Urban Family Living
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Our rental house in North Carolina last week was a typical Southern beach house.  The house was blessed with double porches and large windows which gave fantastic views over Currituck Sound.

OBX house

This house had one of the most comfortable chairs that I have ever sat in.  It was fairly unattractive and, worse, my friend’s husband had one in his university dorm room.  I was in love with an ugly student chair.  The horror.  In the end comfort won out and it was pretty much ‘my’ chair for the week.  Even the kids knew that it was mummy’s chair!

The chair, called Swivel San, from Pier 1 Imports acts as a rocker and swivels as well.  The cushion comes separately jn various colours.  I’m pretty sure that my dislike of the rental house version was because the rattan was in white and the cushion in baby blue.  So very 70′s.  It looks way better in the dark colour.

Until my recent Swivel San obsession, I did not realise rattan was separate from wicker.  Rattan is specific type of very strong wood (made from palm trees) but wicker is a type of weave.  Wicker furniture can be made from rattan or other types of wood such as bamboo or straw.

Rattan furniture does have a lot of advantages such as being very strong and eco-friendly.  The trees from which rattan is made are easily grown.  A tough, durable material, rattan is very popular for outdoor furniture.  The material is low-maintenance and doesn’t require much to keep it looking good.

I think the lines in these dark rattan chairs are very elegant.  The combine nicely with the sofa and table in this room for a casually elegant look.  I am not a fan, however, of the light-coloured wicker chair in the corner.

I will definitely be thinking of rattan as a furniture option in the future, both for inside and outside.  What do you think of rattan and/or wicker?

Rattan for Inside and Out Our rental house in North Carolina last week was a typical Southern beach house.  The house was blessed with double porches and large windows which gave fantastic views over Currituck Sound.
A red wine from North Carolina called Sugar Daddy. The hubby scoffs but I had to buy it.  (at Scarborough Faire Shopping Village in Duck, NC)

A red wine from North Carolina called Sugar Daddy. The hubby scoffs but I had to buy it. (at Scarborough Faire Shopping Village in Duck, NC)

We are visiting friends in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for Easter.  The beautiful beach environs inspires me to think of coastal style.

I think these rules are apt because there really shouldn’t be any more expectations of life at the beach than these rules.  I’m considering buying this little gem and shipping it to our summer house.

relax

What could be more relaxing than a porch swing in the sunshine?  My kids are just watching the world go by.  We are all so busy nowadays that there are fewer opportunities for quiet contemplation.

photo-188

I found these gorgeous sea glass inspired vases at West Elm.  I am LOVING the colours.  Yes, of course, I bought some.  I love sea glass.

seaglass

Also at West Elm, the store had a beachy vibe going for its decor.  Even for just a casual barbecue, I think this place setting is gorgeous in its simplicity.

More inspiration for the terrarium that I plan on making.  Here is a seashore inspired terrarium from West Elm:

terrarium

Remember the tree house bunk beds available in Europe?  Pottery Barn Kids has picked up on the theme to go all sea shack.  Yes, I still love it!

beachhouse bunk

Coastal style for me means relaxed living and lots of natural colours/textures.  There are, of course, variations such as nautical or Hawaiian/tropical or the vibrant colours that characterise Lily Pulitzer clothing..  What does coastal style mean for you?

Coastal Style Inspiration We are visiting friends in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for Easter.  The beautiful beach environs inspires me to think of coastal style.

In the U.S., easter egg hunts are everywhere in the run-up to Easter.  The tradition starts at the top with the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn.  This year’s Easter Egg Roll is the 136th year of the event and will take place on April 21st.  Involving more than 30,000 people, tickets are highly prized.

We usually participate in at least 2 egg hunts which is great for my chocolate-obsessed children (sadly not the White House one!) .

eggs hanging from tree

eggs hanging from tree

One of the farms near my family’s home in Pennsylvania always has an Easter event with egg hunts, photos with the Easter Bunny etc.

In case candy and chocolate in plastic eggs isn’t enough of a sugar high, we get funnel cakes.  They are deep fried batter with powdered sugar on top and you get them at fairs and carnivals.

funnel cake

funnel cake

Nothing says American like calorie-laden, deep-fried, sugared dough! It’s so rich even the children can only take a couple of bites before they have had enough.

We always do a family egg hunt on our lawn too.  Each person is assigned a specific colour egg and then another person hides a pre-determined amount of eggs.  It’s always amusing to come up with creative ways to hide eggs!

Invariably someone can not find all their eggs and whoever hid it can’t remember where they put it.  Usually it gets found sometime in the summer when it gets caught in the lawn mower.

counting eggs

counting eggs

Egg hunts are our Easter family tradition.  They are not particularly healthy, intellectual or sophisticated.  We do have fun and that’s all that matters!  What Easter traditions do you have?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Hunting for Chocolate In the U.S., easter egg hunts are everywhere in the run-up to Easter.  The tradition starts at the top with the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn.  

The Little Church Which Is A Modern Art Masterpiece

The Little Church Which Is A Modern Art Masterpiece

Prophet Joel

You know you live in a swish area when the stained glass windows of your local church were made by Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.  The windows were a gift from the Rockefeller family who live nearby in their Kykuit estate in New York.   Some of the church goers, however, didn’t want them because they were too “modern”.  Who turns down a free Chagall??  The Rockefellers eventually won the point…

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I was surprised to learn that one of my favourite home stores in the U.S., Restoration Hardware, has now rebranded themselves as RH with the words Restoration Hardware written in tiny letters underneath.  The RH stores are now referred to as design galleries as well (pretentious moi?).    Their items were always expensive but now are unapologetically so.

champagne bucket

more champagne please!

RH also seems to be branching into other aspects of lifestyle consumerism too such as opening an art gallery and expanding into children’s furniture.  How great is this industrial-style bunk bed which is very similar to the scaffolding beds that have cropped up recently in London and Paris?

scaffolding bunk bed

photo credit: RH

Thank goodness, rebranding and expanding aside, the products themselves are still gorgeous.  They are set off to their advantage in the design galleries with lots of moody lighting, high ceilings and dark painted walls.

RH has a style that evokes industrial or estate items that have been salvaged – metal, distressed leather, unfinished wood, natural linen etc. It reminds me of the Ralph Lauren ethos but with a bit of urban edge.

I absolutely loved this leather trunk office space.  Not only is the whole thing on wheels but the piece closes and locks so that you can put it out of sight – perfect for a multifunction office space.

office in a trunk

office in a travel trunk

I also love this vintage scrabble set.  I am thinking of getting it for our screened porch. We could sit around playing scrabble and drinking wine (not necessarily in that order) in the summer evenings.

scrabble

scrabble

So, what did I actually buy for the house?  I was under strict instructions to buy only lighting which is what we need (boo!).

For the screened porch, I went with a modern outdoor fan.  I really liked the fuselage fan too with its homage to early 20th century airplanes but it is really meant for indoors.

For the front and back porch, I chose a modern interpretation of  fishermen lanterns.  I also picked up a couple of the vintage barn lights for the living areas and the candle chandelier for the dining room.

With all the changes to this brand afoot, I’m hoping RH decide to branch out to London soon! If Boden can bring American preppy back to the USA, then surely RH can sell salvaged estate glam to Europe.

The RH Style: Salvaged Estate Meets Industrial I was surprised to learn that one of my favourite home stores in the U.S., Restoration Hardware…