Nostalgic Minimilism~That pretty much sums up homestyle for me!

black and white photography magazine home style

 

I came across the #GreatBritishHome Challenge and began thinking of what my personal homestyle is! That’s some serious thinking for someone like me and for various reasons :)  One (probably the biggest) is that I move every few years and hence have the opportunity to reinvent it altogether. Two – I’m absolutely opposed to waste; both money and goods. Three, I love design. Period! Though I would put myself down as someone who strongly prefers streamlined minimilism over wadded ornamentation, I’m a great enthusiast about almost every design period in history. We would be extremely myopic in assuming that ‘modern’ is synonymous with original!

If I had to sum up my style in one word, I would say *Ikea’esque*! Not because I shop there and it’s an ubiquitous entity that’s all pervasive in western decor…but because in my world, it stands as a symbol of the democratizing of design for the masses. It’s where world-class designers created an aesthetic that could filter down affordably and recyclably (think wood chip) to the greater populace.

Being one of those who lives by flights of fancy ~having eaten off paper plates in a small, yet indulgent flurry of “Street-food” themed nights with friends; toyed with Orla Kiely melamine (if only to override the subsconscious screams of protest at the cheaper kinds), and played “Mother “with my precious, if limited quantities of Denby and Spode; I’d say that being fickle comes at a price, and one I’m not inclined to pay. Here again is why ‘Ikea’ works as a larger symbol of my lifestyle choice. For a modest sum, one can redesign and reinvent my entire aesthetic, and afford to be clumsy too, it’s like I was the protype demographic the company designed for! Trying to get me to be stable and have a set, inflexible home-style is about as productive as starting to learn Swedish without accepting humbly that S,K,Y,N,D actually go together, often in that precise order…

Monochrome, minimilist, personalspace, flowers, uncluttered, scandinavian chic
.My Space.

I have my design favourites – Normann Copenhagen, Anthropologie, Marimekko, Muuto Design and Ferm Living, and a bit of all populate my very personal space. I pay attention to the light that flows through my house and my design choices are heavily influenced by that…I relish pops of colour in a mostly neutral, monochrome environment!

I’m a homebody– in many ways I’m primitively territorial about my home. There’s more joy eating in than eating out for us, it’s my comfort and my playground. It’s where my children make their memories and their dreams; where the foundation is laid for our future as a family! Home is that lovely person who knows your favourite food and makes your best drinks. Home is always the place where the best seats are reserved for you!

This post was also one of the *winners*of the #GreatBritishHome Challenge! :)

“This post is an entry for the #GreatBritishHome Challenge  sponsored by Victoria Plumb, a source of quality bathrooms for every type of home. Take its “What’s Your Celebrity Home Style?” quiz to discover what your home says about you.” My result was Towie Glamour, having never watched the series, I’m hoping that that’s a compliment, though a designer onesie is desirably on my wishlist 😉

 

#greatbritishhome

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Originality and Reinvention are really joined at the hip!

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Originality and Reinvention are really joined at the hip!

Andy Warhol Coke Bottles Art Deco 20's art

I recently came across a woman on one of my fortnightly visits into town, and we got chatting at one of these cafes that scream “Chrome and Glass”, and serve your drinks in hand-crafted, asymmetrical mugs! She swore to me that she would not be caught dead in one of those, independant,  All-English-Oldly-Worldly styled Tea shops that were mushrooming everywhere, serving Cream Teas and “Home-Made”, like that was the Chef’s Special for the day! (Everyone talks to everyone in Norfolk! Just to clear the air about why I have so many random conversations with people I don’t personally know! We are neighbourly in this part of the world! :P) Did I mention that the diatribe was in response to me mentioning that given a chance, I’d patronise an independant coffee shop, not a chain – just in the interests of local economies, because we’re just those sort of people who care about those sort of things, not to mention my sister had an independant small business and got eaten alive by the big, corporatised chains….but, no agenda at all, really, just a coffee in an a nice coffee shop !! The lady liked to keep it progressive, no nostalgia, no emotional ornamentation! In her 40’s she swore by PSP’s, Hobbs and duo-zoned dishwashers! Traditional English Tea Rooms? Pffft, such Kitsch!!

