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Today, anything goes in holiday decorating. Gone are the days of simple red and green décor. While these colors are still important, holiday accents now run the color spectrum from amethyst and deep blue to metallic to bright white and ivory.

Our mantra this holiday season? Keep it simple and ultra-chic with a personal flair. Read on for timeless decorating tips that will add fun and festivity to your holiday home this season:

  • Always use fresh items in your décor like evergreen and tuberoses because the scents of the season are as important as the visuals.
  • With this in mind, use scented candles and fragrance diffusers throughout your home – cinnamon sticks also add a wonderful aroma.
  • Create a vignette of your favorite ornaments, photos or mementos. This works well in an entry hall, sitting area or front porch.
  • Consider reducing your color palette to one color plus a metallic such as gold or silver. For a modern look, a cool white pairs well with many colors.

Consider simplifying your color palette to one or two colors plus a metallic such as gold or silver. (Photo courtesy The Grand Del Mar)

Consider simplifying your color palette to one or two colors plus a metallic such as gold or silver. (Photo courtesy The Grand Del Mar)

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As the sister venue to Amaya restaurant at the award-winning San Diego-based The Grand Del Mar, Amaya La Jolla boasts many of the same fine design details as the resort.

One of our most recent projects, Amaya La Jolla is housed in a former art gallery encompassing 10,000 square feet. We designed it to complement the distinctive European style of The Grand Del Mar, looking to decorative Italian palazzos for inspiration.

Amaya La Jolla Veranda

The Veranda, with its open airy feel, evokes the ambiance of a coastal European town.

Palazzo style refers to an architectural style of the 19th and 20th centuries based upon the palazzi (palaces) built by wealthy families of the Italian Renaissance. The architects of these buildings at times, however, drew details from sources other than the Italian Renaissance, such as Italian Romanesque or the French Beaux Arts movement, Empire and Venetian styles. For example, the hand-carved arched lunettes above the outside windows exemplify the Beaux Arts movement, as do the decorative ironwork at the entry doors and the gates into the wine cellar. The hand-troweled plaster throughout replicates finishes found in Venice, as do the mosaic tiled floors in the front veranda.

The restaurant encompasses an airy, light-filled front veranda with an indoor/outdoor feel; an adjacent wine room and wine cellar; a main dining room; a private dining room; and a bar/lounge area featuring nightly entertainment.

Amaya La Jolla Wine Room

In the wine room, doors paneled with oil paintings of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, as well as a hammered tin ceiling, add to the room’s European feel.

Two of the most notably similar design elements found at both The Grand Del Mar and Amaya La Jolla are the abundant use of hand-carved stone and polished marble. The restaurant’s exterior features stone-carved arched pediments, and the interior entry vestibule features hand-carved stone columns. We worked with the same four-generation family of Italian artisans – used exclusively by Warren Sheets Design, Inc. – that we collaborated with for The Grand Del Mar.

Other design elements common to both entities include elaborate coffered ceilings, hand-painted frescoes, wrought iron doors, stenciled accents, custom iron and crystal chandeliers, mosaic stone flooring, hand-troweled Venetian plaster walls, hand-applied 18 karat gold leaf finishes from Germany, intricate hand-woven carpets and detailed millwork. Additional highlights include doors paneled with oil paintings of St. Mark’s Square in Venice and a hammered tin ceiling with hand applied bronze finishes in the wine room all constructed by personally selected top artisans with years of experience and stellar portfolios, as well as the very finest products and materials.

To further the restaurant’s warm, residential ambiance, we used an array of rich hues, including gold, ochre and aubergine, contrasted against rich cardamom rose and French plum colors – colors seen in vibrant and beautiful sunsets of the Umbria region of southern Italy.

Since Amaya La Jolla is located in a seaside village, we added coastal-inspired elements including oil paintings imported from Western Europe. The artwork has an airy, impressionistic feel and vibrant colors that tie into the restaurant’s beachfront locale.

Amaya La Jolla Vignette

Oil paintings imported from Western Europe accent the decor at Amaya La Jolla.

If you’re in La Jolla, stop at Amaya La Jolla for a delicious meal or simply pause in front to enjoy its detailed exterior. And then let us know which dining area, piece of artwork or design detail is your favorite.

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One of the most exciting projects our firm has had the opportunity to work on in recent years is The Grand Del Mar, a Five-Star, Five Diamond, 249-room resort just north of San Diego.

