Friday, 28 February 2014

I did it!

In my Space post on Tuesday I was telling you about this idea of mine to turn our sitting room into a study room for me (yesterday I gave you a sneak peek into that space). To make a long story short, I did it! I have already rearranged the room and as I write this, I'm sitting by the desk, looking out the window and eating grapes. On the table I keep a lamp, some of my favourite books and magazines, and a vase with fresh flowers. Even though I still need bookshelves, I couldn't be happier with the space. I have my chaise lounge in here, my rattan storage trunk next to it and artwork by the kids on one wall (I will give you a sneak peak later). The space feels inspiring; this was just what I needed to further embrace my new home.

Well, it's time for my studies. I hadn't told you but I'm taking an online course with Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs called The Age of Sustainable Development. We are in week 6 of 14 and the material is very interesting. Sachs is the director of The Earth Institute - Columbia University. He is the author of The End of Poverty and other books, which I can highly recommend if you are interested in issues like extreme poverty, climate change, etc. This is the first time he offers the course online, through Coursera, and the course will be offered again in the autumn. I'm very interested in these issues and have been for years but I have no intention to let the course affect my blog in any way. As I had mentioned my studies, I just wanted to share it with you.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Thursday, 27 February 2014

my natural rattan storage trunk

In this natural materials post I have teamed up with Wovenhill, a company based in Stratford-upon-Avon specialising in quality rattan garden furniture. They sent me this large natural rattan storage trunk, which I use as a side table in our sitting room.

I had been looking for a side table for our sitting room. I wanted something practical that wasn't heavy, and preferably something that could also be used as storage. This rattan storage trunk was heaven-sent. As you can see, it is quite large. Not only can I store blankets and other textiles in it, but also things that we don't have a need for on a daily basis. On top of the lid I keep a lamp and some books (missing in the photo is the tray I use when I take my coffee in there).

Wovenhill offers four types of rattan storage trunks, Hatton, Marlow, Twyford and Walton, which are available in three sizes: medium, large, extra large (they offer more trunks, not only rattan). The dimensions differ slightly between the types so make sure to view the dimensions before choosing a trunk for your home. The trunks are also available in sets. The colours are natural, brown, mocha or white-washed, depending on the type.

• removable lid and hole carry handles
• removable off-white cotton lining
• natural material: rattan
I took this close-up to help you get a feel for the texture of the trunk, which I absolutely love.

Wovenhill is a company based in Stratford-upon-Avon (William Shakespeare's birthplace) in Warwickshire, which specialises in quality rattan garden furniture and offers a range of storage solutions - baskets, units and hampers handmade from water hyacinth, rattan or seagrass.

Wovenhill | Unit 17, Goldicote Business Park, Banbury Road, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 7NB
Tel: 01789 741935 | Email:

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt | in collaboration with Wovenhill (words + views my own)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

space: a simple + artistic home office

As I was busy studying this morning and had to take a quiz, I thought about keeping the blog empty today. But this photo on my desktop didn't leave me alone; it made me think about an idea that has been on my mind. First let me say that I like the simplicity of this workspace, that it doesn't look office-like. The artwork obviously does the trick, but I like the idea of mixing an old desk with a modern chair, in this case the Kartell Eros Swivel Chair by Philippe Starck. The space belongs to interior designer Suzanne Wad Petterson (I think I'm correct when I say she is Norwegian) and you can view the rest of her home by following the link below.

Now back to my idea: I have been thinking about turning our sitting room into a home office for me, moving two armchairs and a coffee table into the living room and putting a desk instead. I have a chaise lounge in there, which I would keep, and I would put shelves up against one wall. It's a bit of a selfish act, I know, but the thing is that right now I'm the only one who really uses the sitting room, and my husband has found his place in the study room, which I haven't. When both of us are using the desk in there it usually turns into a clutter rather quickly because I tend to surround myself with stacks of books, magazines and notebooks. He doesn't mind, but I do. I like having my own space (I call it the 'A Room of one's own by Virginia Woolf'-syndrome), and I also like the luxury of being able to lean back in a chair with my feet on the desk. In Luxembourg I had my own office space or corner and I miss having a space like that. If I go for it I would have a view to our driveway and part of the quiet street, which is nothing to complain about.

photo credit:
Mona Gundersen for Interiør Magasinet

Monday, 24 February 2014

styling: a post-wedding brunch

The minute I saw that last photo on Pinterest I just knew it would lead me to something wonderful, and it did. This styling session was created by Shaye Woolfoord for the lifestyle section of Magnolia Rouge, "a cutting edge inspirational online wedding magazine, bringing together homegrown New Zealand and Australian talent." I like the idea of a post-wedding brunch, sounds like a wonderful way to get together with friends and talk about the wedding day. I think most brides feel the need to do exactly that.

