Saturday, May 31, 2008

Please excuse my pink indulgence!

Image Sweetpea & Willow

Image Belle Maison

Image Pink Kitchens

Image Harrods/Lulu Guinness

Image Chic Shack
With my family of 5 sons + husband, pink is a colour I've never (read as daren't) used when decorating. However, I've long harboured a closet love of pink, so thought I'd share some of my whimisical day-dreams.

The pink kitchen definitely falls into the OTT category, but it's such a lot of fun. With the final plans for our new kitchen almost complete, can't wait to see the look on my husband's face when I tell him I've changed my mind on the colour! I'll really need to stand well back while I wait for his response!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekend Dreaming.

Image Arabella Lennox-Boyd

Gresgarth Hall belongs to Arabella Lennox-Boyd, one of the U.K.'s foremost Landscape Garden Designers. Set on 12 acres in Lancashire included in the grounds are a woodland garden, orchard, lakeside terraces, a wild garden & a large kitchen garden.

I tried to photoshop a pic of myself lounging by the water with glass of Moet in hand, but failed miserably!

It is a truly beautiful setting, and it just seems to draw me in totally at each look.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ribbons Rule!

Image Cabbages & Roses

Image Cox & Cox

Image Flourish

Image Cox & Cox

Image Cox & Cox
Ever since my darling Mum started tying beautiful ribbons in my hair when I was a little girl, I've been mad for ribbons! As much as I love all our sons, I must admit to a slight twinge of sadness that I wasn't able to continue the hair ribbon tradition with my own family.
However, I have made up for this in so many other ways since! My long-suffering husband will be first to attest to my ribbon-buying frenzies & the rolls of glorious ribbon hidden in special places all over our house.
The joy of adding that final flourish of gorgeous ribbon to a gift is one of life's great pleasures. I particularly love the range from Cox & Cox - they are just so stylish and elegant.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Image Appley Hoare

Its the end of the month at work & as usual I'm up to my neck in numbers, budgets, forecasts, account planning, etc. However these gorgeous antique iron and enamel French house numbers remind me that maybe not all numbers have to be BORING! Their ethereal beauty is wonderous!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Inspired Garden Retreats

Image Scotts of Thrapston
The Reading Room
The refurbished tool shed at the bottom of Virginia Woolf's garden forms the inspiration for the Reading Room. Despite living in privileged surroundings it was this distinctive outbuilding that was to provide her with the ideal place in which to write, think and relax.

Image Scotts of Thrapston

Image Scotts of Thrapston

Image Scotts of Thrapston
The Writer's Retreat
This wonderful garden retreat draws inspiration from the modest summerhouse in George Bernard Shaw's garden. This tiny, converted shed was where he created many of his masterpieces, including the Oscar winning screenplay for "Pygmalion" and the play "St Joan", for which he was to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

Image Scotts of Thrapston

Image Scotts of Thrapston

Image Scotts of Thrapston
The U.K. National Trust have joined with Scotts of Thrapston to produce these 2 gorgeous Summer Garden Retreats. Adhering to the adage 'less is more', these unassuming and humble buildings may be small and plain but their true beauty lies in the opportunity they offer to be at peace in the garden and enjoy a few moments of quiet relaxation.
How I would love to wander through our garden with a book and a glass of wine to find one of these little gems waiting just for me!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Story So Far

Where to start! Well our renovator's delight was built in 1972 & very little had been done to it since by 3 previous lazy unmotivated Owners. Original kitchen, laundry & bathrooms. Open face red-brown internal brick walls EVERYWHERE. Mission Brown exposed beams, woodwork & floor tiles EVERYWHERE. Disgusting dust & spider-ridden 20 year-old shantung curtains EVERYWHERE. We purchased it in June 2006 & have been working on it ever since. The Man-Of-The-House & I have done everything other than some plumbing & electrical work because we are 'tight' & because we've done it before & like a challenge. Every room is a complete gut job & we haven't even started on the 2,000sq. metres of rambling garden.

This is the story of the house behind The Laurel Hedge.


The open plan living room/dining room, while not totally finished is on its way. To read more go here.

BEFORE (from the Realtors brochure)


We've totally gutted & renovated the Main Bathroom. To read more go here.



The Guest Room is complete. To read more go here.



The Master Bedroom is complete. To read more go here.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Garden Dreams.

Image Appley Hoare

Image Appley Hoare

Image Andrew Crace

Image Imogen Jamieson

Image Stuart Garden Architecture

Image Hen and Hammock

Image Appley Hoare
With the weather being temperate this weekend, we have had the chance to do some quick work in the garden before the really bleak winter weather sets in. I am looking for a new garden seat to put down on our small meadow under the Oak tree. While I love the traditional lines of the Luytens range, there are so many other styles that would suit perfectly. But as often happens, I got very waylaid on Appley Hoare's site. Her wonderful antique French architectural pieces send my mind into absolute orbit!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Meet Millie

Who is Millie?
An Aussie living in the pretty little village of Stirling in the hills above Adelaide in South Australia.
Mother to 5 sons - although now officially an 'Empty-Nester', she's quickly discovered her boys are like possums. Just when you think you've got rid of them from the ceiling space, they turn up again on the doorstep with all their worldly possessions, eyes firmly fixed on their old room.
Married to Husband #2 the infamous Man-of-the-House (MOTH), she started her working life as an RN with a post-grad. qualification in Cardiothoracic Critical Care. However, a new opportunity appeared nearly 20 years ago, propelling her into the commercial scientific world as a Sales Specialist which is where she still is today. Spending most of her working days in the hushed, dark confines of Interventional Radiology/Cardiology Suites & Laboratories, she's developed a great acuity for seeing in the dark.

