Sunday, 31 March 2013

my Sunday moment

Home-made bread, a map of London, Ottolenghi and Tamimi's Jerusalem cookbook, my one of many notebooks, and Daniel Bergmann's Iceland Landscapes showing the view to Mt. Hattur and Jökulgil canyon. Unseen: a cup of latte and a Persian cat sleeping under the table.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Thursday, 28 March 2013

happy easter

I am taking a short blog break to enjoy the Easter holidays. The next days in this house will consist of baking, reading and watching films. We are saving road trips for later when it gets warmer. I had pictured myself these Easter taking my coffee on the balcony with a stack of magazines and books by my side but the weather isn't warm enough. They were even expecting snow today but luckily there is no sign of it.

Happy Easter holidays!

photo credit:
1-2: Christophe Rouffio for Campagne Décoration / 3: Pierre-Jean Verger for Art & Décoration

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

my summer present: bringing nature home by ngoc minh ngo

Some would say that this post is appearing one year too late on my blog but there is a reason for it.

Each year Icelanders celebrate the first day of summer on a Thursday between the 18th and 26th of April (this year it's on the 25th), which is funny as it is still spring and also if you compare the average temperature on that day in Iceland to an average summer day, for example, on the European Continent. The last time I checked the highest temperature on this day in Iceland was 13.5°C (56.3°F), back in 1998. [Pause for laughter.] However, this is an old custom from the settlement of the country that Icelanders have held on to and it's an official holiday. Usually, the weather is dry on this day and the sun is shining so when I look back it was always a beautiful day.

On the Icelandic first day of summer it is a tradition to give presents to children. Usually I got a new ball or a hula hoop or something to play with outdoors, but I still remember the year when I got light blue cropped trousers with a slit, beautifully sewn by my mother, and a striped T-shirt. I was probably seven.

Good old times!

Why all this talk about the Icelandic first day of summer?

I have decided that this year, and every year from now on, I'm going to celebrate this day by giving myself a present; a new coffee table book that preferably has something to do with nature. There is a reason why I left my home country; I lost faith in it after the economic crash in 2008 and that faith hasn't been restored - sometimes I wonder if it ever will be. Well, I lost faith in it long time before the crash and I should have left sooner. Anyway, to remind me of my roots I'm going to hold on to a tradition that has a positive connection to my home country: a present for myself on the Icelandic first day of summer.

This year I chose the book Bringing Nature Home by lifestyle photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo. It was Nicolette Owen of Brooklyn's Little Flower School who arranged the flowers. It has been on my wish list since last spring and I cannot wait to hold it in my hands.

Bringing Nature Home was published by Rizzoli exactly one year ago. This is how they introduce the book:

Unlike most flower-arrangement books, which rely on expensive and often nonseasonal flowers from florists, this book presents an alternative that is in line with the “back to nature” movement. This is the first volume to showcase how to be inspired by nature’s seasonal bounty and bring that nature into the home through floral arrangements.

Lately I have been reminded of this book and how much I want it.

When going through old bookmarks I found the link to a post on the Style Court blog that features the large images in this post. Then last week my blog friend Ada of Classiq shared a link to a flower shop in Madrid that was featured in Vogue España. I shared some of the beautiful photos on my Icelandic blog and it was this photo in particular that made me decide that this book would be my summer present - it looks so pretty on that table in the shop.

photo credit:
Ngoc Minh Ngo from the book Bringing Nature Home published by Rizzoli / 1-2 + 5-6: via Style Court / 3: via Rizzoli / 4: via An Indian Summer

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

new book about fashion designer elie saab

A brand new coffee table book has found its way to my wish list, Elie Saab by Janie Samet, published by Assouline. Here is a little preview and an introduction from the publishing house.

