Monday, April 30, 2012

On My Board

This picture is on my inspiration board staring at me. As our days are getting cooler and darker, these spring scenes in all their vibrant colour look so pretty.

Our back garden is looking somewhat more subdued...

...until, that is, when the husband gets out there in a tantrum about the falling leaves. Then it's a little more feisty!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Annie x.

Image 1 via Homes & Gardens (UK); images 2 & 3 my own.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coromandel Home

I was trying to put some magazines onto shelves yesterday, but then I start flicking through and ultimately decide that they can stay in that handy pile a little longer.
There's something homely and inviting about magazine piles I think....well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Soooo, I came across the following home in the January 2012 NZ House & Garden Magazine.

Rather a stunning site, in Kuaotunu on the Coromandel Peninsula, about 3.5 hours' drive southwest of Auckland. The architect is one of my favourites, Ken Crosson of Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects, and his own home is nearby overlooking Otama Beach (which I wrote about previously, here):

The owners of the Kuaotunu home bought the property 21 years ago when their children were small. Instead of knocking down the original 40 year old 'bach' (NZ holiday home), Ken 'devised a series of five pavilions that will lend itself  to the way the family was needed to be able to cope with teenagers who were going to become young adults and have friends and then ultimately their own children'.

The renovation was completed in 2006 and I think it is simply beautiful. I've seen this 'pavilion' concept thrown around by so many architects working with big budgets and some of the results are big concrete and glass boxes. This home 'feels' like a very special place to spend some time.
I love what the architect and family have achieved here.

All images via CCCA.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quiet Monday

Apologies for the holiday hiatus. Good weather and children got in the way of my blog I'm sorry. Others managed it, but not me.
It has been a wonderful break; lots of days out discovering all that Auckland has to offer when it's not raining. I do not need to go to the Wave Pool for a very long time however, and my ears are still adjusting to the lack of high pitched sounds. 

So for something design worthy, here's one of my all time favourite rooms by Sydney designer Marco Meneguzzi...

Okay, to be fair, that view is a good foundation to designing any room, but then that's where I think the design here is so clever.
Simple yet luxurious and so elegant.
I love a bedroom that offers a sense of calm and solace; I think that Marco's design in this field is absolutely beautiful.

Yes, I am enjoying the calm of home today. I hope you have a serene day too! Annie x.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Town and Country

New Zealand's Your Home and Garden magazine's April 2012 issue features my gorgeous friend Deborah and her family. Deborah, Allen and Johnny are fortunate to have a holiday home in Greytown, just over an hour's drive from Wellington, as well as their Wellington home, and both are featured.

I didn't see this home before the first coat of white paint went up but it had been vacant for 2 years and Deborah said the garden was  a 'jungle' before they moved in.

Deborah and I have sat here, with the fire going while the kids happily run between the garden and the house, and it is one of the cosiest, happiest rooms; evidenced by my last visit which resulted in me taking the girls directly to supper after our 'lunch' visit!

Deborah has converted the old garden shed into her studio which is a treasure trove of fabrics and 'bits and pieces' she collects along the way and transforms into beautiful things. All the curtains and cushions are Deborah originals and are constantly being added to and transformed.

The Orla Kiely wallpaper on the kitchen and storage cupboards is Deborah genius, with a lot of Allen elbow grease!

Each time we visit, Deborah pulls out her latest finds and projects and they are always gorgeous. Deborah and Allen are the loveliest, kindest, happiest people to be around and their lovely boy, Johnny, is very special to us. He was Arabella's first friend and they still take up where they've left off each time they see each other.

Birdy Cottage is the family's 'weekender'; a simple but well built New Zealand home that sits on a lovely piece of land on a quiet street, yet still walking distance to all the fabulous Greytown shops.

What Deborah and Allen have done with this cottage without major alterations or expenditure is amazing. Like their Wellington home, it just feels really good to be in.

Isn't Johnny's bunk room fantastic?!

Did I mention what a great gardener Deborah is??? Oh, and Allen too of course! The weather in Greytown is so much warmer than Wellington so having a large, beautiful garden is an absolute treat.

If you are planning a trip to the Wairarapa, Birdy Cottage is available for rent here. There are so many lovely cafes, restaurants and antique shops within walking distance and the Martinborough wine region is a short drive. And, Deborah has a magazine collection like you've never seen!

