November 26, 2009

My husband loves antique shopping

A while ago, when we still lived in China, my husband was on a business trip to Europe. Over the weekend he went to see his parents in Venice, Italy. One of their favorite activities is "antique shopping". Sometimes they just stop by their friend's restoration warehouse in the industrial zone of Mestre to say hello and check the "new" arrivals and lately restored furniture. And sometimes they would drive to one of the monthly antique markets in the area.

Anyway, while I was not around, my husband found antique chairs and beds for the "palazzo". He bought four chairs which his father wants to refurbish himself. The "beds" were only header and footer for one or two beds.

Well, not a bad habit, isn't it ?!

November 16, 2009

To preserve : the green room

The green room of the palazzo was the only room that was not over coated with white paint when we first inspected the house. We have not changed the green colour, but we have changed the layout of the room. Since the old kitchen was too small we had to sacrifice the old bathroom which space today belongs to the (future) kitchen. Hence, in need of a new bathroom the green room had to give away part of its space. The other part remains side entrance area.

the arch in the middle, with no function, had to go

the green room divided
remaining side entrance area (right) and wall with glass bricks for additional light in the new bathroom (left)

And since I want to preserve or restore as much as possible of the old atmosphere (that however I have never experienced myself) I thought we will colour the future bathroom that was part of the former green room in the same green shades. Although green is not our favorite colour the house is big enough to give different rooms different touches.

The colors for the new bathroom could be these:

(colours via Farrow&Ball)

maybe the ceiling needs an additional touch of light rose to go with the green paint and the white stucco

November 12, 2009

Inspired by Living in Argentina

It is not Italy, but maybe the South American country with the most European touch. Many Italians came here to live and you can feel the influence.

walls : grey, floor : black, column : gold, lamps : 6, accent colour : coral
wow ! what a glamorous eclectic mix !

Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America

curtains used as closet door and room divider

countryside house in Argentina (reminds me of a "maison de campagne" around Fontainebleau)

All above beautiful images and many more can be found in this book :

available via : (19.79 USD)
or (19,99 Euro)

I browsed this book online here because my blogger friend N. was so excited about Buenos Aires after she spent a couple of weeks in Argentina. And I heard other people saying that Buenos Aires is a mix of Paris and Barcelona. So I got curious and checked this book by Taschen (language: German, English, French) which of course is not a travel book but purely about interiors. However, these eye-candies make me want to travel to Argentina right away.

And that's what the editor says: Argentina considers itself the most European of South American countries as Argentineans have a strong connection to the old world. When it comes to decorating, they have a great talent for bringing together the old and the new, with subtle touches of color and rich textiles.

FYI : in case you order this book or any other product via my amazon links I receive about 5% commission through their associate program. In this case about 50 cent ... so if you order 10 copies, it would buy me a coffee !! (ha ha! thanks !)

Photo source: Taschen

November 11, 2009

Creative Tuesday

this morning I saw colours ... of course, when you have followed my last posts, no wonder ... 3 bold fundamental colours (red, blue and yellow) and 4 complementary colours (red-green, orange-blue) on my dining table ! Of course I had to take out my camera. This could be a motif to paint:

My painting class was right after (I am doing water colour every Tuesday morning with my neighbour architect, his friends and an art teacher). But we paint what the teacher proposes. Today we had to paint a frozen lake near our town. She, the artist, always brings a photograph and one or two versions she already has painted. Then she paints in front of us showing her technique and how we could compose the picture - and then its our turn. It is always interesting to see all the different results. Here is mine:

And after this post I can say, that I have been really creative today (photograph, painting, writing) !

November 09, 2009

Decorating with Colours

Maison Jaoul (finished in 1955), Neuilly (Paris) by Le Corbusier
(photo from a book "Le Corbusier" by Taschen)

If you have a house with many white walls and surfaces and not that much art work to hang, the best way to decorate your house is to paint large surfaces with bold warm colours that are rich in contrast.

Lately I got inspired by my friends new house. She used a Feng Shui colour consultant and ended up with a colourful house that radiates warm and cosy feelings from the very first moment, although the moving boxes were still unpacked. The result is quiet interesting and I have to ask her if I could post some pictures. In some rooms walls were painted with three different colours. Seems too much to me, and many others. Lets wait and see until they have lived in there for a while. But also magic colour tricks made disappear corners and widen small windows.

And since I need to add 3 doors for buil-in closets in my (German) home, I think to use bold colours for the surfaces. At the moment I fancy a kind of lobster red for a single door for my bathroom. And around the corner, in my home office, I fancy some fresh green or blue or yellow for a double door. As the 3 doors are so close to each other (the sliding door to the bathroom is always open) they can create a fun colour contrast. A bit of "Bauhaus" style in my appartment...

