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House Tour: a Welsh barn that toes the line between simple and sparse

11 Nov

I am a great lover of simple homes – what better way to get the most from much-loved home accessories than against an uncluttered backdrop – but how minimal can a home be and still feel homely? This new-build barn in West Wales is an interesting case to consider as the fabric of the building has been purposefully left as a shell by its architect owner. Could live comfortably here?

modern barn interior with woodburner - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

Dutch woodburner and pantry - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

dining table made from reclaimed floorboards - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

exposed plaster wall panels - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

plaster panelling left exposed in new build barn - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

bedroom in modern barn - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

bedroom in contemporary barn - Decorator's Notebook blog via Remodelista

{Mojo Photography via Remodelista}

Do you think you’d feel at home in a living space like this or does it feel too bare for you? What would you add to make the barn more your style? Please use the comments to share your thoughts and ideas.

If you’d like to learn more about the construction and design of the barn there’s lots more detail in Remodelista’s post.

House Tour: the house that dreams (and $500) built

23 Oct

Light is my number one priority when deciding where I live. I love big windows – for looking out to watch the world go by and for the sunshine they allow in. Nick Olson and Lilah Horwitz felt the same, but took things one step further when building their getaway home in the wilds of West Virginia.

house of windows built for 500 dollars

house built from reclaimed windows

Their first date was a walk in the mountains and, while watching the sun set (awww), they mused about building a house entirely of windows so that nothing could come between them and the view. Less than a year later they left their jobs and set off on a roadtrip around Pennsylvania, collecting hundreds of old windows from junk sales they passed en-route. $500 dollars later they returned to the mountains and began building their dream getaway.

glass getaway in forest

exterior of glass house made from old windows

view from house made from windows

These pictures don’t give much clue as to the inside, but you can have a really good look around (and hear more about the couple’s story) in this Kinfolk-esque video made by Half Cut Tea. It’s well worth a watch to see the beautifully rustic wooden interior.

glass house at night

{Photographs & Video: Jordan Wayne Long / Matt Glass / Half Cut Tea}

If you could build a dream house anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Should there be rules on the colour you can paint your house?

14 Aug

A little while back, this Devon cottage caused a bit of a kerfuffle round these parts…

pink house in devon{Mark Passmore via The Times}

Its owners have been ordered to tone down the shade they’ve chosen to paint their listed cottage on the basis that it was – well – ‘too pink’ to comply with planning regulations. It got me thinking about whether people should have the same freedom when choosing the colours for the outside of their home as they do for the inside. After all, in some areas a punchy paint job is celebrated and encouraged.

Take Tobermory for example…

Tobermory by Ken Gillies{Ken Gillies}

London’s Portobello Road…

brightly painted houses in notting hill gary pepper girl{Gary Pepper Girl}

Whitehead in Co. Antrim…

whitehead co antrim by John Maguire{John Maguire}

La Boca in Buenos Aires…

la boca buenos aires by Marissa Strniste{Marissa Strniste}

Seems to me, it’s all about gang mentality. If you can club together and get your neighbours to grab their brushes too, you can all be clashy and colourful together. But be the only one in the village and you’re likely to find yourself on the receiving end of disapproving glances and tutting in the local pub forevermore.

Personally, I was feeling all urban and liberal about the whole thing. Until, that is, I saw what they’d done with the pub in our local town which recently went from this…


To this…

the dolphin wellington mural{Decorator’s Notebook}


City pretty… what colour is yours?

12 Jun

I found these photographs of San Francisco on the beautiful Cachemire et Soie blog thanks to Victoria. The stunning pastel colour palettes created by the architecture reminded me a little bit of The Paris Colour Project and started me wondering what the colour palette of the cities I know would be… or whether there is even one at all?

