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Black Velvet
December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Home » casa + cultura

Home Decorating – Cuban Style

Submitted by on July 17, 2009 – 12:12 pm3 Comments

Cuban-Themed Home Decor

“Hi, I’m Marta and I’m a Cuban Online Shopping Addict.”

That’s right – C.O.S.A.** ;-)

“Hi, Marta.”

Okay, well, addict is kind of a harsh word.  I like shopping online. A lot. (that softens it some, doesn’t it? =D)

I just LOVE when packages appear on my doorstep.  Is there anything better? It’s like Christmas every day.

When Lucy and Jonathan were toddlers I didn’t get out to do much shopping.  I am of that old-school of parenting that thinks that parks are much more fun for kids than the mall. (I could rant here, but I will exercise some self-control. Let’s just say I have a definite opinion on this.)

Because I didn’t get to the malls, I opted to go online. Which, even though I don’t have toddlers anymore, is still my first choice for shopping.

Anyway, about 10 years ago, when we still lived in a too-small-for-the-six-of-us condo, I would dream of the home we would one day own and how I would decorate it in my own Caribbean Cottage style. And so I started trolling ebay for Cuban art and decorating items. (They have so many great vintage posters, magazines and cool party and home decorating memorabilia available online.)

All the things I have in my home are not just decorative; they are meaningful to us in some way.

This is my favorite find:
cuban tablecloth for home decor

It’s a souvenir tablecloth from Cuba from the 40′s. I got it on ebay (in a dramatic bidding war!) and paid about $150 for it.  My sister, Alina, had been given one by a friend and I had always loved the vibrant primary colors and the kitschy-ness of it, so I was deliriously delighted to find one. “Holiday Isle of the Tropics” – indeed.

We had the Cuban tablecloth framed in a bright red wood and used acrylic instead of glass so it isn’t heavy or fragile, even though it measures about 5 feet across.  It makes me totally happy every time I see it (which is every time I go up the stairs, which is why I’m happy most days).

Also on ebay were these vintage postcards from Cuba that I got for a couple of dollars.  They are from the 1920′s and actually have greetings on the back and are stamped and all that, so they are not pristine.

But, I’m not that picky. I just think they’re cool looking and they represent some key places in the Cuba of my childhood (Varadero Beach, The Hotel Nacional, which I always thought was an AMAZING and romantic place, but that’s not important right now, and the Malecón):


I stumbled upon this awesome L.A. based graphic designer who did vintage-looking travel posters with great attention to detail.  His name is Kerne Erickson.  Eric has a few of his Hawaiian posters hanging in his office.

These two are my favorites.  I like everything about them: the bright colors, the clean design, the old Pan-Am logo, the vintage look. Everything. I got these from Art.com. (Am I giving you Cuban decoration ideas?)
visit cuba vintage poster
vintage cuban pan am poster

This next one sits above the mantel in our living room.  I found it at Z-Gallerie years ago and then searched for it online. It’s a poster of a piece from Redstone Studios, who create one-of-a-kind maps for like a bizzilion dollars apiece, but these were available as posters for a while. The artist is Connie Brown and I found this link to her on Global Gallery.

At the top is a quote from the poem Hierro by Cuban Patriot (and Saint) Jose Martí:

¡Sólo las flores del paterno prado tienen olor!
¡Sólo las seibas patrias del sol amparan!

Our local frame shop has a service that involves permanent mounting on a plaque.  It costs about a third of what it would to have the piece framed and put behind glass and it also gives it a UV coating that protects the artwork from fading. Needless to say, we have most of our stuff plaqued.

cuba vintage map poster

So what do my decorating choices tell you about me?

* I’m extremely proud of my Cuban heritage.
* I’m on a first-name basis with the owner of our local frame shop. =D
* I like lots of color.
* I like to have fun.
* I’m very sentimental.
* I don’t take myself too seriously.
* I like receiving packages in the mail.
* I love my home.
* I married a really patient man.

** “Mira que tiene cosas esta mujer!” ~ Ricky Ricardo

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