A night at the Belmont…

Gadora has a love-hate relationship with The Big D. Though Dallas was my home many years ago, and though I made the most of my time there, the list of things I generally don’t love about Dallas is long. Save the asphalt heat and maze of relentless traffic. With near proximity to family the ever-growing city boasts a few properties that keep me coming back.

My ole nabe, Oak Cliff, sits just South of downtown. That part of town—which was sketchy at best—has fared quite well over the years. Nearby Bishops Arts District has enjoyed a revitalization. Long ago I enjoyed tootling around the streets along the West side of town. There are pockets of Dallas where the architecture is quite special. This one old motor motel, dusty and dilapidated, overlooked the city scape, and I wished something grand could happen to it. That was then.

This is now.

Belmont exterior

My girls appeased me over the weekend when a roller derby trip afforded us a night at the Belmont. Since my Dallas departure, the place had been scooped up and was indeed shown some love. Turns out the hotel was a neglected gem from Charles Stevens Dilbeck who took his inspiration from successful California motor court hotels.

Belmont Hotel exterior, Fall 2012.

In 2005, “Local developer Monte Anderson assembled a new urbanist team of architects, designers and craftsmen to bring the wonderful though long-neglected hotel back to its glory days.” In 2008, the Belmont announced a partnership with THE Liz Lambert. You (should) know her of San Jose – THE Austin motor coach hotel with its own movie and el Cosmico fame. Again, what she touches is gold. And this weekend it was emerald-green, pumpkin orange and fire-red.

Sure, I’ve been to the Belmont before. Gadora covets her ‘inspiration’ snaps from the many visits. I’ve just never blogged about it. While the interior is smartly and sparsely appointed, it’s the exterior I relish most. The auto carports have all been transformed into common-area resting nooks.

A glass of vino?

Each one quietly different, they’re at once stark and inviting. Those that face the city’s sparkling skyline benefited this day from the mid-morning overcast sky rushing into each window.

Tea for two.

This car port was the only one to share a wooden wall with its neighbor.

The Other Side.

Room enough for a simple gathering, and bright enough for a good time.

Three’s a crowd.

Gadora doubts it’s an accident the round rug, Acapulco-esque chair and Tulip-inspired table were paired in the patio with the square window. Yeah, Liz is that good.

From the East.

Facing East, the portal’s rays illuminate the entire car port. I love the subtle shadows the chairs cast.

Cottage entrance…

The fuzzy and rambling courtyard makes a loop around the upper portion of the property. The car ports are only separated by themselves and the muted primary palette. A canopy of happy trees opened up to reveal this scenic entrance.

Belmont lobby.

Back inside: over the years, the hotel has revealed an ever-changing lobby. It’s moved from a stark existence to nod to the Mexican Hacienda to this colorful urban-lodge vibe. The black and white “rug”, the must-have in today’s interiors, is painted over the original bricks. The original spindled iron handrails (just out of view) feel right at home in their new surroundings.

The Dallas skyline

Through the lobby, and covered outside bar (no self-respecting Liz Lambert spot is complete without a place to enjoy a libation) I took in the killer Dallas view. While Dallas isn’t one of my favorite places, I give it major props for recognizing such a special, and historically relevant place. Good on ya’ Big D.

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Spare tires: new uses for old rubber…

Gadora recently returned from a road trip to Marfa, Texas where the BFF secured us a few nights at Liz Lambert’s el Cosmico for the Railroad Revival Tour – the last vestige of a month-long BIG Four Oh! celebration. A West Texas party where we’d be happy campers a few footsteps away from Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. I was especially excited to return to Marfa, with a different group of gals who exercised entirely different perspectives, and to be staying on a Liz Lambert property where I had hoped to finally meet her. I swear everything she touches is gold, and I couldn’t wait to see how she dolled up the desert.

el Cosmico lobby

From U.S. 67, the el Cosmico could look like any other desert dwelling. Not flashy. A blend of the dusty desert’s palette. But Liz’s simplistic treatment of its exterior and interior elements, coupled with an unparalleled editing of furnishings and wares, kept my eyes busy. The lobby of the cinder block structure did not disappoint—it would be a hub for the next few days. The weekend’s festivities attracted more than 1,800 people—practically the same amount of people who call it home—and a line formed outside the lobby’s ladies room. I was in it. And it was after the nervous excitement of my first-ever conversation with Liz Lambert had subsided that I could soak in the rest of my surroundings. Immediately taken by the blue tile floor, I soon found myself mesmerized by the repurposed tire ottoman.

Reflective tire ottoman.

To be honest, I was kind of taken with its reflective top. Hmm, I’m kinda messy in the desert. It was an ingenious idea. It’s no doubt sturdy (though I didn’t put any weight on it), and I suspect it enjoyed an assiduous former life.

RIP – coffee table and stools

Searching for Liz’s coffee table, Gadora instead found the above set, once listed on Viva Terra. With more than 240 million tires thrown out in the United States each year, its high-time we do something with them! While in 2003 the EPA (seriously? are these the latest stats?) reported, in 2003, markets for scrap tires consumed 80.4% of their reported 290 million annually generated scrap tires. Let’s see: 20% of 290,000,000 still leaves 58 million unwanted tires. That’s still staggering, no? Unlimited Resources Corporation tells a more staggering story (January 2011): The United States just completed its ten year population census report and our country has almost 310 million people living in it presently. On average, the number of scrap tires generated in this country annually is about equal to the population. Continue reading “Spare tires: new uses for old rubber…”