Friday, 30 August 2013

bon week-end

It seems fitting to wish you a good weekend with this image of a cottage - Swedish, what else, I love the weathered doors - because I viewed endless ones while planning our road trip next week. Today we will maybe go on a short road trip to France but we will be back before Friday pizza o'clock!

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Helén Pe for Sköna hem

Thursday, 29 August 2013

space: a Texan kitchen with metal-framed doors

The owner of this kitchen is designer Pamela Pierce, who lives in a 1920s house in Houston, Texas. When remodelling her home she wanted a kitchen with a European feel, exposed beams and lots of light. A coal shaft that couldn't be removed restricted the usable space so to make the kitchen feel bigger she added the metal-framed doors that open to the patio. I couldn't picture this kitchen without them; they were what drew me in, and the limestone flooring.

This is one of those kitchen photos in my files that I find myself viewing quite regularly. It wasn't until I found a pdf file on the website of Chateau Domingue, a company that provided the marble worktops, that I realised that I had seen this home before. The file contains a feature in Western Interiors & Design and I recognised a photo of open shelves instantly. Earlier this year I had pinned it from Sarah of Haute Design, who shared more photos from this same house.

photo credit:
Stephen Karlisch for Western Interiors & Design, April/May 2008 via Chateau Domingue

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

notes à la mode 36

If anyone is wondering why my NOTES À LA MODE posts are no longer a weekly feature on the blog the reason is, as I have mentioned before, that I had enough of fashion or the way fashion is promoted in the media, and I have had more than enough of celebrity culture, which I associate with fashion. I also had enough of visiting fashion blogs where I was told that I have to have this and that in my wardrobe. I don't have to have anything in my wardrobe unless it is something that appeals to me and suits me, and even then I don't have to have it. Either I need it or I don't.

Another reason I had enough was the fashion week circus, as I refer to it; the show that certain individuals put on when attending the fashion weeks (don't get me started on people in the audience who constantly tweet during a show; how about taking things in before sharing them with the world?). I guess I'm trying to say that I had a street style overdose, or maybe I should call it attention seeking street style. I do enjoy seeing effortlessly stylish outfits that inspire me, but I couldn't care less what people wear when attending fashion shows. During the fashion weeks I'm mainly interested in seeing what appears on the runway and what influenced the designer. What's the designer's message for the coming season? Is it a strong message or is it weak?

And for a change I would really like to read more truthful reviews. Would it really be so bad to say in a review that a designer's collection lacked all ambition? Why is it that fashion reviewers feel the need to walk on eggshells in their reviews? Don't give me the cliché that it's about selling ads when there are fashion designers out there who don't even advertise.

Enough of what I had enough of!

Let us look at the Autumn 2013 Collection by Colombian fashion designer HAIDER ACKERMANN, who certainly had the ambition to create a strong collection. These are some of the pieces he presented at the Paris Fashion Week in March and I find them wonderfully rousing, even a bit provocative. (I would love to have the scarf in the above photo and the boots you see in one of the photos below.) This is what I'm in the mood for this autumn; having a few herringbone items in my wardrobe, and pieces that look rougher to wear on days when I'm in the mood to kick ass!

Ackermann mentions the "need to be protected" when referring to his collection. In the Vogue US review it says:
Ackermann was particularly struck by an iconic image of Marilyn Monroe leaving a hospital, “one of the most admired women in the world in this loneliness and isolation was very touching for me.” “We all need to be protected,” he added, and this season, in an unusually pragmatic collection stripped of the brilliant color harmonies and grander evening statements for which he is justly celebrated, the designer focused instead on powerful coats and jackets that cradled the body.


  I came across a short and interesting interview with British fashion designer PAUL SMITH, who makes fun of his untidy office and his wife's reaction to it. He also speaks about business and I like their approach, it relates to what I was saying in my intro:
We’ve never gone backwards as a company and we’ve never borrowed money, ever. We own the building where I’m sitting right now. It started very modestly with my wife and I, with a small amount of savings, and it’s always just grown very organically and now we employ a thousand people just in Europe. The clothes sell and people like them and not just because we give them away or because we have celebrity front rows or because we spend 80 million Euros a year on advertising. We just do what we do and luckily people like it and hopefully it continues to do well.
  MIUCCIA PRADA showed one of my favourite autumn 2013 collections in Milan in February and I remember liking this coat very much but not finding any good runway photo to share. I cannot say that this German Vogue September cover is anything special but it's the best photo of that coat I have seen so far (yes, I have already seen the ad campaign and no, I don't like the photo featuring the coat)
  I wouldn't mind adding this simple red merino wool jumper from MERCI in Paris to my autumn wardrobe
  I have already told you about the beautiful red bag collection that LA-based designer MARY JO MATSUMOTO launched recently. Now she has launched yet another collection in grey called Cloudy With Chance of Surfing (a name to be reckoned with, I dare say!). The structured tote to the right appeals to me very much - stylish and classic

photo credit:
Marcus Tondo + Gianni Pucci via Vogue US | Haider Ackermann Autumn 2013 RTW

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

a rustic country house in the Plateau des Claparèdes area

This rustic and charming country house is situated in Saignon in the Plateau des Claparèdes in the south of France, at an altitude of 600 metres by the Luberon mountain range. It used to be a cottage that served as a refuge for shepherds, but it has been completely renovated with raw materials - stone, wood, terracotta tiles. All around there are oak and almond trees and in the garden one can dine under the shades of a lime tree. The setting couldn't be more natural and peaceful.

