Homes to Stay

Honor & Folly Farmhouse Update

Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
05.18.2016 | by: Meghan


I spent last summer immersed in the messy business of rehabbing, ripping up carpet, painting, sanding, sewing, building shelves, planting, pruning, repurposing. I had a two-year-old on my hip 24/7 and two boys running around like feral animals, but I somehow managed to tackle a project a day. Often, it was as simple as painting an old medicine cabinet; another time, I spent an entire week hand-sanding a thick, glossy lacquer off antique oak twin beds I found on craigslist for $40. It wasn’t always creative work, but it was all-consuming and deeply gratifying. I’m proud of how much we were able to accomplish in one summer.

This year, the plan is to apply that energy to the outside — an outdoor oven; more gardens; pear, quince and fig trees. Collecting, sketching, photographing wildflowers as they change every week; planting, growing and documenting a medicinal garden; building stuff with branches we gather in the woods. A handful of co-conspirators have signed on to spend anywhere from a couple days to a week in the old granary-turned-guesthouse to help with creative projects, like making an illustrated botanical map of the grounds.

It’s a forever work-in-progress, and that’s the intention, but for now, it’s also ready to accept guests. If you’re interested in booking the entire farmhouse,you can book via Airbnb, or contact me directly. For information on granary residencies in July or August, email me at Collaboration opportunities for gardeners, weavers, woodworkers, knitters, bakers, botanical artists. You have to like kids; they’ll want to know what you’re up to.


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Stay: Casa Matai

Punta Mita
03.12.2015 | by: Meghan

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It has been two years since we last went to one of our very favorite spots in Mexico, Casa Ninamu in Sayulita (above). While the house itself has remained exactly the same — an open-air paradise tucked into the jungle overlooking the beach — the years have brought some noticeable changes to the town: more traffic, more travelers, more new restaurants and shops, higher prices. It’s still a long way from being overrun (I mean, caballeros still tie their horses to a tree in the jungle for an afternoon), but that distinct feeling of being in on a secret is definitely starting to fade.

The biggest downside of Sayulita being so busy these days is it that it’s increasingly more difficult to book Casa Ninamu. Luckily, owners Johann Ackerman and Anne Menke seem to anticipate what you need before you need it. Not only have they added a couple rooms at their main outpost, TeiTiare Estates, but they also started booking reservations at a new penthouse in Punta Mita, about 20 minutes north. Part of a gated community, which might normally be a red flag for us, the perks are such a boon for families traveling with children. Guests get access to two beautiful beach clubs, including the St. Regis, where we swam in the giant infinity saltwater pool, ate lunch on the beach, took out kayaks, drank margaritas at sunset and played in the far more gentle waves of the Pacific. Our kids loved it, and anytime we didn’t feel like being around hotel guests, we could just jump in our golf cart and cruise back to our supremely private penthouse off-site. It’s the perfect resort experience for people who don’t like resorts (or think they don’t, like me).

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Outfitted with bright whites, handmade Mexican textiles, floor pillows and natural, rustic materials, the clean-lined penthouse has a casual, beach vibe. On the giant driftwood coffee table sits fashion photographer Anne Menke’s limited-edition book, See the World Beautiful. A colossal ode to her talent, the gorgeous pages feature the personal work Anne pursued while traveling the world for fashion shoots. She captures the beauty of everyday moments in remote places, going “a little farther up the mountain, a little farther down that bumpy dirt road.” A few of the photographs in the book also hang on the walls, which lends the space a sense of casual exhibition, more intimate than a gallery. In the smallest measures, like turning down a hallway or waking up in the morning, you feel the sweeping, far-flung greatness of her work around you.


