and explains how it was first developed into a neighborhood. As I was taking this photo three men here on business from the Northeast came up to read it. In a few short paragraphs, it tells a version of this story: After Henry B. Plant built his Tampa Bay Hotel, and a bridge and railway were constructed across the Hillsborough River, developers began construction of streets and homes on the western side of the river. In 1886, O.H. Platt of Hyde Park, Illinois, purchased 20 acres of what were then citrus groves and named it Hyde Park. The first homes were built in the 1880s, but most were built between 1913 and 1928. When Florida's building boom of 1924-1926 ended and the stock market crashed in 1929, construction and further development almost stopped. Streets lined with large residences built before the Depression gave way to smaller homes, many of the bungalow style. Hyde Park today is a great mixture of home sizes, styles and ages. And really nice people. One street, Bungalow Terrace, just a block from this fountain, is a unique planned development of Craftsman style houses fronting a wide sidewalk. Without yards, save for small areas of grass and garden in front, the length of the communal sidewalk was covered originally by a decorative pergola. It's an fascinating group of homes where you live very close by your neighbor and confuse anyone trying to make a deliver because there is no street exactly. Bungalow Terrace is really just a sidewalk.
Hyde Park is both a local Historic District and a U.S. National Historic District.
The neighborhood and homes all fall under the guidelines established by the U.S. Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and are governed by The City of Tampa Architectural Review Board. Because of the historic nature of the neighborhood, and its wonderful mix of homes which are carefully restored and preserved,
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Mr. Plant and his wife traveled throughout the world in search of fine art and furniture to fill their magnificent hotel and museum-goers can step into period rooms and really sense what it was like to stay here. Although there are exhibit cases, most of the collection surrounds you are as you move down hallways and into rooms, dimly lit by bare bulbs just as they were over a century ago. A staff of museum professionals takes great care to recreate and maintain the rooms just as they were when guests enjoyed their tropical vacations. The long and illustrious list of famous guests and grand events held here, plus the fact that the hotel was headquarters for the U.S. Army during the Spanish American War, make this a must see place on any visit to Florida.
The museum is evidence of Plant's vision to build the ultimate resort hotel; we can today relive that experience in our city's most recognizable architectural and historic treasure, the Tampa Bay Hotel and the Henry B. Plant Museum.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
As an article in this morning's newspaper pointed out, the folks at Woodstock, 40 years ago this weekend, were totally cut off from the world outside of their gathering of 400,000 new best friends in Bethel, New York. (I wonder if they knew one day they'd be known as BFFs?) NO cell phones, IPhones, BlackBerries or Internet connectivity of any kind. Just a few hopelessly overused pay telephones. Nor was it anything but a sci-fi dream then - kind of Buck Rogers meets H.G. Wells and The Time Machine. Unimaginable. Today's kids, attending the same kind of music festival, three days of peace and love, would be photographing it on their phones, uploading it to Facebook, using Skype to talk to friends about it, and texting madly all through Jimi Hendrix as he played the Star Spangled Banner for the masses. It would be a concert for the entire world linked live in realtime. The world and its inhabitants sure have changed. It's not what Woodstock attendees imagined four decades ago, but pretty cool any way you look at it. There is a lot to celebrate. In many ways this dress hanging in a store window, with its throw-back 60s look, and butterflies flitting about, speaks volumes about our world today.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Does anyone know a history of Dairy Joy, where they began or have really fun memories of getting a triple scoop there?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Yes, this was my afternoon. I met a friend for coffee and got my usual Vente size dark and bold brew. Verona is my favorite bean by Pikes Place and some others are OK, too. Starbucks is the place I learned to like raw sugar and it's hard to go back to little white packets. As I have written in earlier posts, I have enjoyed a Vente in some incredible cities in the U.S. and in many other countries. It isn't everyone's cup-of-tea, I know, but to me it's comforting. I recommend their stores in Santa Fe, Newport, RI, Vienna, Paris, and Prague. Don't misunderstand, I do enjoy the foods and coffee in the other countries, and their pastries, chocolate creations, etc., etc. Starbucks would never, ever keep me from experiencing and enjoying the coffee in foreign lands. One of my favorite memories of what Starbucks has done to me is, we were visiting our son who was studying architecture in Florence. He lived on the Piazzo Pitti across the Ponte Vecchio from school and the Caffè Pitti was right outside his door. I sat down to order a coffee and tried to order something larger than their regular teeny, tiny cup of coffee. Which is very good. To my son's embarrassment, I ended up with a double, double, double size cup that, as he explained in Italian to the waiter, only a crazy American tourist would even think to order. I blame it all on Starbucks and my addiction to my Vente. It is about a gallon and I like it that size. Period. I just hope I can show my face someday at Caffè Pitti without them recognizing me and bursting into laughter.