Ceramic tableware by Nicole Fichot. The table is decorated with wild thyme from the surrounding rocky hills.

The old oak door in the above photo to the right opens into the kitchen that has plenty of windows and a door that leads to the garden. The kitchen cabinet doors and drawers are made of mulberry wood and the mismatched handles, locks and hinges were bought at flea markets.

photo credit:
Franck Bel for Mon Jardin & ma maison

Monday, 26 August 2013

Summer living | Vive l'été

It feels strange to publish my last Summer living | Vive l'été post this season and I cannot say that I have been in a hurry to do so today, mainly because it almost feels as if I'm announcing the end of summer. There is still about one month left of it but for me the beginning of September marks the arrival of autumn and that's why this series has come to an end.

The images in this last post mainly express what my summer has been like. I didn't go on a fancy picnic like the one in the top photo but it takes us just a few minutes to bicycle to a spot that has the exact same scenery. We started this summer by going for a walk in that area and this photo could be part of the photos I shot then.

I don't think I have ever done as much gardening as I did this summer, if I don't count the summers I spent in the garden of my grandparents as a little girl. If I wasn't gardening I was reading on the patio or the balcony.

For me the plant of this summer was lavender; I was pretty much obsessed, but I guess you knew that already.

For me this was a summer of wonderful stay-cationing but we are going on a road trip next week, before the kids go back to school. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful summer and made it one to remember.

photo credit:
1: Vero Suh Photography via Style Me Pretty / 2: Micasa / 3: High Spring Summer 2011 ad campaign via Lovingly Simple / 4: Patrick Cline for Lonny, September 2012 p. 174 / 5: Angus McRitchie for Decormag (French edition) via My Scandinavian Home | styling: Nicola Marc / 6: Giulia Bellato via Nicole Franzen/Pinterest / 7-8: Adrian Brown + Vivian Yeo for Country Living / 9: Christopher Price (Snowshill Lavender Farm, Gloucestershire, UK)

Friday, 23 August 2013

bon week-end

Yesterday I realised that we are sailing into autumn faster than I thought. It hit me all of a sudden as I was walking in the city with my son and passed by the Sonia Rykiel store. I was reminded of their fun - and wonderfully French - autumn campaign that celebrates the work of graphic designers Bernard Villemot and Raymond Savignac. And it hit me again in the evening as I was browsing through my first September issue (what a dose of gorgeous autumn fashion!). Maybe after all I'm still an autumn girl at heart. I have to say that this summer has been amazing and if the weather continues like that then we are in for a wonderful Indian summer treat.

I started this week with a pink house on the Italian island of Burano and I'm signing off with a yellow one in Rovereto, close to the northern end of Lake Garda. It is yet another pizza day in this house - we love Fridays! - and we are all a bit excited as we are planning a road trip. I'm expecting quite lively discussions by the table this evening.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
francesco/Flickr via Travelingcolors

Thursday, 22 August 2013

choosing a rug: tips and ideas

Instead of posting a space this week, I'm doing something different. A friend of mine recently moved and asked me for rug advice. Or let's say her email felt more like a cry for help. I thought, why not just write a post with rug tips and ideas with a mix of images in case someone else might benefit from it.

Here is the story: She's going from a flat with old wooden floorboards, which she has never felt the need to cover with anything, to a house that has both wall-to-wall carpeting and wooden flooring. The carpet has a light greyish colour and after arranging the furniture she says everything looks dull and flat. After viewing some rugs she felt overwhelmed by the options and realised that she would have to think this through before buying anything. In her email it was almost as if she was yelling: "Why can't they just produce one type of rug?!!" I admit that I was amused. I told her to take a deep breath and answer a few questions about colours, styles, etc. and I would see what I could come up with.

There is no need to share any details of our conversations; the images will sort of reveal them (she likes wool rugs and blue colours but she doesn't want any stripes). She also asked if I had any gallery wall ideas, which is the reason why I tried to find images that had rugs and gallery walls. For simplicity all the images of individual rugs are from the same source, Mail Order Rugs, which is a very user-friendly website. You can search for rugs by shape, colour, etc., and you can also search for rugs within your budget so there is no need viewing colours you don't like or rugs you cannot afford.

