Courageously Handling Crumbling Architecture

Handling rightly the disintegrating remnants of history can be tricky. Pastiche is rarely as impactive as juxtaposing the old and the new. Once grand ruins provide an intriguing opportunity to insert, bolt or cover with striking steel, cool concrete or elegant glass. Here are few structures that, thanks to brave architects, are turning heads once again.

Filling in the gaps of history. Blencowe Hall in Cumbria, England, uses glass and wood to ‘fill in’ the cracks in this beautiful building.

Old ruins with modern glass at Blencowe Hall

Dovecote studio was literally lifted in to this ruin. I love the rusted exterior complementing the remnants of red bricks.

Studio built inside a brick ruin

This Spanish building incorporated ancient arches with angular stone. Keeping the tone consistent makes this marriage of old and new a restful one to behold.

Old meets new in this stone building with beautiful arches

Oh this is nice. Such a dramatic location, very brooding. The strong boxy structure inside this shell of a lead smelt mill fits perfectly.



I didn’t spot this on my previous visits to Prague, but isn’t it wonderful? So elegant and harmonious. Corso I now houses office buildings, but as you can see this structure once had very industrial roots.

Glass structure inside elegant old building

Old industrail building in Prague, now a beautifully elegant glass structure inside

Astley Castle in Warwickshire, England, is a bold renovation full of confidence but handled with understanding.

inside Astley Castle in Warwickshire

Astley Castle in Warwickshire

Smart use of environment here. The life-worn brick walls are simply filled with panelled glass and steel allowing this office to feel a connection with its urban surrounds.

Glass extension between crumbling brick walls

Glass and steel office fits between characterful brick walls

Glass and steel office slotted into aged brick walls

A Scottish cottage gets more than a renovation, it pretty much doubles in size! Quite an idyllic island retreat that seamlessly blends in to its rocky landscape.


This steel and glass structure doesn’t detract from the gorgeous original design. The German castle has been made into a striking museum.

Modern architecture inside old crumbling building

With these once grand old buildings, beauty really can come from within. Whether a seamless narrative captured in colour and material, or more like a ‘an alien has landed’ approach I think this form of old meets new helps secure the importance of these spaces for the future. I wonder where the next few hundreds years will take them!



Today I was looking at curves, the ever pleasing arches that appear in architecture. Like the arc of the rainbow, the arch always feels hopeful, pleasing to the eye and like an encouragement to step forward. Our eyes follow the line up and then happily down, back into the room. In stark Modernist concrete or centuries old white render, the arch will never go away – in style and sturdiness. These are a few that I am enjoying today…

TEd’A Architects produced this design in Spain. The stark white arches are really quite impressive. Simple in black, white and grey.

Spanish arched architecture

How much do you want to walk through that door! Its positively calling me.

A doorway you want to walk through

What I like here is the views these arches create. Environment and structure working in harmony.

CAD of arches creating shade

This arch makes the room. Beautiful chunky wood in a New York office, oh how I wish it was mine.

Loft style apartment with huge wooden arched windows

This perfectly formed arch is not a Hobbit house, but the entrance to Masía Freixa (1907-1910), the Modernist residence designed by Catalan architect Lluís Muncunill i Parellada.

Narrow and tall arched door

Minoru Yamasaki’s tall arched building in Minneapolis dwarfs the trees and borrows its form from nature’s elegance.

Tall concrete arched building

Form is celebrated here! The ceiling mirrors the arched doorway creating satisfying light and shade.

Crisp white curved doorway and ceiling

I adore these white washed narrow bricks. This is Valentino’s flagship store in Rome.

White interior with white wash brick arch minimalist store

Lets leave the Minimalism for a moment and settle our eyes in this Baltimore door – it makes quite an entrance! Black glossy wood surrounds pillar-box-red doors and a yellow domed ceiling. Curves every where you look.

Red door, yellow ceiling and black rimmed arch entrance

So much about this room is just lovely, the bare bones of the space are white washed shapes creating depth. Then we have this steep split staircase and a distressed door. The arch is off-set and seems to be there purely for the joy of it. I love design like that.

Distressed door in a white room with two staircases and an arched recess

An architectural drawing for a restaurant that uses arches in different textures and materials. It almost feels like this structure dances over ahead.

Architectural drawing of arch ceiling and windows

Such elegant arches! Black framed windows echo the shape, the rhythm, decreasing in size – its all very relaxing.

