July 22, 2016

Unplugging Swedish style

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Hope you’re having a good summer.

I want to share some pictures from our trip over here. Since the house is undergoing renovations we have been out and about more than usual.

I’ve unplugged not been attached to my computer instead doing a lot of this…


Enjoying evening swims in pristine lakes.



Biking country roads…



Even fishing!




Time with lively nieces.


Swimming off the cliffs in the giant lake…



And of course spending time with family…


…friends and neighbors…


…and just enjoying this place.



July 1, 2016

London calling!

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Happy 4th everyone!

While you hopefully are heading out for some fun stateside celebrations I’m doing some traveling around Europe. The last two weeks have been non stop work in a sweltering LA heatwave so arriving to a rainy London was refreshing.

It was Luke’s first trip to London so we were dressed in sneakers and jeans ready to explore as much of the city as possible. We arrived here a couple of days after Brexit with all the drama of England leaving EU in the news, but you would have never known of the political turmoil once you got here.


We stayed at the Soho house in Soho a couple of blocks from Piccadilly circus. A perfect area for a tourist -British flags and red double decker buses everywhere.

We started at the TOWER of LONDON.  I would put this first on your sightseeing list if you ever plan a visit. The tower dates back to medieval times and is a fortress mini city in the midst of the modern world.


It’s surrounded by a mote and is right next to the river Thames.

Here is this remnant from a different life with the tallest building in Europe in the background.


You can spend a few hours here looking around all the old castles and museums.


This is the medieval fortress – love the fireplace!

Big Ben was next on the list…


Luke had wanted the trip for his memory bank alone and tried to avoid taking pictures non stop but here Big Ben won out. What an architectural master piece!


Here is Luke’s magnificent picture.

You feel giddy the second you see the clock tower.

Across the street from Big Ben is WESTMINSTER ABBEY the most gorgeous cathedral , famous for all the royals getting married there.


It’s amazing what beauty humans built hundreds of years ago compared to the modern lines of architecture today.

And no visit would be complete unless you go to Buckingham palace which was not open.


But we were happy enough to see the pretty gates!



At night we wandered down to Trafalgar square underneath the rows of British flags. What a great city!

Hope you are having a great holiday!

Next stop Sweden…time to renovate!



April 6, 2015

My accidental visit to Greta Garbo's house

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Hope you had a great Easter weekend!

I was lucky enough to have been invited to Palm Springs for the weekend with a bunch of moms and teenage boys to stay at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs. The hotel is a gigantic but incredibly charming golf resort built in the 1920’s surrounded by a beautiful mountain range. The entire site was so pretty it felt like a movie backdrop. And to make it even more interesting, I stumbled on one of the most magical houses I’ve ever seen….

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While wandering the area I happened to stumble upon a wedding being set up in a courtyard of  a house in a quiet corner of the hotel property.

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Something with the house really intrigued me and I had to take a closer look.

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Turns out the house once belonged to Swedish silent film star Greta Garbo.


The entire house was left the way it was when she lived in it.

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The simple yet grand Spanish 1920’s kitchen.

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The kitchen led out to a lowered sunken living room…

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Where time seemed to have stood still.

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The house consisted of three separate wings divided  by the courtyard.

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The living room was very Scandinavian.

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I can only imagine what it looked like at one time.

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A grand soaring living room.

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And amazingly old/modern bathrooms.

How cool!

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I bet the lone seeking movie star enjoyed some real peace and quiet here.



August 10, 2014


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There are times you feel really frustrated by the fact that you can’t have 110 images in one blog post. Right now is one of those moments.

Last week I drove with Dan up the California coast. Although our top destination was Carmel and Big Sur a miracle moment came when The Madonna Inn appeared along Highway 101. I just had to stop and check out a hotel with a huge pink retro sign along the highway.


The Madonna Inn was the mastermind of Alex Madonna and his wife, who in 1958 designed it as a place for overnight travelers on their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

This wonderfully wacky California cool hotel was an instant success with over the top themed hotel rooms. Today it’s a favorite destination for weddings and fun seekers from around the world.

I find myself dreaming of which of the 110 gloriously kitschy rooms we will stay in.

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You drive in and check in here.


Image Madonna inn

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We entered and were greeted by a crazy hot pink fifties, rose petal party affair that had your head spinning.


Hot pink leather bar stools. I must have a drink there one day.


Here is the main ballroom ready for one of the many weddings.

My favorite part, the themed hotel rooms.


Image via Huffington post

There are a ton of photo shoots that take place at the Madonna Inn. For the obvious reasons.


