Knock Knock

November 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

A series of traditional door knockers. Just because I love them.

But here’s the thing: Size matters… make sure your door knocker is in proportion to your door! In the last shot (and my favourite door knocker of the bunch), the door knocker was at least 8″ in diameter because the door itself was about 30′ high. It opened into one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever visited… Igreja de Santa Maria Maior, Lisbon.

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Custard Tarts and Tiles too…

November 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

You haven’t been to Lisbon if you haven’t been to Belém… and more specifically… to the bakery and café, Antiga Confeiteira de Belém. The most sacred of pastries (invented before the 18th century by the Catholic Monks of the Jéronimos Monastery) and let’s face it… the best pastry you’ll every eat, the Portuguese Custard Tart (Pastel de Nata) is known to draw three long line-ups: one for sit-in, one for take-away and the third, a much more frenzied and disorganized variety, where patrons nudge their way to the coffee bar and down an espresso and in two or three bites, a warm, just-out-of-the oven tart, sprinkled with cinnamon.

Trust me… there is nothing more delectable.

And while you’re there, look around you… the interior is covered in 18th century, hand painted wall tiles. Inside and out, the tile art is seen all over Portugal. So another ‘must-visit’ if you’re interested in this beautiful art form is the D’orey & Cardoso antique tile store. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of history and art – and proprietors that are more than happy to share it with you. I’ve chosen a few of my favourite patterns from their website. But the best part…they ship to anywhere in the world!

Snapshots: Greyed

September 7, 2012 § 6 Comments

From ornate elevators, classically detailed archways, Roman memorials, gothic cathedrals and an elaborate fountain… these shots looked best in black and white. Lisbon and Évora, Portugal.

Wanting: Custard Tarts

August 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

These are the famed Pasteis de Belém (otherwise known as Portuguese Custard Tarts, Pasteis de Nata or most appropriate… delicious-tarts-to-die-for-and-I’m-not-even-kidding)!

Just out of the oven, they are warm and creamy on the inside with just a hint of vanilla. Light, crispy and delicate on the outside. The Portuguese once conquered the oceans with their huge naval ships… now they’re sending out deadly pastries! Conquering the world, one custard tart at a time.

Damn… I want one now.

More on these lovelies to come in a later post. Stay tuned…. :)

Lilting for Lisbon

June 22, 2012 § 9 Comments

I happened across this third image and immediately thought it had to be some place in Portugal… That blue and white tile work (ajulejos) is unmistakable and I love how it’s used in architecture (both inside and out) everywhere in Portugal.

This series of photographs are by Michael Eastman taken on a trip to Lisbon.

He’s making me really excited about my summer trip to Portugal. Maybe I should look back and find some of my own photos of my travels to the Motherland… :)

Inspired: Gourmet Baroque

May 1, 2012 § 10 Comments

I’m so excited about this place. It’s a collision of sorts… A collision of some of my favourite things: French meets Portuguese; Black meets white; Baroque meets Modern.

Poisson d’Amour is a French pastry shop in an 18th century building in Lisbon… a daunting task in a city filled with some of the best pastry shops in Europe. Have you ever had a pastel de nata??? Crazy good. Anyway… back to the macarons and gateaux! Also crazy good.

Here’s what inspires me…

  • large mural of a Baroque Mistress… striking and dramatic – what a welcoming sight!
  • black floor and black ceilings… did I mention dramatic?
  • Tiger Skin limestone… my new favourite limestone!
  • Plumen light bulb fixtures… simple and eco friendly
  • old meets new… beautiful arched window openings with new black framed windows

For more on this delicious interior, click here.

Calçada From My Tia Anita

April 23, 2012 § 18 Comments

Calçada Portuguesa – Portuguese Stone Pavements by Ernesto Matos

If you’ve ever been to Lisbon or anywhere in Portugal, or any of its colonies (Brazil, Macau and Gibraltar), you’ll be familiar with this very distinct form of ‘street art’. Calçada is the Portuguese word for pavement and the roads are literally paved with cobblestones (like most European cities). Here, they use a combination of white limestone and blue/gray basalt (in some cases pale pink as well). Inspired by Roman mosaics, the city was literally repaved after it suffered a devastating earthquake in 1755. Today, municipalities continue to expand the art form, making it the basis for urban renewal and a form of cultural expression.

I received this beautiful coffee table book from my Tia Anita. It quickly became one of my treasured books. And with my love of drawings… this book reveals some of the details and sketches necessary for these inspiring two-dimensional designs. Love… love….

For more images and specific locations, this is a great article on Lisbon’s 10 Most Beautiful Pavements (though, in my mind… there’s definitely more than ten). The book is titled ‘Calçada Portugesa – Portuguese Stone Pavements’ by Ernesto Matos. Photos of the book are by designchickee.

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