Archive for design

A ramble about style and suchlike…

Posted in Dress-ups, Georgian houses, Renovation with tags , , , on April 30, 2011 by pimpmybricks

I am feeling a little impatient – I’d like to move into the house tomorrow.  Rising damp, falling damp, subsidence, termites and all.

Instead,  there are negotiations and discussions to take place. The Pimps, The Architects and The Authorities must confer.  Politics and agendas will no doubt cloud the air.  Acres of silence will unfold.  We will doubt our ears,  doubt our sanity,  doubt out temper-containers. Then, sometime this century, we will be allowed to do essential structural stuff.  After that, whatever changes we’re allowed to make.  Then, if we haven’t died from frustration and impatience, or gone bankrupt in the meantime, the fun stuff happens.

If I were to sit up straight,  put my hand on my heart  and tell the truth (the whole truth and nothing but the truth, swelp me god), I’d have to admit that I don’t find French drains and sumps the most heart- poundingly exciting things. And oddly enough, soil pipe placement and wall stitches don’t much enthral me either.  But I’ll do my bit.   I will get to grips with under-floor membranes and the right grades of gravel;  I will  search for someone who can repair lathe and plaster ceilings (even if the nearest is in Piddle Trenthide or Queen Camel); I will strive to understand the principles of sound transmission, joist re-enforcement and sandstone poultices.  In short, I will acquaint myself with the guts of the house.   

But  really, honestly, only en-route to the bits I like.   

And that, of course, is dress-ups.

At the architect’s meeting the other day I expressed my worry that the house could, quite easily, lend itself to the pompous.  It could, without due diligence, take up attitudes of grandeur, strike poses of self-importance.  And this worries me.  I don’t want an aspirational house that we have to live up to, in which we feel like frauds,  in which our lives feel small.  I don’t want to feel we should be wearing periwigs to breakfast, cleaning our teeth in champagne and never ever slumping in front of the telly.   I want a home, not a lifestyle.   I want to do justice to the elegance and beauty of the house – just no strumpetry, thank you.  Well, maybe a bit of strumpetry but definitely no pomp and circumstance.

Maurice Leloir via

So that’s what I don’t want.  And what  do I want?  Well that’s  a vastly unspooling bolt of colour, yet to be pinned and cut. 

When I was a comic-reading girl, we used to have paper dress-up dolls that you cut out with your blunt, roundy-ended scissors.  First the doll herself, (respectable in her undies, natch) and then all the outfits.  A great deal of mouth-breathing  and puffing went on, with tongues protruding between teeth in the utter, rapt concentration of it all.  Ideally what I’d like would be something like this for houses.  I know – there are software packages abounding but I can’t be faffed learning how to use them and in any case they never look convincing to me, probably because my ability to suspend disbelief has waned since the paper dolls.

via squidoo

So my idea is to collect various outfit styles for the house here in the blog and try them on for size.  And partly because the architect and I are considering keeping this wall in my study roughly as it is now, I’m starting there.

  I don’t know what this look is called, so I’m calling it ‘Deshabille’.  

 This is the house of Debra Cronin, in Woollahra, Sydney.  The pictures have trotted their way around the blogosphere quite a bit, so apologies for that. (But I’m thinking they may not have been seen by M&A, who have bought a house down the road, and who are at the advanced stage of considering the wholeness/holeyness of walls).




Anyway, the meetings start next week.  Let the wild rumpus begin!

Crawling to infinity.

Posted in Georgian houses, Inspiration, Renovation with tags , , on April 22, 2011 by pimpmybricks

We crawl along with the house… 

…hence all these pretty but unrelated pictures.

We had an architect’s meeting yesterday and there was much joking and idea-spinning , but nothing much to show for it other than marks on paper and thought-balloons strung like bunting between us.  He has been busy dividing the Conservation Management Tome into ‘changes’ and ‘repairs’ and when we’ve amassed another forest of paper we’ll take it all to the various bodies and see whether they will very kindly permit us to make the repairs that are necessary to stop the house (or bits of it) collapsing. 

An interesting thing about these houses is that one governmental department has allowed them to fall into states of piteous decay, while another will have us jump through hoops, swim through crocodile infested waters, tame lions and generally sign over our lives before permitting us to do the works that we, in any case, are required to do.

In the meeting, discussion ran to changes we want to make  and how they might be accomplished.  Things that involve knocking holes into walls and floors and, you know, (sorry for our impertinence), having an upstairs bathroom.  The Burra Charter was invoked and we all stood to attention before it.  I even tried to read it a moment ago but it is a document more turgid than analytic theories of Object Splitting.  More turgid even than Charles Dickens (is that possible?).  Turgid enough, anyway, to require a cream bun and a lie-down before embarking on it.  Neither of which I had, which is maybe why I failed. 


