Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Urban Retro - blue is the colour

One of the magazines I read is called Living at Home (where else would you live?), and this month they are featuring what they call 'Urban Retro', which is right up my Strasse. Here are a few lovelies on which to feast your eyes.

Pendant lamp "Y 1956" by Herstal

This beautiful chair is designed for Red Edition by David Hodkinson, a British designer and architect, and is gorgeous - love the shapely wooden frame and available in various fabrics for a mere snip at €1,150 to €1,480. This full-frontal doesn't do justice to the beautiful shape, nor the solid oak, which you can see if you click on the link above. One day I will invest in a beautifully made piece of furniture.

"Floating" chair by David Hodkinson for Red Edition

I also love sideboards and this one fits in well with my current turquoise tick. Doors in four colours - white, light blue, olive green and vanilla yellow by Danish manufacturer Brödrene Andersen - €3,075. The wooden houses are by Danish firm Applicata for €17 Euros, and the butterfly pictures by Lys Vintage at €78.
"Bykato" sideboard in four colours by Brödrene Andersen

My other blog.... Interior Design in Berlin and beyond: Sitting Pretty: Wallpaper.... Meinewand and Bloom Papers

Interior Design in Berlin and beyond: Sitting Pretty: Wallpaper.... Meinewand and Bloom Papers: Fab site for wallpapers, including Farrow & Ball, Osborne and Little, Cole and Son and lots more... expensive, classy, lots of choice. ...

Monday, 3 March 2014

After and before... kitchen

Decided to revive my blog, after a long, long time and just use it mainly for ideas and things I like, but to start with, here's the after and before of my kitchen.

After - all lived in, and realise I have to sort out those shelves above the tv!

During the makeover! Ridiculously small, but tall room, wall knocked down!

Before.... yuck!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Fashion Hero - Annika Graalfs

I'm feeling rather sheepish about having been away from my blog for sooooo long, but here I am again.

I wanted to share some photos and tell you about my friend Annika Graalfs who I've been working with in the last few weeks.

And here she is! And today's the day that she's gonna be on TV appearing in Fashion Hero, tonight at 20.15 on ProSieben (Germany only!). One of the mentors is Claudia Schiffer, who knows a bit about fashion. There are 21 of Germany's best young designers who've been selected and each week they are given a brief and a very short amount of time to design, source and produce it (they do get some assistance too). They are each assigned a mentor. Three of the big fashion sellers bid for the designs, to be produced and sold in their shops (Karstadt, S. Oliver & ASOS). A great opportunity for the designers to make contacts, network, see and be seen. Should be fun, fashion and with a bit of drama thrown in for good measure, no doubt. Get the snacks in and settle down on the sofa.

Fashion designer Annika Graalfs Photo: © Francesca Bondy 

Annika's style is rockabilly with lots of fifties influences ... like this 'cheetah dress'.

Cheetah dress © Annika Graalfs (Photo: © Francesca Bondy)

She hasn't put all her eggs in one basket....she's also a musician and singer with a voice that comes from the very bottom of her cowboy boots.

Multi-talent Annika aka Annie Atomic also plays  and sings in a band - belting out 'toons' to
wake you right up and get you movin' (Photo: © Francesca Bondy)

 Nice arse! Available in various permutations...men's or women's, black, blue, 'pure' etc. Heavy denim - and have left legs undamaged even after a motorbike accident (don't try this at home folks!)

Annika's famous ACE jeans by Dress-O-Rama sold in 8 countries © Annika Graalfs (Photo: © Francesca Bondy)

Dress © Annika Graalfs (Photo: © Francesca Bondy)

Sailor top and trousers © Annika Graalfs
(Photo: © Francesca Bondy)

So, after the shameless plug.... tune in tonight if you have time, and check it and her out. Should be full of fun, beautiful clothes and interesting people.... I can't wait.

Fashion Hero. ProSieben. 20.15 from 9. October.
Annika's new website dress-o-rama.de and online shop should be ready today (but it isn't quite ready yet!) thanks to Eileen Fruehauf and Lars and Alex from Ghostarmy.

More photos on my flickr page.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A rose is a rose is a rose

As Gertrude Stein famously said.

I'm back from a fantastic week of birthdays, parties and celebrations and seeing loads of friends and family in London and left the dreaded flat situation in the capable hands of the new builder.... 'M'!! He's been working really hard on it with his band of merry men, and now he won't let me in!!! And he's not a man you argue with. I can tell you. He keeps telling me that the floors are being oiled (day after day) and yesterday he put a big cross on the door (like they did in the Plague) to prevent me going in... but I'd already sneaked in earlier, and taken a few pictures.... but you will have to wait, just like me. I am getting it back on Tuesday, and then I'll take some photos.

