Monday, 16 January 2012

Twilight cocooning

I love the light in my living room. With floor to ceiling windows, the light comes flooding in, even on the darkest and gloomiest days. A sunrise on a bright day is lovely, when the dark indigo of the sky changes to shades of pink, purple and orange. This time of year I rarely get to witness it of course, as I'm either on my way to work, or still hugging my pillow when it's the weekend. But oh well. Lovely all the same whether I'm there to look at it or not. Let's not get sucked into the 'sound of a falling tree' discussion.

Gorgeous though a sunrise may be, on the cold winter days when I have no social commitments (or have those people over who are part of the furniture), my mood tends to go towards cocooning. I just want to envelop myself in a warm, nurturing environment. And for that sort of mood, our long twilights are ideal. When the light outside is only just starting to fail, and there's a soft glow of candles and of the fire inside, my home feels especially cosy and snug.  

Now I have for some time been familiar with that famous William Morris quote: 'have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful'. Pure, simple brilliance. I took it one step further in my new home though Wills: 'have nothing in your house you do not have a positive association with'. Easier said than done I can tell you.

Obviously I did not ask myself with every fork, tea spoon or other utensil whether it made me feel good. So no need to picture me doing Uri Geller stares at those. I did however get rid of quite a bit of stuff that had some sort of negative trigger to them. Like a book I loved but that (because of the glowing declaration of love he wrote in it) instantly reminded me of the ex-boyfriend who kept stalking me on and off for 8 years. Every time I saw it my initial reaction was one of feeling betrayed. Not good. I think you get the general idea of the exercise.

So now the items I see around me mostly remind me of people I love, happy events or other positive things. Favourite books included of course. What would a home be without those? Don't be fooled into thinking I don't have hoarding tendencies though. I do. Oh God I do. I'm just really making an effort now to keep them in check - and thus make room for the new. 

That throw is the only one of all my turquoise items that hasn't been put away for the winter. It doesn't match the rest of my winter colour scheme but... it's just too comfy. The picture of course lacks a cat snoozing on the rug (or sharpening its claws on it with a sideways daring glance at me). Or alright, maybe a sweet pooch. But only one of the non-drooling variety. Please. 

Do you like the gleam in my owl's eye and the pensive expression of my fox? Despite the bad press foxes have had lately, I still feel a strong affinity to both animals (not that they could EVER rival a cat of course). Oddly enough I have never ever seen a fox in the wild in Holland. The only foxes I've ever seen (and quite a few of them too!) were in London. Last place I'd have looked for one to be honest. Anyway. The pictures don't really do my cushions justice. Nor my sofa as a matter of fact - it's a very, very pale beige but in these pictures it has a strange pinkish hue. You get the basic feel though.

A shy man given to me by a shy man years ago. Legend says it will protect your house, as long as you stroke its bald little head from time to time in appreciation. Dusting that shelf might also work.

Still haven't found the perfect mirror. What am I looking for exactly? Not quite sure. Typical case of 'I'll know it when I see it'. Drives some people mad. 

I forgot to drink that tea. It was spiced orange too - and I've nearly run out of my supply.

Do you have a favourite time of day in your home? Breakfast by the kitchen table? Afternoon playtime with the little ones (furry or otherwise)? Dinner with the family or that special person? Or just enjoying some quiet me-time with a good book in the evenings?


  1. Oh God, Buddha, Ganesh and everyone else, you have a wonderful house ! How come I'm a stylist, a designer, an interior decorator and I don't have such a beautiful space? Too many cats?
    I love how clear and calm it is. You must be another master at decluttering. It's maybe because I have moved form a 120 sq meters apartment to my 62 meters cottage, I had to squeeze in all my furniture and stuff in, but as much as I throw or give away thing, I have always too much stuff around. And, being creatively messy (that's the excuse I like to give myself) I have always my half finished projects laying around here and there. In my defense, I can say that when I had more space I was way more organized and neat. I always lived in large places, and although I really love my little dark cottage, sometimes space is what I miss most. In winter. Because in summer my large garden and porch provide for enough space for a soccer team. Or just me.
    Anyway, my favorite time is dawn. My house faces north - north/ east so I can see the rise of the sun from the lowest point. And at that time the light is magic. Being the sun so low, it is also the only moment when in down floor there is enough of it. During the rest of the day, also having very low windows, the sunlight never gets in. It gives it a meditative mood, and I like it. Upstairs there is more light.
    Eight meters windows? Gosh.

    1. Yes!! Praise from an interior designer!! I'm so glad you like my house! I love my home, it's the best I ever had. My old homes were quite dark, a lot older - but no so old that it gave them character! ;-) Plus - I never really made the best of what I had. I was the Queen of the Unfinished Project. And I had waaaay too much stuff. It wasn't in the living room or the master bedroom - but everywhere else was packed! So when I had decided to buy this house, I wanted to take a totally different approach. I made sure all the plaster and paintwork was done before I moved and I spent three months decluttering... A huge task, but so worth it - I had so much good stuff that I didn't want anymore (and some not so good stuff) and it was taking attention away from my really great stuff - now it gets the attention it deserves. And I used to experiment a lot in my home - and then quit halfway when I saw it wasn't working out as I'd hoped. And in the end I kept coming back to a neutral basic scheme because it allows you to do the most with changing accessories etc. So that's what I chose this time as well. As to furniture, I kept looking till I found something that felt just right. I used to buy and decorate on impulse - now I let the rooms and my existing pieces 'speak to me' first. I know you will understand that with your background!

