An inspired home office

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I have been too quiet, I know.  I’m so busy renovating our new chalet, well, if you could call something from 1860 ‘new’, that I simply have not had 5 minutes to write.  We’re renting a very cute little chalet called ‘Chalet Chocolat’ while the builders are on site, and as sweet as it is, it’s also tiny.  40 Sq.m at a push.  And here we have a small table were we have to work, eat, prepare dinner, and try not to bite each other’s heads off…  I’m dreaming of having space to work in, dreaming so much, in fact, that I’ve been looking at my dream home office.  I’ll share these with you!

A gorgeous black & white photo wall…

Striking and bold

Black walls and spiky accents with a touch of tan leather…

Clean and white with space for two, and a picture wall

Yes I’m obsessed with antlers!

Some french inspiration

Dark, moody and sexy…

Cabinet of curiosities as study

Scandinavian style.  I love the old grey wood and textured wallpaper.

Shades of coral liven up this dark office

Black lacquer bookshelves makes for a gorgeous study in this library

The home office of Danish designer Marlene Birger

An impeccably decorated study

A french armoire works beautifully as a bookcase

Monochrome magic

A gorgeous gold screen and coral accents lift this otherwise white study to sublime heights

And bright lime accents in a modern clean space… lovely

Well, now I feel little better.  Just DREAMING of the perfect home office I will have eventually…

Happy planning!

 

All pictures courtesy of my Pinterest boards

 

Sotto il Gazebo

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I popped over to Milan for yet another wedding, but found some time for a quick shop, and discovered this GORGEOUS little shop, I just HAD to share it with you.  I loved EVERYTHING in there!

I just fell totally, madly in love with this English birdcage…

The name means ‘Under the gazebo”, isn’t that sweet!

Of course, some of these had to come home with me. Could I have found ANYTHING more delicate to travel with??

Love love love the chandelier.

A delicate little Swedish table

Eggs on display!

Now THIS chandelier I have to have for my Scandinavian island house…

Cloches cloches, can I ever get enough?

Black coral… my nemesis

Find Sotto il Gazebo at Via Delle Asole, Milano

Happy shopping!

Upmarket bars, bar carts and drinks trolley’s

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Ok, I know, they’re very 70’s, but I’ve always loved the idea of having all my drinks, glasses and shakers ready at a moment’s notice to mix the perfect martini for unexpected guests.  I think it’s time to bring the drinks trolley back to life.  Now I just need a butler to make sure there’s always ice handy…

I love the picture wall behind this drinks tray

Gold, and the lamp gives it a nice touch…

This little bar designed by Christina Murphy, hidden behind mirrored doors is fantastic

A drinks cupboard, also a brilliant idea…

Another hidden bar…

Contrasting colour inside this built-in cupboard accentuates the contents, this could also be great as a drinks cupboard…

Oh, wouldn’t this be nice, a tequila bar…

Gold, I love you!

Classic, elegant…

A Chinese cabinet turned into a bar….

Gold and golden wallpaper, very much up my street at the moment…

Now THIS is how you do it!

Fresh in white for the veranda…

A little gold drinks tray from Emily Henderson  at opensky.com

Too sweet!  From Heather Bullard

All pictures are courtesy of my my Pinterest account

Happy mixing!

Grown up bunk rooms

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A

House Beautiful

A grown up bunk-house

One of the best parts of living on an island is that I can sometimes take a few design risks with the interior, and get to throw caution to the wind.  I mean, apart from our guests, who’s ever going to see it?

When most people think of a cabin in Finland, they see trees, sea, a sauna and an outhouse.  Maybe a dilapidated boathouse and jetty, so really, anything goes when it comes to the interior design, because even the simple cabins are beautiful.  And sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, especially when you’re trying to make the most of a small space.  We’ve used up all the floor space we were allowed to build on the island, and with the stream of guests never letting up, a bunkroom would be a downright smart decision!

I wish we had an empty barn that I could turn into a grown up bunk-house, with all the luxuries a proper guest-room should have, just with more beds!

Kids love bunk beds and they’re great for sleepovers, but could you apply the same rules to make a great bunkroom that kids as well as more grown-up guests would enjoy?  A room with all the luxuries a proper guest room should have, but with better use of space?  They’re perfect in a holiday home or for a growing family, and I love the way they make you feel like a kid again.  As children we would always fight about who gets the top bunk, and seeing one now in a home still brings a smile to my face.

But, that said, stylish bunk beds are hard to find in a world filled with amazing design, and it’s rare that I’ve seen bunk beds that I would allow through MY front door!  So. I’ve collected some images of bunk beds and bunk rooms that I would love to recreate.   I love bunk rooms even more than bunk beds, a large attic with 6 beds in a row, it just screams midnight feasts and fun holiday!

