Happy New Year! Our new and improved house proved to be a fabulous place to host the various Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s celebrations. We enjoyed the opportunity to show case the renovations and reveled in the fact that we could comfortably accommodate so many guests. Our balcony off the master bedroom proved to be quite popular with the tween crowd on New Year’s Eve. It was the place to be seen as others swam in the pool.
(I really just posted those pictures as I wanted an excuse to show off the cushions I had commissioned. For those who don’t know, Aaron and I quite literally danced into each other’s lives at a night club some 18 years ago and my favourite book is Pride and Prejudice. Oh and we live in FTG).
I know many people are asking the question, ‘Is it all finished?’
The short answer is no. Not yet. The wine rack and storage cupboard under the stairs have been put on hold due to the cabinet maker contracting Ross River fever. Apparently he has been incredibly ill. There are also a few small details that need attention, but nothing urgent.
The garden and the tiling around the pool haven’t been finished yet either. This is due to extreme heat and/or torrential rain. It will get done at some point. Besides, I love Neil Borthwick my project manager and I think I’ll miss him when he is no longer popping in for a cup of tea. I can’t say again how much I love our builders. The team at RJB Developments has been nothing short of outstanding in terms of workmanship, communication and problem solving.
For Christmas we gave the children bespoke lamps. These were made by Rachel Burke the owner and creative talent of Patturn. Rachel has a passion for recycling, re-purposing, up-cycling and making fabulous lamps. She uses vintage sewing patterns, maps, music sheets, children’s books (and more!) to create her lampshades. I first bought one of Rachel’s lamps a few years ago.
It has given me much pleasure over the years and has been a talking point as it is unique. It resides in my lounge room. My daughter fell in love with it from day one and always said she would like it for her room when we renovated. It was never going to be a good match for her room due to the dark base so I decided to commission Rachel to make one for her new room.
Here is Adele’s lamp made from vintage patterns.
What I love about this lamp is that it will grow with my daughter. She is 10 now so I didn’t want a lamp that was only for a young girl. I like how the pictures range from young children to stylish women. It also goes beautifully with the vintage dresses that my mother-in-law cut out in the 1950s.
The lamp matches her room beautifully.
I also decided that the boy child needed one too. As he is about to start high school, he needed something that was not too ‘kiddy’. He needed something that would take him through to adulthood and still be ‘cool.’ We decided to personalise his lamp by using maps from the Melway street directory. The maps are of the area in which we live and our surrounds – the Dandenongs. He loves is as he can pinpoint our house on his lamp. These photos are courtesy of Rachel Burke.
This is the lamp in situ:
We are also very lucky to have a stunning new piece of art for the entrance way. A former student of mine, who hails from Japan, happened to mention to me one day that he had a younger sister, Saran Kim, who is a talented artist. It just so happens that she is living and studying very close to where we live. After following her art blog for some time, we decided to ask her if she would create a piece for us. We invited Saran over to let her get a sense of the house and we talked to her about the things we wanted the piece to do. We wanted it to be sympathetic to our house but also encompass the things we love about living in the Dandenongs. We love the hills, the love the flora, we love the distinct weather patterns (well mostly), we love the cherry blossoms in Spring. Saran then took this information and created this stunning piece for us.
It is not overstated. It doesn’t scream at you as you walk in. Shouty artwork is not my style. But this piece is no retiring wallflower. It is sophisticated. It is complex and nuanced. The different media used adds to the depth and interest. The photos don’t really do it justice. She has hand cut the cherry blossom from paper and nailed on each individual petal (which she hand-dyed with a combination of tea and food dye) to create a 3D effect. I am no artist. I do not have the vocabulary of an artist. Saran describes the whole process in her journal entry on her blog. I think it is worth noting that Saran is only 17. She still has one more year of high school. I predict she will go places with her art as she has such a unique perspective and style.
Here is the art work hanging in my home. We chose museum glass as the picture is directly opposite my front door which has glass panels. The piece is extremely heavy due to the timber and glass. I didn’t want to chance my husband and father hanging it up just in case we damaged the plaster or, god forbid, the picture fell. My fabulous builders were able to do it in under five minutes. The right tools make all the difference. When you approach my house from the outside, this is what you will see:
Once you step inside you get a much better idea of the artwork. I love that I can see it from my kitchen as I stand at the island bench. Did you also note how the timber matches beautifully with my floor boards?
We still have more walls which need art work. I am very excited that I am meeting with another fabulous artist, Simone Read from The Abstracted View next week to discuss commissioning a piece for our lounge room. Stay tuned.