Interior x

 

The interior of the garden studio will be a new building with an old soul.  Nature, natural, re-claimed, loved and lovable will be the theme pulling it together.  Soft edges, patina and unprecious the by-lines.

 

 

The space will not be big, but that does not exclude character.

 

 

The walls will be exposed wood, the floor wood, covered by a jute rug.

 

 

Down the left side of the sitting room, on the adjoining wall to the office, I will finally have the perfect place for the remains of my Cado storage system I originally bought for the sitting room for TV and has remained under a bed ever since – we only needed one section, but I bought…three! It’ll provide much needed storage, a place for a record player and an extra desk space – always useful.

 

 

The pod will divided into two – a small office room with storage on the left side, a larger sitting room on the right.  Both will have stoves as heaters; this has been a moot point – I would love proper, wood burning stoves – but we live in London, and I don’t think it’s fair on neighbours or the environment, so they will be electric, but cunningly disguised to look the business.

 

 

The office room will be a vintage homage, simple desk, anglepoise wall lamp, pictures and storage.

 

 

At the far end will be a door leading to floor to ceiling storage for things like our tent and paddle boards.

 

 

Still to be finalised is the ceiling – I would like to do something to suggest a bit of drama – nothing on the scale of these – but possibly some narrow cross beams, to add shadow and interest, a miniature of these above.

 

 

Further indecisions are whether there will be space for a small mezzanine level – a place for children to hide. Or will it eat too much into the space?

 

 

And whether to go for build in bench sofas with storage – or something else.

 I suspect budget will be the dictator.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Designed x

 

It’s taken longer than I ever anticipated, but I’ve finally finished the design for the pod; there’s such a freedom to be able to design something for yourself, but when, barring council restrictions and budget, the sky is the limit, choices can be overwhelming.  But bit by bit, by concentrating on what is allowed and what would benefit the space available, I think I’ve got there.  The main inspiration is this garden studio above – I love the simple shape, but there’s also beautiful and subtle detailing that suitably elevates and adds vital character.

 

 

I would love to have the more elongated, pagoda style roof, but the width of our garden won’t allow it.  But there will be a hint.  Unlike the inspiration, we will have a green roof and I hope to encourage plants both to grow up and hang down.  The driving consideration behind the design is because we don’t have a panoramic view to frame, why not go with private, enclosed, quiet and chapel like?  A secret, hidden space for gently moving light and contemplation. So the doors will be Georgian panels, the overhang shaded and the design understated.

 

 

The plan is for planting to cover and encroach, from the sides, from above, from below and even inside the overhang, to create a blur between garden and building.

 

 

The overhang will also protect from the sun and act as a privacy screen.  In ours will be fitted the salvaged stained glass panels, to cast colours and patterns and draw people out.

 

 

The whole building will be painted a bronzey brown as a foil to the plants and to visually push it back into it’s environment.

 

 

The overhang will be wide enough to contain a swing chair positioned to catch the last of the evening light. And if space allows, I would love a dramatic porch light.

 

Now for the inside….

Laters, Kate x

Shagged x

 

Needing a natural rug? One with a bit of an edge? Something a little different?

 

 

Well, hold the doors, because when it comes to floors, Tate and Darby are a little treasure trove: A design-led ethical brand, they believe in finding the balance between design being accessible to all against ensuring all their artisans are fairly paid. Their rugs are designed in the UK and then woven by skilled craftsmen and women in Morocco and India, which means a further flavour of marrying contemporary and traditional that touches everything they do and makes them quietly sing like a beautifully rung handmade bell.

 

(All pics Tate and Darby and Pinterest)

Ding. Dong.

Laters, Kate x

Simples x

 

Pigeon holes, dividers, stereotypes all designed for easy short hand and sometimes lazy labels, because look further and who knows what you’ll find; this simply, but strikingly effective wallpaper comes from a heritage brand set up to promote what some would consider old fashioned chintz.

 

 

Mrs Henry Parish is considered to be one of the last of America’s grande dame decorators. Founded in 2000, Sister Parish is a homage brand whose aim is to bring back the prints and papers that Mrs Parish loved.

 

 

(All pics Sister Parish and Pinterest)

 

It’s timeless elegance on a hot day, blue skies, green grass, the distant sounds from a pool, and always a cool, gentle breeze.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Light Up x

 

I’ve looked at all sorts for a focal light for the garden studio.  The obvious choice was something large and rustic, like these amazing Moroccan shades.

 

 

Or embrace the macrame.

 

 

This one from IKEA is lush.

 

 

The final choice was a step away from obvious, a return to vintage and celebrates the clean lines of the fifties.

 

 

(Pics: moroccan lights, Ikea light, Pinterest)

 

Found on ebay, this understated beauty catches the eye without dominating the small space, and its age injects soul and timelessness.

 

Decision, tick. Next one…

 

Laters, Kate x

Summer Sizzling x

 

 

Rumour has it London will be hotter than Barcelona next week with temperatures tipping over thirty. Hard to believe as I look out on a grey, soggy back garden. I had the notion I wasn’t going to buy any summer clothes this year, famous last thoughts, because then I trawled through H&M Conscious collection and fell in love.

