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.

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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images: at home

Sydney skyline at night from the mca

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The last time I was at Sydney’s MCA it was a sparkling Autumn day and the view from the rooftop cafe took my breathe away ….. I couldn’t draw my eyes away from the expanse of blue sky, blue water and the Opera House sails …. so pristine and so white !!

Attending a function one evening this week …. in the same space …… I was surprised by what little impact the Opera House and possibly even the Sydney Harbour Bridge had on the skyline. It was the sparkling view back to the CBD and Circular Quay itself that this time …… literally took my breath away.  Even the Cahill Expressway was barely evident.

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The lights around the foreshore and wharves as pretty and lustrous as strings of pearls.

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I do have to mention the impact of the beautifully lit Hany Armanious sculpture …. Fountain, by night. He was our only exhibitor in the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011.

10 tips for creating a black and white interior !!

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image: likainen parketti

There is nothing as smart as black and white !! And you don’t need another colour at all if you are clever with texture and pattern.  How inviting is the grey woollen blanket above, not to mention the rustic trunk …. the juxtaposition of the contemporary slick white walls with lots of texture, pattern and vintage !!

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Again, a simple white interior contrasted with the warmth and texture of the linen sofa and timber table.  Interestingly, it is the definite contrast of the black shade, television and other smaller pieces that create the statement.

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images:jakob nylund

This is an example of pure white on white with not a lot of black …… however you don’t need a lot to make the statement.

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image: apartmentsilike

In contrast, the black in this interior is strong and bold and looks fabulous !!

The combination of the very definite black and white stripes with the softer lines of the sofa and armchair works beautifully. The detailed window architrave and rustic side tables soften the linear effect of the rug.

So be bold ….. go forth and embrace black and white for its simplicity, its inherent style and its flexibility.

Some black and white suggestions ……

almost black walls with white ceiling, doors, windows, skirting and architraves, floors pale bleached timber

white walls, ceiling and trims with black gloss timber floor

bathrooms with white wall tiles, predominantly white tiled floor with small black tile in check pattern, black vanity as a contrast with white bath and basin

all white kitchens with a very thick black benchtop … particularly good with black timber floor or even grey bleached timber

staircases in white with black handrail and tread only

charcoal to black painted exterior for timber houses or sheds with white trim on windows, doors and shutters

black and white photographs framed in black on a white wall or framed in white on a black wall

a soft black fringed throw rug on a bed made with crisp white bedlinen and doona

thick black bath towels hanging or folded in an all white bathroom

a large vase full of fully blown pink roses in any black and white interior ….

Where it’s at……hotel 27, copenhagen

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I keep reading about Copenhagen and thinking what a truly stylish city it is. Danish design has always been at the forefront ….fashion, furniture, architecture and interiors not to mention the arts.

Hotel 27 is in the centre of the city…..a heartbeat from where it is all at…..both culture and shopping !!

As you know, I have more than a passing interest in hotel guestrooms having spent a large portion of my life as an interior designer working on their design or redesign.  Hotel 27 has the hotel guestroom sorted.  The timber floors underpin the use of colour in the furniture itself… so different to the standard hotel guestroom. So simple, elegant and so well designed.  The colours are gorgeous…..slick, young and fresh. The attention to detail is brilliant.

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Hotel 27 has the warmth and comfort factor so often missing in a lot of inner city hotels.  Designers put together a lot of hard finishes and think that opulent furnishings will be the icing on the cake…..so often the spaces may have the initial wow factor but are simply not inviting.

The Danes do timber well.  The use of either timber flooring, panelling or furniture (or all three) creates warmth and gives a space a certain character.

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And now for some really vibrant Danish design…..iconic furniture combined with gorgeous fabrics for the Bar….only in Copenhagen !!

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More new queensland beachhouses and one old

Apologies to those who didn’t receive the photo yesterday…..struggling with the technology at the beach…..partly rushing to get in the early morning swim…..making the most of it all here !!!  This is the gorgeous Happy Haus I talked about yesterday.

Love the juxtaposition of old and new here !!

Hibiscus bush just down from us with flowers the size of dinner plates.

Saving the best till last…..these gorgeous lattice screens push out to capture the breeze !!!

The new queensland beachhouse by happy haus

We watched this being put together……a prefabricated architect designed beach house by Happy Haus.  Fabulous to see it finished!!!!! The architecture is brilliant and so suited to the beach lifestyle.

The website does show rural locations looking equally as appealing but with a dark timber exterior.  The interior fitout is very smart !!! Love the windows.

The concept is modular so size starts with a studio and extends to whatever your requirements may be.

This gorgeous beachhouse has a number of pavilions all working beautifully on a very narrow block…..albeit overlooking the stunning Currumbin beach.

The best bit for me….they got the garden right……built around the Frangipani tree and hibiscus under the front window !!!

Paris….and apple….how beautiful.

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                 image: via hype means everything

It is no surprise to find the Apple store in Paris in such a magnificent building. Let’s face it….everything Apple does is beautiful….starting with the packaging…..the satiny white bag with the silver apple logo and white draw string, the glossy white box and of course…..the treasure inside.  Apple products look exquisite and feel lovely to the touch…..such beautiful design.

Back to the building……this building epitomises Parisian Architecture.  It is one of the many pretty buildings in Paris that we all drool over and photograph.

And we thought our Apple store in Sydney was beautiful ! Well it is ….. just in a different way.

 

 

 

 

Who is in Charge of Sydney’s New Year Fireworks? – our own Marc Newson !!

Azzedine Alaia Boutique, Paris

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Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney

It is very exciting to hear Marc Newson is the brains and creative talent behind this years New Years Eve fireworks in Sydney.  It is worth looking at his website to get a glimpse of what he does best. His product design is beautiful!!!  Although he now lives in the UK it is encouraging that he is commissioned for such fabulous projects here.

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