The Love nest room.

The rooms are kaleidoscope colorful, filled with humor and often have stair cases, balconies or rock walls! How can you not love that?


Yosemite rock room.

All the stone in the rooms comes from the land.


Just Heaven room.


American Home room.


Barrel of fun room.


Caveman room.


Dot & Daisy room.


Fabulous Fifties room.


Safari Room.


These last two I don’t know the name of the rooms.

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Oh boy, I can’t decide which one to pick…..Which is your favorite room?

I wish I could include all 11o, although the 110th room has a sign on it that says “NoName” and is storage room.

Bet even that is cool.  And wait until you see the bathrooms…


March 31, 2014


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It’s  a big week, Luke has become a teenager. It’s hard for me to grasp! But to celebrate Luke, Dan and I have been visiting with some friends in the Bahamas, and heading to Miami later today for a few more days of spring break.

I wanted to share some pictures of this brand new resort we have been visiting called Albany in the Bahamas. Very Dr. Seuss like, I’d say.


Bright colors are great at the beach.

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Fun Dr. Seuss like stripes in the kid area.


Time to exercise.


It’s nice to break away from all responsibilities for a while.


Luke has spent hours here.


While Dan and I have played hours of paddle tennis with our friends.


Really enjoying all this orange.

You can follow along on JILLSORENSEN@INSTAGRAM.COM.

Are you on spring break somewhere?





September 3, 2013

Elvis Honeymoon House

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Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend!

In my eagerness to discover all the great environments and architecture around here, we took off for an overnight trip to Palm Springs.  I had only flown in there briefly in my twenties so it was really exciting to drive from LA and see the country change in to desert and mountain walls.

An ad in a hotel magazine spiked my interest in what was called the Elvis honeymoon house. It was a super cool retro house Elvis had lived in during his first year of marriage. Elvis fan or not, who can resist a tour guided by an Elvis, Priscilla or a Liberace lookalike?

When we found the house nestled at the base of the dramatic San Jacinto  mountains we could see why in the 60’s they appropriately named it “The House of Tomorrow”.

Image from Great House blog.

The house was built by a prominent Palms Springs developer Robert Alexander in 1960 who is responsible for about 2200 houses being built here in a ten year period. All of them super modern and  ahead of their time.

The basic layout of this house was four large circles. It made me wonder why we don’t build more circular homes now?

The house was talked about, but it wasn’t until Elvis rented the home in 1967 and honeymooned there it became famous..

Circular stone steps lead up to the house.

You can visit their site here for more history.

We were excited to be greeted by….

…Priscilla Presley in her wedding gown!

It’s actually Darlene, a well known lookalike who won the huge Priscilla lookalike contest at Graceland. Darlene was an avid Elvis fan and gave us a fantastic tour of the home.

The home represents the best in indoor outdoor living. A sunken living room with only natural stone walls and glass.

Perfect for the Rock King…

Elvis we were told walked in the house and fell in love with it.

The bedroom was pink and circular. Love that my bedside lamps are the same as Elvis…

The kitchen was also spaceship like…everything was round.

I’m getting ideas about round kitchen counters….

We were invited to sit in any furniture and take as many pictures as we liked…

…we could tour the stunning back yard. (That’s my mom in the photo)

“Priscilla” showed off the pool…

…and shared their favorite Elvis movie “Clambake”. He lived in this house while filming that.

She even let us in to his bathroom and to smell his perfume…

Luke was so entertained by this. People smelling dead people’s perfume jst because you were famous.

On my next visit to this cool 60’s desert city I might perhaps go back and catch an Elvis impersonator concert, or head off to tour Frank Sinatra’s house.  I also would get a kick out of getting a tour by Liberace!

This house inspired me to think outside the box in my upcoming house hunt. Really who can resist a round kitchen counter and stove top…?

November 28, 2012

Ten days in the islands

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I’m back!

I’m sorry for the complete lack of posts for almost two weeks. Luke, Dan I left with some friends to stay in a rented house in the Virgin Islands for Thanksgiving, only to find out when we got there (although advertised) there was no internet.  Serious grrrr…  And the last few days of the vacation we spent on a boat in the Grenadines. What a stunning place! So before I get back to the design posts and cold temperatures here I just have to share some pictures from our trip.

It was so nice to arrive to warm temperatures and enjoy the warm ocean. St Thomas at sunset.

Luke and Kate playing on the beach. A new beach to try every day.

Kieran my godson being buried in the sand by Luke.

Kieran doing his six year old interpretation of the “Gangham Style” dance playing on Luke’s phone. Any of you with kids probably know the song all to well…

Amazing sunsets….