At least once a day, we headed into the truly tiny fishing village — lunch, dinner, surf lessons, fresh mahimahi from the fishmonger — and developed a fondness for its beachside restaurants, friendliness and easygoing vibe. Our son’s surfing instructor, Alex, who runs a biking/surfing/touring business with his family (my boys thought his sweet teenaged sons were so cool), explained that Punta de Mita, which is has fixed borders on each side, can’t get bigger, no matter how many travelers fall in love with its simple, laid-back charms. Book it by emailing Johann at, or

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Literary Travel // Monk’s House

02.26.2015 | by: Meghan

Monks House bedroom

After reading this travel piece by Charlie Lovett in The New York Times back in December, I realized, somewhat reluctantly, that I might be one of these people. Not about Jane Austen though. While I have no desire to traipse through Hamilton, follow stagecoach routes from London, or elbow my way through Chawton Cottage with busloads of self-described “Janeites,” I would blissfully brave a crush of the most ardent Bloomsbury groupies to visit Virginia Woolf’s homes and haunts. The magnitude of the Virginia Woolf mania is only slightly less immense than that of Jane Austen, yet it feels somehow more dignified, perhaps because of the intimacy of the places and spaces. Most compellingly, Monk’s House with its casually bohemian interiors, original writing shed, Leonard’s conservatory, the fanatically tended garden, fruit orchard, and South Downs trails. In her diary, Virginia wrote about Monk’s House: “I had so much of the most profound interest to write here – a dialogue of the soul with the soul – and I have let it slip – why? Because of feeding the goldfish, of looking at the new pond, of playing bowls… happiness.” I only recently discovered that you can stay overnight in the garden studio at Monk’s House, GASP. The absolute ultimate literary bolthole. And you can visit Charleston Farmhouse and Sissinghurst Castle while you’re there.

gardens_Caroline Arber

A few other literature-related travel destinations worth exploring:

You can book a stay in Keats’ apartment in Rome at the foot of the Spanish steps.

Or stay at this rustic organic goji berry farm in New Mexico, where both DH Lawrence and Aldous Huxley once lived and wrote.

This stone farmhouse in the rural village of Lacam de Loubressac overlooking the Dordogne River Valley is owned by a well-known poet who wishes to remain anonymous, and in case this legitimizes the lit cred, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath have stayed here. It looks beautiful.

Inspiration: Outdoor Ovens

11.12.2014 | by: Meghan


I recently got my hands on the renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallmann’s new cookbook, Mallmann on Fire, which is all about… cooking over fire. Wherever you happen to be in the world, with whatever materials you might have handy. This guy’s open-flame chops, while a bit daunting, will make you feel like you can make anything anywhere. Who needs a fancy grill when there are dirt, rocks, branches nearby? In one particularly brazen-looking method, he hangs a half dozen legs of lamb by butcher’s twine from a high-hanging branch of a big tree. Mallmann offers simple-enough recipes for every type of landscape you can think of, from a balcony in Brooklyn to the remote Patagonia mountains. His cooking-by-fire bible would certainly have come in handy when we stayed at Villa Pizzorusso — a masseria in Puglia with a 500-year-old stone oven. We spent five hours getting the temperature just right, only to discover at 10pm that we didn’t have flour and every last local market was long-closed. The whole affair– involving an embarrassing last-ditch attempt with packaged muffin mix — ended very badly.

We’re already planning our outdoor cooking oven at the farmhouse. In the meantime, a few other places to put Mallmann’s techniques to good use:


>>I’ve stayed here a handful of times and can attest: the outdoor oven works as good as it looks. // Casa Ninamu (above)

>>At this sweet country b&b in British Columbia, the handmade outdoor oven is inspiration for the one going in at the farmhouse.

>>Love the fire pit next to the outdoor dining table at this farmhouse, but there’s also a fantastic outdoor kitchen with a grill closer to the house.

>>And if you’re not ready to experiment, you can feast on Mallmann’s specialities at the source, where meat and vegetables are cooked according to an old Andean technique called infiernillo, which translates to little hell.

