Monday, October 3, 2011

A Story in White

When I was in London last year, 3 Redchurch St, London, was the site of Caravan, Emily Chalmers's shop. Now, Caravan is in the process of being relocated and in its place is Story Deli, which I last visited in Dray Walk. Here is Story in its latest incarnation:

I was the only customer there this afternoon. As it's only been in this location for three weeks and has a branch for a sign, word of its opening may not have spread as yet. The pizzas are lovely (I had one last year). I wanted to order Alby's Aubergino: roasted aubergine, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan, tomato passata, oregano and garlic. However, I'd already eaten lunch so I settled on possibly the best brownie I've ever eaten:

But who am I kidding? The main reason I was there was for the decor. And it didn't disappoint. A veritable symphony of white furniture, all weathered, chipped and peeled. Such as this chair:

And this stool:

The lovely fireplaces:

And this gorgeous centrepiece made from a wire lamp shade frame:

Even the windows are beautiful:

And the mirror in the bathroom has just the right amount of wear:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ilse Crawford at the Olde Bell Inn

I've been an admirer of Ilse Crawford's stunningly beautiful interiors for a while now. I particularly love her use of muted grey at the Grand Hotel Stockholm:

And this green at the Aesop store in Mayfair, London:

Above images from the Studioilse website.
Believe it or not, I am actually sitting in a room designed by Ilse Crawford right now. It is at the Olde Bell inn at Hurley on the River Thames outside London. When we arrived we were very fortunate to be upgraded to this room:

Decorated predominantly in black and white tones:

This is the bathtub:

And there are Aesop toiletries:

There is a bar downstairs containing this beautiful peacock-patterned chair:

This was the breakfast which was laid out this morning, complete with inn-baked rye bread, and honeycomb dripping with honey :

And then we had to find room for the hot breakfast. We were tempted to sit in the beautiful dining room, where the seating is upholstered with Welsh blankets:

And there are pewter plates on the tables:

We decided to sit outside as the weather is lovely at the moment:

Here is an extract about the Olde Bell from the folder in our room:

"[Ilse] Crawford decided  to reinvent the coaching inn. The key elements are: the building (nooks and crannies and open fires), food (local pies and cheeses and soda breads and hearty puddings), English country materials (reed matting, Ercol chairs from High Wycombe, once the chair making capital of England, and pewter plates), and comfy lodgings (homely and classy rooms) with handmade blankets. It makes perfect sense. Why ship in minimalist chrome sofas from achingly cool Italian designers to enhance a pub stretching back to 1135, when you can use the craftsmen from good old High Wycombe. "Materials are vital in creating an atmosphere,"she says. . . "Design is emotion and practicality". . . "It is more poetic and not just about ticking boxes."

It certainly makes sense to me. Actually, they had me at "hearty puddings". Now to go downstairs and curl up in that peacock chair with a drink.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ice Cream Palette

Now that it's spring, all I seem to see are ice cream colours everywhere.

Spearmint, Lemon and Strawberry:

Cherry and Pistachio, with Coffee and Hazelnut in the background:

Strawberry, Lemon and Blueberry:

Spearmint, Orange, Lemon and Raspberry:

What happpened to the dark, monochrome palette I was considering? Oh well, changing our interiors with our moods is part of the fun, isn't it?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

London Here I Come

In a couple of weeks I'll be going to London, one of my favourite places in the world. I've got a list of stores I hope to visit. The first is Story Deli at Dray Walk. The pizza is yummy, but I mainly go there for the interior and the products for sale:

Image from Remodelista

Then I hope to visit Anthropologie:

Images from Anthropologie website

One of the Shabby Chic stores is also on my list:

Images from Cavania blog

And Rachel Riley to find some lovely little girl clothes:

Image from Rachel Riley Facebook page

And that's only the first day. I'd better take an empty suitcase with me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tres Chic

As readers of my blog know, one of my missions in life is to find ugly duckling furniture items and try to make them beautiful. Sometimes I'm more successful than others. I think this time I've done quite a good job with my $25 chair. Here is what it looked like when I found it:

I fell in love with it because of the wheels and also this:

The original leather backing which had, thankfully, not been covered by fabric. Then when I stripped the fabric away, I uncovered this original sacking. I decided not to re-cover that part, just the seat.