When everyone can fall into a comfortable bed at the end of a long day of swimming and fishing and sailing, life is good, and a bunk room adds to the quirkiness every summer house should have.  I love the antique quilts in this attic bunk room with it’s old iron beds….

Courtesy of Decorno

I love the great use of space in this gorgeous room.  A lovely lounge during the day, with extra beds for last minute guests.  You could hook little shutters over these bunks to hide them completely when not in use…

Courtesy House Beautiful

8 Extra beds with loads of floorspace left, what’s not to love?

Picture courtesy of Inside-out

A great white room for a seaside cottage, light and airy with a touch of blue, grown-ups or kids would be equally happy in here…

Courtesy of House Beautiful

Courtesy of Pinterest.  A proper bunkroom!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.  Again, a clever use of space…

Courtesy of Houzz

I just adore this stars and stripes inspired bunk room.  The sisal carpet gives a summery island feel.

Courtesy of Pinterest

A very clean modern look, with enormous windows and warm wood trim…

Courtesy of Houzz

I love the neutral tones in this tiny bunkroom.  The stone floor and individual lamps are a great touch…

Courtesy of cottage home

Bright walls and mismatched quilts makes for a casual summer home bedroom.

Courtesy of Traditional home

Lovely striped curtains add privacy and baskets for extra storage makes the most of a small bedroom…

Courtesy of Traditional home

Courtesy of Elle Decor

I love the wooden beams and privacy curtains in this fun bunk room

Courtesy of Coastal living

Each bed has it’s own lantern and padded shutter door for air…

Courtesy of Coastal living

Fresh and inviting….

Courtesy of Elle Decor

Coutesy of Traditional home

Courtesy Traditional home

Thejanenyc.com

The Jane hotel in New York has a bunk room, I’ll have to check it out next time I’m there!

Courtesy of Houzz

A GREAT use of space with drawers under the bunk, individual lamps and study nooks…

Courtesy of Fresh home

A very grown up bunk room…. love it!Could YOU make more space by adding bunk rooms to your home?  I’m designing as we speak!

Today, I love…

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A unique retreat, I love the Redwoods Treehouse.  Just imagine having a wild party there with a few of your closest friends….. it’ll be a blast!

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant by Pacific Environments Architects: Image 1 of 13

Fine dining or simply a private party, this is one of the most striking and memorable  venues in New Zealand.

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant by Pacific Environments Architects: Image 4 of 13

The Treehouse is a striking pod-shaped structure built ten metres high in a Redwood tree near Warkworth, north of Auckland. Access to the Treehouse is provided by an elevated tree-top walkway which was built using Redwood milled on site.

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant by Pacific Environments Architects: Image 10 of 13Yellow Treehouse Restaurant by Pacific Environments Architects: Image 11 of 13

Yellow Treehouse Restaurant by Pacific Environments Architects: Image 12 of 13

Inspiring architecture… don’t you just love it?

David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe | Leite’s Culinaria

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Mmm, a bit rainy outside today, so a perfect day for baking!  I came across this recipe by David Leite a few days ago, and yum, it truly IS the ULTIMATE Chocolate chip recipe! His secret is to age the cookie dough for a few days in the fridge first.  So, if you can plan ahead, have the patience, and can resist the temptation of cookie dough in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, this is the recipe for you!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve lessened the sugar (you can use even less if you like, the cookies are very sweet, and lessened the chocolate – it was still MORE than enough), I also converted his measurements into grams to simplify things..

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 240g cake flour
  • 240g bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 280g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 280g light brown sugar
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 400g of chopped bittersweet good quality chocolate, at least 60 percent cacao content
  • Sea salt

Directions

  • 1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and Kosher salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  • 2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and fold in without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  • 3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 176°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  • 4. Bring dough to room temperature.  Scoop six  100g mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Flatten very slightly.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. You can also make the rest of the dough into balls and freeze them till needed.  Eat warm, with a big napkin.


David Leite’s Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe | Leite’s Culinaria.

Happy baking!

Today, I love…

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TVERRFJELLHYTTA – Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion

By appointment of the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Foundation Snøhetta has designed an observation and information pavilion at Hjerkinn in Dovre, Norway.

The spectacular site is located on the outskirts of Dovrefjell National Park at around 1250 meters above sea level, overlooking the Snøhetta mountain massif.

