Monday, 26 February 2018

Dark Interiors... why not?

I guess, not many of us would immediately fall in love with an idea of painting a room... black! First I've been like this too... I may wear black occasionally and feel comfy, but  b l a c k  in a much greater proportion is usually perceived quite negatively. Yet, here and there images of smartly styled dark interiors kept coming my way, and the idea has finally grown on me.
I like the aura of mystery the black imparts to a space. It creates a feeling of power, stability and sophistication. Also,  b l a c k  results to be a beneficial background to display things.
So, for my today's post I've gathered up some eye-catching examples of all-black rooms which, thanks to a proper styling and colour balance, don't look that oppressive, as we might have expected. You're going to be surprised to see how comfortable and at times even cheery dark rooms may appear to be...

Jane Rocket house feautured @youmagsocial.
↑ My favourite combination of black & cool tones of yellow! And, in love with the chair!...or, at least, its visible part:) Here you can also see my current obsession -- a collector's cabinet with a cleverly thought out light-yellow background! I'm dreaming of any such case to display my favourite things... yes, I love collecting! That's true, besides being visually attracitve, favourite things keep impressions and dear memories always live and present! : "...Designer Hubert Zandberg’s own London townhouse reflects both his passion for collecting, as well as his South African heritage. The eclectic sitting room mixes contemporary art, animal ephemera and vintage weaponry for a chic, cabinet-of-curiosities effect. The oval mirrors are by Tommi Parzinger and the cushions are upholstered in Paul Smith fabrics."
Photo by Simon Upton.
↑Another great idea of placing a couple of display cases on either side of the wall to create symmetry in the space for more balance and harmony.

↑ These rooms are for those of us who still think that pure  b l a c k  is really too extreme. Smart decision  - lighter shades of black and grey colour palette. Here we have soft charcoal grades. The rooms seem to be enveloped by a gentle light! 
Use of muted gold, glass surfaces, bold ceramics in light tones and comfortable textiles -- all this makes for a cozy atmosphere and lightens up the spaces even more. 💙Mat glass pendant bubble lights, like a big cloud floating under the bed on the right is simply amazing!

on the left : The magnificent home of Swedish interior stylist Lotta Agaton | Photo by Pia Ulin for Residence Magazine
↑ Both rooms here posess more of a stern, masculine atmosphere. Large posters on the wall, white potted flowers are serving as indoor sources of "light..."

on the left : Green Eye Silk Cushion by Rockett St George.
on the right : A room in a house of Instagrammer Pati Robins. Full tour of her house see on audenza.
↑ Well, here on the left we can see how large-leaved tropical plants enliven a dark, monochromatic space. Large scale Arabic calligraphy on the wall makes an interesting art piece.
Frankly speaking, the bedroom on the right looks to me quite oppressive. But the bright yellows of the dressing table and cushions, also the right amount of light streaming through the window and white ceiling are saving the day. 
Transparency and translucensy here we have a chandelier and a table lamp shade always lighten the dark...

on the left: Great idea of bringing into a dark space architectural shapes, as an accent. Wood is always about bringing warmth into whatever kind of interior it may be. via interiorsbystudiom
on the right: Another idea of trying  b l a c k  in your house without going radical is... painting only one wall black or any of its lighter shades! Or you might like to experiment with a large built-in black bookcase and fill it with decor objects taking into account the key principles of interaction with the colour b la c k like e.g. those we're discussing today...

on the left: Photo by William Abranowicz.Art + Commerce : design by Mark Cunningham.
on the right: interior designer Dirk Jan Kinet.
↑Dominating  b l a c k  as on the right can also surprisingly make an old-world style interior dramatic and curious. Again, my fav juicy  y e l l o w  here completely satisfies the thirst for colour.

📍 Well, and finally, here you have my 5 tips on

🔼  Be flexible with DOMINANT COLOURS! Don't get stuck on just pure black as the dominant colour, but
use any of its lighter shades - e.g. charcoal, ebony, taupe, raisin black or onyx...
Check out wikipedia for more shades of black🖊...

