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7 posts from July 2007

23 July 2007

Design Chatter

I am indebted to Becky for pointing out that Season 2 of Design Star was starting over on HGTV

Sadly, I didn't have the pleasure of watching Season 1, but already I can tell that it's the Paris Hilton of TV design shows, which of course means that I'm already completely hooked.

The prize is a contract to host a design show on HGTV, which means that interior design skills come second to 'personality'.  Which is always a dangerous concept in America. 

I predict the winner will be one of this bunch

  • metro-hippy Josh - sweet, environmentally friendly, extremely easy on the eye and the only male contestant who wasn't camper than a row of tents
  • queen of mean Neeraja (look how she's already got the best chair in the middle of the group) - who didn't remotely try to be sweet and nice for the viewers and thus earned my undying admiration
  • skunk-haired Lisa - who seemed grounded, funny and creative, but lost a lot of Paola points for her 'wacky' (yawn) hair.  Loved her homemade wedding dress though.
  • Eva Longori-alike Adriana - who can't possibly be as sweet and nice as she seems
  • Bouncy Kim - mostly because I liked her wavy floor and her energy

Of course the people I think should win reality TV programmes never do. As for Josh Rhinestones - puhlease.  He's at least ten years older than he says he is and the whole rhinestones and chandeliers schtick is as faux as his chinchilla.   

Holly has promised Becky that she will be hosting chats on Decor8.  Or else get a bottle of Bailey's and try Becky's drinking game.


If, on other hand, you're on the lookout for a design discussion with some actual design content, get yourself over to Style Court where Courtney will be hosting an online discussion of The Secret and Extraordinary Lives of Florence Broadhurst.

I've been wanting to read this since it came out, so was jazzed to have an excuse to buy it.



Finally, my weekend was made by the news that the lovely Helen is going to be made an honest woman of at last.  It truly couldn't have happened to nicer people.

21 July 2007

More Rug Insanity

This house is blessed with several acres of wooden floors and not a single carpeted area.  Add the fact that we only possess one smallish and grotty old rug, which is currently in the Minx's toy room,  and you will understand why I'm currently on a rug buying frenzy.

Thanks to Patrick- from-Emma-Gardner's (actually I think he's her husband) very generous discount, the Spray rug is now on order and should be with us in about 20 weeks.

And then he very kindly offered me an even better discount if I wanted to buy more rugs.  What girl could resist?

So, for the main room downstairs,

we've chosen this instead of the Angela Adams rug I blogged about previously. 

I'm hoping the Citron green will fit in with the mood board and the flowers and circles will have a modern feel, without being too bold and overwhelming the room. 

And yes, I know we will soon have to talk about the ugly but extremely comfortable nursing chair between the fireplace and the bookshelf.




picture courtesy of Emma Gardner

We've also chosen a runner for the upstairs landing.  

This is the design we've chosen but have asked for it in custom colours so that it will complement the Spray rug which will be visible in the bedroom.

I do actually like the colours shown here, but thought I should go  go a bit more neutral since we haven't yet decided on the schemes for the kitchen and bathroom.

Here are the four design options I had to choose from.  I think I've made up my mind but am wondering which one you would have chosen.  Remember it's to complement this.







Which one would you choose?

Option 1                             Option 2                            Option 3

Create polls and vote for free.

20 July 2007

Sunjars - free sunshine!

Finally I've photographed the Sunjars and they're now in the shop

Sadly, I have a horrible feeling we're not going to be selling many, unless the weather in the UK improves dramatically.

Which is a shame because they're super cool and I've really been enjoying using our one up on the deck.

You've probably seen them all over the blogosphere, but, just in case you've been having a life instead of reading blogs, they're basically solar-powered frosted Mason jars. 

Apart from the fact that they look great in both a traditional or contemporary setting, I like the fact that they are, by their very nature, both completely waterproof and very portable. And the frosted glass feels smooth and nice.

Anyway, come and get them at mirrormirror, or, if you're too stingy, try out Megan Not Martha's fabulous homemade Sunjar instructions.

Megan came to our Fourth of July party!  That's right, the owner of one of TIME's 50 Coolest Websites for 2006 has been on our deck.  Who says there are no celebrities in Seattle. Of course I hardly got to speak to her, or indeed any of our other guests, because I was hostessing a party . But she seemed very lovely, though sadly was not wearing her Hallowig.

17 July 2007

Ocean Point Inn

Click to enlarge

One day, when the Minx is older and we're not so dependent on the Microsoft shilling, I'll buy a big house somewhere breathtaking, with a beautiful outbuilding to run mirrormirror, an office for the Husband and the space to create a number of gorgeously designed luxury guest suites or cottages, which will incorporate all the best ideas we've come across from groovy boutique hotels around the world.

Which is sort of what the two guys who run Ocean Point Inn on the north Oregon coast have done.  Their contemporary beachfront house incorporates a number of suites which they've designed and decorated themselves to reflect all the best ideas they've encountered on their travels. 

Design details we loved included

- Primary coloured furniture on the beach - a contemporary orange bench and brightly-coloured Adirondack chairs

- glassybabies to match the decor by the bed (the whole of the Pacific North West is glassybaby crazy it seems)

- black and white photos of the locality on canvas blocks on the walls

- a stylish and practical white leather convertible bed/sofa.  The Minx, who has hitherto been confined to her cot (keeps her out of trouble) loved her Big Girl Bed to bits. May have to make changes at home.

