laid back & lovely…

as part of my new home inspiration series, i’ve done a lot of analysis lately as to what makes some spaces appeal to me more than others…

why do some rooms make my heart skip a beat whilst others, as beautiful as they may be, barely raise the pulse…

& what i’ve discovered is this: as much as i’m drawn to certain colours, textures, moods, etc, one of the most important elements for me is infusing a sense of informality…

rooms that are too streamlined read as altogether uptight in my book, but throw in some freestanding, mis-matched furnishings & unexpected ornamentation & voila: instant laid-back vibe…

i find this particularly true in spaces that are, in order to maximise their utility, often planned to within an inch of their life: think kitchens, laundries, hallways & bathrooms…

but i’m learning it really doesn’t take much to tip the balance…

minted

mis-matched pieces, open storage & artwork take the emphasis in this kitchen from function to form without losing any of the desired serviceability…

homely hallway

a hallway becomes a destination in its own right thanks to some unexpected touches: a plump armchair & storage unit sit alongside the more anticipated hallway console & rugs…

bathing room

& this bathroom is elevated from utilitarian to luxuriating through the use of freestanding furnishings & decorative pieces normally associated with living rooms: a chair & coffee table, some artwork & books are all it takes to completely transform this space…

images via: emma persson lagerbergremodelistaroom 269

this is where the magic happens {la colombe d’or}…

la colombe d'or

even without the beating mediterranean sun & the fragrant smell of lavender in the air, there’s something undeniably magical about la colombe d’or

maybe it’s the history, maybe it’s the tranquil location nestled beneath the ramparts of the historical town of saint-paul de vence, or a combination of these things & more, but on our recent autumnal visit we found ourselves instantly enchanted…

la colombe d'or_reception

once a refuge for artists, movie stars & royalty alike, the patinated walls of this humble establishment are laden with nostalgia, most of which comes in the form of precious artworks often gifted in return for lodgings & hospitality…

boasting the works of picasso, matisse, calder & miró {to name but a few}, this restaurant-cum-lodgings-cum-art gallery is a rarified find & a retreat in the truest sense of the word…

entry is via a set of large wooden doors which bear the politest of signs informing the outside world that what lies within is for the consumption of restaurant & hotel guests only: already you feel a little special with a side of smug…

as you step inside your senses are arrested, not the least by a giant marble thumb sculpted by césar which stands sentry at the gate & sits rather incongruously with its provincial surrounds {every home should have one of these}…

cesar_la colombe d'or

a ceramic mural by leger hangs nonchalantly nearby, shaded by foliage & forming a colourful backdrop to the crisp linen table tops, whilst a giant white dove sculpture perches in the branches overhead…

leger_la colombe d'or

alongside gnarled figs trees with makeshift pendant lights fashioned from hollowed-out pumpkins, it’s the perfect blend of over-the-top fabulous meets rural thrift…

the terrace_la colombe d'or

our room upstairs follows suit: rustically charming with white walls & exposed beams, it’s simply furnished with a smattering of antiques & understated artworks, white waffle-weave bedding & kilim rugs which skim the tiled floors…

it all feels a little like a weekend away at auntie’s: pleasant, homely & lacking pretension {as an ill-concealed leaking pipe & a hand-held shower which strains to reach its wall mounting bear testimony to}…

la colombe d'or_bedroom

& then there’s that view…

the view

despite it being the middle of october, we left the french doors flung wide open to make the most of the pool-side vista & the scent of wood fires burning in distant chimneys: this is the thing memories are made of…

dinner in the restaurant downstairs was, however, disappointingly less memorable although indisputably atmospheric nonetheless…

la colombe d'or_restaurant

there, overlooked by dimly-lit masterpieces & decidedly brusque wait staff, we chomped our way through the house specialty hor d’oeuvres {definitely a dish for two}, a plate of fresh fig & ham the size of the moon, beef steaks, a melt-in-the-mouth chocolate slice & a flambé soufflé {a version of which the lady at the table across from us humorously tried to blow out}…

but, truth be told, as lovely as the dining room was with its yesteryear charm & warming tones, i found my thoughts drifting elsewhere:

la colombe d'or_calder

to the poolside oasis where you get to hang with an oversized calder mobile amongst the spear-like conifers…

la colombe d'or_bar seats

& the snug surrounds of the bijou bar just off reception where leather cushions plonked in window seats invite lounging with an apéritif {if only these walls could talk}…

la colombe d'or_terrace

&, invariably, back to the courtyard beyond where, beneath a canopy of twinkling stars & lovingly-tended trees, the true magic of la colombe d’or happens…

the sunday nook {a personal touch}…

rachel bilson lonny

today’s sunday nook reinforces the importance of letting your personality shine through into your home…

this lovely corner not only oozes warmth & individuality but it tells a story of the people who inhabit this space…