Dovrefjell is home to wild reindeer herds, musk oxen, arctic foxes and a variety of endemic botanical species. A long history filled with travellers, hunting traditions, mining and military activities have left their mark on this land. Today, modern tourism and recreation continue to shape the cultural landscape of this place. Dovrefjell also holds significant importance in the consciousness of Norway. National legends, myths, poetry, music, and pilgrimages celebrate the mystic, eternal, and grounded qualities of this robust place. The founding fathers of the Norwegian constitution are “agreed and faithful, until the fall of Dovre!”

Natural, cultural and mythical landscapes form the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a contrast between a rigid outer shell and a soft organic-shaped inner core. A wooden core is placed within a rectangular frame of raw steel and glass. The core is shaped like rock or ice is eroded by natural forces like wind and running water. Its shape creates a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving visitor’s access to spectacular views.

Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of materials so that the building can withstand the harsh climate. The shelter’s simple form and use of natural building materials reference local building traditions. And at the same time, new technologies will be utilized to bring modern efficiency to the fabrication process. The wood core will be manufactured using a large scale robot-controlled milling machine based on digital 3D models.

Tverrfjellhytta is a robust building that refines local building traditions, provides a protected gathering place for the visitors and enriches the unique landscape of Dovrefjell.

Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta : Image 2 of 8Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta : Image 4 of 8Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion by Snøhetta : Image 5 of 8

Courtesy of architypereview.com

Today, I love…

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Candles by Panpuri…  I just adore the sexy packaging and mysterious fragrances of these natural soy & palm wax candles with precious essences & fine fragrances…. need some!

PANPURI ‘Femme Fatale’ Perfume Candle – Original Sin

Inspired by Eve. An immaculate genesis of sinful notes of chaste red Apples and succulent juicy Pears atop Muguet and musky Amber, this wonderful creation is the perfect setting of the Garden of Eden, where the ultimate Femme Fatala, Eve, was born.

A dark and complex blend, Muse Secrete opens with succulent citrus notes that deepen into a heady, floral heart of night-blooming Jasmine and seductive Ylang Ylang. Intricate richness is enhanced with the intense depth of Indian Sandalwood and Vetiver.

PANPURI Signature Candle – Siamese Water

A hallmark of Panpuri Signature Essential Oil blends, Siamese water transports you back in time to the ancient water festival of the Kingdom of Siam with its deep, sweet blooms and exotic floral notes of honey-colored Jasmine absolute, delicately interwoven with sensuous Ylang Ylang’s white petals and a fresh, fragrant hint of Thai Mint.

PANPURI Signature Candle – Indochine

A tropical citrus signature that is fresh and vibrant, Indochine reveals the iconic Indian Ayurvedic Lemongrass, enhanced by luminous Bergamot peel, blossoming Mandarin and verdant Spearmint. The splashy top notes are melded into tangy floral hints of Chinese May Chang and French Lavender with a subtle Sandalwood undertone, resulting in an exhilaratingly fresh and invigorating experience.

GRAND MANCHOU

A contemporary interpretation of a traditional Chinese accord that opens with crisp, clear, fresh notes of Spice and Citrus. Chinese Grapefruit and Australian Eucalyptus pave the way for a nostalgic bouquet that is deep and elegant. Rosewood Oriental reveals its glorious past with a luxurious heart, enveloping the space with warmth and finesse.

PANPURI Signature Candle – Distant Shores

A Burst of fresh spring blooms on a lush coastal hill, awakening the senses with verdant Australian Eucalyptus and Thai Mint, fused with delectable floral notes of Mediterranean terrain, creating a sleek, enticing touch.

And, lastly,  Velvet Blossoms

Sensual and defined, this intoxicating concoction is a passionate rendezvous of the opulent “Queen of Tropical Flowers”, Ylang-Ylang, and the earthy traditions of French Lavender. Seductive accents are fused into an alluring charm of Egyptian Geranium, intensifying tenacious romance that lingers with woody musk undertones of Indian Sandalwood

Couture dreams… Happy birthday mr. Rajah!

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Photo’s courtesy of Jesse-leigh Elford

Today is all about a great man, a great mind, and my dearest friend.  Gavin Rajah has been my friend for so long, and we have so many good stories to tell, which, unfortunately, I can’t tell here!  I would, however, like to say happy birthday to the most gifted, hard working and loyal friend a girl could ever have.

Gavin never stops working.  If I email him at 4 in the morning, he’s likely to reply within 10 minutes.  As a proudly South African haute couture designer he has his own very busy fashion house in South Africa, he’s shown at Paris couture week, he founded Capetown Fashion Week.  His passion for the safety, protection and the overall well being of children has seen him made a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador.

He launched POSITIVE, an event geared towards raising funds for children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. POSITIVE was the first Pan-African collaboration featuring designers, artists and musicians in one singular performance headlined by international artist Seal. Gavin’s charity work has also included specially staged events furthering breast cancer research and HIV/AIDS prevention and cure.

