5 New Year Decor Resolutions for 2016

As I have been cooking, eating, drinking… and then cooking, eating and drinking some more over the last week, I have not had much time for any interiors dabbling.  Not that it is a bad thing, in fact it made me sit back and look at the house with a visitors eye.  I saw things I liked, and some things that could be improved.  Therefore I have decided that this coming year the following things must be done, (and it will be interesting to look back and see if I actually made them happen in 12 months time via the blog).

1.  Get on with the kitchen extension

I have had plans drawn to create a huge new kitchen from a tatty old outside decking area and to tweak existing rooms into a new laundry, wet room and study.  The plans have been sent to the council for approval, and already have been sent back with a query and a demand that the planning gets upgraded to a more expensive version, (for their benefit not mine)!  I am going over permitted development scales, so have to pay far more money for my extra 1.5 metres that I would like.

So I need the plans tweaked, a hefty fee attached and then hopefully I will get the go-ahead in 6-8 weeks time.  If this happen, then realistically the build will not start until at least Easter.  I have learnt to be really patient on this whole plan, and am a bit ‘Que Sera, Sera’ about it.  Until I am actually standing in the new kitchen I am refusing to believe it will finally happen.

This is how I want it to be; rough luxe, industrial, mega-high ceilings and light.

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But this is probably what it actually will end up like:

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Lovely, but could be a bit skinny due to budgetary constraints…

2.  Purge, purge, purge

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Planning Christmas table decorations

Yes, I am really a bit sad, I freely admit it!  I spent this afternoon messing about with the dining table, china, glasses, cutlery and so on, so as to plan upcoming Christmas entertaining in advance.

We have 3 lunches to do over the Christmas period, including the biggie on Christmas Day, and rather than go into a spin with table decorating on the actual mornings themselves, (when I am supposed to be concentrating on cooking), I thought it better to know what I would put on the table for each occasion in advance.

Lunch Number One

This table is styled with fresh whites and greens.  There are lots of natural elements in those colour ways on the table.  A large footed glass bowl of hydrangeas has raffia curled around the inside to hide the stems.  Faceted tea light holders in clear glass bounce light around and don’t block eye levels.  Two porcelain flower shaped tea light holders add more candle glow.  The table has two linen runners on it, one natural laid in one direction and a pale lime green going in the opposite direction.

 

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Marrakesh Moments 3 -Jardin Majorelle

No trip to Marrakesh is complete without a visit to these famed gardens, initially created by the French artist Jacques Majorelle, and then later purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in 1980 to save the gardens from redevelopment.  After Yves Saint Laurent’s death in 2008, the gardens were donated by Pierre Bergé to the YSL charitable foundation.  On November 27, 2010, the street in front of the Jardin Majorelle’s entrance was renamed the Rue Yves Saint Laurent in his honour.

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The famous Majorelle blue and vivid lemon colours dots the site, and the selection of cacti, palms, bamboo and exotic plants creates a shady oasis in the heart of the business of the city.  Water creates reflections and sounds, and it is a garden to sit and while away the hours in contemplation.

I first visited these gardens in 2007, when I was a bit disappointed at the time if truth be told, the gardens seemed shabby back then and had graffiti scratched into all the bamboo canes by eager tourists.  Then last week I revisited them, and they have been transformed, along with an amazing museum set inside the original house.

The area near the former Art studio, which now is a new museum of Berber Art opened in 2010, has wonderful ponds and terraces in vivid blue and yellow colours.

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Christmas is a-coming…

Carol service dates are set, the turkey is ordered and the house is now officially dripping in decorations and lights.

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My wreath made from twigs, moss, wood, berries and fir cones

This year I have scaled down the excessive decorations that I normally get carried away with, especially adorning the stairs that wind up through the house, as it became quite tricky to find the handrail when it was overloaded with garlands and lights.  I was always waiting for a heavy thud as a Bellini Cocktail overloaded guest either missed the handrail or electrocuted themselves.  Plus the cats felt that it was a snaking tree of epic proportions to hand from with their claws.  So no stair garland this year.

However, the tree is up and looking very pretty.  The baubles are mercury glass, clear glass, beaded ones and the special sentimental ones that my daughter gives me every year.

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Simple decorations and fairy lights

The mantlepieces are also now done, the one below is in the same room as the main tree so the mecury glass theme continues…

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Marrakesh Moments 2 – Carpets

When in Morocco…

You cannot avoid the fact that there are a lot of carpets and rugs in this country…  They hang all over the souks in the Medina in Marrakesh, and each one seems different in pattern, colour and style.  I spent some time at one carpet shop where the sheer amount of carpets was astounding, and it was just one of hundreds in the city and surrounding area.  Rugs were stacked floor to ceiling through the whole building, and even hung on the roof.

Types of carpet

Moroccan carpets can be grouped into rural or urban, Berber or Arab. Urban carpets are influenced by the fine, oriental designs of the Middle East and are intricately detailed.

Rural Berber carpets are handwoven into abstract patterns and symbols that tell the stories of a tribe. Carpets from the Middle Atlas – zanafi – have a deep, woollen pile to keep out the cold and are usually long and narrow.

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Amara – The LuxPad

Lucy over at LuxPad has compiled some rather beautiful wreath ideas for this Christmas from super stylish interiors bloggers, (including one of my paper wreaths so thank you Lucy!), have a look at the ideas here:

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Wreath by Suzanne Stanley @ http://www.create-enjoy.com/

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Great idea from Amy Watkins @ http://www.cozyreverie.com/

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How stunning is this one from Sian Astley at http://moregeous.com/

 

 

Marrakech moments…

Last night in this exotic city, and after a ride home in a Caleche it is time to share some lovely photographs of the palaces and museums that I visited today.


Starting at the Dar Si Said palace, I saw amazing painted ceilings, carved plaster and mosaic work .  This place is not for people who do not like symmetry!  The museum is in a bit of a bad way, with some floors missing tiles and crumbling.  Some western conservation would not go amiss so that preservation and conservation rather than replacement happens.
However the museum staff were lovely and let us peek at the out of bounds harem’s courtyard as a treat.  They were very proud of the museum and gave us lots of information, which my schoolgirl french just about managed to intepret.


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Stately Home Visit – Dyrham Park

Roll over Downton Abbey (aka Highclere)… today I visited Dyrham Park near Bath which is in the middle of a huge roof overhaul, and a rarity in that the National Trust lets the visitors see the conservation work which goes on in one of their properties.

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The Estate

The house is set in 274 acres (1.1 km²) of gardens and parkland. The west front of 1692 was commissioned from the Huguenot architect, Samuel Hauduroy, and the east front of 1704 from William Talman, architect of Chatsworth, by William Blathwayt, who was Secretary at War to William III.

Because of Blathwayt’s royal connections, and his influential uncle, Thomas Povey, Dyrham became a showcase of Dutch decorative arts. The collection includes delftware, paintings and furniture. 18th century additions include furniture by Gillow and Linnell.  The interiors have remained little altered since decorated by Blathwayt. The Blathwayt family lived at the house until 1956, when the government acquired it. The National Trust acquired it in 1961.

The overall design of the first ornate gardens is thought to have been by George London, these gardens then went to ruin and were redesigned into parkland as was the fashion in 1790 by Charles Harcourt Masters, a Bath architect and surveyor.

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Original formal garden design at Dyrham 1691-1704

Interiors

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