Swedish apartments …. white on white

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Scandinavian countries do white or pale interiors with great style.  Both rustic and refined.  Different shades of soft white, cream and grey … each used exclusively creates an elegant retreat from the chaos of colour and pattern in everyday life.

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White interiors accentuate architectural detail, texture … and capture light.  They have a purity …. like a crisp white shirt or a fluffy white bath towel.

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There is a certain serenity to a white or pale interior. White provides the blank canvas from which to showcase beautiful furniture, artwork … even the view from the window.

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Chloe autumn/winter 2012 …. a fabric fantasy

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Regular inspiration from the Sartorialist is essential …. I love the fabrics and textures he captures …. and this plaid fabric is sumptuous.

His fashion on the street photography is gorgeous but often the streetscape itself can be equally as gorgeous.  Think Milan, Paris, New York and London.  It gives me my fix.

PS The fall and cut of this coat are worth a mention …. I guess it is Chloe.

 

 

Amangalla ….. gracious elegance

Another wet weekend indoors …. the bonus being the time it has allowed me to peruse my inbox in slightly more detail than normal.  In the process I was delighted to find that the latest Habitus Living online magazine had arrived. It’s images of Sri Lanka’s Amangalla I thought worth sharing.

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I quickly became lost in the world of Old Ceylon and the grandeur of this retreat … so very Aman.

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Dating back to the 1600’s these grand old structures have had a number of incarnations …. the New Orient Hotel, an icon in Galle and the hub for passengers from the P&O and Dutch East India Company vessels. In another life …. the Dutch governor’s residence and army barracks.

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The current Amangalla retreat captures it all …. large timber shutters on windows, wide timber floor boards, huge chandeliers hanging from the 6 metre ceilings, cord pull lights and the most fabulous and interesting solid timber furniture !!  They certainly have captured an era …. so pared back and yet so elegant. My favourite pieces …. the gorgeous wicker recliners !!

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They could so easily have thrown masses of colour into the interior …. very brave not to …. the vision being ‘to allow the centuries-seasoned building’s soul to shine’.

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I have always had a fascination with Sri Lanka …. just to explore the different regions…. the beaches, the tea plantations …. and maybe even a visit to Amangalla.

Laduree coming to sydney

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The word is out …. the gorgeous Laduree is coming to Sydney …. supposedly in the Westfield Centre in the CBD.  I first discovered this patisserie in Paris one Christmas and thought I was in heaven.  I do hope they can recreate the opulence here in Sydney even if there isn’t the architecture. I was encouraged to see a rather perfect Laduree in Harrods in London …. you would expect no less.

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There is nothing quite as glamorous as an afternoon tea at Laduree.  The interior itself is good enough to eat.  The packaging …. the wrapping and ribbons …. the presentation …. and of course the macaron !!! I wonder if Sydney will do hot chocolate the way the French do …. absolute perfection.

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The macaron are the most famous creation of Laduree …. created at the beginning of the 20th century by Pierre Desfontaines the second cousin of Louis Ernest Laduree who first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. Once cooked the macaron are put to one side for 2 days before going on sale …. according to Laduree, the time it takes to achieve the perfect balance between texture and flavour.

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And the best bit …. each new season they create a new flavour … the range of colours as important as the range of flavours and a vital part of their appeal. Rumour has it that a box of pastel coloured macaron from Laduree inspired Sofia Coppola, director of the film Marie Antoinette.

Do look at Laduree’s very cute website …. it is enchanting …. and the history of this iconic Parisian teahouse fascinating.

PS. No macaron I have tasted elsewhere or since has lived up to my first in Paris !!

French and belgian homewares at la croix

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I am always searching for new and interesting homewares and decorative items as the finishing touch to interior projects I am working on …. the pieces that really bring a room to life.

Often it is the antique or rustic elements that will create the warmth and soften the most contemporary interior…. the juxtaposition of old and new.

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La Croix in Potts Point is one of those places that you do need to pop into reasonably regularly. Browse amongst their collection sourced from Belgium and France …. furniture, lighting, mirrors, glassware and porcelain …. not a chore given that the shop and cafe are intertwined.

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I have found they always have a lovely range of interesting platters, bowls and jugs …. from the very fine to a heavy marble …. and all in white and neutral tones, so easy to work with.

