Wednesday, June 29, 2011

less is a bore

How I love Jonathan Adler's quote - 'Less is a bore.'
I can relate to it totally.
How else can I justify the pick-and-mix look that I seem to achieve without even trying!
Brunnel sometimes worries that I might be getting things 'wrong'. 
His response to my SAD, was that instead, I have MAD.
Just plain old crazy then.
Currently, I'm trying to narrow down some wallpaper selections.
I thought I'd do the wifely thing and ask Brunnel what sort of wallpaper he would like.
After all, it is his bathroom too.
He would like something quote-unquote 'a little more butch'.
Is it any use even showing him this one? Even if it is my favourite?
I knew I should never have asked for his opinion.

Amanda xx
(image copyright & with permission Designers Guild)
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Monday, June 27, 2011

happy monday

OK, I admit it. I had something of a grumpy day yesterday.
Small children and particularly husbands needed to bear this in mind.
Even Bruno the dog was fearful. 
But doing his business right outside the door, just because it was freezing, is no excuse!!

We packed even more of what is left at Camp David into boxes. Ready for the next phase of demolition. It seems that the mobile clothes racks would agree with Brunnel on the size of my wardrobe.
They both broke. Of course it was my fault. I have too many clothes apparently.
I asked too much of the racks and whatever I said was not helpful.
It would never be that the *!%#!**!! racks were just pathetically weak, because believe me, I never have anything to wear!
So the clothes were all in a heap on the floor, and I heard Brunnel throwing things in the shed.
It was definitely not the time to hang around.

I heard talk of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) on the radio this morning.
Maybe that was it. A day confined in the dark behind the tarpaulin with the inside temperature reaching a high of 9 degrees.
So I'm sure my family were relieved when I got out of bed on the right side this morning.
And this photo reminds me of treasures currently packed away, just waiting for their day in the sunshine again soon. Happy Monday!
Amanda xx
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Friday, June 24, 2011

nana & friend

I'm sure if I had a dollar for everyone who has asked if this charming couple are for sale I'd be doing quite well by now. 
My grandmother had a china cabinet full of Staffordshire figurines.
I thought they were very, well, 'nana-ish'.
I can honestly say that until recently, I wouldn't have given them a second glance.
I can also honestly say I had absolutely no intention of buying them. 
Or their friend, the dancing Spanish senorita.
You see I had my eye on a few things at an auction. Some were pieces I fancied very much for myself - like an amazing assortment of bone-handled cutlery. Then there were a few bits and bobs that I thought could be good, with a little upcycling, for the store.
Unfortunately, much as I would have liked to mooch around the auction for a whole day, 
work called. So, I left some absentee bids.
I was thrilled to learn that some of them had been successful. They just weren't quite what I had been hoping for. I missed out on the cutlery. I secured a lamp, and a vase - and with them the Staffordshire figures. They were just part of the bundle, almost like a 'gift with purchase'. 
At the time it was hilarious.
Now I have a newfound appreciation for them. The detail is amazingly beautiful. 
They are definitely of my Nanas' era, and several together in a china cabinet might be Nana-ish. But one or two dotted amongst our store displays looks surprisingly good, and they are great talking points - especially because everyone remembers their Nana having them.
So no, they're not for sale. And Nana would have the last laugh!
Have a lovely weekend my friends.
Amanda xx
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

what's in a name?

I am seduced by the names of paints.
It's a bit like trying to choose a book without taking the slightest bit of notice of the cover.
Almost impossible. (For me anyway.)
So while I don't want a green house, I can't help but get carried away by a name like 'Caravanserai'.
How about 'Moon Shadow' or 'Sea Fog'? 'Loveletter' or 'Doeskin'?
'Pirate Black', 'Paperbag', 'Gravel'...
They sound nice...
And you may wonder why I'm even remotely looking at paint colours when it will surely be some time before there is a paint brush picked up at this house.
And you'd be right of course.
But there are some big steel beam thingies needing to be powdercoated, and some big wooden beam thingies waiting to be stained, and they will be at the centre of whatever colours I choose.
No pressure.
I'm all for brave and surprising uses of colour, but I'm not so sure Brunnel wants a house 
painted 'Attar of Rose' ( dark dusky pink).
But it is such a lovely name!
Amanda xx
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Monday, June 20, 2011

happy monday

Idly scanning through some of my photos yesterday, I literally did a double take when I came across this treasure.
In some bizarre combination of cliched life, or that you don't realise how like your parents you are until you have become them, this image is of my sister & I in bed with Mum & Dad, and our dog Louie.
It's probably a Sunday morning, and my Dad will have set the camera up to automatically take the photo, leapt back into bed, and grabbed the dog on the way. He possibly also had Bach's Toccata & Fugue for the Organ playing at some screechingly high volume, because he used to think that sort of thing was hilarious also. 
(It was definitely his idea of a joke when I was a teenager. How I hate that music to this day.)
My Mum looks thrilled.
Fast forward forty or so years, and let history repeat.
Except of course, it is our girls leaping in to bed with Brunnel & I. 
Anything in an effort to keep warm given the freezing conditions still ongoing at Camp David. 
Scarily, in this photo, not only do Milly & Eva look like my sister & I, but Bruno, our spoodle, looks uncannily like Louie.
And I look like my Mum! Thrilled.
Before you say it - Brunnel does not look like my Dad!
And no, there will be no photos to prove it.
I hope things are warmer wherever you are. Our tarpaulin novelty is wearing thin. The lack of ceilings and boarded up windows adds nicely to the wind chill factor.
But it is a new week, and good things take time.
Amanda xx
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

paper artistry

Earlier this week, the courier delivered us, as he worriedly put it,
two boxes of fresh air.
I think he genuinely thought that whatever was in the two generously sized boxes 
originally, it was no longer there.
Fortunately, he was wrong.
The boxes may have been light as air, but inside were these amazing paper dresses, by former Wellingtonian, Anne Wilson.