This resort features an impressive degree of craftsmanship rarely found in buildings today. In fact over a period of two years, 800-plus workers, contractors and craftspeople labored more than one million hours on this ambitious luxury property.

The 30 different types of stone and polished Italian marble used throughout The Grand Del Mar include Gallo Cleopatra, Jerusalem limestone and Rojo Alicante. Pictured is the front entrance to The Grand Del Mar.

The 30 types of stone and polished Italian marble used throughout The Grand Del Mar include Gallo Cleopatra, Jerusalem Limestone and Rojo Alicante.

Working with the architectural firm of Altevers & Associates, we took our design cue from turn–of-the-century architectural visionary Addison Mizner, credited with launching the Florida design renaissance in the 1920s. We designed all the interiors, as Altevers created the exterior architecture, often consulting with our team throughout the process on historical details.

With a distinctive Mediterranean motif, the resort’s architecture and design features an exotic mix of Spanish, Portuguese, Moroccan and Venetian elements evoking the grandeur of a historic European hotel.

Mizner viewed architecture as a seamless integration of buildings, décor and landscaping – and this emphasis on melding the indoors and outdoors is apparent at The Grand Del Mar. Interiors and architecture are complemented by lush landscaping – a mix of tropical and indigenous plantings – punctuated by garden fountains, sun-dappled patios and courtyards, terraces and walkways.

The Grand Del Mar features a degree of craftsmanship rarely found in buildings today. Pictured is a 75-foot-long, 22-nozzle fountain lined with gold, royal blue and white marble tiles.

The Grand Del Mar features a degree of craftsmanship rarely found in buildings today. Pictured is a 75-foot-long, 22-nozzle fountain lined with gold, royal blue and white marble tiles.

Many guests to The Grand Del Mar are under the impression the resort has existed for decades – which is something I love to hear. We worked very hard to develop a timeless appeal unearthing the finest materials as well as sourcing extremely talented artisans, artists and craftsmen from around the world.

Select interior design highlights include:

  • Cubic stone hand-carved by a family of four generations in a small town near Verona, Italy. Weighing in at 20 tons, the 30 different types of stone and polished Italian marble include Gallo Cleopatra, Jerusalem limestone and Rojo Alicante.
  • More than 2,000 pieces of custom-designed furniture and art (mostly oil on canvas by European artists), with 85% of all furnishings custom-designed. Much of the artwork was commissioned, and many of the frames are exact replicas of ones found in the Louvre or the Cluny Museum in Paris, crafted by a frame maker in Italy.
  • More than 25,000 square feet of handcrafted wood floors, Roman pan tile roofing, hand-painted ceiling frescoes on canvas, burled and gilded wood accents, Venetian-plastered walls, hand-hewn wooden beams.
  • Over 50 elaborate chandeliers; more than 500 fabrics; vibrant Portuguese glazed tiles; and 20,000 sheets of 23-karat gold – carefully hand applied on ceilings, walls, and wrought iron accents.
  • The Elizabeth Capella, an ornate onsite chapel with beautiful Jerusalem limestone and Italian marble flooring; Venetian plastered walls; a high, rusticated wood plank-beamed ceiling; and hand-carved walnut pews.
  • A team of 120 carpenters worked 150,000 hours designing, finishing and installing 16 different wood species – including fine walnut, mahogany, olive, alder, sycamore and maple accents – with 35 different finishes.
  • Hand-stenciled and painted decorative ceilings, took 24 people three months to complete.
The design of the resort was inspired by turn-of-the-century architectural visionary Addison Mizner, who viewed architecture as a seamless integration of the indoors and outdoors. Pictured is the terrace at Amaya restaurant at The Grand Del Mar.

The design of the resort was inspired by turn-of-the-century architectural visionary Addison Mizner, who viewed architecture as a seamless integration of the indoors and outdoors. Pictured is the terrace at Amaya restaurant at The Grand Del Mar.

It is extremely unusual to have such a high degree of craftsmanship and extensive number of fine, hand applied finishes – plaster, stone, millwork, tile, wrought iron, etc. – so prevalent on such a large scale. Quite simply, American resorts aren’t often built like this anymore.

Fortunately for guests at The Grand Del Mar, the resort has introduced a series of architectural tours for the summer, which will describe in detail the design, as well as the fine finishes and materials found throughout the resort. If you visit the resort, please let me know your thoughts and share your photos on our Facebook page.

For more information about the resort and the architecture tours, visit www.TheGrandDelMar.com.

 

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