02 May 2009

Roman Holiday

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Our View:   From the condo at the Parkshore where we stay on South Padre Island

 

Each summer Ben and I and usually Elisabeth take a beach holiday to South Padre Island, Texas.   At the border of Texas and Mexico, it is without a doubt the prettiest beach in Texas: the water is clear blue, mostly calm, and wonderfully warm.    We usually stay for three weeks, although last summer we were scheduled for a month. 

 

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This is where you will find us in July – under this umbrella, usually sleeping and drooling over our magazines.

 

Last summer things started to go downhill when the day before we were due to leave for South Padre Island – a storm blew through and shut down the island for the entire summer.   So, we went to Galveston instead, where after a few days a small hurricane chased us back to Houston, only to be hit a few weeks later by another hurricane, the worst Houston had seen in years.  Hurricane  Ike plunged us all in the dark for days and turned Galveston and everything north of the island into a wasteland.  So after being totally jinxed last year,  what should we do this summer??   Ben told me to pick out two places I want to go, as long as it’s on a beach, and he’ll decide between the two.  YES!!!!   I mean, how sweet is this man?

OK – today you can judge between the two places I’ve picked out.  I’m not sure which one would be better.   To keep it simple, I’ve picked two beaches close to each – both are in Italy. 

 

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Porto Ercole is a peninsula right off Tuscany, on the Mediterranean side of Italy – right where the big red #1 is.   Nice.

 

 

First Choice:    Il Carubbo

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This is what the beach looks like at the first property, Il Carubbo.

 

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The front facade of Il Carrubo, a 5 bedroom, 5 bath house, located high on the cliffs above the ocean.  A little bigger than we actually need – we could probably talk someone into coming with us and sharing the house – like a sister or a brother and a niece or nephew.    I love the tiled roof and the white stucco walls and all the hydrangeas and petunias.   Check out those wonderful window grills too.   This house looks so charming!

 

 

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The back of the stucco house opens to a large terrace with an ocean view. 

 

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The brick paved terrace has views of the Mediterranean Ocean.  Charming stairs lead upstairs to the second level.

 

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There is a covered pavilion for outdoor dining – day and night.

 

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The view of the ocean from the terrace.

 

 

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There is a sunbathing pavilion down from the terrace, closer to the water. 

 

 

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The bathing pavilion leads right to the water.

 

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There are two other ways from the house to get to the ocean.  Or, you can walk to the sandy beach next door.  

 

 

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The front entrance to the house is reached through stucco arches which are covered in flowering vines.

 

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The inside of the house is as charming as the outside.  Blue and white striped slips cover the down filled cushions on the sofas and chair.  The fireplace mantel appears to be made of Italian faience – incredible!   Those are probably old silver sailing trophies on the shelves.    The large French doors open to the breeze.   Very nice.   This property really looks like an old family home, cluttered through the years from all the summer vacations – I love it!  This place is going to be hard to top.

 

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Closer view of the fireplace mantel.

 

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The living area appears to be on a lower level than the rest of the house.  Notice the antique armoire in the higher area behind the sofa.   What a library!   Too bad I don’t speak Italian.

 

 

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Another incredible fireplace mantel with antique andirons.    What a cozy atmosphere.  Wonder if it gets chilly enough to light a fire during July?

 

 

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This is one of the five bedrooms.  All are located on the second floor with stucco walls and terra cotta floors.  Beautiful antique Italian bed. 

 

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Another bedroom with a vaulted ceiling.   It looks like all the beds have a Madonna over them.   That would be good for Ben’s mother if she comes to visit. 

 

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Close-up of the Italian antique desk in the bedroom.  So many books! 

 

 

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This bedroom looks a little different with no ceiling beams and a different tiled floor – but it has the Madonna and a ceiling fan – Ben would love that!  I like the set of bird prints, myself.

 

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And finally, for Il Carrubo, a view out the window with its distinctive grill. 

 

 

Second Choice:  La Quercia

 

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This is the ocean view of the second property.  Both choices are located in the same general area, right off the coast of Tuscany.

 

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La Quercia is a large estate, 18 hectares, 16 are orchards and olives groves and 2 are landscaped grounds surrounding the main house and the guest house.  The house is a terra cotta colored stucco with deep green shutters.   The view is of the islands Monte Christo and Elba.  This property is larger than the previous one with six bedrooms, 3 in the main house and 3 in the annex.  So, if we got this one, we really could include lots of family!

 

 

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There is a large swimming pool on this estate, along with an eating pavilion.

