Monday, January 30, 2012

Small and cozy

More often then not many of us live in smaller rooms then many magazines tend to show.
It is the reality for countless apartment dwellers and owners of small suburban or historic homes. 
And although the chances for clutter and the lack of storage can make life in smaller spaces more challenging and perhaps a little more complicated, there are many cozy solutions for comfortable rooms.

Natural tones keep it calm, perfect for the bookworm at home.
Light walls and a harmonious palette make this room perfect for reading, watching TV and relaxing. 
The L-shaped sofa offers ample seating and the chair creates an extra spot for reading. Notice the small writing table under the window. 

Small does not mean departure from eclectic style. This small living /dining room offers light and comfortable seating. The graphic rug and transparent side chair distract from the fact that there is not much room to play with.
I would perhaps remove the prints above the windows. They compete a little too much with the focal point: The sofa!

The above pictured room is an excellent example for  dramatic effects in a less then spacious environment. The burnt orange wall sets the tone for high contrast and the light classic furniture make it elegant.
The basically two tone  color scheme creates calm. I love the choice of hot pink as an unusual visual kick! The black chair cushion ties in with the fire place.

I love the nature inspired country comfort. A big deep sofa and leather chair make up for the small space. An ottoman is the perfect choice for flexible seating and feet up for long hours by the fire. 
The wallpapered niches create depth and I love the reclaimed fat beam for the mantle. Check out the wonderful cuckoo clock!
Again, for the color scheme: Less is more.

This kitchen shows all signs of hip style, yet it's practical and cozy. Light walls and floor keep it seamless and offer the optical illusion of space. The height helps...The bar table and tall stools do double duty as eating area and prep space. The chaise in the foreground transitions the kitchen into the living space. 

This small corner proofs that there is room under the eaves for a retreat to cozy up or to do some quiet work on the computer. Many Victorian homes have more then their fair share of odd shaped nooks and crannies.

Small rooms need to multitask and there are  many solutions to do it in style. Ottomans with storage, build -ins, open shelving and stylish containers, under bed storage and well laid out closets help to keep things organized. 
There are sofas, doubling as guest beds and dining tables can be used as desks...
And as with all smaller spaces, it is always good to edit your household. The simple rule mainly to buy things to replace others is helpful, as is the idea of less is more.

Images as indicated.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter white & gray

The sky is grayish white, I do not mind the overcast. Such days inspire me. The hibernating world gives me moments to dream and fill my head with images. Colorful or gray...


I love the light and quiet, solitary feeling.


This bedroom calms me.

There is a comfort in that gray feeling sky, which lets me dream.

Landscape near Hudson on Hudson, NY

Happy weekend, everyone!

Images as indicated and my own.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Then and now

I saw a photography by Helen Lukens Gaut at this site, and of course it provoked an immediate comparison to our own recently taken road trip, about 100 years later.

Helen Lukens Gaut, California coast ca. 1911

The road seemed a little narrower then, but the immense nature and  beauty of the Central California coastline have stayed the same.
 Not the exact spot, but...  the California coast 2011

It is wonderful to know, that there is such steadiness in nature and that there were people before me fascinated with this beautiful part of the land. Such loveliness. 

Helen Lukens Gaut (1872-1955) was born in Illinois, she moved with her parents to Pasadena when she was eight years old. Her father, Theodore Parker Lukens, a friend of John Muir, became known as the "Father of Forestry". He served twice as mayor of Pasadena in 1890  and 1894.

Helen Lukens Gaut ca. 1900

She married, had two children and later divorced. She remarried in 1905 and with her second husband James H. Gaut discovered California per automobile and taught herself photography. Her talent eventually led her to becoming a rather well-known  photojournalist. She rarely published after 1922 and turned her interests towards her love of music and song writing, in which she as well excelled.

It fascinates me, to discover a woman from so long ago I had not known at all. To find her not so far removed in interests and lifestyle and now to re-tell a sliver of her life...
These are magical moments of connection.

Image via site and my own.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

We have a winner

Usually I delete promotional e-mails rather indiscriminately, but this one caught my eye and I thought it's worthwhile sharing it with you: 

At the opening of the Digital Book World Conference in New York City two days ago, the British Library, together with technology partner BiblioLabs,LLC, was awarded the prestigious Innovation Award (PIA) for their British Library 19th Century Historical Collection ipad app.

