Busy city, quiet spaces – The other side of Singapore

ImageSingapore – if there’s anywhere in the world that gets me thinking of apartment living, this place has to be it.  Every time I go there the city is alive with cranes, drills, towering metal frameworks and little trucks full of builders.  It feels like a whole city’s worth of apartment blocks are built and re-built there, every day.  I actually love the excitement of it and how ordered it still manages to be.

Last time I visited I noticed for the first time those quiet little spaces that people have created for themselves in the middle of this BIG, noisy city.

The following photos are all very different but the feeling these places evoked was the same, of reflection, of peace and calm, of a little oasis. From the colourful opulent space for prayer, to the smooth carving of the statue, to the bright little flowers in a quiet patch outside a busy market place, these areas created a big change in pace and feeling.  

It’s easy to do this in your little space too, by choosing beautiful pieces of furniture and decoration, as opulent or as simple as you like, that evoke a reaction of calm when you see it.  And the outcome, as you can see below, is a really special and personalised space…

ImageImage


Image

 

The little porch – a festival of colours

106_12596365161_182_n

How can you inject some springtime colour to your outdoor space?  Here’s a tiny place I happened upon in Capri, proving just how much life can be packed into one little porch.  The tiles, flowers, and even the name plate are all fantastic excuses for a festival of colours!

This has been my weekend inspiration for potting up some beautiful flowers in coloured pots for my own little space.  Enjoy!

106_12596375161_805_n

106_12596370161_499_n

A cup of tea – a universal luxury

Image

Essentials should be beautiful as well as functional in any home.  In fact it’s even more important to make them part of the charm when space is at a premium and there isn’t much room for superfluous objects.

Therefore, a beautiful teapot is one of my apartment essentials – for decoration, for entertaining, and to give myself a little bit of luxury every day.

I recently visited friends in Holywell, UK and I was lucky enough to be served a cup of tea and the paper every morning.  It was made even more special by the fact that it was in a Jack Russell cup, which really said everything about the couple I stayed with and how much their pets Jessie, Dulcie, Jamaica and Jack Russell Spottie are part of the family.  That cup of tea was one of the most special parts of the day when I took 10 minutes to relax and contemplate.

Here are some of my favourite tea time experiences that I’ve come across (both mine and others):

Image

A tea set from the Silk Market in Beijing, China – part of the fun is the tiny tea cups to share and re-fill often over conversations with friends

ImageA beautiful green and herbal tea floral arrangement at High Tea, Hotel Windsor Melbourne

Image

Japanese inspiration at a cafe in Sydney

Framing it right

IMG_6400

I’ve always been told that when you do something, do it well.  And that definitely applies when displaying your things in small apartments.  Space comes at a premium so it’s important that each area tells a story, and tells it beautifully.

So fill your space with things you love!  This is a poster I found in an antique market in Beijing, playing charades to overcome language barriers, bargain and swap stories with a shop assistant in the middle of a Chinese market place.  It travelled all the way around China in a cardboard tube before taking up residence in said cardboard tube at the bottom of my wardrobe back in Melbourne.

Although it cost me very little, this poster has shared BIG adventures with me so it was destined for much greater things than being stashed away in the dark.

It’s not hard to bang a nail into a wall and hang up a picture, but theres a big difference when it’s done well, so here are my top tips:

  • Measure up your wall.  Pick a space where there is enough room to stand back and appreciate your artwork, but not so much space that your picture will get lost.  Smaller pictures can work in a larger spaces if you group them together.
  • Understand your colour scheme. What are the colours and features you want to draw out?  Picking out a backing colour that drew out the beading in this Shanghai lady’s clutch bag, as well as highlighting her dress and some of the Chinese characters helped to bring this poster to life.
  • Pick the right frame. The frame needs to suit the picture and your apartment.  I picked French provincial to go with the very French colonial feel of my picture.
  • Get help. This is a feature in my apartment so it needed to be done well and it was important to get advice.  There are fantastic framing shops who can help you pick out the right colours to make your picture stand out.  It’s worth every cent!
  • Keep your area simple. When your picture or a painting is a feature, keep the area around it simple.  In a little space, too much clutter is sometimes your enemy!

IMG_6402