Sunday, 26 October 2014

autumn break

It is time to step away from the computer and embrace the children's autumn break with walks in nature and relaxing moments at home. We have already stacked up on books from the library and we intend to try out a few autumnal recipes. I'm leaving you with these inspiring autumnal photos that show items from the autumn 2014 collection by the Lexington Company, discovered in the 'Will's Picks' feature in the latest Sweet Paul Magazine.

I will be back on Wednesday the 5th of November. Enjoy the days ahead!
photo credit:
Lexington Company/Pinterest (discovered via Sweet Paul Magazine Fall 2014 - 'Will's Picks' p. 37)

Friday, 24 October 2014

space: a sitting area with a hint of orange

Apart from the architecture of this South African lodge (the angular ceiling is made with locally harvested thatch and plantation-farmed pine beams), it was the orange-painted corner in this sitting area, with built-in shelves, that caught my attention. What a great way to add a touch of colour to a space, not to mention warmth. The ceremonial antelope masks on the wall were bought in Black Mamba, a bistro and an arts and crafts shop in Vaalwater in the north-east part of South Africa.

photo credit:
Victoria Sambunaris for House & Garden, August 2007 via Architectural Digest

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Outdoor living

Outdoor living is a series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating being outdoors all year round!

I doubt it has escaped anyone that fashion designer Oscar de la Renta (b. 1932 in the Dominican Republic) said his final goodbye last Monday. In this week's 'outdoor living' post I would like to honour his memory by featuring parts of the lush garden surrounding his seaside home in Punta Cana. It gives me the chance to post one of my favourite photos of the designer, where he stands smiling with his dogs under a purple petrea in bloom.

The designer helped around the garden and so did his wife Annette. They both loved this place. I find the vegetation fascinating. The plants look so healthy. The fertiliser used is the Sargasso seaweed harvested from the beach at low tide. I'm also fascinated with all the garden paths and courtyards. I had to feature the limestone fountain below that was built by one of his handymen.
photo credit:
William Waldron for Architectural Digest

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

styling: reading nook

This is one of those blog posts, which I use to play with ideas or to think out loud about a space in my own home. This time it's the reading nook, or the sitting area. We have been living in this house for a few months now and our ideas of what to do with each space are slowly coming together. In my experience it's never good to rush into anything. Instead of buying the things you need, I find it better to wait and see how a space/home grows on you. Maybe it's the arrival of Christmas that makes me want to finish styling the reading nook, which is in the living room and has two chaise lounges, a coffee table between them, and a glass fireplace (electric). I'm just finding it difficult to decide on the colour palette.

Currently we have a whitish wool rug on the floor and a few mainly bluish accessories on the table, and to pop things up I just rearrange the books regularly and add fresh flowers. I have always leaned towards cushions in soft yellow tones and currently I have a crush on this suede cushion from French Connection Home that fits with everything. They also have this block printed rug in blue and white that I really like. The only problem is that the rug is too small for the space so I would have to find another one. I just cannot decide whether to go for a patterned rug in light colours (see also the top rug in this post from West Elm) or to choose a rug that has deeper tones.

When I look at the two stylish spaces featured in this post part of me thinks we should keep the neutral rug and use cushions, blankets, and other home accessories to style the space according to the seasons. A neutral rug on the floor gives us endless possibilities and we would never grow tired of the space. However, a patterned rug in ethnic style definitely defines a space and adds depth if its colours are deep. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever reach a decision!

photo credit:
1: Nuevo Estilo via Planete Deco | 2: cushion • French Connection Home | 3: rug • French Connection Home | 4: Roger Davies for Architectural Digest, March 2012

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

drawing with light 41

Oscar de la Renta (1932-2014)

photo credit:
Platon Antoniou

Monday, 20 October 2014

irresistible heathers

When listening to people (perhaps I should say women) speaking about autumn obsessions they are usually referring to clothes and accessories. For me this autumn it's heathers in all colours and shades, especially the deep blue and pink ones. These beauties recently caught my attention at Walkers Nurseries, my favourite garden centre in the area (remember the autumn colours last week?). Before the end of October I have a plan to make our mainly green garden more colourful. I love conifers but I a bed of blue and pink heathers will definitely add more charm.
photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Friday, 17 October 2014

Outdoor living

Outdoor living is a series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating being outdoors all year round!

