I think anyone that has renovated, built or decorated a house will understand that the entire act of doing so involves much patience. Things take time and the saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" is pretty apt, even if your ambitions do not extend to a Rome- like scale of construction.


Little finishing touches are gradually dribbling into my house, in some cases things I ordered a very, very long time ago and have been patiently waiting upon. I was very excited to finally receive a box of light fittings and lamps from Circa Lighting in the US. I ordered these lights back in November last year, so it's been quite a process. Two were back ordered, which delayed the entire shipment, and then I elected to have them sent by Sea, as air freight more than doubled the cost of the actual light fittings. After the backward and forward between the Customs agent, paying duty and GST and then waiting for the freight to Adelaide (they landed in Brisbane), finally on Thursday they arrived. There are 10 light fittings, but like almost anything this wasn't just a case of unpacking and putting them out - there is much tweaking involved, so it's going to be a few weeks until they're all properly in their homes. 


Two of the lights were these buffet lamps, which go in our dining area. I needed something slender here so that the painting wouldn't be blocked (The painting is called "The Art of Patience", so was an apt title for this blog post), and wanted something to add more light to the sideboard table top for when I serve meals off it. These striated and gilded metal lamps work really well here with their little rectangular shades.


The biggest batch of light fittings go into the library/ sitting room. One is a bracelet lamp in gilded metal for the drinks table. It echoes the squiggles in the curtains well, and gives a good contemporary feel to offset the more traditional aspects of this room.



The other light fitting goes on the Regency card table under the painting, and here you can see where a tweak is needed - the painting has to move up higher so that the light doesn't block it (this wasn't a surprise -I had already known this would be the case). Later this week I will be receiving the two chairs I ordered in the fabric I showed a couple of blog posts ago, so I'll wait until they're in position and then rehang the painting so it all balances well.  This light fitting is more traditional in feel, but I felt this would work better with the chairs that are coming as they are more modern with the fabric choice. It's all a bit of a balancing act.


The next four light fittings are the picture lights that are going in the centre of each of the bays of the bookcase to shine down over the books. I'm now waiting on my electrician for this - unfortunately it's going to be a couple of weeks until he's able to get here. No matter, while I would have liked this done straight away, I do have to (still) put in the metal grilles at the base cupboard of the shelves, and fix the knobs on as well… and finish styling the bookcase. So I can get on with all of that in the meantime.


So this room is almost at a point where I'd call it finished. My cushions are still to arrive for the armchairs (they've taken a backseat with my cushion lady as I asked her to complete client jobs as a priority), and I'm yet to buy a bigger mirror for over the fireplace, but it's pretty much complete.

The other two lamps are for our bedside tables, and require artwork to move up as well, and also to have new shades made - the ones that came with the lamp are very creamy/pink and don't work well with the more linen cream colour of our fabrics in that room. I'll show pics once it's all sorted.


The other thing that was exciting was that the rug I ordered for our casual living area back in February arrived - this is a photo of it on the day I rolled it out and before the furniture had been properly placed. It's from The Rug Establishment, and is a spotty/ wavy design. I wanted to break up the strict geometry in this space - too many squares. It also introduces a little colour in an otherwise neutral room. In real life (as opposed to my terrible photographs) it's a little more subtle in colour than this appears in the photos. I'm getting on with finishing this area off now - there are eventually going to be two more armchairs to complete the seating, and I have to commit to a few lamps and sort out the final resting place for the tv as well.

Aside from those things around the house, life has been busy - hence no blog posts. There have been two birthdays for my two youngest who have turned 5 and 7.


One very large party, one small family afternoon tea, the Royal Flying Doctor's Wings for Life ball (I help to organise this on the Volunteer Committee with 4 others each year)

my ball updo - was going for a 60's feel

I've been busy with work, and we've had a minor flood. Mr AV's study flooded after the new sump pump in the light well failed on a night we had half our monthly rainfall - it has been very wet in Adelaide this Autumn. Carpet had to be ripped up and disposed of, blowers put on the slab and general chaos for a week and a half with bits of his furniture upstairs until it's all sorted with the new replacement carpet going down yesterday. We were lucky that no furniture, electrical etc was ruined and the damage was fairly minor.

rain rain go away…

This weekend is deliberately quiet - I've spent most of today in the garden tidying up weeding/ cutting things back until the rain has driven me inside and I will try to do the same tomorrow by moving some roses to the back garden from the front - the front garden is about to have a few changes made to it. Tonight we will have pizza and board games with the kids in front of the fire… a quiet domestic weekend. Bliss!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend too.
Hello, apologies for my silence - May is a busy month in our house, and if I look back over the past 2 years of blog posts they've always been a bit light on.

But I've had a bit of a binge on design books lately, so thought I'd write up my new books, some of which are new on the market, and some that are older.


