8Nov

Timberyard

This was a timberyard to begin with, then it was an old prop house and theatre, now it is restaurant & an Edinburgh must-go. It was lovely on entry with the big red door and red car outside, red being the only colour throughout the interior. Simply propped, you walk in toward a ramp and there is an old leather topped gymnasium vault and candles. A central courtyard is the perfect place to admire the space and enjoy your Hendricks served with cucumber and tartan rugs to keep you warm.

All the plates, cutlery & glasses were part of the owner’s assortment of Danishware. It was mismatched and perfect. The menus offering bites/ small/ & large were presented on a collection of old clipboards, right up my alley!

Timberyard is tactile, subtle & perfectly executed and the family who run it are absolutely lovely. Cannot recommend it enough if you happen to be in Scotland for a spot of falconry & Loch Ness monster hunting.

8Nov

Strongarbh House

This hotel is on the Isle of Mull, a car ferry ride away from Oban on the west coast of Scotland. It is a lovingly restored house on the hill with many reincarnations throughout its life from a morgue to an Officer’s mess and home. Enter to a big wooden staircase with huge flagging stones and two front rooms that look over the port that we arrived into. The library is all white washed light & modern (I think Isle Crawford had some influence here) with beautiful, deep, shuttered windows. There are painted grey floorboards (more people should do this) in the gallery with a B&B Italia sectional sofa/ottoman and Monocle newspapers.

A pebbled path leads through an old green wire gate to the steep road that descends to the village. It pops out next to the tackle shop, a red shop sitting pretty in a row. Out of everything, my favourite part of the very sophisticated hotel, was the washing hanging to dry under a simple canvas tent, divine. One night was not enough but we had to truck on!

31Oct

Morrison Polkinghorne

Step back in time to this hidden gem in the backstreets of Newtown. Morrison Polkinghorne weaves his magic on his 18th century french looms. His designs can be as simple as jute tassles or as fanciful as elaborate braids. When I visited him he was working on the restoration of the passementeries for a vintage Rolls Royce, but don’t be shy to make an appointment and go and visit for any of your fringing needs. His workshop is a dream, as is he.

By appointment only.

30Oct

My new soap range!

When I travel, I come home with a colour palette and scent for each place I visit – not just a bundle of souvenirs! I have memories of sitting cross-legged on tatami mats in Kurokawa, eating fiddlehead ferns and listening to the river, fresh from the hot springs surrounded by a mix of rice flower, rain and fire scents. Through my books I translate colour palettes and styling arrangements from my travel inspirations, but have never been able to communicate one of the most important senses, one that transports you back to your globetrotting experiences or makes you dream of future holidays: smell. With these soaps you can close your eyes and think of being surrounded by a new place, new people and things to do, in any part of the world.

I spent a day with my soap maker Rebekah at Wagner’s Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia. We smelt and compared fragrances in the upstairs museum, for the most part we were the only guests and left to our own devices. The room was large, full of glass topped scientific counters and large cabinets displaying Wagner’s wanderkummer, a very appropriate place for researching & perfecting a new creation.

Let the scents carry to you to adventures across the globe: listening to desert sounds smelling basmati rice, jasmine and coriander through the sandy lanes of Jodhpur; a blend of coffee & spice fragrances, cardamom and damask rose wafting from the souks in Damascus; roadtripping along the windy Amalfi Coast with a breeze of ocean and beach, dead sea salts and lemon; bike riding past Mexico City brightly coloured street vendors smelling tomato leaf, geranium, lime and spearmint on a sunny, summer day; and of course, Kurokawa.

All soaps are naturally coloured and pressed, cut into the shape of hearty shields and come inside a linen bag with their place of origin attached. Pick a place that brings you good memories, or the next one to explore!

22Oct

Australian Book Tour Dates

12Oct

Mr Wong

This is my latest interior collaboration with Justin Hemmes & his lovely sister, Bettina – Mr Wong. A 250 seat restaurant housed in an old warehouse built around the 1850s. Two storeys & although it has ginormous proprtions it feels intimate, warm & full of discoveries.

We used alot of green tones! Particularly in the recycled timber floors inlaid with diagonally laid morroccan tiles. I had Ecuadorian ‘vegetable ivory’ beads coloured, dyed & knotted into giant strands to hang as a screen to a ‘private’ dining room.

My legendary signwriter, Will created a masterpiece on the stairwell: an old-style gold & silver leaf (320 sheets of gold leaf were used) mirrored advertisement, as well as adding layer throughout the space with handwritten signage on walls, mirrors and furniture.

The bar joinery was based on a bar I loved in Seville with its curved edges and pegs and a famous siren from the 1920s was applied by our scenic painters to the downstairs wall. Mountains of old Asian cabinetry hardware was hand tacked to one length of the upstairs wall (yes, my wrist did hurt for months after).

Parisian bistro chairs were bespoke in our own colour palette & pattern, after I was inspired by their durability & timelessness on a trip to Paris plus loads of vintage lighting, Italian lighting & lamps where installed throughout the space.

Custom shelving lines the walls filled with pantry staples, Chinese medicinal herbs & other magic things in old glass apothecary jars along  with pots & vessels of all shapes & sizes.

A shared love of Asian colonial made this the unexampled unique place imagined in our minds, giving the old warehouse a new lease on life, even though it feels like its always been there.