However, I can show you my new ceiling rose.... god, the excitement must be killing everyone.....NOT!!!

A rose is a rose is a rose
I've kept the photos in black and white, cos that's how the flat feels at the moment.... no colour....meeeeeee....with no colour. Unheard of. I've just bought 2.5 litres of the brightest orange you can imagine, and that's going to go in the hallway to give everyone a wake-up call when they come in. But that's for later. For now - just black and white

The bathroom is nearly finished... new tiles on the floor, bath is working, sink is in, and yes, I even have a toilet now. It hasn't been painted yet (the walls that is, not the toilet). but I hope it will no longer /look feel like a small toilet in a state-run museum when it's got some colour.... what colour? I'll show you later. It's still in black and white at the moment:

After: 'bog' standard....but see below for how awful it was before

So...it looks a bit like a hotel too, but better than before, I think you'll agree:

Before: This is exactly the spot where the bath is now

Makes me feel better to see this and how much things have changed. The horrible heating system has been ripped out (along with the water tank below it) and the rickety shower cubicle has been replaced by probably one of the smallest baths in the western world, but I am only short, and I prefer a bath to a shower, so it will suit me just fine, thank you very much for asking (courtesy of French and Saunders!).

The rest will have to wait until I'm allowed back into my own flat....but it's definite that I'll be able to move in.... so gotta get on with the packing.

Just 'recycled' my sofa to my downstairs neighbours... Facebook is a wonderful thing - sometimes - one post and two minutes later, it's going to a good home!

So, some colour going up next week, then some more photos.

Have a good weekend, one and all. Next time I write, I expect I will be covered in orange paint. I am a mucky pup when it comes to things like that. Other people have hardly a hair out of place, whereas I am covered in paint from head to foot within seconds. Oh well.... leopards probably aren't going to change their spots at this ripe old age.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Chimney sweep power!

Rubbing the chimney sweep's arm and shaking his hand seems to have done the trick and I can stay in my flat for an extra two weeks, so I hope that'll be enough time to get the other flat ready.

The new guys seem to be moving fast (and definitely faster than the sloths that were there before!). It's not that there's soooo much to do, but they have other work on too, so crossing fingers, toes and paws here that it'll all get done in time.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Meeting with the builders - and perhaps a change of luck!

8am - Baubesprechung / Meeting with the builders

Slept very badly indeed again last night, despite Valerian tea and a couple of episodes of Grey's Anatomy! Woke up at 2am, so managed to get to the meeting with the (new) builders in very good time. 8am is usually a time when I would be IN bed, getting out of bed, or in the bath!.

All went fine, although there were some understandable anxieties on my part, which I won't go into here.  The new builder thought I was gonna call him up yesterday to 'help me sack the old builders', but luckily it wasn't necessary, and I had Johann there. I'd also dreamed or daydreamed (is there such a thing as nightdreamed, i.e. it's night-time, but one is wide awake?) that the new builders had a flood in my flat and the water seeped downstairs, and I was hit with a law suit, just to make my day complete, but all seems fine. Two people are starting work today, which is great. The floor layer and the tiler, I think!

Back at home at 8.30 am to pick up Nico from the dogsitter, and off for a nice relaxing walk in the park. To friends for chats, laughs, tea, coffee and playing around with eggs! (you know who you are!).

On my way home, I bumped into my sexy chimney sweep who normally comes to my flat every January to check the heating and chimneys are all in order, but he hasn't been commissioned yet this year. In Germany, chimney sweeps are very important people, and also bring lots of luck. You need to rub their ..... arm .... I had a nice long chat with him in the street, shook his hand, and rubbed his arm for luck. I am taking this as a good omen. It's helped once before, when I got caught by the police with my dog off the lead, but they just let me off instead of fining me....that was on a day I had rubbed my chimney sweep's arm.

So, here's a photo - and I'm sending virtual chimney sweep luck to all of you, though I think actual body contact is necessary.

I certainly need some luck now, but as N says, 'It's not life and death'. I will keep perspective on this 'thang' and adjust my normally practical brain into superstitious mode, and believe in the power of the chimney sweep to help me along on the rather bumpy ride I'm on.

It's my lucky day....chimney sweep arm duly rubbed, as tradition dictates

Anyone who's seen Mary Poppins, will know this song:

Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be
Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when I shakes 'ands with you.

