Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For Sale

I went and had a sticky beak around this place in the and a few hundred others. Marketed as 'in almost original condition' it really is a cracker.

It's down the other end of Herne Bay from our home and has been in the same family since they built it in the early 1960's. It is sadly being sold as a deceased estate by auction this weekend, but what an opportunity for another family to embrace the original design.

Herne Bay is mainly made up of villas and a few flash pads! Saratoga Avenue is a small cul de sac behind the Bayfield Primary School. All the houses here were built when the Salvation Army sold off a piece of land in the late 1950's, hence the street has a totally different style of home to the rest of the Bay.

Look at this fabulous panelling in the entrance:

There are 5 bedrooms in total - 3 downstairs and 2 upstairs - and all but one have built in storage.

These curtains appear to be an 80's addition.

The master bedroom, at the front of the house, is north facing and the light is wonderful. There are glimpses out over the harbour to the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, which is a huge pink building so obviously fabulous.

The front entrance to the home is framed by a sculptured portico in exposed aggregate concrete which rises to the second floor to form a fireplace in the living room. I would have to say, this one piece is my absolute favourite part of the house. It is solid and magnificent.

The living room has a dining area at the far end, which in turn leads through to the kitchen, and what a 'retro' treat that is.

Largely untouched (obviously...), the kitchen is a lot more functional and pleasant than I expected. It overlooks the back garden which is accessed through a door to the fore of the photo below, and has a large laundry to the other side of that door.

The kitchen and back garden are obviously south facing, but open enough to the west to allow good afternoon sun. Kids can sneak through the back fence and be in the grounds of the Bayfield school if more space is required.

The marketing materials state the house is 231sqm but it doesn't feel like a large home. It does however have a lovely warm, loved feeling. A solid family home and how nice is that?

All images via the selling agent, Ray White.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spring Flower Show (6 year old category)

I have just returned from a morning helping out at Lily's Year 2 Spring Flower Show. Obviously a little early this year, no doubt somehow related to the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off (ha ha) next week.

The children had to create a sand saucer, a miniature garden and a fruit and vegetable creation. Lily loves elephants. She insisted on making a vegetable elephant. Like last year. It didn't look like the one above. It never occurred to me to use baby beetroot - how clever. I She did use red cabbage for the ears though so big tick. Controlling. Me?

The kids were amazing. They happily shared what they had brought along and helped each other. I was amazed at what they could do on their own. I must take something away from that!

I'll leave you with some very clever fruit and vegetable creations. Ideas for next year???

Elephant image from here; all others from here;

Monday, August 29, 2011


I came across this fabulous table in the weekend and had to share it with you.

How pretty is that for a Monday morning? It's the Shuffle Table by Norwegian designer, Mia Hamborg.

The table is inspired by the old Nordic tradition of turning wood, and made contemporary through the addition of colour, inspired by children's wooden toys.

Like those toys, the table can be reconfigured to play around with the height and colour arrangement.

The Shuffle Table is produced by Danish company &tradition which states that 'this fine table has one function more important than all others: To create joy.'

I couldn't capture it better. Gimmick or great design? I think it's wonderful and would LOVE to have one of these tables in my home.

Here's to your Mondays being the start of a happy week x.

Images from here and here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Before and After - Back Garden

On Wednesday morning, this was the view from our top deck, which is accessed from the master bedroom:

We knew there was a view hiding behind those palms, and here it is:

And once more, with sun please...

I know cutting down trees is not popular with everyone, but these palms had simply grown too big, and over the last few months had been madly dropping fronds on the cubby house. We are keeping all the nice ones, like these lovelies:

We had a further 3 taken from the back of the garden and a large Macrocarpa felled which again had become too unruly.

We are lucky to have a 'glimpse' of the harbour bridge, and although the Macropcarpa didn't hinder the view, the light that is now flooding through in the mornings is wonderful.

