Friday Fun: Living in Historical Buildings

Britain is far less open to revolutionary modern architecture when it comes to residential property. A severe case of nostalgia or the result of far too many inadequate poky modern developments? Yet, undeniably, there is a charm to old buildings, especially if they have been sympathetically restored.

This window must have been the former barn door, in this gorgeous renovation from Archer Buchanan.
A conservatory with a difference from Town and Country Living.
Gresgarth Hall with its idyllic waterside setting.
Even better if your historical house has a library, of course, as is the case of Skibo Castle in Scotland, from Vogue Magazine.
A clever new addition that blends in with the old, from DIY Architecture.

Friday Fun: Ingenious Bookish Solutions

If (like me) you lack the money to buy a chateau large enough to house your entire book collection, there are some clever solutions for smaller spaces which I’m sure will work out slightly cheaper. Besides, don’t your books deserve all the love and attention you can given them?

Pull-out shelves from Woodmaster Woodworks customised solutions turn your house into a proper library.
Bookshelves above and around doors are always a winner, from OneKingsLane.com
Don’t forget to utilise the space in the smallest room in the house, from Media Bookbub.
Room dividers are always a stylish solution, from Architectural Digest.
Stairs provide the perfect additional storage space for books, from casa.abril.com.br
The home office solution on the stairs, except if your children come trooping down them like elephants. From arkpad.com.br
Oh, and don’t forget to use your mezzanine floor… What do you mean, you don’t have one??? From roomyspace.com

Friday Fun: Home Libraries of the Rich and Famous

I don’t need a whale of a house (although I keep dreaming of chateaux where I can make all of my friends welcome when times get kinder and allow us to travel freely once more). I could live quite modestly. But I would spare no expense (if I had the money) in setting up a fantastic home library. So who can blame these people for their extravagant interiors?

Bette Middler has this quite feminine library (with ladder!), as featured in Architectural Digest.
Unsurprisingly, the male founder and owner of magazine Vice has a more masculine home library, from WSJ.com
Not quite sure who is the owner of this home study/library, but it’s in Brooklyn, so the field is wide open. From Ultralinx.com
This looks darker and gloomier, monochromatic – except for that luscious green landscape. From Elle Decor.
Meanwhile, this Paris-based home library has light just flooding in. From Imgur.com
More realistic dimensions in this Sao Paolo apartment, from casa.com.br
Don’t forget the one indispensable item in a home library. Repeat after me: the ladder! (At least while my creaking bones and joints can cope with one.) From jessicagordonryan.com

Friday Fun: Hidden in the Woods

Not sure if it’s the romantic or the crime writer in me who has a hankering for isolated (yet stylish) cabins well hidden in the forests – even little urban parks will do.

A townhouse in a rainforest – this contradiction in terms does not prevent this Mexican development from being hugely attractive, from Casa Chipicas Valle De Bravo.
Who doesn’t want a house on stilts – just what our ancestors ordered! From jolijolidesign.com
Modern and yet feels so natural, with this terrace overlooking the stream, from design-milk.com
Isn’t this a perfect place for just reading? From Buzzfeed.com
Such cosy cabins are nice all year round – if they have Scandinavian style triple glazing and plenty of firewood. From Cozyplaces.

Friday Fun: Location Hunting

I’ve been immersing myself in the world of my novel – and very much enjoying it. It does help that a lot of the locations in the novel (which takes place predominantly in Romania) are so picturesque.

The fatal accident that leads to everything that happens in the novel takes place on this road over the mountains, the Transfăgărășan crossing the Carpathians. From Romania Visitor Center.
Some crucial scenes take place at the Chalet on Lake Balea at the top of the mountain.
Our two main protagonists meet up with former classmates to try and find out more about the deceased here, on top of the National Theatre, at Enache’s Milk Bar. From bucurestiulmeudrag.ro
They make an important ally and friend in Curtea de Arges, not far from the site of the accident, and spend a short while in the grounds of this beautiful monastery. From TouristinRomania.wordpress.com
Eli does some research in the archives at the Central State Library in Bucharest, from Agerpres.ro
Clues lead them to the beautiful Transylvanian city of Sibiu, and they have lunch in the Big Square in the centre, from RomaniaExplore.com

Friday Fun: Library Lockdown

I wouldn’t mind getting locked down in any of these home libraries. Of course, some of them are fictional, but no need to limit yourselves to reality!