However, I do like their dictum of “as much as necessary, as little as possible” (providing ‘necessary’ spans aforementioned upstairs bathroom, a door between kitchen and dining room, and a few other life or death necessities).  Another thing I like is that new work, such as doors where there were not doors etc, should ‘read’ as new and not pretend originality.    We talked about the new doors following Georgian proportions and spirit but with steel frames. And about off-setting the frame from the wall slightly and having a glass fillet around the gap.  But right now  I am feeling very frustrataed – the internet is  a groaning banqueting table, heaped and overflowing with images of Moroccan leather pouffes, wedding blankets  and ikat cushions.  Really, I am stuffed to the gills.  But if you want a picture of a new door in an old building with a glass fillet in between, you’re going to go hungry.

Hence all the pretty pictures in this post. Unrelated to the house.  They come from 40 W I N K S,  an hotel in London run by David Carter, dandy and decorating impresario.

For years and years I’ve believed he was the son of Angela Carter, writer of ‘The Magic Toyshop’ and other wonderful, iconoclastic books from my youth. Dead now, sadly (both). I don’t know where I got this idea but it was a firm one. I would have sworn there was the same magician at work in each, the same baroque sensibility, the same surreal splashes. And then I discovered that his mother was an antiques dealer and her son called Alexander and my illusion collapsed with a ceremonial plop. The mind – what can you say!

All images here.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 5, 2011 by pimpmybricks

To get a Stylish Blogger award when you’re a couple of weeks off the block, when the ink on your banner is still wet, when you don’t know how to work the damned thing,  when you feel you’re muttering to yourself in the corner – that’s actually really exciting .  And when it comes from someone like the very singular Little Augury – well then! It was she who has (almost) turned me onto lavender, and she who has definitely brought home how art can inspire interiors (read here).  I thank you once, I thank you twice, I thank you once again!

So, as far as I understand how this works, I am to say seven things about myself and nominate seven other blogs? 

The nomination bit is a tad tricky because I have only recently begun dipping my toes in the blogowaters and I still know virtually nussing. So here’s it for now, and I’ll add more as I discover them.

Atelier Abigail Ahern

Cheese Slave.

Designers Block.

Gorgeous Shiny Things

Live like you.

Brazen Careerist.

The Design Files.

As for the seven deadly facts, I offer these up:

-Let’s get some of the bad bits out of the way – I can be high-handed, quick tempered, demanding, irascible, imperious, aloof,  impatient and fickle.  But not all of the time.

-I have an aversion to buttons which borders on the phobic.  I cannot touch (most of) them, nor look at them, and if you’re wearing any you sure as hell won’t be getting a hug from me.  Unless you’re Miss Pimp, of course.



-I anthropomorphise everything.  Going out into the world can be as wringing as sitting through the Orestia, or Mrs Minerva or Beaches. That poor tomato, squashed!  That poor cow/poor aubergine/kangaroo/felled tree!  It’s exhausting.

-Some day soon I’m going to start a blog called “Can you put a saddle on that?”.  It will itemise the daily jokes I get when walking Remington. What you don’t know before you get a Great Dane is how they, as a breed, bring out the comedian in everyone. And what none of the comedians out there seem to know is that there’s only one joke in the whole collective compendium.  The horse joke. But I’m not as grouchy as I might sound. We love all the love, me and the Rem.  It’s just that my smile in response to the first daily iteration becomes more of a rictus by the twentieth. 

Remington after all the love.


-Until about 18 months ago I was working as a psychotherapist. I was eight years into my training as a psychoanalyst.  Then I found the courage  to walk away from all of it.  The work was good. And psychoanalysis is a great tool, but the institution of it, like the institution of most things, is full of conservatism and quasi-religious orthodoxies.  It made me ill, in the way that doing things which are wrong for you makes you ill.  So now I’m living a shapeless baggy life, with an eye out for what’s right.

-I’m stuck half way through writing a novel.  I’ve been stuck there for a very long time. Thinking about it is narcolepsy-inducing.

Reinier Gerritsen


-I have a large degree of of a pash for silver bracelets – the larger the better – which I endeavour to wear whenever possible.  But it makes it hard to sneak up on people.

BTW, I thought the innernets were supposed to be lawless?  I have not been able to leave comments on some blogs because, I am informed, I have “illegal characters” in my url.  Which I take to refer to  ‘pimp’.  Oh Place of Prudery!

behind the scenes

Posted in Photo shoots with tags , , on March 24, 2011 by pimpmybricks

We’ve had two photo shoots at the house this week, and another to come on Sunday.

Yesterday was In-Style magazine, shooting three women who are all successful in their fields.  No photos allowed for fear of scaring the horses.  Lots of ooohing over the house, however.  Very gratifying for a lovelorn owner.

Today was another kettle of fish.  About ten people of all shades of funk, shooting pictures for the Aje label.  Pictures not only allowed but positively encouraged.  Not that it helped my photographic skills to be weilding my tiny little digital Box Brownie in the company of Travis and his superwhopper appendage.  But anyway.  He was a lovely bloke with a similar taste in reggae to me, and moreover, has promised to send me some of his pics. 

So.  With a small flurry of ahemming…

The crew

The merch…

The make-shift make-up balcony…

the talent…

and the conundrum (how many assistants does it take to change a shoe?)