29 November 2009

Today's Bondi Market Find - Carpets for Communities

Desperate for a new bathmat! I needed a new rug for the bathroom. While my white mat looked great when it was clean, it was hardly ever clean. So, I needed something with a bit more colour that wouldn't look too gaudy in our already bright bathroom (can't always get what you want in a rental unit).

At Bondi Markets today I stumbled across these hand hooked cotton rugs made by families in Cambodia.

Carpets for Communities is a not for profit whose goal is to reduce child labor and vulnerability to child trafficking by empowering mothers to send their children to school through the production and sale of one-of-a-kind, hand-hooked carpets.

You even get a photo of the family who made your rug and you can take a photo and post it to their website so they can also share it with the family who made it. Ok, that's all I needed to hear to put my hand in my pocket. What a great idea!

Check them out. They even make customised rugs to order and weren't that expensive. And, while they are a little bright, they are actually really soft and fluffy underfoot.

27 November 2009

Friday Feature - Coolest Apartment on Earth

Could you live here? I came across environmental grafitti recently and I loved this post. So I decided that every Friday I am going to find and feature a new apartment that competes in the coolest/ wierdest/ most amazing place to live stakes. It will be my own "Coolest Apartment on Earth" listing. I hope you like it.

So for crazy apartment #1, lets look at the wilde featured on Friedensreich Hundertwasser's "Waldspirale" ("Forest Spiral") apartment block.

There is something very Antonio Gaudi about it (my favourite architect of ALL TIME of course) which is probably why I like it. Some of the things that make it special - those crazy onion shaped domes, apparently no wall is straight (very Gaudi), quite organic - very Art Noveau. But the bit I like best is the roof garden. Today it would be called an 'eco-roof' or a 'green roof'. It not only provides a great aesthetic but also can we used for energy production and food production. Check out these 8 incredible green roofs!! That brings me onto one of my other favourite topics of wall gardens - but I digress.

There are 105 glorious apartments in this structure which winds its way like a spiral. Aparently there is a landscaped courtyard in the centre with a running stream. Up in the turret at the southeast corner, there is a restaurant, including a cocktail bar! You'd never need to leave home? The building was constructed from 1998 - 2000.

So how would I rate this building
* Innovation = 8
* Eco-friendly = 9
* Facilities = 6
* Aesthetic = 5 (its a little ugly by my standards outside - would like to see inside)
* Cool Factor = 5.
* Total score = 33/50.

Could I live here? Maybe if it wasn't in Darmstadt Germany!!

23 November 2009

Beresford Hotel - amazing what $30 million will buy!

Carolyn and I ventured out for a girlie chit chat dinner last night and we chose the Beresford Hotel because I'd heard it had a swanky facelift from the days that I remembered. Well, facelift is an understatement - this was a total reconstruction!!

On the outside it looks like any other Surry Hills pub and to be honest, the bar just looks like any other (though according to the indesignlive website, it is a one of a kind curved dovetail bar!!). All I know is that it was crowded and took ages to get a drink. However, its the little things that catch your eye (until you've had one glass of wine too many and it all just blurs into a noisy, dark hum). What I liked the most was the lamps in the restaurant over the dinner table that could be pulled and moved to point in different directions - like a pipe cleaner. You can kind of see them in the photo below:

We also scored a free bottle of wine from the drunken Beresford accountant who was friendly enough and chatted to us about the $30 million interior reconstruction that sent the original owners broke.

The food was pretty good - Italian fare. I was starving after my run and wolfed down my mulloway with record speed. Carolyn savored her twice cooked chicken maryland (go figure) which was absolutely delicious and falling off the bone - I couldn't resist poking her plate while she was talking.

All up I would recommend it - definitely from a design perspective as there are some really cool features like the bathrooms (communal sink area), beautiful break neck wooden staircase and huge outdoor courtyard, fabulous wooden floors, the lamps (which I have mentioned) and olive oil containers with this little lid with the salt on top.

