Friday Fun: Glorious Bookshelves to Cosy Up In

Back to school, back to work, back to reading amidst all the glorious bookshelves. Here are some to inspire you, including my favourite house ever, built specifically around the owners’ book collection. Who wouldn’t commission that, if they had the money?

Casa Ricart in Valencia, Spain, built by Gradoli + Sanz architects.
Another angle of this house that I can’t get enough of…
Books are dusty and will cause you asthma, my mother said when I wanted a bedroom like that. From Fairy Oak Instagram.
If you’re in a tight spot, bookshelves on staircases always work. From Francesa Mantovani.
Sometimes the books are more important than the actual stairs, from Max Wan Architects and Urbanists.
Another bed design, although perhaps more of a day bed. From Pinterest,
A comfy reading chair is always a good idea – but what’s with that space on the shelves? From Vila Spider Hawk.
Finally, a bookshop which occupies a whole little alleyway, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.




Friday Fun: Farewell to the Summer Lifestyle

This past week I’ve had to dig out our duvets once more, but let’s pretend that we can live outside forever in the Northern hemisphere. Maybe, in a few years, we will, courtesy of climate change… Additional bonus this time: accents in my favourite colour, turquoise-blue.

I’ll just read here by the pool and watch you swim, darling… From Architectural Digest Magazine Germany.


This modest little veranda and open house in St. Barts from Gaia Health Blog.
Veranda in Provence – it’s all about the dining. From Plus Google.
Spanish version of the veranda, in Planete Deco.
Bring all your friends to this one! From Pinterest.
Just sail away and return to this veranda from Coup de Pouce.
You don’t need the sea to be happy on your veranda, although a pet helps. From


Friday Fun: Enjoy Those Verandas While Ye May!

Enjoy the last summer sunshine on the verandas while you can, for soon we will have to head back into the houses. Here are some minor home improvements you might want to consider.

Pool at your feet and the jungle next door – not sure where this is, but Borneo sounds about right. From Pinterest.
Guest house in Vietnam with a small internal veranda which looks like bliss.
You might not guess it, but this Thai house was built entirely out of containers. I love the waterfall! From
American style veranda, designed by Kristen Buckingham, from her website.
Another American house designed by MEC Interiors at Ten Oaks, from Design Bites. Imagine having your canoe in front of your house.
Americans have got this veranda business nailed, from Pinterest.
But I have a hankering for the sea views in South Africa, from

Friday Fun: Shedworking

One day, when I forget just how cold it gets in the conservatory in winter and how boiling in the summer, and if I will still have a garden, I will also have the perfect little garden shed for my creative endeavours.

This one can apparently be assembled easily, from Leroy Merlin in France.
This one is more atmospheric – I like that semicircular window. From jellysundae.tumblr
Not a shed as such, more of a passageway between two houses or a picturesque way to bridge a gap.
This is very similar to an old tumbledown tools shed that my mother-in-law had adjacent to her house in Athens – except this is the cleaned up version.
Another more romantic treatment of the lowly shed, from
Futuristic shed treatment, complete with a patio for lounging or dining. From
Who needs a shed if you have a pergola – especially if it has hanging vines and grapes? My relatives had the right idea all along, although it wasn’t always as gorgeously decadent. From


Friday Fun: No Sleep Till Chateau!

These Friday Fun posts started out as chateau-hunting vehicles for all of you who are dying to move to France and renovate a property (that would include myself, although a vineyard and bee-hives have to be part of the deal to tempt me). So let’s go back to basics today. These are all chateaux that you can rent out or stay in, rather than buy. So … try before you buy?

Chateau de Picomtal, Southern Alps, in the quaintly named town of Crots. Ask a French person what ‘crottes’ means (pronounced the same) and you will understand why I might hesitate to stay there.
Chateau de Montsymond is available to rent in its entirety in Burgundy.
It’s not just the French who have chateaux, of course. This Chateau Bayard is just a short drive away from Brussels.
Tuscany also has abundant castles, although they might be called something else other than chateau. This one is in Montespertoli.
In Unsleben, Germany, you can stay in this modest castle on the city walls.
But it’s back to France if you want to see the truly spectacular – Chateau de la Brede.
This one was almost a local one, just a short distance from Chambery. Chateau de Faverges de la Tour. Why do I never get to attend conferences in such venues?

Friday Fun: My Little French Maison

Soon to become even more aspirational and unattainable to Brits, these French houses make me dream.

I would happily get the dog as well. From Immo France.
Perfect veranda for a dinner with friends and a read, from
Art nouveau style villa, from Pinterest.
Villa for sale in beautiful location: Bay of Arcachon, near Bordeaux. See Cabinet Bedin for details.
Typical Southern style French home, from Cote Littoral.
Northern style home from the Alsace-Lorraine, from Cote Maison.
What a garden! From Journal de la Maison.
Another beautiful French house – I love the symmetry and the shutters. I am fed up with inadequate curtains, even those so-called blackout curtains are not enough! House in Quimper.

Friday Fun: Sheds of Famous Writers

It seems that you don’t have to have an all-singing, all-dancing, all-mod-cons shepherd’s hut to write a book. Who’d have thunk that? Here are some garden sheds where magic happens.

Roald Dahl’s well-known writing shed in Buckinghamshire.
Philip Pullman seems to be working in your average garden shed from B&Q.
Cressida Cowell’s writing shed seems a little more romantic and airy. From Booktrust.
The interior of Neil Gaiman’s treetop shed, complete with dog.
Unnamed writer’s retreat from
Charles Dickens started the trend, with his Swiss chalet themed shed. (In spite of having an enormous library/study in the house as well).
Mark Twain’s octogonal shed was designed to resemble the pilot house of a Mississippi steam boat.
Joanne Harris often mentions her shed on Twitter, although it’s the imaginative rather than the physical one. Here it is on the Shedworking site.