Summer is about alfresco living

VilleFrancheTerrace in a converted water cleaning station in Villefranche sur Mer, France designed by Philippe Tondeur (Photo: Laurent Saint Jean for 3Mille)

I have gotten rather addicted to Pinterest!  It is quite easy for me to get caught up in collecting and organizing beautiful images from architecture and design to fashion and art.  I know I am most certainly not the only one, and all of a sudden an hour goes by.

It is Summer after all, and one of my favorite categories is “Alfresco Living”.  Given the typical cool summers in San Francisco, only most rarely dotted with hot days and balm evenings, I am dreaming of spending my time outside, and in warmer climates.  Come and travel with me virtually as we visit some of my favorite outdoor living spaces.  From romantic to modern, I would love to hang out at any one of them right now

IbizaContemporary seating and pool with a divine view at Dupli Dos in Ibiza, Spain by Juma Architects and Minimum Arquitectura (Photo: courtesy of Juma Architects)


Outdoor patio and pool at “Mansion Kyani” a privat villa for rent on Santorini, Greece (Photo: courtesy of Santorini Heritage)


Roof top terrace of Bruno Frisoni’s and Hervé Van der Straeten’s home in Tangier, Morocco (Photo: François Halard for Vogue)


Private pool at a suite at Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, India (Photo: courtesy of Udaivilas)

Capri Jean Louis Deniot 002

Relaxed outdoor lounge seating on a patio in a home in Anacapri, Italy designed by Jean-Louis Deniot (Photo: courtesy of Jean-Louis Deniot)


Outdoor living room at the Villa Amanzi in Phuket, Thailand designed by Original Vision Studio (Photo: Marc Gerritsen)


Bougainvillea-covered patio in the home of Amador Calafat-Busquets on Mallorca (Photo: courtesy of El Meuble)

ML Bullard

Moroccan inspired lounge area in the backyard of Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s home in Los Angeles, CA (Photo: William Waldron for Elle Decor)



Lounging terrace with view of the Mediterranean at a villa in Positano designed by Lazzarini Pickering Architects (Photo: Matteo Piazza)


Terrace with sea view in a garden in Carpintera, CA designed by Eric Nagelman (Photo: Tim Street Porter)

I love the very different cultural expressions of these places.  I have been to Udaivilas, but I would graciously accept an invitation to visit any all of the other places.  So if you own one of them give me a jingle, and I will be on my way.

Wishing everyone a balmy summer!




Impressions from Austria

Cafe Tomaselli

Kaffee mit Schlag (coffee with whipped cream) at the historic Café Tomaselli in Salzburg

I have been MIA because I just returned from visiting my homeland Austria, and as always it of course feels too short.  As I review some of the images I want to book another ticket and fly right back.  I always have a wonderful time enjoying the incredible scenery and a slower pace of life filled with lingering hours in a café, a garden, by a lake, in a field overlooking the mountains or enjoying a leisurely meal with friends and family.

On this visit I spent most of my time in and around Salzburg, as well as in Vienna.  I wanted to share some of my visual memories with all of you.  Here goes:

Residenz Fountain

Horse fountain at the “Residenz Platz” (archbishop’s residence square) in Salzburg

Salzburg Courtyard

Courtyard of a shop in the old town of Salzburg

AlmkanalLeopoldskron Schrebergarten (rental garden) at the Almkanal in Salzburg

Forest Road

Road through the Eichelwald forest in Salzburg

Dom Door

Bronze “Tor der Hoffnung” (door of hope) by Ewald Matareronze added in 1958 to the Dom, Salzburg’s cathedral built in 1628


The coat of arms of Salzburg at the “Alte fürst-erzbischöfliche Hofapotheke” (old archbishop’s court apothecary) in Salzburg

St Peter Graveyard

View of the catacombs and fortress from the St. Peter’s graveyard in Salzburg

St Peter Mill

The mill at the bakery of the St. Peter’s monastery in Salzburg

Mirabell Interior

Staircase at the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg

Mirabell Marble Hall

Marble Hall at the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg

Mirabell 1

View of the fortress from the gardens at the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg


