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Posts tagged ‘books’

Quirky Masculinity: An East Village Apartment

Today I am featuring a strikingly unconventional apartment in the East Village, New York. Originally it belonged to the current owner’s Italian migrants grandparents who bought it in 1945 and lived there for over six decades. Eight years ago, their grandson, Michael Reynolds and his partner, Eric, moved in and made their own. As the building held early childhood memories for Michael, they decided to keep the layout in tact and focused their attention on redecorating. What they have achieved is quite remarkable: the place is both respectful of the past while also embracing the tastes of the current occupants.

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I love the kitchen with the tiled floor Michael remembers from his childhood. This is now accompanied by an industrial kitchen sink, original art works and vintage items.




The walls of the dark and mysterious bedroom are jammed packed with photographs.


The apartment is strongly masculine in its aesthetics mixing art, modern design and ethnographic objects with touches of quirky humour throughout. The results are reminiscent of an 19th century natural history museum, but somehow it all works.

I love this place as as it is so unusual in the current landscape of interior design which is on the whole very tasteful and ultimately bland. I also adore that you have a sense of who the occupants are. Having said that, I am not sure I would want to live there. Would you?

Photos: François Dischinger

via the New York Magazine

Trish Pinto’s Melbourne Apartment

This is the suburban apartment of editor, Trish Pinto. Even calling her an editor is boxing her in, and Trish would laugh at any attempts to do so. Her apartment shows this eclecticism and diversity at every turn.

Trish last year made the decision to leave her job and work from home, self-employed. To do so, she had to create a space that nourishes her, but also serves the practical workflow of an in-demand professional. She had converted her second bedroom into her office.

The entire apartment (including the kitchen) are full of her personality, which is vivacious, sharp and energetic. Curiously the space feels both minimal and layered at the same time. Her office is bare and functional yet is dominated by a Midsummer paper garland light by Tord Boontje and is enveloped by amazing collages of artworks and photographs, that obviously serve to inspire her. The bedroom is a candy pink which is usually a saccharine hue, but here comes across as sophisticated. Interesting touches abound throughout the apartment such as the red velvet chaise lounge, the 1950s red star clock, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera paper dress-up dolls and the ceramic dog she refers to as Uncle Percy, and an antique silver teapot being used as vase for a bunch of daisies.

None of it feels contrived, or overly ‘designed’. Rather, Trish has just taken elements of her own life and interests and blended them with items she’s collected over many years and made them look amazing. Case in point are her towers of books, topped with sculptures and knitted animals. It could almost be a spoof on the current fashion for wallpapered ‘libraries’. And, with Trish’s deep love of books coupled with her sense of humour, it probably is.

Photos Trish Pinto and me (Kate Challis)

London Calling: V&A Reading Room

 On one of my first days in London I headed to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is in the library of that museum I spent years writing and researching my doctoral thesis. So, as I arrived at  South Kensingston tube station I felt that mix of feelings just before meeting a dear friend after many years apart: how have they changed, how have I changed, will we still like each other?

Pondering these thoughts, I strolled down Exhibition St, now a pedestrian mall, and stumbled across the sweetest little bookshop-bar-cafe-gallery: the V&A Reading Rooms.

An adjunct to the actual museum, the V&A Reading Rooms is a small super-stylish place to read, chat, have a coffee or even something a little stronger (there were times when I was writing my thesis that I would have greatly benefited from a stiff drink). Carefully selected and affordable art hangs on the walls while the well-selected stock of books centres around the theme of art and design. The shop boasts that there are “no three-for-two offers on books you didn’t really want to read”.

What’s not to love about that?

Photos by me (Kate Challis)

Revisiting and reshooting my living room

I have blogged about my living room before (here and here) and am now posting some new photos, taken with my newly acquired skills courtesy of a Council of Adult Education photography course.

I really love my living room. It’s the largest and lightest room of our small and narrow house. Up one end is Jasper’s play ‘room’ and up the other it’s part library, part relaxation and entertaining space. It also acts as a passage to the rest of the house.  I love the way it all merges into one with the sofa becoming a cubby house one day and a fire station the next. But, it took years to get to work.

The room was designed around my husband’s love of music. His speakers had to be positioned to maximise the sound quality. Then we had my brother-in-law construct in-built cupboards and shelves to house a valve amplifier as well as our ever-expanding library. All the other elements were added gradually. A number of things I didn’t get right the first time and had to rethink.

Friends questioned the wisdom of buying a white sofa when Jasper was 2 years old. A year later and I am pleased to say that it hasn’t been a drama. We have a spare set of covers which can be thrown into the washing machine and drip dry (no ironing required). These are changed only once every 2 months.

I am about to make some minor changes so stay tuned.

Photos and styling by me (Kate Challis) and Emilie Smith.


Welcome to La Boudoir Dada

“La Boudoir Dada” are the private rooms of the mesmerising Melwitz Folino. Like all interesting people, she cannot be easily categorised: she is an artist, illustrator, teacher and a muse in the truest sense of the word.

Her tiny studio/apartment’s physical location is a leafy part of inner city Melbourne and its temporal one is the beginning of the 21st century, but as soon as you open the door you are transported to another time and place. Each of the rooms of La Boudoir Dada (including the kitchen) is layered with Melwitz’s work: drawings, collage, model dresses, paintings, illustrations, as well as textiles, books and unique pieces of furniture such as the 19th century velvet covered card table originally owned by a brothel where the ladies of the night played cards between clients.

The Boudoir Dada is a feast for the eyes and pays tributes to the times and people who inspire Melwitz. Her own work references fashion designers, artists, writers and muses throughout the ages such as Giovanni Boldini, Kees van Dongen, Countess de Castiglioni, Dora Maar, Yves Saint Laurent, Madame Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Isabel Toledo, Jean Patou, Frida Kahlo and Anita Ekberg. Mel is the embodiment of what she passionately believes: that fashion is art and should not be relegated to mere function or be seen as frivolous. This is perhaps why she chose to call her apartment La Boudoir Dada, as the Dada movement was against the grand masculine pre-20th century tradition of art and celebrated the ephemera. Melwitz and her boudoir is a celebration of the senses, of beauty, of texture, of history and of ideas.

She is one of the most productive and engaging artists I know and the Boudoir Dada is so rich that I have divided the tour into two stunning posts: one the living/studio and kitchen area and the other the bedroom and bathroom.

So, Meine Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs, Ladies and Gentlemen! Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome to La Boudoir Dada.

Styling Melwtiz Folino; Photography Kate Challis (me) and Emilie Smith