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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Diana by Mario Testino

Thirteen years to the date that she passed, yet these images remain timeless, suspended. Portraits of a radiant beauty- perfect in her imperfections. I always felt these images taken by Mario Testino, captured the truly human side of Diana - luminous and effervescent, able to light up the room with a flash of her dazzling smile, yet deeply vulnerable, quiet and contemplative. Her sons were said to have described the photos as the most 'like her' that they'd seen. Mario describes her on that day as being "so happy and fresh and sure of herself. It was just laughter and laughter and and laughter and laughter...".














Diana - always a heroine of mine for her elegant spirit, her grace under pressure and her deep kindness and desire to help others.



{All photos by Mario Testino, taken at Kensington Palace, Vanity Fair July 1997}


Playful pieces by Valentin Loellmann


Grown together out of old, forgotten pieces of furniture these pieces by Valentin Loellmann are guided by their old forms and shaped into something new that shares a part of their original story in a fresh new light. I think they have a wonderfully whimsical feeling to them - like something you'd see in a Roald Dahl story book, yet still functional enough to be taken seriously. A scuptural art piece - with storage.







Definitely a very fun conversation piece!


{All photos: Valentin Loellmann}


Monday, August 30, 2010

Soft autumn light

The past few days have been delightfully sunny, as we cling to the last few moments of summer. However, the coming autumn brings with it earlier sunsets and the most intoxicating afternoon light. That warm glow is captured perfectly in these photos of designer Valentin Loellmann's Maastricht apartment. The light plays off the soft silhouettes and the walls seem to glow with a warm blush light...








{Photos: The home of Valentin Loellmann via Bloesem}


Friday, August 27, 2010

Blogger ♥ | MadeByGirl


Wanted to end the week with a little blogger love for one of my favourite bloggers and one very talented designer - Jen of Made By Girl. I'm so inspired by Jen's passion and drive for her business, not to mention in bright and cheerful graphic prints and designs. You will no doubt recognize her wildly popular 'Love' prints, and one of my favourite new items - the personalized calling cards in a bold chevron print in your choice of colour. So simple but punch alot of punch (and will definitely get people's attention when you hand them out! ;) )






Be sure to drop by Jen's blog where she always shares the best in bright and colourful design and interiors and of course, her graphic prints on Etsy and in the MadeByGirl shop which you'll want to bookmark. The graphic prints would make a perfect gift idea for a happy couple, a new baby or even a friendly hello to guest in your home.


{All images: MadeByGirl}



Thursday, August 26, 2010

Always a Love of Mine: Butterflies

The sky has been aflutter with beautiful monarch butterflies lately and I couldn't be more delighted. Butterflies have always been one of my most favourite things - happy little messengers reminding us of the delicate beauty in small things and beauty of transformation through life's changes.

As I've mentioned in the past, one of my own crafty talents is cutting out little paper butterflies. I've often had them fluttering up the walls and inside lampshades at home.  For this reason, I was particularly enchanted by the work of local artist Kristi Malakoff, whose beautiful butterfly installation is a permanent fixture in one of my favourite boutiques, Love of Mine. Hundred and hundreds of colourful butterflies copied onto transparency material.

The installation below, entitled 'Swarm' had over 6,000 butterflies!





And here's a sneak peak into Love of Mine, in addition to the beautiful butterfly display, they also carry the most exquisite collection of carefully curated jewellery and small accessories. Always a favourite stop to pick up the perfect present (or better yet, a treat for myself).



Check out Kristi's other incredible installations on her site here, and if you're in Toronto, be sure to head down to Queen West and spend some time exploring the beautiful treasure at Love of Mine.

Hope you have a beautiful day!
xo



{Photos: 1,2 - Kristi Malakoff, 3- Caitlin Durlak for Toronto Life}


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two favourite things: Fresh Fall pieces + Furry Friends

I'm not sure what I love most about the new Fall campaign for Calypso St Barth - the soft, hazy autumn afternoon light, the beautiful tailored new pieces, or the adorable puppies from Barc shelter that are featured in their shoot.

(it might be the puppies...)


This photo has fully convinced me that I need a cape. Not just because they are elegant and stylish, but they also have a certain regal quality to them (maybe even a slight superhero quality...).



Look at this little guy - I swear he's smiling!

I was really happy to learn about Barc through this campaign, 'a special place where the owners have dedicated their time & home to rehabilitating dogs who have been injured or who have suffered severe medical issues.

Watch the adorable little short film here, and learn more about Barc and how you can help animals in need here.