Ornate iron door at Mozartplatz 4 in Salzburg

Hangar 7 Bar

Floating bar atop Red Bull’s Hangar 7


Duck floating amongst the water lilies on the Mattsee (lake) in the Salzkammergut

Bad Ischl

View of the river in Bad Ischl in the Salzkammergut

Hallstatt Lake

Hallstatt lake in the Salzkammergut


View of the Wolfgangsee (lake) from St. Gilgen in the Salzkammergut


Double-headed eagle, the symbol of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on a building in Vienna

Vienna Facade

Ornate façade in Vienna

Naschmarkt Nuts

Spices and nuts at the “Naschmarkt” in Vienna


Schönbicher tea and liquor shop in Vienna

Meindl Mohr

Blackamoor, the symbol of the Meindl gourmet store in Vienna

Meindl Bakery

Bakery at Meindl gourmet store in Vienna

Vienna Night

A warm evening at the Graben in Vienna

Vienna Palais

 Palais in Vienna with dance music sounding from its gates

All photos by Claudia Juestel

If you have not been to Austria yet I hope you will get a chance soon.  Every time I realize how lucky I am to have spent my childhood in such a wonderful country.



What I love about Austria: Chapter 1 Scenery

View of downtown Salzburg from the Mönchsberg (Photo: Herbert Alg)

I have happily lived in the United States for 29 years now, but I will always be a proud Austrian, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have grown up in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  For someone as visual as me to have been surrounded by the amazing scenery of gorgeously detailed buildings enveloped by rolling green meadows, soft-flowing rivers and soaring waterfalls, stunning lakes, and breathtaking snow-topped mountains was an incredible treat, and it continues to be a source of inspiration for me.

Gmunden at the Traunsee (Traun lake) in Upper Austria (Photo: Claudia Juestel)

Waterfall in the historic spa town of Bad Gastein south of Salzburg (Photo: courtesy of

“Almsee” (alpine lake) near Grünau in the “Salzkammergut”, Austria’s lake district (Photo: courtesy of Reginalmanagement Oberösterreich)

Whether you are in the middle of the big city of Vienna or towns like Salzburg and Innsbruck and all the small villages that dot the countryside, the captivating architecture of various centuries always has a close connection to its gorgeous natural backdrop.

The Gloriette at Vienna’s Schönbrunn palace (Photo: Dutei Catalin-Andrei)

Innsbruck (Photo: courtesy of

Hellbrunn palace in Salzburg (Photo: Jordan VanHartingsveldt)

View of Eastern Salzburg from the fortress (Photo: courtesy of

Cruising up the Salzach river south of Salzburg (Photo: Claudia Juestel)

Keltenallee with a view of the Untersberg in Salzburg (Photo: Claudia Juestel)

Chinese real estate developers were so captivated by the small village of Hallstatt at the Hallstätter See (Hallstatt Lake) in the Salzkammergut region, the lake district near Salzburg, that they attempted to replicate the picturesque hamlet in an area 60 miles northeast of Hongkong.  They did a decent job recreating the façades of the buildings, but how could anyone achieve anything close to the original with its ancient history dating back to the 2nd century BC, natural lakeside charm, and the majestic mountains surrounding it?

Hallstatt (Photo: Mario Maindl)

I have the most wonderful childhood memories of the Austrian countryside,   I was part of a hiking group and got to experience some of the most wonderful places around Salzburg.  But every time I visit now I can’t get enough, wanting to explore all the other beautiful places Austria has to offer.

Großglockner high alpine road south of Salzburg (Photo: courtesy of

Waterfall in Gradental, a valley in the Carinthian part of the Hohen Tauern mountains (Photo: Arnold Schaffer)

“Mitterberg Alm” below the “Hochkönig” (high king, named after its crown-like peaks), a place I have hiked to many times (Photo: courtesy of Night Sky)

I cannot wait to visit in April and revisit all my favorite places!  Have you been to Austria?  I would love to hear your impressions.  And if you are planning of going Salzburg any time soon check out my insider guide to Salzburg on THE ADRESS on tips for hotels, restaurants, shopping etc.