🔼 SUBSIDIARY COLOURS: Use proper amount of w h i t e, also
making accents with one or two bright colours of your choice.
As I've already said, I love black paired with y e l l o w  -- acid yellow and cool lemon tones are the best. 
Anything  n e o n (that is to add playfulness to a space) --  e.g. green, pink and blue would look also just great glowing in the dark!

🔼 TRANSPARENCY & TRANSLUCENCY: clear, mat and smoked glass will lighten the heaviness of a dark ambience and make for the variety of textures. 
🔼 LIGHT, both natural and electrical, is very important in making dark interior look and feel comfortable.
Even an angle of light streaming in can be determining.

🔼 and lastly, the fun part of the game -- f i l l i n g  the space with QUIRCKY DECOR OBJECTS

⏩ SHADES OF GREY: Decorating with the most elegant of neutrals by Kate Watson-Smyth
⏩ ROCKETT St GEORGE: Extraordinary Interiors by Jane Rockett and Lucy St George
⏩ BLACK & WHITE (and a Bit in Between) by Celerie Kemble

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Khaleeji Cookies: Ghraiba

Now, I'd like to share one of my all time favourite yummies - arabic/khaleeji cookies called 'ghraiba.' The cookies are also popular in North Africa and well, all over the Arab world. Ghraiba is a round cookie which have a perfect sandy texture mmm...😋 and made with 3 kinds of flour, icing sugar & oil/butter. Sometimes powdered almonds may be added as well. 
Actually, you may find several versions of this recipe only very slightly different from each other. As for me, I prefer the version presented in the 'Lime & Cardamom' cookbook by Sarah Al Hammad. Well, easy to make and you'll have some yummy stuff enough for a series of teatimes - why wait?, let's make it!

  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g chickpea flour
  • 150g icing sugar (optionally: +extra for dusting)
  • 180-200ml vegetable oil (or melted unsalted butter, but in this case, you will need it a bit more )
  1. Preheat the oven to 170℃ (gas mark 3)
  2. Sift the flours into a large bowl then mix in the sugar and vegetable oil. With your hands, knead the flour until moist and crumbly yet firm enough for a cookie to hold its shape.
  3. Take the dough by small portions, press between both palms and shape into rounds. The dough should be cracking on the sides. Press down your thumb or index finger lightly on the top of a cookie to make slight indentation.
  4. Lay out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden.
  5. You might like to dust the cookies with icing sugar, but that's of your choice.

Interior Trend: Solid Wood Objects & white ambience

Here's one of my recent interior design trends' favourites -- curious hardwood objects and freeform seating furniture against white or subdued earth tones background...

MidCentury Home in Berlin of Emmanuel de Bayser, the owner of a concept store called The Corner.
Sofa and armchairs are by Jean Royere.

Family Home by Kelly Wearstler, Inc. in Malibu, CA

Family Home by Kelly Wearstler, Inc. in Malibu, CA

↓... I'm loving how the coolness of marble harmonizes with the warmth of wood.   

↓... alas, I cannot find the original source of the image below, only remember that this apartment is located in Barcelona. It's slightly out of the featured trend, because of the shabby textures, yet it's here for I like the selection of furniture and, as always, such a comforting solution -- wood against a light tones background.

   And, playing with the idea, I have created this set imagining a lounge room in early winter morning colour palette. I had some tough time searching for the unique furniture pieces that would make an uncommonly looking lounge group and go surprisingly well with each other. As one of my favourite fashion designers, Paul Smith says - "What I adore is mixing the unexpected, things you don't imagine should go together."
   Well, this seating group might appear to be balancing somewhere on the verge of mis-match... Yet, I hope it is still not beyond a good taste and creativity duo ;)
   As Pablo Picasso once said - "The chief enemy of creativity is good sense." So, let us be guided by the following criterion -- if there is harmony & balance felt about anything,  this is good! 😎
... and, have you spotted a fantastic Octopus sculpture? It's hand carved from a single piece of sweet chestnut burr by a British sculptor, Bill Prickett.
Check out MY STYLE blog to get to know what the top features of the set are.

