Of walls and Herberts.

Hola mis damas, mis caballeros, mis little castanets.

Oy vey.  As far as silences go, this one has been an absolute doozie.  Not only did I plunge headfirst off the blogging horse but said horse got so tired of waiting it pottered off to livelier pastures, raised a family, opened an organic oats business and then retired.  And so here I am, mountless.  But, you know, bisons is bisons and tradition is tradition and if I started too many posts without the statutory apols for slack tartishness, you’d think you too had wandered off to some other, more organised blog.  So, dear Ladles and Jellyspoons all – (if there is, indeed, anyone out there still with half a cocked ear) – I bid you good morrow.

And the reason for my muteness?  For one thing I’ve started back at what it amuses Ms Pimperletta to call my ‘potty training’.(http://northernbeachesceramics.wordpress.com/). So there you will find me from Monday to Wednesday, having a lovely old time making oddly gonadal shapes out of porcelain. You’ll also find me engrossed on many a night, strung like a looney between the twin swaying poles of dusk and dawn, wide awake and watching as images of  clay go flowing in plastic glory across the  night stage, and off into the flaring dark. You could call me obsessed. I am, for the nonce, much engrossed by the oddly sexual qualities of orchids, and am trying to render them in porcelain as fine and as translucent as my bumble-fingered skills allow. Let me show you what I mean:

coreanthes oh my gawd

And this, which reminds me somehow of monks at prayer, piety verging on the disconsolate:

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And from Thursday to Sunday?  There is the house. Natch.  The dear old Regency Wreck. On the subject of which a little caveat, because there follows a short rant, so for those averse to such things, please avert your tender eyes now. Because I have to tell you – we are almost dunfer!  We realised recently that it’s over two years since we bought the house and still there is no moving in date.  In fact we have stopped thinking of moving in at all – it saves on the endless steeplechase of expectation and disappointment.  Mr and Ms Pimp went so far as to join a gym just up the road from where we are renting, and Mr P and I are off for a month next week to visit family in the UK. We were going to do it in December, when we’d moved into the house, and then January when we’d moved into the house, and then February when ditto.  And now we are just doing it.   It has come to feel  as if  there has always been the house and there will always be the house.  Endlessly demanding of door knobs and colours and cupboards and floor tiles and money and money and more money, and energy when the reservoir is dry… and yet never quite getting there.  If I sound a little jaded, it is because I am.  Jaded and absolutely cream crackered.

But (and you can look back now) – there are good bits.  Because there are always good bits.  We are poring over colours (about which, more anon), agonising over kitchens, ogling sofas.  We are thinking what will go on walls.  This all requires a certain suspension of disbelief when, you know, we are never going to live within said walls.  We have found ourselves awash with thoughts of  chinoiserie, for instance. Which was somewhat of a surprise.  Had you once asked me whether we were a chinoiserie kind of mob I’d’ve said probs not.  A bit fiddly, a bit schmancy, a bit opulent – for me at any rate.  But Mr P, coming as he does from several generations of Orient-raised family, has always had a soft spot for it, and Miss P has recently joined in.  And so I have taken up the challenge of sourcing something good, as cheaply as possible.  I have been talking to China.  Several months now of prolix and deeply frustrating emails which start off with a rush and then trickle into intermittence.  Maybe I ask too many questions, maybe I’m too fussy with my requests to add/subtract a bit of bamboo, make the petals finer.  But anyway, we’re getting there and I have learned an invaluable lesson – if you want to save money, you have to spend time (and patience, which is something I’m not renowned for).

Ms P favours something like this for her bedroom, though it has to be said that the bottom portion would be quite wasted, buried under tissues, clothes, shoes, papers, make up, and the general miscellany of what she calls her ‘floordrobe’:

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And Pimpoh finds himself fancying something a bit like this:

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or this:

hapsburg

Me, I like things a little plainer and a little simpler.  It’s the old Wee Free in me. But even I have been carried away on the  wave.  Just a tad, of course, no deeper in than my knees. Because I like dark things I could, for instance, be persuaded to this.  I’m currently trying to persuade Ms Pimp she wants a version of this for her bathroom.  You know, to go with those dark tiles I’m so enamoured of, but she, she ain’t so convinced:

05_large-1And talking of walls, there’s another thing (actually there is a whole firmament of other things, but let’s pretend there’s only one) – and that is this, the hallway:

hall 57

I think there should be a little oomph when you open the front door.  You know,  a small trumpeting fanfare.  And if you can’t afford a line-up of liveried rabbits, you’d best be thinking about getting your drama from the walls. Preferably the wall to the right in our case, which is actually a lot longer than it appears in the photograph.  The problem is that the hallway and staircase also need to sing duets with the rest of the house which is going to be, for now at least, tricked up (or down) in those fugitive, atmospheric greys.  You know, purple greys, brown greys, and their various assorted offspring.  I have ditched, with some reservations, my addiction to moody, inky drama.  It was pointed out to me that the house has a feeling of lightness (in the Enlightenment sense of the word) and that it would be good to go along with it.  And that made sense to me. For now at any rate.  We’ll see whether darkness makes its way in, a little pool here, a dark lake there.  So in all probability the hallway and staircase will be grey also.

