Calvino Design……

I recently reconnected with an old friend from South Africa who now lives in Brisbane, Australia  and who has her own design company. She is clearly extremely talented and creates spaces which are really comfortable and easy to live with….I love her clean style and wonderful attention to detail.

I am constantly in awe of peoples’ talent and what they accomplish….particularly in the creative field which I am part of. I love the idea that we are all able to connect and share through the internet and in particular, through blogs!

image via Calvino Design
image via Calvino Design
image via Calvino Design

Check out her website here.


On line magazines…

I know these have been around for a while now,but I feel they deserve a mention….during the dark days of the recession, while shelter magazines were closing one after the other….a new brand of magazine showed up and it seems that they are here to stay. Some of them were started by very talented bloggers and are packed full of great  inspirational ideas and creativity from front cover to back cover! Best of all they are freely available with a simple click………

Check them out:

Lonny magazine
Adore magazine
High Gloss Magazine

Princess Catherine’s wedding dress……….

The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, veil and tiara , shoes and earrings , bouquet and wedding cake are all on display at Buckingham Palace for the Summer….I think they are spectacularly presented and the images show the magnificent detail of that memorable dress…See this link.

image via beautifulism blog
image via International Business Times

A gorgeous hotel….Qasr Al Sarab

While browsing this fabulous blog, I came across this wonderful hotel which I had of course heard of, but I had never seen. My cousin and her husband came to Dubai from Germany last year for Christmas and were considering staying at the hotel, but decided instead to go to Oman.

In the tone of the recent post about Bab Al Shams, I thought it might be fun to see a similar resort in Abu Dhabi….

Entrance to the hotel
Views from the lobby
Desert views

When “Desert Style”is done well ,there is nothing quite like the rustic luxury that it produces. The decor doesn’t overwhelm the spectacular views of the Empty Quarter, yet it feels and looks incredibly comfortable and lush…with texture and colour in every room. Although the architecture is classic and simple, it blends in perfectly with the graphic scenery of the endless dunes and blue sky.

The pool

There truly is nothing like the silence of the desert….it is all-enveloping and wraps around you like a soft cloak….the peace is tangible and each time I have camped out in the desert or stayed at Bab Al Shams, I have truly slept better than ever in my life! Just these images alone calm me down…Oh to have a few days to go and indulge in this beauty and quiet………………………

Terrace view


Bamboo blinds…

I have been a fan of the humble bamboo blind for a couple of years now….I had installed them in my last apartment to give me privacy from the buildings opposite, as well as shade from the sun and they were very successful. While browsing this morning, I found this post by blogger Katie Rosenfeld on her fabulous blog Bogle Street

I was inspired to add a few words on the subject…..

image via Bogle Street blog

I love the look of the bamboo blinds with a pretty patterned fabric curtain….to me it just makes an ordinary window with plain drops of fabric look dressed and decorated. They are also neutral and can work with pretty much any pattern..they look best with cottons and linens and they bring a contemporary feel to a room.

I love using them in Dubai for the two reasons I stated earlier…they provide privacy and shade with a dash of style and texture.

image via Bogle Street blog

Even in this really gorgeous feminine room the bamboo blinds work well.

image source unknown

In both the rooms above, the blinds are paired with plain curtains with a dark trim along the edge of the curtain panels…I would love to do this on a project…I think it looks so chic!

Views of Dubai

image by JF Bab Al Shams Rooftop Bar

This is Bab Al Shams…one of my all time favourite places to have a quiet sun downer overlooking the desert….the roof top bar at Bab Al Shams resort and spa. I have done a lot of work on this resort….stencil designs in all the rooms, stencil designs in niches in all public areas , gold leaf panels in the main dining areas, decorative wall effects in the dining areas….and hand painted kelims in the outdoor areas as well as the Royal Suites.

It was a project that took up almost a year of my time and it has a special place in my heart!

image by JF Gold leaf ceiling panels
Gold leaf ceiling panels
The road to Bab Al Shams at dawn after working all night!

Working on a project in a hotel which is fully functional has its own set of challenges and usually requires a lot of planning and compromise as we have to work around the guests…this usually means working night shifts while the guests are sleeping. I actually don’t mind working at night …far fewer distractions and its always cooler, especially in the summer! Not so much fun in the winter though…the temperature drops to around 5 degress C!

Making a beautiful bed…..part 2

While browsing through blogs this last weekend, I discovered a post on beds and bedding which was along similar lines to my own post a few days ago.

image via The Simply Luxurious Life

The author describes what works for her to make a beautiful bed and it is not too dissimilar to my requirements so I read the post with great interest and also watched the video of Nate Berkus making a great bed…..the message here is very simple- it does not take much time or effort  to create a tranquil and gorgeous space.

image via The Simply Luxurious LIfe

Check out the very simple list of items one needs to dress a bed well….at the very least one can make the bed and fluff up the cushions!

My friend B has the most beautifully made beds I have ever seen outside of a store…..I am hoping that with a prompt here and there she will disclose her secrets on her blog! She has a visual merchandising background and her beds look  like they are on a set of a shoot…beautiful pillows, cushions and coordinating quilts and duvets…..and yes, she lives like that daily! She is an inspiration to the lazy slob in me who wants to just leave the bed rumpled and unmade on those crazy mornings when you are rushing out of the door……