📍Now, summing up all of the above, I suggest a few key steps in
styling a smart interior with solid wood objects...

1. ...bringing into the space  s o l i d  w o o d   f r e e f o r m  accent furniture and decor pieces such as
v a s e s,  s c u l p t u r e s,  j e w e l l e r y  b o x e s  etc... Artisan  c e r a m i c s  are to be another 'must'.
2. ...think also about  h a r d w o o d   p l y w o o d  s t a t e m e n t  f u r n i t u r e, plus...
3. ...c o s m i c  style o b j e c t s, e.g. lighting, like those mushroom shaped lamps in Kelly Wearstler's Malibu living room [the second picture from above]
4. ...and that's not to forget about lots of  w h i t e and its natural shades which play a major role in the given style background colour scheme.

 As a conclusion, here are my top 5 finds for an outstanding styling...
1 Glass Pot or Terrarium with wood root Base .BALIEXCLUSIVO  $69.95
2 Set of Tables CODIT by DOBREDREWNO  .DAWANDA 181.85
3 Katie Gong Stump side table .westelm $249 $329
4 Natural Wood Sofa Table  by NEVASTARR  North Carolina, U .ETSY  5,164.08
5 Ash Wood Bread Board handmade in Kyiv, Ukraine by Bukke .DAWANDA 45.00

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year 2018!

A Very Happy New Year 2018 to us all!🎄 And yes, I have a wish -- for myself, but I think, everyone would love to join! The wish is... to stop dreaming and start turning dreams into goals! Not always anything what we desire comes naturally to us... yeah, let's face it 😎  But, the truth is that almost everything lies within our power if we start making all necessary steps, small and big ones, shaping our own realities the way we want! 

And no matter whether a goal is to learn a foreign language, master a new hobby, buy a house or set off for an exciting journey across your favourite country. It's actually all about listening to your heart and (now the important secret is being revealed!) moving forward while being present in the here and now. That's the key to living life's real magic!;)
So, let's be unstoppable goal achievers this year and... right, I've said  u n s t o p p a b l e! And why not to share our joyous achievements we're making along the way?!💃

Now, to tell the truth, I wasn't successful at taking good photos of our lovely Christmas/New Year Tree as my camera is being capricious these days about having plenty of daylight to snap high-quality photos. 
So, the decision was to find an inspiring image in the net and, I made the task even harder, - it should have been none of those circulating here and there in the blogosphere, no matter its visual appeal. It took me 2 days, and I was lucky to have come across these three!😊 

↓ This room, though being dark blue, does convey the holiday's magic spirit! Can you feel it?
Ideas and decoration by Amanda Koster
↓ I'm feeling very much attracted to this country-style living room in beige tones. The decor is simple enough yet cozy, and the whole ambience feels so heart-warming!

↓ And here I'm loving how the fireplace is decorated with the Christmas balls garland  - the choice of colours is just perfect, so wintry! Plus we can see there some twig balls and, of course, candles making the whole arrangement complete.
Christmas at Annabel Lewis', owner of specialist haberdasher's V V Rouleaux, restored farmhouse in Cumbria

Friday, 15 December 2017

WABI.SABI --- Rustic : masculine : Nordic ⏩ pa r t I

I haven't done such kind of posting since ages, and now, back on track, I'd like to share a couple of my recent interests in the lifestyle category. And that is, surprisingly enough, a RUSTIC NORDIC interiors with an expressive masculine feel.

There is an idea of an iron cabin which we would love to use as a summer kitchen. The preference there should go to  r u s t i c   m e t a l   o b j e c t s,   g l a s s,   w i r e   i t e m s  and  e c o-f r i e n d l y  l i n e n s. As to the colour palette, it must be dark --  b l a c k  &  b l u e  as background tones, and  d u s k y   t i n t s  along with occasional additions of w h i t e  to "light-up" the space. And what could be more perfect colours & textures inspiration in creating such an austere yet comfortable private space than Nordic land- and waterscapes!