Photographs of San Francisco colours and architecture

Colours and architecture of San Francisco{all Anne for Cachemire et Soie}

I’ve never been to San Francisco but if you have I’d be interested to know if the whole city is painted like this or if it’s just little a little pocket. When I think of the colours of London my mind’s eye sees something like those Photoshopped black and white photos with just a spot of red highlighted. Grey and red… that’s the palette of London for me. Nowhere near as pretty.

What would be the colour palette of the place you live?

House tour: butter factory turned toasty home

20 May

Originally built as a butter factory and most recently used as a candle maker’s workshop, owners Greg Hatton and Lucy Marx had to melt an inch-thick coating of candle wax from the walls of their future home with boiling water before their renovation could begin. And I thought stripping wallpaper was bad…

red brick factory conversion

vintage dining room with rough plaster walls

vintage living room
relaxed vintage interior
row of vintage chairs
vintage house tour
vintage bedroom ideas
vegetable garden Australia
Maybe the interior is a little too rough and ready for everyday living, but as a place to visit I think this home looks idyllic. I love the relaxed vintage vibe and the way the patina of the building has been retained in the peeling plaster and chipped tiles, not the mention the dream vegetable plot and homemade honey.
Not sure I’ll be copying the marrow centrepiece idea though!!!

Petal power at Hampton Court Palace

9 May

Hampton Court Palace and garden in spring

I’ve been mentally compiling a bit of a London bucket list and the glorious bank holiday weekend seemed the perfect chance to tick off one of the most beautiful places – Hampton Court Palace. I booked a ticket that included both the Palace and the gardens but as it was such a lovely day I spent most of my time outside. I’m determined to get to grips with my camera and post more original content this summer so here are a few of my snaps.

formal spring planting at Hampton Court Palace

tulips at Hampton Court Palace gardens

pink magnolia flowers

These photos are a bit misleading to be honest because with such nice light and stunning colours it would be hard to take a really terrible photos. Let’s just say there’s a reason I’m posting these and not the pictures I attempted to take of the equally stunning but badly lit interior!

Hampton Court Palace formal gardens

Fountain court at Hampton Court Palace

Tudor chimneys at Hampton Court

The really interesting thing about Hampton Court is that it’s been added to by various rulers over hundreds of years, so everywhere you turn there’s a different period of spectacular architecture to admire. I particularly loved the towering Tudor chimney stacks, each with its own design to show off just how warm and cosy Henry VIII could afford to keep his visitors.

Even though it was a busy bank holiday I still managed to find a quiet spot to sit and read (ok, nap) in this pretty walled orchard.

orchard Hampton Court Palace Gardens

espalier apple trees Hampton Court Palace

apple blossom closeup

Hampton Court Palace Gardens roller{all Decorator’s Notebook}

If you’re in London and haven’t visited Hampton Court Palace yet I completely recommend you go the next time the sun is shining. The interior is absolutely incredible as well. I’m tempted to do a whole separate post just with photos of the ceilings!

New builds on the bloc

6 Feb

Those clever girls at My Friend’s House have a fantastic nose for quirky design, like these diminutive skyscrapers popping up on the streets of Berlin.

Berlin buildings by street artist Evol  Berlin street art Evol

Stenciled city Evol Germany

Stencilled cities by Evol street artist Berlin{Photographs Evol / Yatzer via My Friend’s House}

Street artist Evol uses detailed stencils to turn drab city structures like telephone junction boxes, bins and concrete blocks into miniature buildings. I’m not usually a fan of street art (and I strongly object to graffiti) but there’s something so unassuming and appropriate about these urban sculptures I really like them.

