Two go mad in Dorset

l love a bit of spontaneity, so when a friend invited me at the last-minute on a trip to Swanage in Dorset I jumped at the chance for a weekend away by the sea-side enjoying great company and also this years sensational sunshine. It was a treat to get out of London and into to some fresh air and was I in for a surprise?  I have never been to this part of England before so to soak up the sea front view after a long drive having dinner in a roof top restaurant with a very cool glass of wine was absolutly perfect. Then pinch me if you will but Swanage is packed with vintage shops, junk shops and some every good charity shops. Also plenty of artist selling ceramics along with regular shops selling very stylish home wears for less than what I would pay in London. Therefore most of Saturday was a lot of fun meeting shop keepers and artists.

Lunch of a crab sandwich and half a pint of pimms in near by Corfe Castle which we got to by old school steam train. A trip down memory lane albeit I was a very small child when the steam trains were replaced in my home city of Leeds. But there is such an air of romance about going back our childhood.

Armed with gifts and 1970’s ceramics and a host of new contacts for furniture and interior design ideas we grab a glass of cider and a pasty and continue to make friends in the pub. I felt like I had travelled a million miles away, it’s not so far to get to but the experience takes you back in time.

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Shops that I loved

https://www.chillibythesea.co.uk/quirky

https://www.antiques-atlas.com/smithsvintage/

http://www.boilerhousegallery.co.uk

A Very Talented Woman

 

Meet my friend Amanda, a super cool woman and great friend to have.

Back in the 80’s when I was a fashion student at Jacob Kramer art college in Leeds Amanda was studying fine art at Leeds Poly.  It was decades later when we actually met, when our kids were all at primary school together. The first time Amanda came to my home she saw a piece of her art work that I had bought years before.  Kind of cosmic  I think. Our kids were not in the same classes, we just met through other friends and here we are many years later happily walking our dogs and sharing our interest in creativity often over tapas in Tooting Market, London.

Like many working mum’s, getting the work life balance is not even a consideration when the kids are young. There really isn’t time to think about what you might do for yourself when you have to do so much for everyone else. But much to our surprise we slowly start to reemerge from under the pile of laundry and washing up, post exams and teen angst to observe that the little people have become bigger and better versions of themselves and can more or less get on without you doing it all for them.

I was thrilled when Amanda started to re-connect to her natural creativity and carve out time to work on her own art again. I know from my own experience that brushing the dust off  our previous life is exhilarating but it can also be scary. No matter how successful we have been in the past, and with all that life experience that has brought us to this present moment, we will invariably feel vulnerable starting out again and putting ourselves on show.

I have seen Amanda go from creating small pieces and gift cards to bigger canvases full of colour and texture. Paintings that demand you stop and immerse yourself in the moment, taking time to experience the enjoyment of engaging with something original Something that someone has taken time to create.

In our world of instant fixes, works of art can be reproduced quickly and can be a colourful accessory to a room, picked up cheaply in the supermarket without much consideration to any aspect of where it has come from.  For me original art is there to enhance my need to be connected to colour, texture, themes that excite me and to be motivated by. Original art holds the energy of the artist even if you never know who created the work you will have a visceral connection to it. The art work that catches our attention takes you on a journey, it evokes memories and cultivates desire.

To live with anything less than that would be foolish.

We might not be buying but we can enjoy, most artists that I know love to share the inspiration behind their work. I hope you enjoy Amanda’s, she can be found here.

https://www.amandablundenart.com

VINTAGE TEXTILES – reworking prints

I love to live with pattern, print and colour. Layering patterns and textures is visually stimulating but also draws out our desire for being tactile. The love of touch and feel. The print’s that I collect are genuine vintage and most are archived in museums. For me they are an art form from the past, they are a direct link to a time and era. I rework the prints to offer clients and mid-century collectors  accessories that complaint their furniture collections. The fabrics are in good condition, having not been used before. I do not rework something that has been a former curtain but do have a small stock of curtains which are often used in back drops and set designs. I have a shop on Etsy where you can see what I have in stock. https://www.etsy.com/shop/FabulousNelly