Without doubt my favourite find this week are the rustic timber lamps above with smart canvas shades.  The pair of differing height will look fabulous on a sideboard or console.  Probably no two bases are the same shape, which gives it a more eclectic feel.

The palette at La Croix is wonderfully neutral …. the space so glamorous with their use of antique mirrors and chandeliers. Just think …. you can ponder your purchases over a coffee and french pastry or even tartine.

Stone houses and a weekend in the southern highlands

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Yes another wet weekend in the highlands but it doesn’t seem to have deterred the holiday makers and visitors ….. people everywhere …. impossible to even get a seat in a cafe.

Out of town, however, it is all very atmospheric …. misty rain and wintry landscape …. this is why people come to the highlands !!!

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Driving through the countryside the many dry stone walls that this area is known for, are now more visible …. and seem to go on for miles.

I have always been drawn to houses made of stone …. and there are quite a few in the highlands. They just seem to nestle into the landscape.

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On the inside, exposed stone works best with a soft neutral palette of creams, caramel and greys.

The use of timber whether it be natural, limed or painted ….. compliments or can contrast with the stone beautifully.

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Apart from its beautiful texture, exposed stone has a warmth that brings an interior to life. If a whole house made of stone isn’t possible …. maybe a stone fireplace and hearth is !!

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Kitchen inspiration….plain english kitchens

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An enormous amount of energy goes into the design of a kitchen …. in my opinion the most difficult thing to achieve is the look and feel …. the finishes …. and how the kitchen will integrate with the design style of the house itself.  I have had clients who find a kitchen they like and are set on replicating it irrespective of whether it suits the style of their home or not.

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I was interested to see that the Plain English cupboardmakers have a portfolio that clearly reflects their signature design and quality, however shows how they adapt their look to suit a city, country or coastal feel as well as the period styles of Arts and Crafts, Queen Anne etc

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In a new home and to an extent with a renovation, you can inject some uniformity between the kitchen and the remainder of the house by using the same design and style of joinery throughout bedrooms, bathrooms, laundries and other areas.

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The mismatch between the kitchen and the rest of the house typically occurs when the back of a rather traditional house with small rooms is opened up to create one large living space with kitchen.  The flow from old to new requires both careful planning and more importantly thought into the visual flow of finishes, colour, lighting and design detail.

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Once you have that right, think of it as just furnishing another room of the house …. however its character and feel is probably more important than any other room …. given how many hours we spend in our kitchen/family rooms.

The winter home with ralph lauren

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Winter is well and truly here if today is anything to go by. Temperatures have plummeted …. days are short …. and there is no place like a cosy home …. even better, with a glowing fire. 

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Home in winter means baskets of freshly cut wood and pine cones gathered on walks …. bowls of apples and pears …. the texture of wool, cashmere, corduroy, velvets and knits …. tartan throw rugs to curl up with or simply add warmth to the mood of the room.

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When the weather is bleak enjoy time in the kitchen cooking up a storm …. indulge in the odd hot chocolate …. enjoy the scents of winter with collections of candles. A bare branch in a vase will compliment the more wintry tones …. bowls of camellias, a welcome splash of colour.

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Ralph Lauren does wintry textured fabrics so well …. and they are available here. Remember a neutral palette allows for seasonal change …. much like the layering up we do with fashion !!

 

 

The fish shop at potts point, sydney

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Yes the locals were sceptical when word went around about the closure of Lotus and a new venture by Merivale. Let’s face it …. Lotus was best known for its glamorous cocktail bar, behind the restaurant.  However a fish shop was a little off left field.

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Well aren’t we all just thrilled to have this fabulous local hangout now …. tried and true.  Such a cute concept but more importantly it works.  Perfect for the early drink and snack or substantial meal.  Each corner has its own special feel and character.  Personally I love the rustic timbered area around the bar, however like the idea of being seated at the counter overlooking the kitchen.

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This place has a terrific vibe …. as far as I can see, capturing all age groups.  When it first opened only a few weeks ago, and weather warmer …. you definitely got the feeling that people had wandered in on a Sunday afternoon after a day at the beach or on the harbour.

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No I don’t think it is kitsch …. the detail is fabulous !!  Very clever in that it takes you away to another place altogether.

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