 

 

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Besides the pavilion, there is another table set up closer to the ocean view.

 

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The grounds are covered in flowers and flowering bushes like these oleanders. 

 

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Same view, from higher ground.  The sky and water is so blue – I wonder if these images are photoshopped????

 

 

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The swimming pool’s terrace also overlooks the Mediterranean ocean.

 

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Lavender!  Wouldn’t it be great to just go outside and pick all the fresh lavender you wanted?  Or is this lilac?

 

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There is this outdoor eating area.

 

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And there is this one – with a clear view of the islands off the coastline.  Hmm, not sure which dining area I prefer.

 

 

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This property is newer and less cluttered than the other property, but it doesn’t seem quite as spacious.   Large, downy, white slipcovered sofas, just my style!  Love the limestone fireplace. 

 

 

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I love the antique secretary behind the sofa – but I think I’d have to hide those two sculptures – what are those???  It looks like the dining area is behind the arch with the lovely sculpture.

 

 

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What a view out the living room!   I like that driftwood lamp.  Reminds me of Sally Wheat’s work!

 

 

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This is a Chalon kitchen (whatever that means! ha!) – love it, those tiles are wonderful.  Really adorable kitchen.  Oooh, I wonder if it comes with a chef???

 

 

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I’ll probably take this bedroom, right off the terrace.  I love how there is clean white linen everywhere.  So fresh and beachy.

 

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This bathroom looks perfect to me.  Sign me up!

 

So, which one should we rent?     The first estate, with an older, charming family house is filled with antiques, books,  and happy memories from a lifetime of vacations – it has direct beach access, but no swimming pool!  OR should we rent the second house,  the new, larger estate with a guest building, huge swimming pool, but with no direct access to the beach?   While you are deciding I’ll go see which one Ben likes!!!!!  Soooo exciting!!!!

 

Oh, wait, what?????????      OH NO!!!!!!!!!!    I TOTALLY misunderstood what Ben said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   He said to pick two places anywhere I wanted to go in TEXAS!!!!  Oh!!!!!!!   I didn’t hear the “in” Texas” – I thought he said anywhere BUT Texas.  Well, I should have known.   To him Texas IS the world.  OK, I’m pretty disappointed right now.   Alright,  let’s start over.  Sorry about that.   

 

Two places in Texas, on the beach.  Well – that can only be So. Padre Island, home of the nicest beaches in Texas.    OK, let’s judge the two property choices from there. 

 

 

Choice #1

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Lovely teal colored pouf leather sofas.   Don’t miss the pillows or the K-Mart art.

 

Choice #2

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Tufted sofa, vintage unknown.   Nice faux ficus tree.  Neon blue and yellow paint.

 

You think I’m kidding you?????   These are my two choices.

Why, why, why, why can’t these condo owners EVER remodel???????   Is it asking TOO much?????    HaHa!!!   Oh well.  

 

P.S.  I just showed this to Ben and he’s cracking up laughing.  At the blue and yellow condo with the tufted white sofa, he said “ooh – that’s horrible!”  Yeah, Ben – I know.   Remember we stayed there last time????   He said he “thought” it looked familiar.   That’s the difference between someone who lives design and someone who doesn’t.   How could anyone forget that sofa?

104 comments:

  1. Such a tough life you lead Joni!! By the way I finally listened to the roundtable. Loved it! It felt like I was sitting with a bunch of bloggers discussing it. It's not like one can talk about blogging with anyone other than a fellow blogger.

    Great post, makes me want to go on vacation now!

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  2. il carrubo is my choice. dot.
    Soooo lovely.....
    ...
    considering real choice, I would rather go for outdoor conveniences - indoors seem to be equal.
    Cheers,
    Ewa

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  3. Texan choice number 2 Joni - who can resist mirrored walls, blue and citrus highlights...oh I forgot the indoor plant!!xv

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  4. yea well . texas no choice at all ! ...by the way I've seen that sofa in Italy to .

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  5. please take me with you. i miss italy.

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  6. You are so right about the interior design of rental properties. Why oh why is it so bad? Sure the outside, (in Italy) looks enchanting, but as you say, we who live and breathe interior design are offended by the way it's been unloved and ingnored inside. And on top of that you're spending lots of cashola, to have this aesthetic offensive. I stay home more!

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  7. Oh, and Chalon is a kitchen design company, (British, I think). They do nice work; their cabinetry can either look new, or have that "beaten up" look.

