Category: house

Waterworks x

 

For the last week, autumn decided to roll into London instead of July: Grey, swollen clouds, heavy rain, a significant drop in temperature and most surprisingly, strong, bough wrenching winds.  They say Thursday will mark the change back to summer again. I hope so.  I would like some more summertime in the garden, particularly now we have a water feature.

 

 

(All pics Pinterest and Outdoorliving)

 

This is ours, hidden in the lavender.  We wanted moving water to cool the air on really hot days. And it helps that the birds are delighted with our choice, particularly Mr Robin.

 

Fingers crossed the sun will be back at the end of this week.

Laters, Kate x

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

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

It’s Happening..

 

Mindfulness or madness, it’s happening…the builder has been booked to start on an office-slash-living room in the garden in approx. six weeks time: There’s no time to dodge, designs have to be finalised, visions pulled into reality and decisions made.

 

 

The bubble of thoughts has been brewing for a long time, probably now spurred on by lockdown and the possible threat of more – but the main catching point has been the big, overall concept – whether to go modern…or to look to the past and embrace traditional.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Which one is it??

Laters, Kate x

Roses are pink..

 

I think today is meant to be a day of celebration – we are officially out of strict lockdown in London, except nobody knows quite what that means.  I read today that you can have a conversation with one person you know outside, but not meet my mother. Five year olds in a class will have to maintain a 2 metre distance when they go back in June – if they go back, and the one I love – I can drive a car with another stranger, if the windows are down!  My delight is the garden centres re-opening; I have plans for window boxes and filler plants I need.  This week my roses started to bloom! And with the air so clear at the moment, if the back door is open, even when walking down the staircase to the kitchen, I can smell them.

 

 

 

 

Blasting the roses with water has worked a treat re the aphids – thank you! A very eco friendly solution.  And it has the added bonus of rainbows when the sun is out.

 

 

One of my favourite combinations – this pink rose against the dark leaves of the smoke bush.

 

 

There were some casualties from the gale like winds of the past few days; the trachelospermem jasminoides (hark me!), the full grown version of the comb-over tree, has been pulled off it’s wall, and the wind did it’s best to destroy my seedlings, sending the ones in the egg box flying. I thought they were goners.


 

But I found the survivors, replanted, and they’re now in my study, by the window, being regularly watered from an re-used wine bottle, and are quite frankly  thriving.  The only problem is I had two varieties of plant, one in the lid, one in the main section..and now they’re all muddled.  But I’m sure time will tell…as it always does.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Yin and Yang x

 

 

The good news is my window boxes are the best they’ve ever been….It’s amazing what watering every day will do…

 

 

The bad news is I should’ve taken the picture before I watered them.

 

 

The good news is my climbing rose is chocka with an abundance of buds.

 

 

The bad news: Because of the mild winter, they’re covered in aphids…sad face emoji

 


 

Good news: Charlie and I planted a whole load of seeds.

 

 

Bad news: Three weeks later and I think we’re cultivating weeds.

 

 

Or they’ve died.

 

 

The good news: My plant delivery finally arrived!

 

 

Bad news: Why are they always so much smaller in reality?

 

 

Good news: Finally got the wall painted black.

 

 

Which is a good thing….as it distracts from the newly christened ‘Comb-over’ Tree.

 

 

Bad news:  The husband ‘pruned’ it..it once was the luscious twin to this one climbing the wall..

 

 

The good news: It has a bud!

 

 

Bad news: It’s sorely needed…

 

 

The good news: The garden is becoming a haven.

 


 

The bad news: The barbecue has just collapsed.

 

But the good news? It’s a job for the husband…and might just keep him away from my plants….

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Ode, owed x

 

We lost Molly on Wednesday, just a few weeks before her 17 birthday.  We knew the end was coming, but we were hoping she’d hang out just long enough.  We got her as a tiny puppy, small enough to sit in my hand, when I was going through repeated miscarriages and then a long bout of infertility; she was our first baby.

