Tag Archives: architecture

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?

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?

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!

Reflections: one year, one boy, 1,004 ft above London

3 Apr

Reflection The Shard

See the girl waving on the left… that’s me. And next to me… that’s ‘K’.

I’ve not introduced you before, but for the last year this funny, complex 10 year old has been my most familiar weekend companion. Two summers ago I applied to be a mentor through Chance UK, a charity that matches volunteers with primary school children who have behavioural difficulties and are at risk of developing anti-social or criminal behaviour in the future. After training, screening and a long wait, I was finally matched with K. I’d like to say we hit it off immediately, but life is complicated for him and it took a while to build up trust. When we first met he hid under the table. Laughter didn’t come easily to him – he frowned a lot, he was sometimes angry with me when I picked him up for our weekly sessions and sometimes angry when I left too.

But over the months that followed things gradually changed and more often than not, we’d both laugh until our sides ached. We’ve fallen flat on our faces together at the ice rink. I’ve got us horribly lost and K has stepped in with his phenomenal knowledge of London’s buses to save the day. I’ve taught him how to get himself going on the swings without being pushed. Gentle encouragement, small achievements but I hardly recognise the child I took to The Shard on Saturday from the one I met last April.

lift The View from The Shard

Flying up in the lift at a rate of six floors a second felt a little like a scene from K’s beloved Dr Who. Believe me, it’s a very strange feeling to be in a lift moving so fast your ears pop and your stomach feels like it’s been left at least three floors below. We swapped lifts at floor 33 for the final ascent, emerged blinking at the top and there it was. The view..

Tower Bridge from The Shard

millenium bridge from The Shard

HMS Belfast from The Shard

There’s nothing like seeing something enormous through a child’s eyes. “How come the river’s straight on the tube map and from here it looks like Eastenders?” he asks. While I was scrabbling around in the back of my brain for a child-friendly way to connect erosion and Harry Beck, K had already moved on and was happily starting a rendition of the theme tune. “Boom, boom, boom-boom, boom boom… Can we go to the top now?”

the shard london architecture

top of the shard london

From the end of the lift on floor 68 you’re able to take the stairs further up, right to the level of the jagged glass shards at the top of the building. Amazingly, the sides are partially open up there and you’re exposed to the elements (in our case wind and rain) which somehow makes the incredible height you’re at seem suddenly very real. People have mixed views on whether super skyscrapers like The Shard have a place on the London Skyline, but there’s no denying the architecture is mindblowing. I commuted in and out of London Bridge every day while it was being built and K has seen it rise up from the windows of his council flat in Lambeth. Whether K felt the significance of being there – with London laid out below us –  or not, I can’t say. In truth, probably not. But having seen the transformation in this kind, inquisitive child through a year of exploring the capital together and knowing that we’ll never be in contact again, the poignancy of the moment was certainly not lost on me.

The View from The Shard London{all Decorator’s Notebook}</p

Isn’t perspective an amazing thing? Chance UK and The View from the Shard… check them out. They might just change how you see London forever.

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!

Riot protection, 13th century style

9 Aug

South London has been a pretty scary place to be the past day or so. With all the talk of gun violence, stolen trainers and the disenfranchised youth it’s easy to think of all this as a very modern problem. So it made me smile when I stumbled across a photo of this C13th house in Trier, Germany.

{Patrick Ahles}

Can you spot what’s strange about it? Until the 19th century when the lower doors were added, it could only be accessed through the little door on the first floor! During the day a handy ladder would be put in place but at night, the ladder could be hauled up if trouble flared in the streets below. More attractive than boarded up windows at any rate…

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