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COLOURSWATCH May 2012
I can be a little wordy at times. I admit it.
I sometimes find it hard to know when to zip the conversation (this is code for I Talk Too Much). This sometimes translates into rather lengthy diatribes when I am writing also. This month I thought I would try and keep it short. I picked a topic I love. Made a short list. Got myself organised… and then wandered off to get myself ready for a ten-day trip to San Francisco to visit my sister and her family.
Somehow while I was packing and sorting my life out (I am leaving two of my children with their grandparents, and taking the third with me), my list grew longer… and any hope I had of a short and sweet COLOURSWATCH went out the window. It’s just not in me to say in three words what I prefer to say in fifty. I haven’t been organised enough to take my usual photographs and for that I apologise also. So here we go.
Those of you who know me, know I have a great love of all things Danish (my Godparents are Danish), and by extension, Scandinavian. I love the white walls and floors, the simple wooden furniture, and fantastic use of colour. Their love of functional design and the longevity of that design appeals greatly to me. The handcrafted aspect was deeply ingrained in me as a child – and I carry it with me to this day. I would say that it is the use of colour that I love the most. So bold and yet never out of control or overpowering. So I am going to pontificate on all things Scandinavian this month – I know you have heard things on a similar vein before, but it is all just so good and timeless, that I am just going to keep banging on about it.
The most quintessential of Danish toys is of course Lego. It’s the simplicity of design and the colours that I love (of course it is). My children are completely besotted with it and I think we could have bought a small island in the Hauraki Gulf with the money that has been spent on Star Wars and Harry Potter Lego in this house. Imagine my joy when I found that Lego make storage containers. To store Lego in. Really. Though I would imagine it can store a lot more than just Lego. And aside from the fact that it is Lego (which is exceptionally cool), it is really well designed – AND they are made in Denmark just to top it all off. Each ‘block’ contains storage space, and then they can be stacked on top of each other. So it is just perfect for a room like my son’s, which is particularly tight for space. Excellent! They are most definitely not on the cheap side, but I think they have quite a timeless quality to them – and the colours are marvellous – red, green, yellow, blue and black. They start at $20 for the smallest container, up to $98 (this can vary from retailer to retailer) for the largest. They are sturdy and will last. Available from Design Denmark at 12 Maidstone Rd in Ponsonby www.designdenmark.co.nz, and also at stores around NZ including Toy Co, Toyworld and some Paper Plus and Storage Box stores. Happy building…
One of my lasting memories from my childhood is my Dad sitting in an old Danske Mobler chair reading the paper. My Mother had been sent a beautiful white plastic shade that fitted together into a cylinder shape, and my Father always read the newspaper under it each evening. Maybe that is why I love clever shaped, white shades – or it could be just because they are beautiful and functional objects. As part of their Tokyo Winter Collection 2012, Citta have released a range of paper lights that are popping up in magazines everywhere. It is wonderful that lighting is finally coming down from its previous home in the ceiling (I have a personal aversion to halogen lighting) and is making good use of the flex cord and hanging over tables, beside beds, and above kitchen islands everywhere. There are three styles of shade and starting at just $79 for the cheapest, and $149 for the most expensive it certainly won’t break the bank. You could hang three over a work desk, or one inside a wardrobe, one either side of the bed hanging at book-reading height. Try Citta Concept Store Level 2, 20 Normanby Rd Mt Eden – other concept stores are in Wellington, Dunedin, Invercargill and Christchurch. Find them online at www.cittadesign.com
Every now and then something really beautiful comes along that I want very badly to buy, and I just can't. It is either not right for my house, or quite simply don’t have the room (or the money). So someone has to own it. And that someone could be you. This absolutely stunning set of Arne Jacobsen ANT chairs and table are in fabulous condition. These chairs were originally designed for the canteen of a Danish Pharmaceutical Company Novo Nordisk in 1952, and was really what got him noticed by the international community at the time. These are most certainly a modern classic, and at $1800, they are exceptionally well priced. Go admire them on Mr Bigglesworthy’s site www.mrbigglesworthy.co.nz
If that is a bit of a stretch for your budget, then this next little classic might do the trick. Finland’s Marimekko textiles are rather iconic. The Unikko Poppies in red is probably their most recognisable design. If you come to my house you will find it several places, as it is one of my most beloved fabrics. Imagine my happiness when I discovered that there was a pretty mug emblazoned with it! It is available from www.boltofcloth.co.nz, that incredible little design gem in Christchurch. It is all pretty much available on the internet, and with an international range of fabrics to choose from it is a veritable candy shop for textile-ophites. The mug is $35.95 and available in blue, green, yellow and of course the iconic red.
