Apr 30, 2012

Just a little unusual for a Front Door...but then again...

Yes, I do see there is a horse standing in the entryway.
But half close your eyes, 
and imagine, just for a minute,
that this is actually a front door to a rather beautiful home.
Fun, isn't it? And definitely dramatic.
Overscaled sliding doors: with an inherent theatrical element to them.
It also means that even with a small door opening,
one could have quite large doors.
Then again, 
having a gorgeous horse as a greeter is also a charming idea.
"Welcome and do come in", he is naying.
Well, 'tis Monday, so we may as well dream a little!


Apr 27, 2012

Glamorous Interior :: What is it? :: Can we define it?

 The Oxford dictionary defines "glamour" as
"alluring or exciting beauty or charm".
Which is a definition I rather like. 
Because it isn't just sparkles, or velvet, or high heels.
That can be glamorous, of course.
But a truly glamorous room is something much more.
It is a space which exudes a magic of its own,
acting as a magnet to draw people in to explore, to sit, to enjoy.
To linger.
To allow the eye to simply feast.
 In her own apartment in Paris,
Joséphine Gintzburger
has created rooms which help to explain 
some of the elements of glamour 
in an interior space.
 And colour, especially the tension created with it, is one of them.
The same colour tension can also be seen in the work of Diney Phillips, 
a very talented Melbourne florist.
Pinks, reds, purples, oranges - together on the colour wheel,
but then contrasted with green - the opposite colour on the wheel.
Bright, bejewled tones contrasted with deep, dull dusky ones.
 Pretty pink, hot pink, bold red, cool stainless steel, sultry black.
The tension is exciting and dramatic,
balancing dainty & assertive colours and textures.
Now this kitchen would definitely be a magnet at parties! 
So wildly colourful, I just want to be there. 
Cooking up a storm, or sipping a martini.
There is such a crazy combination of colour & texture happening,
but it works, 
because there are just a little less "fun" than "serious" elements.
The pink refrigerator is grounded by the rustic timber box;
the red dishwasher grounded by the simple stainless steel stove.
In the floral arrangement, the wild richness of colours,
almost a saturation of vibrancy, 
is grounded by the deep no-nonsense blue on the tin.
Quirkiness, or combining pieces from different eras, styles & provenance,
is also an integral element in a glamorous space.
It is the wit of the unexpected.
There's a very fine line here between contrived and casual elegance,
but again, it is about creating enough tension to stimulate the eye,
without jolting it.
Dark and bright, shadow and light.
Tension resolved, but with its fine balance it creates a dramatic intrigue.
And lastly, the tension created by playing with 
masculine & feminine elements, 
creates a room which feels balanced. 
The over the top frou frou lamp works,
because it is sitting on a very simple, very bold and very black table.

They are a clever pair, these two girls on opposite sides of the planet.
But, through their work,
 they can perfectly illustrate some of the elements of glamour.
Because these images just emanate, in deep breaths,
that alluring and exciting beauty and charm.

flowers by diney phillips via her blog marigold



Apr 26, 2012

Help! :: I need a new camera :: but which one???

Ok, I need some advice.
I'm hunting for a new camera,
and am wondering what you have, and if you love it.

Apr 24, 2012

Baking :: Rosemary Damper :: the meaning of herbs & flowers

I love the ancient tradition of flower meanings.
You know, red roses for love, violets for faithfulness and so on.
But did you know that rosemary signifies remembrance?
So, with Anzac Day tomorrow,
I thought I would experiment with a little baking last night,
using this deliciously pungent herb,
to see how it would turn out in a simple damper recipe.
And the result was sensational!

Apr 23, 2012

Fabulous Front Doors :: Pot plants used differently

Adding a potted plant or two
to a front door certainly creates a cheery welcome.
But they don't always have to sit on each side 
of the front door.
This house was built in1930 in the Deco Moderne style,
by Cedric Gibbons, the MGM art director, as his Hollywood home.
Designed by Douglas Hoonold,
this is perhaps one of the most beautiful 
asymmetrical entrances that I know of.
And the two simple pots highlight the balance.
With a smaller scale in which to play,
this stepped entrance in a terrace house 
has just enough room 
for one pot to sit, 
as the happy welcoming party.
Using sticks, in brightly-golden hues, rather than a plant,
creates curiosity. 
Makes me want to have a look inside.