{All photos: Calypso St Barth}


Antique Chic

This month, I was excited to see that Style at Home featured a house tour of the hilariously witty and oh, so clever Karen Bertelsen . Karen knows how to do all kinds of stuff, including raising monarch butterflies and apparently decorating a beautiful space. Karen's crafty cleverness is apparent throughout the space, incorporating found objects, DIY projects (like the amazing end table, below) and a beautiful collection of antiques.

Her equally witty and clever blog, The Art of Doing Stuff (which you should be reading!) is a treasure trove of funny little quips and genius tips.  She has shared a tour of her home here, giving us the insider scoop to each room.  While I'd normally I'd force you all to read through my own commentary on all the elements of her space, I thought this time I'd simply tempt you with a sneak peak of my favourite pictures from the tour then refer you over to Karen. It is her house, afterall.










Now that you've had your sneak peak, visit Karen to read all about it, and see the article at Style at Home.


{Photos: Donna Griffin for Style at Home, September 2010}



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Black, white + orchids


Looking through so many beautiful and inspirational spaces sometimes it can be hard not to feel pulled in every direction with the abundance of styles and ideas to try. But in the end, I always find I gravitate most to the classics, some things just never go out of style - like black, white and orchids.










Rock Cushions by Ronel Jordaan


I was recently reminded of these fantastic rock cushions made of felted wool, while reading this interview with Vicente Wolf, where he mentioned that his most recent purchase for his home was a set of 'felt cushions that look like rocks' . While I'm not sure of the source for his recent purchase, I'd venture a guess and say it might be some of these beauties by South African designer Ronel Jordaan. I've known of her work for quite some time, and have been lusting away after these beautiful and unusual cushions ever since. Wouldn't they be just perfect in a casual seating area?



Ronel, a textile artist for almost 30 years, in 2005 she began to explore the concept of using felt as a creative medium. Entirely self-taught and following her own creative instincts, she began to turn fine gossamer thread into robust felted forms. By patiently rubbing and coaxing threads of pure wool into shapes in nature that inspire her, she found her direction and started a small home industry. Her most recognizable creations being her pebbles and rocks.


Soon outgrowing the limitations of a home business, Ronel expanded and trained a group of over 40 women from disadvantaged backgrounds in the art of felting. These women are now closely associated with all of her creations. While they produce items with Ronel, they have also begun to create their own designs with her help. Through this project, they are able to earn a decent income for themselves and their families, and are felters of international standing.


With a strong ethical conscience, these pieces are produced with ecologically friendly dyes and soaps. I was impressed to see that they have even developed organic food gardens at the plant using the waste water from production. The vegetables grown are for the women who work there to either take home or sell.


Ronel's pieces are each unique and range from giant boulders to little pebbles that are sewn together to form pillows or mats. There are pieces to be used both indoors and out and of course, compliment either beautifully with their natural organic feel.

To learn more about Ronel and to source her beautiful creations, visit her site here.



{All images: Ronel Jordaan Textiles}





Monday, August 23, 2010

A French Affair (in South Africa)

While I was admittedly quite jealous of my husbands trip to South Africa this summer to see the World Cup, he definitely made up for it with some of the thoughtful gifts he brought back for me. One of my special requests of course, was a copy of some of my favourite SA reads - notably Elle Decoration South Africa. I'm always blown away by the fantastic innovation and creativity that South Africa has to offer, and Elle Decoration always does a fantastic job of cataloguing some of its best finds.

The June/July issue was just jam packed with beautiful photography and stunning spaces. I wish I could share the entire thing right here with you, but since that's not possible, I thought I'd share one of my favourite spaces. The home of Johannesburg couturier Howard Green is a beautiful homage to his favourite city - Paris, and of his favourite designers Christian Liaigre.

This Moooi bookcase displays the covers of some of his favourite design books.
Howard has accumulated an impressive collection of Fornasetti pieces, including this lamp (above) and several plates displayed throughout the apartment.



The neutral space is brightened with spot of vibrant colour in pieces such as this artwork by Damien Hirst.

The strong masculine style of Liaigre is evident throughout the space with its dark wood minimalism and calm palette of browns and creams, anchored with bold black pieces.


The apartment itself has an elegant history, built in the 1920s, it was constructed for Isidore William Schlesinger, an American entrepreneur credited with bringing Art Deco to South Africa.

"Decorating and dress-making go hand in hand - I'm not even sure which of the two is my first love," says Howard, "I have a very particular taste in objects, so I've built this look, one thing at a time, over 20 years."

Howard's magazine collection (pictured above, right) is an impressive feature in itself, reaching from floor to ceiling.