Black rimmed arch windows and white arches down a long corridor

This door is from a gorgeous villa in Majorca, embracing the old and adding in the crisp lines of the new (the stair rail is lovely, take a peak).

Majorcan house with arched door

This picture is of the San Cristobal Fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Such simple detail, honest lines. I love the point above the arch completely unnecessary in a fortress but lovely none the less.

Elegant arches in white plaster

I hope you enjoyed this simple offering, happy Friday.

I Am Seeing Triangles

Everywhere I look triangles are apparent. From textiles to skirts, windows to playing blocks. So I thought I would compile a few triangular structures that celebrate this fashionable shape in all its beauty. Even a humble shed is elevated when a triangle is involved (quite literally actually). See what you think..

I love how the brutality of nature has created something quite unique. This house is in an exposed spot, and as such this tree has flourished behind the shelter of a pink pointy house. A verdant green triangle can be seen in season!

Triangle tree grows sheltered by a pink house

This roof is so pleasing, the angles stretch and reach for shelter. A welcome shade beneath a clearing in the canopy of trees.

Modernist triangle roof

There is an adorable quality topiary. Part of me feels anti such order in nature, I love the wild and whimsical English country garden. However, there is something captivating and strokable about geometric shapes brought into the garden by clipped hedges. I love the contrast in colours here too.

Cone shaped topiary in a formal English garden

This cottage has charm in abundance. The large thatched roof hugs the white washed home. It cuts an engaging shape and sits happily in its environment.

Thatched and white washed cob house

In quite a different landscape, and conjuring images of Seventies cocktails as apposed to home brew, is this Palm Springs home. The shape works wonderfully with the rugged mountains behind.

1970s home with a shape that echoes the mountains

Talk about rickety, this diddy, triangular cabin comes straight from a fairytale.

Triangular cabin in the woods

Well this is just plain awesome. The bamboo construction looks like a giant wigwam, I would just love to spend some time in this space.

Amazing woodland structure made with bamboo

This mountain lodge is really rather smart, the Norwegian architects have designed the sloping roof so you can ski over it!

This angular building nestled in the snow has been designed to have people ski on the roof

Simple is often best. This little escape would be ideal to delve into a novel and leave the world behind.

Black wooden triangular cabin ideal summer house or reading nook

For your urban triangle fix, this Italian hotel embraces the shape in repetition. The orange wood is all the more striking against the tiny grey tile.

Triangle windows in a hotel roof.

I cant’t even get my head around these triangles, they are quite arresting, certainly intriguing. Built in Copenhagen, the jutting out triangles are actually balconies.

Copenhagen flats with jutting out triangluar balconies

If the triangles above are a little over-baring, then the below triangles are harmonious. A graceful structure that feels like it is growing before our eyes.

Triangles wrap around old building

Such elegance and beautiful – shadow patterns with rounded triangles one after the other.

Black and white triangular tunel photographed

Can this be considered a triangle? Perhaps not, but what a window! I don’t know how you would keep the cobwebs at bay, but seriously wow.

Giant window in a triangle shape in a woodland retreat

No doubt I’ll need to add to this post at some point in the future, triangles are so captivating. With corners expanding our minds, I think we feel quite at home amongst these geometric shapes.

J’adore Paris

What is it about Paris that encourages romance so? From the flaky pastries to the effortlessly chic females on the Champs-Élysées and the bijou but beau interiors – Paris has it. Here are some homes that look so inviting they have captured my heart, well a girl can dream..

These shots are from the apartment of Ramdane and Victoire, a brilliantly brought together family space with that Parisian flare.

The view in a Paris apartmentParis apartment with balcony and view of the Eiffel tower

This thoroughly modern but homely apartment belongs to architect Joseph Dirand. Lovely choices of materials and textures layer to make a home of real beauty.

Stylish galley kitchenBeautiful bedroom in ParisParis apartment lounge

For high glam and drama how about the Paris duplex of Stefano Pilati designed by architect Bruno Caron. And may I say I think that is the most glam shower I have ever seen!!

Dramatic study in Paris duplex  Very luxurious shower in Paris duplexDelightful dining room with woodland scene on the walls

Can you get more elegant than Coco Chanel’s Paris getaway?

Coco Chanel's Paris apartmentVery opulent Coco Chanel's Paris apartment

This final image pretty much captures it – ornate architectural details and soft stylish glamour make Paris life so enticing. I hope you have enjoyed the images, please click on one to see its source.

