Category: Classic

Summer vibes x

 

When the sun comes out, life pauses.

 

Maybe that’s why these chairs from Lemonmade appeal.

Midway between trad and modern.

And somewhere to kick back and smell the roses.

(All pics Lemonmade)

There can be great riches in small moments.

Laters, Kate x

Bright White Light x

There was this article I read last week that on initial skimming was talking my artisanal language – it’s message was make sure it’s the stuff you hold and use every day are your investment pieces because this is where quality and appreciation will sing.  Except that’s when I had a lightbulb moment because it’s so not true – in fact, the real truth is the very opposite: We need the stuff we use every day to be simple and replaceable because their constant use means the chances of them being broken wracks up and who wants to shed tears on a daily basis? I know we have a white mismatched dinner service that I’m sure started off as a two bogoffs from Tesco. It’s been added to over the years, but it’s core has remained the same: mismatched but matched simplicity with a lack of drama when a piece inevitably breaks.

(From Argos £7.99 for 12 piece set)

I’ve been noticing this boomerang effect a lot lately, where you think one thing leads to a certain consequence when in fact, the opposite happens: Take the row over Facebook…the premise is we’re all connected. But in truth is it segregation with the tribes who share our views leading to intolerance, division and stress?  It’s food for thought.

(From Argos £58 for a 18 piece set)(From Habitat reduced from £60 to £30 for a 12 piece set)

Maybe we need to be more careful where real value lies, but what I do know is taking a walk on the cheap side of the tracks means there’s so much more left in the kitty for the real stars to shine: The ones that get used every day but have no danger of being dropped..

 

Laters, Kate x

Tara x

Tara Button and her website Buymeonce are a blast of fresh, spring air.

Tara’s concept is simple – our lives have been stuffed full of things we’re told we need that lets us down so she has been on a mission to track down the best quality and investment pieces that every house actually needs.

 

 

 

 

This resonates so much it almost hurts: I too am tired of this modern life that believes it can tell me who I am through the purchase of a skin cream, what I need: permanent upgrades and who I should be: spending lots of money, constantly implying that the real me isn’t good enough.


Just open your eyes to the insistent message of the season: Spring clean your wardrobes/house/family/life  – it’s time to refresh!…The underlying, insidious message being that we will make you insecure to make you buy more.

(All pics Buymeonce)

Is it norm corm in the extreme? I don’t know. But what I do know is that we can’t spend our way to happiness and something needs to change. This seems a very good place to start.

 

Laters, Kate x

Peek x

There’s an undeniable delight about being able to step behind the curtains and into the spaces of other people, particularly when theres more than one room.  This is the New York townhouse of Monique Gibson, renowned interior designer, courtesy of Architectural Digest.

(All pics Architectural Digest)

Just look at this one makes me long for summer..

Laters, Kate x

The Oscars 2018

With dresses it’s personal, but given timeless elegance with a touch of vintage or eyeball hogging extravaganza the first will win every time.  Like Laura Dern in Calvin Klein by Appointment pure cool, sleek understatement.

Looking with new eyes, never is the difference between men and women more visual than on Oscar night, hashtag – when will we see a man in a dress? This is Gal Gaddot in Givenchy with just the right amount of flapper girl swing.

2018 marks another year with little experimentation, hence Haley Bennett in Christian Dior makes my best dressed list.  A brave choice and with any luck, the current PC storm will suppress any bush trimming innuendos. Who knows?

Zoey Deutch in Elie Saab Couture sneaked in because it shouldn’t work, but it does.

(All pics Vogue)

 

Phoebe Waller Bridge, a particular icon of mine, looking demure in Vionnet.  Except I lay good money she chose the print to match her beauty spot and trod the carpet giggling inside…Go Phoebe!

 

Laters, Kate x

 

 

Outside x

Small, brave signs of spring are appearing: delicate snowdrops, sturdy crocuses and longer days. Which is maybe why thoughts are turning to the outside and in particular window boxes: Such a simple way to mix lush colour with urban grime.

The decision of which colour to paint the exterior woodwork of the house is also edging ever closer:  Soon the weather won’t be an excuse. Go dark?

Or go neutral?

Put the two decisions together and it’s an interesting conundrum: Which combination looks better zinc, black or terracotta for the window box against the neutral?

Or the grey?

Why is it so hard? Damn.

Laters, Kate x

What’s real?

I think I would like to live in a log cabin by water with honest furnishings and the simple things in life.  But there’s always the nagging thought – does life just look greener on the other side? Are you taking for granted the bits of urban grime that really make your heart sing? Or is living in the big smoke an assumption we all buy into?

Money is an assumption.  It now has no actual value other than the fact we all believe in it.  Take this dress – except that’s an assumption too because it’s really a nightie.  Are you prepared to accept that without questioning?


