Friday, 30 May 2008

I need to rant... please indulge me for a moment, and then we'll be back to normal programming folks.

Firstly - I love DIY. I have fantasised about doing up and renovating a place of my own for as long as I care to remember. I got to partially live out that fantasty when we partly renovated our house in Melbourne. I was here in Hong Kong for most of it though, so I missed out on most of the fun stuff - painting etc. So, I was hoping that painting our new flat would make up for what I missed out on when doing our place. We got the keys last weekend and spent 2 days tearing down wallpaper. This weekend we are cleaning up and preparing the walls so we can paint next weekend. Tonight after work we went out to B&Q (the first and only store in HK devoted to DIY) to get stuff. There are times I wish I lived in a country where I was communicating with people who speak the same language - and tonight was one of those times. I am not the most patient person at the best of times, but seriously, I knew more about paint than the guy working there. Not only that, but we were dealing with people called "Geronimo", and another called "Wonka". I am not kidding. (I have no idea why Chinese people choose stupid, and ridiculous English words as names - but that is a seperate rant alltogether). Going to a store like this is supposed to be fun. In Australia, going to the local Bunnings (I guess the US equivalent is Home Depot) is a Sunday afternoon ritual. Going to a DIY store where there is no sausage sizzle out front, and a tradesman inside to ask " you 'right luv?" is lacking in the experience department.

Secondly - why is it that people in Hong Kong think that painting is so difficult? I came across so many real estate agents when we were apartment hunting that would say that we could paint the place ourselves, but the landlord wasn't prepared to do it - their reasoning? It was either a) too expensive, b) would take too long, or c) they didn't know how to do it. I'm talking about apartments that with a simple coat of paint and a few small DIY jobs, could command an extra US$1000 a month (that's how crazy the rental market is here). But they seem to think that painting is for experts. One agent said to me "Europeans, they know how to paint". Lucky for me, I married an Italian.

OK. I'm taking deep breaths. I think I'm done now.

Have a great weekend everyone. I will be washing down our walls with warm water, and whatever cleaning liquid I can find, because HK's great and wondorous DIY store doesn't carry sugarsoap.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

I wish...

...I was here. It's been grey and miserable here in HK today. I'd love to be somewhere warm and sunny, in a nice spot like this, sharing lunch with friends.

Photo from Elle Decor Italia.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Suzy, Hoodless

Design consultant Suzy Hoodless started out in the magazine business, not unlike fellow Briton, Ilse Crawford. After a few years at Designer's Guild and then House & Garden, she become the Interiors Editor at Wallpaper* magazine from it's inception. Since 2000 she has been running her design consultancy out of her West London studio and has taken on some pretty amazing projects. Here are a few pics from her portfolio that really grabbed my attention.

Love this colour combination...quite unusual, but I think it works.

The spindly legs of the Frits Henningsen chair look amazing in this architectural space.

A very cosy looking restaurant, also in West London.

A subtle mix of styles and eras here. I am a bit of a fan of chesterfields, when they're done right, and I think it looks great in this textural space against the Curtis Jere-looking sculpture.

A little bit of red for a pop...

A cozy looking room...perfect place to sit by the fire with a book and a glass of red on a winter's day!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Fresh Frank on Friday

Love these new project photos that I just found on Frank Roop's website. They are incredibly cool, bright and fresh - and very inspiring. I think Roop has a great talent for creating wonderfully livable interiors, that are mostly neutral, with blocks of just the right colours - not too matchy-matchy, but perfectly in sync.

On a more serious note, I've taken on a personal project - helping a friend decorate his new (and empty) apartment in Singapore. This will be done mostly via email (& facebook so far...) and between his business trips to HK and me visiting him in Singapore later next month. I'll keep you updated on how it goes...he happens to be an excellent photographer, so maybe I'll share some pics once it's all done. By the way, Haf, what do you think of these?

P.S. I'm picking up the keys to my new apartment tomorrow night, and will probably spend Saturday tearing down the horrible old vinyl wallpaper in preparation for painting next weekend. So think of me while you're enjoying your weekend...not!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Today I'm loving...

