Friday Fun: Prepare Your Workspace

Two months of throat clearing and finger flexing. It’s now time to write! Oh, but first let me find or create the perfect workspace…

Everything in its perfect whimsical place, from
A more comfortable chair might be called for, but this white calming space could bring forth wonders. From
More for crafts and artistic endeavours, but I could live with this tidiness. From Charity Hofert on Flickr.
There is a bit of a nostalgic flavour to my post today, isn’t there? More old-fashioned office from Elizabeth Broderick on Instagram.
Another Instagram beauty, complete with cat.
Finally one that acknowledges our computers, although not necessarily our sensitive backsides, from

Friday Fun: Country House Style

As the granddaughter (and great niece) of farmers, I spent every summer in the countryside, but our ‘maison de campagne’ (country house) style looked nothing like the beauties below!

You’ve got to have a great armoire, don’t you? From
A big clock is always appreciated. Fun fact: my parents bought a set of chairs like those (but brown) for their wedding and still have them half a century own. Do they count as antiques now? From Marie Claire.
Plenty of room for the whole family to sit and eat, from
Although not quite as much fun as my aunt’s table under the grape vines. (Sadly, no personal pictures are available, so this is from
Simple fireplace and coloured plates also spell country style, from
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted that nearly all of the above are French, so here is an English country cottage interior, from Elegant Home Design.
That’s more like the houses I remember – traditional Romanian peasant house interior, from

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.