be it a much-loved artwork {as is the case in this home belonging to actress rachel bilson}, travel keepsakes or a family heirloom, showcasing the things that mean the most to you are what elevates a space from a house to a home…

of course, a medley of textures & a kick-ass green chair don’t hurt the situation any…

image via: lonny

country kitchen alchemy {edition ten}…

i owe you all a sad & sorry apology…

i can only ascribe my recent blog absenteeism on my new-found busy status {turns out that once you’re finally doing stuff worth blogging about you suddenly find yourself too busy to blog!}

but that’s no excuse for denying you all your monthly treats from the kitchen of my friend lisa…

as she does every month, lisa’s been busying herself preparing dishes which are sure to delight, whichever hemisphere you happen to inhabit…

enjoy!

country kitchen alchemy_introduction_edition ten_onscreen

country kitchen alchemy_ingredient_edition ten_onscreen

country kitchen alchemy_recipe one_edition ten_onscreen

country kitchen alchemy_recipe two_edition ten_onscreen

thank you lisa, armed with these recipes i now feel a smidgen less intimidated attempting to cook up some crustaceans!

to the rest of you, don’t forget you can download these {& all of lisa’s recipes} from the my features tab where i have saved these recipe cards in a more printer-friendly format…

previous editions of country kitchen alchemy: onetwothreefourfivesixseveneight, nine

{this is not a sponsored post, just two friends sharing the love!}

the sunday nook {celeb style}…

today’s sunday nook {in the making} comes to you care of nicole richie’s wardrobe…

nicole richie

fashion has always inspired me {being a fashion designer was my teenage dream}, so it should come as no surprise to learn that sometimes for me a single outfit can inspire a whole room…

in this case i already knew i wanted to turn my living space a little more wild child & a lot more bohemian with an added hint of glamour, but the concept was still in early development phase…

that is, of course, until i spied a photo of nicole richie in this get-up: simultaneously understated & over-the-top &, of course, fabulously fabulous!

now to inject some of that fabulousness into my living room…

i already have the couch {this one’s similar} & oversize lamp, the coffee tables & sheepskin are on order & i’m currently eyeing off some rugs courtesy of some upcoming auctions…

layer on a mix of luxe cushions {the majority of which come from here} & i think i’m almost there…

now if only i could convince my other half {& landlord} to turn to the dark side via a pot of paint

the sunday nook {the best of both worlds}…

dark walls

lately my personal decorating style has taken a turn for the worse…

torn between my native australian love of openness & light & my adopted northern hemisphere tendencies for dark & cosy, things have become a little muddled…

but today’s sunday nook serves as a design compass of sorts, showing me it is indeed possible to successfully combine the two…

here natural, earthy elements & a connection with the outdoors coexist peaceably with squishy, stay-a-while furnishings & dark enveloping walls…

the look is laid back yet elegant, unpretentious & inviting: the best of both worlds…

{ps. i think you know what i’m going to say, right? please paint that ceiling dark!}

image via: design manifest

the sunday nook {la dolce vita}…

prettyinpink

sexy & sultry, today’s sunday nook speaks in dulcet tones of la dolce vita…

velvet-clad lady chairs, a cluster of low tables & an oversized glass chandelier make me want to wrap myself in a swathe of silk taffeta & mix a mad martini {or two}…

add to those smooth curves & jaunty angles, plush fabrics & polished finishes a vintage palette of dusky pink & dirty blue & it’s a heady mix indeed…

{p.s. slapped wrist for letting that radiator – & door frame –  threaten to steal the show: paint it out in a moody hue to match those walls & watch it magically disappear!}

image via: dimore studio

phoenix & oh so foxy {phoenix & fox}…

phoenix&fox_onlinestore

worth the wait!

the phoenix & fox online store is now open & i can highly recommend some foraging over yonder!

the lovely kelly & sam have picked out a pretty stellar line-up for inclusion in their first season’s offerings…

so far my top five would have to be…

phoenix&fox

the fabulously-oversized bronzed mirror, industrial-cool warehouse coffee table, vintage-style curve planter, attitudinal spike tealight holder & the quirky-as-hell-but-i-still-love-it octopus candleholder

which is your fave?

please do take a nosy & report back!

{huge congrats to kelly & sam!!!}

the sunday nook {murky depths}…

ahern

as sure as night follows day, when the weather starts to make a turn so to do my colour preferences for the home…

with the onset of autumn i find myself seeking out the murky depths of sludgy hues such as inky blue, aubergine & warming jewel-tones…

& today’s nook, the home of florist gemma ahern, pretty much nails the look i’m after…

loads of layers & a healthy dose of pattern-on-pattern make this fireside retreat super cosy & inviting…

who cares what the weather’s like outside when there are corners like this for curling up in?

image via: abigail ahern

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