Friday, 29 April 2011

The Royal Wedding :: The Goring Hotel, London

I am actually staying in the UK at the moment and along with many millions of people yesterday watched with delight The Royal Wedding.

Now when Buckingham Palace is full the 100 year old Goring Hotel is used as an overspill for guest accommodation. Yesterday the Middleton party booked out all of the rooms for their family and friends and held their own party there for those not invited to the Buckingham Palace bash.

The luxurious Goring Hotel opened in 1910 and was the world's first hotel with en-suite facilities and central heating to every bedroom. This was revolutionary for its time!

Here is a few pics of the it's luxurious comfort and glamourous interiors. 
spot the sheep...
images courtesy of The Goring Hotel
Have fun.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Montague's of Montville :: Queensland, Australia

I hope you all had a relaxing Easter break. 

We spent a few days walking the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, which is a 3-5 day walk 90km north of Brisbane. 

It's a fantastic walk that winds its way through the Blackwall Range and traverses scenic natural areas including warm subtropical rainforest, tall open eucalyptus forest and many picturesque waterfalls. 

We have camped near this walk before but this time we decided to stay in a local rainforest retreat, Montague's of Montville, at the base of Kondalila Falls Road. 

The owners, David and Geraldine have looked after us with hearty breakfast provisions, quality cosy accommodation, soft fluffy robes and providing lifts in the morning to start the walk. 

This is a perfect place for that indoor-outdoor experience or a special romantic break with the local wildlife dropping in on your deck, listening to the sound of Kondalilla falls and star gazing from your deck.

Many thanks to David and Geraldine for looking after us.

Have fun.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Lighting ideas :: Handmade lamps weaved from pandanas grass

I was looking for lighting ideas for a project when I stumbled across these beautiful handmade lamps weaved from pandanas grass. This range of individual lamps called Yuta Badayala (translation “In a new light”) are made by Koskela and the Yolngu weavers from Elcho Island Arts.

This collaborative project provides Indigenous weavers with an additional stream of income from their work whilst retaining traditional skills, using sustainable materials and introducing new and unique ‘art products’ into the contemporary interiors market. 

images courtesy of Koskela
Here below is a clip about their compelling story. Enjoy.

Have a great Easter break and will return after the holidays. 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Voyages Longitude 131° :: Yulara, Uluru (Ayers rock)

Camping is not for everyone but last weekend I had the pleasure and pain to be backpacking through Bald Rock National Park. The Park has a fantastic granite landscape full of large granite boulders, canyons, stone arches and plenty of panoramic views. There was plenty of scrambling up huge granite boulders for impressive views.

At the end of a long day I pitched my small tent in a wilderness campsite located at the base of South Bald Rock. No toilet or facilities but just a small stream for your water! Everything we needed had to be carried in our backpacks!

I then started to think if there was any easier 'Luxury wilderness tent' experience in Australia with amazing views.

The first one that sprung to mind was Voyages Longitude 131°. With a full view of Uluru these luxury 'tents' include all mod cons. There is a white domed roof using flowing fabric draped from the centre to create the illusion of camping. Even though it is a tent a flick of a bedside switch is all it takes to raise the blinds and watch the spectacular moods of Uluru at sunrise.
This one is definitely on my future travel list.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Small bathroom renovation :: Before

I thought today I would share with you one of my current projects.

A few years ago we carried out a major reconstruction of our home prior to moving in. As we had only a few weeks for the reconstruction / renovation and needed a site bathroom facility for the contractors we left our small bathroom to be renovated at a later date.

The time has come to say goodbye to the old bathroom and start the design and build process.

Firstly I start with taking some photos, measure the area and create a brief.
The before photo! Hmmmmm small bathroom...  
The existing bathroom plan

My brief is to design a bathroom that:

  • Can be used by both young families and working couples.
  • Is a relaxing bathroom experience when the lights are low.
  • Uses recycled finishes and furniture where possible.
  • Uses energy and water saving fittings.
  • Creates maximum effect on a small budget.

As you can see from the images this bathroom is very small and probably the smallest bathroom I have had to design! Let the challenge commence...

If you have renovated a small bathroom recently I would love to hear of your stories.

Will update next week. Have a great week.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat :: Queensland-NSW border

It's funny how the weather reminds me of places I have stayed.
It's raining today and when thinking of today's reterat I think back to my rather wet Honeymoon stay at the Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat.
a plunge pool with a view!

This place is a bit of a treat and definitely designed for couples. There are small number of unique architect-designed bungalows set in 100 hectares, surrounded by world heritage-listed national parks and set amongst rainforest or mountain views. No need to worry about bumping into anyone as each of the luxury bungalows are strategically placed to provide total seclusion.
images via Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat
Each bungalow’s has spacious living areas, an open plan design, natural timbers to exude warmth and floor to ceiling glass windows to providing an amazing inside and out experience. This connection to nature provides peace, tranquility and total relaxation to ease all the stresses of life!

When we stayed there was a huge amount of tropical rain which just added to the whole experience.

This was one of our first places we stayed when we arrived in Australia. Coming form the UK and it's dense housing, I was so taken by the experience of waking up surrounding by nature that I decided that this style of architecture would lend itself to my future home design and it's indoor outdoor location and style of living.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Green kitchen design of the future :: Recycling

I made a decision a few years back to try and reduce my families household waste as an experiment. I was quite surprised at what you could achieve if you set your mind to it and think of different ways for purchasing and ideas for recycling. We even managed to reduce our weekly bin waste down to just one shopping bag! 

Below are a few things I found quite simple to put into place.

  • I have the following bins in my kitchen - 1 for recycling packaging, 1 for food veggie scraps and 1 for common waste.
  • I am now in the habit of saving all my scarps for the compost.
  • I buy food in smaller amounts and with minimum packaging (against the wish of my local fruit and veg store who prefers me to buy veggies in multipacks!). 
  • I fixed a "No junk mail" to my mail box. This was the best thing! My paper waste has been dramatically reduced and what waste paper we do have I shred it and use in my compost. 
  • I drink loads of tea and throw the tea leaves onto the base of my garden herbs. 
  • I use glass jars for storage of ingredients, pens and stuff.
  • I still recycle any packaging that's left over.

I would like to share with you what the future may bring for recycling in our kitchens...

"The Ethical Kitchen," a project by Alexandra Sten Jørgensen
The i Green kitchen concept was designed by Indian designer Nilay Shah in collaboration with Italian brand Veneta Cucine
Outdoor Kitchen designed by landscape designer Jamie Durie for Australian home appliance company Electrolux
The Ekokook by Faltazi

These kitchens all have the following in common:

  • There is no refrigerator - timber trays are used for storage of foods with air ventilation through the crates. Also the user only purchases minimum quantities, reducing waste and less need for refrigeration. 
  • Air flow - the kitchen will open to the outdoors to vent the heat in the summer and open to the rest of the house in the winter to keep the house warm.
  • Water is recycled at the kitchen counter and used for growing herbs, plants or veggies. 
  • Disposal of waste is processed and integrated into composting or worm farms thus reducing your household organic waste. 

Literally, food for thought...

How many of you regularly recycle your packaging, save your veggie food scraps for composting or grow your own herbs and veggies? I would love to know of your kitchen recycling ideas.

Have fun.