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  8. Just for a minute there I thought you either have the most generous husband in the world or that he'd gone a bit nutty. If either one of those things is true, then I choose il carrubo. Of the other two, since you already stayed at the mirrored condo (eek), you should definitely switch it up and go for the teal leather. (and spend most of your time outdoors!)

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  9. hilarious! You had me ALL excited!!! I'm typing from my own little slice of paradise near POrto Ercole right now... and I was honestly thinking that you were going to be coming my way this summer and I'd have been able to show you around, the beaches, restaurants and vineyards. Bummer. Are you sure you don't want to check with your hubby again and make sure he didn't say 'anywhere in Monte Argentario'... Would love to have you as a neighbor for summer!!!

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  10. The second one in Italy, definitely. The choice reminded me of your cluttered antique look vs. clean streamlined look post! I love the more streamlined look of the second place. You didn't mention how much these places rent for...I wonder!

    But - if it has to be Texas - just make the most of it! It sounds like your family's definition of a vacation is relaxing at the beach. Can you do a few weeks in Europe of sightseeing then finish off the vacation with two weeks of relaxing at the beach in Texas? That would be ideal!

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  11. i'm smiling too - ! italy looks divine - the sea house sans pool would be my pick

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  12. Yes, in Italy #2. In Texas...well is there a #3? If not, then 2; #1 is tragically boring. Not even the beach can make up for that one :)

    You had me going!!! LOL I thought for sure, you were heading to Italy for a month, and I found myself becoming incredibly jealous!! Still am..have fun.

    Ciao!!
    Michelle

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  13. Oh I am so ready for a getaway at either wonderful spot! The ocean is my friend indeed!

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  14. HAH! I was so excited... too funny Joni! I love Italy choice number 2.. But seriously.... either one would be FABULOUS! I love the comment that Ben thought the couch at Padre looked familiar! I live with that same sweet man!

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  15. That beach in Texas looks fabulous, Joni!

    As to the accomodations. I love the antique, family feel of the first place in Italy, but I love that pool and the views of the second. It's a vacation, so I would choose the one with the most amenitites you could enjoy... like a pool AND the views of the water.

    As to Texas, I think I would choose the first because at least you could lounge on the sofas if you got chased inside by weather. LOL! That beach makes up for the lack of decor. It's gorgeous.

    We need to get you to Florida so you can go antique shopping in addition to lounging on the beach. And then I could drive your purchases to Texas in my white cargo van (oh yes, I do indeed have one for shopping, and it looks just like one that would be driven by Larry the Cable Guy... white with an open back!), and I could go visit our relatives in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio while ferrying your goods. LOL! AND, I could load up in Texas for the return trip. Sounds good to me! ;-)

    XO,

    Sheila

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  16. Too funny! I hear you on the beach rentals. Why??!!! If you guys ever want to venture to Bolivar we have a rental there that I decorated and it's actually stylish and cute. This has to be a first!!! Just from the pictures, I'd go with the second Padre house. A little less revolting for some reason???
    Sally W.

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  17. What a dilemma! What ever will you do? You have a tough decision ahead of you. La Quercia is calling my name. Won't you be spending most of your time outside and on the go? Now, if you decide that il carrubo would be the choice, just let me know. My passport is ready!

    Love it Joni!

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  18. Oh, you really had me there with chosing between the two Italian villas. That's not an easy choice, but I'd probably go with the second. Too much clutter in the first. I think you're going to be famous for that last line in the post about the sofa! Have a fabulous, relaxing vacation wherever you go.

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  19. Joni - I think you should try a little arm-twisting on your husband. Or, blackmail. Whatever it takes. Choosing between those 2 houses in Italy would be the easy part. You couldn't lose with either one.

    –Lana

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  20. You would have to travel with a trunk full of props to live a month in each of these places. And where do they find these pillows that are so FLAT! You could do a Blanche DuBoise and throw scarves over the lamps!

    Pitiful..they should use this as an exercise on one of the Make Over Design Shows.

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  21. Oh you had me working out which one in italy...#1 (you can always find a pool) but the ocean not so much...
    You are so funny, I was laughing so much I woke my husband...
    Have a great vacation where ever you go.
    Regards,from (where a beach is a 2 day drive away)Canada

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  22. Honey wherever you go Ben is a lucky guy and is sure to have many laughs!

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  23. You got me!!! I was all ready to cast my vote!!! This is soooooooo funny. Joni, I LOVE your sense of humor! You are great!!!

