Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Happy Easter

Wishing all my friends a blessed and joyful Easter.

love, Irene

Graphics by Irene

Cath says: Renew!

Remember my posts on maps here, here and here? Maps are definitively a trend!

Classic Kidston, though I'd like to see more bedlinen in the collection. 
The bathroom is my favorite photo of the four. I really enjoy the rose range (paraben-free).

I just finished ironing. I used the ironing spray. Makinf everyday housework fun is just great. Thank you Ms.Kidston!

love, Irene

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Le buffet de marriage

19th century Wedding dresser from Normandy, France
You know I am not that into antiques. In fact I almost never post about antiques here, although I am the (rather neglectful)  host of a Flickr group named  "True Vintage" which focuses on items that are authentic and still in use in their original setting.

But this afternoon, as I was leafing through a new old favorite, of which I am going to tell you more soon, I found this photo with the commentary that touched me and that I'm going to share with you. If you understand French, click on the picture to view larger, but two things interested me in the text.

First, once a girl was born into a familly, they would buy or let dry the wood that would serve to build the armoire that would house her linen. How sweet can this be? Ah, the love, the care, the thought, that went with it!
Second, before her betrothal, the carpenter was called upon, who would make this famous piece of wedding furniture. The more elaborate the carving, the higher the social status. Poorer families were using fir rather than oak, but still the artist would work miracles! Can you imagine that in our days?Can you picture the person carving these little birds at the top, and all the fine work, although the wood was not expensive (that is why this particular piece was originally painted over to be disguised as oak!) Who knows the story behind it? The agony of the girl's family to meet the groom's family standards? Or the young lady's desire to make her new home look more expensive and fashionable?

 What do you think? What do you think the story might be?

love, Irene

My kitchen

Hello! We are moving into Spring, and the house is getting some lovely light. Come along. Today I am inviting you to the most intimate part of a home, in my mind: The Kitchen.

The curtain is from Gudrun Sjoden. The cabinets from Spagnol. Decorative veggies from a greek vacation.

Close up of my favorite kitchen gadget. Both sides! That silver heart from Cox and Cox is part of our Christmas decoration, but was too beautiful to keep in the box till next Christmas, so this heart stays with me in the kitchen!

The kitchen at night, viewed from the stairs. This is what I see when I come to the kitchen to get a glass of water or a forgotten pair of reading glasses. I love this moment of peace. Of plain OK.  Do you have a special moment in the day when everything is peaceful and where it should be?

Talk to you soon!

love, Irene

Monday, 29 March 2010

Crochet meets Chanel

Remember this post about signature DIY bags? It seems there is a trend for the homemade, and for those of us who cannot crochet, some high end businesses do-it-for-us. On the other hand, for those of us who do crochet, they offer some inspiration, provided you are into this style.

P.S. If you do find a pattern to do this or something similar, you are welcome to guest post here.

N.B. FIY, yours trully does not crochet, and is not purchasing this bag, either.

love, Irene

Saturday, 27 March 2010

In the eyes of the beholder

Everyone of us sees a number of things we all see even if we live miles away. Every day we look at the same sun. The same sky vault. The same planet. Several similar kinds of plants and animals, and all kinds of different people. I find it fascinating that our points of view differ; that what an image whispers to our souls can be so different; and that different images trigger similar locked thoughts and feelings to come forth and surprise us.

I love taking pictures. As long as I remember I carry with me first, a Kodak pocket, then an Agfa, then a Ricoh, now a Sony. I remember them all with love and longing.

Anyway, enough said. I want to share with you some lovely photography I came across today. A little nostalgic, quite colorful, above all pictures that speak to me in a positive way, quite appropriately for the weekend and the coming two week long Easter school holiday.

This one comes from Still in Motion. It urges me to play more, to have more fun, to taste life. I believe in synchronicity.

This one is from Modern Classics. I love it. I can smell the grass, I can feel the sun, I can visualise myself lying on earth and watching the clouds pass...Perhaps a message in a photo...

So these two ladies from Etsy have joined forces for a giveaway that you may join if you are so inclined, for three photos of your choosing from Modern Classics.

Above all, walk through their galleries and enjoy the view. And if you are so inclined, I'd love to know what your eyeviews and theirs and mine met along the way that spoke to your heart.

I wish your weekend is sunny and very, very enjoyable.

love, Irene

Friday, 26 March 2010

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

New piece of furniture

I haven't shown you the shop for quite sometime. I will, once we decorate for Spring. We have a number of new furniture arriving, which will gradually replace what looks now like "old". Everything is made of solid beech, no nasty poisons added. Some items will also come in white with water based paint.

Here is our new secretaire cum vanity. It is made of solid cultivated beech, naturally dried and processed. All our furniture is handmade. 

