Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Green Sofa for Spring

Now that spring is here I can indulge my love for all things green.  Which is just as well as we have two green sofas in our sitting room (a two and five seater).   I do not like the current covering at all, but recovering it is out of the question.   And the green does work okay in the room because it matches the green lead light. 

At the moment these sofas are chiefly used by Pepper the cat for claw scratching, and by my son for climbing and then jumping off and piling up the cushions and pushing them over. They are proving pretty sturdy. I have toyed with the idea of spilling red wine over them hence necessitating a recover, but then decided that was Not the Right Thing to Do.

The right thing to do, I believe, is to ponder new cushions.   Or colours which may match better with the current olivey shades.  Below is part of the current arrangement.   I have a childhood thing for pink and green because they were the colours of my Marimekko blinds when I was little.  But I am wondering if creams and neutrals might work better as in the image above, which I really love right down to the slightly poor quality oil painting and the fabric walls. 


It turns out I am not alone in my Green Sofa-ness.

I don't like the cushions here, but maybe they add that touch of granny to the space which otherwise would need it:

Here the super talented Lauren's green sofa:

And this is one with a lot of other stuff going on.   Too much leather and too many things in vases for me.

And veering away from olive, here is a pale green:


And here is a more emerald colour:

What do you think would work?  Different colours, different cushions, different children (only joking) or should I let the cat destroy the covers and then replace with something else? 

(Images: (1) (4) (6) (8) Elle Decor (2) Jane (3) Decorpad (5) Pure Style Home (7) House to Home)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spring Quiet

Finally, on Sunday, 3 weeks into spring,  we had an actual spring day.   

We spent time in the garden, splashing in the water, and admiring the blossoms on the pear trees and the Japanese maples which are slowly coming into leaf.   We have planted a dogwood to replace a tree which was not thriving, and we pulled out our previously happy grapefruit tree which just dropped dead, as only trees can, a couple of weeks ago. 

I don't know about you, but I feel that this  has been a winter too long.  And I don't even like the hot weather but this year, I am really ready for it.  And I am so ready for spring and all that  entails: peas, lamb, beans, silky green things, lots of linen, salads and outdoor spaces which will help me shelter 'most shadily'.

(cover of the September 2010 edition of my favourite food magazine, New Zealand Cuisine.  You may feel the lamb butterfly is a bit too much but I love it)

Gone were but the Winter,

Come were but the Spring,

I would go to a covert

Where the birds sing.

 (Imogen riding her too small bike - she is too frightened of her 'big bike')

Where in the whitethom

Singeth a thrush,

And a robin sings

In the holly-bush.

(my out of control parsley - what can I do with it?  Parsley soup? Tabbouleh?)

Full of fresh scents

Are the budding boughs

Arching high over

A cool green house:

(my summer aim - create a cool outdoor space) 

Full of sweet scents,

And whispering air

Which sayeth softly:

'We spread no snare;

(another planned project - a gallery wall, no matter how ubiquitous they are, I love them done well)

'Here dwell in safety,

Here dwell alone,

With a clear stream

And a mossy stone.

(and a final project - to get around to doing some big pots of lavender and rosemary)

'Here the sun shineth

Most shadily;

Here is heard an echo

Of the far sea,

Though far off it be.

by Christina Rossetti (1847)

(a pear tree in blossom)

(Images (1)(2)(3)(7) Jane (4)(5)(6) Skona Hem) 

Monday, September 27, 2010

St Kilda Dreaming

On Saturday the AFL Grand Final was held before 100,014 people crammed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

(Corvey, Brighton Road St Kilda, fell into disrepair and then demolished)

For only the third time in more than a 100 years the game was drawn at 67 points all.

(captains of Collingwood and St Kilda looking stunned at the end of the game)

I don't really follow football, and I can tell you that is pretty unusual in Melbourne. But I always watch the Grand Final and it was an amazing, heart stopping 1970s style game on Saturday.   I actually 'barrack' (I use that word very loosely) for Richmond but St Kilda comes a close second. For no reason other than I love the suburb and spent many happy years living there.