Paris interior with soft shades of pink

The wonders of wood – 11 of the best wooden panelled interiors

white wooden panelled walls

Ornate green wooden walls

I have a soft spot for wooden panelled interiors. Perhaps it is because I am British, and therefore love a period drama – especially with some moody lighting, delightful attire and seriously grand wooden panelling. I thought I would compile some interiors that really rock the wooden look. Don’t get me wrong too much wooden panelling can definitely be a bad thing. You don’t want your home resembling a Swedish sauna.

Bright and airy wooden panelling

grand grey panelling

Deep dark wooden walls in stunning interior

When wood can become over powering then applying chalky paint in light natural tones can claim back the lost light, and really transform the space. Or if you do happen to have grandiose proportions then moody blues and charcoal greys are the way to go. Alternatively pick a room that can handle a bold statement like a cloakroom or bathroom.

Large modern paneling for bathroom

wooden walls that make a statement by undulating

For a more modern look try wide panels in red toned woods. A reclaimed wooden wall can work great in a teenage bedroom, or just paint your panels white and dress with statement contemporary furniture.

White washed wooden wall in bedroom

Warmth and colour created by miss matched wood

White painted wooden panelling

As I write this I sit in our wooden studio surrounded by trees and I can tell you there is nothing more warm, welcoming and homely then a touch wood.

mixing old and new with wooden panelling

Homes by the sea

We live in Cornwall, England which really is like being on holiday all of the time. Today is a bitter cold February Friday and the sunlight streaming through the studio is just stunning. The trees and buildings are lit with a warm lime coloured light. It makes me really quite content with the world.

I live and work a few minutes by car from the sea but I am always quite envious of those who can stroll down of a morning and feel the sand between their toes. 

When it comes to seaside architecture I am torn between the cosy traditional Cornish cottage who’s thick stone walls surround you in a warm embrace, and cutting-edge glass buildings that exert their mark on the landscape. 

Cornish cottages by the sea

One of my clients at work, I am a graphic designer at Pickle Design, has holiday cottages on the Lizard and they just look so inviting. She has a small collection of Cornish homes which really do entice memories of Famous Five adventures and family picnics with epic sandcastles. 

Cosy interiors and panoramic views

Holidays by the sea

The Lizard is just the most beautiful holiday destination, I have been there only once for a holiday and wondered around Coverack, where the most of The Lizard Holiday Cottages are nestled. She also has one on the Helford River. Helford, in my opinion, is a real hidden gem. The creek carves its way through the countryside creating an atmosphere of pure holiday magic. 

Sea views of the Lizard

On a day like today it really would be beautiful. I would love to have the opportunity to design the interior of a home like these. Having the correct balance of sea side charm, modern convince and a nod to traditional Cornwall, would be important. I would say a log fire is a must and some where cosy to read a good paperback. The icing on the cake would be a view that drew the eye, always changing and inspiring. 

13 of the best windows

Granted, a window only needs to be a simple frame when it is capturing a breath taking view, but that frame does matter. I live in a very normal 1980s bungalow but with a very beautiful view, the large glass patio doors in the lounge are the reason I love my house, they humbly stand by and allow me to gaze at the winding river and rolling hills. That said a stunning window frame can elevate that view. Today I thought I would find a few examples of some truly beautiful windows, so we can all stare out the window and daydream. Some are quirky and steal the show while others clearly define the space with minimal line.

Overall, I think I desire interest in a home. Something as simple as a window can entice my eyes to look beyond the here and now and into the ever changing landscape of the passing world. I would love to know your thoughts. (Click on the images to find their source).

1) Art Nouveau splendour

art nouveau window inspiration

2) Maximising that light

traditional sky light windows

3) Following the shape of the roof

Huge pitched window

4) Industrial extravagance

industrial glass windows

5) Amazing glass partition

Glass gap between buildings

6) Smart steel black frames

Steal window frames

7) Spanish style metal work, this window is bulging with pride

Ornate Barcelona windows

8) Open to the skies

Giant glass roof night

9) A dormer with a difference

modern dormer windows

10) the power of black and white

Giant black framed loft-style windows

11) Miss-matched window frames create a unique cabin

miss matched windows

12) Picture perfect view as you do the washing up

Window that opens completely in kitchen

13) Classic design framed by nature

Ornate wooden window