on why i need a second home {in the country}…

there’s something so terribly conspiratorial about the dead of winter that makes me want to throw the contents of my home in a skip & start all over again with a palette like this…

mulberry

well hello there lady dripping from head-to-toe in mulberry whilst petting your pet fox…

nice colour scheme, nice colour scheme indeed!

guest bedroom

there’s no room at all in my new pad for my usual abundance of linen…

instead, roll out those plaids & mingle in a touch of chintz {the more clashing patterns the better, thank you very much}…

while you’re at it, skim a rug across the floor & wrap those footstools in faux animal print!

tim walker fox

heck, i don’t even mind harbouring a couple of snuggling foxes in the carved-out backs of armchairs… {don’t worry children, they’re only sleeping!}

mulberry2

indeed, feather my nest in some heady mix of earthy delights & be sure to line it with some speckled egg & a handful of fanciful feathers for good measure…

toile & tartan

swathe my windows in tassel-edged tartan & nestle it alongside some toile for joy {a nice change from de jouy}, if you must…

hallway

oh & don’t forget to line the corridors with walking paths in forest green {beats having to go outside & brave the cold}… just be sure to add suitably-swaddled seating for when the legs get weary…

manor library

& then, when all is said & done, kick back in the library with a sobering brandy alongside a crackling fire {& the obligatory touch of tartan for good measure if it’s all the same with you}…

afterall, this is where this entire merry adventure started for me in the first place…

images via: tim walker for mulberry via stilla’s styleeducating the peanut, tim walker via quigleys cabinet, tim walker for mulberry via stilla’s style, homemaker2wordschintz of darknesspollyanna pumpkin

underfoot {paola navone}…

i’ve searched long & hard to find an image to match the one playing on loop in my head…

& at last the search is over…

this dining room {in fact, the entire property} quite literally takes my breath away & it doesn’t surprise me for one moment to learn that it’s the work of one of my absolute favourite designers, paola navone…

i could write a thesis on what i love about ms navone’s work {her lightness of touch, use of materials, blend of modern & hand crafted}, but i’ll save that for another day as right now i can focus on one thing only: this floor…

in one fell design swoop ms navone has tackled & conquered one of my all-time biggest design irks: floor transitions {it’s right up there with bedside tables & carpet}…

with so many beautiful flooring options available today it positively pains me to see how altogether limited we are in our approach to transitioning from one to another…

not for me the visually-jarring, metallic eyesore that is aluminium trim which threatens to carve up the flow of a space in one gleaming flourish…

instead, i will gladly take a leaf out of ms navone’s design book because this, my friends, epitomises how it should be done: one pond-like surface unapologetically bleeding into the roughly-hewn lines of the next with not so much as a threshold in site…

images via: vosges paris

cabin fever…

i got it baaaaad…

the walls of my living room are starting to close in on me having endured a self-imposed sit-in for the best part of the past few weeks…

worse still, trying to configure furnishings in a room with so many decorating impediments is testing the last reserves of my already limited sanity: take one living room & incorporate no less than 3 doorways, a kitchen passcounter, a window & a set of french doors, two large radiators, a fireplace, two wall lights, a wall-mounted temperature control panel & numerous light switches & power points dotted around the perimeter {pause to take a deep breath}, & you’re not actually left with a whole lot of useable wall space at all…

i’ve spent many a late night dragging furniture from one end of the room to the other & i’m no closer to a solution…

humph…

the answer? indulge in a little daydreaming of some cabins that make me feverish for all the right reasons…

like this one on shelter island, new york…

homeowners harriet maxwell macdonald and andrew corrie have what i consider to be a rather unfair advantage over the rest of us when it comes to furnishing their abode: they can take their pick of pieces from their very own homestores, the glorious ochre & equally charming canvas

a girl can dream…

don’t own your own homestores? me neither… luckily i’d be equally happy to follow suit of this tree-top retreat… lots of rugs to keep things cosy underfoot, a meandering art wall & views to die for… yes, i think i could handle being holed up here for a while…

or here for that matter: inviting bedding & a mountain of cushions all arranged beneath a canopy of fringing make this nook one i’d happy hibernate in…

in fact, given the choice of any of these cabins i may never leave home again…

images via: the marion house bookseventeen doorsjohanna vintage

a little slice of heaven {petersham nurseries}…

it doesn’t seem that long ago {though, of course, it was} that my parents would coerce my siblings & i out of the house on the guise of a family outing, only to find ourselves being dragged kicking & screaming around a plant nursery or a family friend’s strawberry farm…

closer to home, my dad would conduct guided tours of his garden to a rather reluctant audience {me} wherein leaves would be inspected for signs of bugs or disease, fine flower specimens would be proudly held aloft so as to better adore them & my dad’s gaze would meet mine as he awaited the praise deserving of his efforts…

it never came: instead i’d roll my eyes {international teenage speak for disinterest} or fold my arms across my chest in mock annoyance…


fast forward more years than i care to admit to & now it’s me dragging my 75-year-old mum down country lanes & along unpaved paths in search of what i hoped was not an urban myth…

our efforts were indeed rewarded…

tucked on the outskirts of london, about 10-15 minutes by bus from richmond, lies the legendary petersham nurseries: row after row of dirt-floor greenhouses brimming with time-worn antiques, timeless homewares &, of course, every conceivable gardening aid…

i’ve long dreamt of a place where i could contentedly spend my days shuffling amid potting racks & seedling trays, but never in my mind’s eye did i concoct a setting as glorious this one…

each corner of the shop is beautifully curated & {seemingly} effortlessly styled… french shutters sit alongside garden benches whilst zinc-topped tables & painted wooden cupboards are laden with wares ranging from votives & drinking vessels, to walking sticks & watering cans…

all, of course, beautifully offset by lush greenery & colourful blooms…

& the result is truly breathtaking…

whilst it would have been easy to spend the entire of our visit ogling at the tablescapes, an amble outside brought its own rewards too: walled gardens & shady retreats, raised beds heavy with flowering bushes, potted pear trees under-planted with strawberries & wheeled carts loaded with herbs & heathers…

& as if we hadn’t been spoilt enough, there at the end of a long dirt row stood a quaint teahouse offering home-made treats, aptly housed in a garden shed, of course!

a little slice of heaven indeed!

the book nook {mcnally jackson}…

though i don’t do it anywhere near as much as i used to, would like to, or indeed should, i really do relish the opportunity to get lost in a good ol’ fashioned book {you know, the ones with pages that you turn by hand}…

& every book deserves a good nook in which to be read… this independent bookstore & cafe in new york, mcnally jackson, just about hits the mark for me! i love this quirky, functional space which celebrates the simplicity of the act of getting lost among the pages, quite literally… they’re all around you!

nothing seems overly-engineered & yet it’s just so clever… a series of sweeping benches line the wall, itself covered in printed pages, while a bank of individual fold-down tables {designed to resemble a book when folded } lie in wait to accommodate your latest read &, of course, a latte!

even the lighting is streamlined & functional, but inspired…

as book stores go, this one designed by front studio is just about perfection for me… though i’d probably feel compelled to throw a seat pad or two on those benches to cushion the ride!

images by maggie soladay via : april and may studiocontemporist

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