Thursday, April 10, 2014

Casa Sanchia, Cape Town

As I've mentioned recently, my wanderlusting eye and hobby of constantly patrolling real estate pages has taken me to South Africa quite frequently as of late. To the Western Cape region in particular. I have some really wonderful childhood memories in this area and there's something about this landscape I just find endlessly inspiring. The ocean, the mountains, the botanical beauty, rolling hills of vineyards... all with its own unique and distinctive African tone. My husband has effectively put the kibosh on my farm life fantasies (such a spoil-sport - although he did raise the valid argument of who exactly was going to be doing the actual farming...), however, I've come up with a new plan of wearing him down with the notion of a beach bungalow in the Western Cape. Who could really say no to that?

This one is particularly lovely, all white with natural accents it is a charming and soothing retreat. Luckily, it is even available to rent for a casual beach vacation. While it is modern and minimal, it still has a friendly, family atmosphere and would be the perfect venue for a family vacation. Situated in Dwaskersbos, about 150 km outside of Cape Town, this isolated cottage faces 16 km of unspoilt beachfront. Find more information on booking this beautiful holiday home here. But for now, we'll have to content ourselves with these beautiful images of the home that remind me once again how less is really more and that often the simplest of materials and palettes are the most effective. 

A black, white and blue gallery wall of family photos all in white frames creates a beautiful display, especially with this raw wood bench and arrangement of natural elements below. 

Photos: Casa Sanchia discovered via Style Files

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tesler + Mendelovitch

I'm always in awe of clever, innovative product designers and their ability to think so far out of the box and reimagine basic materials in a whole new way. A little while back I discovered the work of Israeli designers Orli Tesler and Itamar Mendelovitch who live and work in Tel Aviv. They originally met in design school and collaborated on several projects together. In their second year, they 'accidentally' discovered a way to make wood flexible and began to see it and work with it as a textile. They eventually created their own series of furniture entitled 'Diamond Woods' featuring lightweight coffee tables and stools from their original wood textiles. 

 "We are inspired by the minimalism of clean lines and precision, but we also like the idea of creating soft materials from hard, and hard materials from soft... Everything we do is handmade, from the wood that we select (looking for that perfect grain) to the cutting and the final polish. We work slowly and meticulously to make sure that every item gets a personal touch."

I love the simplicity yet intricate detail of their beautiful wood clutches, which can be purchased at their site and in their Etsy shop.

Learn a little more about these talented artists and their work process here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

State of calm: Ruyi Dumpling and Wine Bar, Melbourne, Australia

We don't just live our lives inside our homes, and often some of the most inspiring interiors can be found in commercial spaces. Recently, I keep coming back to the calm and soothing palette of the Ruyi Dumpling and Wine Bar in Melbourne, Australia designed by the Australian firm Hecker Guthrie. A far cry from the stereotypical bright red and black Chinese restaurant interior that have a dark and sultry atmosphere, this space is light, bright and refreshing. There are so many elements that  I love in this space that could easily be translated into a home as well - the lounge-y dining banquets (with wooden storage boxes underneath), the Eames style stools used as a versatile dining chair alternative (love this idea!) and of course the beautiful muted palette in soft pastel tones and natural wood. Hecker Guthrie have done such a beautiful job with maintaining the light, natural feeling extending even to the earthy ceramics while still subtlety honouring the traditional Chinese elements of oxblood and jade but in softer tones. One of my favourite little details are the brass butterfly joints in the raw wood panels behind the benches. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

At home: Amanda Brook's farm in Oxfordshire

As may be evident from the previous post as well, I'm having a bit of a love affair at the moment with the notion of country life and even living on a farm.  This past winter has really driven home to me how much being outdoors really contributes to my own happiness and sense of well being and so I'm determined to make a large outdoor space an essential part of my future plans. Of course I realize that many of my romanticized notions of farm life are complete rubbish - I love to imagine myself taking the horses out for a ride in the morning and then proceeding to spend much of the frolicking about with little lambs or other suitably adorable farm animals and then enjoying copious amounts of tea and toast before heading out in my old Land Rover with my dogs. As the granddaughter of a farmer, I know better, but the fantasy is still loads of fun all the same. 

Recently I've been covetously admiring the beautiful English farm Amanda Brooks, the previously New York based fashionista and author of the blog and book, I Love your Style who has moved her family to Oxfordshire, England to enjoy English country life for a period. The farm is utterly charming as is their home, and fits in perfectly with my farming fantasies as of late. There's that wabi sabi feeling to a country home, relaxed, casual and very welcoming. It just beckons you to jump right in and join the fun!

Have always wanted an old Land Rover. In green specifically. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Listed: in the Western Cape Region, South Africa

There's a house that just gone up for sale around the corner from me. A perfectly fine but rather unremarkable Toronto home without many appreciable architectural features to speak of, and a tiny postage stamp of a front garden. I'm not sure you could even fit a car onto it. I find a lot of these local real estate listings quite depressing. With the hefty price tag of Toronto homes, it just doesn't feel like you really get a lot for your money. Of course there is always a high premium to be placed on living right downtown in a major metropolitan area, but it's got my real estate mind thinking far outside the city limits. One of my most favourite hobbies is looking at international real estate. Often in Southern Africa, as I feel that sooner or later my heart will take me to settle back in this part of the world that still just feels like home to me. When I think of spending near a million dollars on a home, I want land and space! Or at very least some beautiful architecture and amenities. Of course this is not an apples to apples comparison, but I can't help but be pretty swayed towards what the same listing price of the house across the street would buy me in the Western Cape region. 

Check out this beauty - a whole farm! Nestled among the mountains, and just a drive to the ocean, this gorgeous thatch cottage style home comes complete with it's own vineyards, stables and paddocks and views to die for! 

 Not wanting to fully commit to life on a farm? How about this one - just a short drive from town. In classic Cape Dutch architecture with teak framed windows and doors, you have a view of both the mountains and the ocean! All set on a beautiful garden with loads of space to grow fruit and vegetables as well.  

Photos and full listing information for House 1, House 2