Do you know what happens in AFL when a game is drawn?  Unlike 99.9% of the other ball games played on this planet, there is no extra time.  No no.  They replay the game next week.   Although for future finals, they may need to rethink this.

So here,  for  my second most favourite team, are some St Kilda iconic buildings.   All demolished now.   Do you think we have learned not to demolish beautiful buildings?  I am not so sure.   St Kilda was a wealthy suburb in the 1800s and full of Italianate and Victorian mansions.   Many were saved simply by virtue of being converted into apartments.   Others were demolished in the 1960s to make way for brick flats or glass towers. 

(Iloura in St Kilda Road demolished in 1964)

(Armadale in St Kilda Road, demolished in the 1970s)

(Summerland House, located near the corner of Fitzroy Street and Acland Street, St Kilda)

I read an interesting story on the origins of the name of the suburb.  The buyer of the land on which Summerland House was located was a Lieutenant James Ross Lawrence.  He was captain of the schooner Lady of St Kilda. Captain Lawrence named Acland Street after Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, the ship’s owner.

Acland’s ship was in turn named after a Lady Grange. In 1734, it is said that she was imprisoned by her husband for seventeen years on the St Kilda group of islands, the westernmost point of the British Isles, and way beyond the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Only on his death could she be released. Her crime was in remonstrating with him about his schemes to restore the position of Bonnie Prince Charlie. There are seven islands in the group, but Hirta is the largest. It has not been continuously inhabited since 1930. Lady Grange was probably left on Hirta.

I will remember that next time I remonstrate with my husband about his schemes. 

(Images:  (1) Not sure sorry (2) The Age (3) (4) The Collector (5) St Kilda Historical Society

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Snakeskin and Rainbow Knits

Several  weeks after I said I would do it, I spent four hours spring cleaning my wardrobe on the weekend.   I do this 4 times a year, partly because I have limited space so I need to remove all woollens and retrieve the summer dresses shoved into unmentionable crooks and crannies.

But the main reason for the clean out is is because a supposedly dried up creek runs under that part of the house (potential purchasers of our house, stop reading now) and my clothes tend to get damp, which annoys me no end. I have to keep moving things around so that things don't get ruined. 

Like everyone else, I could easily do with more closet space.  I could also do with better light in my wardrobe area.    So much so that whenever I clean it out I always find things I forgot I had or which I in fact couldn't see. I am still looking for my favourite black cardigan. ....As I keep saying, if I had more closet space, I would buy fewer clothes, because I would be able to clearly see what I own.  

If there is one type of story I loathe reading, it those ones about celebrity closets.   True, I am a little envious.  But there is something almost obscene, and at the every least, vulgar, about these women sitting in front of their 1000s of pairs of shoes, Louis Vuitton bags in every colour and pairs of jeans for every day of the year.  They may as well have 'I make a ludicrous amount of money' or 'I get given lots of free stuff' tattooed on their forehead.   I have some forgiveness for those who work in fashion, as that is obviously a perk of the job.  But for the likes of Ms Hilton, Carey and Alba, to quote my daughter 'stop it I do not like it'

(a wardrobe by NY designer Robert Couturier)

(Kimora Lee Simmons' closet)

(Roomdrobe of Jenna Lyons from J Crew)

Anyway, taking a tip from the ever tasteful Kimora Lee Simmons (see above), I put all the coloured knits I discovered buried in the deep recesses in a nice little pile.  And to prove the point it is evident to me that I tend to just buy the same pinky coloured knits over and over. 

(bright Jane)

(everyday Jane)

And then I found these Bruno Magli snakeskin pumps I bought in London in 2001 when we went to a friend's wedding. Those were carefree happy days.  These are a bit banged up but still look pretty nice I think.  

And then much more excitingly, I found this croc or snake skin bag which belonged to my long dead grandmother, Olive.  It still has a cinema ticket from 1978 in the side pocket. I can imagine her, fully hatted and becardiganned, off to the city to see something appropriate for an older lady, maybe the film of the Agatha Christie book 'Death on the Nile'.  

