So last summer, the boys in our family headed off to the torture museum in Rothenburg, ob der Tauber, Germany.  No, really:  the museum featured instruments of torture throughout the centuries, and you would have thought that Christmas had come early or something, the idea of being an eyewitness to such gruesomeness was such an exciting prospect for the males in our family.  Me and the Eleven O’Clock Girls, we walked the streets and exclaimed over the architecture.

The girls in this clan love (did I say love?) to talk about design, a category that for us includes everything from architecture to textiles to furniture. Set us down in the middle of a European city, and we will exclaim over design–exteriors, interiors, stuff to sit on, lie on, stick on your walls, make your cooking tasks easier, reflect your tastes, speak to your soul. Typical dialogue when an Object To Be Admired comes into view. Me: “No. Way. Look. At. That.” Either of the girls: “Oh my gosh. Oh. My. Gosh.” Clearly, we need a course in How To Talk Appropriately About Great Design And Everything It Encompasses. In the meantime, we stay busy, looking, pointing, swooning, chattering, all the while sounding exactly like we’re from the San Fernando Valley (you gotta be a Californian to disrespect your fellow Californians).

Recently, I saw a painted wood floor in the back room of a boutique. Perhaps I should mention that painted wood floors totally do it for me. They excite me as much as the prospect of an afternoon imagining centuries of torture excited three cavemen I know well. Picture it: a black and white ‘area rug’ stenciled onto an unfinished wood floor. Design lovers, are you feeling it? One of the petals was with me at the time. She smiled indulgently when I pointed it out to her, dutifully respecting the raptures to which I was temporarily surrendering.

My point: me and the girls, we’re especially us when we’re deep in a Design Moment, if you know what I mean. Some people base jump from towers in Dubai for excitement. The Eleven O’Clock Gals, all they need are grand facades, vintage European linens, and reimagined wood floors. We’ve got those, we’re chatting it up! (While the boys are happily considering the virtues of nifty things that pull people limb from limb.)

(Photo of a favorite street in Montpellier, France, taken by Miss Lavender!)

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Sagrada Familia: A Sunday Evening Dream

by Becky on February 25, 2013

in Design, Travel


Last night my husband and I had the opportunity to attend a special event at the Sagrada Familia Basilica.

I hadn’t yet been inside.  Breathtaking. Truly. As in, you almost cannot breathe for the sheer wildness of the interior. Say a giant kaleidescope crashed into the Snow Queen’s palace.  There you have it.

Architecturally, the interior almost defies understanding, the stone work so painstakingly wrought that you wonder how, outside of someone’s dream (Gaudi’s, of course), human minds and hands ever had the patience to really execute it.  Have you seen photographs of Antoni Gaudi’s famous architectural achievement?–of the way, from a distance, it appears to be a monstrous dribble castle made of sand?

They’re still working on it. It’s projected to be finished in about forty years.

If I’m still around, I’m coming back.

(Actually, I’m going back next month.  With the Eleven O’Clock Kids.  Who need to step into this dream before we leave Spain!)

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