Self-taught fashion designer Elie Saab’s interest in dressmaking started at age 9, when he began making clothes for his sisters, and as an adolescent he was selling his creations to the women in his neighborhood. In 1982 he opened his couture atelier in Beirut, with a dozen employees; he soon presented his first collection and instantly won critical attention.
His reputation rapidly transcended borders, and high society women the world over desired an Elie Saab dress. In 2002, Halle Berry was wearing one of his gowns when she accepted the Oscar for Best Actress, and Elie Saab became a household name. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture invited Saab to show in Paris in 2000, and six years later he became a member. In 2007 he set up a flagship in Paris, but Beirut remains the soul of his inspiration, where the company now has a modern five-story building housing the workshops, studios, ready-to-wear boutique, and couture showroom.
The publisher continues describing the work of Elie Saab in a way that most people, who have followed his career, can agree with:

The designer magnifies femininity, building his fairy-tale creations with simple designs, the finest materials, delicate hand-embroidery, intricate detail, and a sophisticated fusion of cultural influences. Saab’s specialty is the ultimate dress that highlights a woman’s silhouette, making him a go-to designer for international stars and royalty—including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Beyoncé, Aishwarya Rai, Emmanuelle Béart, Marion Cotillard, Bérénice Bejo, Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Queen Rania of Jordan.

photo credit:

Monday, 25 March 2013

interior design: a home in the Pimlico area in London

Photos of interior designer Rose Uniacke's London home that recently appeared in T Magazine have been roaming around the internet. In my latest December/January copy of French Architectural Digest I found a short article about her home with these images (only one is missing on their website, of Uniacke herself). I hadn't seen a photo of the roof terrace before - love the olive trees - so I had to share the house tour. After all, this is a beautiful home and I never get tired of viewing photos of it. It was of course Uniacke herself that designed her own home, but she collaborated with the Belgian architect and designer Vincent Van Duysen and it took them more than three years to complete the work.

photo credit:
Tom Mannion for French Architectural Digest N°113, December 2012/January 2013

Sunday, 24 March 2013

my Sunday moment

Yesterday evening it started snowing again! [Pause for reaction.] I'm under a blanket on my chaise lounge and I refuse to budge until spring arrives properly. My magazines and books are keeping me sane. Also the film Argo, which we bought yesterday, and is the best film I have seen in a long time. Definitely watching that one again today.

In my photo above is a spread from the February/March issue of Art & Décoration. I wish that kitchen were mine. I would only change the pendant lights and the black kitchen unit.

Enjoy your Sunday!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Saturday, 23 March 2013

three visual romantic tales

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
1, 3, 5: Thomas Whiteside for DuJour via Fashion Gone Rogue | Hilary Rhoda styled by Lester Garcia / 2: Mónica Suárez de Tangil for Vogue España | styling by Ana Tovar / 4: Patrice Binet for Art & Décoration (the Tuscan patio of the Albiousse guest house, Uzes, France) / 6: Laura Norinkeviciute via My Fotolog/Tumblr

Friday, 22 March 2013

charming spaces: warm + rustic in cantabria

The warmth of this living room in the Cantabria region of Spain lured me in, and also the beautiful light coming in through the doors leading to the garden. A fireplace, floorboards and exposed beams never fail to impress me. The photo is from an old house tour in Nuevo Estilo, from the March 2007 issue, and it has that spring quality that I like so much these days.

How are you all doing on this sunny (in my corner of the world) Friday? Today is the last day of school before the Easter holiday and I'm looking forward to the relaxing days ahead in this household. Not that our days are normally stressful; it's just nice to spend quiet mornings at home and not having to go anywhere. If the weather agrees with us we are thinking about driving north for a day and visit a village called Clervaux.

In Clervaux is an abbey and the only Icelandic Nobel laureate, Halldor Kiljan Laxness (1902-1998), who won the Nobel Prize in 1955, spent almost a year there as a young man. In Clervaux he converted to Catholicism and took the name Kiljan (Icelandic spelling) from the Irish missionary bishop Saint Killian. We are not Catholics (there aren't many in Iceland) but we would like to see the place and tell the children more about the author.

Enjoy your day!

photo credit:
Nuevo Estilo

Thursday, 21 March 2013

drawing with light 15

photo credit:
Sigfrid López (taken in Les Baux de Provence, France) via Encore! Life

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

first day of spring

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want--oh, you don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Detective
I love that Mark Twain quote above.