Stay: Shack Tamarack

Glen Arbor, Michigan
09.05.2014 | by: Meghan

Last summer, we stayed in this modernist number by the renowned late Chicago architect Harry Weese. This summer, we moved next door to the more rustic log cabin, Shack Tamarack, that Weese designed for his family when he was 18 years old. Yes, 18 years old. It’s a beautiful example of vernacular Michigan lakefront architecture, and you can make out the formative signature details — master of space, cleverly situated bedrooms, modular hidden doors and compartments — tucked inside a traditional log cabin wrapper, made with cedar timbers from a nearby bog. Every detail is purposeful.

Some places were built for making memories, and when it comes to the quintessential family cabin, Harry Weese pretty much nailed it. Weese’s family still owns the house and has filled it regularly with friends and family for the past 82 years. Harry’s sister lives in the third house all summer long, and I love hearing stories that have played across generations of guests.

Here’s the thing: Yes, I am a sucker for smart, storied, well-designed spaces, and yes, I can be expected to properly rhapsodize about Shack Tamarack’s beautiful handmade textiles hanging from walls and slung over benches, antique rocking chairs, old wooden shelves lined with even older stoneware, and the giant stone fireplace built by hand. But I also understand what makes a place special, and it has more to do with how it makes you feel — relaxed and inspired, humbled even — than what it looks like. It’s about how spaces that truly capture a sense of place can transport you.

You know how you can read 100 picture books out loud to your kids on the same tufted L-shaped living room sofa, and they all sort of run together, like one big memory unit, each story folding into the next? Yet reading One Morning in Maine while actually in Maine, piling five deep in a queen bed looking out a giant picture window at the evergreen tree-lined coast — the same pointed evergreen trees and craggy coast in the book’s pages — is something you’ll never forget? Like you can still taste the salt in the air when you think about it? Or how you can grill fish 100 times in your own backyard, but somehow that freshly caught whitefish covered in herbs you picked from the garden next to the farmhouse you were staying in Northern Michigan will remain forever epic in deliciousness and culinary bravado. Therein lies the power of pulling yourself out of your everyday life and allowing even the littlest experiences — like, at Shack Tamarack, reading Mathilda by Roald Dahl on the porch swing and laughing until your side hurts, watching a wicked storm roll in from the pier, and cannonball contests off the dock — to live large in your memory as some of the most seminal of the trip.

I know I won’t remember all the details of how everything looked at Harry Weese’s family cabin (well, maybe the set of deer hooves that cradle a couple fishing rods over the dining room table), but I will never forget what we did there and who we were at that moment in time. Rent it at


Stay: The Salt Box

Harbour Island, The Bahamas
07.17.2014 | by: Meghan

I’m always excited to learn about vacation rentals owned by designers (this Travel + Leisure piece I wrote about designer’s own homes you can rent could use an update). Last week, during Remodelista’s dedicated coverage to the summer vacation rental, this list of their 33 favorite spots included a handful of places that have been featured on designtripper, as well as this breezy high-low beaut I’ve never seen before. Awash in the kind of lived-in, always-been-there details only a seasoned designer can pull off so effortlessly, the Salt Box is an old Bahamian cottage that interior designer Tom Sheerer brought back from the brink.

With reverence to the loyalist architecture and original materials — that weather-beaten, whitewashed-looking coral limestone and local Albaco pine — Scheerer’s renovation is an unaffected ode to the rustic charm of this 200-year-old cottage. There’s an old stone hearth in the kitchen and paint peeling from the clapboard shutters. Thonet bentwood chairs, a clawfoot tub and iron canopied bed command a simple elegance, and the rest is in the prime location: the middle of the historic Dunmore Town and a short walk to Pink Sands Beach. Book it at (sleeps six, $3,000 a week); I plan to.

[Photos via Remodelista]

Stay: Mazzini 31

Monteleone, Umbria, Italy
07.02.2014 | by: Meghan

Patrizio Fradiani has done it again. If you’ve followed this site for any amount of time, you’re probably already familiar with his genius (Podere Palazzo, Domus Civita, and Casa dos Chicos). Just finished, this three-bedroom, 17th-century noble apartment in the small Umbrian town Monteleone d’Orvieto is as much as a personal journey through his ancestral past as it is a painstaking historic renovation of faded frescos, tiled floors and crumbling old stone walls.