And if you fancy a bit of Dick van Dyke, here's a link (though it only works in the UK, I think, so I can't see it myself):


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The cowboys have ridden off...

... not into the sunset, exactly, but they're gone. I'd already told them last week that I was shocked at how many hours they'd clocked up for so little progress, and that someone else was coming to look at the job, so they knew I was, erm, a little fed up, to put it mildly.

Got there this morning at 9am, with the support of the wonderful Johann, and they had actually done a little work. But, as soon as I said I needed to talk to them, and that it couldn't go on like this, they knew their moments were numbered. And in low digits. Luckily, I didn't have to go through my extensive list of problems and issues with them, and they agreed to pack their stuff and go. Johann and I went for a coffee (I'd already hidden loads of stuff that I'd already paid for, in case they pinched it!), and they moved probably faster than they'd ever done before, packed their stuff and left. We shook hands, and they didn't even ask me for any more money....so part one of my list of stressful things to deal with is done.

Now I just have to wait and see how if I can stay in my current flat a little longer, work with 'M' (not the kitchen guy M), and try to get some darn sleep!

I've been on Valerian tea for the last two days (courtesy of Amanda, thank you!), and that's helped a bit!

New gang starts tomorrow.... so new stories to follow, no doubt.

But, the beginning of the week was much better than anticipated.

Ikea again today....and this is what I saw:

Bit naughty, and no offence, but it made me grin!

And here's a photo of Nico... who along with my friends, is keeping me sane!

Wishing everyone a good week.

Til the next time x

Friday, 29 March 2013

Pfuscher - Botch job! It's all going horribly wrong

I am more miserable than Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe combined.

The (lovely, but totally useless, it now transpires) cowboy builders (Pfuscher!) have left me in the very deepest of doo-doo!

They didn't turn up at all last week, except for about an hour, as far as I can see. Got into a complete panic when I got there on Wednesday to meet them, as arranged, and nobody there.... decided that I have to try and get someone else in if I have any chance of moving in on time.

Long story short. They have messed up lots of things they've already done (the living room floor as mentioned earlier being just one of many things that have to be done again!). The freshly painted kitchen now has a crack in the wall. And the ceiling. Almost the only two things they had to renew, rather than just badly skim over.... oh the list goes on and on.

Got someone else round (through contacts) on Thursday, luckily, before everyone is off for the Easter break. All I'll say is that he's a bit scary, but comes highly recommended. Why can't the nice ones be good too? He, let's call him 'M', says that there's no way he can get it done by the time I have to move out of here, as not only a lot of fiddly things to fix (which he doesn't really want to do, but will), they're already pretty booked up for April and there are a couple of really big things to do - redo the floor, and redo the bathroom and then get on with the things that really need doing there.

Sleep is now a thing of distant memory. I am exhausted. Next Tuesday I have to sack the current workers, get my keys back and get them to get their stuff out. I am scared about that too.

Now, I am starting to pack. Friends have offered places to store my stuff, and sofas to sleep on, bless their cotton socks. The bill is rising every minute. Have asked Estate Agent (not answering phone - left message and a long text) if I could possibly stay here in my old flat a little longer, but haven't heard back yet. However, the new tenants have already signed a contract to move in here on 1 May, so likely that their place is also rented out from that date too....will have to wait until Tuesday to hear back if there's any chance at all to stay here longer.

Good Friday! Good Friday! Not much good about it if you ask me (why on earth IS it called Good Friday anyways? Ok, I did google it, probably comes from God Friday - google it.

No photo today.

Have a good long weekend, everyone. Think of me. I'll be awake.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Kitchen happy!

It's not 100% finished yet...ran out of time on Saturday, and no drilling allowed on Sundays here, so the fantastic M is coming back during the week to put the cabinets up.

It looks very bare, obviously, cos nothing in it yet... (and washing machine and fridge not coming til later) that will soon change when I move in, but as I've been doing an annoying countdown on the blog, I thought I should share a picture of it (very nearly) finished.

I was very unsure if the 'island' thing would work in reality, though I knew I wanted it and hoped it would look and feel okay once it was actually in, and I thought it was a clever use of space. And I really like it. The kitchen, as you can see, is tiny (yet enormously tall... should have turned it on its side, perhaps?), but I am really happy with it.

Yippee... almost finished, just the wall cabinets to go, and then all my 'stuff' to be added to make it look lived in

Whaddya think?

Oh and here's before:

Just a few dozen more things to do, but now, finally, feeling positive that I can move in and be happy here.