Who is MOTH?
Millie's long-suffering Partner-in-Renovating. This is the 2nd house they've worked on together (the 1st took them 15 years to get right!) & THE LAST! The Owner of a Landscaping business, his own rambling, shambolic garden is a disgrace.
Quickly developing his own cult following, he does the occasional politically-incorrect Guest Post by request. Millie just holds her breath & then deals with the complaints.

Why The Laurel Hedge?
15 years of renovating our previous house was over - we'd just completed everything & were really enjoying our lovely old Victorian villa in the Eastern suburbs of Adelaide. However we'd always had a fondness for the country life & without warning we found ourselves transported by alien beings disguised as Real Estate Agents to a house on 1/2 acre of wild, rambling gardens in Stirling!
The house is circa 1972 & with all the Mission Brown features only an unrenovated house of this vintage can 'offer'. Open-faced brown brick walls, brown raked ceilings, brown exposed beams, brown split levels - & every single room is a total gut & redo job. However, it's inherent design is great & the location sublime - tucked behind a wonderful old laurel hedge in a quiet no-through country lane in the heart of delightful Stirling.

What will you find here?
The Laurel Hedge started off its blog life in May 2008 as an outlet for the non-scientific side of Millie's brain. Posts & musings on design & renovating & pretty things, but through the course of this 'challenging' renovation, it's evolved into some quite different, stubbornly defying any sensible description. This is due in no small part to MOTH & the mishaps & disasters that seem to dog his every turn.
Millie blogs on how life actually is behind The Hedge - a sometimes humorous, occasionally brutal account of life with Mr. Serial Renovator & his 'short fuse'.

Posting & Comments
Millie is never short of a word or 100 & with MOTH, the 5 sons & the never-ending renovation, she's never short on subject matter either. So you'll find a new post here at The Hedge most days. She really loves to receive comments and up to recently, loved answering every one individually. However of late, she hasn't been able to keep up with all the lovely messages she's receives and finds this very frustrating. Please be assured she reads & appreciates all of the comments & hopes that sometime very soon, things can revert to how they were & she becomes a better Blog chum again!

A Final Word
The Laurel Hedge is all about having fun. It will never take itself too seriously, & if it looks like becoming even vaguely boring, it will quickly be made redundant by Millie activating the 'Delete Blog Now' button. Her band of regular readers are known as Hedgies, a term of endearment given to them by MOTH. You would be a very welcome Hedgie, so whether you become a regular commenter or just lurk in the background, enjoy the roller coaster ride of life at The Laurel Hedge.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lovely Lanterns.

Image Riviera Maison

Image The White Company

Image Cape Henley

Image Riviera Maison

I love the soft touch ambient lighting brings to a room. Whether its lamps, candles, tealights, votives or lanterns, I much prefer these lovely adjuncts to direct overhead lighting. With the open fire also providing a gentle glow in our Sitting Room, we feel wrapped in a calming cocoon that's very hard to leave.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Light White

Image Huka Lodge

Image Huka Lodge

Image Huka Lodge

Image Coastal Living

Image Coastal Living

During the dull, wintery days of the past week my thoughts have wandered to rooms filled with natural light and the relaxed style white and natural tones bring to a space. The Owners' Cottage is the premium accommodation level at the incredible Huka Lodge in New Zealand. It is true luxury!

Also more from the wonderful Coastal Living Style Gallery- relaxed and stylish Living and Dining rooms - just perfect!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finials are forever.

Image Mothology

Mothology is a favourite site for inspiration. It's the retail arm of an interesting wholesale Company Vagabond Vintage in the U.S. These architectural finials are stunning & the styling of the group just perfect.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hallway Envy.

Image Riviera Maison

Image Riviera Maison

Image Riviera Maison
Image Riviera Maison
Image Coastal Living

Having decided to bite the bullet and put a new ceiling the entire length of the hallway, this project is now steaming ahead and I need inspiration - quickly! This area acts as a feeder for all our bedrooms (excluding the Master Suite), the family bathroom and our Home Office. So I need to blend functionality with style. This simple, elegant Hallway from my favourite magazine Coastal Living achieves exactly what we want - loads of natural light!

Riviera Maison produces gorgeous quirky pieces that I just love, their latest range certainly provides much inspiration. I particularly like the Hallway Bench with rattan storage baskets and the skinny Chiffonier with a half depth of drawers - great where space is limited.
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