Kuba

May 29, 2020

I love this Kuba inspired cloth wallpaper from St. Frank. Kuba cloth is unique to the Congo, and was traditionally used during burials. Later, it was woven into ceremonial dresses worn at dances and other celebrations. St. Frank founder, Christina Bryant has the wallpaper on several surfaces throughout her eclectic NYC home. It looks beautiful behind her hand carved bowls and colourful books and tchotchke.

peony season

May 28, 2020

I spotted my first peony yesterday, and lucky for me, it’s in my neighbour’s front garden which means I get to visit it daily. In a few days, it will have multiplied, and I’ll be greeted by five or six giant pink blooms every morning. In ten days or so, I’ll make my annual pilgrimage to Sussex & Brunswick to gush over the peonies –– white ones, pink ones, plum ones –– planted around this little red brick corner house. I’ll take a million and one photos of the same watermelon pink beauty and send the prettiest ones to all my peony loving pals. And finally, I’ll walk over to my local florist –– my first visit in months –– and buy an enormous bunch of coral peonies for our home. Within days, they’ll be floppy and faint, petals dropping everywhere, but boy, are they worth it.

wheel of colour

May 27, 2020

I love the crispness and possibility of bright, white walls. But that’s not to say I don’t dream of persimmon ones. Or peach ones. Or walls the colour of freshly churned butter. This gorgeous house in Los Angeles has all those colours and more. It’s hard not to love that rich raspberry sitting room, and the various shades of green in that arched throughway are divine. Most of all, I love how all these colours –– rich and decadent –– all come together.

textile me

May 26, 2020

I’m swooning over the table linens, sheets and curtains over at Marigold Living. All handmade in India using ancient hand block printing techniques, the patterns and colours –– blue birds, red flowers and saffon paisleys –– are so rich and whimsical. I love the placemats, especially these pink and orange vines; just imagine how beautiful dinner would look.

common ground

May 26, 2020

I have very few common interests with my son. He loves watching sports. He also likes decimating tiny lego figures. And he’s fascinated with insects, their anatomy and habits. When he quizzes me on NFL players, I perform abysmally. And my urge to turn his ninja warriors into pacifists is no fun for him. Showing interest in another person’s interests is a gesture of love. And to do so authentically, without force or pretence, is true love. It’s not about the interest –– backgammon, basketball or opera –– it’s about the other person’s zest for it. What it means to them. That is what we’re embracing. It brings you joy. And I like seeing you happy. And there’s nothing more infectious than that. I have little interest in my son’s interests, but I have great interest in him.

house and garden

May 22, 2020

On our ravine walks, we often snoop into people’s gardens –– those grand ones with lion statues, manicured lawns and elaborate stone planters filled with purple pansies –– and wonder who lives in such a house. We’ve watched the pools being filled, and Magnolia petals being swept up. We’ve watched hedges being trimmed to perfection. Growing up, my parents had a garden so big that a game of hide and seek could last all day. I remember that there were rose bushes and trees to climb, and a woodsy, path that always felt a bit Brothers Grimm. Fourty fourty was our absolute favourite game to play, and the home base was always a huge tree that stood near the back of the house. It wasn’t a grand garden, but it was big, and we had a ton of fun in it. My favourite gardens are the most natural ones, whimsical and wild, and I love English flower gardens. That said, I’d take my own a pool over a sprawling garden any day; tuck it in among trees and plants a plenty, and I’m in heaven.

cucina, cucina

May 22, 2020

I’ve looked at a lot of kitchens this year. I’ve thought about corian versus caesarstone, brass taps versus stainless steel, gas versus electric. I’ve looked at dozens of shades of white oak, white paint, and more pulls, knobs and levers than you can imagine. I’ve thought about farmhouse sinks and integrated ones, and I’ve thought about the pros and cons of a concrete one. I’ve thought about open shelving versus closed cabinets. I’ve thought about appliances and where they go. I’ve even measured my dinner plates. What I know about kitchens, is that we make them work, even when they don’t make sense. In fact, we get so used to their impracticalities and imperfections, that we don’t even notice them. The fridge in our rental juts out, and needs a big push to make sure it’s closed. There is no counter space. Our old kitchen on Robert Street was totally lopsided, had little counter space, and was a theme park for rodents. The kitchen in the first home Jason and I shared hadn’t been updated in over thirty years, (the ceiling eventually caved in, literally) and our tiny galley kitchen in Florence provided barely enough space to boil an egg. But I have gotten used to each and every one, and I have loved each and every one. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how it will feel to live in a kitchen that is as beautiful, and as thoughtfully designed as the one we’re moving into. Wonderful, no doubt. But I’ll always love the higgledy piggledy, makes-no-sense, jam-packed-with-charm kitchens that came before.

marty

May 21, 2020

I watched Back to the Future with my daughter the other day, and now I’m all about Marty McFly’s high waisted jeans and braces. You know what, throw in the tattered Nike’s and that two-tone denim jacket, as well. I love it all. He was such a dream boat in that film –– sweet and kind — and just enough of a trouble maker to tussle that baby soft hair.

land and see

May 20, 2020

I’ve always had a fascination with land art, Richard Long’s ephemeral line in a Wiltshire field, to more permanent installations like Andy Goldsworthy’s massive red sandstone arches in Scotland. This morning, I looked at images of Robert Smithson‘s Spiral Jetty, and how much its changed since it was created in 1970. Built during a drought, out of mud, salt, crystals, basalt and dirt, the Spiral Jetty measures 1500 feet long and stretches far out into the Great Salt Lake. For 30 years, the work remained fully submerged, due to a rise in water levels. A drought in 2004 meant it could re-emerge. The New York Times called it, “the most famous work of American art that almost nobody has ever seen in the flesh.” Smithson –– who died in a plane crash three years after he built it –– described the work as, “the edge of the sun, a boiling curve, an explosion rising into a fiery prominence.” How all these works connect with the land around them, whether they stand out or blend in, (or in this case, completely disappear) and the extent to which they’re affected by changing conditions, is what makes them interesting. For Smithson, the idea of entropy was at the core of this project, and all his work. Natural decay is part of the piece, and what renders it, and all land art, transient. But as long as the land exists, so will, in some form, the art that is built upon it. “Entropy is a condition that is moving toward a gradual equilibrium,” said Smithson. Eventually, land and art are one.

May 19, 2020

Lake Natron in Tanzania is vermillion red, and hellishly hot. The water’s alkalinity is so high that human skin would sizzle and burn upon contact. Animals that enter the lake die and morph into calcified sculptures of their former selves. Except flamingos. A breed of flamingo, the lesser flamingo, flourishes in this lake. These breathtaking images are shining proof of it. The bird’s tough skin and scales protect them from burning, and leave them free to frolic in the lake, and drink the boiling water from the springs and geysers that surround it. I have a soft spot for Flamingos, they’re wildly beautiful, whimsical and jaunty, so the idea of thousands and thousands of them gathered in one spot, is swooney.

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