Nov 25

A room for the seaside

There are a few things I really love about this room. The first is that it’s a beautiful room that feels ‘beachy’ but in an Australian way, not like so many of the beach houses we all admire from overseas, and from the U.S. in particular!

The second is how well the limited colour scheme works here – it’s really just timber, white and that glorious shade of teal green, which is used in the upholstery and picked up in the painting and accessories. It really shows how successful a room can be if you stick to the colours from an artwork and aren’t tempted to throw in a lot of competing colour or pattern.

Finally, I love the pairing of casual, ‘beach house’ pieces (wicker chairs, rustic console, barnacle clump) with a luxurious velvet for the furnishings. That sheen and texture alone, for me, really makes this room.

On that note, I’ll leave you for the weekend, have a great one! xx

Nov 24

Living Rustic

I love the mix of materials in this kitchen (above); marble sinks, thick masonry walls, smooth painted cupboards, touches of stainless steel, wire chair back, rough brick floors and well-used timber bread boards. It all makes for a texturally rich, really interesting rustic country kitchen.

I think it’s the junk and antique-shop hunter in me that is drawn to shelves crammed with glassware and vessels filled with wooden spoons and silverware. I also love, love, LOVE that big old-fashioned sink, and the industrial steel shelving.

Such a simple stained pine staircase, and yet it looks great paired with crisp white walls. The modern black and white-framed photos and the ornate French chest provide the contrast needed here so that the simple staircase looks intentional.

What fabulous windows! This kitchen must be such a beautiful space to spend time in. And that sink looks really interesting – do you think it’s moulded concrete?

I think everyone loves an old building that has been modernised but where a feature has been made of the beautiful original materials. Here the timber beams and the stone wall are the rustic counterpoints to a luxurious limestone floor, stunning staircase and retro-style chandelier. It’s a great mix.

I want to live here!

Nov 22

Today..

I’ve been getting bags of cushions ready to drop off at clients’ homes. I’m addicted to and obsessed with cushions. My parents like to tease me about this and complain that whenever they visit they have to move several cushions out of the way before finding a place to sit! But I love them. Nothing else (except maybe flowers) can change the look and personality of a room so swiftly. And for a person who likes to change things around constantly, this is a good thing. I mentioned a few days ago that I’ve ordered some new red cushions to add some Christmas spirit to my home – well I decided to really go with the whole red and navy thing for awhile so I’ve ordered a whole bunch of blue and white cushions in Ralph Lauren fabrics, to assist my new sofa in its transition into my living room (the sofa I wrote about here). I’ll need to add some more rich red and that will be easily achieved once I (if I) am able to buy a lovely Afghan rug that I’ve had my eye on for awhile..but I am trying my best to stay focused on all the jobs I have to do in the garden..

And speaking of gardens, I wanted to share these pics I took of a house by the roadside:

I just love English-style cottage gardens, where the roses are loose and climbing, and where the plants are allowed to grow a little rambly. This garden was so simple, but so green and beautiful. This is another job I’ve been meaning to tackle ever since we moved into our house; planting lavender! Must get onto it these holidays.

I also stopped by Spotlight this afternoon to buy some red grosgrain ribbon to tie around a whole collection of glass lidded jars (to be filled for Christmas with appropriately themed and coloured edible treats) I picked up at Provincial Home Living (and the Christmas Stockings come back into store tomorrow), where I saw these delights:

A truly stunning handmade Indian floor rug. The pictures do not do it justice, it was much nicer than it appears here! And not at all bad at $400.

They also have this cute doggy fabric. I was (still am) trying to think of something I could do with it. My first thought was how great it would look in a set of whimsical curtains across the back door (still thinking of handy mudrooms from yesterday’s post) of a country house- perhaps with some red trim to make it pop. Or maybe to cover a statement armchair.

This linen printed with trees also caught my eye – love the subtle muted colour options, particularly the pale grey/mauve.

Hope you’re having a great day too! x

Nov 21

Paul Bangay’s gorgeous home and garden

This past Saturday was one of those days that provides intense relief amidst a period of stinking hot, humid sunny days. It was cool and dark and wet and in short, the perfect day for visiting one of the country’s most beautiful gardens. A girlfriend of mine who shares my passion for garden analysis and observation (if not always for actual garden maintenance) and I ventured excitedly out into the pouring rain to check out Paul Bangay’s current country garden, Stonefields, about an hour outside Melbourne, which was open to raise money for Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation (which is a fabulous initiative to get kids in schools growing and cooking their own produce).

Let me tell you, it was stunning; an oasis of green and a haven of obviously planned, well-manicured, thriving garden ‘rooms’ . You enter the garden through a series of connected courtyards, which traverse the gentle incline of the grounds and gradually reveal the house beyond. The first courtyard is quite simple, just high hedged walls, a central water pond (above), and the spherical shapes in each corner.

From here the house is visible through a round window in the hedge wall.

These garden beds contained a selection of purple-flowering plants. The greens and purples looked just beautiful together.

The house was, to me, just as interesting as the garden. It’s like a modern Australian interpretation of a classic French farmhouse- very simple in design, big on symmetry and very beautiful. It has central two-story section which is flanked on either side by a wing with round windows on the front side (above), and french doors on the rear, facing the view (see below). It is also very masculine – lots of dark earthy greys outside, accents of slate, and grey/greens inside.

There is no shortage of the clipped topiaries that Paul is known for- I dread to think of the maintenance involved, but the arrangement and effect is really impressive.

See the slate detail that wraps around the centre of the central ‘tower’? It was also used around the doors and as a detail skirting the bottom of the building.

The house itself wasn’t actually open to the public, so I didn’t want to post a lot of the interior, but wanted to show you the stone fireplace and the bookshelves on either side- one houses a secret door that leads to the bedroom- this idea is now on my must-have list if I build!

On the end of the kitchen wing is a mudroom/utility room that opens onto this kitchen garden (above), complete with bell tower and beds of herbs.

Firewood stacked by the mudroom door (above).

On the other side of the house all the ground-floor rooms have french doors which open onto this terrace and to the incredible views beyond.

The area outside the kitchen is covered by this simple iron trellis, decorated with grapevines.

The master wing (above) opens onto a terrace of red sun lounges.

It’s hard to see here, but the view across the countryside was absolutely breathtaking.

I just had to show you this incredible mudroom- the perfect place for coats and boots, laundry facilities, a bench and sink for flowers and vegie-washing, and also home to extra dishes and glassware. I also love the grey-green colour of the joinery.

The vegetable garden proper (separate to the kitchen herb garden) is further down the hill, and it is home to the happiest, most delicious looking collection of vegie plants! It had me so inspired to establish a proper vegetable garden at home!

Love that green/purple colour combination..

Finally, a view down the hill from the top of the property, looking over the courtyards to the house. What a fabulous day it was!!

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