Blog Archives

Collection of double fired tiles

September 2, 2013

Collection of double-fired tiles

Collection of double-fired tiles:

Composed of a variety of delicate floral motifs, painted by hand on tiles measuring 5×5 cm. They can be combined with the 72 solid colours of the Note di colore collection.

Danish stove

July 22, 2013

Danish stove

A Bratby self-portrait hangs near classic chairs by Alvar Aalto – whom Fiona interviewed for The Guardian – and a ‘warm, functional’ Danish stove.

The fabulous gardens of Normandy

July 11, 2013

The fabulous gardens of Normandy

The fabulous gardens of Normandy are famous for the diversity of their design and influences, so when Citroen wanted to create a look for their Xsara saloon and estate, they knew just where to go for inspiration

Archways of flowering blossom; half-timbered houses with creeper sweeping up and cascading down the walls; the blues and violets of walled gardens peppered with ancient dovecots…The gardens of Normandy are as diverse as they are beautiful. Seemingly thrown up out of the earth with an eye more for charm than detailed planning, they are in fact the result of imaginative, innovative design by men and women whose passion for creating a spectactular scene has inspired painters such as Picasso and authors such as Flaubert, who wrote Madame Bovary here.
There is the unexpectedly English garden at Le Bois de Moutiers, home since 1898 to the Mallet family. Designed in collaboration by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and the great garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, it has a sundial, a white garden and parkland swept with wild flowers. There is the romantic park that takes in three valleys at Chateau de Nacqueville; then the ‘Versailles of the
North’, Chateau de Beaumesnil, with its enchanting maze; and, of course, there is the house and garden that are as famous as their owner – the soft, light-suffused landscape that is Giverny, beloved home to the artist Claude Monet.
Design and planning are fundamental to a beautiful garden – the key factors that will ensure that what is created is both fashionably stylish and capable of standing the pace of time. These factors are as important to the design of a beautiful car. This is why the designers at Citroen have taken as inspiration the attention to detail that has been lavished on these four landscapes.
At Le Bois de Moutiers (one of the first privately owned homes and gardens to be opened to the public in France), Lutyens thought not just of beauty in design but comfort too. He placed gorgeous benches in shady corners for moments of rest, from where the visitor’s eye is led down Gertrude Jekyll’s celebrated pergolas to a wider view of beds filled with white tulips and hellebores.
At Chateau de Nacqueville. the romantic gardens were created in 1830 in sharp contrast to the very formal French gardens of the time. It was here that brilliant engineers perfected a hydraulic system to tame the streams and create some wonderful water features. This piece of high technology lies hidden behind what is still an inspirational look with its promenade bordered with a mass of white arum lilies and its white bridge with views over the central stream.
At Giverny. chosen by Monet for its beaut)- and its light and the pink and green house that overlooked a walled garden, the artist dared to be different and made his ‘flower garden” into a composition like a painting. The house acted like a central axis, divided by paths. In time, he added his famous pear-shaped pond, planted with willows and water-lilies. He concentrated on his own ideas, ignoring those of his contemporaries, to create an adventurous modem classic with a distinctive look.
Citroen, in turn, have created a look with the Xsara that is instantly recognisable as their own. Fresh, bold and contemporary in style, in a wide palette of vibrant colours, its sleek exterior hints at the innovative details inside. There is the clutch foot rest for long journeys; the stereo remote controls hidden discreetly in the steering wheel; the service maintenance indicator that tells the driver, electronically, when a service is required; the acoustically-engineered floorplan to reduce road noise; the latest generation of HDi diesel engines and the reach-adjustable steering wheel. All these features have been developed with an eye to detail and good design, and should please anyone wishing to tour in comfort.
Everything has been thought of – and the result is a car that is as French as a row of poplar trees and as pleasing as one of the great gardens of Normandy.

