• Essay,  Travel

    Photo essay: Kraków

    I came a long way in my approach to travel as it was during the last few years. Obviously, 2020 put an abrupt end to it all. All of a sudden my mantra became “work with what you have”, or better yet, improve it! Let’s face it, it was not a choice, it was a necessity. More on that later. It allowed me to evaluate my entire photo collection and to move away from essentially just collecting them and always looking to the next trip, to working with what I have, and distilling what I want, moving forward. It was a turning point when I settled, with intention, on telling…

  • Ceramics,  Travel

    Japan inspired ceramics

    This blog post has been planned for a while…The story was going to start like this: ” Last year, I was planning a trip to Japan that was going to end in a remote Japanese ceramics village, but I ended up in a remote Polish village creating a travelogue of the exquisite Japan inspired ceramics. Does it mean that this year, 2020, I will end up in Japan while planning a trip to Poland?” That draft was written in January this year. The world has been ravaged by the pandemic since, and our travel remains, for the time being, an armchair traveller’s one. I cannot help though, but to share…

  • Travel

    Roadtrip: The impossible charm of a small Czech town

    One particularly rainy evening in October last year brought me to Starý Plzenec, a small town in west Bohemia. Little over an hour from Prague, it is decisively off the beaten path, and requires a detour from the highway (and detour around its much bigger neighbor Pilsen). Another words, perfect. My brother and I were taking a road trip through Czech Republic on the way to Germany. Small town vibes and old world charm were definitely high on the agenda, as we left rainy and moody Žižkov district of Prague (my enthusiastic “new favorite!”, just brought a confidently restrained “I knew it” smile on my brother’s face). After all, he…

  • Portuguese countryside - Totally by Design
    Food,  Table Styling,  Travel

    Portugal – countryside food tales

    Beyond my, now well documented, love of Lisbon there is a little secret. The countryside outside of Lisbon, all within less than 2 hour drive. Looking deeper, past the veneer of maybe little too perfect home renovations, there are still captivating stories to be told, with colorful local characters, oblivious to the demands of instagrammable perfect shots. Moments that unfold into stories, and only take time and curiosity to develop. Enter the village of Ericeira, on the Atlantic cost. While my traveling companions went into the cave looking for elusive sea urchins (elusive mostly because they were not in season!), I opted for the above ground vantage point, mesmerized by…

  • Travel

    Wanderlust: Lisbon

    I never wanted to write a guide book, or even a blog post that would serve as a  miniature guide book. Not because of the research involved, but because I consider travel deeply personal event, and choose to express and convey my favorites places through photography and mood, rather than a list to follow.  I no longer pay much attention to “must see” lists of any destinations I go. I probably will never admit what I did not care to see in Rome for example…Still there are places that struck a chord with me that I am more than happy to share.  The memories though are a function of people…

  • Wanderlust Venice| totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Wanderlust: Venice

    Mention Venice even in a casual conversation and more often than not you are bound to unleash a monolog of “when I was in Venice…” type. What if you have never been to Venice? What if you want to go and just cannot bear the thought of crowds and the cliches? Well, I got you covered.  This past October I embarked on a solo 3 day visit to Venice, my first time to this city. Ryan Air had a great deal on a round trip ticket from Krakow, so off I went just with a carry on and my camera.  Read through for my survival tips and personal approach to…

  • Travel

    Williamsburg mornings

    Sometimes all it takes is few morning hours to restore the creative life spark. Welcome to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I have been long saying that this neighborhood of Brooklyn has the same eclectic mix as the Shoreditch, London, or my own Cambridge, Massachusetts. I am also happily adding Grünerløkka, Oslo to this category as of October this year. See two posts earlier why! It is still mind boggling to me, how few stops on the L train and you end up in a neighborhood that is such a far cry from Manhattan. I made my base at the Wythe Hotel, just to check out the decor, but also for its iconic…

  • Oslo guide | totallybydesign.com
    Travel

    Wanderlust: Oslo

    We headed to Oslo early October, hoping for some seasonal weather and trying not to utter the word “snow” to each other. The city, that I have not seen since my student days, and that was completely new to Carl, did not disappoint. As always, I steered us clear of the touristy, or just simply predictable (sorry, no Viking Museum this time) and booked us in a hotel in Grünerløkka part of town.  Adapted old industrial district, with a bohemian flair, with parks and small town feel main squares (reminded me of Poland a bit), it stole my heart instantly. The city is perfectly walkable, it took only 20 minutes…

  • Denmark North Zealand | totallybydesign.com
    Interiors,  Travel

    Wanderlust: Denmark part 2

    Traveling through North Zealand  part of Denmark felt like discovering one of the biggest secrets of Instagram.  So this is how people get to take these perfectly moody blue/gray photos! Of course, before Instagram this was  called the painters’ light, as my Danish friend Sussi reminded me when we pulled up to a particularly stunning vista. Our day started in Hundested, a small, coastal town northwest of Copenhagen. Then, onto Torup, and heading towards the sea, I encountered my first Danish fairytale village.  It was 10 in the morning, as we meandered through the village’s country lanes, only greeted by a lone dog walker. No cars, no crowds, the only…

  • Interiors,  Travel

    Wanderlust: Copenhagen

    The story starts in a restaurant with a drawing of a greenhouse in its logo. Instantly smitten, right? I went to Väkst (Danish for ‘growth’) with my Danish friend Sussi to celebrate my birthday. I was not taking any chances. Only few hours after arriving in Copenhagen, I stood at the door right at the opening time, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and giddy with anticipation. Since we were so early, I was able to take photos before the place filled up.  But when the food started arriving, I put my camera down to enjoy the red sorrel until the last tiny leaf, and the sourdough bread until the last crumb…And that…