Oh dear Lord. Sometimes I really think I belong in another place - aka, England, France, some other part of Europe, etc etc. It's as though my English/Irish Heritage is really catching up to me now, and I simply need to be around these sort of spaces (I won't go into my potential Punjabi heritage here, for that would only confuse things, although it does explain my constant talk of sunshine and heat...).
I love this house. The materiality really gets me. And the light. I'm such a sucker for a warm, sunny little space, I can't help it, it just appeals so naturally to my inner sun lizard. This house, however, has more than mere sunlight. It has a lot. The planning is careful and yet generous, no-where attempting to squeeze in too much, yet never forgetting anything. Within its little footprint, the house offers a genuine sense of space, openness, and repose.
Last week we walked the dogs in a different part of town, and as usual, this meant that I spent most of the time snooping at all of the houses that up until this point I'd not been past slowly enough to look at in any great detail. This particular street is one of the best in Newcastle in terms of its physical location and the wondrous vistas it carries both northward across the city of Newcastle and its beautiful beaches, and southward towards the national parks that inhabit this stretch of coast just south of Merewether.
Upon this walk I came across a house I'd never noticed before - I don't know how, except to say that perhaps it sits much more quietly on the street than many of the others, who tend to demand attention. Anyway, it was a lovely old Spanish revival place, just in the midst of being very delicately renovated, and had the most beautiful, traditional, semi-circular terracotta roof tiles (alongside other lovely considerations). There are so many poor (ugly) examples of terracotta roof tiles here in Australia that these ones seemed to so clearly describe why indeed we started using them in the first place. It's like a lot of things I suppose, being that the original is often so much more simple, elegant, and admirable than its later, watered-down imitators.
This month, I'm back to sunny Brisbane, probably because the cold has now thoroughly set in here in NSW and with winter being my least favourite time of year (save for the novelty of dressing in lovely big coats), I feel an innate need to plant my mind somewhere characteristically warm and bright.
Indeed, this is another contemporary Queenslander; a space which bounces between inside and out, constantly eroding the edge between both, so that at any moment the architecture might slip into the guise of landscape and vice versa. This is such a clever approach to contemporary living for many reasons, but the most pragmattic (and as it happens, environmentally sustainable) is that it genuinely negates the relevance of sprawling square meterage, allowing for a smaller overall footprint, therefore inciting lower quantities of construction materials and a lessened overall environmental impact. It also leaves more room for grass, trees, and fresh air - what's not to like?!
In 1965, Bunny and Paul Mellon built and decorated this incredible slice of French paradise designed by architect H. Page Cross in the heart of New York. The pair had a formidable sense of style and grace, owning several stunning estates, all of whom continue to exude the most enviable sense of warm and comfortable sophistication. The interiors of their Manhattan townhouse are the result of serious collaboration between several heavy weight designers, including [but not limited to] Paul Leonard, William Strom, John Fowler, Bruce Budd, and Bunny herself. The house is not only architecturally wonderful, but full of the character that years of collected art and furniture bring to a space. It really is a sight to be seen, and when I stumbled across the house via Architectural Digest and Sotherby's real estate (up for sale for the at once ludicrous and yet absolutely deserved and dignified $43M) I fell into the world of late 20C New York interior design, and to be honest I would rather never retreat... Ahh, if only!
I'm not sure why it's taken me quite so long to feature this colour; it is one of my personal favourites (you might recongnise it on this website!) and a wonderfully versatile shade. Eau de Nil is inherently restful and calming, evocative of the seaside, pristine springtime flowers, and fresh morning dew. It works with so many varying interior styles precisely because of this broad reference base. And despite its beautiful watery blue-green lustre, it really is almost a neutral, and so can sit comfortably as a backdrop to many interior settings. Furthermore, Eau de Nil is ractually more of a colour palette than an individual hue - ranging from fresh greens to watery blues - and can therefore be applied in any one of its incarnations as suited to your space.