Our back garden faces due north, and with the sun out today, I cannot believe the amount of sun spilling across the lawn. Here's a before shot - okay there WAS no sun to spill that day...

...and after...

The messy hedge in front of the cubby is home to Poppy, The Garden Fairy, apparently, and was required to stay. I am sure Poppy would love to upgrade to the Magnolia in the front garden and, I have told the girls, is going to an open tree home this weekend to inspect. She's bound to love it.

The main deck comes off the kitchen/living/dining rooms via BiFolds. Sounds flash, but I think these were the first BiFolds ever invented - no need to go to the gym when you've manoeuvred those things a few times!

Here's a look across the water from there before...

...and after.

Okay so that stray palm in the neighbouring property is out of my reach but we do now look over to the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, which is actually a lot prettier than it appears here! The lights of the North Shore are beautiful in the evening too.

So, whilst it is looking rather naked out there, I see it as a blank canvas. A lovely sunny blank canvas.

Happy weekend x.

All images my own.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ode To A Few Palms

We are having some major tree removal done in our garden today, so I thought I would post a pretty picture of some lovely palms to assuage my guilt at the ones coming down today. Unfortunately, our palms had become so big and scrappy that they were dropping fronds on and around the girls' cubby house. We have 10 palms in total, with an outlook to others, and we're keeping the ones with the hanging beads which are just lovely.

The upside is that there is a water view hiding behind those palms. I'll share some before and afters when the deed is done.

PS - the noise is horr-en-dous, and then my 8 year old says "mummy, I've worked out what instrument I'd like to play - the drums". Yes, very nice, we'll discuss it later. Much later.

Image from here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What A View!

London's Neo Bankside is a striking new development on the South Bank designed by Richard Rogers, and overlooking the Tate Modern and St Paul's Cathedral. Imagine trying to concentrate on anything with this view:

Actually, in my previous life as a Warburg's employee, I used to work in that waterfront red brick building in front of St Paul's. Many hours were spent staring across the computer screen out to the Thames...futures and options were not that interesting!

These pictures are of the sub penthouse, designed by Anthony Collett of Collett-Zarzycki, who set out to design an 'eclectic but contemporary look'.

The triangular living room features a large egg shaped carpet, which has been cut in half to allow glazed concertina doors to separate the two living areas, yet still 'straddle both seating areas so that they interact with each other and feel like one big reception room.'

Collett set out to 'create an eclectic, organic environment that looks as good as its surroundings, and where you can also kick your shoes off and relax.' So many similar developments rely so heavily on location and views to attract purchasers, but I really think that Collett has achieved a liveable and fabulously stylish space in one of London's most dynamic locations.

Oh, and that view...

Images 1, 3, 4 & 7 from Neo Bankside; 2, 5 & 6 from The World Interior Design Network.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Escape to the Country

Do you ever think of escaping to the country? We do and I think this would be perfect...

Imagine driving up to this:

Glendower Homestead was originally built in the 1860's from Totara and has been lived in by 5 generations of the same family.

It sits on 10 hectares. That means no neighbours. Except some sheep perhaps.

Imagine welcoming guests into your home from here...I am!

Now the decor isn't my thing but imagine what you could do with these fabulous rooms.

The homestead is on a rural road, sitting 10 minutes' drive between 2 small towns; one of those townships being Martinborough, home of some fabulous NZ wines. How fortunate!

The large kitchen has a good layout...

...and one of the best dishwashing vistas to be had.

This is the type of bedroom I dreamed of as a child. Just magical.

I love the use of light over the staircase. My 6 year old thinks the stag's head is 'freaky'!

How thoughtful...a G&T spot...

...and for larger groups, a decked area, which I believe has a pool nearby. Perfect for those hot, dry Wairarapa summers.

Now, if only there was a nice school at the end of the driveway! I did mention home schooling to the girls but the looks of horror reminded me that patience is not my strong point.

Happy weekend wherever you are x.

All images from here.