photo credit:
Greta Kenyon for Magnolia Rouge Magazine | styled by Shaye Woolford of On My Hand (discovered via Maribel De Alba Fernandez/Pinterest)

Friday, 21 February 2014

West Midlands | a countryside walk in Warwickshire

These images were taken last year on a warm and sunny September day when we were travelling in the West Midlands. I had no idea then that I would be living not so far away. It was an idea and perhaps a possibility, but nothing more. We stayed in a beautiful old house which I would like to call a cottage, but it was attached to a larger house of which the oldest part dates back to 1350 (I shared images from the courtyard). It was located east of a small town in Warwickshire called Coleshill, east of Birmingham. The countryside was simply stunning and inspiring.

I remember going for a walk with my son on a narrow road, sometimes being surrounded by trees and having no view at all. Then in between we were able to see the entire countryside and Coleshill in the distance (the church tower in the second photo was our viewpoint). I remember the busy farm life all around, the quietness and peacefulness.

I cannot wait for spring to arrive. It's my plan to take many walks like that to get to know my area a little better. When I look at the map the destinations are endless - beautiful English countryside all around.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Thursday, 20 February 2014

needthrow-ecru by Tine K Home

As I told you last week the days have been cloudy. I wanted to give you a sneak peek into a certain corner in my home, but I need more light to photograph it. I'm too happy with my new item in that corner to post dull images. Maybe next week I will have more luck. These days I have spring on my mind and when I saw Tine K Home post the new needthrows this week I knew I had to feature one of them in my natural materials series.

The needthrows by Tine K Home are a cotton jacquard weave and I'm especially fond of the one in the ecru/white colour, which they call Needthrow-ecru. It's available in two other colours, denim and grey.

size 140 x 200 cm (about 55 x 79 inches)

I haven't had the opportunity to feel the texture of the needthrows but judging from the images they look very light, which I find perfect for spring and summer. I'm in the mood to add a few home accessories to my collection this spring and I'm particularly interested in throws in neutral colours that mix well with the cushions I already have.

Tine K Home is a Danish brand, founded in 1999 by Tine Kjeldsen and her husband Jacob Fossum, based in Odense with retailers in many countries. You can read Tine's story here.

The Tine K Home collections are based on
Tine’s passion for beautiful objects, sweet memories, different cultures, and great stories. [They include] textiles, furniture, and accessories from own designs or as unique findings from different journeys abroad in Vietnam, Morocco, India, etc. With her passion for 'cold' colors, the Scandinavian simplicity is combined with handmade items and charming objects from different cultures which altogether creates a warm and cozy atmosphere.
Tine says she likes "pieces that have history, that are handmade and different," things that she cannot usually find in Denmark.

photo credit:
Tine K Home

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

interior design: Vanessa Bruno's home in the Marais

Fashion designer Vanessa Bruno's apartment in the Marais district in Paris has been featured in many interior magazines. This particular house tour appeared in the Norwegian Interiør Magasinet back in 2011 and I was reminded of it this morning when I was in my garden and saw the first sign of spring, the daffodils emerging from the ground. It is the pastel colour palette in Bruno's home that reminds me of spring. I love the brightness in her living room and dining areas. Her home is very feminine, but not overly so. It's relaxed and stylishly bohemian. I think it's the exposed beams that make it more grounded and add the needed contrast to the feminine element.
I have to add that I don't know how many blog posts I have seen where this living room is posted as part of the house tour. Obviously some blogger must have made the mistake and god only knows how many others have reposted it. Do they really not see the difference between these spaces? You only have to look at the windows, the floor material and the furniture to see it's a completely different space. The paper lamps are the only things that look similar and the colour palette is almost identical. I didn't mean to ramble, just couldn't help using the opportunity to point this out.
photo credit:
Birgitta Wolfgang for Interiør Magasinet

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

space: a living room surrounded by greenery

This is probably one of my all-time favourite living-room images. Look at that ceiling and these large windows! And don't get me started on the double fireplace! This space belongs to graphic designer Mercedes Hernáez and her partner, architect and designer Alejandro Sticotti, who designed the house. The house is located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and as you can see, it is surrounded by greenery. Hernáez refers to the house as "a garden with a roof." The photo was taken when Freunde von Freunden visited the couple last spring, a lovely feature filled with inspiring images. I was immediately drawn to the living room, a beautiful mix of wood, glass and bricks. Its simple furnishing appealed to me, that bench or table behind the sofa filled with books and the Butterfly Chairs, and the minimal décor.