Patrizio bought the apartment a year ago, when he visited the town to reconnect with his great-great-grandfather’s legacy as a poet; there’s a plaque in the town square to honor him. After a massive, beyond-expectation undertaking– including restoring the original tarazzo floors and ornate frescoes painted in the 1800s of flowers, landscapes, angels and mythological creatures–Patrizio, who’s as romantic as his poet great-great-grandfather, is ready to share the story of his lineage in the language he knows best: architecture and design. My favorite discovery are the sketches he found under layers of wall coverings that some of the long-ago builders left behind, knowing they’d eventually be covered with fancy wallpaper or frescos — everything from schematic, layout details of to-be-constructed columns to a funny little sketch of the owner in a helmet riding an ostrich. He decided to leave them exposed in the living room so the history could be appreciated, the hand of those who came before him. “That’s what happens with these projects. It starts as something selfish — I fall in love with a building. Then I become part of the community and it becomes more about that —  a sense of belonging to a place that stands still in time. Everyone here is so excited about this renovation. It’s almost like I’ve helped restore the glory of Monteleone, or at least remind them of the potential. There are so many people in this little town who have been here for generations, and this project is about them now.”

Monteleone is surrounded by magical, lush Umbrian country landscapes, and Patrizio envisions Mazinni 31 as a retreat. Slow in pace and sublimely quiet. Suspended over the side of the cliff, the balcony unfolds across a gigantic valley into miles and miles of dramatic landscape, “almost all the way to Pienza… like sitting in the clouds and watching the atmospheric conditions play across the sky.” Yet in quintessential Patrizio style, the touches are modern and quirky. Every Patrizio project has handmade details, artwork he has created himself, and a pool as wow-factor. Set inside the former stables, this one does not disappoint. Not surprisingly, most of his vacation homes book quickly, but Mazzini 31 is brand-new, so there’s still availability this summer.

[All photos by Bob Coscarelli]

Go: Leiper’s Fork

05.08.2014 | by: Meghan

Our spring break mission: Drive until it feels like summer. We wound up in Georgia (more on that later), and on our way back through Tennessee, we spent a few days exploring the country, stopping at battlefields, eating fried chicken at roadside diners and driving part of the Natchez Trace — a 444-mile stretch of historic road that winds through three states without a single billboard. By the luck of the road, we stumbled upon Leiper’s Fork. Blink and you’ll miss it. A small, unincorporated rural village south of Nashville, Leiper’s Fork is a small spit of country restaurants, antique shops and an arts collective or two, with enough honky-tonk charm and mountain motorcycle mojo to make it feel like the real deal. Aside from relishing in the beautiful, crumbling old crib barns in wide-open farmland — the bright green of a deep southern spring — walking into Puckett’s Grocery is perhaps the defining moment of this village. A no-frills old-school country grocery, its main draw is the stage — right inside the grocery store — surrounded by a clutch of mismatched tables and wooden chairs filled with folks tapping their toes and shoveling in the cherry smoke hot wings and fried green beans from the restaurant under the same roof. There are more tables out front, alongside a giant BBQ and a row of motorcycles, and it’s so wildly busy on Saturday nights, you have to make a reservation. Country Boy restaurant — every bit as country — is across the street, and you can hear the music from almost anywhere on the street. My boys met a charismatic, southern lady selling jam out front (or rather, she met us — “Bring that baby over here right now, you hear, she is just delicious!”) and they spent almost an hour soaking up her sweet southern charm and helping sell her colorful mason jars of jams, pickled hot peppers, peppery jellies and honey from the back of her truck. This is Leiper’s Fork.