Mustique in the Grenadines, doesn’t get better than this!

One of my all time favorite bar restaurants to go to. “Firefly” if you ever go-you MUST visit!

Amazing views, amazing vibe and amazing food. In short-amazing.

So charming with an old world James Bond vibe.

Macaroni beach. Rugged beauty.

Downtown Mustique. definitely no rush hour traffic.

The super charming airport. That is actually us in the plane taking off on our way home.

Anyway back to reality and a huge amount of work!

Stay tuned for a bunch of December giveaways, sales and sweepstakes!

August 12, 2012

The Glorious California coast

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After dropping Luke at his first ever sleep away camp at Lake Arrowhead, Dan and I decided to drive Highway 1 up along the jagged California Coast. I’m not big on sharing nature scenery snap shots, but this time, I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.

If you haven’t been to this part of the world, schedule a trip NOW!

Here are some great spots, tips and places to visit on this magical mystery tour…

We worked our way from Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernandino mountains out to Santa Barbara.

Stunning place for an overnight stay or two.

Hiking clothes are highly recommended.

Miles and miles and miles of amazing territory to hike!

North of Santa Barbara close to San Simeon, stop to see the wild elephant seals.

We would have made it to the Hearst Castle had we not had a little hick up (see P.S)

As you get in to Los Padres National Forest the drive definitely gets scary.

Insanely rugged stunning beauty and miles without a fence. Just a steep cliff between you and the ocean…

At one  view stop, we met these super friendly squirrels. They jump on you the second you get out of your car and snag any food you have. They even take it out of your hands! Needless to say this Alvin and the chipmunks gang were major crowd pleasers.  These fearless squirrels are all over Monterrey county.

In Big Sur don’t miss to visit Julia Pfeiffer state park. There you’ll find the leftovers of an old home stead, originally built by a pioneer woman in the late 1800’s. The land was purchased by an east coast heiress who built “The Waterfall House” right here with this view. All that is left now are the terraces. When she died she donated it to the state as park land, in the name of the original owner Julia Pfeiffer.

This sign basically sums up the entire coast.  Yep, you need to be a SAFE driver.

My shadow in the strong afternoon sun. Sun block is a must.

Hiking at Andrew Molera state park. Stepped over a rattle snake here without noticing it, luckily I didn’t get bit. But a few minutes later a nasty yellow jacket got me!  I guess it was a bite from the better of the two.

Note to self: Bring snake and yellow jacket bite kits when hiking here.

Stay at Deetjen Inn. The hotel was started by a Norwegian man who housed wayward horse and wagon travelers in the 1800’s. Rustic simple cabins, no internet, no phone, and no internet bookings still. You need a room, call.  We didn’t stay there….next time.

The golden hills of Big Sur at sunset. Magical.

The golden hills of Big Sur…again, just because…

Post Ranch Inn definitely worth a visit, if not for dinner, then for drinks a sunset. It’s all they say it is, and more.

You dine above the fog on the Pacific.

Sit quietly and watch the sunset. It doesn’t get better than this.

Thanks for letting me share these pictures. I can’t wait to go back there again.


What not to do when you are on the remote Highway 1 on your way home…..

Do NOT grab the sunblock in the trunk, then lock it accidentally leaving the car keys inside it.

You generally have to wait 6 hours for AAA.

Thank You to Sunny of Sunny’s Towing who drove 4 hours just to spend 15 minutes to get us back in to our rental car!!

And super thanks to all the kind people at Lucia’s Lodge

..who gave us unlimited credit in their restaurant and convenience store until we could get our stuff!

This place (minus the sunblock debacle) is a must. Best fish and chips in the country!

July 13, 2012

A stay at Kragga Mansion

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Our trip to Sweden sadly came to an end this week.  But instead of opting for a sad goodbye and stay in a depressing airport hotel, we decided on another adventure.  To break up the four hour drive to the airport in Stockholm my friend Monica, Luke and I stayed overnight at Kragga Mansion, another one of c/o Hotels amazing old properties that dates back to the 14th century. Perhaps you read about last years stay at the haunted Haringe Castle?  These places make me swoon! If you ever visit Sweden, I highly recommend them.

We started out driving three hours on one of Sweden’s biggest highways. Yes, this is what highways look like in Sweden. One lane roads….

Just not enough people for the five lane freeways  I guess…

After some maneuvering we finally found the entrance to this old place.

Can you resist a tree lined street? It always makes me so curious what will be at the other end of it…

This is what we found…Kragga Mansion.  You can read the history of the home here.

