Monday, 14 December 2015

Winter Wonderland, Footstool, Holiday Decor, and Ai Wei Wei

Instead of a civilized chat and a coffee, my friend and I decided we would go for a quick ride of the Blizzard and a shout.

It gets bigger every year and now it has a designated entrance which puts me off a bit because I like to glide in and out at will.  Especially with heightened security in the city I wonder why they would encircle people in this manner.  I really must attend those council meetings.

I always appreciate the bright lights and decor around the city 
as it gets so dark early even if it is bright like this.

It's not a vintage year in terms of the holiday decor around town.
This is the Fortnum and Mason decor.
Nice but a bit sparse.
It seemed as if they were on some sort of budget when the only reason I fight the crowds is to have a look at them so I want them to be worthwhile.

The Christmas tree at Claridges which is highly anticipated every year was a let down of a bunch of umbrellas done by Burberry.  I could see where they were going with it but I thought it was depressing.

My favorite tree was at the Beaumont Hotel.

Simple yet seemingly achievable with its cinnamon sticks wrapped in ribbon.

Oxford Street has a simple light decor on the street which is a wasted opportunity considering it is Europe's biggest shopping street so it is a bit weak considering.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Design Glut and Rut? But...

I got the latest issue of the UK edition of House and Garden the other day.
It's one of my favourite magazines and as I live in London is the most relatable as it doesn't feature McMansions unless it is a centuries old country estate.

The cover of the January 2016 issue was the living room of the architect and interior designer Ben Pentreath.

Now I must preface and stress that I appreciate Ben Pentreath's work and his instagram is one of my favourite accounts.
I repeat that one of my favourite magazines is UK House and Garden.

But I opened the page to one of the main pictorial editorials featuring Ben's London flat and that is the moment where I thought I might have reached a tipping point in exposure.

It's my fault because as a decor enthusiast I read newspapers, magazines, and blogs,

I follow decor instagram accounts, and

 I am a Pinterest enthusiast so I am bombarded exposed to many images.

Therefore, I had seen this flat in every manner of social media there is -
including his own blog.
I don't know if I can bear another pithy quote about fashion dating etc etc etc

I have discussed with a select few who I like to dissect design issues with and touched lightly on posts and comments on other blogs that there is a turning point in the world of decor and
it is at a pivotal juncture.

But usually House and Garden is the pinnacle to most Anglophile decorators to be featured on
and yet in this instance House and Garden was like the long suffering wife
and the last to know or show rather.

It also made me appreciate the New York Times policy that they would not publish interior decor pictures if it had previously been featured first elsewhere. With the demise of their weekly Thursday Home and Garden feature, I haven't confirmed that this is still their policy.

But going by the fact that his flat was featured in Rita Konig's column, it seems that there may have been a change or they allowed it on a technicality.
( i.e. They used their own photographer so the photos were "theirs" or the flat was styled in a new way?)

Over the years I have seen his flat in so many different paint colors and cushions and wallpaper.
This was his bathroom before the Richmond Park Zoffany print he installed.
He mentioned in the NY Times video he is considering changing the William Morris wallpaper in his guest bedroom.

The picture below was when he installed the now famous London print and with less furniture.
I still don't understand how this flat is meant to be 35 sq m!

His latest makeover to his bedroom has made a big impact and am sure was a great publicity shot for Soane Britain and has made seaweed lace a known pattern.

Via the
This is the new marital bedroom from the previous 
Farrow and Ball Brinjal paint below.

The fact that his pictures are pinned and shared are no fault of his own other than his talent but I think the reason why I didn't mind seeing them is that those who follow interior design has seen the metamorphosis of his flat when it was bare like in the pics below.
Via Ben Pentreath's blog
It is so interesting to see a room's evolution and how art, cushions or a new piece of furniture adds or detracts to a room in real time.
Via Ben Pentreath's blog
Ben Pentreath shows us the flat with the behind the scenes shots and perhaps we have all emotionally invested over time the various stages of his London living room?

Last week Vogue USA published the latest issue 
that featured Conde Nast's darling and stylist 
Caroline Sieber and her Notting Hill home.

It has all the makings of a beautiful home and all the perfectly poised decorations:
posh Anglo pink sofa enveloped by bright and graphic Zuber wallpaper.

It also featured snippets of the rest of her house and decor cred was given when she used Pierre Frey's Tree of Life as the featured blind in her library.

