Friday Fun: Houses of Famous Writer All Over the World

This week I am wandering around Europe with famous writers, while next week I plan to go a little further afield.

Haworth Parsonage, home of the Bronte sisters. From Visit Britain website.
Dove Cottage in Grasmere, where Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy. From World Nomad Journals.
Camus’ modest house in Lourmarin, bought with the proceeds of his Nobel Prize. From Pinterest.
Caragiale museum in Romania. From
Romanian national poet Eminescu’s birthplace in Ipotesti. From Wikipedia.
Victor Hugo’s house in exile in Guernsey. From Visit Guernsey.
Philip Pullman’s garden shed, from Authors’ Houses.
Schiller’s house in Weimar, from
Goethe’s garden shed in Weimar, from

Friday Fun: French Urban Gardens

Spring is almost ready to spring, or so we hope! It seems to come earlier in England than in other parts of the world, but this week my pictures take me  to France. Paris and other French cities may not have quite as many green spaces as London does, but it’s always a pleasure to discover some of them, however small. French gardens may be famous for their severe geometric precision, but this is the more natural, unkempt style.

My favourite park in Paris: Parc Buttes-Chaumont, outrageously romantic, with an amazing view towards Sacre Coeur from the temple.
But it’s also about finding green spaces everywhere you go: cafes (here in Saint-Germain).
… along disused railway lines (from Time Out France)
…in little residential impasses (much like the mews of London). From
Another passage Grenelle from 15e arrondissement.
The famous flower market between Notre Dame and the Palais de la Justice. From La Compagnie.
Side streets in Montmartre, from
Jardin Sauvage Saint-Vincent in Montmartre.
Japanese garden from the Pantheon-Bouddhique, 16e.

Friday Fun: Bringing the Outdoors Inside

It’s not really possible with the English weather, but I do have friends in South Africa, France and Portugal who practically live outdoors in the summer months. Here are some houses to inspire you to bring the outdoors inside – at least in your dreams.

You can always start small, with a greenhouse or conservatory. From Instagram.
For braver souls, an almost outdoor shower. From ApartmentTherapy.
Making the most of narrow strip of land to build on, this house in Sao Paolo. From
The anything but minimalist outdoor porch of North America. From Decoist.
The open all windows method of ELM & Willow house, from
Last but not least, Cate Blanchett’s covetable abode in Sydney, from Pinterest.

Friday Fun: Blue and White Temptations

I’ve always loved the combination of blue and white in interior design, flowers, clothes. even flags. That might explain why I married a Greek (and why I like the Finns). While appearances are often misleading (marriage case in point), it is a sure-fire classic combination for decorating your house and I have done so many times in the past. Although perhaps not as extravagantly as in the following pictures. It is so clean, fresh, simple and reminds me of travelling to faraway places by ship.

Accent colours highlight the predominantly blue and white scheme, from Home Interior Inspiration.
More subdued Scandinavian colour palette, from Interior Design Files.
The classic Cape Cod style, from Bright Bazaar, one of my favourite design blogs.
If the blue veers off into turquoise, I don’t mind at all. From Best Home Decor.
Another combination of nautical colours: light blue, green and turgquoise. From Interior Design.
What better way to decorate a hotel in Capri? From JK Hotel.
I adore the Moroccan style of blue and white tiles. From
Navy blue can be very striking and restful in a bedroom, from Lifestyle Denver.
But ultimately it’s back to the inspiration behind it all, which I’ve loved since childhood. Greece.

Friday Fun: Heading to the Alps

No matter what I say or do, I cannot forget about mountains and snow in the winter months. I miss them more than I can say, so here are some pictures to delight me (or to help me wallow in my misery).

Chamonix at night, from
Thermal spa at Leukerbad in Switzerland, from Le
A summer shot, but still beautiful. Sankt Gallen in Switzerland. From Panoramio.
The Alps in autumn, from HG
My favourite vineyards, although the dream of owning one with a chateau recedes daily. From
But it’s the skiing I miss most. Chamonix once more, from


Friday Fun: The Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery (which I seem to pronounce differently from everyone else in the UK) is a beautiful little gem, no longer quite as well hidden as it used to be when I was a student at King’s and could access it during my breaks. Covering an entire wing of Somerset House (plus modern extensions), it boasts a splendid art collection, particularly of 19th century painters. Most recently, it hosted an exhibition of portraits by Chaim Soutine, which struck me by their compassion for the suffering and boxed-in feeling of the working classes, service staff that most hotel visitors ignore (even nowadays). I don’t often feature art, because I think the colours go all wrong online, but here are a few samples.

The Little Chef by Soutine.
The Bellboy by Soutine.
The Chambermaid by Soutine.
Other paintings from the permanent collection: German expressionist painter Gabriele Münter: Portrait of a Young Woman with a Large Hat.
Degas ballerina.
The building is beautiful too: the staircase.
And even the floor details.
Last, but not least, on a sunny day, the basement cafe is delightful

Friday Fun: The Windows Have It

You can’t get enough daylight in winter, especially if you are stuck in a basement office, so here are some houses that use windows in a creative way, to give you the illusion of more space.

Scandinavian, of course! From
Townhouse in Ghent, from
The mastery of Japanese narrowness. From
House in Rock Creek, US, from ArchDaily.
A Japanese house that gives me vertigo just looking at it, from The
The heaviest glass doors you can imagine, from