Sorrento is a beautiful coastal town on Victoria’s Mornington peninsula, and I have very fond memories of seemingly endless summer days spent on the beach there. This summer house captures the vibe perfectly in its simplicity and feels just about right on these gorgeous, late September days.
Natural materials reflect the surrounding landscape with timber floorboards, in this case Fir with a white oil finish, and the woody exterior, stained black. Clean white walls reflect the coastal light, with texture provided by the timber lined ceilings, again kept white. The living spaces are open plan with the clever insertion of a log-burning stove and bank of cupboards on one side, and kitchen units on the other. The joinery is kept consistent throughout – white cabinetry and palest grey glass mosaic tiles adding texture and tone wherever a waterproof surface is required. Built-in shelves and a low ledge behind the bed are always a good idea. A second bathroom is kept simple with panels of ply and a reclaimed metal trough.
Scandinavian classics are plentiful with low-slung leather armchairs, Louis Poulsen’s PH5 light, and lots of pieces by Hay and Iittala.
I’ve always been an Italophile but last year was the first time I had visited Sicily. Having been seduced by the superior piece of writing Il Gattopardo (‘The Leopard’), and the rather lighter, but no less charming stories of Inspector Montelbano, it was raw and intense and wonderful. This house is in Noto, a jewel of a Baroque town on the east coast (we stayed just outside Noto, in this fabulous hotel).
White stone walls that look as if they have been laid dry are juxtaposed with surfaces of smooth render. Other hard surfaces – concrete floors and full height metal framed openings – help to achieve the feeling of respite from the hot sun. Mid-century furniture languishes in the cool interior – Bertoia walnut bench; Alvar Aalto tables and PH5 pendant (more PH5, here); beautiful, sculptural moulded plywood armchairs.
Having grown up in Australia, I made my first acquaintance with the Moomins rather later than my Swedish/Finnish counterparts. Enchanted still, I love the expressive, stylised images and beautiful linework of Tove Jansson’s illustrations, not to mention the characters themselves. Alvar Aalto stools are the archetypal stool (I have two, and they won’t be my last). Finnish brand Artek is releasing four pieces from the Aalto collection with Moomin characters lolloping across the face. Table 90B, Stool 60, Children’s Stool NE60 and Children’s chair N65 are all participating. More Artek re-releases from an earlier post, here. More from Artek, here.
Another exciting re-issue, Louis Poulsen’s wonderful, iconic PH5 (I wrote about a perfect pendant, here) has been released with new colour combinations, including coconut white, army green/dark grey, dark grey/turquoise and wasabi green. The spacers which hold the shades in position are finished in bronze, and they are all a soft, matt finish.
I love the soft coconut white-on-white, and the dark grey/turquoise; what about you? More, here.
Also love this round-up of five modern design icons in Dwell, including Eero Aarnio and Lina Bo Bardi, here.