Friday Fun: Bring the Outdoors In

It’s now officially autumn but I can’t quite hunker down, close the shutters and light the fire (that I don’t have). So let’s try to bring some nature and light indoors and maybe even go out on the terrace on a mild day.

Always love the French country-house style. From maisonsdecampagne.fr
Big windows and indoor plants, a lovely combination, from 9gag.com
Sitting under the grapevines – nothing more pleasant at this time of the year, from Town’n’Country Living.
Even if you’re on the first floor, you can still have the windows overlooking greenery, from homeadore.com
Comfy chairs for reading are always welcome, although I would have them facing the window (fewer interruptions), from NorthernCalStyle.com
French windows yet again, from ruemag.com

Friday Fun: Writing Retreats

I may be out and about hobnobbing with the crime writing community at Bloody Scotland this weekend, but it’s that time of year when I start to think about retiring to a cabin in the woods (or mountains or on the coast, I’m not fussy) and writing non-stop until spring. Easy enough to do with these gorgeous places!

Even better if it’s in a tropical climate, so you don’t need to worry about the heating. From Pinterest.
But there is something so irresistibly romantic about a snow-covered cabin, from cabindiary.com

This cabin in Tennessee looks suitable for year-round living, from PfefferTorode.com
You can rent these holiday cabins in Pennsylvania, from TerritorySupply.com
This one straddles a waterfall – wildly adventurous, but it would make me want to pee all the time! From designdecors.com

If you don’t like the idea of living in remote places, you can always build a cabin in your backyard – if it’s big enough. From Country Living.
This actually is a writer’s cabin, belonging to Canadian writer Ann Voskamp (from her blog)
This one in Alabama is less cabin, more like a miniature Versailles, from Onekindesign.com
Who needs to get away from home when your back garden has such an amazing view and shed (although I may not want to open the bar until I finish writing). From Onekindesign.com

Friday Fun: Hiding Places

It’s autumn, we are starting to get cosy indoors, so here are some lovely places to run and hide when the world gets too loud and noisy, so that we can get on with the important things in life, such as reading.

The classic under-the-stairs nook, from BookBub. This is where Zoe’s litter tray used to be, but once I clean it up, I might consider something like this (but darker, no windows)

Even cosier if you have a landing and more than one floor, from House Beautiful.

Just imagine having a round window to read by, from Homedit.com

Of course I’m a big fan of window-seats, especially when they are in a blue and white colour scheme, from House Beautiful.

A more rustic window seat, or should that be a window bed? From Good Housekeeping.

The chalet style – or the bed in Wuthering Heights? From HomeDesignLover.com

But if you mention chalet, I am already dreaming of winter landscapes and a burning stove, and this perfect chair for reading and snoozing. From HomeDesigning.com

Friday Fun: Needing Holidays Again!

Another week of horrendous ill health (I’ll spare you the details) and generally feeling quite helpless and low about most things. I’m ready for another holiday, aren’t you? Escapism is more needed than ever before, so here are some pictures to put you in a more positive frame of mind.

Fairytale house and courtyard, with Encanto vibes, from Pinterest.

Nothing better than an inner courtyard with a water feature, from Mosaicstiles.com

A dream restaurant in the French Antilles. From Antillespassion.com
An unusual but spectacular inner courtyard at a hotel, from behance.net

A beautiful garden and sea views, what’s not to like, from wattpad.com

I do believe this is the Amalfi Coast? I don’t think I would want anyone sitting on those comfy seats, covering the view though. From extrapetite.com

Friday Fun and Another (Long) Break

After my long holiday and blogging break, I will now be taking another break, not sure how long, because of an actual break. For those of you who have not followed my self-pitying saga on Twitter, I fell over last weekend, fractured the elbow and sprained the wrist on the right arm (my writing arm), which has effectively put me out of action for pretty much anything. I can just about do my day job, albeit with speech to text software and frequent breaks, but I never realised how much you need two hands to accomplish simple tasks such as opening a jar of honey, cutting a piece of cheese or putting up your hair. Now that the boys have gone on holiday with their dad, I have no one to help and am beginning to understand why my mother put up with so much from my father over the years, and was so against me getting a divorce, terrified as she is of being alone and infirm in old age. (Needless to say, I still don’t subscribe to that view.)

But this post is called Friday Fun rather than Friday Accident, so on to cheerier things. I have put together some holiday pictures with a literary link.

George Topîrceanu was a Romanian poet and humourist, with family ties to the area where my parents were born and now live. This memorial house in Nămăești, Argeș, was where the poet’s mother lived and ran a weaving workshop.
View from the porch on the upper floor. The poet’s wife and son lived here for a while, and he visited them occasionally, but spend most of his time in Iasi, pursuing his literary activities (and a relationship with the poet Otilia Cazimir).

The Roman poet Ovid was exiled to the Black Sea port of Constanța, known as Tomis in Roman times, and apparently did not have anything complimentary to say about the area. There he is sulking in the main square.

Meanwhile, the Romanian national poet Mihai Eminescu is staring dreamily out to sea, in a sculpture completed in 1934 by the sculptor Oscar Han, through public subscriptions.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that the house where we stayed in Constanța, was the house where an important modernist woman writer Cella Serghi was born and spent most of her childhood. It is right next door to the beautiful Şuțu Villa, which is finally being renovated, as you can see from the tarpaulin covers.

This gives you a little bit of an idea what the Şuțu building used to look like before the scaffolding went up (overlooking the sea, naturally).

