Sunday, 25 September 2011


It is often said that it is the little details & touches that can add the
illusion of hotel style luxury & comfort to your home:

A gorgeous exotic looking orchid is a popular choice for bathrooms, as they
enjoy moist, humid conditions and indirect sunlight.  However, they do
require constant warm temperatures of between 20 to 35 °C.  Chilly
temperatures will cause the plant to stop budding and producing flowers –
which is really what you want it for, as the foliage is rather boring when
it isn’t in bloom.  Good results may be obtained by feeding the plant with a
high nitrogen fertilizer about once a month.  Care should be taken not to
over water it as this can often cause root rot and kill the plant.  When the
last flower drops, prune the flower spike halfway down the stem and continue
caring for it in the hope it will re-bloom; and that once again you'll
be able to admire the colourful magnificence of nature.  Some people have a
knack with plants and some people…, well, some people!

Alternatively, if you have a busy life and little time and no inclination to
spend the rest of your life worrying about the conditions in your bathroom
for successfully rearing beautiful orchids, then a solution is to turn
towards the artificial.  Fake blooms don’t have to be tacky or plasticky if
you source them correctly.  The trick is to look for plants that are
constructed from latex, often under the ‘real touch’ label, and which
actually feel like the real thing or very close to it.  A good artificial
orchid may cost you twice as much as the real thing but the advantages
of the artificial over the natural one is everlasting charm, blooms
for perpetuity and minimal care.

Artificial plants available from:-

Victorian orchid grower, collector and fanatic, John Day (1824–1888)
charted his obsession with these exquisite plants by producing some 4000
illustrations of orchid species in 53 scrapbooks over a period of 15 years.
It just goes to show that a fanatic should never be underestimated!

Orchidelirium was the name used to describe a period in the Victorian era
when collecting Orchids reached almost manic levels.   As bizarre as it
sounds, this wasn’t the only time that flowers became a sought after
commodity:  As early as 1637, at the height of Holland’s ‘Tulipmania’ single
bulbs sold for more than 10 times the average skilled worker’s salary.    Later
at the start of the 19th century, the hyacinths replaced the tulip as the
fashionable flower.  Such is the fickle world of flowers.

Anonymous 17th-century watercolor of the Semper Augustus,
famous for being the most expensive tulip sold during tulip mania.

Monday, 12 September 2011


Welcome to the world of door handles:  Much like the world of tiles, there are literally thousands to choose from. I've narrowed it down to levers instead of knobs; brushed or satin chrome or stainless steel, but there are so many designs to choose from.  Here are a few:-

'Carrera' is one of my favourites for its sleek, streamlined design but sadly it is only available in polished chrome which isn't really practical when you think of smeary hands.  Brushed or satin chrome would be a better choice.

'Carbon Fibre' is a strong, bold choice.  At the other extreme, 'Aluminium' has a simple unadorned functionality that I like.

Sunday, 11 September 2011


The bathroom is about 90% complete now.  Several things still need to be done: The pipework needs boxing and tiling; the grout and where the tiles meet the bath tub need to be sealed; and the bath panel needs to be installed and tiled.  Unfortunately we had a couple of leaks and our plumber had disappeared again!  But yesterday he was back and they've all been fixed now.



Finished ceiling with down lights

Bath accessories


Sadly the last days of summer have swung around and this little fellow was making the most of it; having a snooze in the sun as one does...

'You lookin at me?'

Zooming out...

to the Summerhouse.

This is the magnificent summerhouse & deck that my neighbours built at the back of their garden, this summer.  The original plot looked as below and the summerhouse was an excellent way to utilise and hide the old concrete foundations that were already there.  It's hard to tell from the photographs but it's around 20ft x 20ft deep.  The result is a fantastic playroom and an extra space to chill out.  Inside, it has been furnished in a Morroccan style.