Of course, just as in Paris, there are several touches of glamour and gold throughout the space. Making it seem opulent and luxurious in its simplicity.



{Photos: Photos: Elsa Young, Production: Tiaan Nagel for Elle Decoration South Africa June/July 2010 scanned/edited by escapade}

Hello Monday ...


... and a big congratulations to Emily,the new Design Star!

Here's a peak at her own home office... a beautiful blend of vintage and modern that we've come to expect from her work on the show. See more of her work space here.
Just love that tufted navy velvet!


Monday kind of crept up on me this week. Feeling simultaneously inspired and overwhelmed by my huge 'To-do' list. This deliciously grey and overcast morning has me inspired to get alot of work done indoors. And miss being in England. And drink lots of tea. (Way too much tea!)

Hope your week's off to a great start everyone!
xo


P.S. Read the charmingly adorable + completely talented Emily's blog here.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Weekend + Happy Birthday



A beautifully langorous and relaxing rainy weekend. Dinner at a dark and sultry Morrocan restaurant, walking around hand in hand through the puddles in green Hunter boots, stopping in at favourite boutiques and a celebratory toast for a special birthday...



A very big happy birthday to my sister - growing up with you has been so much fun!
Love you! xo

Here are some lovely links to explore on a rainy afternoon...


Seeing them fluttering everywhere and now how to raise your own monarch butterfly
Love the French market feeling of these lovely wire pieces
Autumn must-have - ballet flats from Repetto


Friday, August 20, 2010

Giorgia...


I just love the relaxed, elegant look of Giorgia photographed by Garance Doré. The very simple, comfortable fine knit dress in a bold, impactful chevron print, a loose casual bun, accessorized with classic black gladiators and a handbag. This look's just perfect for the end of summer, don't you think?





Get step by step instructions on creating those perfectly messy 'French girl' buns here, and revel in the 'Je ne sais quoi...'




Thursday, August 19, 2010

A book review: 27 Things to Feng Shui Your Home by Tisha Morris

A rather unassuming little book - 27 Things to Feng Shui You Home is just a small, slim journal with an all brown cover and plain text, but once you turn the first pages you'll feel you've discovered a real gem. Based in the art of Feng Shui, the book works from the ancient Chinese proverb "If you want to change your life, move 27 things in your home." That didn't sound too difficult, I probably think of at least 27 things to clear off my desk to start. But this proverb speaks to something I've felt strongly about for quite some time - that our homes and the spaces we surround ourselves with, can be a mirror to our inner selves and can have a powerful connection with emotions.



One of the big issues that faces so many of us today is the prevalence of constant clutter. With so much visual and mental stimuli, we're constantly on the go and often left feeling frazzled, full of mental 'clutter' and ultimately, quite stressed. The focus in Feng Shui on 'space clearing' is intended to help clear or negative or stagnant energy. I've definitely experienced the feeling of deep satisfaction achieved from sorting through a room, or even a drawer in my own home; clearing out those useless little bits that clutter up your space, and leaving only objects that are either beautiful or useful. With clutter under control, Tisha shows you how to incorporate light, colour and simple objects that will help to increase the flow of positive energy in your space.



Often the task of transforming a space can be quite daunting, so Tisha's broken it down into 27 simple steps as well as a plan to help you implement the plan. With tasks such as hanging a vision board, making your bedroom a sanctuary, painting your front door or transforming your least favourite room of the home into your favourite, you can choose to go through all 27 steps or just a few, but you are guaranteed to feel a positive effect with each step.



Unlike so many Feng Shui guides, rather than having a strict formula or presciption, Tisha's goal is to help you achieve a space that reflects you and makes you feel good to be in. Her very down to earth and practical approach that puts you at ease and doesn't feel too hokey or regimented. Each chapter is only a few pages so you'll be surprised how quickly the pages breeze past during a quite moment reading at home, or as a perfect companion to quickly enjoy during a commute.



I would definitely recommend this as an enjoyable read and a great little guide on making your home a happier space to be you. You can find a copy here and be sure to visit Tisha's website for more information or to inquire about a personal consultation.


{Images: 1,2  MindBodyOm ; 3-Living Etc; 4- Kelly Hoppen}


Pretty pieces in blue + white

Although Jill Rosenwald has had a successful Etsy shop for some time now, I actually saw her pieces first in Instyle magazine a few months back. Classic, clean lines and simple patterns make a bright, bold statement. I loved this beautiful pieces in pale blue and white. Still impactful, but a little understated...




This would be a perfect catch-all on an entrance table -






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