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  24. First you made me sigh.
    I saw you sitting on the terrace in Italy with your laptop, blogging away to all of us.
    I wanted to sign up as "family" and come and crash your vacation.
    Then you made me laugh (and cry a little too) that you had a junior hearing moment with Ben ha ha.
    #2 Texas is the choice, and #1 Italy for beach access and charm, and different point of decor view from your white slips.
    Love you madly...great clever post!
    xo xo

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  25. Joni - you're such a tease! I was thinking, wow...this woman is living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Although I'll say that I'd love to spend even a week on South Padre. I lived in San Antonio for four years and we snuck down to Padre as often as we could - even for a long weekend. We'd camp right on the beach. Do they still allow that? That was when we were younger, no beach camping for me anymore I think.

    Ben is correct. Texas IS the universe. I often joked that I was living in the United States of Texas and you'll fully understand what I mean by that.

    I was search for condos on Padre and found some really wonderfully decorated ones. Maybe that was further north? I can't remember. Personall that vintage tufted sofa is less obnoxious to me than those green leather ones.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

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  26. I was hanging on every photo waiting for more (Italy #1 edged out Italy #2 by a slight margin) and I started thinking "why is Joni doing all of that talking about family?...I want to go, too...but So.Padre Island is pretty great, but not after Tuscany!!!
    Have an amazing week--maybe a miracle will happen and you'll be booking Italy.

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  27. Oh man, Joni, I was packing my bags to join you in Italy, thinking, "There's only Joni, Ben and Elisabeth. Even if Ben's mom visits, there would still be an extra bedroom where I could stay!"

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  28. Second one in Italy is my choice and we will go halfsies with you! xo. MB

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  29. I'd get 5 paying people and go to the first one in Italy. It might even be a better deal than Texas options. You have probably sold at least 20 to choose from right now. I'd also make sure at least one of those loved to cook, another was obsessed with cleaning, another loved to walk the beach, another loved design and brought books or magazines, and then there would be you who could just relax because you put it all together.

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  30. Ok...I didn't read or see ANYTHING after that second Italian one....


    waaa waaa waa waaa (cue Charlie Browns teachers voice...)

    swoon.

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  31. Oh, Joni - you're such a card! I think the second place off the Tuscan coast would've been my choice. Meet ya there?!

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  32. Il Carrubo, definitely, for me. But probably too feminine for Ben. But there have GOT to be nicer condo's in Texas. If not, you should get paid to stay, and give them a design plan. Then use the money to head for Il Carrubo. Everything seems pretty cheap this year on the Mediteranean, at least last time I tortured myself. Maybe you should show him pictures of what Italians look like on the beach, and what they eat... That teal sofa with the pillow from Kmart, OMG. There was never a time when that looked good. Never. And I'm guessing the blue and yellow mirrored one is tiny...

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  33. You had me going, I was so jealous I almost started to dislike you...ALMOST, I guess of the two I would pick the white tufted sofa. Anything is better to me than all the same leather and blue being my least favorite color, hands down the 2nd choice wins. You ask why "NO BLUE", I have found that most people who are clueless to design always go with blue. The blue people are usually the hardest to sell a design plan too, for they have no vision...of course that is my opinion . When blue is done correct as in your guest room, I too am a fan of the color. That is just rare ...

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  34. what fun! I was torn between 1 & 2 in Italy-leaning 2. after those choices Texas 1, 2 look sadly lacking- but go with 2- mirrors are beach fun, a constant reminder to self you are in a bathing suit! get LOTS of white sheets (target) and drape them allover, accenting with bold stripe "lizzie" towels.GT

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  35. Oh Joni! My heart literally skipped a beat while viewing Il Carrubo! I would have felt so at home there! But I have to vote for the second location because of the pool! As for Padre Island, my parents owned a condo for YEARS that faced the beach (on Gulf Blvd @ Hibiscus!) When my step-father passed away it was sold. I love that beach, but the decor in those rentals is deplorable. You just have to use the place to bathe, sleep and have a snack now and then. Lots of dinners out at Blackbeard's! Hope the weather plays NICE for you guys come July!

    Enjoy! I know you will secretly be longing for those Italian sands.

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  36. Surely there are more attractive condos in Texas along the beach? Anyone? Anyone? I know exactly what you are dealing with Joni! I stayed at a nightmare condo that was decked out in green. Green sofa, green shag rug, green wallpaper with a crazy pattern, even fake green grass on the lanai (oh wait... with this condo, we'll just call it a deck!). OH YES.... I think there are condo owners and condo renters!!! Too bad the condo renters are all "bottom line" and not "top shelf".