That reminds me of the time my aunt took me to see the Bo Derek film '10' when it came out in Australia in 1979.  I should mention that I was barely 11 years old.   I could feel her stiffen beside me when the naughty bits came on. She probably should have checked the reviews beforehand.  But in those days it was much harder!   I think she may have even said to me afterwards 'It might be best if we don't mention this film to your mother, okay?'

So anyway, now my spring clothes are out and proud, and waiting, waiting for some spring weather in rainy, cold Melbourne.

(Images: (1) Robert Couturier (2) Elle Decor (3) (4) via Habitually Chic)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Drawerknob Dilemma

Here is our main bathroom.

Here is a close up of our specified-by-an-architect-with-no-children knobs.  See those corners?  They may look innocent and very 2002, but they could zest a lemon no problem at all.  They could also probably shred top security documents.  Not to mention pudgy little hands.   Not only are they are a danger but their very squareness offends me. I want to replace them.  

Quality and interesting hardware, rather like reasonably priced Italian lights, is hard to come by in Australia.   I don't know whether to do silver or stainless steel, or white or cream or grey. 

This is what I have found.   Three possibilities from Anthropologie:

Inexpensive but a little bit hideous kitchen knobs from Ikea

Cattle horn, from Mood Australia.  I am not sure if any cattle were harmed making these.  Or if by cattle they in fact mean 'cattle': 

Superbasic but functional from Budget Handles.   

Tell me, oh wise and infinitely stylish readers: where can I find some knobs to make my paranoid maternal fear go away?    And what kind of knob would you put on these drawers? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Face on Building

At the end of Swanston Street in Melbourne lies the old Carlton and United Brewery site. It is huge, and has been a bit of a bombsite for as long as I can remember.

This week the developer released images of the building it is proposed to be built there.   It is designed by Melbourne architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall.  

The face is that of William Barak, an Aboriginal elder who lived between 1824 and 1903. He was the last traditional elder of the Wurundjeri people, whose land was where the city of Melbourne now sits.  He was an accomplished bark artist, and a respected, articulator for Aborginal interests in the 19th century.

The face is only visible from a distance.   It is certainly original although I haven't seen any commentator yet point out that the concept is identical to an idea ARM had for a residential building in Darling Harbour in Sydney, which would have had an image of the Max Dupain photo 'Bondi' on it.  This was never built.

How does the face work?  ARM's website describes the process for the Dupain building as follows:

To build this image the famous original photograph was scanned and processed into black and white strips using a sophisticated computer generated technique. Each strip became curved and rippled like ribbons or driftwood. Together these strangely evocative balustrade forms create the vivid optical illusion of the original picture, which becomes clearer as distance increases, to emerge as if from a mirage.

ARM are truly original. I wish they did more residential work, like these fabulous pointy angular beachouses:

They tend to stick more to urban design and iconic buildings, like this:

(new visitor centre at the Shrine of Remembrance)

 (RMIT Storey Hall. I especially like the pink tram in this image)

Do you think it would be slightly odd to live in a building with a face on it , or would you not notice after a while?

(All Images from ARM)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Year of No Rubbish Purchases - Month 1

I have been sorely tempted this month, by a pouty Angelina Jolie on the cover of Vanity Fair, by a super soft caramel wrap scarf thing at Husk, by the abundance of ballet flats for spring which are on sale in every shoe store and by my desperate need for more storage baskets.

But I have refrained and remain reasonably true to my aim.

This month I have invested in:

This APC t-shirt.  I am very particular about my stripes and when I find stripes in the right width and spacing I find it hard to be disciplined.  And a stripey top is a long term classic, and therefore fits my criteria.

To demonstrate.  These stripes are wrong: 

(Sienna Miller)
These are unflattering:

(Claudia Schiffer)

But these are perfect.  Funny isn't it?

(Olivia Palermo)

Secondly I bought this plastic container which is for storing cut up onion in the fridge. It stops the onion infusing everything else with an oniony smell. I have wanted one of these for years and came across it in a shop. Of course I could always use any old plastic container but there is something so very satisfying about putting an item into a facsimile of itself.

There is an important carve out to this exercise: children's clothes.   I had to buy some of these otherwise my son would be running around with a bare tummy and ankles showing.