He is passionate about empowering South African men and women who are destitute and unemployed by teaching them traditional skills such as beading, embroidery, jewellery component manufacture and tailoring.

Gavin Rajah is also a businessman who is the managing director of Gavin Rajah Concept, an event management company handling events as diverse as the world cup cricket celebrations, The Indian Premier League, concerts, and celebrity weddings.  No wonder he never sleeps.  He has a blog, a website, he twitters and the man has his own App.  Where DOES he find the time to do all this??

His interests range from socio-political theory, literature, and music (Gavin’s a WONDERFUL pianist) to esoteric psychology. He has designed jewellery collections for The Tanzanite Foundation and De Beers. We designed a swimwear collection together and both featured as designer/judges in America’s Top Model by Tyra Banks in the US. He also featured in Jodie Kidd’s reality TV programme Fashion Avenue in the UK.

A campaign we worked on together for the Tanzanite foundation with photographer Mickey Hoyle…

He was the only African to speak at the Global Fashion Conference in Milan and his paper “Creating an Identity in Fashion: Fashion’s Future?” on fashion in South Africa made headlines in the Wall Street Journal and Milano Finanza. His work has featured in international publications such as Icon, Luna, Avant Garde, Harper’s & Queen, Uomo collezioni, Donna Collezioni, London Sunday Times, London Financial Times, The Face, Donna, L’Officiel, Vogue, BBC, CNN and the Los Angeles Times.

Gavin is undoubtedly the leader of South African designers, he’s been named one of the 50 most influential people in fashion in Africa.  His brand is synonymous with ultra feminine style with a dramatic silhouette.  He loves unashamedly opulent fabrics and finishes, and his clients, in his own words:  The Rajah woman is not a wallflower but a confident and assertive woman who exudes her femininity with astute grace. Most of all she loves to exceed expectation…  His is a household name in South Africa, and he’s making waves internationally.

His work is fluid, and nobody can cut a flattering bias cut silk dress quite like Gavin. His wedding dresses…. memorable!  How lucky am I to have a friend this talented, and to get to wear his gorgeous creations!


My special day, dressed by Gavin

Well, and now for some fun pictures to remember the good times!

Our swimwear collection for Poison Ivy

A surprise birthday celebration for me, the man is obsessed with detail, love it!

Such a special friend

From the invitation to the goody bag, nothing is left to chance!

We all felt like princesses..

Showing at Paris Couture week!

Dressing the girls…

Dressing more of the girls…

We’ve partied with Snow Patrol…

Bollywood stars…

And with Cavalli…

Need I name names?

There’s been some WILD parties…

And even wilder ones….

But we always had fun..

So, happy, happy birthday Mr. Rajah, love you always, xxxG

Green living

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Summer’s in the air and there’s green everywhere around me.  What a lovely way to freshen up your house after a long dark winter than to bring some green indoors?

Bookshelves, glass cloches, matching dogs and a generous sprinkling of green, what’s not to love?

A Gustavian bench, Swedish chair and botanical print wallpaper, a light, fresh, airy corner

A bright golden sunburst mirror in an otherwise green room adds just the right splash of glamour

A picture wall of botanical prints, and heavy green lined linen curtains….. dreamy…

A renovation turned this drab room into fab!  I will post the full renovation later.

If I ever had a conservatory, I want it to look like this inside, also some white rattan furniture…

Fern inspired wallpaper and an antique french metal table makes this a memorable entrance hall

A gorgeous little deep buttoned sofa in lime green, mixed with a stripe chair, floral wingbacks and matching blinds…

Something else for my conservatory.  A large scale banana palm print wallpaper…

An awkward piece of furniture you inherited from Grandma?  Why not upholster it?

Perfection…  Chrystal chandelier, botanical prints, oak look wallpaper, taupe leather chairs with green linen check backs and a beautifully set table.

A mirrored dressing table takes this room from the sublime to the divine…

A quick and cheap way to cheer up a small entrance hall, oak tree wallpaper

Rattan blinds picks up the rattan in the big basket used as a coffee table

Green with envy…

A selection of little green stools makes for a fun seating arrangement

Deep green velvet in a cosy library

Green as a neutral with a greek key border on the linen cutains keeps this living room elegant and timeless

Contrast piping and a lawn rug

Monogrammed bed linen in a spring-like bedroom

Kitchen with shades of jade

A gorgeous armoure with jade green zinc urns on the cover of The new eighteenth century home

So, see, don’t be scared of green, it brings the outside in!

Happy decorating!

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