Things That Made Me Smile This Week…

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  1. Looking at vintage finds online, in particular these toy soldiers, I want, I want, I want….5bbce108f40059b5d73c7e9be3ffb9d4
  2. Leafing through the guide to this years Open House London, top picks so far are Crystal Palace Subway, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Battersea Power Station.                                                                                              2306 907 3725
  3. The new best thing in the room, our newest edition to the flat, Dinah the kitten, so named after Alice’s cat from the Wonderland stories and Dinah from Rosamund Lehmann’s Echoing Grove. Cue cute kitten sounds:  IMG_6251
  4. Strolling along the Southbank before the Autumnal chill begins to bite. Always something interesting to catch the eye, my favourite of the last few years is this RIBA award winning boat hotel on top of the Royal Festival Hall entitled A Room For London, if I were a rich girl I would surely book a nights stay there:      IMG_5121IMG_5790

southbank

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What the Mice Saw from the Promenade…Part 2

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Field trip to Modernism by sea:

Bexhill is a lovely seaside town. It has all the usual Georgian & Victorian decay common to Sussex seaside towns complete with net-curtain-twitching-B&B’s, uniform beach huts and murky brown healing waters, but it also has something unexpected – Modernism. Bexhill is home to the De La Warr Pavilion which is the second ever modernist structure built in the UK. And just like famous childhood resident Eddie Izzard the pavilion is surprising, beautiful and unexpected, I give you my second photo diary of English Seaside towns:

DSC09155 (2)       The shock of the new by sea - The De La Warr Pavilion.

photobexhillTwenties cartoon icon Felix The cat fittingly in residence at the 
                   thirties De La Warr.
DSC09173           Staircase inside The De La Warr.
bexhill1                  Beach Huts on the seafront

DSC09151 (2)                Fabulously designed promenade.
BexhillCapture  Beach huts from behind, moody English weather system optional.
DSC09196                Interior of The De La Warr
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                      Staircase detail.
DSC09167                  The back of the pavilion.
DSC09139                           Seafront
bexhill

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Things That Made Me Smile This Week

My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

 

  1. As summer begins to falter and the plethora of butterflies in the city dissipates I have been looking back at pictures taken of all the pretty the butterflies we saw in the butterfly house at the Natural History Museum. Butterflies are, along with sangria, the smell of sun cream and gelato one of my very favourite things about the summer season.

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  2. Stefan Zweig’s only full length novel Beware of Pity recently published in this striking imprint, we are reading it this month for book group, a heartbreaking, melancholic, aching ode to the fragility of the human condition, read it, you won’t regret it.getimage39-665x1024.aspx
  3. This beautiful copper watering can gifted to us in a loft clearance by family:IMG_5758
  4. Outsider Art on show in the latest exhibition at The Hayward Gallery. If you like the idea of fantastical imaginary cities, homes made from wreckage found in forests changing structure in tune with their landscape, an alternative Miss Universe and audacious architectural renderings of blueprint towns then ‘The Alternative Guide to The Universe’ is for you, but get in quick, exhibition ends 26th August. My particular favourite was Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez’s cardboard cities (below) with special note also to inter-war artist Achilles Rizzoli. IMG_5038 IMG_5039cc122a2dd90cc28b75ff175b267795f3

    My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

     

What The Mice Saw From The Promenade…Part 1

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There’s nothing I love more than visiting a new English seaside resort and we seem to have notched up quite a few this summer, sigh.  So in the first of a series of photo diaries I give you Scarborough on Yorkshire’s East Coast. It’s a fabulous town, full of beautiful Victorian architecture, both decaying splendor and starkly cared for beauty, there is an authentic British beach that feels like the shore that time forgot, all kiss me quick and bus mans holidays with a particular charm of its own. Unfortunately my phone ran out of battery on this part but here is what I did capture (excuse the slightly over zealous use of Instagram filters):

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   The fully operational Bandstand attached to Scarborough Spa.

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      Scarborough Spa, the first Seaside Spa town in the UK.

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                      A local tailor's shop.

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A Victorian mansion block with a distinct Fortnum & Mason sugar coated
                        Regency flavour.

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photoscarborough

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  A solitary piece of Art Deco amongst the architectural chintz.

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 Arabesque Pub (an homage to the Turkish blood in my husbands line).

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Beautiful parade of four storey period houses that Dan's family are 
                   the lucky occupiers of.

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 The Grand Hotel after its halcyon days have long since disappeared.

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        Scarborough Spa from the walk down the Esplanade.

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                           The Tram.

scarborough

                   North Side Pleasure Beach.

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                     Bandstand and deckchairs.

My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

 

Things That Made Me Smile This Week

  1. My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

     

    The mice have done a lot of peeping around online this week. Top of the pile from the online trawl is this wonderful Yellow Teapot from The Tate Gallery online store and these lovely Pigeonhole Wall shelves from Urban Outfitters:                 798b353b1c0373512b75243c9a096795 5520439590020_Brown_z1
  2. A dear old friend recommended a brilliant short story this week – The Sandman by E.T.A Hoffmann. A truly incredible, grotesque, burlesque, carnival of horror by one of the great German Romantics. It sent me on to read Freud’s essay on The Uncanny which references the tale, not sure I’m buying his castration complex, still a great story and an interesting companion piece.$(KGrHqN,!iEFChVEHCnkBQ2Uvzydbg~~60_12
  3. My favourite purchases of the last month is a vintage coffee box I picked up at Petrsham Nurseries.  It’s currently being used as an occasional table in the living room, in lieu of having an actual purpose for it, maybe an umbrella stand? Either way I keep smiling at it, I love pelicans, they look too ridiculous to be real animals…DSC09340
  4. It’s our Fourth wedding anniversary this week, which I am told is fruits and flowers, we celebrated by spending the day on the Southbank drinking Bellini’s. On our first wedding anniversary I sent my husband the lyrics from Cole Porters You’re The Top, although I still can’t think of anyone better to send them to, I have come across another one that tickles me, step in Regina Spector:                                                                                                                                                                                             You’re like a party that somebody threw me,                                                                      You taste like Birthday,                                                                                                    You look like New Years                                                                                                You’re like a big parade through town                                                                           You leave such a mess, but you’re so fun’
  5. These fabulous old school drawers found on eBay, no idea what I’d keep in them as we have amassed so much of this type of storage, very cute though:$(KGrHqJHJB!FH6g1sQWoBR--GkTyzQ~~60_57