The first day of spring has arrived in my small corner of the world and my heart is happy. It is a rainy one but that is fine by me. Nothing is in bloom, yet, but I don't think I have to wait long for nature to recover from the unexpected snow we had last week.

We are expecting a gardener soon and when he is done cutting branches and that sort of thing I am ready to take over. Lately I have been making a list of plants that I would like to buy to add more colour to the garden. Some of you may laugh out loud but there was a time at university - probably when studying for some hideous exam - that I asked myself why I didn't go to the agricultural university to learn about gardening and landscape planning. A job where you can wear Wellies and flowery gloves all day must be a wonderful job!

Did the gorgeous conservatory in the photo above catch your attention? It belongs to British designer, Jasper Conran, who owns a country estate in Somerset, called the Ven House. There is a beautiful and touching video on his website with images from the English countryside, taken by photographer Andrew Montgomery, who also took the bottom photo of this post. On the website you can also view images from Jasper Conran's book Country that was published in 2010 (see Amazon for details).

This is what I am enjoying these days.

Happy Spring 2013!

photo credit:
1: via Mon Jardin & ma maison / 2: World of Interiors via The Rural Society / 3: Franck Bel for Mon Jardin & ma maison / 4: Andrew Montgomery

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

k&a: pancakes (breakfast)

I had something different in mind for today's post and had images on my desktop that were pretty sunny and summery. But as I enjoyed my cup of coffee it was raining (the snow is finally gone!) and I was in the mood for something else. That something else is, as you can see, pancakes and I just posted the recipe on kitchen & aroma. In Iceland we call these skonsur (a word probably borrowed from the English word scone and given a new meaning) and I think most people in Iceland enjoy them for breakfast, especially on weekends. I tend to make these on Sunday mornings.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Monday, 18 March 2013

danish design: decorating outdoors with holmegaard

I was not quite done with the Danish design firm Holmegaard, which I talked about last Monday. With the arrival of spring I have been thinking about outdoor decorations and some items have found their way to my wish list. Maybe someone thinks Holmegaard glassware is too expensive to decorate balconies or patios, but why should we hide these precious items indoors during the summer? Why not bring them outdoors where we spend most of the summer and continue enjoying them there?

How gorgeous are the Cocoon tealight holders in the top photo? They look so pretty outdoors. And how I want the white Design with Light glass lanterns in the bottom photo in every size!

Alken & Bengtsson is the duo behind the Celebrate ornaments. These are actually Christmas glass decorations but can be used all year round. I think they are a lovely addition to the spring/summer table.

Maria Berntsen designed the Design with Light glass lanterns. This spring Holmegaard is offering them even bigger, or 45 cm tall. The new lantern has the same beautiful leather strap, which ages very well. I find the clear lanterns very beautiful but the white ones have my heart.

photo credit:

Saturday, 16 March 2013

brighter shade than pale 10

Does this collection of beautiful photographs show how much I am longing for spring? The earth is still covered in snow but the sun is shining, which helps. A lot. In the next days we will see a rise in temperature so I guess spring is arriving after all.

Now it's time for more coffee. Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
1 + 5: Paul Raeside / 2: Best of Brands via Pinterest / 3: unknown source via Pinterest / 4: Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua / 6: Sigfrid López (taken in Beynac-et-Cazenac, in Dordogne, Aquitaine, France)

Friday, 15 March 2013

charming spaces: rustic style in arizona

This space is part of a private residence in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Oz Architects designed the house using "rural Mediterranean vocabulary" and Michael S. Smith was the interior designer. I am always in the mood for rustic materials; natural tiles, stone and bare wooden beams. I'm categorising this space as a hallway but I didn't find another photo of the space the dog is resting in, so I'm not sure what kind of a room it is. I find the collection of ceramic jars and vases in there awesome.

Have a wonderful day!

photo credit:
Werner Segarra for Oz Architects via Taylor Greenwalt Interiors