      As for your house - yes, cats may at times wreck things or shed hair (always) and claim the best places to sit and sleep (or even tool boxes!), but: I can't think of more beautiful home 'accessories'. Leonardo already said it - the smallest feline is a master piece and a perfect work of art - and you have 8!! And I love the glimpses of your house you've shown us so far (Sabino and Sofia sleeping on your shelves - fantastic!). And your outside space, that view
      of the mountains, fruit trees, lakes nearby... Sigh...

      My living room faces north - north east too. So mornings are lovely - I can't wait for spring so I can have breakfast on the terrace again, in the sun... But twilight by the fireplace is one of my favourite times too, reading, listening to music, watching a movie...

      That's so funny that you mention Ganesh - I have one in my bedroom! ;-)

  2. I forgot! I love those pillows!

    1. They are great aren't they?? When I first saw them I knew I had to have them - they have other designs bur the fox and the owl were in a separate display together... Felt like a sign! ;-)

      Oh, re creatively messy: perfect and valid excuse! It's hard to be creative in a small house and keep things tidy - space does help! I still have a bit of tidying up to in my guest bedroom - hope Linda gives us some top tips! ;-)

  3. I love your place! It looks so fresh and calm. You can never go wrong with white walls in my humble opinion. Those pillows are unreal!!
    My favourite time in the winter is after supper when I finally have a chance to pick up a book and read in front of the fire until bedtime.

  4. Thanks Deb - so glad you like it!! And yes, I do keep coming back to white walls all the time... Made sure they were not too blue-ish and cold, now they're slightly more creamy. Love them as a backdrop for my stuff - doesn't distract attention away from my pretty items and gives me the chance to change things around.

    Oh yes - reading books in the evening by fire place - heaven!! But I guess it's only possible when grand baby isn't about! ;-)

  5. Love it, love it, LOVE it!! Do you know, I was looking at those very two cushions about a day ago on the bynord site (the name of the design company who makes them). I adore them both. I have a thing for owls (as you know), but also a not well known thing for foxes!! My old copywriting business was called foxcopy for that very reason (and because I got a lot of mileage out of using 'foxy' analogies to sell my writing skills - lol)!

    The light is beautiful.

    I think that quote is very pertinent too. I've been doing even more decluttering lately... really trying to pare things down. Last night I filled 2 boxes with books (the hardest thing to part with) so that I had some breathing room on my shelves.

    I also have two boxes of other things to donate or auction off, and cleared out quite a few bags of stuff from the shed.

    My wardrobe has had a massive going over too even though it was already pretty ruthlessly sorted. I've needed quite a bit of new stuff for my new job (we have AMAZING op shops over here... love it when I find a suit worth around $400 for $12 - yay!!).

    I adore your fireplace, one thing I sincerely wish I had. I think I've only ever lived in a couple of houses with fireplaces or wood fires (out of my over 20 houses), and I love them so. I wouldn't like to be cutting all the wood for them though - lol.

    Thanks for showing your gorgeous home to us.... it's simply stunning, and so calm and inviting.

    Linda. xox

    1. Well, when I first saw that owl cushion I did think for a moment that you would probably love it - but had not made the fox link yet! I've had a special thing for foxes since I was little and read about the adventures of a smart and sweet fox called Valko (Dutch series) and about the cunning little foxes in Weirdstone of Brisingamen (you are still the only other person I know who has read it or even heard about it!). I love it that you called your company Fox Copy!! ;-)

      You really are the Queen of Decluttering! I agree that books are especially hard to say goodbye to... But I do still have things I need to sort and get rid of - my guest bed room STILL has some unpacked boxes in it from the move - I know I will probably get rid of 75% of the contents - at least! And wardrobe wise I need to take action too - wish I could get 400 dollar suits at a bargain price though!! Oh, and when are you going to share your new job with us?? What is it - editor / columnist at a magazine??

      Thx for the lovely comments about my house!! Bit scary to put it 'out there' - but wanted to share anyway! In all honesty - it looks a bit bigger in the photos I think. But I love it - it's home and it feels right. And the fire place plays an important role - I absolutely wanted one in my new home! ;-)

    2. Sounds like you are going to do a magnificent job of decluttering!

      I WISH I was the editor of some groovy magazine, that would be lovely (although fairly stressful I'm sure) indeed!!

      I'm taking a break from my teaching and going into property for a while. I'll be in sales, but also hopefully helping out with quite a bit of property styling! I did the real-estate agent course last year whilst I was still teaching, and got offered a job basically straight away with a great firm here in Ballarat which was great because jobs are hard to come by here. I'm pretty sure my experiences teaching, copywriting/marketing, and interior-wise will all go together to help me do fairly well!

