Friday Fun: Lighthouses in Dangerous Places

By definition, lighthouses are usually located in dangerous places, but these ones seem to be more endangered than most.

Icelandic lighthouse, from
The notorious Fastnet Lighthouse in Ireland, scene of many a shipwreck.
OK, so this one doesn’t look dangerous at all, but so picturesque I couldn’t resist. The Tajer Lighthouse in Croatia.
They are selling off quite a few lighthouses in the US at the moment, so you might be able to get your hands on this one, Poeriff Lighthouse on Lake Michigan, from Town and Country.
The Tourlitis Lightouse in Andros, Greece, from My Andros Hotel website.
Possibly the loveliest and scariest one of all is in Iceland again, from Iceland Monitor.

Friday Fun: Symmetrical Beauties

I like quirky, unusual, characterful beauty when it comes to human beings, but I have to admit that I am a bit of a classicist when it comes to buildings. Much as I admire daring modern architecture, there are few things that can be better than the perfect proportions of the Greek temple, which has been the inspiration for so much of Western architecture. So here are a few symmetrical houses that I admire.

Tha quintessential neo-classicist architect is of course Palladio: this Italian Palladian villa has it all. From
There is, of course, a Palladian villa on English soil: the gorgeous Chiswick House. From Britain’s Finest website.
The French love this symmetrical style, from Pinterest.
This villa in Provence is available for wedding hire, via
Even more recent, more modest houses still sport the symmetrical facade, as in this maison de maitre from Normandy. From
And why would you not want to dine against this backdrop? Another French villa available for weddings, from
This looks more like a Stuart house, although it too is set in France. From
But it’s the Italians who excel at this, rightly so, with their love of all things Renaissance. Vila Cetini, from their website.

Friday Fun: Home Libraries Galore!

Brrr! Not the kind of day to venture out in the cold, so I’m building a book fort in one of these magnificent home libraries.

Home library in the Bahamas, from Architectural Digest.
Now that’s what I call a church conversion! From
Please ignore the books turned the wrong way round! From
Awkward space between floors? No problem with this small study/library in San Francisco, from
For the architecturally ambitious, this Salvador Dali inspired villa in the Netherlands does a nice line in bookshelving. From
Double-height still all the rage in this Monte Carlo library, photo credit Andrew Tort, Architectural Digest.
Fresh as a button, this Hong Kong library, photo credit Simon Upton for Architectural Digest.
Not really a home library, but I couldn’t resist the Batthyaneum Library in Alba Iulia, Romania, from

Friday Fun: The Small and the Cosy

When I’m not dreaming of chateaux or grandiose villas with libraries and terraces, I have a hankering for charming little cottages surrounded by flowers in bloom and verdant luxury. I’m not sure who’s supposed to do the gardening… although I can certainly admire the flowers and even dedicate a poem to them.

Rural French retreat, complete with its own bridge and stream, from mountainmausgarden.tumblr
English (Welsh?) cottage made all the more eccentric by the slope just outside, from Pinterest
The quintessential English Rose with thatched roof and white gate, from
Hobbity like cottage on the island of Sylt in Germany, from
Reminiscent of a shed or a teahouse, from
Traditional Romanian cottage, from
Authentic traditional house from the Gorj region in Romania, dating from 1802. From Muzeul Satului.

Friday Fun: My Personal Interior Designer

I’ve shown his work in previous Friday Fun posts (see last week’s libraries for example), but let us take a moment to fully appreciate Luis Bustamente, Spanish interior designer of international renown. He started out as a sculptor and painter, and this shows in his quite grandiose interior schemes with large pieces of art. However, the reason I love him is that in nearly every one of his projects, he includes a library or at the very least some bookshelves. Let’s hope the owners of the properties appreciate this as much as he does. So, if I ever become fabulously wealthy, he’ll be the one designing my house, complete with at least one or two or three home libraries. All of the pictures below are taken from his website.

No windows? No problem with this hidden library that has doors leading in from multiple sides and mirrors to enhance the light.
For those who cannot conceive of a library without a mezzanine floor…
Clever use of skylights and a light colour scheme to make the most of another windowless room.
The best wall divider one can have: bookshelves.
He managed to squeeze in bookcases even in a Swiss chalet in Gstaad. Well, I’d certainly want some books for apres-ski, wouldn’t you?
Even in corporate projects, Bustamente manages to sneak in bookshelves. This is for the London Embassy Gardens luxury apartments in Nine Elms.

Friday Fun: Emerge from Your Library?

Maybe not just yet, not when the libraries look so tempting…

This looks like something out of Beauty and the Beast, from Pinterest.
Library of the Waldsassen Monastery in Bavaria.
Victor Hugo’s library in his house in Guernsey.
A cosy fireplace and a cuddly pet are great accessories, from
And that is why I love high ceilings – designed by Luis Bustumante.
Books really bring colour to even the most neutral and airy of bedrooms, from Pinterest.
And if you can’t leave your books alone overnight, or need to recover after all the holiday eating, here is the sleep-in library from Mildred Slane.

Friday Fun: Urban Gardens

After attending my beekeeping classes, I’ve realised just how important even the tiniest of urban gardens are (as well as big trees in parks) for keeping the bee population alive and thriving in our cities. In many cases, the bees are better off in the urban environment, because there are fewer pesticides than in the countryside. 

Balcony on Ile St Louis, Paris, from
Quick, cheerful and cheap option, from
Garden in Rome, from
Penthouse garden in NYC, from Laurel B. Interiors
The more DIY approach to rooftop gardens from Germany, from
Why not a house surrounded by a garden and koi pond, like this Nagasaki home, from Pinterest.
Disuses railway lines have been transformed into promenades in a number of cities, including the Highline Promenade in NYC.