Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Coastal Decoration Indian Style :: Goa, India

I am always drawn to the colour and texture when I walk along a beach and it's a pleasant surprise to find so much inspiration on Indian beaches...
These beach huts at Cozy Nook use decorative timber screens as the downstairs entrance wall and look stunning against a the natural bamboo backdrop. 

In contrast these images are of fishing nets, timber panelling, ceramic pots, fabrics and other objects that have now found a new uses. 

Next stop the beaches of Kerala.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Beach Huts :: Ordo Sounsar, Palolem Beach, Goa, India

I normally like my accommodation to be more permanent in construction but while in Southern Goa, I had the pleasure of staying in an amazing quiet bamboo hut resort called Ordo Sounsar on Palolem beach.

After crossing an interesting little bamboo and timber draw-bridge you find this resort tucked away down the quieter northern end of the beach.

The interesting thing about this resort is that all these beach huts are constructed new each season by the resort staff from locally sourced sustainable materials. 

In fact each resort in Palolem is required by the state government to keep records showing where they obtained the materials as taking timber etc from the local forests is forbidden. Most of the materials therefore comes from local mills which certify the material is from either trees which fall naturally during the monsoon season or from plantation stock. 

Also, where possible any equipment and materials that will survive the monsoon are stored on the property for next season.

Each hut comes with an outdoor shower and as the resort is surrounded by forest you can also share your outdoor shower with it's local resident monkeys hanging around high up in the trees!

So when it comes to decorating the resort the use of only local materials make for interesting natural design elements; bamboo weave is used to make vessels for lamp shades; timber off cuts are used for decks, bridges and furniture; rope and coir are used for ceiling features and balustrades; palm leaves are used for roofing; wicker and cane are used to weave lanterns and draped fabrics are used to clad ceilings.

A fantastic use of natural and local materials and an amazing place to stay! Also a huge thanks to Sera, LD, Shelly and the team for being great hosts :)

Have fun.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Coastal Colours & Textures :: Goa, India

I have been taking some much needed rest in the very nice beach area of Palolem in Southern Goa. 

I couldn't help but notice the beautiful colours of the beach huts and boats as well as the use of local textiles and fabrics. 
Absolutely stunning and inspirational. It is a delight to see this bold use of contrasting colours against the backdrop of sand and sea!

Have fun.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Coastal Christmas Decorating Ideas

The last few years I have found myself by the beach for Christmas. This year I will be in Southern India and without access to my Christmas decoration box which is currently in storage back home in Brisbane.

As I am currently living out of a rucksack I will have to search the beaches for this years driftwood and shell based decorations! Here's a few ideas for now until I find mine over the next few weeks...
For more driftwood Christmas tree ideas click here.

Have fun & have a great holiday.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Contemporary interior design in Kathmandu :: Pipalbot

Pipalbot showroom in Kathmandu, Nepal
On the last few days of my visit to Kathmandu I stumbled across a Baber Mahal Revisited which is an new redevelopment of a series of old Rana buildings and courtyards converted into craftsman based retail showrooms and a couple of amazing restaurants. 

Hidden amongst these courtyards I was excited to find the interior design showroom and lifestyle store called Pipalbot, so I had to pop in... 

Pipalbot is a joint venture between Tim Linkins (an Australian-born architectural photographer and designer) and partner Diki Ongomo (who is based in Kathmandu).
Hand-made silk rugs
Their designs are created in the Kathmandu Studio by a network of local Nepalese craftsmen, dyers and weavers creating Tibetan wool and silk rugs. There is also other objects of art created from locally sourced materials like cane, ceramic, wool and cashmere.

This was a pure delight to find such great modern designs using local craftsmen and artisans all here in Kathmandu.

Have fun.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Village Life & Trekking in the Annapurna Region

Beautiful brass flower pots at doorways.
I am now finished trekking in Nepal and so will soon be flying to Mumbai, India.

It's been an interesting few weeks trekking through these extremely remote villages high up in the Himalayas and witnessing first hand how sustainably local people live. 

In years past some of these villages were on well established trading routes with China and Tibet. Nowadays a lot of their income comes from trekkers like me staying in local tea house style accommodation whilst trekking from village to village. 

Most of these lodges spend the trekking season attending to guests but when the season finishes they turn their attentions to growing produce for the next season either locally or lower down in the foothills.

Hot water for trekkers is mainly solar powered with the odd gas system in the more luxurious lodges. However the locals use the local river or village water supply to wash everything, including themselves… Bear in mind this local water supply is extremely cold. In a few of the village you can also find hot springs which the locals take advantage of... Who can blame them!
The local village water supply and washing day!
Food is either grown locally or carried in by porters, donkeys or depending where the village is by aircraft. Needless to say in this cold and harsh climate food variety is limited and if it can be stored it will be, normally in a dry shed at the back of the property or hung out in the sun.

