Feb 28, 2013

A Violet Martini for February....

Well we can't let February leave us without celebrating with at least one little
violet inspired cocktail, in honour of the flower of the month.
The headily scented Violette Sirop is the star in this rather wildly coloured confection.

Dramatic? Oh yes indeed.
After all, we need a cocktail which is no shrinking violet...

Feb 27, 2013

Just Fun :: the kitchen of tomorrow, um, yesterday...

Not surprisingly, given my profession, 
I spend a fair bit of time thinking about future-proofing buildings.
Trying to second-guess what social changes we will make,
which materials and technologies we will focus on,
and how our buildings should reflect our changing lifestyles.

So it's rather an eye-opener to take a step back,
to see how people of the mid 20th century imagined we would be living today.

Jaques Tati's absolutely corker of a satirical movie,
Mon Oncle
(which probably just happens to be my favourite movie of all time)
saw the kitchen of the future as a very white, extremely utilitarian and clinical
experimentation with multi-function.
A kitchen which is anything but user-friendly.

And Walter Cronkite's prediction of the kitchen of 2001 is a very scary place
of microwave conveyor belts and recycled dishes.
But not in a good way.

Both imagined a kitchen of gadgets,
where the machine was king. 

It's a far cry from our current penchant for adding & celebrating rustic elements in our kitchens.

Even in kitchens where food is never actually cooked, 
but simply heated and served,
there has been a trend for a long while to minimise the visual "noise" of appliances,
and I doubt that will disappear anytime soon.
The machine is no longer king, rather a pawn designed to quietly go about its job. 

But then, it's a dangerous practice to make radical predictions,
as we can see now, with the wisdom of hindsight! 


Feb 26, 2013

Making up for lost time...the art of spontaneity.

I'm like a kid in a lolly shop at the moment.
No really. Just like that: I am so greedily scooping up all that this fabulous city has to offer, 
now that it is on my doorstep instead of a one hour commute away,
that every spare minute is crammed to perfection with spontaneous outings.

And while I used to travel the commute both for work and for outings,
being of the nature of one who never likes to miss out on things,
there is something about not having to plan a journey,
to be utterly spontaneous,
which feels like I am making up for lost time.

Feb 25, 2013

Delicious Double Doors :: that's always a celebratory front entrance...

These welcoming double entry doors are by the French architecture + interior design firm
d. mesure and they perfectly illustrate how a pair of doors adds a welcoming generosity.
Whenever I design a new home, 
it's nearly always my instinct to work a pair of doors into the entry.
They add so much ambience - becoming a gesture of benevolence - 
so that a visitor feels welcome before the door is even opened.

And if you love symmetry, as a lot of people do,
then double doors, like these ones in a house recently on the market in Malvern East, Melbourne,
can add a delightful sense of balance to that important threshold
between outside and in, between public and private space.

1 / 2

Feb 20, 2013

Did somebody mention hats?

That somebody would be me! 
Determined to give hats the time and respect they deserve,
because the art of hat-wearing is certainly a glamorous one. 

These glorious confections are from the master hand of Suzy O'Rourke,
a Sydney based milliner with a penchant for the dramatic. 
And sultry they are.
Far too beautiful to wear just to the races.
They would be gorgeous for an afternoon tête-à-tête,
or an evening at the theatre. 
Because they suit a dramatic starring role. 

If you have been reading for a while,
you would know that I can find any excuse to wear a beautiful hat.
They are practical as well as stylish.

But would you wear hats like these?
Or would you be too self-conscious?

Feb 19, 2013

If you love Art Deco, do you love this?

With sweeping curves,
both from adept bricklayers + master plasterers,
the Waterfall style is a rather charming sub-style of Art Deco.
And this house, in Melbourne's very leafy Mont Albert,
and sold just recently,
is a fabulous example of the bold, elegant style. 

The house was built in the 1940s,
and you can see some of the Moderne style creeping in,
with a concrete fascia at mid and top level.
Waterfall Art Deco houses often have curved glass,
but this one has used more easily obtainable faceted windows instead.

Feb 15, 2013

Rescue Me Please :: I'm 1950s with porthole windows :: What would you do?

This rather interesting little triple fronted, cream brick 1950s home is up for auction tomorrow.
And though I rather suspect the bulldozers will be called in, sadly,
it would be lovely to think that it will be rescued and reimagined for a new age. 

It got my attention because of the fabulous wrought iron staircase,
twisting and twirling in a voluptuous fashion.

Feb 14, 2013

Farewell Dear Rumbah :: parting is such sweet, um, delight ??? A Tale of Love...

As today is traditionally dedicated to all of love's charms,
as the result of that cheeky little Cupid and his arrow,
it seems the perfect time to tell you a tale (or possibly a tail) of the power of love,
starring our beloved latte-addicted, food-obsessed, rainbow lorrikeet, Rumbah.