The most fortuitous discovery of the pitstop: Shelter + Roost. We wanted to stay the night in Leiper’s Fork, but it was day-of and offerings are limited even well in advance. No big chains, thank heavens, or even daggy side-of-the-road motels. We sent an inquiry to Sarah McConnell, who owns a darling collection of country houses, with little to no hopes that we’d snag a reservation. Yup, everything was booked, but wait! The guests staying at Brigadoon are leaving a day early! She hustled in the cleaning crew and had it ready for us by mid-afternoon. So not only do we have a place to stay, but this post-Civil War cottage,  just a few steps from town on the main drag, is like a quirky British-by-way-of-Tennessee version of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. Old wooden floors, cushy furnishings and almost every square inch of wall covered with art, textiles and ephemera. We sat on the back porch under twinkling lights, and our boys played badminton in the backyard until the sun went down.


Stay: Shasta Camper

Nashville, Tennessee
02.12.2014 | by: Meghan

A couple weeks ago, I met up with Taylor Bruce (the fellow behind the Wildsam field guides) for a coffee, and he tipped me off to the best new lodging option in Nashville, the city where he launched his first guide two years ago. Taylor describes the Wildsam series as guides that “bring to life what John Steinbeck describes as the ‘faraway joyous look’ that accompanies curiosity,” so it makes perfect sense that his accommodation recommendation was created by a local fiction writer (who, bringing us full circle, wrote an essay about his Tennessee-bred snake phobia for the Nashville Wildsam).

Author of Carry My Bones, J. Wes Yoder is lately doubling as an innkeeper of sorts. Only the inn is a 1962 Shasta camper he bought on eBay, parked in his leafy and secluded East Nashville backyard and gutted from top to bottom with his own hands. To appreciate it now — all clean lines, wood surfaces, white walls and no-fuss, modern detailing — it’s hard to imagine its ticky-tacky state when he bought it:  “It was red and white and had maybe 100 items of Budweiser paraphernalia; decals, strands of Bud light christmas lights, Budweiser curtains, and also an oil funnel in a closet with a tube running down through the floor to piss through,” says J. Wes, who also built a sweet, freestanding little bathhouse with a clawfoot tub, and tucked an outdoor shower into a private corner between the two.

Since he spends a lot of time at home writing fiction, he says it’s easy to run the place, too. “I’m a maid, a receptionist and a concierge, basically, and I like doing it,” he says. “I’ve been surprised by how strongly folks have responded to it, and can’t quite figure it out. I suppose it feels like camping, or conjures some happy memory of laying in a fort you made as a child. That’s one guess.”  There’s no internet or TV, and sometimes guests join him and his roommates for dinner in the garden. Other times, they end up dancing the night away inside at one of his parties. And so it goes staying with a guy who turned an old Budweiser shrine into a serene backyard retreat, you just never know what you’re going to get. I can’t imagine a better introduction to Nashville. Book it at

[PHOTOS: All images by Laura Dart]

Stay: Clum House

Catskill, New York
12.24.2013 | by: Meghan

While visiting a dear friend in New York City a couple weekends ago (well before this weekend’s rainy winter solstice), we decided to scoot upstate for a night or two to hole up and catch up. We needed some space, we both reckoned, to spread out and breathe and walk in crisp air over crunchy leaves. Once we got to our destination–a beautifully rehabbed girls’ camp building with lots of natural wood, plants, and mismatched textiles–it was a foregone conclusion: We asked if we could stay another night before the first 24 hours had passed. It’s that kind of place.

Owned and rehabbed by Brooklyn-based architect Kevin Lindores and his partner Daniel, who also works in design, the three-bedroom hideaway could not have better suited our weekend of unapologetic lounging, eating and talking.  I did much of the cooking, and my friend was the designated fire-builder–the extent of our duties, save for the welcome, shared responsibility of baby-holding (and cooing and cheek-pinching). My living room throne was a custom linen-upholstered, daybed-inspired bench that stretches the entire length of the living room. There was a lot of wine, and a lot of landscape gawking through perfectly placed windows, giving way to knockout views that, on this particular weekend, made the Manhattan skyline seem almost trivial in comparison. Behind the house, a forested view of the mountains stretched out with colors that seemed to change by the hour. When we arrived, it was the tail-end of autumn–crispy, tawny leaves underfoot against a foggy backdrop of bright green evergreens. By the time we left, there was a magical dusting of snow covering the backyard, the branches, the old stone hedges, and it felt like we had endured the changing of the seasons through one meandering, endless conversation in front of the fireplace. It made me think about how much I’ve come to appreciate the in-between-ness of the seasons–those uncharacteristic days that seem to defy, waffle between and hover, and how I so rarely get a chance to consider such frivolities.

