Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stephen Nobel presents "Hug Your Clients"



This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Steve Nobel at the Kravet showroom in the Merchandise Mart here in Chicago. The presentation was entitled "Hug Your Clients", it was about ways for interior designers to better connect with their clients. Mr. Nobel spoke about how and how often people think about designers (a disturbingly small amount), how designers need to prove our values to potential clients and how to establish better, mutually beneficial, lasting relationships with our clients once the project is done. The presentation was wonderful and Mr. Nobel shared many impressive idea's on how to "Hug" your clients.

Now there's a better shot of Mr. Nobel.

Mr. Nobel is the founder and principal at Nobelinks, a consulting practice that specializes in luxury interior design and furnishings markets. Steve also authored the book Aiming at Affluence: Marketing Interior Design to Luxury Clients, which is currently unavailable (the original run sold out quite quickly) though thankfully he is rewriting a new version in a workbook format. Steve travels the country giving these presentations, so if you ever see that he will be in your area I would highly encourage you to make time to attend if at all possible, you will not be dissapointed.

After the presentation the showroom served lunch and Steve went around making sure to speak with everyone. When I had the opportunity to speak with him he was most gracious in agreeing to be interviewed for Bastion & Lark, I will be contacting him early next week for that...stay tuned.

Mr. Nobel and your truly...quite dapper aren't we?

In closing I just wanted to thank Steve for all the incredibly usefull information and advise and to thank Kravet for hosting such a wonderful event.

Ah yes, one more quick thing. As I am most fond of sharing the little discovery that have struck my fancy....

Chateau Haut Sarthes Montravel.

This was the wine served at the lunch and I fell in love with it instantly, for some reason I seem to only like French whites. This suited me so much that I had two bottles in tow by the time I arrived back home.

Best,
Brion

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Grand Hotel: Preppy getaway, Pt. 2.


So pleased that you have decided to join me for Part 2 of "The Grand Hotel: Preppy Getaway." This means that you either liked Part 1 or you are just here to see what rambling nonsense I'll spew out this time...I'm just gonna go ahead and assume it's the former.

Let's see, where do we leave off? Oh yes...The Parlor.

This was my favourite corner of the Parlor.
Head concierge and hotel historian Bob Tagatz (the seated guy). He gives a lecture from time to time on the history of the hotel. If you are there and have the time go, we did and it was great.
I love that they have kept the old phone booths.
I almost wished I had a reason to call someone..no, no I didn't.
Off to explore the island.
The entrance to "West Bluff", 16 spectacular summer cottages from the 1880s and 1890s, erected by the very wealthy of the Victorian Age. Many of the "cottages" come complete with widow's walks, dormers, parapets, and bay windows galore. Here are a few of our favourites. The shame is that these are only summer homes and are only in use for no more than two months a year.
My favourite.
Arch Rock.
I can't convey how much I loved seeing horses everywhere.
We took a tour of the Michigan governor's summer residence, the tour wasn't worth the time but the views were amazing.
The Grand Hotel as seen from the governor's residence.
Back to that wonderful porch for cocktails.
I'm there too, that's my shoe.
One last walk before dusk. Tomorrow we go horseback riding.
See..I told you. Kristina rode Millie.
Once again I'm there too, that's my hand. I was riding Dixie, a horse with a lot of personality and a true passion for roadside vegetation.For the record it is not terribly easy to control a horse with one hand while taking pictures with the other.
And here we have The Jockey Club, I absolutely loved this place. Luckily we were here one time when nobody else was so I could get a couple good shots.
 How great is this chandelier?
Not usually a fan of carpeting but do it in Hunting Stewart Tartan and I'm all over it...
...(see what I did there?)
And of course before leaving we had to stock up on souveniers. Which included more fudge than we really needed, a few gifts for friends and family and I got myself a smart new bow tie..with sailboats on it, I know right.
I saw this as we were checking out and simply had to get an image of it to share with everyone.
So there we have it, a brief look into our anniversary vacation and into The Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island. I hope you have enjoyed coming along for the ride as much as Kristina and I have had having you.
Best,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Grand Hotel: Preppy getaway, Pt. 1.


Recently Kristina and I celebrated our 10th anniversary (thank you so very much for 10 wonderful years my love). After much deliberation we decided to spend our anniversary at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Kristina had been there with her family a number of times when she was younger and wanted to go back. I had never been but once she told me they had a dress code I was in.

On top of the dress code there are no cars on the island so everyone gets around via bike or horse...sold, sold and sold. While I won't go into great detail about everything (unless you ask me really nicely to) I will say that it was an absolutely wonderful experience, every minute.

Shepler's Ferry, the gateway to Mackinac Island.
On our way.
I was so excited to see this, the finish line for the Race to Mackinac, one of my favourite events in Chicago and sailing events each year. This year will be the 104th running.
The Grand Hotel off in the distance, eagerly awaiting our arrival.
Main Street, we walked around a bit before our room was ready.
Love at first sight.
How one should arrive everywhere.
Part of main lobby.
Part of the main lobby.
Waiting to check in. There was always a line like this. You may have notices the "NO TIPPING" sign, there is indeed no tipping for anything at the hotel. In case you were thinking, "hey, Brion said they have a dress code and these people are not dressed like there is", the dress code starts at 6:00 pm.
Our room..nice right? Supposedly there are no two rooms alike. All the interior design was done by the amazing Carleton Varney, president of Dorothy Draper & Co.
How could one not possibly be happy sleeping here?
At 660 feet, Grand Hotel's Front Porch is the world's largest.
The Grand's famous Front Porch flowers include 2,500 geraniums-the hotel's trademark flower-in 260 planting boxes.
The Grand Dining Hall.
The walkway of the dining hall. There is something I just loved about this.
My first breakfast was so good I had it every morning, Meyer's Lemon pancakes..YUM!!!
The Geranium Room. We just loved this, a great place to get a drink.
I really wanted to bring a couple of these chairs home with me.
The view into the Parlor.


This seems like a good a place as any to end Part 1. Please stop back tomorrow for Part 2 to see more of the hotel and a few choice images of the island. Trust me you won't be sorry.


Best,
Brion

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