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  37. OH MY, I LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AT THE END OF THE STORY. MY SUGGESTION IS TO LOOK FOR DIFFERENT CONDOS ON THIS SWAG TEXAS BEACH.

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  38. Well, Italian hotel #2 for me. If the choice were either of those two in Texas, I'd rather stay home. I hate a bad hotel, no matter where it's located. I'd rather eat bread and cheese in a great hotel than eat gourmet and sleep in a mediocre hotel. Surely, there must be something better than those two places?

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  39. Joni....you got me! What a hoot....honestly - thought: what a lucky gal with that hubby of yours. Hhhhhmm...Texas, huh? Well, it's more about the company you keep, right? You'd have fun wherever you are.

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  40. you really had me going there for a while. I was thinking Wow! Now I know you'll be suffering through Texas coast condo design just like we do ... Actually I've never stayed anywhere with a sofa that bad. Funny post!

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  41. Shoot. You had me going there. I was just about to say that... it is lavender, not lilac, but you should definitely pick the first house. Direct access to the beach is a must. Plus the house is much more my style. I was soooo excited for you!

    And then...those last two photos make me want to go have a bath. My eyes hurt.

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  42. Funny! I'm with Linda - I choose #2 in Italy, & after that just send up good thoughts that a nice reader will hook you up with some accomodations at the Padre that won't make you cry every time you walk the door! Yikes.

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  43. Oh Joni -- -
    Our DreamLives are so much more enchanting than our RealLives!
    Carol Hicks Bolton has the MOST adorable house on So. Padre ... .
    give her a call and see if she'll rent it to you.

    JJJjj

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  44. Geez! And to think I was thrilled to get to go to NYC in March for our niece's fun wedding where I was still happy to get sore feet from from walking more than I ever do in suburbia Texas. Even after running into Kathie Lee Gifford and a few other celebs, it can't compare to these two gorgeous sanctuaries. And that was sadly probably our only big trip this year. How in the world can we decide between those two extraordinary locales? My solution has to be one month at il carrubo and then a month at la quercia. Any way I look at it, if I were going to either location, I would not be coming back! Couldn't make me. No way. The beautiful children and grandchildren would have to come visit me for a few months. Just gazing at these photos relaxes me. Imagine what it would feel like to drink in these magnificent places in person. Every care would melt away. That is, until I got the credit card bill. Who cares! It's worth it. You make lifetime memories. And after all, we only live once so we better live!

    Bon voyage for la docle vita, Joni, Ben and Elizabeth. I doubt you will be chased off by hurricanes there.

    Caio, Baby!

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  45. * Joni, FIRST of all, I think your Ben is SUCH a DEAR... and a HANDSOME, GENEROUS one at that (make sure he reads that, ok? It might "help the cause"!!! Grins!)~~~

    Seriously, if given the choice, I'd take Italian Villa #2~~~ The clean, uncluttered, thick n' cushy feeeeel of it all is soooo vacation-like... so richly & elegantly casual & free of distractions, & lets the mind feel feel to drift (IMHO, of course!) & THAT's what a vacation SHOULD be about! (Of course, it may mean forgoing a "wonderful, new/OLD piece" you may "discover" for "a while", but it just depends on how much you "want Italy", right?

    Of course, PERSONALLY, I think you'd do better off (& NOT have to fly as far!) w/ a FEW FAAABULOUS DAYS @ the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara or the Ritz C. in Laguna... BOTH are WONDERFUL! (Of course, Malibu n' La Jolla are beautiful too!). My Mom always said "You can ALWAYS afford to go first class... you just might not be able to STAY AS LONG!"... (but it's EWORTH it, isn't it???

    Can't wait to hear what you decide to do!!! Either way, you'll have TIME OFF w/ those you TRULY LOVE n' ADORE~~~ who could ask for anything more???~~~

    Have been "out of the net" for days, verrry sick~~~ so nice to be up today & looking at those fab pics of Italy... (The OTHER choices almost sent me back to my sick-bed, tho! Smiles!)~~~

    Love, Linda in AZ*

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  46. Had to laugh because I didn't exactly finish your post about Ben qualifying his anywhere to anywhere in Texas. How about offering to redesign one of those spaces for free summer rentals from now until eternity? That would solve the assault on your sensibilities. At least you can spend most of your time at the beach and don't have to look at the outdated decor all day long.

    Happy Beach Time, Joni!

