Apr 30

Today in fabrics


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Am I the only one who feels that the days are already noticeably shorter? Weekdays for me lately are slightly manic, as I try to get everything done before school pickup time, after which it seems there is no daylight left between the homework/dinner routine. In between phone calls and emails this morning I started putting together a scheme in sage greens and creams for a new client’s sitting room. I think I might need to throw a bit of stripe in there somewhere.. You can see the chaos of fabric cuttings that is my desk at the moment! I dream of a bigger office with a giant wall of organised storage!

I’ve also swapped most of the blue and white cushions in our house for some more ‘winter’ colours. I have to say I’m not that motivated at the moment in terms of decorating my own house – mainly because I’m ready to move on to the next project, and I want to try completely different things like wallpaper, new curtain fabrics, newly recovered furniture etc. I really am ready to sell everything and start from scratch in the next house. But the very least I can do is have season-appropriate cushions, right? The Ralph Lauren paisley in the front is actually one I won’t get sick of – I’m thinking of covering walls in that pattern somewhere in the fabled Country House – maybe a library?

 

Have a great day,

 

Naomi x

 

Apr 26

Latest ebay find and Mother Nature


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It’s been another beautiful and mainly rainy day here in Melbourne. This morning I had to go and pick up my latest ebay buy in the hills outside of town, which took me right by my sister’s country property:

I’ve shown bits of my sister and brother-in-law’s property before; they are renovating a former country retirement home, and the much older weatherboard cottage that’s on the same property. They were blessed to inherit a lot of wonderful established trees, but have also replaced a large field with a newly-planted orchard of various fruit trees.

This is one of their veggie gardens, with various types of lemon trees heavy with fruit behind. Lucky I have my own lemon tree or I would have snaffled a lot of those lemons! Is there anything better than a really tart lemon pie?

The driveway enters on one side of the property, circles around and exits on the other side, giving you a full tour through oaks, pines, elms, birches and agapanthas.

Can you tell I’m just a weeny bit jealous? I just love visiting. Then it was off to collect the chairs:

I’ve been looking around at wing back chairs for a little while now, but haven’t been in a rush to purchase them (as they are, of course, for the future country property!). I’m also pretty fussy about the shape and style. I didn’t want any that were too tall, too wide, or with wings that were either too large or too wimpy. I sound a bit hard to please don’t I!? And most importantly, they couldn’t have queen anne-style legs – straight, open legs with a central cross-bar were essential. So when I saw these ones on ebay I snapped them¬† up.

And look at the beautiful scenery I got to enjoy on the way to collect them:

So I had pictured these chairs as being recovered in a dark charcoal grey wool or felt, with the backs in a co-ordinating tweed. The existing fabric isn’t actually all that bad-¬† it’s quite an interesting kilim-patterned velvet in reds, blues and greys. I could easily make it work as is if I needed to hold off on the reupholstery, but I’m envisioning either the dark grey or maybe a scheme of reds or raspberry in velvet and chintzes (I still do love chintz in the right setting).

But on the topic of tweeds, have you seen the new Greenwich Linen collection from Ralph Lauren? I’m such a big fan of these classic designs and warm neutrals:

Very English country house! Can you imagine them paired with some timber beams and old battered leather suitcases? Lovely.

Naomi xx

Apr 24

A Gothic country property


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On the weekend my parents-in-law and I went to take a look at a beautiful old house that has come up for sale in the area outside Melbourne that we are hoping to buy in. When I’d seen it on the internet it seemed to tick all the boxes; a reasonably large block of land (4000 sq metres) for a residential area, loads of character, and beautiful established trees.

On arrival it has these beautiful iron gates and an impressive view through them up to the house. Doesn’t it look beautiful? Even the weather suited the house – all dark and rainy and gloomy – my absolute favourite kind of day.

The garden was full of mature English trees, with lots of gorgeous autumnal colour – reds, oranges and yellows. Can you see the twisted brick chimneys on the house?

And lovely views of the garden through all of the windows. I didn’t take any interiors photos simply because of the number of people at the inspection. The property must be some sort of local landmark because it seemed half of country Victoria was there taking a look!