Art deco streamlined moderne kitchen interiors, Bauhaus inspired
Art deco streamlined moderne kitchen interiors, Bauhaus inspired

Pardon me if this post seems very stream-of-consciousness!

Started me thinking that You are Never Too Removed from the Good Old Days ; not even if you swear by your iPhone, have your earbuds ergonomically nestled in your ears, or  sport a quadri-tiled image in Photoshopped contrasting saturation as your social networking avatar! Certainly haven’t escaped if you secretly covet a bob or drool over Little Black Dresses!! You have been touched by the past – by Bauhaus, Warhol and Chanel! For all of us who sat on modular furniture in the 80’s and early 90’s and thought that ours was the age of light-framed modernism, it really originated in the ’20’s with Marcel Breuer ! Consider his B33 chair, hardly a design any of us have skipped in it’s lesser known reproductions , think clinics, government offices, and all the poor teachers who couldn’t ever put their legs up for fear of buckling over!!  And that’s speaking from experience!! What made this iconic is its cantilevered seat, designed to specifically not be a showpiece (imagine this in an age that worshipped chintz and wadding), but to emphasise what metal could do, well used. It wasn’t ornamented or filigreed, but chromed to emphasize that it was metal, rather than wood. What a far cry from fake wood-grain panels on 1970’s station wagons! Whoever fell for that?!

Another malady of your early years being spent in the 80’s, is you thinking this is the ultra-modern home that spelled sophistication. And we claimed it as our own! To have and hold. The ’80’s ruled Black, Red and White!

Bauhaus inspired interiors of the 80's. Red black and White

Thinking back, we were only harking back to the 1930’s when this colour palette was considered bang en trend; being heatedly discussed at some of the biggest design establishments in the world!

Bauhaus movement posters, black red and white, art deco, streamlined moderne Well, I think I’m on safe ground assuming that Apple touches all our little urban lives,  either concretely or aspirationally! After Steve Jobs’ death, when the world and it’s wife spoke about the Apple phenomenon for months, I remember hearing designers talk about how the vision of the company was integrated – rather chip-on-motherboard’edly on honesty, integrity of materials, with design innovations rooted in problem solving! Couldn’t help be reminded of Mies van der Rohe and his own aesthetic approach a 100 years before that. I hardly stand here insinuating that one of the greatest innovators of our time was really a copycat; but that often, the Visionary and his vision cannot be wholly extricated from it’s inspiration! Jobs was indeed, massively influenced by the Bauhaus school of thought!

Going back to when I first recognized my own interest in design, it seems to point to when I was reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead . I was 17 and reading it to my father, who loved that and Atlas shrugged, but was too ill to read it himself.  I had a good reading voice, he said! What stayed with me amidst all her capitalistic manifesto, was the protagonist Howard Roark deriding the Parthenon to his Dean at the Stanton Institute of Technology.   “The famous flutings on the famous columns – what are they there for? To hide the joints in wood – when columns were made of wood, only these aren’t, they’re marble. The triglyphs, what are they? Wood. Wooden beams, the way they had to be laid when people began to build wooden shacks. Your Greeks took marble and they made copies of their wooden structures out of it, because others had done it that way. Then your masters of the Renaissance came along and made copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood. Now here we are, making copies in steel and concrete of copies in plaster of copies in marble of copies in wood. Why?”

Is originality in itself a myth? Probably – since everything we are is a result of the intertextuality of our lives! A constant amalgam of nature and nurture and every single sense perception since our existence. Strange that we still continue to quest for individuality and most so as we come of age, and contraintuitively move in herds that wear the same names, hear the same sounds, pierce the same parts!

I think that paragraph, in part, gave me sanction to go out and embrace the fact that I was different, and live the small part of me that needed peer affiliation with dignity! Our lives, our aspirations are just the rebottled versions of the past; old is not gold but really where we full-circle to in one area or the other, whether consciously or not! For if I am destined to finally become my mother, and since high-rise hair and velvet bootcuts have made a comeback on the catwalk, there really must be some stock in Warhol’s everyone/everything having it’s 15 minutes of fame! :)      

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Why IKEA will always work for me …

Woody Allen, ‘Fell-apples’, Borscht and Lurve!

