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“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Winston Churchill

That’s what Nat said when I asked what she wanted me to cook for her birthday dinner.  Not a ringing endorsement.  And I understand why – history is not on my side.  For the record I’ve copied the photo of the last dish I was trying to emulate from Cuisine.  Below is the recipe.  Please feel free to cook this and show me how you got on.  I wasn’t that successful.  My cooking attempts often don’t look like the photo.

Which got me thinking about designing, when I never follow a recipe.  I never try to recreate a look.  Perhaps because I’m hopeless with cushions and I never know where to place the pomegranate…..  Or perhaps because my design is (unfortunately) more like a smorgasbord – with a bit of everything.  I like to think there is a coherent theme/story – I could be wrong.

Or perhaps because it’s true that I am good with leftovers – be it in the kitchen – or the rest of the house.  I like to work with what I’ve got.  But I also like to create something I’ve never seen before – something original (of course Austin Kleon would say nothing is original).  Let’s just make it tasty :-)

For the steak and asparagus

80g panko breadcrumbs
30g (large handful curly parsley, finely chopped
1 loosely packed cup mint, finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil

In Melbourne (one of my favourite cities) OOF! have created this extension to a renovated Victorian shophouse located across from the local café in a central neighborhood hub.  How does your house shut out the world, but still sit confidently and comfortably within it’s environment? How does your house engage with it’s neighbours?  What kind of conversation does it start?  Is it as friendly, cheerful, and whimsical as this house?  I hope so (but suspect not).

Yes, it’s that time of the year when every-body is publishing ‘best-of’ lists.  I’m lazy – I haven’t even created my own.  Instead I’m sharing 9 Inspirational Design blogs from Design Good – their list is better than mine :-)

And they reminded me of Good Fucking Design Advice – if you visit their site you can buy the poster above.  I’m not going to buy it – I’m going to live it!

PS:  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thanks Austin Kleon – from his blog: “I used to joke with friends that I was going to shoot some nude portraits, only I would be the one who was nude…. These are nude portraits in the sense that I, the photographer, am nude, while the subject is not.”

For those of you thinking of trying this yourself – remember – there is always a right time and place :-)

I love the internet of everything, and simple solutions :-)

Found this on James Hurman’s website Previously Unavailable – an innovation consultancy.  I’ve got a meeting with James in a few weeks – looking forward to it!  If you’re interested in the battery you can link through to the kickstarter website.  What did the world do before kickstarter………..

Or have a look at Drivebot (fitbit for your car), or read why optimism wins.  This is a website you should visit – it’s more interesting than this one :-)

Last year when we were renovating the Lodge I searched high and low for built in night-lights.  I know someone who usually goes to the toilet once during the night and I wanted to hard-wire in some night lights in the hallway and bathroom.  Surely I’m not the only one trying to solve this problem…   But I couldn’t find anything, so resorted to a plug in night-light (like some silly after thought).

These power points from SnapPower in the good-ol’ USA introduce LED’s into a power socket (with light sensor).  Great idea – when can we buy a NZ version ???

Finally, we have some neon in the house (wanted some for ages).  Bought this for $50 on Trade Me.  Photo doesn’t do justice to the green light.  It’s above the door to our bedroom – I’m expecting there will always be a vacancy…..

Coincidentally read this great article on Stuff recently about saving our neon heritage.  A little conflicted here – LED’s are the culprit – I love LED.  It’s estimated there are fewer than 20 neon benders (there term, not mine) left in New Zealand.  I’m surprised it’s that many.  Anyway, I look forward to the day I can commission a neon piece from one of them :-)

Here is the dilemma:  Do I buy this and work out where to put it, or am I supposed to work out where it should go first???

I hate this wall mounted paper roll holder – because I want one!  I didn’t even know I needed one – until I saw it :-)

PS – here are George and Willy (guys, hope you don’t mind me sharing your photo), it’s their fault I have this dilemma, and am about to spend $240 (plus $10 shipping)

PPS – they’re kiwis (I think)

I’ve got the floor plan drawn, have selected the lighting, and the tiles for the feature wall, bought the mirror, and the cupboard laundry is planned to the last 10mm.  And now that I’ve seen this bronze spoon sink designed by Philip Watts Design (based in Nottingham, UK), its all come together and is finished!

Well, in my mind the bathroom is finally finished.  Now I just need to bring it to live – oops – did I mention we haven’t got any money for this :-)

I suspect by the time we get this sink, bronze will no longer be on trend…..

But, hopefully the toilet I want will be available in NZ.  I wonder if I should have worked to a budget?  NO!