Hotel plaza athenee, paris …. a stylists dream

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I fell in love with these images as soon as I saw them however just couldn’t help but wish all hotel rooms felt this inviting.  It seems that no matter how much money one pays for that touch of luxury, hotel rooms do seem a little lacklustre. Yes it is the finishing touches …. flowers, candles, magazines and the extra scatter cushions …. and yes I have spoken about it before.  For any number of reasons this is the area that seems to have been eliminated from either the brief or the budget or both.  Therefore it is the boutique hotel with the fastidious attention to this sort of detail that we seek out …. the hotels that appear in glossy magazines and coffee table books.

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These images show the beautiful Plaza Athenee in Paris …. a stylists dream ….miles of silk curtaining, elegant panelling and architectural detail, glamorous chandelier and sumptuous furniture.  Why aren’t all hotel rooms filled with armfuls of fully blown roses, french champagne on ice and fragrant room candles !!!!

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French and country …. 3 more days !!!

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Hopewood Country House is open again for the Annual Stocktake Sale for French and Country and Suzie Anderson Home.  It was gorgeous to visit at the weekend and also to know that it is on for 3 more days.  So much to see and take in.  Suzie is very clever with her styling … every room delicious to look at … all so tempting.  There were none of the tell tale signs of a sale when I was looking.

The highlands are looking a picture … Suzie’s setting is particularly beautiful  … it is well worth popping in for a viewing or down from Sydney for the morning … and you won’t be disappointed in the delightful morning tea being served.

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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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.

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.

Claridge’s …. a very british residence

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We all think of afternoon tea when we hear the name Claridge’s, however I was fascinated to learn more of the history of this favourite London icon while reading one of my favourite blogs ….. from Mulberry.

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Mulberry, another British icon known for its luxurious fashion and leather goods, chose Claridge’s for the fifth time to host its Autumn/Winter 2012 show during London Fashion Week.

As part of sharing this experience with its readers Mulberry asked Claridge’s about its history and for any interesting facts about the hotel.

I hope you enjoy these snippets about Claridge’s as much as I did.  It will make it all the more meaningful when next you meet there for afternoon tea.

PS.  There is something terribly smart about black and white floors whether they be tile or marble, large or small …. and the entrance at Claridge’s …. just so glamorous !!!

Pure and general ….. from travels far and wide

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This was not my first trip to Pure and General, however as it turned out, it was their first birthday.  The store looked as fabulous as I had remembered …. I think it just keeps getting better and better !! These shelves are constantly changing.

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It truly is a visual delight …. however, what sets this store apart is not just the totally unique product but the merchandising !! I was on a mission to find the perfect wedding present …. the choice was endless (and I kept getting distracted by what I personally just couldn’t live without).

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It was terrific to cross paths with the owner, Linda Gregoriou who can tell you the source, the story behind each piece …. and of her travels !! We are talking Cypress, Turkey, Greece, Denmark, Spain, Morocco, Belgium, France, Finland, Japan and the list goes on ……

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There is such joy in discovering something new and something totally unique …. ‘homewares with enduring quality, physically sourced’. (There does seem to be a sameness amongst homeware stores where product is sourced from Gift Fairs.) When Pure and General have sold out of a product, it won’t be replaced …. something even better will probably arrive instead !!

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Pure and General is a favourite with Interior Designers and Architects who are always on the lookout for different and one-off pieces of furniture, lighting or rugs for projects. The secret is to pop in regularly to keep an eye on the latest in store. By the way …. their very smart little cafe is very close to opening ….think Victoria Room delicacies !!

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Sydney’s hidden jewellery box

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I literally stumbled across this exquisite little jewel box …. aptly named ….

three rooms

antiques – art – design

Nestled at the bottom of William Street, Paddington this shop (comprising three rooms) is a visual feast …. glass fronted cabinets filled with pretty and precious antique pieces to tempt !!

Open only a matter of weeks, owners Ian Hadlow and Christopher Becker have a passion for the intrinsically beautiful and the handmade.

Their vision …. to educate the next generation about true craftsmanship.

Their carefully chosen location …. in a street renowned for unique, glamorous and quirky fashion …. ‘fashion is art’ I am told.

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With many years experience in antiques, visual merchandising and fashion between them, this, I have no doubt will be the showcase for all things beautiful !!!

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As I stood on the street admiring the most beautiful pink necklace in the window, I found myself surrounded by a team from Vogue …. nothing less than a fashion shoot with a girl in a black velvet Celine cocktail frock …. elegantly draped in the doorway.

three rooms is both stylish …. and elegant and is already on the map !!!

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