Jun 30, 2012

A House in the Bauhaus Style :: On the Market


Recognisable by their no-nonsense angular style,
Bauhaus buildings are something of a rarity in domestic stand alone housing
(more often they are offices, factories or apartments).
So when one comes on the market it's fairly unusual. Especially in Australia.
This house, in leafy Camberwell, Melbourne, 
displays the slightly curved corners,
steel framed windows, geometric cube floor plan
 + flat roof so typical of the style.


Jun 29, 2012

Glamourising the Kitchen Sink :: can we?


I don't know about you, but doing the dishes is one of those jobs
I am terribly good at procrastinating over.
I mean, it's just so dull. 
And it's no sooner done, than those rotten dishes 
are all back again. 
So let's see if we can inject a little glamour into this, um, 
possibly not glamorous space,
to turn what has to be done,
into something a little more fun.



For starters, I reckon these super-duper helpful fellows 
may be a lot better than a yellow dish sponge.
At least they are a lot more comical. 
And let's face it: when was the last time your yellow sponge gave attitude 
as good as these two?


And when was the last time you looked this happy about clean dishes?
(Umm...maybe we are missing something in our modern lives???
Whatever they put in that dishwashing detergent, 
I want some. If life could be so simple...)


It's possible that if the kitchen sink itself is a beautiful item,
we may be more inclined to want to hang around it a a bit more.
This one is rather fabulous, all in brass.  
Nah, who am I kidding? It needs to also be an automatic sink.
The kind which scuttles around the kitchen, collecting dishes,
washing, drying & putting them all away.
Do you think somebody could invent one of those?


Failing the automatic sink idea,
at least using beautiful utensils & products will inject some glamour.
Which isn't so unachievable. 
When I am designing kitchens for my clients,
I mostly incorporate various pull out drawers under the sink for detergent,
sponges & so on. 
But if you already have a kitchen,
keeping them in a fabulous dish or tray makes a big difference.
Old crystal trays or bowls, apart from looking rather glam,
contain all the drips to one spot. 



Of course, one doesn't want to get too caught up in the superficiality of 
pretty dishes while washing them.
So perhaps using one of these literary minded tea towels,
from UK based Kitchen Sink Dramas
(love the name)
would help to keep the whole process loftily intellectual?
With excerpts from Katherine Mansfield, Oscar Wilde, DH Lawrence & the like, 
I think I may be tempted to just sit down and read the tea towel instead.


To get the children involved in the process
there are fabulous childhood stories on the tea towels as well. 
(My own seem to have an allergy-to-dishes medical condition;
I'm hoping it's contagious.)


So, do you think we can glamorise the kitchen sink, even a little?
After all, it's one of those jobs which simply have to be done, 
so it may as well be a little fun & beautiful.




Jun 27, 2012

Big Hill House :: New Work from Kerstin Thompson Architects


High on a hill,
above the legendary Great Ocean Road,
and overlooking the magnificent Bass Strait,
is a new, very quietly calm house by Kerstin Thompson Architects.


The clients requested a "solid house",
and the building does answer that desire,
with a simple palette of oiled timbers and concrete block walls.


Resisting the temptation to simply sweep the facade with window-walls,
instead the "solid house" feel was enhanced with pocket windows,
carved out of the dense walls,
as if to provide port holes through which to isolate and frame the view.



This is a very ruggedly stunning part of Australia.
Few who visit are not enchanted with its wild beauty.
But the winds can roar,
and the chill can be icy in winter.
A house here needs to be both a gloriously cosy retreat in winter,
but cool in summer.
Concrete floors and blockwork walls achieve both.
They work as a heat bank, with their great thermal masses absorbing
heat from the sun streaming through the windows on winter's days,
releasing it back at night.
And in summer, by absorbing the heat from the room and keeping it cool.
It's a very effective and simple regulator.



Big Hill House plays with light and shadow,
cool grey concrete and warm timbers;
to produce a home which reflects & echoes its surrounds. 
The building is not fussy - instead it is intimate,
with the same wild untamed beauty as the ocean outside.
It's the kind of beauty 
which is not necessarily revealed by the camera lens,
but one which is almost more emotional,
needing to be experienced in real life. 
Just the kind of space where one feels safe and quiet,
without especially needing to analyse why.

Jun 26, 2012

Baking :: Coconut Cake with Cherry Syrup :: from the new tea trolley!


"You'll never guess what she's gone and bought this time"
despaired the 19 year old to his 18 year old sister.
"It's a tea trolley. As if we need another piece of furniture..."
his voice trailed off as he nodded his head towards the car boot,
letting his feelings be known to all and sundry.
My daughter looked at me questioningly.


Jun 25, 2012

Now this is a REAL beach shack!


The notion of the ideal beach house means very different things to different people.
Pure white, pristine & perfect to some.
Rustic, not-too-precious and a place to let the kids run around, to others.
I rather fancy the latter. 
But it would have to be somewhere with character. Lots of it.
And I think I may have found the ultimate character-filled beach house. 
Or perhaps we should call that a beach shack. 
Because that is what "Carramar" is, in all her glory...


Fabulous Front Entrances :: Lighting :: scale + style


Selecting the lighting for a fabulous front entrance
can be a little overwhelming.
Especially now, when there is SO much choice in fittings.
But, as always, if you follow the golden rules of 
scale, proportion & symmetry,
you can achieve a very pleasing result.
(And if it is light which casts a decent glow where needed,
it's a definite bonus!
Sometimes, I reckon this gets forgotten when people 
choose something which "looks nice".)
Here, all that is needed is a little directional lighting over the number,
located in a street in Belgium,
so the visitor can quickly see what they are hunting for.
The soft brass finish and simplicity of shape is the perfect foil
for the sculpturally twisted, gnarling wistaria vine.