Nicky Haslam's book propped with standard blogger- issue Macaron 

First up in the Interiors category there is Nicky Haslam "A Designer's Life". I have to say that I love all Nicky's previous books, and he is in my estimation one of the premiere Interior Designers in the world, so I did have high expectations with this book. But they were met - absolutely beautiful photography, interesting projects and lots of well written text explaining his approach to design and some of the clever tricks he employed to create the spaces. I think the reason why his design resonates with me is that he approaches Interiors rather like set decorating. Lighting is of prime importance, he plays with scale a lot, and uses everyday objects in inventive ways - not every piece of furniture/ object deserves a place in a Sotheby's catalogue. One example is using those plastic eagles that are supposed to scare off pigeons in his apartment after spray painting them white. He uses a lot of techniques to draw the eye and distract from less desirable features or problems. It's a good book.


Anouska's yacht

Another Interior Designer that uses theatre techniques is Anouska Hempel, and her book is equally interesting. She has a very strict aesthetic (I think her schemes are instantly recognisable as being her design) with a lot of influence from the East (probably growing up in Australia and travelling through Asia has had a lasting impression). Her use of lighting is also very theatrical - lots of up lighters and down lights, candles etc, and screens (quite an Asian influence with her use of them) to create mystery and intimacy in large spaces. She also uses a lot of black - black walls are not uncommon in her schemes. All very moody and theatrical. Anyone familiar with her background knows that Blakes, her boutique hotel that launched a thousand boutique hotels after it, has a very distinctive style, and that is trademark Hempel.



Moving onto gardens - the first book I was excited to get my hands on was Bunny Williams "On Garden Style". It was a disappointment. It's possibly a must read if you're creating a garden in the Northern Hemisphere (like, say, Connecticut )… but I think that any of Paul Bangay's design books are more informative and better from a how-to design perspective, as he is after all formally educated in these areas, as well as having years of experience with vast ranges of climate, soil type, plants etc. This book is really very place centric, and gives a lot of information on how she created her garden which doesn't necessarily translate well to anything else.


Highgrove, which is a book about Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales' garden is beautiful and is full of luscious garden photos. It explains how the garden has developed over the past 35 years showing photos of before and after and throughout the seasons, with discussion on the Prince's garden preferences, focus on organics, permaculture, the different designers who have worked on it etc etc.



The last garden book was Myles Baldwin's "Period Gardens - landscapes for houses with history". I loved this book. It looks at house styles in broad periods (e.g. Victorian/ 1920's etc) and discusses the design styles that were popular with that type of house. I'm planning a few tweaks to the front garden now that the children are not playing there so much (as they now have a large back garden post renovation), and this book resonated with me enormously. Essentially, I'd like my front garden to look like the cover, with a mix of textured plants and interesting foliage which was a hallmark of the Colonial Victorian style of garden design.


Lastly, Architecture. I thought this book looked interesting "The Practice of Classical Architecture, the Architecture of Quinlan and Francis Terry" and it was one of the more thought provoking things I've read about Architecture for a long time. Classical Architecture is largely out of favour with modern Architects, and certainly in most Architectural degree courses the world over it is completely frowned upon in favour of the Modernist style (which ironically is around 70 years old now). Much of our new design is built with lifespans of 50 years only due to the materials used (glass, aluminium and concrete which degrade). The shock of the new alongside the old is celebrated and Architects that design in this style are feted by the Architectural elite (Gehry, Foster et al). I have written before of my Design Schizophrenia - I think I'm a classicist at heart, but there is a definite push/ pull with modern design for me, much of which I was indoctrinated with at University where Classicism is definitely frowned upon (as I wrote when doing my renovation design of my house I'd never designed a pitched roof before as you're not taught it at University and unless you work extensively in domestic Architecture for a practice that does pitched roofs you're not going to pick it up. This is but one example).


This book discusses the importance of Vernacular design (Vernacular meaning place appropriate - a style particular to the area that responds to climate/ historical influences such as patterns of settlement/ and constructed out of locally available materials). A lot of modern Architecture could be placed anywhere in the world - a glass box in Australia could be placed in America, could be placed in the UK, yet conversely we are told that this is more 'honest' that a mock Victorian (for instance) building that might be of a style that fits in with surrounding design. The stripping out of ornamentation (it is most definitely frowned upon at University design classes), and the cheapening of building materials were discussed… I found this book so interesting and thought provoking. The buildings they create are authentically period appropriate, and are masterpieces of their type. If you love Georgian architecture then this book is full of amazing houses they've designed and built for people all over the world. Lord Rothermere's house Ferne Park is one that has been extensively featured in print and is a pretty remarkable place in terms of the amount of authentic detail that has gone into it (a good article about it was written by The Devoted Classicist here). But even if you're not fond of Georgian Architecture the text raised many interesting points on the future of Modern Architecture and Architectural theory.

So I think that's a long winded enough book review from me… happy reading!
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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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