I’m all for bringing a bottle of wine at dinner—my mother always taught me never to show up empty handed. But since we bring wine at every dinner throughout the year, shouldn’t holiday dinners be extra special? Most hosts will go the extra mile to make a holiday dinner unforgettable, so it seems only fitting that we would follow suit with a great gift. Why not show up with a great bottle of olive oil, an ultra-luxe shower gel, or a great coffee table book? Here are a few of my favorite gifts for the host.
“I was inspired by the local terrain, flora and fauna, so there’s elements of clay, ochre, aloes, the mountains—colors you could be surrounded by whatever the weather, wherever you are.”
—Sophie Ashby, Interior Designer
When South Africa native, interior designer Sophie Ashby, was asked to renovate a petite boutique South Africa hotel in the town of Robertston on the Western Cape, she drew inspiration from her own South African roots nestled in the region’s wine country. With only 10 rooms, a restaurant and a bar, the Robertson Small Hotel is what you might call a micro-hotel—but it’s no less personality than the newest and greatest. Working only with local designers, Ashby managed to infused the local landscape and tradition into a fresh and modern design to rival the most cutting edge establishments. Yet the small hotel retains all the charm of a Victorian private residence.
With the weather getting cooler up north and only warming up in the southern hemisphere, we couldn’t think of a better time to visit this new South Africa hotel, and explore the local wine country. Who’s in?
Right off the Santa Monica boardwalk is this charming beach house. While unassuming in appearance, the interior is beautifully layered for an unpretentious but comfortable life. Interior designer David Netto, who grew up in New York, infused the Santa Monica bungalow with gray, blue and yellow tones—mimicking the sand and surf outside—and a California ease with just a touch of east coast New England nods. Stripes, oils paintings and rattan is woven in with midcentury classics and African accents to perfect that boho nautical vibe. But perhaps the best part of this expertly executed interior in is the colors and contrasts: the bright yellow desk against the soft perinwinkle drapery; the blood red leather chairs against a blue and yellow striped rug. One thing’s for sure: the space is perfectly adapted to easy living: the type that exists only on the coasts.