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.

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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.

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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!

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My Kind of Architectural Box

If pinned down I would say my favourite architecture type would be Georgian. Houses from this period just have so much scope, and the ‘bones’ are so good. However when it comes to modern design I find myself enjoying most the minimal box.

The simple relationship between glass and wood are what make me happy, framing vistas effortlessly. Giant behemoths of buildings elegantly protruding from the landscape. I have chosen these few architectural boxes, not just for their beauty but for the calm they bring. Who would have thought something so big, bold and striking can leave me feeling relaxed – just by looking at them! See what you think…

Here we are literally enjoying a view framed by a building. Simple clean lines enhance  rather than distract.

Architectural box with a stunning view

I love the mottled cement coating on this luxurious home.

Almost camouflaged white concrete house

Nestled in amongst the trees this stilted home feels to me like a child between the legs of its parents!

Modern home in the woods on stilts

This is a visitor centre, and I have to say I’d move in today! I just adore how the warm wood frames the concrete and glass box. Balance of elements, in my opinion, is perfectly achieved.

Perfectly framed wood, glass and concrete box

Lastly we have an almost invisible house. The slender design adds to the already stunning landscape.

architectual masterpiece - a glass box that dissapears into its context

 

Colour in the Kitchen

Fresh off the back of my India post, I’m still feeling the colour. Today I have turned my focus to kitchens. At home, my kitchen is in a cherry wood style with white mosaic tiles held in place with orange grout. It works but it wasn’t my choice, its how the kitchen was when I moved in. I fill it with colourful finds and happy patterns. On the notice board I pin illustrations I have drawn, or postcards I have collected. There is the vintage blue scales that were my grans, my nan’s ceramic salt and pepper and a wooden dresser piled high with teacups and patterned bowls. My ideal kitchen would be a mix of wood and white. Light, bright with clean lines and colourful flourishes and accents. When I cook, which I love to do, I like my food to look colourful, a little bit of everything goes on my fork – textures, colours, smells – in perfect balance. I think I like my kitchen to be like that too. Here are some kitchen’s that I’m enjoying today.

The best thing about my kitchen at home is the view! Gorgeous green hills fill my window. I like in this kitchen how the green foliage becomes part of the colour scheme. Adding a rug is an easy way to bring the colour.

Light and bright white kitchen with rug

Who doesn’t love a Smeg fridge, and in vibrant orange this one brings the joy! The wooden floor, Victorian style radiator and light shade are all things I love.

Orange Smeg fridge in a mix and match kitchen

Ultra sleek and ultra modern, grey tames this glowing yellow splash-back.

Grey and cupboards with yellow illuminated splash back

What a creative space, they make great use of the height with layered artworks and I love the mug hooks.

Two little girls in an ecclectic kitchen full of green vegetables and colourful art.

This kitchen has that Scandinavian calm. Mint green units are satisfyingly chunky, together with light wood and ample helpings of white.

Modern Scandinavian style kitchen with large pale green doors and white moasic tiles

This kitchen is like visiting an art gallery. I love the forest green units, brass handles and marble counter tops. The drama of dark kitchen’s always draws me in, but I don’t think I could have one – I need the light. It is so sophisticated though.

Oil painting art in a dark green kitchen with marble counter tops

Green is the colour of choice here too. A more industrial and rustic vibe. The island unit I love, and the concrete and wood dining table.

green industrail style kitchen with mis-matched chairs, plants and wooden furniture

I like the wooden in this kitchen, just the right amount of honey and grain. White counter tops gleam and the yellow stools just make me happy. Its the simple things!

Wood, white and yellow kitchen

This is pretty perfect – the long table, low lights, acres of books and framed prints just all work wonderfully.

Industrial chic kitchen with black units and white painted brick wall

This diddy kitchen maximises the limited space with sea green units and cream framed windows. The light streams in and what is essentially a corridor looks inviting.

Gally kitchen in a sea green with cream and lots of glass

A shelf window allows a plentiful supply of herbs. Lovely wooden counter tops and painted units make washing up less of a chore.