House tour: tumbledown hall brimming with history

24 Jan

Amazing Welsh country houses are like buses round these parts – wait and age and then two come along at once! This C16th hall is rather more tumbledown than the Snowdonian farmhouse I posted a few weeks ago, but is utterly spectacular in its own very special way.

whitewashed stone farmhouse wales

old wood panelled room

16th century welsh farmhouse

The wood-panelled dining room has hardly been touched in nearly 500 years and you can almost feel the walls wearily breathing history. Just imagine the feasting and tragedies that have taken place in these rooms over the ages.

old sixteenth century farmhouse beams

antique grandfather clock

old  derelict country house

old antique wood panelled room

I’ve posted about my reservations about rough luxe before, but there’s nothing trendy about this peeling plaster – this is the real deal. Is it wrong to like that calamine pink??

country house library books

country house bedroom welsh blanket

vintage country bedroom

Why is this bed so high?! I’m only 5’1″ and there’s no way I’d get up onto that for my forty winks – weren’t people shorter back in the olden days? I’ve spent a lot of time pondering Welsh blankets recently and I love the one in the first bedroom. In a home with very little pattern the traditional geometric design is especially eye catching.

stone farmhouse with geese in Wales{all Light Locations}

The hall is one of the latest additions to Light Locations‘ books, so you’re sure to see it featured on glossy pages or the silver screen soon.

Iceland’s tiny churches

3 Oct

Wherever I travel in the world I find myself strangely drawn to churches. The architecture is always so beautiful and there’s something I love about the musty smell of polished wood and the slow clacking sound of people desperately trying to walk quietly on stone flagstones.

I came across these adorable little Icelandic churches in  Home & Delicious magazine… they’re a world apart from the grand cathedrals of Europe. I was immediately charmed and as I couldn’t understand a word of the feature I thought I’d see if I could find out any more about them.

{above all Home & Delicious}

When Iceland adopted Christianity in 100 AD, local landowners built their own personal churches on their farms – presumably so they wouldn’t get frozen to death on the way to pray! As a result, the country is dotted with minuscule places of worship, often only big enough for 20 or so faithful farmhands to squeeze into.

{above Daniel Pivnik}

{above Michelle Leale}

{above Roantrum}

Some of the oldest are built from turf to protect them from freezing winds and volcanic eruptions. This one looks like a cosy little hobbit house to me.

{above Dajbjartur Kr. Brynjarsson}

Many of these little Icelandic churches are simply decorated inside with just a couple of wooden benches, a simple altar and sometimes only packed earth on the floor. However the 25 residents of Skógar village have chosen to go for something a bit more colourful inside their church!

{above Scott Long}

I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for a while and now I’ve seen these sweet little churches I want to go even more. Have any of you ever been lucky enough to go?

Vintage shopping in Bologna

2 Jan

Just before Christmas my Mum and I bagged some £17 flights and headed to the lovely historic city of Bologna in Northern Italy for a few days. By happy coincidence our visit coincided with the twice-monthly flea market in the gorgeous square outside the church of Santo Stefano. Mum taught me pretty much everything I know about buying vintage tat, so the pair of us hot-footed it there straight after breakfast!

That’s the church in the background. I’ll take you inside later but let’s see what we can find on the stalls first shall we?

I love vintage packaging and these old razor blade packets caught my eye. Better than my plasticy Venus I thought!

Mum was tempted by this half-completed sampler, but it was a bit pricey.

You can walk 38km of Bologna’s streets under porticoes or arcades like the ones you can see in the background. Many have beautiful frescos painted inside the arches.

There were plenty of boxes of old photos, pictures, postcards and posters to rummage through. I especially liked this illustration of a circus ringleader training his prancing horses.

Lots of colourful shot glasses looking great displayed on a mirrored tray.

Baby Jesus, shepherds, kings and whatnot.

I loved the twirly font on these vintage name-tapes, all tied up with bright elastic bands.

I really want to create a display wall of pictureless frames (something like this) and could’ve got them all on this stall. Damn the Easyjet baggage allowance!

The Basilica Di Santo Stefano is actually not one church but a collection of seven churches and other religious buildings dating from different periods.

In the middle of all the buildings there’s a lovely courtyard with lots more of those porticoes around the edge.

Pretty much everything was, well, pretty. Even the bricks in the walls.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

Oh, and here are some colour coded buttons I forgot to put in with the other flea market photos. I know you guys will appreciate this sort of thing!

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