Why IKEA will always work for me …

Ikea, modern, minimilist, scandinavian, scandi

One might begin with thanking oneself, especially if one plans on signing up to my blog, or following me in any capacity, that though I share an intense and passionate relationship with Ikea, I don’t strictly follow it’s winning strategy! Well, you could’ve found yourself faced with a couple of paragraphs of text, a few random images and a minimalistic title that suggested that putting it together with any level of comprehension is not just attainable, but also extremely self gratifying!

If you’ve been there and know what I’m talking about, you’ve worked out one of the greater feats of an expert amateur, welcome to the world of doityourself!!

ikea design swedish home improvement
Stonehenge by Ikea… (Actually, by Justin Pollard)

 

Mikael Ohlsson, IKEA Group’s chief executive reiterates that an inherent dislike of waste is at the heart of the design giant, one that resonates with my own sense of “if you wanna junk it, don’t make someone else pay”.  He speaks about the company’s thriftiness by highlighting one of it’s fastest selling item, the carnation red Ektorp sofa, a three seater, which once had a place in my own start-up life,  and which has now been packed further ‘ingeniously’, or in ikeaspeak, flat-ter, doubling the amount of sofa per given space. A tiny little tweak like that slashed costing by £100, a lot to someone like myself, who moves home about every five years, and finds themselves holding the short end of the stick whilst budgeting homeware, and other such life essentials.  Ikea’s ingenuity, above it’s immediate supply/demand gains, appreciably reduces the carbon footprint from it’s shipping. Win-win. What’s not to love ?!

ikea design living home scandinavian
IKEA Design

In case you were wondering – no, I’m not an affiliate member and no, I gain nothing by championing it! I do hold out hope of someday getting a custom designed egg-cup for my valiant hurrah of why the company means something to me. I also hope that it would be one that doubles as a compact mirror designed to fit efficiently into one of my credit card slots! Never say never -clearly, you haven’t paid close attention to the product on page number %$&& in the current catalogue!!

My love of the brand probably harks back to a long standing resentment of living in a world that tacitly accepts, even extols Planned Obsolescence – a policy of planning or designing something with a limited productive life, so it becomes unusable, or unfeasible at best, after a certain period of time.

ikea design dining scandinavian home
IKEA Design

Who of us hasn’t felt propelled to buy a mobile phone sooner than we’ve really needed, just so it supports the newest apps, functionality or if nothing better, only for it’s perceived social value. My gripe here goes all the way back to when I was 16 and was made to buy a text book, which was ‘New and Improved’ only because of three chapters switched around and 6 additional mathematical problems! The cheek!!

To make matters worse, my existing, extremely competent and functional phone is rivalled by one that boasts an impressive 41MP camera. Mind you, a semi-professional dSLR stops at a modest 18!  I can’t get the relevance of a 41mp camera on the NewGen Smartphones, and won’t, till I see a wedding photographer accept it as weapon of choice and still walk away with a paycheck, respect notwithstanding, but I’m not exactly immune! And just as quickly as I mock it, let me add that my Samsung Galaxy III has drastically gone down in street-cred from it’s mere mention!
Here again is why Ikea works as a larger symbol of my lifestyle choice… if one has no say in the matter, but to live with the disastrous consequences of planned obsolescence, it won’t hurt to keep it cheap, and recyclable! Being one of those who lives by flights of fancy – having eaten off paper plates in a small, yet indulgent flurry of “Street-food” themed nights; toyed with Orla Kiely melamine (if only to override the subsconscious screams of protest at the cheaper kinds), and played “Mother “with my precious, if limited quantities of Denby and Emma Bridgwater, I’d say that being fickle comes at a price, and  one I’m not inclined to pay.

For a modest sum, I can redesign and reinvent my entire aesthetic, and afford to be clumsy too, it’s like I was the protype demographic the company designed for! Trying to get me to be stable and have a set, inflexible style is about as productive as starting to learn Swedish without accepting humbly that S,K,Y,N,D actually go together, often in that precise order…

If it wasn’t for Ikea, most of us urban dwellers would be lost for choice when it came to affordable contemporary design! There is a certain comfort of a well spent investment (read: Bang for Buck) when you’ve just set up a bed named after a Norwegian city, and nestled yourself comfortably under bedding that borrows it’s nomenclature from flora and fauna!
Yes, there’s a whole host of us that can be kept well-lit and satisfied on the Lersta till we’re comfortably settled in with an Arne Jacobsen  !

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