Photos of C Sieber's home downloaded by my IPAD in the preview Vogue
And yet a week later, I have seen this home on most blogs as this bridges both the fashion and decor world, and regrammed on most Instagram accounts, and pinned ( guilty! ) on many Pinterest accounts.

It's not that I am sick of it ( well kinda ) but 
 as in the words of many a fashion magazine intern, 
this home albeit beautiful has become 
"so last week".

I think with the quick access of material these days as opposed to my days in university in Australia where I would wait for a US edition of any magazine and get them 2 months later and pay triple the price are long gone.

In comparing the two homes that has been media saturated, I wonder if in fact a sudden blitz of publicity works anymore and in fact we all do appreciate real life changes in real life time?

Therefore, I don't know if I am that interested in just the final unveiling of a home anymore and
I want to see a room not only in its final perfect state because most of us know what a beautiful room ostensibly looks like.
So endless pictures of perfect rooms lack any real meaning though I think there will be an increase in pink sofa sales and the Zuber would have surely seen a spike to their website visits.
I now like seeing rooms in real time and seeing how a room can evolve and am unwittingly yearning for slow decor.

Your thoughts?

Monday, 30 November 2015

Insta Post November 2015 - Al Thani Jewels, Christmas tree by Damien Hirst, and Budapest

Sorry but I am already over all the holiday parties and cheer.
I am exhausted and it's not even December.
I had my first batch of parties this weekend and 
I am really feeling it today.

Sorry to be bah hambug but you are talking to someone who was skeptical even sitting on Santa's knee when I was 5. 

But I don't normally do fancy dress nor Christmas jumpers so I took tinsel to wrap around a simple black top instead.

London is festive at the moment though and has all the lights up.

I went to a lunch yesterday at a Turkish restaurant where they had so many pendant lights up I was wondering if it passed the health and safety requirement.

There was an odd dish which was cut up kebab with rice in the middle so they could charge quadruple what they would charge for a kebab.

Sotheby's had the preview for the books in the private library of Pierre Berge.

It isn't particularly photogenic but the items up close were interesting to peer over.

He had a first edition signed copy of Madame Bovary.

They had this shelf for books just outside the room which was nice but then I don't think regular books would look so nice and would detract from the item.

I relived one of those unfortunate auction regrets when I was outbid for cane chairs very similar to the one below especially when these were going for 10 times what I missed out on.
Mind you this is Sotheby's and getting a "sleeper" doesn't happen as often as it does for the smaller auction houses.

Budapest had some spectacular interiors and I enjoyed breakfast at the New York Cafe.

So grand!

People also tend to forget the Romans loved Budapest and this is one of the intact mosaic floors that survived 2000 years.

Budapest was also one of the biggest Jewish cities before World War 1.
It has the second largest synagogue in the world after Temple Emanu-el in Manhattan.

The inside of the synagogue had so many different types of architecture and a very unique building indeed. 

Buildings in Budapest are rather under publicized and the scale is very much in fitting with the former Austro-Hungarian empire.

I now have my favorite baths in Budapest - it isn't this one but the ones pictures in my previous post on my trip.
This one was nice and I wish I had my camera to take a picture of their amazing tiling and spaces.

This is one I took from the internet.
There were many synagogues in the city and this one was bombed during the war but it still was so beautiful and my favorite.

It's still undergoing restoration.

The food in Budapest is wholesome and nourishing with its huge portions.
This was one of the lightest meals I had during my stay.
The spaghetti had one inch of sour cream and grated cheese.
They also have such great wines that were such phenomenal value.
This meal with a pinot noir of outstanding quality cost me £5 which included a generous tip.

The highlight of my trip was meeting the Hattats of the blog of the very same name.
Jane and Lance invited me to their home in Budapest which as you can see from the picture had the most enviable perfect proportions. 

While their blog is charming, it doesn't do them justice in the slightest. Don't worry I did my usual nagging for them to post a blog again!

I flew back over London looking so photogenic and bright.

The V&A just opened an exhibition of the jewel collection of the Al Thani royal family.

These jewels are so fabulous and I don't think any picture could do justice to any of the pieces.

They also had two pieces from Her Majesty's Royal collection that we weren't allowed to take pictures of.

If you are in town, I insist you go and see these pieces.

This is the Christmas tree done by Damien Hirst just in front of Connaught Hotel.

From the general view it just looks like another tree with ornaments until you look up close and the ornaments are actually pills, and tablets and syringes.

Apparently there have been complaints about the nature of the ornaments but it's Damien Hirst with his quirky sense of humour.

I wish everyone all the strength and energy needed for this month! x