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  47. Oh Joni, I was ready to get out my list of Italian sources for your antique shopping abroad!! And then I read to the end of your blog.... what a clarifer!!! Nevertheless, I must say Italy or not, I suspect you'll have a sensational time with family!! (though I'm sad you'll miss the pasta and gelati!!) You're living the "dolce vita"!

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  48. You rotten deco-scoundrel! You had me so fooled. I would have chose #2 in Italy. But listen here, you are sooooo lucky to have a man that takes you lovely ladies to a Texas beach!

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  49. A Special Invitation...
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    Stop by soon; the giveaway ends Friday May 8.
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    HERE IS THE URL
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  50. OK, I was falling for the Italy ploy too, ha-ha! you had us going there for a minute. I've been to Italy & it's breathtaking, so I doubt those photos were retouched. It IS that beautiful there.

    So, what you should do now is book something on the FL gulfcoast. Have you seen those beaches?? Destin, Seagrove, Seaside? You would love it if you haven't been. the beaches are white sugar sand & you'll be spoiled for another beach in the US after you experience these.

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  51. fyi...I went with linen on my sofa!

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  52. Karen at Junking in Georgia 2009May 3, 2009 at 4:07 PM

    Italy, Italy, Italy.. both places are wonderful we can all dream! enjoy the Texas beach time.. those rocks in Italy would hurt your feet..

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  53. Ha! That's hilarious. I've lived in Texas my whole life and I've never been to South Padre. Maybe someday!

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  54. ooooh Joni! I say slip Ben a mickey, put him on the plane, and when he wakes up in Italy, you can just say that you are in Tx, and that they REALLY remodeled. Bwhahahaha! As far as all the Italians and the language, I don't know how to pull that one off, but at that point, who cares, right?
    Good find on those two Italian properties - they are both little slices of heaven!!
    Here's to hoping for better luck this year with the weather!
    xo Isa

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  55. Why don't you surprise your husband with flight tickets to Italy....I would book the first house on the spot (the dollars is fairing better..) swimming before breakfast..enchanting.
    This is coming from someone going to Iceland this summer in search of the ultimate glacier to hike and freezing water to swim in....

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  56. Hmmmm ... that swimming pool would trend me toward selecting the #2 vacation spot in Italy, as I long ago gave up ocean swimming ... too many creepy, crawly and wiggly things brushing up against my body. Also, I definitely want to give the sharks all the room they need to maneuver in their own neck of the wood so to speak (nothing like barging in on someone else's territory).

    You really pulled me into this one ... it made me laugh.

    Yes, I hear that Padre Island does have wonderful beaches. Unfortunately, no opportunity has arisen for our family to visit that area.

    Will you be showing us additional rentals that your family might be interested in securing? Who knows you might add to the number of summer vacationers on that Island this year.

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  57. yes, Mediterranean sea is that bright blue, sometimes it's hard to believe it's natural, but it is!
    Both houses are nice, but my choice would be the second one. I especially love the kitchen!
    I really hope Ben will change his mind and you all go to Italy, maybe not for a month but two weeks :-)
    Ben, please take Joni to Italy, you'll enjoy it soooooo much!
    Irina

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  58. La Quercia is it! It is so you Joni and Ben would just LOVE it...ONCE you get him there.
    I don't think you would enjoy yourself at all in either one of those LOVELY Tejas places, I KNOW I wouldn't. You and Lizzy NEED to SWEET talk him BIG time!

    ps...I enjoy your chat on SRT!

    xo and Blessings!

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  59. OMG how could you get me so exited and just leave me hanging like this. I thought for a second OMG Joni is going to one of the two most beautiful places I've seen lately. I'm with you in why don't condo owners remodel. They are too greedy, I guess. This was very funny though.

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  60. Wait a minute, why not check out some other beaches? Why oh why just Texas??? BEN!!!
    I fell in love with Italian house #2, but my hubby and I spend many summer vacation as a young family with small babes and smaller budget in Tuscany, one can find so many beautifully furnished reasonable treasures...oh Italy, Joni you've got me dreaming!
    Victoria

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  61. Oooohhhh! Joni!
    While reading the post I was taking notes (lots...)to give you a list of things to do, places to go, books (in English)to read...I can't resist to help when someone goes to my country! I was just feeling slightly disappointed you were going to Tuscany (I believe Italy is beautiful all over but people mostly go to Tuscany...overrated in my opinion). I got so excited and then...you are terrible! and you deserve that teal sofa plus fake plants and everything! and sorry but I can't give you any advise on Texas. But if you ever will go to Italy let me know first. Talking about traveling in Italy, please keep an eye on my Blog, big news are coming that way! and you never know...you may end up there after all!