When choosing a rug you have to think of a colour scheme for your space. It is easier to choose home accessories that fit a rug than to try to find a rug that will fit the accessories you already have. A neutral coloured rug isn't an option for my friend, she needs a colour for her "dull and flat" space and she has two options:

#1 Cool colour: That would be colours like blue, purple and green. A blue rug won't necessarily make your space feel cool, it will depend on your furniture and accessories and the balance between all these items. Keep in mind that cool colours can make small rooms look bigger. [Asiatic Carpets York Duck Egg, 100% wool - available in various colours]

#2 Warm colour: Red, yellow and orange are warm colours that have a more intimate feel. You can go for an intense warm colour to create a little drama in your space or keep the warm colour of your rug a bit more subtle.

Light cool coloured rugs are excellent in small spaces like hallways where you need to brighten things up a bit. Dark coloured rugs work very well in vast spaces where you need to bring the walls closer, but you may want to keep the colour on the walls light to avoid having a space that feels overwhelming.

Another thing to consider when buying a rug is whether to choose a pattern or stick to a plain rug. As my friend has a neutral wall-to-wall carpet she wants a pattern for her living room.

The pattern is of course a matter of taste but if you want to go bold you may want to go for an abstract rug that gives your home a contemporary feel to it. Or you may want to go retro. If you are more traditional a floral pattern may be a solution for you, something like the rug in the dining room in the first photo.

When pulling this post together I remembered this Melbourne home in the photo below. There was something about the geometric squares of the rug that appealed to me. Notice also the balance between warm and cool colours in that living room.

I thought of this ethnic pattern for my friend that has geometric squares and is available in various colours. [Plantation Rugs Frankie 03, 100%]

The reason I put the two images below side by side was to show you how a colour scheme can transform a space. Both these living rooms have the colour yellow, a warm colour, but in the room to the right it is subtler and tones well with the golden accent of the rug. The pattern of the rug is not exactly subtle but the black colour works wonder and tones with everything in the room. The result is an earthy and warm look that is also grand. In the living room to the left the yellow colour of the lamp and painting is brighter and the space looks much more playful, yet has a balance between a warm and a cool colour.

This shows you how important it is to choose the right coloured rug (and accessories) for your space. Maybe your favourite colour is not the thing your space needs and you have to keep your mind open to other options and ideas.

I find it a bit funny that last week I was thinking about a multi-coloured rug with stripes for my own living room and then the minute I started going through these images in my files and writing the post I changed my mind. Now I'm picturing in there a subtle yellow coloured rug. Well, that is what I initially had in mind for my space so maybe after all my intuition was right.

In this last image section we have four rooms with rugs in yellow and orange shades. Personally I find these spaces more intimate and quieter, somehow less demanding without being dull.

This is what a warm coloured rug will do for you space. Maybe we could say that with a soft yellow colour you are safe while an orange rug will add just a bit more drama. For more drama and passion go for a red rug.

As my friend hasn't decided which pattern to go for, I decided to let my last rug idea have a floral pattern, which feels more traditional, as I mentioned before. [Asiatric Carpets Matrix Devore Yellow, 100% - available in various colours]

When you have decided which style and colour works best for your space you have to choose the size of the rug. I decided to copy the tips on the Mail Order Rugs website to my post. They say that there are no set rules and then they give these ideas:

  • it’s good to choose a rug that’s at least 60cm (2ft) shorter than the smallest wall
  • in front of sofas it is good to have the two front feet on the rug to secure it
  • for rugs under a dining table add 90cm - 120cm (3ft - 4ft) to the length and wide of the table to accommodate the dining chairs
  • in hallways you should have at least 15cm (6 inches) of floor showing on each side (remember to measure the floor from where the doors swing open, leaving the first 90cm or so clear)
  • rugs come in all shapes and sizes and it is unlikely you will find your exact size, so consider two smaller rugs or a custom rug

I cannot really add anything to these tips but I do remember reading somewhere that in the living room all the four legs of your sofa should be on the rug, but I guess that depends on the size of your living room.

I hope these rug tips and ideas will give you a sense of what works best for your space, be it cool or warm colours, rugs with a pattern or plain ones. Try to keep your space personal and really think about your taste before buying a rug, or you may end up with something that soon starts feeling all wrong.

photo credit:
1: Patrick Cline for Lonny, July 2012, p. 144-145 / 2-3: Emily Henderson / 4: Bonnie Tsang via Emily Henderson / 5: Michael Graydon for Canadian House & Home via Modern Jane / 6: Virginia Macdonald for Style at Home via Pinterest / 7: Brooke Holme via The Design Files / 8: Patrick Cline for Lonny, Jan/Feb 2011, p. 80 / 9: Kevin Dotolo via Pulp Design Studios / 10: S.R. Gambrel / 11: Williams-Sonoma via Nicole Franzen/Pinterest / 12: Reven Wurman for Design*Sponge via Pinterest / 13: Anastassios Mentis for Apartment Therapy via West Elm/Pinterest | All individual images of rugs via Mail Order Rugs