Unfortunately this house didn’t tick the boxes for me. Though beautiful, the property is surrounded by modern new-builds, and I dream of not having any close neighbours. It also needed more work than we would realistically be prepared to take on, including lots of rising damp. But the main problem for me was it just didn’t give me ‘that feeling’; I felt no connection with the spaces and couldn’t really imagine spending time there.

My dream country house would have one large communal living space (this house didn’t have that):

via velvet and linen

I particularly love this double-height barn-like living space filled with comfy sofas, books, paintings and antiques.

Room for lots of books:

via cote de texas

Lots of relaxed, cosy corners:

And scope to use some dark greys and blues, maybe even black for walls:

And you know I’m a sucker for that traditional, masculine, ultra-warm and cosy den-like look (here it’s Ralph Lauren’s country library):

So, my happy search continues.

Have a great day,

Naomi x

Apr 23

Full Circle

Posted in house hunting

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Hello there. Remember me? It’s been awhile – quite a long while – since I last posted here but I’m happy to be back in the blog world. I never really intended on taking such a lot of time off, but for the past few weeks my energies have been utilized elsewhere and my daily blog ritual slipped down on my long list of priorities. Blogging became a bit like exercising – I felt good doing it but I was sick of making the time in my day, so I stopped until I was desperate to get back into it for the sake of my mental health! There has been so much happening and so many ideas fighting for space in my head that I need the catharsis that is this little blog.

 

Can I just say thank you so much to the many readers who emailed me wondering if I was still alive? It’s always slightly surprising to me to be made aware of the fact that there are people who read what I write here – and it is so, so encouraging to hear from people who share my interests, style and passions (obsessions?).

 

I won’t go into great detail about what I’ve been up to since I last posted (work, kids, more work, house-hunting – you get the picture), but one consistent theme for me has been dreaming of a place in the country, and figuring out how that can actually become a reality for us.

Would we keep our house in Melbourne and just buy a little weekender? If so it would need to be cheap. Or do we see our lives as ever being based more outside the city? This would mean at some stage possibly uprooting the children from their school but it would also mean I could start looking at bigger houses, more character, more land… But we’d still need a small base in the city, mainly for my work purposes. It was in this mindset that I looked at – and loved – an inner city apartment recently.

Yes, it was pretty ugly. Blue carpet, very small and crusty kitchen, bathrooms all in need of replacing, but boy, could I see the potential! It also had a fireplace, french doors, soaring ceilings, an office for me and you could walk to the cbd.

I had it all mapped out; I’d lose the ugly wall lights and blue carpet and install pale bleached floorboards with a hint of warmth. In the dining area (above), I’d put a long buttoned upholstered banquette against the wall, and pair it with a long, narrow timber farmhouse table with walnut bentwood chairs to contrast with the pale floors. Above the banquette I’d have a wall of artwork.

This is a bit more provincial than what I had in mind but I do like the pairing of a bench seat with simple chairs:

I would have opened up the sides of the ugly 1980′s staircase so that it looked more like this:

 

I imagined a new lantern pendant in the stairwell, nicer handrails and a wall of large black and white photos – probably of the kids as only the boys’ bedrooms would have been upstairs:

The upstairs landing was big enough to house a long desk for homework, a small sofa and maybe a tv on the wall.

In the living room the overall scheme would be my city version of blue and white ‘Ralph Lauren style’. My plan was that this would leave me free to go with darker, richer colours and fabrics in my country place. Think sisal, white sofa and curtains, armchairs in navy with white piping, black mirrors against white walls, tan leather buttoned ottoman for a coffee table, bookshelves with a ladder to the ceiling on either side of the fireplace housing mainly books but some blue and white chinese ceramics too. I really did have a vision!

After a couple of weeks of indecision, we agreed to put in an offer, only to find that it had sold the day before! It was – I want to say disappointing – but it was more than that to me. I had become ridiculously emotionally invested, and in my mind it was already my new city pad, so refocusing on the property search was actually a little difficult. That is, until the next place came along.. (which I’ll tell you about tomorrow).

It’s nice to back, and thanks for reading.

Naomi xx

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