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  62. Well, I would stay in a cardboard box to be nearthe water in Italy...still, seeing SP island again would be fun. We loved in Corpus Christi for a year in the 80s and have not been back since we were transferred. It is so lovely....

    As for beaches, we are meeting our adoption group for a reuion in Orange beach, Alabama in July. Gulf Shores...stayng at a condo on the beach. We can always compare beachy notes...


    Wherever you go, just relaz and soak up the sun and have fun.

    Love,
    Sue

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  63. I would be still pushing for Italy (the second house)! You have some serious charming to do! Tracey xx

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  64. Thanks for visiting my garden and for the sweet note that you left there. However, I will never put you in with the "Blue People"...lol

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  65. How could you ever chose one of the last two options after vacationing in your imagination at the first two>

    You definitely had me going there and I was almost jealous but that quickly turned to regret that I couldn't live vicariously through you during that trip.

    Tricia - Avolli

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  66. Joni,
    You are too Cute! I am dying- sign me up! I could'nt decide between house one or house two- how utterly devine!

    xx

    Michelle
    Zuniga Interiors

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  67. Joni, I'm sorry to hear that Ben doesn't want to treat you to a holiday in Italy. I would hope; in support of the Global Economy he would at least consider it. How disappointing!

    As a Canadian, I'm contemplating my next Winter vacation to be in Texas. (Nooooo, not really.... but don't tell him that.)
    -Brenda-

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  68. We would love for you to stay at the beaches in Alabama. You would also love Fairhope and Point Clear on Mobile Bay as well.

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  69. Joni, what a fun post. It is nice to dream, and that first estate is absolutely my favorite hands down. I just love all of the charm of it! I think I could show my husband a photo of something in our house, and he'd want to know whose house it was! You would think that white sofa would have left an impression! Wherever you end up, I hope you have a wonderful time, and I REALLY hope you don't have any horrible weather! laurie

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  70. this has me laughing out loud! there are so many beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast, and so many AWFUL condos! WHY?!

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  71. LOVE your sense of humor. I was smiling over this all day yesterday.

    I'm curious to know...which agency did you use to find the two listings in Italy?

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  72. Joni, one of my friends brought it to my attention that I was a little harsh with my BLUE COMMENT. So I posted something for you , hope it helps...

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  73. Now that Americans don't have restrictions on going to Cuba anymore, it's worth considering. The architecture is beautiful as is the white sand and the sea!

    Irina

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  74. I wouldn't be able to make up my mind between the first and second place in Italy. The first one is so full of interesting accouterments but the second has the pool.

    Too bad about those last two. Ugh!

    Came here via Mary at Little Red House when she suggested I take a look at your Grey Gardens post. My gosh, you went to a lot of trouble. That is fantastic! What a dearth of information. Thank you.

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  75. You crack me up Joni! Love those homes in Italy- they are very beautiful. I'm pretty sure I've heard that Texan vacation memories are just as good as Italian ones though :)

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  76. Well, I'm kinda late reading this post because I've been out of town. You had me going too. I've actually stayed at a hotel outside Portofino and the view was SPECTACULAR. It was a beautiful hotel, but not as wonderful as your finds. Not as homey, anyway. I think my vote is for the 2nd one also. Just in case, you never know, it might happen. I'm just saying.

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  77. Firt time commenting, I just had to. I was thinking what makes me keep coming to your blog and usually only your blog. It's because with you Joni WE TRAVEL!!!last week we were at Gray Gardens and this week in Italy!!! I look forward to your posts now instead of my favorite magazine. Thank You so much.

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  78. haha, I like the marble too. NO, you will never be in my blue people group...

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  79. Just by reviewing the snaps everyone will just love to spend a great holiday in such a cool and natural place.

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  80. You know, Joni, I've pursued beaches all my life. Seen 'em all, Copacabana, Trunk Bay, Portofino, etc. And honestly, I love the Texas coast best. Maybe it's a homeplace thing. Sand chair, umbrella, cooler, books and magazines, binocs. Heaven.

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  81. What spectacular views! What spectacular homes! But I do believe there is a method to the teal couch madness...They want you to stay on the beach! And with that couch...no problem (:

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  82. first of all, how are you feeling?! i saw on twitter that you were getting sick. second, these photographs make me want to cry they are so gorgeous. it's raining in rhode island so these are triply appreciated. hope you feel better soonest!