Sometimes you have to remember to stop moving–a place like this certainly helps. Clum House is available for reservations at

Stay: The Box House

Florence, Italy
11.26.2013 | by: Meghan

Remember a couple years ago when I wrote about architect Sabrina Bignami’s gorgeous frescoed Tuscan apartment, where she hosts guests in one of the extra bedrooms? Since then, we’ve stayed in touch a bit; call it a mutual affinity for beautiful, creative spaces. I was drawn to her  strong preservation ethos, juxtaposing original interior architectural elements with a modern design sensibility, and she became a regular reader (the highest compliment). So I was thrilled to hear that she and her partner Alessandro Capellaro decided to start renting out their renovated Box House in Florence. If it looks familiar, the former carpenter’s workshop–once a giant, open-plan mess of dust, wood and machines turned cozy loft–made rapid-fire rounds through design magazines when they finished the project a few years ago. And now, I have the privilege of introducing it to travelers.

Located five walking minutes from the historical centre on a quiet street, there are so many important details that make it a great place to stay (a big cooking kitchen, interior courtyard, and fireplace, for starters), but I’m in complete lockdown mode on the old wooden boxes everywhere, creating the most clever display of reuse I’ve ever seen. They bought more than 300 antique wooden ballot boxes used in Italian elections from the 40s-80s at a flea market, and used them to build out the space, fashioning the boxes into cabinets, tables, shelves, sofas, counters, walls, beds, you name it. “Like 300 bricks, or Lego pieces, they can be transformed and reused,” says Allessandro, who approaches architecture the same way–honoring history, repurposing space. I really love that they left all the scratches, stickers, signatures and signs of the time on the surface as a visible reminder of their history. To stay at the Box House (prices starting at $160/night for two people), email Alessandro at

Stay: The Parkamoor

Nibthwaite, Cumbria, UK
11.08.2013 | by: Meghan

By now, it’s probably no secret: I have a thing for old houses. I have relationships with them. I build entire trips around them. I study their crevices and crown moldings and broken floor tiles, making up stories about the people who spent lifetimes living and dreaming in their rooms. And when I find one like this 16th-century farmhouse, which is totally isolated, accessible only by foot (or a rambling old pick-up truck that will pick you up in a nearby town), then thoughtfully outfitted by a bunch of artists, I’m so happy I have people to share it with.

The premise is brilliant: The contemporary arts organization Grizedale Arts collaborated with the National Trust to fix up, furnish and decorate the space (but not too much), turning the historical stone house into a pared-back retreat for artists and writers and anyone else who needs a bonafide escape plan from the modern world. Inside, there’s a library with a wood-burning stove, kitchen with wood-burning oven, well-worn, spartan furniture and a collection of paraffin lamps. Outside, rolling hills, forrest and a compostable outhouse. This means no electricity, running water or phone reception. In other words, bliss for those who agree that the ultimate luxury these days is peace, solitude and a dreamy old house on a big swath of pretty land.

The Details
$650 a week. Sleeps six people in three bedrooms. Rent it at Welcome Beyond. All within walking distance: birdwatching, fishing and pub- and shop-filled old villages. Also, Lawson Park–historic Cumbrian hill farm and now the Grizedale Arts headquarters–is a 40 minute walk through the forest. You can visit the historic house and collections, farm gardens and wildflower meadow.