If you have an older house, 
and want to highlight the original spirit of its provenance,
selecting a light which uses the same rationale as the house's design
will generally create a harmonious design.
This is a ranch house, circa 1969, in Texas,
and after the home's owners replaced the very ornate door 
with a boxy black one 
(referencing the mid century modern style),
they switched the "updated" coach style light
for a more simplified black one, 
with the much-loved atomic shape of the era.
Suddenly,
the original design is celebrated,
and the eye can appreciate the pleasing horizontal lines of the composition,
instead of being distracted with "busyness".


A conical light fitting draws the eye to the triangular form of the shed.
The timber has enough richness of texture for the light to be very simple.


The wall has just a little detail, 
with the grooves formed by edges of the timber boards.
(No fuss here - no architrave around the door frame.)
So the light speaks the same language:
with just a little detail around the top capital,
using the same vertical ridged lines of the timber walls. 


Mixing a contemporary style light with a more ornate older home 
can work just as fabulously,
if the scale and balance is in proportion.
Over-scaled door architraves + an over-scaled, very long light 
sit happily together.
This time, we are celebrating the vertical lines. 


Shiplapped timber panelling, bagged render, slate tiles.
They are all timeless, rustic finishes. 
No fussy detailing. Just beautiful textures.
The light fitting answers back with a simple, almost pitted, metallic finish.
Nothing is pretending to be what it's not.
It just clicks.

So, if you follow these golden rules of scale, proportion & symmetry
you are halfway there with a light fitting choice.
And if you choose a material in keeping with the "story" of 
the surrounding materials, 
you can choose a light fitting which is truly worthy 
of a Fabulous Front Entrance.



Jun 23, 2012

Capturing the Ocean in Glass :: the work of Sarah Dingwall


Glass is one of the most enchanting materials, I think.
Perhaps it is because it is so fragile, 
or perhaps because it can hold colour + clarity concurrently.
But this artist has managed to do something else with glass again.
She has captured the feel of the ocean + the beach,  
which surrounds her daily life,
in these beautiful pieces of jewellery and objects.

Jun 22, 2012

Just Something Fun :: 1930s style :: men dressed in tutus.


And while we are in the mood for the 1930s,
from the Cocktail History installment earlier in the week,
it's rather fun to look at humour of the time. 

These strapping blokes have well and truly dressed the part 
for their performance at the Melbourne Town Hall.
And it brings to mind,
that men dressed as feminine women 
can always raise a laugh at the theatre,
but a woman dressed as a man will not. 

Why is that?

image :: museum victoria

Jun 20, 2012

Artwork which makes you look twice...and think twice.. the sculpture of Frank Plant


Hunting for inspiration for a laundry design,
I stumbled across this wonderful wire-sculpture silhouette by Frank Plant.
And became completely enchanted with the 3d effect of his sculptures 
which sit just off the wall,
creating a shadow.

Jun 19, 2012

Would you Like to Live here? :: A cottage with a pool and a cosmopolitan attitude...


I often figure that the perfect lifestyle 
would be living in a little city-pad, 
preferably a chic cottage,
for the weekdays.
And then escaping to a rambling country retreat on the weekends.


Jun 16, 2012

Glamorous Cocktails (#3) :: Art Deco, Hollywood & the 1930s :: the Golden Years


We have left behind those flapper cocktail parties of the 1920s
in our cocktail history series, 
because today we are venturing into 
the Hollywood Years of the cocktail,
when all the glitz & glamour of the silver screen
made the little drink oh-so-irresistable,
as the centrepiece of elegant entertaining.


Jun 14, 2012

Moonstones :: Birthstone for June :: part III


I mentioned that June was a generous month for birthstones,
and I truly was not exaggerating,
because as well as Pearls and Agates,
the charming Moonstones are often included.

Delectable Duet :: pattern + colour


A busy pattern contrasted with the simplicity of plain colour
is an utterly timeless Delectable Duet.


Just like the pattern of flowers on a stem,
mixed with a simple, single flower colour.


And while it is certainly appearing in current fashion collections,
like this gorgeous Winter 2012 range from Cue
(made in Australia ~ yay!),
it's a combination which works brilliantly and really doesn't date.

Because each draws attention to the beauty of the other.

And isn't that what a Delectable Duet is all about?

images :: cue winter 2012

Jun 12, 2012

Being a Tourist in my own Backyard... on the Mornington Peninsula...


It was rather fun to play tourists over the long weekend,
as my parents came over to visit from Adelaide,
and the crisp, clear sunny weather made the Mornington Peninsula 
all too irresistible,
with its mix of vineyards, restaurants, art galleries & antique shops.

Jun 11, 2012

Is that a Magpie I see before Me? Outside my kitchen window...


What should greet me in the morning mist,
sitting upon the fence outside the kitchen window,
but 3 very elegant magpies,
calmly waiting for their breakfast.
They appeared as if by apparition,
the misty fog enhancing the glossy black + sparkling white of their feathers.
Were they the 3 witches of Macbeth,
which we saw on Friday night, in a most fabulous production by Bell Shakespeare?
Escaped from the stage and into the mist?


Jun 9, 2012

Rescue Me Please :: I'm a 1930's "Between the Wars" house!


I was built in 1936,
with mottled red bricks & art deco elements,
in the "between the wars" style,
but I now need a bit of help to be re-imagined as the elegantly foxy home
I should be. 
Will you help rescue me?


But first, 
to put ourselves in the mood for what was happening in the hippest homes 
in 1936,
let's see what was the height of fashion in this year...

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