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  83. Too bad you can't stay in Tuscany #2! Well, as long as the S.Padre Island homes are clean, that's all that would matter to me! Enjoy the beach!

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  84. Just say no to teal. At least in a beachy environ.

    Love choice #1 (altho, I fell for #2's kitchen). But the al fresco dining spot in #1 made it the obvious for moi.

    cheers,
    -susan

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  85. I have the perfect solution for you: go to South Padre Island this summer and offer to redecorate the condo there in return for free accommodations. And then the money you save on this year's vacation, you can use to go to Italy next year!! :-)

    Tough call between the two Italian guest houses. I kind if like #2 better, but the direct access to the beach at #1 might be the clincher....

    Wherever you decide to go, hope it's hurricane-free!!

    Kelly @ DesignTies

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  86. Okay, you really had me there for a minute!..I was thinking to myself.."How can I convince this lady I am a long lost relative so that I can stay in the annex of La quercia?" ......I do have real relatives in Texas... who actually tried to take me to South Padre...but traffic was horrible (spring break) so we didnt make it! (I was blocks from the ocean! dang!) I hope you have a wonderful vacation where ever you end up!

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  87. HAhahahaha! Joni....you had me! Would love to show you some of the California beaches someday: Laguna Beach, Big Sir, Mendecino, Carmel....sigh....I need a vacation!

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  88. You are so funny, Joni! and having known Ben, I can just imagine the conversations going on at your house! You had me for a while though - I was thinking, "okay maybe Mary will go, and Pat and his two kids".........and I thought "wow, what a neat thing for their family"! But, South Padre is where I first found you - (well, saw Ben's tan legs) and I know you all will have a blast there, even if it's not Italy! Great post though, for all of us to dream about!

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  89. Oh my gosh.
    You kill me.
    You need to find the homeowners and see if you can trade design services for 3 weeks stay and spruce those places up! Wait, I take that back, you might need 3 months.

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  90. Joni - Should you decide on Tuscany and would like to spend a few days in Florence please consider the Palazzo Niccolini. It is steps from the centre and is a lovely, privately owned palazzo. It has been recently restored to it's original grandeur and beauty, with many of the frescoed walls still intact. A fabulous buffet breakfast is served in the drawing room each morning. Truly one of my my favorite destinations and places to stay. www.niccolinidomepalace.com/

    Also, for a little cooking experience. A cooking class with Divina Cucina is well worth the money.

    Ciao!
    Nola @ The Bloom Girls

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  91. Most unfair of you, to trick us that way.
    You deserve the real thing: which is to say, that trip
    to Italy.

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  92. We are big on renting our own accommodations for a family of five and are always horrified when we though what we saw on the internet looked perfect to find the spot sort of shabby chic and a bit dingy. We are always happy to come home....lol.
    We do however manage to re-decorate to our taste, do a swift clean and make in home in no time, where ever we are. :)
    pve

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  93. Hysterical. I have put up with worse just for an ocean view! Hope you enjoy your vacay.

    p.s. I love your "Lizzy" towels.

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  95. So cruel, I had such high hopes for you at the La Quercia. Now you must make a difficult choice between the tufted sofa and the leather one. Perhaps you can hang pictures of la quercia then either place will be more bearable.

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  96. Well that's all a far cry from Kansas!

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  97. funny! but there is no choice really- the vintage white sofa is far superior to the teal leather monstrosity- i couldn't bear to look at that every day. if you rent with the leather, bring a white sheet to cover that crap up! (plus leather at the beach? yuck)

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  98. It's a shame we have to drive for 7 hours to South Padre (I've flown and then got a rental and drove from Harlingen-what a drag) for such splendor when we have a beach and sea breeze just 45 miles down the freeway. But we know the water and beach doesn't look quite the same at Galveston.:(

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  99. Beautiful! Well, not so much the place in Texas......gosh, do you think they don't notice that the place is a bit outdated? Maybe leave the pix of the first two spots and they may get the hint?? :-)

    Blessings,
    Spencer

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  100. Oh, Joni there is hope, beautifully decorated condo's do exist on SPI. I worked in real estate there several years back and only live a short distance from the Island. If you like I can try to work my contacts so you don't have to stay in a condo which accosts the eyes.

    buenos dias,
    samantha

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  101. Oh' I like those condo design! It is really attractive. Wish I can also have a condo like that. You've gave me an idea. Thanks for sharing.

    -pia-

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  102. Interesting views. Thanks for blogging about this. Wish I saw this post earlier.


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