In this week's outdoor living series I wanted to not only give a nod to autumn but also embrace its arrival. Do you remember a blog post where I suggested celebrating the season of summer properly? This is the same thing but now it's a proper autumn dinner with roasted marshmallows for dessert (I would buy mine in health food stores). I found this old feature on the website of Style Me Pretty Living styled by Jennifer Carroll, who calls it an impromptu "Gather ‘Round the Fire” party. I'm hooked! I wish I had a spacious patio and an outdoor fireplace to copy this kind of feast. Well, over here it's not the right weather for a dinner outdoors but a weekend lunch would be perfect, perhaps with everyone wrapped in blankets.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

autumn colours at Walkers

Starting this blog post with a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall", would have been perfect. However, this autumn season in South Yorkshire (my first) isn't quite crisp, yet. Indeed it's mild and rainy, and there is certainly no reason to complain. Our house is surrounded by evergreens, mainly tall cypress trees, and it wasn't until yesterday that I really noticed the arrival of autumn when I spent some time at Walkers Nurseries garden centre. In the Chinese section of their gardens I vividly saw the orange and yellow shades, beautifully contrasted with the greens all around. I had almost forgotten how much I love this season. Almost! I decided to return to Walkers today and as I write this, I'm sitting at their café, enjoying a latte, and thinking about what to photograph next.
I will be back tomorrow with 'outdoor living'. Have a wonderful (autumn) day!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt
- October day at Walkers Nurseries, Blaxton, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

V&A Museum: The Fabric of India exhibition

So I thought, why not simply continue with the Indian theme on the blog this week. I was viewing the website of the V&A Museum in London when I came across an exhibition called The Fabric of India that starts next autumn.

The exhibition is part of the V&A's India Season and features handmade Indian textiles from the 3rd to the 21st century, among others, a wide range of historic costumes, an 18th-century tent belonging to Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), and contemporary fashion items by Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh. If Indian textiles fascinate you I think you should grab your day planner and plan a London trip sometime between 26 September 2015 and 10 January 2016.

If you cannot make it to London there is a blog about the exhibition on the V&A website, where you can read all about it.

Speaking of Indian textiles. I have to point out this book, Indian Textiles: The Karun Thakar Collection, which I discovered last summer on the Style Court blog by Courtney Barnes (if textiles are your passion her blog is a wonderful read. In fact, I just noticed that earlier this month she blogged about the same exhibition). I haven't had the chance to browse through the book, yet, but I have a good feeling about it and immediately added it to my wish list.

photo credit:
1: 20th-century Indian wall hanging (detail) via Victoria and Albert Museum | 2: the cover of the book Indian Textiles: The Karun Thakar Collection, published by Prestel (discovered via Style Court)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

space: a contemporary library in India

Yesterday I took you to India and decided to stay there today. A few months ago there was a house tour in Elle Decor, where they showed a contemporary retreat in the southern part of India, in Puducherry on the east coast. The owner is also the designer, architect Niels Schoenfelder, who with his family uses the retreat to escape the hustle of the city at weekends. These two photos show you the library, which is built like a balcony. The walls are hand-polished lime plaster, beautifully contrasted with reclaimed Burmese teak and stylish textiles that complete the space. All cushions are by Jean-François Lesage and the upholstery on the sofa as well. The rug next to the daybed is by Shyam Ahuja.

photo credit:
Richard Powers for Elle Decor

Monday, 13 October 2014

drawing with light 40

photo credit:
Georges Gasté (Taj Mahal, Agra, India, 1906) via Old Photos

Friday, 10 October 2014

Toast Nov-14 lookbook shot in Iceland

Today, with the help of Toast, I'm taking you to Iceland. I opened their November 2014 lookbook this week and in an instant I was in my home country. I hope you enjoy the scenery.
Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Toast November 2014 lookbook

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Outdoor living

Outdoor living is a series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating being outdoors all year round!

These images do not exactly scream summer but I wanted to continue with my yogic mood this week and feature an outdoor living area that felt calming for the mind. This zen style farmhouse in southern Sweden couldn't have fit the profile more perfectly. The owner gave Scandinavian architects Gert and Karin Wingårdh a free hand to create "an uncomplicated space, using natural materials, that would bring the outdoors in" and I think we can all agree on that they did exactly that. The arches to the right in the above photo and to the left in the one below are woven with willow branches. I recommend that you view the slideshow on the website of Elle Decor to see the simple interior.

photo credit:
James Silverman for Elle Decor