 

 

And my, she was a character! There was the incident when we had an architect to visit, and quietly and silently she took every item out of her bag, from phone to keys to hankies and carried them downstairs to a pile in the sitting room.  Another time, when Bella was being potty trained and we were laying a patio in the garden so Molly couldn’t be let out – this was the time when she was very funny about where she did her business  – we took her for a walk, but nothing. So we closed all the doors and expected a disaster. In the morning we came down to find a perfect poo – in Bella’s potty! During one lot of building renovations we had to live in Brighton for two weeks – and ended up buying Molly a square of fake grass to persuade her to wee! Although her favourite thing to wee on was discarded cigarette wrappers…she’d scour the common for them, then perform a dextrous three legged expulsion of both satisfaction and disgust. She also had a deep held hatred of pigeons, particularly  in her garden – all we had to say was ‘is there?’ and she would hurl herself through the dog flap to charge out to see off the infernal infidels.

 

 

When I finally became pregnant with Bella, Pauline, a local elderly lady started walking her to help me out – in those months, my world became very small in an attempt to hold onto the pregnancy – Pauline and Molly became as thick as thieves – Pauline would drop in at any time saying, ‘I just wondered if Molly would like a walk,’ and very often, on a Sunday, they would get the bus to the London Oratory and go to High Latin Mass together.  One priest once made a fuss, but never again, the other Fathers rallied around and even the Bishop said no, God cared for all animals, and promptly blessed her!

In later years, when Pauline became housebound, I would walk the kids to school, drop Molly off at Paulines, so they could spend the day together, then do the reverse at the end of the day, taking Pauline her shopping. Pauline is in a home now, still going strong, she knows Molly hasn’t been in the best of health, but I haven’t broken the news to her yet. It’s something I dread.

 

 

Our hope was that she would pass away in the garden, under her favourite tree; we had reached the point where quite often we were checking to see if she was still breathing.  Then this week, she developed a bladder problem, and we knew the time had come.  It is such a horrible call to make, you know it is a greater act of love to make it.  But it doesn’t make it any easier.  Particularly, as she did with us – rally when she got to the vets, she even went for a little walk, had a good sniff around…except we never got to the vets as such because of Coronavirus; they had to come out to the car with us staying 2 metres away. They gave her a strong sedative, and John carried her in the street, with me stroking, until she slipped into a deep sleep. Then we laid her on her red towel on her bed in the boot of the car, still stroking her. The vet came back out, and very gently asked if it was OK if they took her now. She wrapped her up like a baby and carried her away to give her the final overdose of anaesthetic inside: The Coronavirus has long tentacles.

 

 

The house has felt very strange without her. We knew this was coming, but the end happened far quicker than I think I was prepared for. Her bed, her bowl, her collar, the sound she made across the floor, the constant bumping and tumbling as she made her way around. But somehow we are getting little messages and reminders. The above picture is a still from our online sketchbook art session last night – and there’s Molly on her shoulder.

 

This is a screen shot from my copy of The Times homes supplement today.

She’s gone. But not forgotten.

Laters, Kate x

Garden Pod Planning..

 

In moments of lull I return to the task of designing the pod for the garden:  This summer is on it’s downward slide, which should be the siren call to have it planned and built all ready for next so I wonder why I haven’t yet done it.  Is it because there’s an acceptance that the journey is the richest bit? In my mind, the excuse I’m offering up is that I’m tussling between two strong statements – modern and boho.  I don’t know if it can be both.  I take each element on it’s own and turn it round, looking at it from every side, weighing up the pros and cons. Do they cancel each other out? I know I want two thirds to be a seated pergola with a covered roof but with walls that would filter the light, to provide respite and privacy.  Is the choice modern simplicity that’s kind on the purse? Or is this a last hurrah that requires something a little more?

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Laters, Kate x

Borders x

Chelsea Flower Show starts this week which means all things leafy and green. It’s made me think about our garden plans again and re-query the sticking points, one of which raised borders, yes or no, pros and cons, what material, where and how high?

There is a practical reason for wanting raised beds – we have a patio that requires power washing every year, but in the process the plants in the beds get waterlogged and generally die which means I’m in the same position each year looking at my sad, dying borders. Besides there’s something delicious about sharp edged, rendered borders, particularly when they’re painted dark.

Except I have a strong, internal design rule that like women, things outside should be able to age so that they look better with every passing year with the accumulated patina adding to their interest.  The obvious answer would be box hedging: great on the eye.  But wouldn’t solve the water logging problem. And we have the dreaded Box Tree Caterpillar, which destroyed the box hedge we used to have.

A brick wall would be fab.  But expensive.  So thoughts are currently leaning towards railway sleepers: Natural, dark and reasonable price bracket with the Brucie bonus of almost instant satisfaction.

(All pics Pinterest)

I need to sleep on it.

Laters, Kate x