Wooden worktops with grey cupboards and potted herbs around the window

And finally, another flash of yellow! You can never underestimate the power of a lick of paint. Enjoy.

Yellow painted unit in a bohemian kitchen

The Writing’s on the Wall

When I was little a had a lovely bedroom, with an engaging freeze of alphabet letters all around my tiny room. For some reason I started reminiscing about my little room of peach and grey with Laura Ashly floral wallpaper, and it got me thinking, what alphabet options do we have for nurseries today? Oh and there really are some beauties! Take a look at my favourites…

I love this idea, alphabet cards pegged on a line! Fun colours too.

Illustrated alphabet cards hung in a children's room

I would love to illustrate my own!

Colourful abc pegged up in children's room

Make it monochrome with black and white wallpaper and lovely doodles.

Blackboard style wallpaper with illustrations and alphabet

You can’t go wrong with squidge, grey crocheted letters that are huggably good.

ideal for a nursery, grey crochet alphabet

Anything with an embroidery hoop I love, these appliqué letters are no exception.

Embroidery hoop framed abc

For a more neutral take, I love the white letters acting as a freeze.

Rain drop vinyl, hot air baloon, loly pop art and alphabet white wooden letter freeze in children's room

Or perhaps something like this, a white chest of draws up-cycled to be tactile fun.

Up-cycled draws with white letters

Not technically decor, but aren’t these brilliant? Wooden alphabet blocks with letters and sign language.

wooden blocks with sign language and letters

What a great idea, a giant magnetic letter wall!

Children's letter wall with magnetic letters

Or these lovely draws which have a deep richness with chunky wooden letters varying in size.

Wooden draws with alphabet letters

Creative ways with the alphabet! Nurseries can be such fun.

Kitchen Storage Thats oh so Pleasing

There is something so satisfying about a storage canister, sure call me crazy but they are just so snug, tactile and useful! I have a bizarre mixture at home, orange shiny ones that were my mums, an Orla Kiely ceramic and wood brown one from my sister, cut glass with stoppers and speckled pottery all sit together. Here are a few other kitchen storage jars that I wouldn’t mind clustered on my counter…

These trio are very pleasing, the tactile white ceramic pot is finished nicely with wood and leather lids.

Textured white and wood kitchen containers

For more strokable texture, below are storage pots that came from the Summertime range by Hornsea Pottery,  made between 1962 and 1964.

Retro 60s pottery ribbed white ceramic with navy blue and teal accent colours

These smoky objects are by Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen. The oak lidded bowls come in ceramic, clear and smoky glass. Quite beautiful.

Smoky glass storage jars with glass wooden lids

Lovely and simple, and labelled so no confusion! The minimal text and glossy white vessels works really well. I believe they come in black too, for that gothic kitchen vibe.

Minimal and traditional white ceramic vessels with titles in black

The endlessly pleasing triangle motif wraps around these storage pots. Light wooded lids fit just so.

Light wooden lids with triangle designed rounded pots

A quirky shape and those great 80s colours of grey, yellow and black. I like the cork lids too!

Cork lidded grey, yellow and black storage pots with a funnel shape

Jolly patterned, again with a cork lid, these storage jars look substantial.

African style prints with cork lids

Mango wood lids, a hint of colour through the glaze and twirly knobs! A nod to Arts and Crafts, they would make a happy edition to the home.

Textured pots with wooden lids and mteal knobs

What a pleasing collection! Geometric black lines carve up the white space, all wonderfully different but all working so well together.

Geometirc patterned storage jars

An finally a little neon to brighten the day. That retro Nordic feel sits together with a grounding of grey.

Miss-matched wooden lidded storage pots for the kitchen

Just another opportunity to add some personality to the kitchen!

A Lick of Paint

Painting furniture can cover a multitude of sins. In fact it can be additive, but I think everything in moderation. From chalky blues to geometric hues, painted furniture is here to stay. Here are a few that have captured my gaze this week…

This is where it started, once I clapped eyes on this elegant offering I wanted more. A powder blue sets off the ribs on this little cabinet, flanked by an Eames chair, what more could you want?

