Thursday, 23 May 2013

A haven in the Welsh countryside

Before I tell you a little bit about this beautiful house and garden in the Welsh countryside I wanted to let you know that this post will be my last until the first week of June. The children have a break from school next week and I'm hoping the sun will greet us so we can use it to enjoy being outdoors. I cannot say that I'm hopeful, it looks like it will rain continuously and as I write this it's pouring with rain. I don't get this spring at all; I can only hope it means we will have a great summer!

Back to this Welsh haven. Arne Maynard is one of Britain's greatest garden designers - he has even designed gardens for the Queen of Jordan - and writes a column for Gardens Illustrated. Maynard and his partner own this historic property called Allt-y-bela, located in Usk in south Wales, which was featured in the January 2013 issue of Garden Design. The literal meaning of Allt-y-bela would be “high wooded hillside of the wolf” - a name to be reckoned with! What is probably the most interesting fact about Maynard's own garden is how different it is from all the other grand and romantic gardens he has designed.

At his own home in Wales he decided to keep things more low-key. The house itself, a rustic farmhouse (by now you probably know how I love those) dates back to the fifteenth century and it has grown organically over the years. It never had any kind of master plan, each owner added rooms as needed. As it says in the article, "the garden, like the house, just evolved." Maynard has removed all the fences and hedges that created boundaries with the surrounding landscape. It is only close to the house where he keeps the garden more formal and structured, as seen in the above photo.

I love the kitchen garden below (also seen in the fifth photo) and the fact that they have chickens.


Goodbye for now, see you in June!

photo credit:
Tom Mannion for Garden Design

Friday, 17 May 2013

charming spaces: a delightful reading nook

I wish I could tell you more about this space and who designed it but, unfortunately, I seem to have lost the link to the feature on the website of El Mueble. I know I found this photo there ages ago and I have tried searching for it without any luck. I cannot remember if the article was about a flat somewhere in Spain or if it was just one of those features where they introduce new collections of home accessories. Whatever it was I think this is one delightful reading nook. The neutral colour palette works well here; I think it gives the space a sense of tranquillity. As you probably know already, I'm all for natural light, which this room has plenty of, and I find the ceiling and balcony doors simply gorgeous.

Today I'm trying to do the best I can to keep myself inspired and motivated but the weather is not helping. It seems to be pouring down rain every single day. I'm afraid our garden will soon turn into a jungle - a jungle of weed. Not pretty at all!

The good news is that ahead is a four-day weekend for school children in Luxembourg and apart from the occasional pinning with my coffee I'm setting the laptop aside. I have promised my son a Lord of the Rings marathon, starting with The Hobbit, and plenty of popcorn. What else is there to do in the rain?

I will be back on Wednesday. Have a wonderful weekend dear readers and blog friends!

photo credit:
El Mueble

Thursday, 16 May 2013

a refined rustic farmhouse style in Arizona


A few weeks back in a Charming Spaces post I shared a room in a rustic house in Arizona. That post led me to this house in Scottsdale, Arizona, which also has that rustic element but looks more refined. The interior designer was David Michael Miller and the house is an OZ Architects design.

The kitchen is right up my alley - open shelves, subway tiles, exposed beams and fireplace. I cannot get enough of it! The idea was to create the atmosphere of a rural French farmhouse and I think they succeeded best in the kitchen.

What I especially like about this home is how inviting and homey it feels, to me it seems you can pick a room that suits your mood the minute you enter. Then there is of course the charming surroundings and the pool.


photo credit:
1-6 + 8-9: Werner Segarra for David Michael Miller Associates / 7 + 10-15: OZ Architects

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

K&A: rice with Indian spices and sultanas

It was only recently that I shared a simple rice recipe with Indian spices and here is another one very similar that I posted earlier this morning on kitchen & aroma: rice with Indian spices and sultanas. This one contains slightly different spices and then there are the sultanas or golden raisins that add a little sweet taste. Sometimes when I'm not particularly hungry I have a bowl of rice with Indian spices for lunch and raw or stir-fried vegetables on the side. It's simple and yet it leaves me energised.

Enjoy your day!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

drawing with light 20

Castel Toblino, Trentino, Italy.

photo credit:
Fabrizio Fusari via Encore! Life

Monday, 13 May 2013

brighter shade than pale 12

If I make it through this day with my eyes open I will have accomplished something. It is a rather cold spring day and I'm sleep deprived - the rain is not helping! I have myself to blame because last night I had maybe half a cup of coffee with a few drops of Cointreau. A and I decided to enjoy a quality moment after dinner when the kids had gone up. As of late I'm calling it moments where you actually get to finish a sentence. I don't know what is in the air but lately the children have been extra talkative. Of course it's wonderful listening to them talk about all kinds of exciting things, not to mention the moments of uncontrollable laughter. But sometimes it feels as if my brain simply cannot handle one more sentence; it feels like I'm dealing with a sentence overload and there isn't a room for one more.