 

(All pics H&M and Pinterest)

Come to Mama…

 

Laters, Kate x

Windows x

 

Ebay is not a safe place for me at the best of times, but now with an official project – let me write that again with capital, authoritative letters – Official Project – as my cover, it is very dangerous; our kitchen is beginning to look like a reclamation yard.  But oh, the pleasure! These are the stained glass panels I have snaffled – genuine Victorian, everything between £50 – £60 (which I think is good value, though they do  need work). I have visions of them over the doors, at the back of the pod, even in the apex space between the roof. Who knows where their final resting place/places  will be, but I am loving the colours – the pale pinks, the greens and then the contrast of the strong blues and reds. I can imagine sitting on something comfy with a cup of tea, looking at the garden, with the late afternoon light sliding through making patterns on the floor. The real bonus was finding painted centres as well – look! A duck!!


 

(little cough..I have three of these…all slightly different. All insanely gorgeous)

 

 

This is possibly my favourite – a caterpillar! Such a great metaphor for life, the universe and everything…

 

 

Little glowing bits of handmade, re-cycled, re-loved heaven.

Now for the lights…..hehe

 

Laters, Kate x

BLM x

 

 

My Black Lives Matter post last week was weak; an expansive gesture hiding behind art and it’s many interpretations.  Part of the reason is because for me to talk about racism is to hold extra large cartons of organic ducks eggs, one in each hand, whilst attempting to ride a unicycle for the first time; it’s bound to end in a privileged mess.  Instead I have watched and listened, and it seems to me, the strongest way forward is through education, re-education, thinking, reading and more listening. Below is a list of available resources, the first three being personal to me – articles and documentaries that first opened my eyes.

 

 

Jane Elliott is an American schoolteacher, anti-racism activist, and educator. She is known for her “Blue eyes–Brown eyes” exercise. She first conducted this famous exercise for her class on April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated; she wanted her pupils to feel the pain of racism. I don’t know when I first watched this documentary – maybe it was shown in a social science class at my secondary school – I do know I have carried it with me ever since. It wasn’t just the shock of segregation along seemingly inconsequential lines, it was the shock that people (in this case children) would not only go along with it, but it would influence their behaviour outside the classroom.  It was a brilliant and brutal showcase of human failing, exposing our ever constant need to conform to a perceived power source and the contagion of group think.

 

 

 

White Privilege, ‘Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’ by Peggy McIntosh,  first written in 1989, is an article I only read in the last couple of years.  Again, it had a profound effect. Whilst’s Jane’s exercise was about conscious discrimination, this was about the unconscious discrimination we allow without thinking because we just don’t see it, because to notice has been conditioned out of us. She informed me, the word is not equal and there is no thing as meritocracy.

 

Notice anything about my education? White and female…

 

 

There’s not enough space to fill the books, words and videos of Maya Angelou. But with her brilliance, strength, wit and wonder, she remains a huge influence. My Grandmother gave me my first copy of a book by her – I know why the cages bird sings – and I can see it as I type this.

 

For the following list, I want to thank the High Low podcast, it is the result of their research combine with others such as the New York Times. Please refer back to this link if any of the links below don’t work:

 

Non-Fiction

Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

The Good Immigrant compiled by Nikesh Shukla

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Women Race and Class by Angela Davis

White Rage by Carol Anderson

Brit-ish by Afua Hirsch   

My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay

Slay In Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinené & Yomi Adegoke

A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri

Taking Up Space: The Black Girls Manifesto For Change by Chelsea Kwakye & Ore Ogunbiyi

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall

Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

Aint I a Woman: Black Women & Feminism by bell hooks

Why You Need To Stop Saying “All Lives Matter” by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle for Harper’s Bazaar https://bit.ly/3gG8rgq

Ibram X. Kendi’s reading list for The New York Times https://nyti.ms/3gKL8lH

 

Fiction

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

On Beauty and White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Citizen: An American Life by Claudia Rankine

I know why the caged Bird sings by Maya Angelou

 

Social media

@theconsciouskid

@taranaburke

@galdemzine

@tamikadmallory

@privtoprog

@blklivesmatter

 

Donate

George Floyd’s Memorial Fund

Black Lives Matter

Black Protest Legal Support UK

Liberty

Stop Hate UK

The Stephen Lawrence Trust

The Innocence Project

Show Racism The Red Card

Black Visions Collective

 

Mentorship

Routes

Girls Out Loud

Fluid

 

Kids resources

diversebooks.org

Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Can Change The World series on Rosa Parks & Harriet Tubman

A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

 

Other links

Petition to update GCSE reading list https://bit.ly/2U6foOl

1619 podcast by The NY Times

(All my links Jane Elliott, Peggy McIntosh, Maya Angelou )

With thoughts and positivity, Kate x

Decision x

 

The Pod will be a 5m x 3m structure at the bottom of a South London garden.  But that doesn’t stop the dreaming. And whilst the pull to modern is strong, stronger is the call of the old, timeless, batty and slightly battered, which is possibly best encapsulated  in these pictures, a cedar cabin in Wyong Creek, Australia, from The design files.net, the home of Natalie Watson, because pictures always speak.

 

(All pics The Designfiles.net and Pinterest)

Strength and gentleness.  Gentleness and strength. Age and ageing. Peace and quiet.

Simple and honest.

 

Laters, Kate x