He of the "can I have what she's having?" appetite,
who has been known to prefer Malay curry over Indian (it's the coconut milk, you see),
raw biscuit mixture over baked (especially Anzacs, the favourite),
and spicy Asian inspired salads over pretty much everything else.
Except coffee.
Latte, to be precise.

Feb 13, 2013

Delectable Duette :: White Ruffles :: in gowns and roses...

Ruffled layers, suggesting gentle breezes, seem to come into their own in white.
Perhaps it's a reminder of billowing white clouds in a blue sky,
or whipped seafoam edges on a glorious beach,
but the combination of the colour white and ruffled shapes has a gentleness
that is inherently beautiful.

In roses, captured at morning light in my new garden...

Feb 12, 2013

A Pool at Portsea? Laid back elegance by the sea...

Capturing a laid back simple elegance,
through the use of rustic pale materials,
and harnessing welcome sunlight,
through high ceilings and large windows,
this beach house at Portsea embodies the essence of simple glamour by the sea.

Charcoal, white and pale timbers sit so very easily in the Australian golden sunshine,
and form the perfect balanced scale to the impossibly large blue skies of the Antipodean.
This roof is particularly interesting,
in its velvety dark zinc finish,
creating a quiet timeless effect. 
Is it new, is it old? (Well, it is new of course - but it doesn't really matter. 
Because it isn't shiny new, it's softly new.)

Feb 7, 2013

What Do you See in this Photo?

Look at this charming photograph of a very swish dinner party,
held in New York City in 1956.
I found it the other day,
and it stopped me in my tracks,
because it says so very much more than just a happy snap.

The guests are not young, 
for starters.
There is a grace amongst them.
They are very much arranged in couples.
And the boys are doting on the girls. Or so it would seem. 

But what else do you see?
What stands out, looking at this image with the eyes of one living in 2013?
What makes this so very different to a cocktail party now?
I would love to know your thoughts.

Feb 5, 2013

On the Market :: Hill House by Chenchow Little : A White Box amongst the Gum Trees

Chenchow Little is a Sydney based architectural practice 
which continues to produce thoughtful residential designs.
And one of their works, the Hill House,
located in the glorious Palm Beach,
a rather lovely part of the world,
is currently on the market.

As is typical of their work, 
sunlight is king,
and shafts of blue-sky seem to find their way into every single space,
in a sunny reminder of the emotional power of clear air.
Over-scaled window walls + massive sliding doors 
milk the connection to the exterior.

It's a beautiful view by day...

... and a bewitching one by night.

High level, or clerestory windows, in the bedrooms,
from which to see the stars. 

And the use of breeze block, which again plays with the notion of 
voids of shadow and peep holes against the solidity,
echoing a pattern used throughout the whole design.

Quite different to their other work in many ways,
with a larger scale,
but carrying the same thoughtful design process of treating each plane
(whether floor, ceiling or wall)
with as much individual care.

Would you like to live here?

property location :: hill house, 60 bynya rd, palm beach, sydney

Feb 4, 2013

Home from Paris + London with a Chocolate Hazelnut Tarte to celebrate

The weekend was full of charming and lovely things,
with visits to flower and farmer's markets,
a sunny afternoon spent listening to Jazz in the Canterbury Gardens,
resplendent amongst the graceful old oak trees, full of fairy magic,
(with a picnic basket overflowing with spicy Morrocan dips + turkish pide from Oasis Bakery),
and the fun adventure of discovering new hairdressers, new shops and new walks.
But the very best part of the weekend was picking up my daughter from the airport,
having just returned from 3 weeks in Paris (including a side trip to meet Heather in Arles)
and 2 weeks in London, visiting her cousins.

How wonderful it is for young people to travel, 
to venture off on their own.
But oh how we missed her most dreadfully! 
Glad that uni is soon to begin, 
as an excuse to bring her home again.

As we happened to be having a little dinner on Saturday anyway,
our first "real" dinner whereupon I had actually located the decanter for the wine,
the antique silverware + the napkins,
having unpacked most of the boxes
(unlike our first dinner party, held the night we moved in,
which was a "find some china/cutlery/servingware in those boxes so you can eat" affair),
it was truly time to celebrate.

Feb 1, 2013

Language of Flowers :: February's Violet

Have always been rather enchanted by the Victorian custom of flower communication, or floriography,
happening upon a book, when I was a teenager,  by Kate Greenaway 
entitled The Language of Flowers. 
The book was first published in 1884, and although my copy was a 1980s reprint,
it has been a much loved edition.
(Now, if only I could find it amongst the 50 odd book cartons yet to be unpacked, 
I would take a photo of the sweet cover for you to see.)

And while the Victorians were quite besotted with their cleverness 
in using flowers to convey their secret language, 
(most often used to convey complicated love messages),
it didn't seem terribly secret to me,
as the meanings of flowers were quite well known.
Sort of like sending an invisible message with the lemon juice in the same parcel. 
But I digress...

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