In both examples, there isn't enough room to place
a pot on each side of the door.
But it hasn't stopped either entrance from looking fabulous. 

images :: top


Apr 21, 2012

Welcome to the House of Fun :: new work by Andrew Maynard

Architecture can be a very fun component of the arts.
One can play with shape, colour, form & texture.
Yet sometimes,
something which at first appears light-hearted
can actually disguise a much more serious design philosophy.
And so it is with this latest work by the imaginative Andrew Maynard.

Mango Daiquiri perhaps?

If the answer is "yes"
where the colourful Sarah has featured my scrumptious 
recipe for Mango Daiquiris,
as part of her most delicious Happy Hour series.

And you know I just love a cocktail!

image :: blue fruit

Apr 20, 2012

Just can't resist that roaring 20s beat...

Yippee it's the weekend
and these girls know it!
Hope you have a fabulously glamorous weekend!

image :: nightlife found via snoop

Apr 19, 2012

Would you love to live here? :: sweeping stairs & polished plaster

Twirling & cascading through a house of classical style,
this wrought iron fringed staircase
stretches through 3 floors
of a hauntingly beautiful home in Toorak.
Built over 3 years,
lived in for just 6 days,
then left empty for almost 3 years
(while the family relocated to London),
this mansion is on the market.

Inky, smudgey, deliciously purply blue :: by Rebecca Vallance

One of the colours which I am completely besotted with 
at the moment is that curiously purple-toned blue,
almost the colour of old carbon paper...
sort of purple...sort of blue.
And this year's collection from young designer Rebecca Vallance
exploits the tone to its full sultry edge.

Just delicious! 

images :: rebecca vallance

Apr 18, 2012

Progress Report :: 1960s Groovy House at Caulfield



One of the projects which I have been working on 
for a couple of years is something rather special.
It's an early house by Charles Justin, 
one of the founding architects of SJB.
And yesterday, when I popped in to have a look at progress,
the front door had just had his first coat of fabulous orange paint,
inspired by the rich caramels, bronze & toffee of the original leadlight.
(The paint colour is Dulux Playschool.)


Built in the 1960s,
when my clients found this treasure a few years ago
it was in almost original condition,
which they loved.
They wanted to extend it & bring it back to life,
while staying true to the original groovy spirit of the times.


When I first started on the project,
this was the mood board which I prepared both for the clients
and also for myself, 
because it helps as a blueprint for the overall direction. 
Some materials have changed, 
but we are still using the same colour scheme.

Apr 17, 2012

Dancing in the Air :: Back on 2 Feet!

So excited to be allowed back out to play in the design world,
as my ankle has healed sufficiently for me to hobble 
around a couple of my building sites today.
(One of my clients kindly suggested the builders could 
haul me up in the hoist, along with the bricks.)
Hmmm...hopefully I can hop up the stairs on one splendid,
and one almost-splendid foot.
Thank you for all your lovely good wishes,
and it was truly wonderful to be totally spoiled for a week.

But right now...I feel like dancing in the air! 

Apr 16, 2012

Fabulous Front Doors :: Screen Doors

Not always necessary,
depending on the climate,
but a screened door can be a chance 
to add a little enchantment
to a front entrance.
This is a very ornate version, 
from a 1930s house in Toorak,
where the cast iron scrolls remind me of butterfly wings. 
Simpler, but just as beautiful,
this sultry blue number at a holiday property
frames the bottom half for support
but leaves the top half clear for visibility.
And, I rather love to imagine,
if I close my eyes a little,
I can just hear that fabulous "s q u e a k" sound 
of this screen door opening.
It's the sound of sunny days! 

images :: top : 1930s ornate entrance, melbourne
bottom : blue garden door, rhode island

How to Hairstyles :: Jazz Age inspired locks

If you are inspired to try out the Jazz Age inspired cocktail party,
here's a fabulous DIY hairstyle which would suit the spirit of the times,
or would simply look lovely for a day at the office,
or an evening at the theatre.
And it is designed for mid length hair.
The instructions are here.

Apr 13, 2012

Elegant Entertaining :: Jazz Age inspired Cocktail Party


Rather taken with the notion of throwing a cocktail party
with a jazz age theme,
after researching the history of cocktails for our series
and finding lots of wonderful inspiration from the 1920s.
Martinis, jazz, a devil-may-care attitude, treasure hunts
 and lots of dancing.
Sound like fun?

Apr 12, 2012

Delectable Duet :: Silver + Sparkle...