My favorite part about staying at a property that c/o Hotels own and manage, is that you always feel like you are the private guest of someone.

Photo op on the front stop. We stayed this casual all the way through dinner.

The big decision of the night was deciding on what room to eat in…

The dining room?

Perhaps the living room?

The pretty blue down stairs dining area?

(I was obsessing over this great blue color – the back wall shows the color correctly.)

Cool accessories!

We decided since it was a perfect evening to dine outside.

We would eat in front of the lake in these castle like dining sets. That’s the wing of the property where we stayed in the back.

Next to beautiful roses!

How could you not want to enjoy this view?

The sun shines until late in the evening, so better bring your sunglasses when dining outside even late at night! Luke’s hat wasn’t enough.

As the evening progressed it got a bit chilly and the blankets offered by the hotel came in handy. Luke wore his as a cape, and ran the length of the yard down to visit the lake cottage and famous sauna.

The perfect spot to finish off a glass of wine! A lot of old Swedish homes built these little funny buildings down by the water to dine our have drinks in. The houses were built further away to stay away from the cold water front. Really anything to stay warm in Sweden!

I love the dramatic Swedish summer sitting wrapped in a blanket and breathing fresh air.

Ho cozy chic is this?

Swedes are big on fur covered chairs, for one reason, to warm up your behind!

L-O-O-O-V-E-D this spot!

I want a space like this, a cottage just to sit by the lake and be cozy!

And enjoy the natural beauty.

We headed out to have a look at the sauna at the end of the dock.

Just really enjoying the night.

Checking out the hotel from afar, that was once a private home.

And then we retired to our small but cheerful room.

Have a great weekend!

March 26, 2012

An artist's tropical dream home

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I’m back.

Well this trip did not turn out the way we had expected.  We had NO IDEA that there was a huge DJ festival in all of Miami, and that one of the biggest DJ concerts would take place at our hotel pool for FOUR DAYS!! After only two days of peace, the hotel turned in to a torture chamber. Crowds, obnoxiously loud techno music, thousands of women dressed like South beach “working girls”. (What’s with the dress code ladies?)  And on top of it the hotel internet didn’t work!! It’s safe to say The Raleigh Hotel lost lots customers this week, since they never informed the hotel guests! So we spent an entire day hunting down a hotel room in Miami, which was of course impossible.

Instead we ended up in the only available room, in a less desirable hotel in Fort Lauderdale.  Trying to make the best of it, we decided to explore the area, and started with a museum close by, only because we heard there were cute monkeys living in the garden. Well, we never saw any monkeys, instead we found the ultimate LIVE LIKE YOU house!

This is what we had hoped to find.

Instead we found the most beautiful tropical home, The BONNET HOUSE. Early settler Hugo Taylor Birch bought 3 miles of ocean front property in 1895. In 1919 he donated 35 acres of it to his daughter Helen, and her artist husband Frederic Clay Bartlett. Helen soon died of breast cancer and Frederic married artist Evelyn. Together they turned the entire house in to a remarkable work of art.

It’s a blue and yellow house, now a museum, situated on the only untouched acres of land along the beach, near massive, depressing developments.

image via Flickr

Beautiful colors, shell embellished doorways, painted ceilings, all done by the artists themselves. Every inch of the home was a beautiful piece of art.

Image via travelblog

Every ceiling was painted a beautiful motif.

my Iphone pic

Every door way was a scuplture.

Even the windows were embellished!

Image via Martha Stewart

The house had all kinds of elements incorporated in to the structure.

The courtyard was filled with two things that I love..


And whimsical animal sculptures and art.

Inside the artist’s studio there were INCREDIBLE paintings.

We were not allowed to take pictures in here, but I found this image on the internet.

And this one from Martha Stewart, who had just visited there as well, I found out.

Image via Martha Stewart.

Big colorful paintings, with a whimsical twist. None of these images do justice to them.

image via Flickr

Talk about really living like you!

Image via Martha Stewart

This is the master bedroom, which you are only allowed to see on film at the museum. Not sure why.

One of the many patio doors.

Thank You to artist Evelyn Bartlett for donating it to the Florida Trust for Historic preservation, so we all can enjoy it. She passed away at 109 in 1997.

The following is from the Bonnet House site:

“Due to the threat posed by inappropriately massive nearby development, the National Trust and the Florida
Trust for Historic Preservation designated listed Bonnet House as one of
America’s 11 most endangered sites in 2008.”

If you’re ever in the area, DON’T miss it. It will inspire you.