Under the eaves yet not dark at all, from deavita.fr
Another attic library, with a more realistic cluttered look, from mediabookbub.com
If you’ve seen the film Knives Out, I’m sure your pulses raced faster at the thought of having a study/library like this.
Another fictional library, from the TV series Gotham, as shown in Architectural Digest.
Slightly more rustic, but still incredibly inviting, from zillow. com
And if you have a few bob to spare, Bilotta.com creates custom-made libraries, wine-cellars, walk-in wardrobes and the like.

Friday Fun: Fireplaces and Christmas

There is something a bit samey about Christmas decorations especially in the English-speaking world in the northern hemisphere. But I might allow myself to be converted if there is a fireplace. I can imagine myself sitting in front of it and reading all the lovely new books I have bought for myself for Christmas (and the rest of the year).

Plenty of warmth and reading by candlelight in this Ideal Home picture.
American Christmas ideas, from Good Housekeeping.
That bench in front of the fire would be ideal for dividing up the books into piles, don’t you think? From Grandin Road.
A move away from the traditional colour scheme, the wood panelling adds some cosiness despite the lack of a rug. From Veranda.
Finally a household that understands a good reading chair is a must in front of a roaring fire. From Christmas.365greetings.com

Friday Fun: Cosy Backgrounds

Now that the nights are drawing in and I’m hibernating in the house with no chance of going skiing (I am not overly fond of going running in the rain), I’ve noticed that all my Teams and Zoom meeting backgrounds are starting to look remarkably chalet-like. So here are some cosy rooms with fireplaces that my colleagues almost started envying…

The white tulips make you think of spring, but the open fireplace says Christmas stockings to me. From OneKinDesign.com
Isn’t that leather chaiselongue just made for reading? From cabinlife.com
In summer I like it bright and airy, but there’s nothing like some glowing fire and candlelight in the dark in winter. From BrotherTedd.com
This rustic one is for rent on location-france.fr, with or without guitars.
The grandest and least cosy, but I’m sure there is a fireplace in there somewhere – and the view! From OneKinDesign.com

Friday Fun: Industrial Look Can Be Beautiful

When I was investigating tiny houses, I came across shipping container homes, which I thought sounded dreadful, but which in fact can be transformed into highly imaginative and attractive residences. So here are some shipping container and other industrial-look homes (and all still quite small).

Perfect little abode in the forest, rubushome.ru
A guesthouse from shipping containers to add to your pile of old stones, from Studio Architecture Rennes.
Utterly dreamy black pavillion, although I can imagine it might become a bit too hot in summer. from mariakillam.com
Danish summer house, from adventure-journal.com
Writer’s retreat at False Bay, Washington State, designed by Olson Kundig. From Small House Bliss.
And when you leave, you can just close up your cabin like a box – isn’t that perfect? Same credits as above.

Friday Fun: More Living in Miniature

The temptation to live off-grid somewhere in a tiny (but well-insulated) house is becoming well-nigh overwhelming. No, this is not a comment on current politics or fears; this is a worry-free, escapist zone.

Small but mighty, this creation by BF Architects.
Palatial ambitions for this little house, from Buzzfeed.
Very different style, a beach hut feel to this one, from Instagram.
This one is actually a miniature model, but I can’t wait for someone to build me one to my human proportions. From iseeblue.typepad.com.
I may claim to be a simple girl at heart, but I rather like the more grandiose structures! From myincrediblewebsite.com
If in doubt, stick to a well-appointed garden shed – and what a garden! From owecraft.com
For the ultimate fantasy escape, this fairytale lodge from thisoldhouse.com