Decoration with velvet swags

March 24, 2013

Fantasy is the first resort of a lively imagination and Zang Toi, a young, Malaysian-born fashion up-and-comer in New York, asks why you can’t invite Scheherazade home to stay.
Toi’s grand canopy delivers drama with a wink. Chartreuse velvet swags over cascading yards of brocade damask from Christopher Hyland, and gets pinned back with ethnic figurines adapted from Toi’s own jewelry collection. Beneath the canopy, a sheer, silk-and-cotton veil casts a romantic light on Toi’s knit dress with gold lace overlay.

Design ideas for a house

March 6, 2013

Some of the architect’s sources were antique without him even realizing it. Though he was well familiar with the roofless sun rooms common to Mediterranean villas, Sottsass had no precedents in mind when he arrived at his unusual floor plan, a house divided into two portions and connected by a large room open to the sky. “Then one day I found a postcard of a Pompeian fresco,” he says. “It showed a house based on the same idea.”
Among the most startling features of Sottsass’ Memphis furniture were the crackle patterns and assertive geometries of his fabrics and laminates. In the Wolf house, the same pleasure in patterning is there, but carried out in more subtle ways. The watered-silk striations of the interior stone play against the natural grain of the Brazilian cherry floors, the false grain of a laminated cabinet, and the graph-paper grids of the ceramic tile. Without resorting to decorative attachments, Sottsass achieves a baroque complexity. Laid over that are the constantly changing patterns of the Colorado sunlight, inspired by Sottsass’ beloved sunstruck Italian coast and “the mood,” he says, “of Mediterranean architecture.”

Door fronts

August 25, 2012

If you are working within a limited budget, you can choose from an array of attractive laminates or wood veneer cabinets constructed of sturdy particleboard. Wood-grain laminate, like wood veneer, is available in shades from light to dark, as well as in natural and frost finishes.
Higher-end laminates with a greater variety of colors and textures are available for more generous budgets. An alternative material is Thermo Foil, a high-tech vinyl that gives a seamless look to door fronts and can be shaped in the manufacturing process, allowing for a number of patterns. At this price point, you can also opt for wood—oaks and maples—in a range of finishes. Doors and drawer fronts can be solid wood, but veneer is common.
High-end options include high-gloss laminates in sleek styles, as well as wood cabinets in oak, maple, cherry and hickory, featuring solid door and drawer fronts, a range of colors and a wide variety of finishes.

Locking Devices

August 12, 2012

One concern is how to keep medicines and other potentially harmful items out of the reach of small children. Designers at Robern have developed a medicine cabinet containing a special locked section, a perfect safety solution for a bathroom used by young and old.
An opposite concern is preventing children from locking themselves into a bathroom. One solution is to install passage hardware on bathroom doors so they can be unlocked from either side of the door.

Drinking water

August 6, 2012

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) informed Americans in May 1993 that 30 million people faced a potential problem with lead in their drinking water. Standard monitoring required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) indicated that 819 medium to large public water utilities were out of compliance with the required maximum lead “action level” of 15 parts per billion (ppb). The dangers posed by the lead levels involved in their report were not life-threatening, but they were high enough to pose a long-term risk to the mental development of young children. And, although primarily children are at risk, lead is unhealthy for everyone.

New storage cabinets

July 5, 2012

Handsome floor-to-ceiling units can fit along a rear hall wall and provide practical storage options. Created by combining two or three units, the possible cabinet configurations are numerous. You choose the combinations that best suit your specific needs.

Combine overhead and undercounter cabinets to create a usable shelf space. Installed in heavy-traffic areas near the garage or back door, the cabinets can store out-of-season patio or deck items. The counter offers a convenient spot for leaving schoolbooks, backpacks or groceries. Attach hooks or install a pegboard to the rear wall to hold jackets and schoolbags, freeing up the front-hall clothes closet. This same wall of cabinets can also store luggage, bulky sweaters and harboxes.


Bath and tubs

July 3, 2012

Watch the size of the tub you install. Most older homes cannot support the weight of the new, larger tubs.

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