How to achieve a sense of drama, then.

There is good old grisaille, of course, and Mr Pimp is very fond of things like this:

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And I have to admit, I can see how it might be fun to find an elephant calumphing along the hall when you stumble downstairs at cock call, all early morning frowsy and bleary of sight.

I had a passionate-ish tango with this offering from Trove.  A panoply of old queens seemed quite the thing to come home to:

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But then I discovered the price.

Still an arm and  half a leg, I am having a bit of a pash with these:

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Or, on a more sedate day, these:

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But enough of such fripperies.  Right now I must leap into the car and hurtle down the motorway to go bed shopping with Ms P, who is currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor.  We shall be without the Herberts, who are staying at the farm with Eric the house sitter while we are in the UK.  All of which is another story.  Finding a sitter has been an education that sits alongside buying Chinese wallpaper.  I have encountered aspects of humanity I had not previously met, even in my psychoanalytic practice.  There were many lovely people who replied to my ad, and a few…what you might call eccentrics.  One good lady, for instance, very kindly sent me photographs of her aura.  But Eric seems solid enough, and the dogs are tentatively accepting of him (“what does his arrival mean, where are you going, can we come too?”).  So off I go, guilty heart heavy, until another day…

10 Responses to “Of walls and Herberts.”

  1. Every time I get an issue of Country Life from the UK I think about your entry hall. They always have an advert for new subscriptions and the photo they use shows an entry hall. As I recollect the room is done in blue/grey. The feature that “makes” the room is blue/grey squares on the floor. I think they are stenciled over a wood floor. The squares are set on point. Stunning, easy to do, and relatively inexpensive. Classic Regency when done in black/white, goes with Chinoiserie as well.

    • Hello Rachel. Thanks for the heads up. I’m off to the UK at the end of the week, so I’ll get me a copy of Country Life. I’m intrigued by the squares on the floor, though someone in Heritage would probably have apoplexy if we did something like that…

  2. I don’t even know where to start with the comments, there are so many subjects to comment on for this post! So I think it best to start at the top. I am tres impressed with the phallic orchids, and I think you don’t give your self enough credit for your fine renditions of whatever it is that is coming out of your imagination. It looks quite amazing and I wonder, how big it is, and where you are going to display it? I picture a chandelier of great proportions surprising guests in the entrance hall.. Maybe you could find some wallpaper to match. I love the chinoiserie wallpaper, I would be in heaven to have any of these anywhere in my house. the pink one is gorgeous too. it is good that you have checked in before you fly off to england. You will be pleased to know that it is still cold and snowy and horrible there, so you can soak it all up and enjoy. Have a lovely time.

    • Hey Rosa. I don’t know whether you meant a chandelier with porcelain gonads hanging from it, but the picture is tantalising me now! Could be very bizarre and wonderful. And you know my weather tastes well – rain, snow, wind – bring it on! In buckets and snowploughs.

      • hello. Yes I did mean porcelain gonad chandeliers. It would be a conversation piece maybe, and rather beautiful too, but possibly difficult to hang.

      • I wish I could see the picture inside your head Rosa! In mine there’s something a little like a conventional chandy, but with the thinnest, whitest porcelain gonadal flowers mounted somewhere near the ends of the arms. And actually, I think it is beautiful!

  3. Love the elephants – keep it up

  4. We too are obsessed with the Chinoiserie papers and are thinking of having an artist copy them. I think a bit of the orient is necessary in every room. Tara Shaw Maison has some wonderful Grisaille wall hangings. Maybe you should stop in China on your way home. My blog is slow as molasses these days as well. How about a big graphic in the halls? There is a great blog called Chinoiserie Chic that I think you would love. I love all your posts, so I’m still watching!
    Best,
    Liz

    • Hi Liz. Good to hear from you. I was thinking about you only yesterday and wondering how things were going with you. I’m not sure who or what Tara Shaw Maison is but I’ll google it/her/them – thank you. I do like me a bit of grisaille. I’ll have a squizz at CC too. ‘Slow as molasses’ sounds like something comfortable and sweet – I hope things are that way.

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