Friday Fun: Airy and Light Home Libraries

We’ve thrilled and trilled at the attractions of a dark, comforting home library, but there are many lighter, airy-fairyer ones which are just as beautiful.

Who doesn’t want a double-height room to fill with books? From Architecture Art Designs.
The perfect combination of cosiness and light, from freshome.com
Fireplace? Check! Comfy armchair? Check? Lots of wood? Check? But the huge window, transparent landing and minimal curtains make all the difference in this play on a gentleman’s library. From Architecture Art Designs.
White feels a little too stark with books, but it certainly makes it all look clean and tidy. From Decoist.
The perfect living/dining room needs a lot of room for books. After all, they make an excellent topic for conversation. From kemprot.com
A nice compromise between darker libraries and an airy feel – plus, bonus points for the curving staircase. Plenty of room for us to move in with our books, don’t you think?

Can anybody spot what is lacking in most of our homes to allow us to reproduce such magnificence? That’s right: double height ceilings.

 

Friday Fun: Chateau de Montigny

Last Friday there was news that some original Goya etchings had been found in a French chateau as they were going through their extensive library, probably conducting an audit for the first time in generations. (We all know how out of control our book buying habits can get, right?) What amused me most is that the report said the name of the chateau was Montigny. It is such a common place name in France that I can do a whole Friday Fun post with nothing but chateaux of that name. [Unless otherwise specified, all the pictures are from the websites of the chateau in question.]

Chateau de Montigny le Gannelon in the Eure-et-Loire department, which misled me into believing this was the place of the find… but no, there is another with the same name in the same department, because people are not very imaginative…
Chateau de Montigny sur l’Hallue near the Somme, from chateau-fort-manoir-chateau.eu
Chateau de Montigny sur Aube in Burgundy, with magnificent orchards.
Chateau Montigny sur Avre, belonging to the Laval family, where the etchings were found at the back of a shelf, behind other books. Well, doesn’t everyone double or triple shelve their books?
Chateau de Montigny les Arsures looks like it might be the oldest one here. From Panoramio.
Chateau le Bretonneux in Montigny, in contrast, seems the newest.
A more modest proposal: Chateau de Montigny, la Fresnay sur Chedouet in Normandy.

 

Friday Fun: Dark and Cosy Home Libraries

High ceilings, large windows, light and airy rooms with a minimalist feel and minimum fuss and clutter are my favourites… in theory. When it comes to home libraries, however, I have a marked preference for the dark and sombre – much like my reading.

Double height gloom, of course, from clipgoo.com
Grey and aubergine are wonderfully calming, from Home Libraries Design Ideas website.
Ellison Bay Manor home library, from The Daily Mail. Bit empty on the top floor!
Dark blue is wonderfully soothing, from House Beautiful.
Large windows do nothing to lighten this ‘gentlemen’s room’, as it say on the website Next Luxury.
The classic Victorian style never goes out of fashion, from She Knows website.
This Toronto home keeps it interesting with windows of all shapes and sizes, from Pinterest. Plus, a curved staircase never comes amiss.

 

Friday Fun: A Place We Once Called Home

This is something I wrote a long time ago, on a very different blog.

My whole life seems to consist of being really happy in some wonderful places – and then having to tear myself away from them.   I love exploring new places but I also like settling in, making those places my own, getting that intimate connection with them that can only come from repetition and routine.  When it’s time to move on, I am excited about the new adventures I will have, but I am also sad to leave a certain part of myself behind.  With each encounter with a different country and culture, I become richer in experience, but somehow also poorer when I leave. 

It’s difficult to explain – but it’s like my soul has been bereft to a certain extent.  I keep the experience locked up somewhere tight within and remember it with such delight from time to time.  But the experience is unrepeatable.  Even if I go back to that country, it will never feel the same again.  If you go back as a tourist to a country where you were once resident, it can be exhilarating as long as you don’t think about it too closely.  Or you can feel shut out, a stranger once more.  It will certainly never again feel like home.

Last week, I had the opportunity to return to our village in France and took some pictures to try and describe the charm of the location (bearing in mind that these pictures do not cover all the seasons, only a sunny day in February).

Our home in France for 4 1/2 years.
Our home in France for 4 1/2 years, complete with climbing tree for Zoe cat.
Our close from the main road.
Our close from the main road.
The field we passed on our walk to school, often full of ponys grazing.
The field we passed on our walk to school, often full of ponys grazing.
The orchard where we could pick plums, apples, pears and quince.
The orchard where we could pick plums, apples, pears and quince.
'We live in the countryside,' my boys used to tell visitors, 'You will smell a lot of natural fertiliser.'
‘We live in the countryside,’ my boys used to tell visitors, ‘You will smell a lot of natural fertiliser.’
The view facing the other way, towards the Alps.
The view facing the other way, towards the Alps.