Autumn interior with blue painted sideboard

I like the mix with this chest of draws, a wooden front is framed by a chalky blue. The triangular design really catches your attention.

Triangles painted on the side of a wooden cabinet

So simple and so lovely, a kids wardrobe with cascading circles in vibrant orange and blue.

Cascading dots painted on an orange and blue wardrobe

A perfectly chalky chest of draws in ombre shades of pastel pink and and smokey grey.

Pastel pink and grey painted ombre chest of draws

In a bold acid yellow and black illustration, this piece of furniture makes me want to just get out a marker pen and start doodling.

Acid yellow painted piece of funrinure with cool illustration

Or perhaps go for a colour in the kitchen – a rich aubergine covered in, well, just look at that counter top! Undulating well-worn wood bolted on creates the perfect contrast.

Wooden kitchen with purple painted cupboards and huge wooden top

Romantic pink painted draws double as a bed side table. I love the brassy handles paired with the retro radio and lamp.

Pink painted bed side table with brass handles

Neat and tidy, charcoal grey is framed in white with rounded wooden legs in this mid century style cabinet.

charcoal grey, white and wood mid century style cabinet

Van Gogh inspired wardrobe in brilliant blue capturing the majesty of the magnolia tree.

Japanese style magnolia painted blue wardrobe

Love the geometric pattern on this painted chest of draws. The miss-matched handles just add to the cool.

orange, blue, pink, mustard, geometric triangle painted draws

If your taste is little more simple, this white painted cupboard is beautiful with its contrasting black fittings.

White painted wooden wardrobe

The giant blooms painted on this chest of draws really catches the eye. The colours pick out the features of the room beyond.

White and gold flowers painted on a black chest of draws

You could always start small, a gold dipped chair is just really satisfying. Though I would keep the main chair bare wood and dip the top in copper paint, now thats an idea…

Purple and gold chair

Rolling Out The Carpet

Time to consider rugs. I like a wooden floor as much as the next person, and I can go cuckoo for some polished concrete, but in these winter months a rug is what my toes crave. When I visited Morocco a few years ago (how time flies!) the sheer variety of beautiful carpets blew me away. From intense blue intricate motifs to traditional geometric reds. For this Friday afternoon I have collected a few interiors that wear the rug well..

Start with tradition – this is where you would expect to find a rug, in a hallway, but what I love here is the simple palette of naturals with black and white. The rug leads the eye and grounds a white space.

Black and white entry with geometric rug

In a dark interior you need a little comfort, the rich grey/blue walls here are helped along by an ancient-looking berry red rug. I love how it lifts the atmosphere.

Charcole blue walls with floral accents and red worn rug

A large yellow rug (complete with pooch) warms up a cool palette.

Art on the walls, green vase, yellow geometric rug and little dog

Not your traditional bathroom rug but I love the rich red geometric shapes that add interest to a sophisticated space.

Black subway tiles with Persian red carpets in the bathroom

This London home is beautifully put together with a large modern rug that I’d happily shed my shoes for.

A collated space with a large simple black and white rug

More is more in this personalised stairway. Books, art, tiny shoes, and a richly patterned ethnic rug.

Diddy shoes on the stairs, traditional rug and roses in this entry way

This retro room boast a giant yellow sinkable rug that brings the sunshine in.

1970s style lounge with giant soft yellow rug

A mottled grey rug helps with the ‘zoning’ in this living room. The gorgeous landscape on the wall caught my eye too.

Zoning with a modern rug

An intense palette of deep blue, jade green and an eye-popping yellow all come together for a corner-come-office. A pattern rug with a Greek feel neatly fits underfoot.

Yellow accents, deep blue walls and a dark wooden desk

Honeycomb blue fits in nicely to a white washed room with stacks of books and a black leather couch.

Book shelves, black leather coach and a blue modern rug

And to end with a slice of calm, if in doubt go neutral. Layer textures and patterns in similar shades to capture that illusive serenity.

Geometric rug in natural colours with a wooden chair and cushion

I hope you enjoyed this little look down, happy weekend!