This example of a house on stilts from the Danube Delta region reminds me of one of poet George Bacovia’s most famous poems ‘Lacustrine Homes’

Meanwhile, in Bucharest, the Beer Cart (Caru’ cu bere) Pub, brewery and restaurant, with its art nouveau interior, was a much-loved meeting place for literary and artistic figures at the turn of the 20th century.

Finally, who knows, maybe someday they will say: this is the place where the translator and writer Marina Sofia spent her summer holidays as a child?

Friday Fun: Cape Town Apartments

One of my favourite cities in the world is Cape Town, because of its stunning natural location. You can find some of the most luxurious apartments with sea views there, although it’s problematic if we compare them with the dire conditions in shantytowns like Khayelitsha, just a couple of kilometres away. A third of the population of Cape Town lives in slums or substandard housing, 99% of the inhabitants of the slums are black, and it is very sad that this situation continues many years after the abolition of apartheid. However, this Friday Fun is all about escapism, so let’s try and forget about this for just short while and allow ourselves to think about holidays instead.

A more traditional decorating approach to this flat in Bakoven, from CometoCapeTown.com

Bantry Bay, Cape Town – leather seems to be a staple in South African interior design, but might get sticky in hot weather. From CapeConcierge.co.za

A very modern take, from James Edition.

You’d have to be very sure your neighbours wouldn’t be watching, but I rather like the idea of having a bath within earshot of the sea (I think you can close the walls/windows too). From Villa Concepts.

I liked these villas in Clifton View so much that you will now see them from three different angles, this one from The Pinnacle List.
The terrace for the Clifton View Villas, from Capsol.co.za

And a view from the opposite end, from Antoni and Associates.

Friday Fun: Viennese Apartments

After Paris and Berlin, how could I leave out my ‘home’ city of Vienna? Of course, I did NOT grow up in any of these fancy Viennese apartments, but I did have some friends who were housed in old Viennese Palais – which didn’t look at all like this back in the day, but were often run-down and full of drainage issues. Completely unaffordable nowadays, of course.

Most flats are completely unfurnished when rented or sold, but this gives you an idea of the volumes and the fancy light fittings. From coreal.at

The light fitting is not so fancy here, but I love the flowing spaces and the parquet flooring, from Willhaben.at
Here’s what a furnished one might look like – I am in love with the stove though! From Luxus Palais Wohnungen.

Sadly, most of the old buildings have been modernised beyond recognition. This one is just about acceptable (although hell to heat up in winter). From Falstaff.

But this penthouse seems a step too far, despite the dreamy views. From European Real Estate.

I have to admit I quite love this one, though… From Cuubuus.

But my dream home would be a flat in one of those inner courtyards, which were considered more modest back in the day, with lots of greenery. This one is a hotel now, Schreiner’s. From Hotelguru.

Friday Fun: Apartments in Berlin

Now that I have sung the praises of the large, airy 19th century Parisian apartments, I feel I should also mention apartments in Berlin. Some are in 19th or early 20th century buildings with the famous inner courtyards, but many warehouses have also been redeveloped. You will see that the Berlin property market is less afraid of modern architecture and interior design than the Paris one.

This is the kind of apartment I aspire to live in when I finally relocate to Berlin. Remains to be seen how feasible it might be. From HouseDiaries.com.

I just love those large windows, high ceilings, rooms flowing into each other (which is not ideal with small children, but it suits me fine now). From Pinterest.

There seem to be a lot of top-floor flats in Berlin, which could be very hot in summer and cold in winter, but gives you nice views over the city, such as this one from Tranio.com

An industrial conversion, rather New York loft style and perhaps appealing to all those wealthy expats craving to reinvent themselves in Berlin. From DezignArk.com

Perhaps a little too modern, corporate and bland, but what one could do with such a big space! From InteriorZine.

Quite a monochrome design, but enhanced by the greenery outside, from Forwardracingmtb.com

Friday Fun: Parisian Apartments

Let’s pay a visit to the gorgeous, airy Haussmannian apartments in the well-heeled areas of Paris now that their occupants are on holiday. I’ve been inspired by the elegant apartments shown in the film The Woman from the Fifth (Arrondissement), I hasten to add, not the dodgy hotel in the peripherie.

This is the typical, very symmetrical and neutrally-coloured French apartment, but with a splash of colour. From Architectural Digest.

The flow from one room to another and the neutral walls go well with both classical and contemporary elements. From 1stDibs.com

This one even includes a view of the Eiffel Tower! From Architectural Digest.
The wooden parquet in chevron patterns are very characteristic for city apartments, from 10surdix.com

How’s this for a spectacular entrance hall and corridor? From 10surdix.com

The blue colour of the bookshelves and the large windows make this room irresistible, and they have a coffee table which looks rather similar to mine (who knew I was so stylish!) From cotemaison.fr

Ah, now that’s what I call a living room (or library)! From 1stdibs.com

But perhaps best of all is to have this blank canvas and just imagine all you could do with this gorgeous space and view! From Faraway Places.

Friday Fun: Library Ladders

A good friend Ewa Sherman showed me a library ladder on Twitter (knowing how partial I am to such distractions) and that inspired me to find some of the most congenial library ladders of all time. From the classical to the more modern…

A pleasant little viewing platform at the top, from Bran Appetit.

Painted ceilings and chandeliers match so well with these bookshelves, don’t they? From Betterslidingladders.com

A public rather than a private library, so not sure how health and safety feel about that ladder? From wayfaringviews.com

A more modern and realistic take on the library ladder from Andrew Nebett Designs.

In contemporary UK, Neville Johnson seems to have the monopoly on bespoke fitted bookshelves and wardrobes.

I don’t have favourites, but if I did, this might be it. A whole top floor room dedicated to bookshelves, reading and ladders. More books needed, of course. From Weheartit.com