Thursday, September 30, 2010

Raising the bar...

Here's the conundrum. Every hotel needs a bar, yet no home really wants a bar. A 'home bar' is so declasse, and fit only for the sort of home where pictures of dogs playing poker are considered tasteful. If one is to have alcohol in view, then one ought to have a 'drinks trolley'.

So, with that profound advice out of the way, how does one create the essential, intimate and ever so slightly glam bar for a boutique hotel cum home, where guests can flirt with each other over a nice glass or two of Grande Annee?

We have designed an alcove with a pull out bar on castors, and closable cabinetry. It has all the charm of a luxurious little bar - the warm polished mahogany paneling, the gleam of shiny brass rails, the glint of light off the crystal and chairs so comfy that a day's work on one's feet is quickly forgotten; yet when one doesn't want to be confronted with the commercial aspect of one's endeavours, one can simply close the cabinets behind the bar, hiding all the bottles and glasses behind paneling that matches the wall panels, push the bar back into the alcove, and redecorate the surface at will with whatever object d'art one is in the mood for.

When the bar is open...

When the bar is closed...

The lounge will have lovely deep leather club chairs with plenty of little Louis XV styled tables at hand upon which to rest one's glass, and will double as our informal entertainment area (separate from our private, formal drawing room). At the end of the lounge (correlating to the right hand wall in the above plans, there will be a large plasma TV, recessed into the wall, covered by a framed moving oil painting, which rolls up in the frame when one wishes to watch the TV, and rolls down, when one wants to hide it from view. TVs have become [almost] indispensable household items, but that doesn't make them attractive...

Here are some more TV hiding ideas...

And here are some of the not so garish bars that we have taken inspiration from....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Doctors Urgently Need Your Help

This is a wild aside from my usual blogs, but I am compelled to send a message to anyone out there who cares. For fear of reprisal I have not posted in detail at Willowbrook Park , so please, please visit this new blog:

Doctors In Distress

and please also visit the official Treating Doctors Well site for further information.

Here some of our stories here

Monday, September 20, 2010

Coach Lanterns...

We have started to look at each light fitting for Willowbrook - an exhausting task, and we have finally come across some coach lanterns we like the look of for the outside lighting. They have a slightly Gothic quality to them. There will be a '9357 LD' on either side of the arch into the Carriage House, as one on either side of the French doors to the Terrace outside on the Second Storey. There will also be a pair on either side of the main gate, one on each stone gate pillar.

The hanging coach lamps (9855 LD)will hang inside the front portico (x2) and also outside in the loggia of the downstairs terrace (x3).

Then the matching lanterns on posts (9559 LD) will be dotted along the paths in the park. I think they should look quite stunning at night.

Whilst they are not strictly Georgian, they are by far the most impressive in the catalogues we have looked at. Others looked quite generic. What do you think? Does anyone know of better lighting companies we should try in Australasia?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Blenheim Suite: The finer details....

Many of the great Georgian houses of Britain had a Chinese room. The Blenheim suite is going to be our Chinese room.

Chinoiserie, from 'chinois' the French for Chinese, was a style inspired by art and design from China, Japan and other Asian countries. In the 18th century porcelain, silk and lacquerware imported from China and Japan were extremely fashionable. This led many British designers and craftsmen to imitate Asian designs and to create their own fanciful versions of the East. The style was at its height from 1750 to 1765.

Above: The old Silk Road which stretched between Europe and the Far East. Chinese porcelain and silk flooded to the West after China eased its restrictions on foreign trade in 1684.

The Chinese Room in Claydon House has the most elaborate Chinoiserie interior surviving in Britain. It was designed in 1769 by Luke Lightfoot. Above each door is a pagoda motif supported by Chinese figures.

Oriental faces also appear among the flowers around the chimney-piece. The most remarkable part of the room is the tea alcove which is painted with a latticework design and covered in an abundance of Chinoiserie details.

Hand painted chinese wallpaper was also de rigeur...

Today there are many good quality machine manufactured chinoiserie wallpapers...

Here is the [limited] range of chinoiserie wallpapers, in duck egg blue, that we've found so far...

Above and Below: Colefax and Fowler Chinese Toile Pattern in aqua colour, with swatch of matching fabric. Lovely Chinese theme, but it has only 2 colours - beige and blue.

Below: Colefax and Fowler Rousillon pattern in aqua colour, with a complimenting fabric swatch. I like the metallic gold paint of the blue background.
In the full pattern the branches form a diamond shaped lattice.

Below: 3 Fabric options

Below: The Colefax and Fowler Marchwood pattern in aqua colour. I like the magnolias. They add some colour to the duck egg blue, but are not explicitly Chinese.

Ideally we would like a duck egg blue background with a more colourful foreground pattern, which was particularly Chinese in its motifs.

Which one of the above 3 papers do you like the most???

The Blenheim suite will also showcase much of our Chinese porcelain and furniture.
Here are some ideas of the style we are plumbing for from other houses:

Chinoiserie Laquerware...

Orientally inspired screens...

A mixture of 17-18th century gilded furniture

Oriental Mirrors

Sconces with Chinese porcelain

For more inspiration for the Chinoiserie lovers out there, check out this excellent blog... Chinoiserie Chic
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