Friday, 21 November 2014

space: Thomas O'Brien's country living room

Designer Thomas O'Brien has a country home in Long Island, called The Academy, built in 1833 as a school for boys. In the 1920s it was extended and turned into a residence. O'Brien bought the house in 2000 and renovated it. The living room, also a dining area, is the school's original classroom, a space all mismatched and disconnected when O'Brien bought the house. He has turned it into a beautiful living room, using a central table to divide it, and opening it into the front hallway. The house is featured in a book written by the designer, American Modern (one of the favourites on my coffee table), which shows many angles of this space and various details. The styling of the space is what interests me the most; the mixing of vintage modern furniture and arrangement of decorative objects. I like how O'Brien uses trays for both books and decorative objects. It's a detail you will often come across in his work and something that I have borrowed from him. If you think about it, usually dining tables have a bowl or some other piece in the centre. By using trays instead you can add more life to a dining table and the trays are easily removable when you need the table for entertaining.
What I also like about the space is the fact that the television is not a central piece, but nests in a built-in bookcase in one corner. If there is anything that makes my design heart ache nowadays, it's how most people seem to push a sofa as close up against a wall as possible with a TV on an opposite wall, as if their entire world evolves around the telly. I don't mean to offend anyone but if the television is the first piece you notice when you walk into your living room then I suggest you either rearrange it or throw the TV out. I'm just saying.

Have a wonderful weekend!

photo credit:
Laura Resen for the book American Modern by Thomas O'Brien, published by Abrams

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Scicluna Deli, Doncaster

I just got back home and perhaps you have already seen these photos on Instagram but I just had to share them here as well. We had to run some errands in the city and my husband took a wrong turn, so we ended up in a different parking lot. He realised he didn't have enough coins so he went to get some change. It was then that he stumbled upon the Scicluna Delicatessen in the centre of Doncaster, just around the corner of Market Place, where the old restored Corn Exchange building stands (it houses the Doncaster Markets that have been there since the 1870s). I love buying nuts and grains in bulks so this shop was heaven-sent! And yes, they sell coffee too.
Just recently we have been looking for items in the grocery stores in the area that we need for certain oriental dishes that we like preparing. We had no luck and talked about the need to find an Indian or any oriental market in the area. We found it all in the Scicluna Deli this morning. My brain was actually too busy registering the variety of products in there and I couldn't remember half of the things we needed. There was a wall covered with bags of spices that had names that I haven't even seen before. What I'm trying to say here is that I love this deli. It's officially my favourite shop in the city and I'm returning soon … with a shopping list!

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt (snapped with my tablet)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Christmas 2014 with Holmegaard

In case it escaped you, I'm getting into the holiday mood early this year. After lunch today I'm even attending my first Christmas Fair this season. I'm so excited! I'm not the type who stresses over the Christmas preparation; I think once you have established a holiday tradition it's just about getting the things you need in time (I'm not a fan of last-minute shopping). I also keep things minimal, as I don't like decorating excessively. Many people find it a dilemma to buy presents, especially for people who have everything, and they can end up spending hours going from shop to shop in search of simply anything. For me that's history and a waste of valuable time. When it comes to such presents I like the idea of establishing a tradition as well.

To give you an example, some time ago I started giving one important person in my life an item from the Holmegaard Christmas Collection. Holmegaard is a Danish company that has created beautiful glassware since 1825. I don't know which year they started their holiday range but every year they add new motifs. I'm always excited to see what they will offer and once they introduce it I take some time to let the pieces grow on me until I decide which one to get. In the process usually all the items end up on my wish list!
• Looking for inspiration for the holidays? Check out my Christmas | jól board on Pinterest

photo credit:

Monday, 17 November 2014

outdoor living

Outdoor living is a series on the blog that contains stylish outdoor living areas and sometimes al fresco table settings. It's about celebrating being outdoors all year round!
This morning when I opened our front door I was in awe of the autumn colours; I wish the leaves could stay this way until spring. It reminded me of the sunny autumnal mood in this photo, of a terrace in the Hamptons, NY. I certainly wouldn't mind enjoying a moment there with a book and a latte.

I hope your week is off to a good start. I'll be back on Wednesday.

photo credit:
Simon Watson for House & Garden, November 2005 via Architectural Digest