On a personal note, I've been a little busy in the last days and had an exam this morning, or more like a quiz, which went very well and explains my yesterday's absence. Have a wonderful day!

photo credit:
Ana Armendariz for Freunde von Freunden via ZEIT Online

Friday, 14 February 2014

Brooklyn by illustrator Aimee Sicuro

I just replaced a Georgia O'Keeffe painting on my desktop with this delightful illustration called Brooklyn by artist Aimee Sicuro. It was featured on the cover of the Brooklyn Spectator Spring 2013 issue. It fits perfectly with my longing for spring. Blooms, books, coffee and pets - what else do you need? You will find more of Sicuro's work on her Weather Girl shop on Etsy.

It's a chilly day in the West Midlands but it's Friday which means pizza + red for dinner. Today we are also getting a visitor from Iceland so I'm going to prepare a hearty lunch as well. Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
illustrator Aimee Sicuro, Brooklyn (large print), via Books and Art

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Chevron Grande bed quilt cover by AURA

Today in my natural materials series I was going to give you a sneak peek into my own home, show you a new item of mine, but lately the days have been very cloudy and I wasn't satisfied with the brightness in the photos. Instead I'm showing you a chevron bed quilt cover by AURA, an Australian firm specialising in bedlinen and home accessories.

If you are someone who likes bedlinen made of natural materials but also want to keep things stylish you may want to view the range from AURA. Their Chevron Grande bed quilt cover in black has a grosgrain trim in black and is also reversible to solid black. It is made of 55% linen and 45% cotton and the chevron side has soft, natural undertones, as you can see in the photo. It is also available in neon coral, but I'm all for using neutral colours in the bedroom.

Tracie Ellis is the founder of AURA. In her mind a beautiful design should not only "appeal to the eye, but provide tactile delight as well."
Inspired by her travels, each collection is a smorgasbord of delightful ideas curated from exotic cultures and foreign climes. The hand-painted fretwork of a palace in Jaipur. The dusty pastels of a French provincial cottage. The nostalgic memory of a grandfather’s shirt. Anything and everything is a source of inspiration, emerging from the fertile fields of Tracie’s subconscious as something marvelous and new.
AURA offers products that have been produced ethically and sustainably. The AURA team works closely with all their suppliers and partners, ensuring that all their workers are provided with decent working conditions, are of suitable age and are treated with respect by their employers.

photo credit:
AURA by Tracie Ellis

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

notes à la mode 45

Marc Jacobs's final ad campaign for Louis Vuitton
As someone who likes unpredictability, it pleased me to see the styling of the Louis Vuitton spring campaign: black clothes and a dark, moody background and setting. Not exactly what you expect in spring! As most of us know, last autumn in Paris, Marc Jacobs presented his last collection for LV, the spring 2014 collection (it was quite a show!). His muses for the spring campaign were a few awesome ladies and these three are my favourites: Gisele Bündchen (love that Cuir Nuance bag), Caroline de Maigret, and Catherine Deneuve (the others were Sofia Coppola, Fan Bingbing, and Edie Campbell). There is a video as well, featuring all of them.

Is anyone getting excited to see Nicolas Ghesquière present his first collection as creative director for the fashion house? It's scheduled on the last day of the Paris Fashion Week, 5 March.

photo credit:
Steven Meisel for Louis Vuitton Spring 2014 ad campaign | models: Gisele Bündchen, Caroline de Maigret + Catherine Deneuve styled by Karl Templer | set designer: Mary Howard, hair stylist: Guido Palau, make-up artist: Pat McGrath

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

space: a vernal looking reading nook

Inevitably, interior bloggers come across various photos of homes. I don't know how it is for other bloggers, but some of these images seem to stay longer with me. I can post an image on my blog, or pin it, and many weeks, even months later it will still be fresh in my memory. This reading nook photo is one of them. I pinned it a long time ago, believing then it was from a Martha Stewart house tour (there was no link to it), only to find out later that it appeared in the book Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo, which is one of my favourite coffee table books. (I have mentioned it twice on the blog, here and here.) It appears in the spring chapter, which I have been rereading lately. These are dogwood branches in bloom, which brighten up this mainly neutral space - I like the painted brick wall. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything about the space itself, as the book is about floral arrangements and all the homes featured in it are unidentified. But it does make me wish I had a dogwood in my garden!

photo credit:
Ngoc Minh Ngo, from the book Bringing Nature Home, p. 53, published by Rizzoli

Monday, 10 February 2014

interior design: a natural home in Lombardy

I have already shared this home on my blog (see here) which belongs to artist and designer Katrin Arens, but when I discovered this particular house tour I wanted to share it as well, or part of it. The house, located in the Italian region of Lombardy, was a mill house turned nunnery, which Arens then turned into a home and studio. It shouldn't come as a surprise that its rustic elements appeal to me very much, but I'm also fond of all the natural home accessories. In fact, I thought about featuring the accessories alone in my new natural materials series but the house tour was too charming to skip it. By the way, Arens made most of the furniture herself and on her website you will see similar or the same items for sale.