These incredibly chic match-stick strikers from Nina Campbell. I don't smoke, but they would be fab to have handy for lighting candles.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

An oldy but a goody

I had a reader request over the weekend to send some images of the Steven Stolman apartment from the May 2004 Elle Decor, and I thought I might just go ahead and post it. Partly also because its a relatively small space (around 1,100 sq ft or 102 sq mtrs) and a similar size as my new apartment, and I thought it might be some fun inspiration. He's used great colours here that are fun and refreshing, and I especially love the master bedroom (posted previously HERE) and the den. I am contemplating painting our living room a similar chocolate brown, but not sure - it may just end up "renters white" - so stay tuned. Hope you enjoy!

So, Hadley, whoever (I'm assuming it's not the one and only Mr Albert, but I can dream ;) and wherever you are, this is for you!

Monday, 19 May 2008

I scored!

I just scored 2 of these classic Verner Panton chairs in white for FREE! Yes, that's right folks. For nada, zip, zilch. My company, which is moving office this week (yes, somehow I managed to get myself in a postion where I was moving office AND apartments in the same month) is getting rid of 12 of these chairs that were formally in our conference room. I've snagged 2 of them for my new apartment. Woo hoo!

Friday, 16 May 2008

It's out!

Yay! I think I might have to make a special trip past the newstand tonight to pick myself up a copy. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

My latest purchase...

Remember me lusting after this room in 1st Dibs founder Michael Bruno's old Paris apartment (a matter of weeks ago)...?

...and declaring to the world I didn't think I could live with furniture covered in dead elephant? (click HERE to read the post I mean)....

Well I've done an about face. Call me a hypocrite, or anything else you can think of. I don't mind. Actually, I probably deserve it.

I found this stunning table (covered in elephant hide) and wastepaper basket (covered in python) by Karl Springer.....passed in at auction...

And I couldn't resist.

I know my South African friend will probably never speak to me again. I still don't condone killing wild, protected or endangered species for vanity, but I guess I figure these had both been dead for a few decades at least. Until I stop wearing leather shoes, belts and handbags I probably can't be pious about covering furniture in skins of other animals.

I might be opening a can of snakes here...but what does everyone else think?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


The Hong Kong International Art Fair begins today, and I'm really looking forward to checking it out tonight. Much bigger than the last event, this fair will see galleries from all over the world meet at the exhibition centre, open to collectors, and the public alike. It's running in conjunction with talks, previews and other events. So, if you're in Hong Kong and you're an art lover I suggest you check it out!

Oh, and PS - thanks to Frey Norris for my VIP passes!

**UPDATE** I thought the art fair was fantastic, so if you're in HK and didn't make it to this one - make sure you get there next year. With pieces by well known artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Claude Lalanne, Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel and Robert Rauschenberg (cannot imagine how much they have gone up in value since his unfortunate passing last week) - just to name a few - as well as many upcoming Asian artists, it was better than any other exhibition that has been shown here!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Peter Marino

I'm back! I'm feeling quite relieved now that the 2 big work deadlines are done with, got out of going to Beijing, had a long weekend to relax a bit, AND I've found a new apartment to move in to (more on that later). Phew! And now, back to blogging...

I've been loving neutral interiors with lots of clean lines lately, which is why I was so taken by the pics of New York based architect Peter Marino's projects. You may or may not know the name, and if you don't then I'm certain you will be familiar with some of his projects. He is the man behind some of the world's most famous luxury retail spaces. Hong Kong's Louis Vuitton store, Chanel in Tokyo, New York and Paris, Giorgio Armani in New York, Barney's in New York etc. etc. - and that's just the tip of the iceburg. He is also responsible for some incredibly chic residential spaces. Here are a few of my favorites from his website.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


I'm taking a bit of a break over the next week or two. I have deadlines for two high profile hotel projects I'm working right now keeping me busy, and a possible trip to Beijing next week, so unfortunately I don't have much time for blogging. See you soon. I hope!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Look what the postman brought!

I am so excited that these 2 books that I've had on pre-order with Amazon finally arrived. And just in time for the weekend. One quick glance tells me they'll have a place on my favorites list already!

Friday, 2 May 2008

98 days to go!

to the olympics of course! The olympic flame arrived safely in Hong Kong from Ho Chi Minh on Wednesday and will do its leg of the relay here today. The torch relay will pass by my office at approx 4pm I've been told. I'm not normally a big fan of sports events, but having the torch pass by so close is kind of exciting.

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!