The Nesting Magpie

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Customising a Kitchen on Any Budget; 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Having a custom-built kitchen is beautiful, and money well-spent... But for most of us, financially, it feels unattainable. There are so many inexpensive ways of customising your kitchen to suit your needs, but before going crazy in IKEA and cluttering up your work space with things you don't need, you first need to decide what it is you do need. Making a list of what, and why you need, additional storage devices, thinking of how you currently use your kitchen space and drawing up a quick plan are really worthwhile exercises.
What's most important to remember when personalising a kitchen is that everything you see in a catalogue might not suit your kitchen physically, but more important, might not suit the way in which you use your kitchen either.

1) How do you use your counter space? For example, are you a keen baker? If so, then placing a slab of marble is an relatively inexpensive way of creating a pastry station. A wire rack or steel counter top is a great surface protector if you're used to messing around with heavy saucepans. And a large chopping board denotes a work area and means there will always be an assigned clutter-free work zone (Large chopping boards can be difficult to clean thoroughly so use a separate, smaller plastic board for meat and poultry.).
2) Is your kitchen the new living room? Some cooks like their own space, others welcome a "more the merrier" approach. Really think about where in the home your family gravitate towards? For some, a sofa area is needed. Some may not even require a dinner table if they have a breakfast bar or separate dining room. I've even seen homes with just enough space for one diner, if the family's schedule don't coincide to allow for a shared meal. (Note; call me old-fashioned, but I believe the family who eats together stays together.)
3) What kind of stuff do you have? Food/ dinnerware/ appliances/ take-out menus?! In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes people make when designing is whacking in some storage "solution"and hoping for the best. This applies to closet space in as well. Always take note of what you have, how much you have, what size it is and where best to store it and let form follow function. Also consider what you can get rid of or what you hope to acquire.
4) Is your kitchen used for anything else? A lot of people use their dinner table as a desk, but having to move and re-move your paperwork three times a day for fear of spilling your dinner on your important documents can be annoying. If you're serious about working from your kitchen, find space to set up a small office space. Make use of surrounding wall space for shelving, pin boards and cubbies. And remember, the more you use a room the more you need to keep it organised, comfortable and fresh.
5)What will help the kitchen flow better?  There is nothing to say you can't incorporate a living or office space into a kitchen while maintaining a flow and making it aesthetically pleasing. Any additional furniture can be mismatched, but it must also be well matched. Keeping  furniture in the same colour family or style is a handy rule of thumb. And remember that the more you bring in, the more you must bring out; swap things around and replace- don't just add. Otherwise the beloved heart of the home will look more like a jumble sale... and not in a good way.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Iconic Design; Midcentury Side Chairs

Bertoia Side Chair, Bertoia Rilsan, 1950. 
"To me, the Bertoia is like a little black dress in a woman's wardrobe: universal, timeless and absolutely necessary."- Christophe Pillet, Italian designer. High praise, considering this iconic chair is actually the result of an experiment in, what the cool kids call, practical art (I must remember that one..). The frame of this chair is built from welded steel in either polished chrome or bonded Rislan finish, but the key material in this design is.. nothing?  "If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes through them" said Bertoia. In 1962, the chair was awarded the Certificate of Merit by the American Institute of Architects and the Design Centre Stuttgart Award. Pretty convincing.

Eames DSW Chair (Eiffel Chair), Charles and Ray Eames, 1950.
This particular wooden-legged design is one in a series of chairs with the same seat shell by Charles and Ray Eames. The lightweight but durable polypropylene seat contour minimises pressure points and supports posture. This chair is available in a variety of bright tones, and coordinates with the Eames DAW armchair.

Cherner Classic Walnut Side Chair, Norman Cherner,  1958.
What an testament to what can be done with veneered plywood! Despite its simple design, the slim-waisted back support adds a slight delicacy. Because of its veneered design, this classic has been reproduced in several finishes.

Wishbone Chair, Hans J. Wegner, 1949.
This chair's raw, natural tone combined with its simple steam-bent structure makes it the ultimate in midcentury rustic elegance. It's lightweight, comfortable and its open back allows for circulation and ease of movement. While working on a chair design project in college, my lecturer used to remind me that sometimes the simplest designs derive from the most thought and this bad boy is no exception; more than 100 steps carried out by hand in the production of this chair, and its handcrafted seat is woven from 120 metres of paper cord.

Tulip Chair, Eero Saarinen, 1955.
Eero Saarinen Finnish-American architect-designer claimed this iconic design came to fruition as he wanted to "get rid of the slum of legs". A "slum" indeed!? This chair is very cool, very retro, very Brady Bunch. The moulded fibreglass form is cast on an aluminium base. For both extra comfort and extra jazziness, coloured loose cushions are also available.
Eames LCW Chair, Charles and Ray Eames, 1946.
In typical Eames fashion, this chair is available with either wooden and metal legs. In the greatest of ergonomic wisdom, this chair's moulded wood laminate seat and backrest echoes the shape of the human body.

Tolix A Chair, Xavier Pauchard, 1934.
This chair's industrial design is well suited to both a rustic, country and a sleek, contemporary setting-- which I always think is the beauty of furniture designed to celebrate raw, natural materials. Lightweight, stackable and suitable for outdoors; these chairs are a practical choice for commercial use, such as for cafes. Brightly-painted Tolix chairs are used in Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italian restaurant here in Dublin, and I can vouch for their comfort!

Panton Chair (S Chair), Verner Panton, 1967.
Another retro polypropylene classic!  This self-supporting chair was one of the first to be made from a single piece of material.


Monday, 14 October 2013

{Pretty in Pink}

According to my nifty little book on colour psychology, pink is the colour of nurturing love; very warm and welcoming and because it's the first colour we see in the world (in the womb) it's maternal and comforting. Probably why everything from Baby Born's logo to many cushy bedding companies make use of its association.
For these reasons, pink is a very personal colour. Depending on the tone, it can either calm the mind of encourage feminine pride. Either way, it is suited very well to a bedroom or bathroom or even a dressing room; a personal space in which you nurture yourself.
Mind you, bringing some of this energy into other areas in your home can have wonderful effects on how you feel in your home. As a home, of course, is supposed to be a personal place of warmth and sanctuary. Try bringing in elements of pink here and there if you're not sure- you might be pleasantly surprised!
 I admit pink is not really I colour I always feel confident using a lot of. This is probably because I grew up when hot pink was, well, hot, and I now sometimes associate it with glitter, and being  12 years old. Which is fine... when you're 12 years old. But lately I've been seeing how pink can look so sophisticated, and not being too feminine or loud. Hopefully this can inspire you to incorporate the a warm, loving pink into your home without feeling a bit 30-going-on-13!
                    -Love, Louise

Friday, 11 October 2013

Nicole Richie's Garden Feature in Domaine

I'm such a huge fan of Nicole Richie's style, so I've always been curious to see what her taste in d├ęcor is like. This summer, Nicole invited Domaine to be a fly on the wall at a dinner party she held for friends at her home she shares with husband Joel Madden in Laurel Canyon. A dinner party; always a great excuse to show off your crib (in my mind, I'm throwing dinner parties at my imaginary house every night!)! So I finally got a peek at her home and it did not disappoint! It follows through on her signature vintage, bohemian style but incorporates both a hip industrial vibe with a relaxing Moroccan athmosphere. The result is a wonderfully eclectic space that's just 'done' enough.