[This post was originally published 3/9/11]

Stay: Harry Weese Cottage

Glen Arbor, Michigan
07.15.2013 | by: Meghan

I’ve wanted to stay in this Michigan cottage designed by the notable Chicago architect Harry Weese for a few years. Tucked into the wooded shores of Glen Arbor just a few minutes from Sleeping Bear Dunes–arguably Michigan’s most popular summer tourist destination–sits another, far more secretive jewel: a trifecta of summer lake houses Harry Weese designed in 1938-39. He had a fondness for Michigan, perhaps due to the natural beauty of the Northern Michigan, where he vacationed with his family in 1936, or the fact that he went to architecture school at Cranbrook Academy, where he befriended like-minded designers like Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen.

These days, the original two Weese family lake houses are rented out, giving lucky guests the chance to experience Weese’s genius first-hand. In the woods. On a turquoise lake. They remain Weese’s only projects in Michigan, residential or otherwise. The first is Shack Tamarack (a traditional log cabin named after the trees felled in a nearby Cedar bog). We stayed in the smaller modernist cottage–a humble testament to Weese’s preferred architectural style, though no less rustic for its simple, clean lines. Walls are covered in tongue and groove black cherry, the tiny kitchen has more hidden drawers than a cabinet of curiosities, and in such tight quarters–no more than 1,000 square feet–Weese’s clever design unfolds like a lesson in flexible space. Room-dividing sliding doors glide back and forth into the wall to double the size of the living room and bring the outdoors in.

But forget the interiors–it’s summer in Michigan, and the outdoors beckons. A hammock suspends between two trees over a bed of mossy and wildflower ground cover, and the long sun-bleached dock was our all-afternoon home base our all-American roster of lazy-days vacation pursuits: swimming, skipping stones, catching minnows, reading, relaxing, and yes, maybe even cannonballing. I love how Harry Weese pulled his color palette directly from the water. The only color used in the home–a soothing teal–perfectly matches the shimmering tones of the lake. Rent it at; prices start at $2,100/week.

NOTE: I wrote about our trip for the Shinola blog. There will be another post about all our outdoor pursuits, so check back. And if you’ve never heard of Shinola, make it a point: the Detroit-based company is turning out beautiful, well-designed and American-made bikes, watches and leather goods. Harry Weese would have approved.


A Work in Progress: Mazzini 31

Monteleone d’Orvieto, Italy
05.30.2013 | by: Meghan

When it comes to the types of places I try to feature on designtripper–thoughtfully designed, meaningful in experience, full of character–Patrizio Fradiani’s projects rank right up there as some of the most inspirational and influential on this site. Destinations in their own right. Homes that beckon with fruit trees and herb gardens, pools, art of his own creation and equally beautiful stories, all while reflecting the surrounding culture and landscape. Patrizio is an architect, an interior designer, a gardener and perhaps most importantly, a passionate storyteller who makes great efforts to let each brick, each fresco, each underground cave tell their own histories.

I’ve stayed at and written about Podere Palazzo, Casa dos Chicos and Domus Civita. All three involved impeccable and stunning renovations (and in one case, complete rebuilding using the existing materials), and we were lucky enough to feature a renovation series about the massive undertaking behind Civita’s exquisite cave house. And with Patrizio’s latest project already underway, readers, we’re in for another top-to-bottom, inside-out restoration adventure. Over the next year, we’ll see him bring an appartamento nobiliare in the old Italian town of Monteleone d’Orvieto back to life. Patrizio visited the town to reconnect with his great-great-grandfather’s legacy as a poet (there’s a plaque in town to honor him) and discovered this crumbling 17th-century noble apartment filled with dreamy, ornate frescos painted in the 1800s of flowers, landscapes, angels and mythological creatures. After weighing the obvious aesthetic, historical pros with concerns (will travelers go out of their way to stay in this sleepy Italian town of 800?), Patrizio, who’s as romantic as his poet great-great-grandfather, couldn’t resist sharing the story of his lineage in the language he knows best: architecture and design. “I fell in love with the feel of something once glorious and now in complete disrepair but still totally intact,” says Patrizio. “Something about that–infusing new life into it–charmed me more that anything.” For now, an exclusive peek at the apartment in its current condition.