Hence, the purchase of these (sorry for small image) from here.   If you can't wear peacock blue skinny cords when you are 7 years old then when can you?  She has barely taken them off since she got them. 

Epilogue:  I had an incident which required the purchase of a Vanity Fair, which I regret. What happened was this: I had an early morning client meeting in the eastern end of the city and I dropped my son off at creche with half an hour to get there. I rang my husband for his view about the best way to get to my destination from Chapel Street.  We agreed Punt Road.  Bad idea. Punt Road was a car park. I inched forward, minute by minute, the appointed time for my meeting getting closer and closer. I emailed my client to let them know I would be a little late.  I patiently sat in the gridlock. I could feel myself getting slightly panicky.  I finally got into the city and instead of driving around looking for a good value car park as planned I parked at the $70 a day one.  I parked the car and grabbed my briefcase only to realise it was completely empty.  I had left all my documents at home on the kitchen bench. Not only that, but I had no paper to write on and no pen to write with.   In all my working life that has never happened to me.   I ran to the nearest newsagent, grabbed a pad and a pen, opened my wallet to pay the $5.50 and realised I had no money. At all.  No coins, no notes.  I then remembered I had let my daughter take her pocket money from my wallet that morning. I gave the purse lipped lady my card to pay by EFTPOS and she said 'sorry $10 minimum'. I said (pleadingly) 'I am having a really bad morning' and she said (unflinchingly) '$10 minimum'. So I grabbed the thing which was closest to me, which happened to be a Vanity Fair (the one with the Twilight girls on the cover).  I then went to my meeting, puffed, hot and a little bit peeved. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

More Rooms in Art

I get a few emails about this post so I thought I would do another one.  

To kick off, Matisse, who invented the idea of the completely red room.  Personally I couldn't live with it, but I can see why people do rooms in this way.  For me, my red dining room is enough to be going on with, and even that room I rarely enter. 

The Red Studio (1911) 

This is a wonderful abstract art piece by Theo Van Doesburg called Counter Composition, painted in 1924.  Very radical for its time.

Its perfect match is this fantastic 1975 kitchen in a John Fowler house in the UK. I have seen red and black laminate kitchens but only rarely blue: 

(Warning: water restrictions rant coming up)

It is rainy and awful (still, again) here in Melbourne. We have floods all over the state and yet our water storage is still only at about 42%.   I can't work it out.  Is there a leak in the dams? I am told the main reservoir is very extremely ginormous and will take years to fill.  So now, after putting a dripper system in our garden and installing three huge water tanks four years ago when the drought began, I may just be able to start using my decommissioned sprinklers.   But there is really no point as we pulled up most of our lawn years ago.   And my water tanks are now overflowing. 

Anyway, I am not so sure about this David Hockney, but you cannot go past him for blue skies and shimmering pools which to me are the epitome of LA.   

Nick Wilder (1966) 

This is the Kauffman house at Palm Springs built in 1946 and designed by Richard Neutra.

And this, the Petrucelli house in Kew here in Melbourne by McBride Charles Ryan. 

To perfectly capture the misty waters of Venice, what better than Giorgione's The Tempest, painted in 1508, which is possibly the first landscape painting (where landscape is not just the background) in Western art.  only 6 works survive and he died of the plague at the age of 34.  Very little is known about him but the maturity and calm in his works influenced many Venetian painters including Titian.  Something pretty creepy is going on here. But no one has ever really been able to work out what. 

To accompany this work, a Venetian palazzo:

and an interior which seems to me to be very Italian in style and feel:

This work is by Ken Done, a designer and artist who was very famous in Australia in the 1980s for his almost Fauvist style vistas of Sydney Harbour.  He uses bright primary colours, which are perfect for any children's room. 

Happy weekend to one and all.  We are off to have Greek for dinner with the children tonight and tomorrow I am hoping to buy some lawn from the nurseries to plump up the nude bits in our garden, and also some more herbs and possibly some silverbeet.  

(Images: (2)(3) Elle Decor (10)(11) Lost sorry! (13) Design Sponge)

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