Monday, May 31, 2010

Bookshop Cafe Heaven

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Now I was very keen to show you how much, or should I say, how little of our old house is left. Everything has gone, bar the laundry window and the bath. I even managed to give away our old, but still functioning, fridge plus other bits and bobs to Vinnie's (St Vincent de Paul's charity). Last week, Murray, a builder from Newcastle, came to take the windows and doors and uplift the floorboards that could be re-used (which only turned out to be a small area of the living room that used to be the verandah before it was covered).

But, although I have taken photos, I can't download them as the computer cord appears to have gone walkabout! So they will just have to wait. In the meantime, I thought I'd share some images of a renovated bookshop cafe in Manhattan that would have to be my ideal bookshop cafe and yet another reason why I'd love a trip to New York!

One of the largest independent booksellers in downtown Manhattan, McNally Jackson Books under went a revamp by Front Studio architects and they have managed to combine two of my favourite things - a good book and a quirky light fitting.

According to Front Studio, the cafe owner wanted to "re-conceptualize the café as a place evocative of literature". So books were used as part of the pendant lights and pages of books used to line the walls.

They describe the space as such: "A scattering of books hangs precipitously from the ceiling, as if a pile of books had been thrown into the sky and frozen. The curved wall surrounding the seating area is covered in wallpaper made entirely of open spine books, the texture of the print adds a rippling effect of restless pages."

"Running along the wall is a series of folding single tables, carefully crafted to resemble a folded book when closed. The new menu is made of food related quotes lit by four light fixtures, each dedicated to the many editions of a singular book."

Images courtesy The Contemporist

How cool is that?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Framing Summer Memories

I was scrolling through some holiday photos taken over the past couple of years and discovered some that might just be perfect for the recycled timber frames I bought at the South Bank Market in Melbourne last month.

One frame I photographed outside and the other inside with me in the middle!

They're made by Mulbury Gallery ...

I wanted some photos that were scenic rather than family that could go in the beach house.

This old seagull was taking a break on some nails (!) while we were having a lovely early dinner at a cafe on Waiheke Island off the coast of Auckland during our visit last Christmas. He reminds me of summer, my family and lazy days in the sun.

My footprint in the sand at Byron Bay.

The beach at Byron Bay before the storm hit.

Not sure if this works - perhaps the pebbles aren't designer-looking enough, if you know what I mean?

Not very summery, I know, but quite dramatic.

The Great Aussie Surf (which just has to be in capitals!)

Who's never cloud watched? These were taken at Hardys Bay one trip when we were sitting on the deck wiling away an afternoon when we noticed the clouds transforming themselves into pictures.

It was an endless feast for one's imagination.

What do you think? Would any of these, blown up, suit those frames?

Now, before I go I have to give a mention to the lovely Julie-Ann over at the Decorating Forum who mentioned the post I wrote on the colour gray and opened it up for discussion here on the Decorating Forum. Pop on over if you're looking for any tips or inspiration.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chairs, Glorious Chairs

Image from Arianna Belle via Elle Decor

After reading a lovely new blog recently by Arianna Belle, I was reminded of my love of chairs and how I had a few images floating around of them that I should share. Don't the earthy tones of the fabric of the chairs in chrome contrast so well with the simple white table? 

And what about these office chairs teamed with this timber table in a Sydney house I saw advertised for sale recently? Very comfy, I'm sure, or would everyone spend their time at the table swivelling?

Or how about a different chair for each place setting as in this house that won a 2010 Australian Interior Design Award?

Dramatic, bold prints look great on dramatic bold chairs, as shown here via Bryonie Porter wallpaper (it's the chest that's wallpapered!)

And there's nothing like a girly chair for a girly bedroom (actually I really like the mannequin - what a perfect way to store and display jewellery).

Image via Belle Maison

I do love a bit of vintage and these two chairs are great examples that come with footstools as well and are covered in delightful fabric to give them zing!

Image from Desire to Inspire via Flicker

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Snapshots of the New Abode

Happy Sunday everyone! Today, I thought I'd share a few snapshots of our temporary abode. As you can see I am still the girl in the brick house - albeit a house with painted bricks of a very soft greenish-grey hue which hasn't been picked up so well with the camera - and one with a very nice stained glass front door.

Made a home for our North Sydney Street sign (bought legally not nicked in the dead of night, I might add!)

It's a Federation-style house that, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, still has some of its original features. Like the old pull cord light switches ...

Which are fine except when the silver toggles come off after a gentle pull and are near-to-impossible to put back on.

As many of you know, I love lights and this house features some original or replica versions that, although  suit the style of the house, aren't totally my thing.

The ceiling decorations are truly decorative and ornate - as seen in the living room above and the hallway below.

