Monthly Archives: April 2011

Three cheers for the pineapple

Sometimes a little frivolity is a good thing. My pineapple lamp is a case in point – slightly ridiculous, entirely non-essential, but nonetheless an object that fills me with unbounded joy.

About a year ago, I sent some pictures of my house to the LivingEtc See My Home online forum, and rather amazingly won the House of the Month award. My prize – very gratefully received – were some vouchers to spend at the treasure trove that is Graham & Green. With page after page of lovely goodies, I found it impossible to choose what I wanted.

Until I came across the pineapple lamp, that is. Is it too over the top to say that it spoke to me? All I know is, it made me smile like a Cheshire cat when I saw it, and I had to have it. I wouldn’t have bought it for myself, as it wasn’t particularly cheap, and let’s be honest, who really needs a pineapple lamp in their life? But it was the perfect item to spend those vouchers on.

And when a friend told me that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, that clinched the deal for me. As WikiAnswers puts it, after Christopher Columbus wrote of the first western encounter with a pineapple in 1493, “the pineapple became a familiar symbolic image of welcome, good cheer, and warmth and affection between all who dwell inside the home”.

See, I knew there was a reason I had to have it.

xx

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Allium inspiration

As it’s so beautifully sunny today, I’ve spent most of the day out in the garden. And so the inspiration for my post are these stunning purple alliums, just coming out in our rather bedraggled and unloved garden.

I was particularly taken with how beautiful they looked contrasted against the weathered silver of the fence, and was struck by what a lovely colour combination that is. Which got me thinking – how would these particular colours work in an interior? Here’s some examples:

Image courtesy of houzz.com

Image courtesy of Design Sponge.

I know this one’s a bit more blue than purple, but still love the colour combo. Image courtesy of the The Design Files, via downandoutchic.

I think I’m convinced – purple and silvery-grey really are a match made in heaven (well, my garden at least).

xx

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A Nagel on my table

It’s only fairly recently that I’ve become interested in mid-century modern design, and one of my favourite purchases from this era has to be my set of German chrome candlesticks, designed by Fritz Nagel and Ceasar Stoffi. Manufactured by BMF/Nagel, (Beyerische Metall Fabrik) around 1965, there’s something incredibly space-age about them.

 

My set are the classic 3-footed candlestick, which you can make into various configurations by plugging them into one another. I do play with mine a fair bit – but don’t let anyone else in the house touch them, in case they ruin the perfect design I’ve just created. I know, I’m a nightmare to live with.

I found these great images of some more unusual designs on a blog called Modlife:

Pictures courtesy of Modlife, Inc

A design classic, they’ve got a touch of the whimsy about them that I love. Industrial and yet playful – what more could you want?

xx

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Chairs – another obsession

Chairs – how I love them. The ultimate marriage of form and function, they are so essential to our every day lives, and yet can be such beautiful objects in their own right.

My recent purchase of a Robin Day designed Hillestak chair was the culmination of a long search for dining chairs that also saw me purchase some beautifully industrial Dutch Galvanitas chairs (guaranteed to be the subject of a future post).

Designed by the pioneering Day for furniture manufacturer Hille in 1950, the Hillestak was a low-cost, simple timber stacking chair that was supplied in large quantities for schools, canteens and conference halls. At the Festival of Britain in 1951, Hille plywood chairs were everywhere. With its pared-down silhouette, it seemed to float above the ground – a million miles away from the heavy, solid style of other furniture at the time. The Design Museum has a great article about Robin Day and his wife Lucienne – two of the greatest designers of the 20th Century.

I got my chair from a great mid-century modern website called Mark Parrish – definitely worth a visit.

For such a functional object, it gives me great pleasure – the proportions, the beautiful grain of the wood, the simplicity of the design. And of course, it’s exceptionally comfortable to sit on. The only problem with an obsession for dining chairs, however, is that there are only so many you can fit around a table.

xx

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My precious (and not at all child friendly) design classic

As the parent to young children, you get used to not having nice stuff around. There’s no point – with two boys in residence, things somehow just always seem to end up broken.

So it was a special day around 18 months ago when I decided that the time had finally come. My terrors were of an age when I could bring a precious object into my house, without fear that within days it would be smashed to smithereens. My design classic of choice was something I’d lusted after for a very long time – the Kartell Bourgie lamp. The perfect juxtaposion of a traditional shape with an ultra-modern material, this perspex piece of preciousness was a much longed for object. Designed by Ferruccio Laviani, its baroque shape is exquisitely rendered in transparent polycarbonate.

Not that that means anything to my kids. So here’s my terrible confession. I told my eldest that if he broke the lamp, he’d have to pay for it out of his pocket money. For the next five years. And as for my youngest (who didn’t have any pocket money to pay for his crime against interiors) – I told him that if he broke it, I’d sell all his toys to pay for a new one.

Yes, I really did. I know that’s terrible, and probably not how you should bring up kids. But I still stand by my threat – mainly because my beautiful Bourgie is still in pristine condition, untouched by grubby hands.

xx

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To mother with love

Today there are two objects in my home that are more precious than any others – the Mother’s  Day cards my boys made me at school.

Beautiful – and totally priceless.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there – and to my own lovely mummy as well.

xx

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Let there be light…

I’m not a very handy, crafty type person. I tried knitting – I was terrible. I tried cross-stitch – I lost patience and gave up. However, one thing I can do is decoupage, thanks to my lovely friend Anne P who ran a  course at our local school (now if anyone should have a blog showing the wonderful things she makes, it should be her).

So here’s a lamp I made earlier. A friend picked up  a very basic one from a charity shop for me – and carried it all the way home, receiving some hilarious comments as she went (“Got a light, love?”). I then sprayed the stand gloss white, and stuck strips of paper cut from an old Habitat catalogue onto the shade. Finished off with some rather decadent tasselled fringing, it’s undergone quite a transformation.

I’m quite proud of it – considering I’m so rubbish at stuff like this (I have to ask my husband to sew on buttons), I feel a glow of satisfaction that I created something unique for my home.

xx

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