Spend some time looking at the no expense spared detail as its first class, very cool and Thomas Jacobsen chic. Worth a night out venture. I can't believe its taken me so long to go there!

20 November 2009

Swedish Design

Great post on Decor8 about Swedish Design which then led me to Emma's blog from Stockholm - also full of great inspirational homes and images. I am going retro furniture hunting today. I haven't pottered around the Bondi furniture store lately. They often have some good stuff if you really poke around. Check out this hus & hem photo stream. My favourite is the blue one 2nd down - not so much the colour, though I like that it is bold, but more the way the room is styled.

Karen M. Andersen: Studio Tour - part 1

OK well I am reasonably new to this blogging thing so I am sniffing around looking for interesting bits and bites. One thing led to another and I ended up here on Karen Anderson's blog checking out her studio. It feels a little like cyber spying and I guess it is. Its a very cool looking little studio might I add. I love the personality and home made bits and bobs. Quite retro yet modern style with the aqua and red colour palette. Very cool. A few snaps that I particularly liked are below. Nice one karen. (not sure if you know that I am out here but hey, that's newbie bloggers for you!

Karen M. Andersen: Studio Tour - part 1

Check your Interior Style Personality @ ISCD

ISCD - my old interior design school - has released a dinky little interior style personality tool. Its quite fun just for a laugh. Apparently I am New York Loft (I think I got a different result once before, so clearly I am fickle). It says I am a trendsetter!!! I like a high ceiling (true), and an open plan (depends) and my style is distinctive and ever evolving (hmm - have to think about both of those). I believe the built environment is more spectacular than the natural one (FALSE).

Makes for a good magazine cover though. Check it out!! Or visit the ISCD blog.

16 November 2009

Fluffy Life Size Sheep Sculpture

While I am on the topic of sculpture, I have to add a link to this post on apartment therapy about the Lalanne sheep. Crazy. Who would put a life size sheep in their home? I can maybe understand as a foot stool, but I'm not so sure. Personally I wouldn't recommend it, but maybe if you lived in country nsw??

15 November 2009

Sculpture By the Sea Inspiration

I battled the crowds and made it to Sculpture by the Sea this weekend, my personal favourite being Morpheus, a kinetic sculpture by the very clever kiwi artist Phil Price:

It inspired me to write my first blog post on sculpture in the home. All too often we buy paintings to liven up a room, but there is nothing like a little bit of 3D to add new dimension to a space. The main problem is that sculptures typically don't come cheap. So where is the best place to buy them?

Looking at the price tags on the weekend, the cheapest sculpture you would want to buy for your home started around the $1500 mark, but these were pretty small so depending on your room they would not make a huge statement. I think it you are going to spend good money on artworks you want it to make an impact. The winning sculpture by May Barry was certainly eye popping in term of size and would look amazing in the right location, probably a commercial building, along with a commercial price tag of around  $130,000.

So I started thinking, what happens to all these sculptures that don't sell? Sculpture by the Sea is not the only exhibition or art prize. There are a whole bevvy of community run sculpture awards and exhibitions, just check the Sculpture Society's website for more details.

There are also amateur sculpture classes held in many community colledges around Australia which run annual exhibition of students work. Visit the Tom Bass Sculpture School in Erskinville Sydney which incidentally is running its 36th student exhibition on the 13th December 2009.

But the best place I know to buy affordable sculptures and ornaments for the home is in Bali. On a recent trip I was over-whelmed at the quality of home products available. Sure, there are the typical street sellers of sandstone, limestone and clay sculptures (which to be honest for $100 or so make a fabulous garden ornament)

or there is the more sophisticated Upnormal stainless steel sculptures in Seminyak. Wow, are these sculptures unusual. They don't come cheap, but they certainly make an impact.

So my tip? When you next plan a holiday to Bali, make sure you pick up a few sculptures. As long as you ship more than 1 cubic metre, its pretty affordable and you will end up with something that looks fabulous. But if you can't make it to Bali, check out the various local artists around town and support the community.

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