I hope your week is starting better than mine. Why did I drink that half a cup of coffee? WHY?!!

photo credit:
1: Honning og Flora via Pinterest / 2: Kristin Vining Photography via Style Me Pretty Gallery / 3-4: Amy Merrick

Friday, 10 May 2013

charming spaces: a wood frame

This house is a lakefront property in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Its design, based on a barn, is the work of Ritch Holben. This used to be three cottages and the new owners turned them into one big house. The photo shows a wood frame - of reclaimed wood - that immediately caught my attention. It outlines the skeleton of the house just perfectly. I also love the antique oak staircase. And yes, that is a Torroja Cross Chandelier by David Weeks Studio, inspired by the concrete forms of Eduardo Torroja's 1935 Zarzuela Hippodrome in Madrid.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Keller + Keller via The Boston Globe

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Luxembourg: discovering a new street

This is Rue du Nord (North street), a street in Luxembourg City that I have passed by god only knows how many times when walking on Rue du marché-aux-Herbes (that would mean Market of Herbs street), past the Palais (the Palace), and usually turning left on Rue du Cure (cure is cure, no translation needed) to head to the library or a café.

Until last Saturday it never occurred to me to enter the street, maybe because I have never seen any life there before. And if you stand at the other end of it, by Rue du Fossé (you want me to translate that too? okay, fossé means a ditch or a gap), you basically just see a construction site, which doesn't exactly look inviting.

Last Saturday I saw people sitting outside of something that I had always thought was just another bar. (Finding me in a bar is less likely than calling the White House, asking for the President and being told by the operator that she will put you straight through.) Perhaps I should add here that this street maybe looks a little shady compared to all the spotless ones in Luxembourg.

Back to the people sitting outside. There was something about their demeanour that lured me into the street. They looked relaxed and when I spotted cups of coffee I was sold. I know, I'm so easy!

It turns out that the bar is also a café and it's called Konrad. I didn't go in because the few tables outside were occupied and the day was too gorgeous to spend it indoors. But the place looked like one of those unpretentious ones that I'm very much drawn to. When I got back home I looked up Konrad online to find out that it serves great food and is a non-smoking place. I even noticed on their Facebook page that someone asked them if they were a non-smoking bar and their reply was: "Unless there's a fire next door....but we can't really be blamed for that!!"

An unpretentious place and staff with humour - I already like it.

Now I just have to go there with a friend to enjoy a meal and coffee and of course I will report back to you.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

notes à la mode 34

The Italian fashion house Ferragamo has launched its L’Icona campaign to rediscover the Vara ballet flat and celebrate its 35th Anniversary. Photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank lensed 21 girls, or "iconic women in customized Varas or Varinas [launched in 2007], paired with their own wardrobe and their favorite Ferragamo pieces." Throughout the month of May the portraits and videos will be revealed on the campaign's website.

The women I'm featuring in this post are Lauren Santo Domingo photographed in Paris (remember her Paris home?), Asia Baker in Palm Beach, Florida, and Miroslava Duma in Moscow.

I think this is a wonderful way to celebrate a timeless classic! And even if we don't have a pair of Ferragamo flats in our wardrobe we can use the images to get style ideas. Flats worn with jeans and a trench, as Lauren Santo Domingo does in the image above, is indeed a look that never goes out of style.

photo credit:
Claiborne Swanson Frank for the Ferragamo L’Icona campaign 2013

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A house in the English countryside

After careful consideration I have reached the conclusion that I am ready for a house in the English countryside. The next step is finding a way to come up with the money to buy one. Then I will start collecting all kinds of problems just to be able to say when I find the right house: This is the answer to all my problems.

Just thought you should know.

PS. This is the house of Bella Pollen and her family and here is their story.

photo credit:
François Halard for Vogue US

Monday, 6 May 2013

François Houtin's Studio

It was this pin that triggered this post. When I saw that photo from the studio of François Houtin, the French artist and engraver, I was intrigued and wanted to see more. These images, and the one I pinned, were taken back in 2010 when Houtin was collaborating with Hermès - not for the first time. Back in 1975 he designed his first shop window for them and has done more windows with nature as the theme, and in 2008 his design was used to create the 'Fantaisie Pittoresque' scarves. This time he was working for La Table Hermès on a tableware collection called Les Maisons Enchantées when he got a visit from the Australian magazine Vogue Living.

If you want to read more about Houtin and this collaboration then follow the link under photo credit. I just wanted to share the inspirational images from his studio, the sketches and tools.

with Yves Taralon (left), the creative director of La Table Hermès

On Saturday I headed into the city, where I discovered a new street that I will share with you this week. There was a Fair in the city and there were people everywhere and the mood was jolly. Yesterday my son and I went for a walk with the camera to capture the gorgeous spring blossoms in our area. Everything is looking so pretty these days; I'm in love with this spring, even though it arrived a little late. I hope you had a wonderful weekend - Easter weekend for some of you - and that your week is starting off well.

photo credit:
Jean Marie del Moral for Vogue Living, Nov/Dec 2010 via Paris-Lifestyle by Aéroports de Paris