Here it is in our shop. Notice the hydraulic opening of the mirror. Noise-free.
All of our furniture is understated yet luxurious in feel and a pleasure to the touch. Do you like this style?

love, Irene

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Picture arranging

I have a tutorial for today, on how to arrange pictures on the wall. This is of course a chapter to be found in many interior design handbooks. Still, we all need a refresher course from time to time, don't we?

My search today started with this post by Anna Spiro of the distinct East-meets-West fusion interiors.

The mini tutorial I found comes from Design FormuLA. It includes several possible arrangements of pictures of various sizes. I found the grids like the one below very helpful.

{tutorial, picture credit and more pictures here}

My most favorite arrangement, one that depicts the importance of harmony in all that we do comes from a painting by Swedish artist Carl Larsson.

It tells me that anything beautiful is even more beautiful when we see it around us, in our homes...

love, Irene

Friday, 19 March 2010

Today around the web

*I like this little nook carved out of a corner. Very creative and very welcoming. Summerland Style via Design*Sponge.

*I love the colours and the tranquility in this photo of Buk & Nola in Montreal via decor8.

The perfume boxes and the powder soft colours on this one remind me very much of my mother's dressing table.

* I also like this airy kitchen from Southern Living posted by Shelter. Clean. Polished. And not pretentious at all. Very relaxing space, yet not dull.

Don't you just love strolling around? (Do you notice a pale blue pattern here?)

love, Irene

Thursday, 18 March 2010

French Hotels~I

I have always wanted to go to Paris. When I was a young girl, I took French lessons at the salon of a Greek lady whose husband was a writer living both in Greece and France. The air was full of charm. I loved everything French, down to my teacher's nude nail polish. I want to visit Paris one day. I thought my 40th birthday would be a good occasion. My 50th, perhaps? I'd better begin my search for Paris' loveliest. Let's start with the hotels.

This is L'Hotel. I like the restaurant's atmosphere. I would try a coffee there, then perhaps dinner. The rooms though are too stuffy for me.

Le Placide, decorated in taupe, almond green, black and white, purple and ochre has the perfect colors for my taste.I read that the Post-It notes are translucent, the key rings are bejeweled, the laundry bag is unbleached cotton. However, if their mascot says something about them, I do not think I'm going to like it.

This one is more like it. Welcoming. Comfortable. And, hm, French?

So far, I vote for Hotel Relais St.Germain.

Best website preference goes to Caron de Beaumarchais. It looks very playful, welcoming and French. You must go and see their website for yourselves!

Second best for their modern website, a hotel with Ikea-style simple furnishings, the Mayet, below.

This one below is from the Hotel de Sers. My favorite bathroom. Taking my bath with views of Paris.
My post is based on two articles from The Huffington Post, here, and The Daily Telegraph, here.
To be continued...

love, Irene

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Bulbs, bulbs, flower bulbs

It all started with this post from the sublime Vicki Archer of French Essence. Hyacinth bulbs. I love them.
They are blooming on my desktop at the shop and their little heads are popping through dirt at home. Croci. Ah! They are everywhere on the web:



I love gardening. It is so relaxing for me, clears my head and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I love digging in the dirt, planting the bulbs, watering them, taking care of their little heads, ah, the joy! Do you like gardening? Here is some good advice on what to do in the garden in March.

love, Irene

Monday, 15 March 2010

A contemporary home in Athens

The case of the architecture in modern-time Athens is quite a complex one. I am not going to get into the details in this post, but what needs to be said here is that there is a number of styles ranging from the neo-classical, to neo-traditional, to very contemporary and modern. Some of these modern ones are of really good taste, as is the family home I am poesting about, today.

This is the home of Architect Elena Stavropoulou who specialises in bio-climatic architecture, and her young family. It is situated in Nea Filothei, a semi-suburban area in the outskirts of Athens.

The house is designed as one big box where smaller boxes (the sleeping quarters) are housed.

The fireplace divides the living room from the dining room.

The dining room area is adjacent to the kitchen. The table doubles as work surface. Cabinets and storage have been made to measure in order to achieve an uncluttered look.

Above: the dining room/kitchen area. Below left: the stairs leading to the upper floor. Below right: the master bedroom.

The kids' bathroom. The fireplace chimney (on the right) passes through it to provide extra heat.

 The library with the Japanese-style staircase, leading to the roof-garden.

(credit: Maison et Decoration, 3/2010)

What I like about this house is that the eye can stroll around, rest in some decorative objects, but the result is neither busy nor clinical. The combined use of warm and cold materials, give a balanced result, with a comfortable and welcoming feeling. What do you think? Would you like to live in this house?

love, Irene

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