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I wish there was a more glamorous reason as to why I am so disorganised; perhaps I have been away on a warm island holiday, or I have been working on some splendid project for a wealthy client or I have been at some long fashion event (Fashion Month anyone?)
But no. I have just simply (simply?) been doing all the mundane stuff one has to do when one sells a house and buys another. We hadn’t been planning on it and it took us rather by surprise. So all my ‘fuzzy grey cells’ have been somewhat preoccupied with the boring.
It isn’t really very creative (well the renovating the new house is) but it has been all-consuming. So here I am coming out of the other side and starting to look at new pretty shiny things. As always, colour is my manifesto but this time it isn’t just limited to the house interior.
I am very taken with the cushions at CR at the moment – there is a great jungle green and white Scandinavian-inspired cushion I NEED (Joanie $44.90), and some great turquoise striped breakfast bowls (Bistro Ribbon Bowls $8.80)) that I already own. I also might have accidentally gone back and bought the orange patterned mugs (Bistro Varn Mugs $8.90)
I am completely taken with these Protagonista brightly coloured belts. The colours are just amazing and for those not committing to the colour block trend, this is a fabulous way to add just a bit of zing to an outfit. I ended up getting the red. That said I could have happily taken the purple and orange home as well. At just $45 they won't break the bank. They have a range of colourful ties and socks as well. Available in Auckland at The Department Store.
I have always been a bit dotty about polka dots, particularly red and white. What most people don’t know is that The Warehouse does a great range of melamine each year and this year it is red and white polka dots. Lucky me. So the large dinner plates are just $2.99 each. I might have also found some multicoloured glass tumblers from Briscoes ($5.99) as well – as I really can't just have one colour way on my table… that would just be too boring. They also have some pretty ramekins also in red and white, which I also might have bought, that will be perfect for little baked lemon meringues.
I am a bit crazy about books at the moment. With all the creative energy that is disappearing out of my head as I wrangle this new house into shape, I feel like I am in constant need of new inspiration and ideas. My theory is you just can’t over-fill your head. So I just keep trying to put stuff in there – hoping some of it will translate into something interesting happening with the new house! Those of you who have read my stuff before will know how much I adore Jonathan Adler’s joyful use of colour and pattern. So if he is writing the forward to an interiors book, then I am more than a little interested. Grace Bonney started the blog Design*Sponge, and in his intro Adler says of Bonney; “She thought she was just starting a design blog, but she wasn’t. She was starting a revolution. And now the revolution has a bible.” And how right he is. She is driven by the need to speak to others who have a creative voice like hers and for those who wish to have homes that reflect who they really are. In seven short years her blog has become a phenomenom and no matter what your design style there will be something in this book for you. For the design conscious, there are wonderful homes in an amazing range to pore over. For the crafty-minded there are amazing projects to make. I’m making the outdoor light which is made of two wire hanging baskets, wired together to make a shade, and the citronella candles. For the eco warrior there are ideas on how to live your life not pressing on the planet too hard (she is an ardent admirer of the vintage). She has a great eye for the functional, and the fantastic – colour and texture abound. The houses featured are from all around the world from the US to Paris to Singapore. There is something for everyone. For someone like me who is swamped (at times) with divine books to review, this is a book that I went out and bought myself. The book is published by Artisan, and distributed in New Zealand by Book Reps. It retails for $70 and at 390 pages it is worth every penny.
I am very enamoured with the next thing on our list. The REMEMBER stool is just a little bit clever. It is made out of cardboard and comes flat packed. You put it together yourself in five minutes – et viola – you have a stool. And yes it is a stool to sit on with a carrying capacity of 200kg (yes really!) It is as multi functional as most stools: it can be a side table, a stool or a bedside table. At a mere $57 it is a winner. It comes in a large range of finishes: there is a stack of books, an old Ghetto Blaster (which my teenager loves) and my favourite, the Mosaic (pictured). There are many other finishes besides, and there is also a child-sized version. The full range can be seen on www.remember.de, and it is available at Allium in Auckland. For a full range of stockists, try the importer www.livewires.co.nz
Dear Colleen is the blog by the Lovely Colleen from Bristol in the UK. She is now living in Dunedin and using her Graphic Design talents to create some gorgeous pieces of art. Simply statements printed and ready to be framed, and also tea towels for the girl who has everything. Her plays on words are witty and sweet and I love her use of colour. I have included our absolute favourite. Find her on Face book (dear Colleen), or her store on Etsy – dearcolleen.etsy.com. And thanks to the lovely Michelle Weir from studioweir (find her on Facebook) for bringing Colleen to my attention.
Back to books for a moment – and this one I am just completely in love with. I love it so much – that even the cover is enough to make me happy! ‘Make Hey – while the sun shines – 25 crafty projects and recipes’ is by the amazing Pip Lincolne who has the amazing store (and website) – Meet me at Mike's. She has an incredible mix of the handmade with the funky – craft projects for quilting, crocheting, sewing – all pitched at a reasonable level so if you aren’t too confident – this is a good place to start. We loved the patterns for bike seats, quilted cat cushions, nana baubles for your Xmas tree (or where ever really) – all with the recipes and patterns provided in a handy pocket at the front. The photography through the book is colourful and happy – you can't read this book without feeling a bit happier at the end - even if you don’t make anything. Make Hey is published and distributed by Hardier Grant books and retails for $45.
MOAD (Ministry of Art and Design) take op shop finds from all over New Zealand, clean them up and give them an eye popping colour blast of paint – and hey presto – something mundane and unwanted becomes something beautiful and covetable! Pieces are available from as little as $90 and they go up from there depending on the size. Available from Essenze in Parnell in Auckland but check at www.ceilpr.co.nz for other stockists in NZ.
The divine handmade candles from Curio Noir are quietly and carefully made in Tiffany Jean’s kitchen in Mt Eden, Auckland. The perfumes are French, the glass is Italian-inspired, but the finished product is all New Zealand - clever, handmade and just a tiny bit dark. I am still in love with the vetiver bouquet fragrance and I have one specially stowed away to light in the new house the moment we move in so it feels like my home as quickly as possible. I am such a complete fanatic when it comes to scented candles. The candles are available again - after the glass blower’s furnace being rebuilt every few years in the Italian tradition – at Simon James at The Department Store, Takapuna, and at Miss Crabb Ponsonby Road. They retail for $110 but last a very long time. Worth every gentle perfumed waft.
In my house travels – with me trying to get all the house details sorted in 7 short weeks – I have wandered around many of our design shops here in Auckland. One thing is very plain to me though; I am incredibly fussy. I have seen a lot of beautiful things that I admire for OTHER people, but not so much for me. I have come to realise how much I adore old furniture. Pre-loved, pre-worn, and pre-used. I love the patina that age leaves on a piece. I also love the price! We have invested in two pieces; both are from Mr Bigglesworthy (www.mrbigglesworthy.co.nz) One is an old Backhouse desk for the 60’s – made here in NZ.
The other is Mr Bigglesworthy's truly marvellous G-Plan chair (pictured above) from the UK in black vinyl in pretty near perfect condition. My husband thinks he is James Bond when he sits in it as it was in Dr No.
There is only one new thing that I covet – and it is as much for the fabric, as it is for its design and its comfort factor. I also love it as it could bring a bit of balance to my otherwise antique/vintage laden house. It is the Pop chair from Kartell in Missoni. I just love it. It retails for $3300 and is available at the Kartell flagship store in Newmarket, and Backhouse Interiors in Wellington.
7 January 2012