When it comes to waste there is still a massive issue with disposing of it however I did notice some great examples of recycling waste with beer bottles being used as edges to flower beds and old food and paint tins being used as flower pots. 
There is also no such thing as electric appliances! Dishes are washed in the local water supply and then left out in the sun to dry. Most stoves are still fuelled by wood which is a problem as it is leading to local deforestation but kerosene stoves are being promoted as a more sustainable alternative.
A typical, well ordered, lodge kitchen.
Blankets, rugs and woollen products are provided by the unlucky local Yaks. It is quite a weird experience to sit on a Yak skin!
A small retail display of local antiques and Yak products! 
Even Monks have tea breaks! They also offered us a cuppa at 3900m above sea level!
Carved timber window and door frames.
Prayer wheels, stones carved with prayers and prayer flags.
This trek is a great experience and it is so nice to see that behind this basic and remote living style the villages still express individuality, creativity and take great pride with decorating their entrances, lodges, monasteries and messages to their Gods!

I am now off to the tiny laneways in Kathmandu to haggle for homewares items to send home.

Have fun.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Temples and Colour :: Kathmandu, Nepal

It's been over 6 years since I was in Kathmandu last. Everything is still the same except for the abundance of free wi fi and travellers with an assortment of apple products to keep them entertained.

As technology moves forward in great strides I am sorry to say that infrastructure and building repairs and maintenance have not. It is quite sad to see such beautiful old crafted temples and building architecture covered in so much dust from the smog and some are literally crumbling away. 

However, under a blanket of city dust there is still a rainbow of vibrant colours, fabrics and textures, beautiful timber carved windows and amazing architecture.
Coloured cotton fabric

Carnations everywhere

Temple architecture

One of the many things I remember from Nepal is their amazing carved timber windows

Some interesting forms of scaffolding and structural support!

Please bare with me as from tomorrow I will be trekking around the Annapurna Circuit and then the Sanctuary for 3 to 4 weeks and will be without any form communication until I return. 

On this trek I will encounter remote villages and homes that are still without mains electricity or mains water. It will be interesting to see how these villages live without basic infrastructure that we all take for granted today. 

Have fun.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Nepal :: Trekking the Annapurna Circuit

My home is now packed away into storage and backpacks are now waiting their final pack. We leave on Monday and set off to Nepal via an interesting 10hr connection in Delhi airport!

The first part of our trip will be spending a few days in Kathmandu before hiking through the mountains and high villages of the Annapurna region.

I prefer walking into these remote regions as you see at first hand how the locals live and get by on very little infrastructure, food and electricity. 
The Annapurna range that we will be hiking around
When I first trekked this route about 12 years ago there was hardly any hot water and what hot water was available was heated by wood fires (this alone reduced our consumption to a bare minimum). 

Thanks to the recent introduction of solar panels a lot more hot water showers have popped up and are now available for us tourists. 

However, I am sure the locals still use ice cold mountain water for washing!

The local village water supply, prayer wheels and the lower hills

Prayer flags and the type of remote villages we will be staying in as we trek
I shall post in Kathmandu and a few extra posts, but while I am trekking I will not be able to update until we finish our 3-4 week trek. 

These high mountains have limited electricity or internet connections... and even if there was a bit of solar power available I am hiking with my backpack I really do not fancy the extra weight of my laptop!

Have fun.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Colours of Diwali : The Festival Of Lights

Diwali is one of my favourite festivals. 

In the past I have witnessed this in both Nepal and India but as I have not left yet I shall pop into Brisbane tonight to join the crowds, enjoy some fine Indian food and listen to some loud Bollywood style music!

This festival means the triumph of good over evil. For me I just love the amazing contrasting colours created by this festival, the oranges, the reds, the pinks and the warmth of candle light. 

During this festival I have seen people hang lanterns and burn candles at their front doors, whilst most homes display Rangoli artwork at their entrances, garden areas and even on entire floors. 

This intricate artwork and patterns can be made from petals, flowers, coloured sand, rice or chalk powder. 
Here is some entrance artwork of Ganesh!
If you are interested at looking at how to decorate for Diwali check out this link for some great ideas.

Only a few weeks left till I am off to Nepal... Yippee...

Have fun.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Eco Retreat & Glamping Tents :: Sal Sails, Ningaloo Reef, WA

Well the days are quickly ticking away until we go and there is still much preparation and research still to do...

However to get me into the beach vibe and as I still have not left sunny Australia today I tam traveling to a location that my husband has always wanted to go... Ningaloo Reef. 

And what a better way to experience this beautiful National Park and beach environment than to stay in these eco retreats and glamping tents right on the beach at Sal Sails.
What's great about this retreat is that the whole experience is built around ecological principles to ensure that your stay generates minimal environmental impact and the only thing you leave behind is your footprint in the sand! For example...
  • Each wilderness tent is built on a raised deck to allow for coastal breezes to naturally cool the rooms.
  • The African Style tent colour allows the retreat to blend in naturally with the surrounding pristine environment.
  • All power is 100% solar.
  • All recycling and waste is returned to Exmouth recycle depot.

  • The en-suite room at the rear of the tent is open to the surrounding environment and fitted with a solar hot water, a hand pumped shower and a Nature Loo or composting toilet.

images from Sal Sails
  • All linen is supplied by Eco Down Under which is organic cotton and chemical free.
  • Sheets are a sand colour and are not bleached to maintain pure whiteness. Their composition means that they can be hung dry and eliminate the need for ironing! 

Not bad for a luxury tent retreat!
Have fun.