(All pics Toast)

 

These could all be multi-functional, year long investment buys – nightwear in the winter, day wear in the summer.  The only barrier is what you’ve been told. Or not.

 

Laters, Kate x

Happy New Year!

What a difference a year makes! The renovation of the study and bathroom are finished.  It all came together just before Christmas but various things – like dropping the computer and full on festivities has put life on hold for a bit. No bad thing.

This is the best before photo – taken a little late, when the room has already been partially cleared, but it gives a sense of the layout.  On the left, slightly blocking the photo is a big, black glass fronted bookcase that held an enormous amount of precious crap.  The idea was to open up the room by moving it to the right hand corner by the desk, allowing in more light.  This meant that both the shelves had to move and we finally had to sort out the pipes and tiles left by the ghost of a sink: When we first bought the house, this room was our kitchen.  It’s next incarnation was nursery and finally study.  The sink was from the days of nappy changing and bloody useful it was too.  The carpet was the first we ever laid in the house – just a week before Bella was born to celebrate it’s transition to nursery.  Unfortunately when I went into labour and disappeared to hospital, Molly the dog had the raging squits all over it and it never quite recovered…in truth it was a joy to rip it up and take the room back to bare floorboards.  The fireplace surround, leaning against the wall was going to go where the bookcase was, with a mirror on top to bounce light..important as this room was going DARK!

The other problem in the room was this cupboard – the only original cupboard left from when we bought the house nearly 15 years ago.  Originally part of the kitchen (although you can still see the wardrobe rail from it’s days as part of a nursery)  We now use it as a present cupboard, to store printer inks, paper and the printer.  Except the the space is terrible for storage and printer didn’t fit so the door was permanently open…

First step of the renovation: pulling up carpet and fixing the new fireplace surround, bought for a very pocket pleasing 99p on Ebay.

To solve the problem of the cupboard we cut down the two main doors and filled the internal space with shelves.  To update them we had beading fitted on all the doors and drawers. Very simple, very effective.

The inspiration for the room was Victoriana meets Spitalfields, and whats more Victoriana than an ornate ceiling rose?

Over the other side of the room, the shelving was re-imagined.

And now for colour…shit brown with a hint of green! Interestingly it comes out more green in the photos.  I will confess it was scary painting it on for the first time, particularly with memories of this paint in mind – and it’s the first time I’ve painted a ceiling dark…terrifying…I really didn’t want to have to paint that white again!

More beading was added to the fireplace and above the pathetic skirting we had to create the optical illusion of more…this whole room is an optical illusion of more..

We also took the beading up to the ceiling, creating a rectangle around the lights and rose.

Then everything – and I mean everything, was painted.  Recognise the inlay on the fireplace? Came from the tiles on the wall from the ghost sink…all cunningly recycled.

Floors varnished and furniture moved back in.  Even the chair was given a new seat cover made from a bit of kilim.  The light was recycled from Bella’s room where she didn’t appreciate it’s vintage charm – she now has the boring Ikea one that was in here.  Looping it so it hangs over the desk makes a great visual statement.  The rug has made it back – there was thoughts of dying it but it’s just the wrong type of material and it compliments the room well.  Maybe when there’s some more dosh in the pot it will change to a battered kilim. The colour has been a revelation – it creates such a calm, centred environment that pulls you in – it’s an oasis of peace in a busy house.

The mirror was our Christmas present, bought on Ebay for a bit of a bargain and I love it.  The handles on the cupboards are just cheapy wooden ones painted to match.  Now I can sit in my chair and imagine I’m silk merchant from the eighteenth century.  The printer now sits happily and the storage in the cupboard works.

On the other side of the room, the shelving is much better positioned and the sofa bed is back in:  The blue sits very happily with the shit brown.  Not only is it a great place to read a book, it gives the room a double function if we ever have extra guests coming to stay.

And this one has been properly organised.

A great success was the window treatment.  Originally we had a striped roman blind that covered a portion of the window.  We’ve replaced it with a roller blind (approx £40 made to size) that’s been hidden in this specially made window box.  The wooden decoration was originally intended to go over a door as a pediment, but had never been fitted.  It now has a new life! Now the window is a true statement and is the first thing you see when you walk into the room.

When the blind is up, it’s invisible, when it is down, it’s a simple, tasteful white.

 

All in all, it couldn’t have been more successful!

Laters, Kate x

Jamb x

If money were no object and unicorns were real, the choice of light for the study wouldn’t be which light, but which light from Jamb.

There’s a meticulous attention to detail that sums up the English historic aesthetic.

All these lights are reproductions. Except you wouldn’t know it, from looks or price.

(All pics Jamb)

Sigh. Dream. Lust.

 

At least it’s the first of December and Christmas can finally be mentioned. Now where did I put those pesky elves?

 

Laters, Kate x