I played a bit and matched the above 3 colours (via Farrow & Ball).
This colour combination was often used in the 50ies by architects and designer.

very similar colour match in a loft in Paris via Cote Maison (photo by Philippe Garcia)

"arty" colours of the 50ies (jade, coral and yellow) used in a French appartment via Cote Maison

more interior of maison Raoul (via "Le Corbusier" by TASCHEN)

bedroom in maison Raoul (via flickr)

One more time the Claude and Duval factory by Le Corbusier (via wallpaper) to show the colour combo that keeps me fascinated.

November 08, 2009

Mediterranean Escapes - online eye candies by TASCHEN

Leaf through "Great Escapes Mediterranean" by TASCHEN - online !

click on "leaf through"

302 pages of eye candy online - better than any magazine !
Although the writing is too small to read the book online - my eyes are more than happy !

Hotel Stella Maris, north of Portofino, Liguria, Italy
(click on above pictures to enlarge)

 Mykonos Grace Hotel, Mykonos, Greece

Did this excite you ? Please help yourself and browse this book at TASCHEN.

Taschen was founded in Cologne, Germany in 1980 by Benedict Taschen to sell his comic collection. Today his company is known internationally for producing great value coffe table books about art, architecture, lifestyle and design. I will introduce you to more soon.

November 06, 2009

Le Corbusier colour experimentation

Le Corbusier (*1887-1965), mainly known as an architect, also worked as a painter and writer. His creativity seems endless. Between planning houses, villas and cities, he designed furniture, sculptured, published books, studied and traveled a lot. He was born in Switzerland as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret and started to use his pseudonym "Le Corbusier" only in 1920 after founding a magazine.

Recently I bought a book about this fascinating artist - and I am impressed by Le Corbusier's use of colours, his choice of quantity / proportion and contrasts - thus I thought I blog some of his interior related work.

The online version of wallpaper magazine recently published an article about Le Corbusier's Claude & Duval "Dream Factory" in France.

Here an extract:

The factory, a true architectural gem, was designed according to the famous Le Corbusier modular system, also featuring his intense block colour experimentations, covering ceilings and walls, to the plumbing system, contrasting heavily the naked concrete used as the main material.

Le Corbusier’s Claude & Duval factory in St-Die-des-Vosges was built in 1952 and has been a working textile factory ever since. This factory produces today high fashion pieces for the likes of Balenciaga, Chanel, Celine and Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester, who owns her own Le Corbusier designed house in Antwerp. 

Text and photo source: wallpaper

You might also be interested in: playing with colours - Le Corbusier's colour palettes and "tool box"

November 04, 2009

playing with colours

Today, I see rain, and I see sunshine. I see large rainbows, and colourful autumn leaves. I am thinking of colours and colour combinations - for doors, walls, rooms.

Since a while, I am collecting, researching and observing all around colours. Of course this leads unescabably to Le Corbusier and his use of colours in architecture and interiors.

Here, you see the 63 colours from the colour palettes LC 32 and LC 43 by Le Corbusier :

Le Corbusier’s sophisticated color theories, outlined in his Polychromie Architecturale writing (Le Corbusier Polychromie architecturale: Farbenklaviaturen von 1931 und 1959 / Color Keyboards from 1931 and 1959 / Les claviers de couleurs de 1931 et de 1959 (German, English and French Edition), were influenced by his experiences as both an artist and an architect.

The color palettes he selected for a Swiss wallpaper manufacturer (Salubra) were systematized in chromatic ‘keyboards’ with accompanying cut-out cards. This tool will help to isolate color combinations.

The LC 32 series are organized into groups based on mood, from which a smaller palette of three to five harmonious colors can be selected.

The stronger colors of the LC 43 series appear on one page, with color proximity and the cut-out cards enabling selection for two to three vividly contrasting colors.

This sounds like a perfect tool box to find the most interesting colour combinations. Probably there are combinations, we would not even have thought of. But the price of this book (299 Euro!) scares me off. I will have to trust my own feelings, intuition and experience.

In case you are interested to know where to source these colours for your own painting project:
The Swiss based company, kt.COLOR, founded by the chemist Katrin Trautwein, is a highly specialized manufacturer of fine paints for interior use, licensed the exclusive rights to manufacture the original Le Corbusier colors from Foundation Le Corbusier in 1999.

kt. COLOR showroom

At Farrow & Ball's website I found the following useful hints:

- a dark dramatic entrance creates a contrast to brighter rooms
- a dark (painted) floor makes a room appear wider
- for small dark room: use no white but bright sunny colour
- grey is an elegant and cosy wall colour for a bedroom

You might also be interested in:  Le Corbusier's colour experimentation

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