I wasn't fond of the timber so I painted it white:

I had saved all the old upholstery nails, so I just stretched some toile fabric over the seat, and voila!

Here's the finished product after a bit of time, paint, fabric and effort.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Vintage

Over the last few weeks, I've spent $75 at the op shop, for which I 've bought:

Four Thonet chairs ($5 each):

One lamp ($5):

One fireplace surround complete with mantel piece ($20). The fact that I don't actually have a fireplace isn't a problem - I use it as a book shelf:

Half a metre of French grain sack fabric ($30), which I made into a cushion with a calico backing:

Not  a bad haul. My op shop has been an Aladdin's cave lately. I'll post some more finds soon.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Before and After

Recently I found a couple of ugly ducklings at the op shop, which I decided to transform. The first is a doll's house, which is going to find a home with my favourite little girl:

It needed a makeover, so now the interior has been painted with Berkshire White, my interior paint of choice:

While the exterior is now a very stylish Grey Ember:

I also found this coffee table with a rather scratched top:

The top has now been painted black and the table fits in well on the back porch:

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thank you Catherine Shields

I haven't been blogging much lately, so I totally missed a post about my boatshed by Catherine Shields of  the In My House Design blog:

A few years ago, I met her and Penny Barker, who is now the editor of South Coast Style magazine, when they ran a lovely interiors shop in Nowra called Surf and Turf. They both have a great sense of style and a wealth of experience in the interiors world. They came out to do a shoot on the boatshed for South Coast Style, which in turn led to an article in Australian Country Style.

I will always be grateful to Catherine and Penny for having faith in my rather stumbling efforts. They helped me see that I was on the right track in reclaiming and repurposing vintage items, and inspired me to keep going.

Catherine's post is at:

Thank you so much Catherine x

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Art Space

Don't you just love a good salon hang? Lately I've been obsessed about beautifully hung artworks, and I've tried to bring more art into the boatshed. This has been helped by the fact that I've been able to buy several oil paintings secondhand, both framed and unframed, for between two and five dollars each. This is the corner of the boatshed I call the library, and it's coming along nicely. I need to fill up the spaces on the wall with smaller pieces:

This corner of the kitchen has artworks united by the theme of water, from the large one of Trial Bay Gaol, to the smallest, of Lord Howe Island. The two white-framed ones are of  Jervis Bay, which is only five minutes drive away from here, while New Zealand is represented as well:

In another part of the kitchen, I've hung other objects such as metal pastry cases, a blackboard and fryer basket to complement the paintings:

Above the bed, a still life, art deco mirrors and two landscapes frame the window and almost turn it into an artwork too:

Having this inexpensive art around me elevates my soul. I've just started a Visual Arts course (the reason why my blog posts have dwindled), and they help me each day to remember that I am choosing the artist's way.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Room Living

People often ask me how I can live in just one room with a bathroom out the back. You do have to be fairly tidy and organised, but the benefits of being able to lie in bed  with the water close by outweigh the disadvantages. I was please to find an online interview with designer Ellen O'Neill discussing her one-room apartment overlooking Gramercy Park in Manhattan. She says, "I just wanted a modern cubicle, where I could recline on a daybed and touch everything". Here is said daybed, decorated in black and white like the rest of the apartment:

Her space is larger than mine and includes an office area:

The floor is painted white. As O'Neill says, "I've always had painted floors — I use automotive paint. Brown floors depress me to death. And I knew from the start that I wanted a black-and-white palette. But just black and white can be too hard and cold, too optical. You need some creams and grays and sepias to ease you into a softer, gentler world and add a little romance".

I love the toile fabric screen and slip-covered chair:

O'Neill also has a house in Bridgehampton which is considerably larger, and decked out with red touches. She was formerly VP of Design for Ralph Lauren, as can be seen in her decorating style:

You can read the House Beautiful interview on the Bridgehampton house here:

I love the kitchen with its check painted floor:

I think I prefer the all-white bedroom below to the red and white one above:

The house can be rented out via this website
All images House Beautiful website.
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