Thank you for joining me on this tour of two homes. I hope you gained a sense of how homely and inviting these houses are, as well as stylish; to me, the kindness of the people who live there shines through and we love spending time with them.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bedside Cubes

I'm on the home straight of getting this house finished. It's actually starting to look quite nice, now it's tidy.
I've had the girls' bedside cubes recovered and the lovely warm Easter we had was perfect for some fabric spraying. I avoid chemicals where I can but I do use fabric spray on 'at risk' items - that's anything near my children and the husband

Arabella has the China Seas Bangalore New Blue New Shrimp and Lily the China Seas Aga Reverse in Taxicab...she desperately wanted bright yellow and she has it here in spades!

I've had glass tops cut to size to both protect the fabric and provide an even surface for the plethora of 'stuff' that will be loaded on top of them. I like things to look nice but I want them to be functional and not to worry about damage. You could throw anything at that fabric now and it will bounce off...onto the carpet.
Mmmmm, life with children.
There will be accidents...probably quite soon in the case of our second child.

Images my own.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another Sofa Project

I have been asked by a client to source a new sofa; we've discussed reupholstering the one she has, buying a second hand one to reupholster or having a sofa custom made and covered.
It all got my mind wondering as to what was out there is Trade Me Land (NZ's Ebay)...and I found this...

Okay, it's an odd shape but one that appeals to me. It's also a Minotti (Italy) brand sofa so, it will be well made and, like anything 'European' in New Zealand, it would have retailed at an exorbitant amount over its northern hemisphere price. And the vendor lives nearby.
As if I needed any more justification, I had the husband going "put in $x and see what happens".
You know the rest.

Anyway, I have visions of some shade of this going on it...

Tory Burch's Kitchen in Elle Magazine (Sept 2009)

It's China Seas' Arbre de Matisse Reverse and it's best known for its use by Billy Baldwin for Woodson Taulbee - sorry for the grainy photos!

As the story goes, the fabric design was inspired by the Matisse above the sofa. This photo also appears on the cover of Billy Baldwin Decorates.

As bold as it is, it has good 'ground coverage' making it functional for a sofa; as 'functional' as such a print can be! I just love it though and it needs a large item to carry it.

I hope you all had a very Happy Easter. There was a lot of chocolate going down in our house, including a missing packet of mini cream eggs that may have been hidden by the dog. Or someone else...

Image one vendor's photo; 2 & 3 via Quadrille.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Back From The Upholsterer

Just in time for my big Easter clean up. Honestly, our house looks like a Halls of Residence...and my camera is in lens hospital so here's some dark phone shots!

The fabric is China Seas Nitik II in Jungle Green/Brown on tinted linen cotton. I like it. A lot.

The renovation is almost complete. One day, I will get some decent photos taken and share.

Oh, I am so excited about the Easter break. We will be at home; my favourite place! I hope wherever you are, you have a very Happy Easter. Annie x.

All images my own.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Auckland Art Gallery

I visited the Auckland Art Gallery on Monday with my daughter's school. It recently re-opened after a major restoration project and it really is a magnificent building. I was absolutely captured by the architecture of the building as much as by the art within.

Choi Jeong Hwa's Red occupies the reflection pool in the forecourt.

The flower sculpture at the entrance was a lovely pop of colour on a dull Auckland day.

This is amazing; Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa's Flower Chandelier is in such contrast to the timber ceiling and glass surrounding it. The "joyful jumble of flowers that spill illuminated from the atrium's ceiling" had the children fascinated.
Not quiet though.

Looking out from underneath the flower chandelier to the city.

New Zealand is a relatively new country; we were officially settled in 1840 so this is no Natural History Museum! Instead it's a wonderful collection detailing our history through art. Some is quite recent, some details the settlement of Europeans in New Zealand. I think it's a beautifully arranged collection of our short past.

There's currently an exhibition on at the gallery entitle Degas to Dali, which is a collection on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland, whilst they conduct their own restorations. We didn't get to see this on Monday but there is the Easter break and school holidays starting Friday to take this in.

"From Monet to Miró, Renoir to Picasso, Magritte to Warhol and Degas to Dalí, discover the legendary skill of 62 international master artists (see the full list here) who revolutionised our way of seeing. Trace the development of modern art from the Realism of the late 1860s via Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism to the birth of Pop in the mid 1950s."

All images my own except 5 from here.