But the best one is in the master bedroom! I don't mind the chandelier but the rest is pretty OTT. I'm not even sure what the proper term for it is (suggestions anyone?). Maybe if it wasn't painted mustard yellow, it wouldn't be so bad ...

Thanks for dropping by - we're off for a walk now ...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Guest Posting at Urban Style Vibes

Happy Friday everyone! I'd like to take you over to another blog today because I was asked by the lovely Rotterdam-based Lise from Urban Style Vibes to do a guest blog while she was jet-setting her way around Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan and the island of Guam in Micronesia.

Of course I said yes and you can find my ramblings on design from an Australian perspective here.

Lise set up Urban Style Vibes in 2009 as a daily website dedicated to urban life style that features travel, style and design news. Some of her travel postings really give me itchy feet!

Happy Birthday Lise!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Goin' Gray

Now I know what you're thinking: All this house building, house parts recycling and moving house carry-on is making me go gray. But no (well, I hope not anyway; I wouldn't know as I get a little help from the hairdresser!)

Actually I'm still having a whole lot of loving with all things gray as I wrote about a few posts back. This wall  is just the sort of thing I'd like to do in the new house along with a white kitchen. I spotted this in the real estate section of our newspaper this week and then googled it. It's a two-bedroom "equisite Victorian terrace" in Rozelle (typo included!)

Then I discovered a blog called A Perfect Gray which I will be checking out on a regular basis to get my fix of gray and other design ideas. This image, which came via Head over Heels, shows how a soft gray can work wonders in a bedroom.

Speaking of blogs, I was pretty chuffed when I found I was mentioned on Will's Bright Bazaar blog after one of my comments inspired him to write on pendants and the dilemma of hanging in twos or threes. I always thought it was odd numbers only (as in still life arrangements) but it turns out I'm wrong. Rules are there to be broken and the images he's chosen prove how two can look absolutely fabulous. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making a Date with a Builder

I feel quite buoyed tonight as we met with the architect tonight and finally, finally have a date for the build to start, having secured the builders only last week. What we need now is to gather the final bits and pieces in order to get the building certificate. This means getting an engineer to do a dilapidation report of all of our neighbours, which is security for them in the event that our building causes damage to their property; ensuring the builders organise their insurance and paying yet more fees to the council.


The date is June 15th when the old garage, part of which you can see here that has definitely seen better days, will be demolished along with what's left of the house, aside from the sandstone and concrete paths that we are going to recycle. And you know, looking at this close-up of the number two I think we should keep it too, as a reminder of the old house.

It will be goodbye chocolate brown bricks and hello, white weatherboard and sandstone. The builders have allocated 65 weeks for the build, taking into account wet weather days, which seems a long time and an age away - basically September 2011. Wow. But I can't wait.

This is the original letterbox that hasn't been used for goodness knows how long as you can tell by the spiderwebs (there may even be something living inside, who knows?!)

I'm now wondering whether we should keep this, too. Give it a spruce up and turn it into a bird house or something ..? Any ideas anyone?

Monday, May 17, 2010

What are you looking at?


Didn't you know this was the perfect vantage point for watching you guys eat dinner? Mmm, yum.


But right now, I'm looking at my last items on e-bay. With only 2 hours and 48 minutes to go, the countdown is on! Yesterday it was goodbye girls' wardrobe, two sets of shower screens, one mixer, one tap, one laundry tub, a toilet roll holder and hand towel rail. All dismantled meticulously by one guy and his Dad, and a young couple about to renovate. Thanks guys for finding homes for our stuff!

Bye bye robe ...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shannon Fricke Workshop

I'm very excited as I've just booked to do a day's interior design workshop with well-known interior designer Shannon Fricke. A friend and I are going to have a long weekend away - it's not until August - up at Bangalow which is near Byron Bay. Check out her gorgeous website here and her blog.

We're going to learn all about making our own mood boards - rather like this one above which I'm quite loving - and channelling our inner interior designer. Or something like that. I feel in need of a bit of design help for our new house and what a good excuse for a weekend away. Oh, to get a break from the kids, my work, the washing and dog poo! You know, pretty much daily life.

Image from Emma's blog by Swedish photographer Johan Sellén

I want to get inspired by rooms like this living room that are filled with eclectic pieces,

Image from Emma's blog

kitchens that look too good to use,

A Modern Swiss Chalet by Tec Architecture, image: Contemporist

learn how to mix varying shades of white to create a serene oasis,

Image from Belle Maison

and how to theme colours and make beautiful arrangements. Well, we probably won't get to do all of that in one day but hopefully I will come away with more knowledge than I had before. You - and I - will have to wait until August to find out how all about it.

In the meantime, anyone know where you can get a retro pink phone like the one above ...?


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