The breakfast nook in the bedroom above is delightful (I think it's a guest room) and as you can see the garden is just as charming as the house itself; beautiful Italian countryside all around.

photo credit:
Raul Candales for Weranda Country (first discovered via The Style Files)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Georgia O'Keeffe's skulls + Ghost Ranch house

I thought, why not continue with something Georgia O'Keeffe-related on the blog today. Personally, I'm not much of a skull person, but O'Keeffe's skulls are different, probably because for her they weren't a symbol of death. I'm no art critic, I just know when art speaks to me, like her painting Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue, 1931. Usually I have no words to describe what it is exactly about a painting, but in this case I think O'Keeffe's humour is part of it:
Then I got this cow's head and I had the cow's head painted against the blue and I thought, well, I have to do something else about that. And that was at the time that the men were all talking about the great American novel, the great American play, the great American ... oh, it was the great American everything. And I thought they didn't know anything about America, mo a lot of them had never been across the Hudson. So I thought I'll make my picture ... a red white and blue [laughs], I'll make it an American painting. For these people that don't go across the Hudson. And this was my painting. I put a red stripe down each side. Entertained me but I don't think anybody else caught on to it for quite a while. (From a 1977 documentary, YouTube, 1:31)

If you have about 15 minutes to spare there is another video on YouTube called Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life in Art (2003), narrated by actor Gene Hackman. At minute 12:47 you will hear him quote her: "It takes courage to be a painter. I always felt I walked on the edge of a knife." Then O'Keeffe appears on camera and says:
On this knife I might fall off on either side but I ... I'd walk it again. So what, what if you do fall off? I'd rather be doing something I really wanted to do.
Hear, hear!

Yesterday I showed you Georgia O'Keeffe's house and studio in Abiquiu in New Mexico, which is open to the public. Today I'm adding a few photos from Ghost Ranch, her second home further north. It's a more secluded place, which she bought earlier. In the images you can see some of the natural objects she collected on her walks through the desert.

O'Keeffe was someone who enjoyed gardening; her pantry was filled with herbs. About the sagebrush at Ghost Ranch, O'Keeffe has said it blew in and planted itself.

photo credit:
1: Georgia O'Keeffe, Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue, 1931, oil on canvas via The Metropolitan Museum of Art / 2-5: Robert Reck for Architectural Digest / 6: Mary E. Nichols for Architectural Digest

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Abiquiu home + studio of artist Georgia O'Keeffe

My yesterday's post reminded me of other Georgia O'Keeffe links in my files, for example, an Architectural Digest feature from 1981, when they visited the artist in her adobe home and studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The house sits on a plateau overlooking the Chama River Valley in Rio Arriba County. Her other house was the Ghost Ranch, located further north. Both houses are owned by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe (the above image is theirs). The Abiquiu house is open to the public so if you visit the museum in Santa Fe, don't miss the chance to view this place, which has been kept as it was when O'Keeffe died in 1986.

The interior is a stylish, minimalist, Mid-Century modern design, where you will find some of her paintings and sculptures, Alexander Girard textiles (the designer was her friend) and her classic Womb Chair (an Eero Saarinen design for Florence Knoll). You will also find stones, skulls and bones on display.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) in 1981

When O'Keeffe bought the Abiquiu house in 1945 it was in ruins and not a single room was inhabitable (she first saw it in 1930 and made many attempts to buy it). O’Keeffe supervised the restoration of the house, which took four years, and it was her friend Maria Chabot who carried it out. To preserve the original house, existing structures were used to build new adobe walls (mud dried in the sun, mixed with straw) and stucco was used over the adobe, as rain will eventually wash it away. The only alteration she made was opening up some of the walls to have a view of the valley and mountains, the inspiration for her landscape paintings.
The view from O'Keeffe's studio. The dark ceramic forms are by Juan Hamilton

Her painting White Patio with Red Door, 1960, in the sitting room, one of her many door paintings

Natural home décor in the sitting room, among other things, a rattlesnake skeleton

The Indian Room derives its name from the narrow adobe ledges,
which the early Indian inhabitants used as beds