🔍 the first 2 images via here   🔍 road image via  here   🔍 still life is from TINE K HOME via here.

🔍 I'm loooving these black glazed tiles! This kitchen corner looks totally smashing! The image is via 📍Ah, and something more, here's a small book cover image in the left-hand corner, have you spotted? THE NATURAL HOME book by a Swedish stylist, Hans Blomquist seems to be right what we need to create a brutal yet harmonious Nordic space with a focus on simple, natural materials.

🔍  Another kitchen corner in black is also captivating, simple yet solid.
🔍 And I couldn't help but adding here something authentically Nordic, -- an ICELANDIC FISH SOUP, recipe here. That's what I'd love to make first on my future iron cabin summer kitchen!😎

Though the main idea of the project is its being rustic, I consider bringing statement contemporary design objects into such space, be it tableware, lighting or furniture...
And this is my Polyvore set "THANKSGIVING DINNER!which I did by the Thanksgiving day, yet
it perfectly fits into the topic!

And now, we've come close to my next lifestyle crush, which is... TADAAM!.. WABI SABI, as it's called originally in Japanese, shortly meaning "... the art of finding beauty in imperfection." Adapting the concept to the European realities, it may also be accepted as a kind of new HYGGE.
Culturally being very far from anything Japanese, I've defined several aspects of what  w a b i   s a b i  style means to me -- first of all, it's 📍 LIVING SLOW, a seeming CAREFREE-ness though based upon a lot of attention to the littlest details, RUSTIC MINIMALIST approach, a mix of NORDIC & NOMADIC! elements and the usage of ECO-FRIENDLY MATERIALS.
  🔍 All images via TUMBLR The last fashion image is from the shop

Well, the style I'm presenting here today is b r u t a l & r o u g h. But there is another wabi-sabi style I like which is a   s o f t | n a t u r e l l e. Soon to come, in one of my next posts!😉

🔑 Well, hope you enjoyed, let me know if you feel like it's up your alley too! 
And lastly, I wanna share with you a couple of my favourite links, the ultimate place if you want to draw  inspiration for the slow living. And here they are:

Thursday, 7 September 2017

recipe of the day: Pyttipannu

It's been such a long time since I've posted here! Really, it's quite hard to get back on track after a prolonged pause! Though... no complains about how busy I've been, and how much I wish I were a diligent blogger (though both are true;) The good thing is that the first step is already done!😎

And now, it's time for a filling & comforting... Pyttipannu! Each time we are in Finland, we never forget to indulge in this simple yet tasty, actually made of left-overs dish, - fried cubes of potato, sausages cut by circles (the way we always have it served in front of us when in Finland) and omelette!
What you see in the photographs is my basic pyttipannu version made by memory and inspired by a cheff Marcus Samuelsson's presentation, as from here.

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1½ cups diced (Yukon Gold) potatoes (skin on)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced leftover brisket
1 cup diced leftover cooked ham
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 large eggs

1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring often, until it is golden and the potatoes have crispy edges, about 6 more minutes.
3. Add the brisket and ham and cook, stirring often, until they're heated through. If things begin to stick to the pan along the way, add a little water to release them. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
4. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and fry the eggs sunny-side up.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

...such has been the Spring!

In March, i was lucky to attend a little Spring Ball in APTEKARSKY OGOROD during a short visit to Moscow. Don't ask me what i was doing there again!:) I was told the exhibition would be closed the next day, so i decided not to miss the chance. The weather was cold and windy but, in spite of long standing in a queue (i even caught cold!:/ i could steal a glance of what was going on behind the scenes of Spring!

 ... though, already past their best, most of the tulips were still glorious!

... i could see many new to me sorts! How do you like these amazing cabbage roses-like tulips with "frosted" edges?!

↑... unfortunatelly, i didn't have enough time to make notes of sorts names. So, thinking of our future garden, i shall have to find most of these by their images only... Well, that's going to be a real hunt!;)

↑... fascinated by their egg-shaped heads! 

↑... like flames of fire!