Friday Fun: Villas to Get Away from It All

Sunny spells announced today after yesterday’s stormy weather, but more grey bleakness still to come. So of course I cannot help but wish I were far, far away from it all, in one of these luxurious villas. (Small aside: have you noticed how most celebrity homes and holiday villas featured in magazines are rather tacky and over-decorated? It wasn’t as easy as you might think to find something appealing… even when money is no object.)

It's the landscape which usually does it for me... Villa in Bali, from baliluxuryvillas.com
It’s the views which usually do it for me… Villa in Bali, from baliluxuryvillas.com
Fearless architecture also tempts me, villa in Camps Bay, South Africa. From paradizo.com.
Fearless architecture also tempts me, villa in Camps Bay, South Africa. From paradizo.com.
Another Balinese beauty, but this time the Zen qualities of the inner courtyard. From cuded.com
Another Balinese beauty, but this time the Zen qualities of the inner courtyard. From cuded.com
The swimming pool seems obligatory, even if you have the sea nearby, as in this villa in Seychelles, from cuded.com
Plenty of room to welcome your friends in a mass contemplation of the sea, as in this villa in Seychelles, from cuded.com
The swimming pool comes in handy if you want a quick dip without trekking all the way down to and up from the beach, as in this Mykonos villa. From 400 Holidays site.
The swimming pool comes in handy if you want a quick dip without trekking all the way down to and up from the beach, as in this Mykonos villa. From 400 Holidays site.
Villa in Chile integrated into the landscape, with a rooftop garden. From trendir.com
Villa in Chile integrated into the landscape, with a rooftop garden. From trendir.com

The final one is purely conceptual for the time being and might prove a little too much for my claustrophobic tendencies, but it’s the perfect desert island for someone.

Floating villa with underwater level, from Daily Express.
Floating villa with underwater level, from Daily Express.

Friday Fun: Chateau Location Scouting

Some grand old manor houses look good by day or night, and here are some which would make a great backdrop for a film or a book. Any additional suggestions of appropriate films or books would be much appreciated.

Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin.
Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin. Suitable for Netherfield Park in French version of Pride and Prejudice?
Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section.
Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section. Cyrano de Bergerac might be hiding in one of those bushes.
Chateau near Rouen, from
Chateau near Rouen, from Selectimmovexin.com. I could see the Three Musketeers hiding here and bewitching the lady of the house on their way to new adventures.
Chateau d'Artigny. Wouldn't this be a great location for Gatsby's famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com
Chateau d’Artigny. Wouldn’t this be a great location for Gatsby’s famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com
Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr
Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr
If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock's chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.
If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock’s chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.
Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistable. From Wikimedia.com
Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistible. From Wikimedia.com

 

Friday Fun: Alpine Babies

Cute baby animals are just what the doctor ordered and part of my self-soothing programme. NB: when I say Alpine, I take it to mean any mountain range in Europe – Carpathians, Jura, Pyrenees etc.

Alpine Marmot sunning itself.
Alpine Marmot sunning itself. From Wikipedia.
Alpine bouquetin goats
Alpine bouquetin goats, from prenond.fr
Romanian bisons, from monitorulcj.ro
Romanian bisons, from monitorulcj.ro

 

Baby goat with a jumper.
Baby goat with a jumper, from modernfarmer.com
Lynx in the Jura, from ConiferousForest website.
Lynx in the Jura, from ConiferousForest website.
Another lynx mother and cubs, because they are my favourites.
Another lynx mother and cubs, because they are my favourites. From jura-tourisme.com
Wolf and cub, from zoo.ro
Wolf and cub, from zoo.ro
Wild boar piglets only a few days old explore their surroundings in the wildlife preserve near Ravensburg, Germany, on April 3, 2013. AFP PHOTO / FELIX KAESTLE GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read Felix Kästle/AFP/Getty Images)
Wild boar piglets, Photo creditLFelix Kästle/AFP/Getty Images
Orphaned bear cub and his rescuer, from ccplus.ro
Orphaned bear cub and his rescuer, from ccplus.ro
Even peregrine falcons, one of the most fearsome hunters in the world, are cute as babies.
Even peregrine falcons, one of the most fearsome hunters in the world, are cute as babies. From Pinterest.