Amidst all the whirls of colour abounding at this time of year,
both in the spring blossom of the north
and the reddening autumn leaves of the south
(and as beautiful as that is),
it's rather lovely to come back to that
classic & classy combination
of silver + sparkle.
After all, it is April, the month of diamonds...

MIFGS 2012 :: recycling ideas for the garden...

 I mentioned the recurring theme of recycling in yesterday's post
about the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show,
so I figured you may like to see some of the ideas.
 This beautiful water pot was in Jason Hodges "Spare Change" garden,
where nearly every single item was found at the local council dump
and re-used with imagination.

Apr 11, 2012

Baking :: Fetta, Basil & Pumpkin Pasties

Very fortuitously, 
I managed to time my enforced week of leisure
with uni and school holidays. 
Which is simply fabulous, 
as the children can learn to cook more than their 
stock-standard curry & stir fry offerings. 
So last night, 
I whipped up this little number,
while standing on one leg,
pink flamingo-like,
with my daughter acting as sous chef,
for the parts which required the stability of two legs.

MIFGS 2012 :: the gardens...

Oh my goodness...where to start?
The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show 
is always an enchanted visit to the far realms of landscape imagination.
And it always makes me want to run home to start planting immediately!
This year's event, 
held last week,
had a very distinct recycled theme
(more on that later),
with a touch of humour sprinkled throughout the designs.
And these fabulous moulded seats,
as part of the gold-winning Nord Garden by Marnie Lewis Design,
were typical of the fun.
(And before you ask,
there were 2 shapes: male and female.)

Apr 10, 2012

Inside/ Outside :: an elegant Victorian villa with a modern touch

One of the many delights of mid Victorian villas
are the bay windows,
often arched,
which create a sense of inside/outside theatre:
a literal prism window onto the garden.

Apr 9, 2012

Not so Glamourous :: a smashed ankle :: can I be like a lady in distress then?

 My plans of frolicking about 
on the deliciously decadent long weekend 
were brought to a halt yesterday,
when my husband inadvertently walked into my 
delicately bent leg as I stepped into the shower.
Oh dear! 
A few hours in the emergency department,
umpteen x-rays and pokings of said ankle,
a pronouncement of 
"complete bed rest for a week 
and definitely no ladder climbing"
(an occupational hazard for an interior designer)
and here I am,
 a lady in distress.
But I figure if I am going to be a lady in distress,
I may as well enjoy the sympathy factor to the max.
So while the family rushes about with
"Is there anything else you need, mother dearest?"
I shall be reclining, 
in somewhat romantic fashion,
(as best as possible)
on the chaise,
and loving every minute of it!

top image :: A Lady Reclining on a Chaise Lounge painting by Domenico Induno, via
bottom image :: the fabulous Harold Lloyd in the film "Girl Shy" 1924 via

Apr 6, 2012

An Easter bonnet of fresh Roses....

Well, you know I can find any excuse to wear a hat,
and the notion of Easter Bonnets is just dandy in my book.
But a hat of fresh roses?
Oh, just heaven! 

image :: fashionising

Apr 4, 2012

Colour of the Month :: Diamond :: April's Birthstone

Truly lucky are those people born in April,
because they get the most enchantingly beautiful of gems
as their birthstone: the glittering diamond. 

Apr 2, 2012

Roses on my Bedside Table :: utter luxury.

 Freshly gathered from the garden,
drenched in the sunset-pink glow of autumn,
the most fragrantly exquisite roses
sit upon my bedside table.
Utter, utter luxury.
To see what else is on my bedside table,
jump across to the elegant Iced Vo-Vo's,
where Marina has begun a fabulous new series,
looking at a different bedside table each Monday.
Something delightful to start the week! 

images :: blue fruit

Fabulous Front Entrances :: The Drama of Black

You can have some fun with a front door.
It's a place where the drama can get notched up a tad,
to bring an element of the theatrical to such a symbolic part of the home.
And one of the most successful ways to do that,
is simply to paint it black.
In an older home, 
the confidence of black creates a bold contemporary edge.
In this home in Armadale,
the black door, 
against the white painted brick & white cast iron lace,
places all the emphasis on the intricate lead light.
Without making it too fussy.
But black as a front door works equally well in a home 
of more simplistic lines.
This is a house by Mim Design,
where the tones of black & cream in the entry 
immediately tell the visitor this is a home
where simple elegance reigns.

They are both boldly delicious!

images :: armadale house sold recently // rg residence by mim design

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