      We'll see how I go. :)

      Don't know what it's like over there but real estate agents still have a bit of a lingering reputation of being a bit 'dodgy' over here.... so hopefully I can make massive inroads into that from my point of view. If I can't do the whole thing honestly and completely ethically then I won't be a real estate agent for long!

      Of course, my blogging and the courses I'm writing still have to be fitted in too! If there was enough money to be made in Ballarat doing interior design I'd give that a shot, but there's just not enough to sustain a complete living on your own (the mortgage has to be paid), and I've always had a love for the real estate around here.

      It will be a challenge and interesting to see how it goes!

      I've never heard of the Valko series, sounds lovely! I had to go and dig out my copy of Brisingamen yesterday and write the applicable passage about the foxes in my reply to you over there!

      You do feel a bit weird putting photos of your house out there don't you? It's hard to get the 'vibe' of a place across in photos sometimes... yours comes across beautifully. What you wrote in your reply above is almost the ultimate compliment for a house I think.... 'It's home and it feels right'. Exactly.

      Linda. xox

    3. Oooooo - total change!! But I can totally picture you doing this. You really will get to combine all your special talents with this - and with your love of homes and interiors, it will feel pretty special to help people find their dream home or show them how they could turn a property into something that closely resembles their dream! Often little changes can change the look and feel of a place completely - and if you could do some pre-styling to make it more attractive to prospective buyers - you would have a ball!

      Yeah, real estate people do still have that reputation. Met a couple of them myself! Fortunately I took my own real estate guy with me when I went to view my apartment for the 2nd time - and then let him do the bargaining (which paid off tremendously!).

      But we do still expect you to keep up the blog (and the tiny tidy challenge please!).

      Valko was a lovely series, don't think they were ever translated. It was a little fox who wanted to know why foxes were so feared by the other animals in the forest and his parents told him it had to do with his cruel ancestor Reynard. He sets out to prove to everyone foxes are not evil and as he is very smart and cunning, he manages just that and later becomes the ruler of the forest... lovely.

    4. Oooooh, the Valko series sounds so lovely, I wish it had been translated. Foxes do get a bad rap too don't they! I don't know if Brisingamen has ever been translated. It would sound gorgeous in Italian! I taught basic Italian for a little while to the junior grades and loved it!

      I'm hoping all that will come to fruition with the real estate. I really will enjoy helping people find the home of their dreams. You were very wise to get your own real estate guy to help you out with your apartment.... so glad he was successful in helping you get it for a fab price - well worth it indeed!

      The only thing that made me um and aah about doing the real estate (because I know the hours will be longer than what I've been doing) was whether or not I'd be able to keep up my blog and getting the courses organised. It took me a long time to mull that one over. In the end I decided to go for it, but I'll have to monitor how I'm going. The blog and more importantly the courses are of utmost importance to me and something I feel I MUST do. I think I'll end up going back to teaching if I can't fit it all in.

      Glad you are still interested in the TTC! I'm thinking now it will be later in the year, but I do still intend to carry it out this year. The bigger course will probably be a while coming now. Sigh... I really want to get that one underway too. I need a new camera or video that I can upload from for that, and I've also got to figure out how to do podcasts and I think I'll need new computer equipment for that too!

      Lots of challenges ahead!

      Linda. xoxox

  6. I hope you don't mind, but I did a short post about those cushions and your home and linked back to you. Too good to resist, and more people should get to see your beautiful home.

    Linda. xox

    1. Are you kidding?!? I love it!!


  7. Hi Sacha, just saw you featured on Lindas blog and as I havent popped in for a while, what more prompting did I need?!!
    So glad I did, just love the peaceful, cosy feel of your living room - it looks such a restful place to spend time anytime of day or evening. Those cushions are wonderful!

    Wish I could de-clutter my living room like yours as I love the clamness it envokes. But I feel the need to have lots of books close to hand so it never really looks uncluttered in mine, although it is cosy with lots of cushions and throws and a woodburning stove, and is probably my favourite room late afternoon when the light is starting to go,my daughter is home from school lying on the sofa with the dog curled up on her lap, the lamps are on and the fire is lit. So safe, cheering and cosy!
    Hope you get to spend some chill out time in your lovely room!
    Gill xx

    1. Hi Gill! I was thinking only the other day that I hadn't seen a new post from you in a while!
      Thanks for the lovely comment!! You know I think your place is lovely too - very cosy as you say - and what a lovely picture your painting of your home and family...! Let you in on a little secret re books close at hand - that wicker basket next to my fire place has a layer of favourite magazines in it, and loads of books! ;-) But most of them are in the study / bed room. Couldn't live without books!

  8. It's amazing how english-speaking people are attracted to Italian. It's a lovely language but I love english and spanish more. Oh the neighbor's grass is always greener.

    1. Hmmmm.... us Dutch don't have that - no one wants to learn or speak our language! ;-)

    2. There's a reason for's too bloody complicated ;-D

    3. Nah - once you get our throat-clearing gutturals right, the rest is easy...


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