A touch of autumn in the highlands

 

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I am not sure if it is psychological or not but as soon as those clocks get put back ….. the days seem to close in all too quickly and autumn is here !!! In fact autumn on a cool day in the highlands can seem awfully wintery.  The leaves have turned and already falling….the memory of all that raking comes flooding back.

We do have a good while yet to admire the colour on most of our trees.  I am not sure where the falling leaves are actually coming from except the Silver Birch which is always the first….and the messiest due to its huge height.  I seem to remember our garden being at its most colourful by Mothers Day. We often have lunch outdoors so that we can enjoy the garden and fruits of our labour before the chillier days arrive.

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I have to say I have been a little disappointed by our Virginia Creeper which I planted for its autumn colour.  We have watched it rampantly climb up our north facing wall for two seasons…. looking forward to the turning of the leaves.  Of the two vines, one has turned vibrant red in the space of a week and is now dropping leaves profusely !!! Way too quickly for us to have time to admire it….. the second vine quite lacklustre in the colour stakes.  Just as well we have the Japanese Maples to look forward to.

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Rather than post photos of autumn gardens just yet…. I thought I would get you in the moods for autumn with the thought of snuggly throw rugs, checking your supply of firewood for those cooler autumn evenings, quaint cosy cottages for weekends away and anything in those gorgeous warm earthy tones!!!

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Images: dave coote/pale and interesting

Louis vuitton fall/winter 2012 by the sartorialist…..such inspiration.

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I am not sure which is more delectable…..the fabrics….the luggage…..the ambience of the orient express or the sheer opulence.

This show was the most fabulous of them all…..by all accounts.

I can envisage these fabrics on a very luxurious buttoned sofa…so very european.

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images: the sartorialist 

These colours are so rich……jewel-like.  A hint of velvet and fur is always heavenly !!

I have spoken of my love of a navy and black combination…so chic, however navy and chocolate is not only rich but warm and exotic !!

How clever the LV team is.

 

Tips for organizing your home office

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The time has come to reorganize my working space so that it not only functions more effectively but is inviting to spend time in.  I am particularly lucky to have taken over the room with the best view of our garden!! I overlook magnificent 80 year old maples and elms which I expect any day will start to turn for autumn and put on the usual spectacular display of colour.

I have to say that I do relish the thought of those bookshelves full of coordinating files and binders…..magazines perfectly filed in date order….you have the picture!!

However before I get to the fun bit there are certain tasks which I guess take priority –

create a clean space to work on by filing into binders, storage boxes or magazine holders any superfluous documents, stationary, pens, pencils etc

simple document trays allow you to keep in sight current items that you are dealing with, working on or referring to

if you are a visual person, a white board or planner would be helpful on a nearby wall beside or in front of your work space

assess whether additional shelving is necessary…those piles on the floor just don’t work

if your desk chair isn’t as good as it could be now is the time to start looking and trying out new ones…..you spend a lot of your day in this chair so it isn’t worth creating posture problems

good lighting is essential and task lighting is easily introduced with an adjustable lamp

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Now is the time to head off to buy those gorgeous binders and boxes…..try    Kikki K, or the gorgeous Semikolon stationary.  Filing can be fun if you have all the appropriate tools.

An ordered and calm space can only inspire creative thinking!!!

Carolyn quartermaine fabrics rediscovered

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Featured in countless leading design magazines worldwide Carolyn Quartermaine’s fabrics have always been a favourite.  It is only fairly recently that I noticed that the fabric house Boyac in Sydney were the agent for them.  Carolyn, a London based designer and stylist works on projects both in the design and fashion world.

She is the textile designer who modernised my other favourite fabric….toile de jouy.  Always light, floating designs…ethereal.  ‘Art and inspiration flowing onto fabric’….Vogue Living Australia.

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These fabrics are feminine and pretty yet hold their own in elegant, formal rooms ….. particularly when used as upholstery on french furniture, in fact any antique furniture …..aged, gilt or white washed!!! Her classic designs of lace or script create a formality.

I have on the other hand seen her fabrics used in very formal interiors ….. they seem to provide the whimsical element… it just works.

Since the 90’s Carolyn has always been able to predict and translate trends.

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Interestingly, I noticed that there are parts of her collection that have moved away from the colour pallettes here…..she has a brighter more vibrant range with turquoise, aqua and lime…..just fabulous for beach houses and resorts !!

James salmond style

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It was with much pleasure that James Salmond launched his latest collection of exquisite furniture pieces this week.  Classic and contemporary is his trademark and doesn’t he do it so beautifully.  The thought he puts into each piece is very evident……his wonderful style shining!!

He is always on the hunt for original bits and pieces that he can incorporate into his designs or take inspiration from in some fashion.  The cabinet above has been designed around his collection of small stone bottles….only James could create such an elegant piece with the choice of timber and design complimenting the warmth and earthy texture of the bottles.

