Friday, July 24, 2009

Can a new home have character?

Planning on a building a new home, but concerned that it won't have the same character as an older home? Can you give your a new home some character? The answer is a resounding yes!

At the planning stage think about adding beautiful mouldings: cornices and skirting boards, and maybe even adding wainscotting or tongue and groove panelling (bead board) to your walls. Raising your ceilings to at least nine feet is also critical to give your home that old style feel. Recycled floorboards are another way to add a beautiful feeling of character and solidity to your home.

But let's face it, often the budget precludes people from doing some of the above things - they can be costly additions. But one thing that might just possibly be within reach of the average jo is architectural salvage.

I think it is really sad when lovely old homes get demolished, but the fact is, it does happen - often because the house is unsound or because it is cheaper to rebuild from scratch rather than renovate. But at least if they are going to be demolished, parts of the home can be salvaged for others to re-use.

With some patience, you might just be able to find a fabulous fireplace, a great bathtub or some wonderful old doors. And think outside the square - consider barn doors, doors from a pub, or shutters.

Not all architectural salvage is cheap - pieces from Europe can be costly. But if you look around, you might just get lucky. So patience could be required! I'm guessing you'd also need a builder who understands your vision and is willing to incorporate these treasures into your home.

So here's some images to give you some inspiration on how to add character using salvaged doors, windows and shutters. Some of them hide televisions and stereo equipment - clever!

Images 1 Atlanta Bartlett 2 Sally Wheat via Cote de Texas 3 Country Living 4 & 5 Scanned from Australian Home Beautiful 6 Mimmi O'Connell via Desire to Inspire 7 unknown 8 Scanned from Elle 9 & 10 unknown

I've had a really busy week - working extra hours at work because I'm off to Bali next week. And the weekend is full, full, full! So I'm struggling to visit blogs right now, but when I come back and have found my feet again, I'll be back with bells on!

Best wishes,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A place to create and dream

Yesterday one of my favourite bloggers, Struggler of Struggling to be Stylish wrote about Ballard Designs, and it reminded me of the first time I heard about this company. About ten years ago I bought an interesting book called A Room of Her Own, by Chris Casson Madden. It featured the beautiful office/study of Ballard Design's founder, Helen Ballard Weeks.

Author Chris Casson Madden explained the focus of her book:

"Many of us long to find the time in a busy schedule to relax and refresh ourselves, body and spirit. I firmly believe that in order to give back to our relationships, careers, families, and passions, we must pull in for short moments to take care of ourselves, then we can return to the people and places of our lives renewed, refreshed, and ready to continue the drama of our days with all the joys, sorrows, pleasures, and stresses that go with it."

A Room of Her Own: Women's Personal Spaces features the special places that a variety of creative and dynamic women from all walks of life have created as retreats from their busy lives.

"The connective thread, for all of these personal spaces, is that each one, in dazzlingly different ways, brings its owner the sense of solitude, of the sanctuary they need in their rich and engaged lives".

Here's the fabulous Helen Ballard Weeks, as featured in the book.

So many things about Helen Ballard Week's room intrigued me. The mannequins and the architectural salvage above the door immediately captured my interest.

I adored the natural seagrass flooring and the classic white sofa.

Helen Ballard Weeks' office is full of interesting bits of bobs, which she used as inspiration for her famous catalogue. This was her place to dream and create.

Sentimental photos are displayed beautifully.

Love the desk and the mirrored screen.

Helen Ballard Weeks is now retired. I'd love to see what her home looks like now, I'm sure it is stunning and full of interesting architectural pieces and French antiques.

I love seeing the personal spaces of creative women - they can be so inspiring. I think the message of this book - that women must create a sanctuary for themselves where they can rest and re-energise before they can give to others, is an important one we should all heed.

I hope you have a room of your own, or even a corner of your own to rest, dream and reinvigorate.

Best wishes,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer is calling

I'm loving the artwork of Australian artist/designer Chris Chun. There's a freshness and vibrancy to his work that I find appealing. The colours positively sing!

The gorgeous colours and the feeling of joy in Chris Chun's work reminds me of this pretty, summery room. One of his works would look lovely in this room don't you think?

If you want to check out more of Chris Chun's beautiful work, you are in luck as Chris has a blog, a website and his own on-line store. Last image via Marley and Lockyer.

I won't be blogging tomorrow as it is my birthday. Thank you to all those sweet people who have sent me birthday wishes. They've made my day (and I haven't even had it yet!)
Have a great day.
Best wishes,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Raising my glass

I have a dozen girlfriends coming over tomorrow night for drinks to help celebrate my birthday.

There will be plenty of food and cocktails.

Tonight I'm making frozen cosmopolitans, while the rest of the cocktails we'll make on the night - strawberry mojitos, sparkling limoncello slushies and mudslides. Yum!

Images 1 - 3 Taste 4 Oregon Live

I'll raise my glass to my special blog friends, who have given my year an extra sparkle.

Have a happy weekend!
Best wishes,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Purple haze

When I was a kid, my favourite colour was purple. I still like purple, in it's various shades and nuances. Subtle, smoky brown-purples, soft blue-purples and pretty pink-purples are the ones I like the most.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Displaying photos and postcards

Do you have some beautiful old family photos or some lovely postcards that are too nice to keep tucked away in a cupboard?

Here are some creative ways to display them. These examples show there is more ways to display photos and postcards than putting them in a frame.

I love that each of these examples have taken a casual, unstructured approach to display - they look spontaneous and easy.

Images 1 Helen Norman 2 Coastal Style 3 Madison 4 Scanned from Australian Home Beautiful 5 Sweet Paul 6 Sussie Bell 7 Scanned from Domino 8 Sweet Paul 9 John Gruen 10 Scanned from Australian Country Style

By the way, two weeks today til I go to Bali, not that I'm counting or getting excited or anything.....

Best wishes,