Monday, May 4, 2009

Welcome to Home and Book

I have finally decided to get blogging! As a writer it seems so obvious but the commitment to daily blogs is something I have only just accepted. Until an hour ago I didn't even have an internet connection at home. I mean I have had the internet before but as a savings strategy my partner and I decided we could live without the internet at home. With daily access in my day job it hasn't been a problem until now.

Today is the day I start my new career. I am inspired by beautiful homes and beautiful words so today I bring you Home and Book. I will blog those that intrigue fascinate and enchant me and hopefully share some beauty in the world with other home lovers and book worms.

Most recently my mother's apartment has shown me that an eye for colour and a combination of new and aged is a recipe for success. Here's my article featuring her beautiful apartment in Queensland.

One Perfect Day

Ten years ago the owners of this modern apartment in Queensland, had no intentions of scaling down their living space. With a combined family of nine children plus an ever increasing number of grandchildren, retirees Pamela and Ken Parnham were sitting pretty in a large open plan home complete with a traditional English garden, a workshop for Ken and an impressive lap pool which all of the children enjoyed.

The couple, who love to travel, found that a large house and lawn require full time attention and the generosity of a neighbour. Pamela had always dreamed of water views and a drive one Sunday through the quiet beachfront streets of Scarborough brought them to their new address at Scarry Street.

Set on a generous corner block, the complex of four luxury apartments is a contemporary nod to the minimalist designs of U.S firm, Kanner Architects. Windows and glass dominate the entire front aspect of the building inviting the morning sun into these homes, while the combination of polished concrete and bamboo flooring provides an interesting contrast of warm and cool underfoot.

The lower level of the Parnham’s apartment was originally a huge double bumper to bumper garage. However, Ken, who is a skilled craftsman, transformed this large empty space into a highly usable workshop with toilet, laundry and sewing room plus a child friendly entertainment area. All of this functionality was achieved without the need to sacrifice a car space. Pam and Ken comfortably fit their two cars side by side in the new, more functional space.

Arriving at their door via the apartment’s private elevator or by the three flights of stairs, one’s eye line is constantly drawn to the beautiful blue waters just across the road. Inside the apartment Pamela’s eye for colour and unique style is evident as the eclectic combination of original artwork and pieces picked up locally bring life to the open plan living area. Again the eye is drawn to the view and the concertina glass doors allow for virtually uninterrupted views across to the tranquil waters of Moreton Bay.

Perhaps the key piece of furniture tying the room together is the oversized cherry red leather chaise lounge by Rubelli. Pamela, who adores luxury, couldn’t resist the outrageous piece as a focal point and for its practicality. “With fifteen grandchildren, Ken and I are often babysitting and the practicality of leather allows me to relax while the children climb on and off time after time”. Additionally, the lounge’s comfort is extremely important as Ken has had some recent health problems and spends much time recuperating on the chaise while watching his beloved Brisbane Broncos on the large LCD television mounted on the wall.

The open kitchen, living and dining area connect by just a small step down into the large open sunroom, the perfect place to sit and read or simply take in the view. This is where Pamela also likes to play her upright piano or entertain friends for coffee.

Despite downsizing from a four bedroom home to a two bedroom apartment, the guest bedroom is regularly booked by one of their children for a weekend seaside getaway. Therefore, Pamela has furnished this room in softer shades reminiscent of a more traditional beach house. The colours taupe and pale blue feature in the soft furnishings, while a print above the bed is a reminder just before sleep to take an early morning beach walk. However, for those more interested in a leisurely lie in, the aluminium shutters provide great blockout to snuggle in for hours. “We wanted our guests to feel comfortable and relaxed here. This is not a pretentious home. We are ordinary people who simply enjoy a few of life’s comforts and like to share time with others”.

And share they do! The couple are involved with several charities and Pamela raises awareness for the Smith Family’s Learning for Life programme, which provides extra funds for disadvantaged school-age children who otherwise would miss out on textbooks and fieldtrips that are additional to the state government provided education. Pamela feels passionately about the education of children and having raised four of her own, she wants to continue to provide opportunities for other children. This love of children is evident in their home. Pamela and Ken’s combined families feature on wall space and shelf space throughout the apartment reminding us that, in spite of the modern exterior, this is a home with a warm heart.

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