It’s not often I get to give you something for free, but this month I can! A lovely friend of mine sent me this link to an IKEA catalogue for design ideas. The design ideas here are just inspiring – and the use of colour, just perfect. You can never have too much inspiration. And even though we don’t have IKEA stores here in good old NZ, we can actually get a lot of IKEA here. A few enterprising entrepreneurs are importing to order, and also into stores of their own. On trademe there is such a gentleman. Trading as AKIA (also find him on facebook)– they have a limited range of the desks, beds and sofas available. I have used them to buy a new desk (INGO table $199) for my son, two metal drawer units in red (HELMER drawers $199) and a set of white drawers for my daughter (MALM $499). The design behind them is simple but timeless, and much like the IKEA pieces I bought back with me from the UK 13 years ago – quite robust. If you like to see the pieces before you buy them, try www.myflatpack.co.nz as they have a store at 2 Roxburgh St Newmarket. They also sell from their website nationwide. I have also bought a footstool (Bekvam step stool - $69) from them, which will be painted the next time you see it.
Continuing on our theme of good simple design, I had to include this sofa. The FREEDOM Frenchie sofa in Scooter is a little cracker! At only $799 for the 2.5 seater, it is very well priced. The wooden legs keep the sofa well off the floor, and in a small room it will help create the illusion of space. This is ‘neat’ enough in design to fit at the end of a bed, or be perfect in a space-starved apartment. I love its retro Mad Men feel.
As you know, I like to keep the best for last. Books have been a huge inspiration for me while I have been doing my own house, and now that I am finished, I just don’t seem able to give up the addiction. Either that, or there is just such a plethora of beautiful books coming onto the market. We have another article-worth of interior books coming next week, but this book is just so special, I had to include it in my monthly favourites.
I really love the styling work of Selina Lake – we have featured her books before. I love her Bazaar Style, which we have featured. Her new book is called Homespun Style. Debi Treloar again does the photography and the book is a complete crafty ode to colour and textiles. I read and enjoy a lot of books, but this one really is a keeper! We are a crafty household – there is no doubt with my Yarn Bombing Daughter covering the house with her knitting, and me with my handy tin of paint covering everything that stays still in one place for too long! I collect knitted and crocheted blankets and coloured textiles whenever my budget allows. This book features all these things as well as mismatched china and textiles. Colour and pattern are central to the homespun look.
The book uses wallpapers, retro fabrics and ethnic prints all mixed together is a great big ball of colour happiness. The book is filled with beautiful, helpful photographs – and I love the mix of old retro fabric, with current wallpaper and iconic Danish light fittings. The book is deeply committed to extolling the virtues of customising and recycling (and up-cycling). You can be green without even trying by just re-using things that have been used before. Often older pieces of furniture have been handmade (as opposed to coming off a production line) and as such are very sturdy and will last another 40 years once they have been recovered. With a chapter on my pet hate – lighting. I have a pathological dislike of halogen lighting (I may have mentioned this before), and this book goes into great detail about the use of lighting to enhance the room. With lots of white walls and white painted floors featuring throughout the book – with loads of colour added – of course I am going to love it! And you will as well. Homespun Style by Selina Lake, words by Joanna Simmons, photography by Debi Treloar is published by Ryland Peters and Small. It is distributed in New Zealand by Bookreps at www.bookreps.co.nz and retails for $49.99.
By Anya Brighouse
21 May 2012