The collection offers seamless, cloud-based access to more then 45,000 of historical works from the British Library, spanning 21 thematic collections.
The app, launched in August 2010, has already more then 350,000 users in 150 countries worldwide.
Available on iTunes now for the American market:­‐library-­‐19th-­‐century/id438196905?mt=8

British readers go here:

This is great news for curious readers and researchers everywhere!

British Library reading room

Picture via google image


Monday, January 23, 2012

Art on Tuesday

I came  across this amazing work and wanted to share it with you!

It is the incredibly creative work of  Carnovsky, the dynamic design duo of Francesco Rugi and Silvia Quintanilla. 
The design team is Based in Milan, Italy.

Congratulations on winning the 2012 Best Wallpaper * Award!

Kaleidoscopic, dreamlike and so playful. I can see endless possibilities.

Image via website and

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bedroom harmony

Of course I am talking color...

These faded Tiffany blues get me in the mood!

Happy weekend!

Image from here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Any Human Heart

Over the span of a few evenings I watched a beautiful movie - a PBS Masterpiece Classic miniseries actually -
as satisfying and moving as you only could hope for. 
It follows the life of Logan Mountstuart, a man, born at the beginning of the 20th century and we follow him along through his life and career, filled with all the ups and downs of the human condition. The story mirrors the life changing historical events, the happy and tragic turns of his life, his gentle wisdom and his unerring talent to look forward.
Originally written by William Boyd, Any Human Heart it was conceived as a series of personal journals. It is an intimate and equally brilliant story, one which will stay with you for a long time. Now, that I found his books, I am already looking for the next one. 
I watched the movie as an installment on Netflix, but it is also available online.
The movie is wonderful,  find below the editorial review from Amazon:

Every life is ordinary and extraordinary. Logan Mountstuart s lived in every decade of the twentieth century is a rich tapestry of both. Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice), Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter), and newcomer Sam Claflin all take a turn as Logan at different points in his life in this provocative glimpse at one man s quest for glory and bliss. An aspiring young writer in London and Paris, a spy during WWII, Logan s was a life touched by everything and everyone from the Spanish Civil War, Joan Miró, and Ian Fleming to Earnest Hemingway, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and the Baader-Meinhof Gang. But despite his many brushes with history, it is the women of his life who ultimately define Logan his ill-matched first wife, Lottie; the wives of his best friend, Peter; Freya, the love of his life; or anyone else on the long list of women who ve shared his days and nights. Featuring Hayley Attwell, Kim Catrall, Gillian Anderson, Tom Hollander, Natasha Little, Julian Rhind-Tutt, and Richard Schiff, Any Human Heart is the story of a full life, lived with passion expansive, rich, unsentimental, comic, and profoundly moving.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Impressions from the West Coast III

We loved the coast line and the magnificence of the landscape. We loved the towns and the big City Los Angeles! Without further ado:  Here are some more images! You can click to enlarge the photos in a image show.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Hiking with my daughter

Coast line between Big Sur and Santa Barbara 

Santa Barbara Hills

On the road to LA

Highway sign...

Downtown LA in the mist

View from our friend's house in Calabasas, near LA

Reminds me so of Italy

Sculpture on a street divider in Beverly Hills

Color blocking - picture perfect

Glamour home in Beverly Hills

Lush streets

Beautiful landscaping 

I could live here....

Massive life oak tree

Spanish style church in Beverly Hills

Beautiful Obelisk fountain

We reach Santa Monica beach

Late afternoon at Santa Monica Pier

Beautiful Spanish Mission style

Our journey came to an end here, after visiting the Pier and center of Santa Monica we headed to the airport and returned home to a glistening and cold, but welcoming New York! We have many memories and new impressions. The children LOVE California and my husband and I have gotten the feeling, especially LA has made incredible progress since we knew the city more then 20 years ago. It is cleaner and brighter, with amazing cuisine all over and felt safe to us, wherever we went.
What a big and wonderful country we live in...We are so grateful for all! 

All images by V.Zlotkowski copyright 2012
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