 

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Peak Around Our Kitchen and Into Our Kitchenalia…

My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

DSC09283When we moved into this flat last year we knew that the kitchen would be one of the priority spaces for redecoration. There is something a bit depressing about cooking and trying to impersonate a domestic goddess with artex ceilings, yellow walls and orange & red tiles! And there is almost nothing I dislike more in the home than something false pretending to be something else, melamine cupboards and mdf worktops are essentially the trompe l’oeil of the kitchen world and our kitchen sang its impersonation boldly! However, the word kitchen is, like the word wedding, a touchstone for throwing money down a wishing well. Looking at the cost of a completely new kitchen is  dream shattering, everything is amazingly expensive when the word kitchen is attached. In lieu of many thousands of pounds we have spent the last six months slowly transforming the space into something that we could be happy with for under a grand.

DSC09301 One of the main obstacles in our kitchen had been lack of light due the small window part obscured by a giant but essential boiler cupboard, therefore our starting point had to be lighting. Despite factory task lighting being used in every restaurant and trendy bar re-fit to the extent that it is quite the high-street bombardment I just adore bashed up old enamel lights.ImageHandler.ashx One of my favourite uses of this lighting  was from a designers home whose name I can’t recall who’s kitchen was featured in a Farrow & Ball coffee table book loaned from the library.  I looked at modern inexpensive repro’s but found them disappointing. My brief was to find a grey shade with more than one part to its hanging with a story behind it for under £150. Unlike the kitchen pictured, our kitchen is not big enough to comfortably hold a cluster (thank goodness because they are so expensive) so after 6 months of hunting I finally secured one (above) just before Christmas which had come from a GWR station waiting room and untold joys bought for under £100. Given our lighting challenge, one central light just wasn’t going to cut it, but I found these (below) on Rockett St George for £59 each and bought them with some birthday money. We were super lucky that my fabulous friend Har’s father-in-law fitted both sets of lights and re-wired our railway one with a striped cord flex for an absolutely amazing rate.

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Once the lights were in we could look at the space and start toCapturew envisage what it would look like minus the artex and all the earthy toned distractions! In our previous flat we had a vintage kitchen with blue walls accented by some fabulous Alice in Wonderland tiles bought from Florian Tiles. But having moved back to London I wanted something more urban, rustic but not chintzy. I am the most un-modern of girls so sleek glossy high tech kitchens are not for me (or my price band). We decided on white and stone as a colour palette and we kept Captureqreturning again and again to the much in vogue metro tiles. I hate rooms that are staged and conscious of themselves, and this is a massive pitfall of browsing too many design magazines, as I do. When decorating a room everyone wants the result to reflectCapturet both their needs and an expression of what interests them, but how to do this without looking like your home is a finely curated museum piece can be a fine line to balance if you spend as much time looking at interiors as I do.

Having chosen some super cheap miniature metro tiles in Whitechapel from Walls & Floors, so often paired with industrial task lighting, I decided to put down all interiors magazines and just let our kitchen naturally and gradually fall into place. The next thing we sourced was this dresser to house some of my vintage china for £40 on ebay which with a lick of Farrow & Ball Cornforth eggshell paint came up like this:DSC08983

Then we turned our focus to the units which were those terribly popular beech veneer ones.  It would have cost well over £1,000 to replace them even during sale period so I had a look around online for tips and found advice that when painting melamine cupboards it’s  recommended that you use a floor paint to maintain a hard-wearing surface in an area of heavy use. We used Farrow & Ball’s Pointing as it wasn’t their whitest shade but also didn’t have much yellow to it and we were really pleased with the result.

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Our biggest outlay was on the worktop, it was the one thing I just couldn’t compromise on. We really wanted a white work surface, granite quotes gave me a heart attack, equally Carron and acrylic, so after much deliberation and disappointment at the falseness of cheap white options we went for oak worktops. We had an IKEA oak worktop in our previous flat but unfortunately theirs just weren’t deep enough to fit our units so I had a look around online and can wholeheartedly recommend Kitchen Surplus whose worktops were both cheaper and thicker than any other similar ones I found. Our biggest nightmare was our sink which had to be one particular model that fitted our units, it took 12 weeks of setbacks before it finally arrived complete with phallo-centric extendable tap that was my husbands hearts desire and bunny dish-rack that was mine:

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I have a bit of a mania for collecting things (anyone who has visited our flat can no doubt attest to this) and kitchenalia has become one of my current favourites. These are some of my favourite bits of kitchenalia in our home. From the Liberty print canisters bought with wedding tokens from fabulous friends, to the ceramic tealight holders cast from vintage copper jelly moulds, to the Porte Savon lemon soap used throughout France in public buildings and cafes, all of the items I have amassed have a meaning or connection for me:

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Finally, if we manage to save a bit of money and stop looking at holiday dreams, we both have our hearts desire set on a new floor to complete the kitchen, if it happens we will get this slate grey vinyl option from  The Colour Flooring Company.

Capture11

My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.