- cool, contemporary loungers - the sort I wanted to buy for the deck (though, to be truthful, not quite as comfortable as the ones we ended up with)

- a firepit overlooking the beach

Altogether one of the most thoughtfully-appointed rooms we've ever stayed in, which goes to prove that sometimes you just can't beat the personal touch.

Despite a horrendous trip down (it was Friday 13th after all) featuring the death of the car's power-steering, rushing round to hire a rental car, lost jewellery, unbelievably awful peak hour traffic, a traffic standstill due to a major accident and finally a speeding ticket, we had the most wonderful and relaxing weekend.  I just wished we'd booked for several weeks.

Possibly the most photogenic place on the planet

Arch Cape, near Cannon Beach, North Oregon coast.

Dr Ted, my friendly neighbourhood torturer chiropractor, has insisted that I give him a credit for suggesting that we come here in the first place.  Which I am doing because he's not someone you want to get on the wrong side of.  I  think perhaps he needs to update his blog...

10 July 2007

The Sun and 'the Mountain'

Or how to make any readers in the UK REALLY hate you...

When we were despairing of ever seeing the sun again as it poured with rain throughout the winter, I would call Seattle a 'godforsaken land' and people would nod their heads sagely and say 'just wait until summer - that's the reason we're all here'. 

And I would look all these Californians in the eye (Seattle is full of Californians) and wonder if they were indeed stark, staring mad.

Gig Harbor

But now I know the truth, in summer the Pacific North West really is God's own country.  Temperatures around 27 degrees, gentle cooling breezes, no humidity, sunshine sparkling on the water and mountains glistening in all directions. 

In particular Mt Rainier, the symbol of Washington State, and its very own huge volcano, can be seen towering above the landscape wherever you go.  In winter it is mostly completely invisible behind a thick pall of grey cloud - I didn't see it at all for the first two months I was here - and there's always a frisson of excitement whenever 'the Mountain' is 'out' (as they say round these parts). 

It's just so enormous and so very beautiful.

  Tacoma Narrows Bridge

From the I-5

And here's a pic I took from the Space Needle in February so you can get a bit of a sense of scale.

Apologies for recent lack of bloggery.  Shockingly life just gets in the way sometimes.

We've mostly been playing in the sun. Had a great time with our friends from New Jersey, and our Fourth of July party was a ton of work but a huge amount of fun in the end and cemented some rather tenuous relationships.  I'm just trying to catch up now before we head for the Oregon coast on Friday for a long weekend.  Life is tough sometimes.

04 July 2007

Deck Accessories

Thank you all so much for your comments on the deck.  As for the loungers -  I have decided to embrace their redness and ignore their clunkiness.

So we now we need to talk accessories.

First up, in the spirit of embracing the redness, I was thrilled to get the last two red and white Marimekko Unikko pillows in the sale (found through Decor8).  I know the pattern is everywhere nowadays but I do love it, and I'm hoping they'll look great against the red of the lounge cushions.

Not for the deck, but I also splurged on another couple of Moomin mugs.  I know they're everywhere as well, but we've got Moominpapa and Moominmamma ones from before the Minx was born, so I needed to get another one now we've got a Snork Maiden in the house.

What I'd really like to do of course is get a Unikko Fatboy to go with the cushions.  I'm not sure we have room though, and I'm also not sure I can be bothered to lug it up and down the stairs everytime it rains, which, as you may have noticed, it does here fairly often.  The Minx would love it though.

The next thing we don't have room for, which I'm really, really gutted about, is a hammock.

I was fully intending to get one, and found this, which I REALLY love (possibly in lilac?).  But I just don't see how we can fit it in.  I had a vision of swinging in it at the front of the deck, sipping mojitos and enjoying the view (and trying to ignore the inevitable yells of 'mumm-mmeeeeee' from the Snork Maiden) but the problem is that from everywhere else on the deck all you would be able to see is hammock.

I'm still trying to work out if there's some sort of pole arrangement I can come up with, from which I can hang a hammock on occasion without needing a permanent stand, but I haven't yet been able to think up anything.

The next things I need to source are dining chairs.

In order to alleviate the clunkiness of the loungers a bit, and in the spirit of the Marimekko, I quite fancy a couple of Eames wire chairs, particularly if they're  wearing an ultra-cute 'eamesbikini' (that way at least something on the deck will have a bikini-worthy figure).

Sadly I'm not entirely sure I can get the price-tag past the Husband, even for the repro versions, and I would probably have to commission a hot pink 'bikini'.

Speaking of loungers, these (by Gloster) are what I would have bought, had money been no object.  How very cool are they.

Also cool, in a completely different way are the limited edition artist-designed deckchairs being sponsored by the Royal Parks (found via Designers' Block).

The Damien Hirst canvas is already sold out, not surprising since he is so collectible, but also because it is one of the prettiest ones (much as it pains me to say it since he's such an old charlatan).  Deckchairs are so quintessentially British  - I haven't seen a single one here - that I feel we should have one. Maybe the Sam McEwen one, which I think would look fab with the loungers.

Hirst canvas                                     McEwen canvas

As for lighting, I've just bought some - in the form of these solar-powered deck post lights from er, Home Depot, which look surprisingly nice.  I was hoping we'd have them in situ for the party tomorrow, but it looks like they're not going to arrive in time.

I've also got hold of a tragically hip Sunjar, not just for me, but we'll be selling them on 'mirrormirror' just as soon as I've photographed it and got it online. 

Finally, any idea where I might be able to get a canvas patio umbrella in Lilac??  I think it would be really cool, but can't find a supplier/manufacturer who agrees with me.