New York, Paris, London or the World.
Each dress is made from a beautiful sepia-toned map.

Each carefully folded, cut and crafted into a unique piece of art.
I do love the Parisian roses!

Quite beautiful don't you think?
It is so hard to choose a favourite.
And of course I have two little girls eyeing them up avidly.

Jo humoured me by adding my paper dress garlands to her display. I had to feel useful somehow. Of course I had to go and find a sepia-toned newspaper to do the job, and that left her in peace for at least an hour!
Maybe that was her plan all along!
Amanda xx
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Monday, June 13, 2011

age & beauty

Aging imprints beauty onto even the
most humble of man-made objects.
I love this quote from Sibella Court in my very well-thumbed copy of her gorgeous 
book Etcetera etc.
And how true this is don't you think?
It so explains my current fetish with old preserving jars! Could there be anything more humble?
I always think too that age brings a level of authenticity to an interior that something new cannot always achieve. Or cannot always achieve alone. 
Particularly in today's world of recognisable, mass-produced objects.
I say all this bravely, while living in the most authentically freezing shell of a cruddy old house, with the wind whistling by.
However, despite the minor inconvenience of having to wear a scarf & coat indoors, I am still convinced that, once our renovations are all done and dusted, the 'old' combined with the 'new' is something I couldn't do without.
 I look at my collection of old fabric print designs, like the one above, & imagine how beautiful the fabric would have been. They are all meticulously designed and painted by hand, with the pattern repeat calculated into the gridlines. These are old school. From a different age.
I love the so-called imperfections and hallmarks of age that a vintage item like this has. 
I also love the story that it has to tell. 
Who owned it before me? Where has it come from? What stories could it tell? 
And what will its next story be?
 I'm still trying to decide!
Amanda xx

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

and so to bed

And so the blogging this week has been non-existent.
Have you missed me? No, don't answer that! It may not be the answer I want to hear!
Frankly, for most of the week, I have just wanted to lie down somewhere dark and cosy and quiet.
Somewhere I could splutter and snort (and occasionally feel sorry for myself) without being disturbed.
But of course, when you are sharing your dormitory with ever so cheery builders, that is just not an option.
In the interests of getting this house even remotely close to resembling anything other than a demolition site, I couldn't risk scaring the builders away.
Just imagine if they trotted in to see me lying there in my bed.
Put it this way, there's no way they could ever get the wrong message!!
Anyway, I'm sure you're relieved to know I'm on the mend.
And I tried not to breathe while at work, so I'm really hoping that this strategy worked well for me
(and my poor customers & team.)
Brunnel is starting to complain that I may have passed something on to him.
And, as with all men, whatever bug I had, he will get the version that is infinitely worse.
Rocky roads ahead.
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to catching up with all your doings.
And, wow, 300 followers! 
I'm amazed!
Amanda xx
(image copyright & with permission Designers Guild)
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Friday, June 3, 2011

happy (long) weekend

Remember these gorgeous treasures from last year?
Oh yes, it's the return of the peg doll competition!
And I am so excited!!
Can you tell?
I'm awfully clucky when it comes to my little peg dolls.
Already I'm wondering how on earth last years amazing entries can be topped.
After all they set the bar fairly high.
Anyhow, we announced the competition two days ago, and since then I feel as though 
we've been making our peg doll starter kits non-stop. 
We've sent out 108 so far, and haven't even started on todays email pile yet!
Wow. Such enthusiasm. No wonder I'm so excited.
The girls & I are going to make our own versions this weekend. 
Once again Eva struggles to understand why she isn't allowed to enter the competition. 
I explain that she is allowed to enter as many times as she likes.
She just isn't going to win. She thinks that is so unfair. 
I am such a mean mother!

Happy weekend everyone. Hope you have a lovely one.
Amanda xx

P.S If you'd like to enter, all the details are here.
We have a special 'grownup' category this year!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

a difficult client

It's official. I'm my own worst client.
On a daily basis I am surrounded by so many beautiful fabrics and wallpapers, and I seemingly have no difficulty in helping my clients with their selections.
When it comes to working with my architect I am very no-nonsense.
Decisions are made almost on the spot. Done and dusted. Very sure. 
This finish. That tap. Those tiles. That profile.
I'm a well-behaved client. (Most of the time.)
So why, when faced with my interior decorating decisions have I morphed into this other type of client?
My own worst nightmare.
Indecisive. Procrastinating. Suddenly uncertain. Unable to commit to anything.
And of course, the answer is fear. 
What if I get it wrong? 
What if (heaven forbid) my Dad is right and it is a "bloody awful light fitting"?
(Unlikely, but you never know!)
Suddenly I see things from the other side. It's what we all feel when faced with similar decisions. 
We don't want to get it wrong.
And strangely, this realisation makes me feel a little more confident.
Do I trust my instincts? Yes.
Restraint equals boredom. The most successful interiors always feature an element of the unexpected, and this cannot be achieved without taking the odd risk. And heck, it doesn't have to be forever.
So, onwards and upwards with the mood boards...
Time to make some decisions.

Amanda xx
(image copyright & with permission of Designers Guild)
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