Doing the Funky Kitchen

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Part of my down size from a Victorian family house to a small 1930’s apartment meant that I had to trade in my large kitchen, breakfast room which opened out to a sunny garden for a tiny kitchen which opens onto a fire escape. Gone was the large fridge freezer, dish washer and long banks of worktops. Gone too was the endless feeding of small children, having grown now up and living more independently. My initial  anxiety of wondering how we would cope with a small fridge, no dish washer and little space was replaced by embracing the local community extensive choice of food shops, cafe’s and restaurants. The down size was also about buying less food. , reducing waste. I acknowledged that my needs from a kitchen had now changed, what did I need and want? I decided to create something fun. Once again considering the nature of the apartment block which was built for the bright young things of the 1930’s to enjoy this new lifestyle, isn’t this what I was doing?  My mind went towards cocktails and tapas.

I found this glass light fitting at ID furniture and lighting in Crystal Palace, south-east London. This area is great for a weekend mooch. Lots of mid-century retailers here along with the enough little cafe’sconsider any purchases over coffee and cake. Refreshingly this is not a hipster destination, it’s a much more discerning crowd, genuine interest in collecting and enjoying the environment.

Back to the kitchen design.  Rather than have a central light fitting I had this hung over a work top. It instantly makes the kitchen feel less functional and more sensual. I have a lot of down lights under  the wall cabinets which provides much-needed brighter light for cooking when we need it.

The color scheme is 70’s inspired. Lots of time was  spent  looking at shades of  brown and yellow and lots of frowning from people who thought painting a small room in a dark color was mad. That said there is as much white from the units to balance this. The room doesn’t feel cramped  even though its small. The sun pours through the windows late afternoon therefore the Venetian blinds create much-needed shade without compromising on the light. In the evening when the blinds are closed the mustard yellow creates warmth.

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Cute ceramic finds, Lord Nelson salt, pepper and mustard set, found again in Crystal Palace at Crystal Palace Antiques. This is a treasure trove which houses a mix of antiques over several wonky floors in an old warehouse. Mid century finds are all in the basement. I came across what  I thought were matching espresso cups at Mid Century Modern, Dulwich College, south-east London. However this set is by Villeroy and Boch, design Acapulco, both made in the 1960’s both very similar. Purchased from Haji&White, I have a few pieces from them, they are always worth checking out and seeing what they have.

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Mirror in the Bathroom

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Orbit mirror designed by Rodney Kinsman RDI designed in 1984 and available to buy through his company OMK. That said I came across this one at the shop Two Columbia rd, London. Situated closer to Shoreditch high St, but only a short stroll along from Columbia rd flower market on Sunday. Two Columbia rd is a fantastic shop and a treat to visit, however it’s top price, absolutely no bargains to be found here but it’s all high-end and genuine. Along the stroll from the flower market (Sunday’s only) you will pass the impressive Leopold buildings which are a gem of a previous era Victorian flats built for the poor and now looking spectacular.

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I digress, but each find has its story.

The mirror has a revolving double-sided smaller mirror set in a revolving frame around the large mirror. I just felt that this would be perfect for a small space, along with my impending  need for a magnifier.

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I wanted to create a contemporary space in this tiny room (140 cm x 210 cm) but also to capture the original sense of the period, flats built at this time (1938) were all about a new era, and something glamorous.

I kept the bath and laid cubism art deco style tiles in grey. Replaced the sink and went for new chrome fittings The walls are tiled in sage metro tiles and above the tiles the walls are painted in a compliments eggshell acrylic paint.

I had a narrow shelf made to run underneath the boxed in boiler flue from the adjacent  kitchen. The shelf is just deep enough for three down lights on a dimmer, bright for over the mirror and dim for a relaxing bath. A little bit of space for storing essential oils and other small items.

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