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James explains that this classic chair covered in gold with stud trim is the perfect size, height and proportion to have as a pair with side table in any room adjacent to the dining room…..simply add them in to your dining room setting for extra seating. All furniture is custom made to order with of course your favourite fabric.

 I do have to say that James has impeccable taste and style when choosing the perfect fabric to suit his pieces of furniture.  The fabrics in his showroom currently are particularly fabulous……grey, gunmetal and gold…..the future direction we are told.

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images: tess brennan

The tall bookcases above show his fine ability to combine classic elements yet create a contemporary piece…in fact a piece that would be at home in any interior…as long as you had the ceiling height!!

These bookcases were my favourite pieces in the showroom.  When I mentioned this to James he replied “you know you have created something special when you want to take it home” …I guess they are a favourite of his too.

Wet weekends and barbour jackets

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Yes another wet weekend in the Southern Highlands…..in fact most places are wet.  I was reminded just how beautiful the gardens at Milton Park Country House Hotel are when I went on a long walk…..in the rain……all very atmospheric. The trees are some of the oldest of their species in Australia…..beech and avenues of oak.

The view to the east is absolutely spectacular….they are actually higher than Mt Gibralter….hence the misty conditions!!

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Having dealt with the Hunter wellington boots I am now moving on to the Barbour jacket.  Thank you Annabel for the reminder about the Liberty lined Barbours.  Have struggled to find an image of these and the one shown below is not a particularly good example of the prints that are available or the jacket style.

Everybody in the Southern Highlands should own one of these jackets…essential for our climate here.  This year the entire east coast of Australia should treat themselves.

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White on white ……

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images: love french bulldogs

There are so many beautiful books published about a predominantly white interior. The look can be rustic, slick and contemporary, opulent or minimalist.  It also allows you to showcase anything you choose.

It could be bookcases filled with books, artwork, flowers in a vase, baskets, gilt mirrors or picture frames, porcelain ….. patterned, cream or white, architectural detailing or warm timbers.

Everything else in the room will be in contrast or shadow against the crispness of the white.

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My favourite shade of white has never altered…..Dulux White Birch.  It has enough warmth to give the room a certain glow.  For a very polished, state of the art interior I adore Dulux Vivid White !!!

An all white kitchen gives a feeling of orderliness and cleanliness…..an all white bathroom…..elegance and an all white bedroom……peacefulness.

Be bold…..floors can be cream or a light coloured carpet to complete the look. White painted timber floors can be both rustic or contemporary…..rather Scandinavian.

Don’t stop with the fabrics……what could be more divine than cream, white or antique linen in varying textures…..have fun!

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The latest design hunt by habitus living magazine

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As I glanced at my Habitus Living magazine March edition (online) I was particularly interested in the interview with interior stylist and author Sibella Court.

Sibella’s design favourites included the Sydney artist Anna-Wili Highfield, making wonderful paper sculptures of all manner of animals but predominantly birds and horses. Her impressive client list includes no other than Hermes who commissioned a series of majestic horse masks.

It is worth also looking at her sculptures made with copper piping….quite amazing the movement she captures.

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Without doubt my favourite of her paper birds is the owl in flight.  This may have something to do with the fact that we have a beautiful large white owl that visits our Southern Highlands garden at a certain time of the year …..sadly not every year.

For those of you that don’t know Sibella Court….she has a very interesting shop in Paddington and can be best described as being all about collecting and styling…..positively everything in sight.

  Her books Etcetera and Nomad showcase her talent beautifully….showing how to display your very own possessions and collections with style.  In the case of Nomad she works with the treasures and memories you have acquired while travelling…..so much better than poking them into a cupboard somewhere….the memories gone with them.

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The elegance of neutral bathrooms

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The simplicity of this bathroom is very appealing.  I am loving the neutral tones and finishes…..classic and elegant.

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Let the accessories tell the story and create the feel and mood…..what ever that may be.  Bring in texture, warmth and contrast.

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Natural materials have a natural warmth and texture and require little else. They provide their own contrast and variation within the material itself.

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Slick and contemporary or rustic and earthy …. neutral works best.

The White Company London stocks the most fabulous range of everything one needs for the bathroom….online.

images: the style files

French antiques to share

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I enjoyed receiving notification of the shipment of gorgeous french antiques from Architectural and Antique Elements in Sydney. It is definitely worth browsing amongst their new collection either for fun or if in search of a specific piece.

My favourite pieces are the french oak haberdashery table above, console and chest of drawers with marble tops, french oak buffet and metal trough.

I do love the scrubbed lighter oak finish and am always drawn to it……it reminds me of Appley Hoare’s heavenly french antique shop in Woollahra….sadly for us, long gone. Since then she has run a very successful antique business in Pimlico Road in London.

For those who are interested Appley Hoare is currently based in the south of France still sourcing unique french antiques which can be viewed online.  Of even greater interest is the beautiful house she rents in the south of France.

Daughter Zoe Hoare is now in the USA living and sourcing gorgeous bits and pieces as well. Her beautiful taste can be seen in the Oct/Nov 2011 Vogue Living.

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