Saturday, January 30, 2010

Time for Tea

I love a good cup of tea, don't you? And I also love the look of a traditional teacup with matching saucer and plate - a little bit floral, a little bit quaint and sometimes too good to drink from. My dear friend, Jane, gave me this gorgeous fine bone china set for my birthday at the end of last year.

Getting it out the other day reminded me of some fabulous lights I saw in a recent Australian House and Garden magazine - pendant lights made from teacups and saucers ...

Designer Gregory Bonasera has turned vintage teacups literally upside down and created a quirky, modern take on a hanging light. His Electric Mavis Lights (even the name is perfect!) can be hung on their own or in sets of three and have a low voltage fitting. You can buy them at Melbourne's Tongue + Groove Interiors.
I have to say I love them so much I'm now trying to decide whether they'd suit a contemporary home - I certainly love ecleticism but would they work? Maybe three over a kitchen island bench or one in a guest toilet. Then again, are teacups and toilets are a good fit? What do you think?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our bach at the bay

This Australia Day weekend we spent it up at Hardys Bay at our new little beach cottage - or as we New Zealanders say, bach. It was hardly relaxing what with moving furniture and doing all those nesting things one does with a new house or holiday home, but was well worth it. So, on a misty, muggy morning at the bay when the mercury rose to 40 degrees ...

we hung beachy mementos ...

put the S.H.E chairs and table on the deck ...

hung beach towels on the S.H.E door handle hanger ...

smelt the frangipani in the garden ...

and watched Ruby explore ...

and never once thought about fixtures and fittings!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Designer Dog

I couldn't resist submitting this photo of Ruby to Desire to Inspire's Monday's Pets on Furniture and this Monday she featured and I'd love you to check it out!
The blog's weekly posting is not only a look at some very cute and spoilt pets but an interesting mix of furniture pieces from readers around the world.
For those who don't know, Desire to Inspire is a well-known and long-established design blog created by a Canadian and an Australian who have never actually met but share the same interest - the search for the perfect room! I wonder if they will ever find it ...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bathroom Tiles

While taps and shower roses don't excite me, tiles do. Today I am off to Academy Tiles with Castlepeake's interior designer to get a feel for bathroom tiling. Here are some images from Academy Tiles showing what amazing effects you can achieve ...

By the way, you may have noticed I've been playing around with my blog's header and title (it is a design blog after all) and I love to know what you think - all comments welcome!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Puppy Love

This weekend has been very exciting for us as we got a new addition to the house which has nothing to do with the build, the interior design or choice of fixtures and fittings: a beautiful puppy called Ruby. While one could argue that her colouring is right up my colour scheme alley, she is so much more than 'designer' dog - in fact, she is far from it.

So named because she was found in a rubbish bin, Ruby comes from an Aboriginal community in Yuendumu in the Northern Territory that not only has a dog rescue programme but also a very successful arts community - the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation.

The dogs - all mixed breeds, many cattle and kelpie-based mixes like Ruby - are found and looked after by Gloria Morales, the art centre assistant manager (and originally a Chilean arts conservator!) who runs the dog program. The desert dogs are then re-homed around NSW by rescuer and foster carer Sandra from Paws Rescue who brought back Ruby for us. What an amazing job and what a beautiful dog ...

If you're a dog or art lover - or both - the program is always looking for volunteers to help up in the NT or with helping look after the dogs before they are found homes. It's definitely going on my bucket list!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Get in the Mood: Mood Boards

With our DA approved and the architects working furiously on the detailed designs of each room, it is now up to us to decide on the fixtures and fittings for each room so we can get a more accurate building quote.

It is a daunting prospect – no less because it is more than a year away from when we will be able to move in and use them all! Tomorrow we are meeting the architect to discuss everything in more detail but here is a list of the main things we need to look at: toilets, taps/mixers, basins, shower roses, baths, laundry tub, towel rails, toilet roll holders, wet area tiles and bench tops, kitchen appliances, lights, door handles, carpet, timber flooring. I am exhausted already!

Needless to say, I have a raft of magazine clippings and images from the net to give me ideas but I also made some mood boards when we first embarked on this project. I highly recommend creating them to not only help your architect and interior designer discover what you like, but to highlight exactly what your style is - from the overall feel of a room and the whole house, to the colour scheme and individual features and furniture.

Here are some of the mood boards I created early last year …

Outdoor spaces

Doing this process I discovered I like a neutral backdrop - white walls and dark timber floors - to offset colourful pieces, interesting furniture and art.
The next step is trawling the streets to see some of this stuff in person. Watch this space!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kiwi Design

Happy New Year! I have just come back from a wonderfully fun and relaxing holiday in New Zealand with friends and family and thought I'd share with you some of the interesting art galleries and design shops in Auckland I managed to visit when I was there. Plus two purchases (which were actually gifts for my recent birthday) which I am looking forward to finding a home for in the new house. I have already requested from our architect a special alcove in the living area to display such items.

First up, The Poi Room in Newmarket has design gems with a Kiwi theme that are neither kitsch nor touristy. It was here I found this Paua shell-inspired bowl by well-known Nelson-based potter Royce McGlashen. I was drawn to the shiny blue inside and textured outer. It can be used as a fruit bowl, a large soap display dish or as a decorative piece of art. Isn't it beautiful?

Then, in the Parnell Gallery in Parnell this adorable Kiwi bird made from a recycled 44-gallon steel oil drum caught my attention. Despite its industrial aesthetic, it looks cute enough to stroke! It was made by artist Louise Stobart who emigrated to Havelock North from her native Zimababwe and established the Birdwoods Gallery in 2005. Louise specialises in animal/bird metal sculptures - all of which I think I could find a home for, both inside the house and out in the garden!

Walking cranes

Large Ostrich
I would also recommend visiting the Mana Gallery and Essenze in Parnell; and the Waiheke Island Art Gallery half an hour by ferry from Auckland - all of which feature established and emerging artists and designers from around the country and will, like Royce and Louise ship overseas.


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