Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Arts & Crafts Movement - MacIntosh's Influence

Charles Rennie MacIntosh...House for an Art Lover

I found this in my "drafts" folder from 2013. This year, 2018, the Glasgow School of Art suffered yet another devastating fire so I felt it important to publish this piece. The Glasgow School of Art where a lot of creative and unique work was carried out by Charles Rennie MacIntosh. I remember the 2013 trip well and how this house built in the '89  - 90's just blew me away...the plans were drawn up for a competition by Charles Rennie MacIntosh and he worked on this with decorative artist Margaret MacDonald ( his wife)."House for an Art Lover" was not built in their time, however I believe the romance that MacIntosh and MacDonald put into their work was captured. I was fortunate enough to visit Scotland twice this year and each trip was most enjoyable. In August our daughter and two grandchildren accompanied us and I have to say the results were amazing. The Willow tearoom with its tall MacIntosh designed chairs and the Glasgow Rose depicted on may souvenirs of the day was "Glasgow" for all intent and purpose. This was the flavour I wanted to share.

Now on with the story...

... born in Glasgow in 1868 he became an architectural apprentice around the age of 16 years with a Vincent Street company in Glasgow.  In addition to his work schedule he attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. He was a skilled draftsman and talented watercolourist.  He won a scholarship ( The esteemed Alexander Thomson Traveling Scholarship) which meant he could study abroad. However, whilst at the Glasgow School of Art Charles met Herbert McNair who became great friends and the two were introduced to the MacDonald sisters, Margaret and Francis in 1899. The four of them were known as "The Glasgow Four". Margaret was an accomplished decorative artist and she married MacIntosh in 1900.
There were many opportunities for the couple to gain recognition. One piece they worked on together was an entry for a European competition "House for an Art Lover" organised by a German art publisher Blogged April 1st

Model of House for an Art Lover

House for an Art Lover
Construction 1989- 1996

Although the house was not built in MacIntosh's time construction commenced in 1989 and was completed by the City of Glasgow in 1996 ( Architect Graham Roxborough). You will note it's similarities in colour and design/ style to MacIntoshes Hill House, Helensburgh. Quite unique.
Elevation Drawing of the Dining room
The portfolio of work is on display including drawings/ floor plans etc.

The familiar design of MacIntosh's
 high back chairs in the Dining room

Interpetations of MacIntosh's Glasgow Rose are
evident throughout on walls, fireplaces and furniture

Used for weddings/ parties/ conferences the Music Room in dazzling white
with bowed windows is quite spectacular

View of the bowed windows
 in the Music Room

Bellahouston Walled Gardens on the site are worth a visit too.

Life is Beautiful in  a "House for an Art Lover". 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It appears "Spring has Sprung" at long last and we are through another cold and harsh winter ( it is May after all). Our azalea (see pic) blooms early and improves each year which is usually our personal goal. In many ways I appreciate this time for renewal and growth, what better way to celebrate spring than to return to "the" blog

I have missed blogging and sharing. Facebook took over from some of that but just seems so cold, automated and impersonal.So here I am revisiting and enjoying reading through past blogs. I have just realized that I have been on a journey and achieved a lot of my goals.  I am now an accomplished Real Estate Agent, Interior Decorator and I teach Interior Decorating ( Floor Plans, Space Planning and Presentations) at the local college - all of that since 2013. My love for cross stitch, knitting, water colours, etc., etc., remains and I am now putting all my "eggs" in one basket to create the "whole" package. My real estate work intertwined with my interior decorating is a no brainier. It allows me to include staging and interior decorating (colour and furniture placement ) for my Sellers and Buyers. I have also designed a cross stitch to gift for my clients with their house, address and move in date included ( I will post pic of the next one). I would like to knit up some amazing blankets in intricate patterns so this is a W.I.P. and I am looking to perfect something that is gift worthy and special to the specific client. These take much longer and more thought - so it is not a quick sale/buy. I was thinking several addresses that the client has occupied over the years - more like a genealogy of abodes in a lifetime, childhood home, first home and whatever else - cottage maybe. As I said a W.I.P.

I have also completed some amazing sections of my family tree during this time and connected with a 2nd cousin - flesh and blood. How great is that!

Today I am off to show two houses to some very special young clients. Yes, it is Mothers Day, but as you know the world doesn't stop and I love my job! A great start with breakfast and some amazing offspring (there is that word again) was special with some home made Scottish square sausage and beautiful roses ( not for eating lol) and dinner with out with my special family - I do feel celebrated and special.

My posts will include Interior Decorating and Real Estate information, tips, how to's and what is trending  as well as spontaneous information that makes the world go around. Life is beautiful!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


What an amazing place the Cotswolds is...just full of history. The antiques, museums, manor houses and gardens are fabulous and the food is amazing. Unfortunately the gardens are about 2-3 weeks behind due to the unusual cold spell they are experiencing at this time of year.  Chipping Campden is one of my favourites and the Craft Barn Museum is well worth a visit.  It is all about the Arts & Crafts movement that relocated out of London to this small village and of what remains to this day.I will elaborate further and post pictures when I get back home.

Visited Hidcote Gardens yesterday and although it was very cold we did enjoy seeing this garden again with it's stilt hedge and beautiful topiary.  Daffodils and primroses are in full bloom and the tulips are about to burst open - not doubt with the help of a little warmer temperature ( I understand how the felt yesterday).

Last week we were so delighted to see two young horsewomen riding their horses through the village of Broadway...talking and laughing and oblivious to the traffic behind them...such a nice little village and to see the huge horses come up the main drag was a sight for sore eyes. There is also something very soothing and calming about the clippity clop sound that they make...before you see them and after they have dissapeared out of  sight.

On the weekend we did absolutely nothing.  We enjoyed the cottage life on Saturday just chilling and my DH is a super cook. Asparagus with quails eggs and hollandaise sauce followed by local lamb slow cooked Basque style with a tomato base sauce and potatoes cooked in the same pot. Follow that up with an amazing sponge cake filled with jam and cream. On Sunday after visiting the Craft Barn museum we stopped by the Bells for refreshements and sampled their fresh sardines.They were very good.  Last night we had Hake and it was delicious in a parsley, tomato, onion paste cooked to perfection. Dessert was a Mille Feuille (sp?) and some lovely jammie, nuttie pastries.

Off to the sterling and silk museums in the village at Huxelys and pick up tonights fair which will be anything that takes our fancy...fresh produce...the village has it's own little butchers, greengrocers, french bakery ( includes pates and cheeses) and several fancy bakers...I am picking up a huge merangue today. I have just been staring at them in the bakers window, salivating and walking away...not today my friend, not today!!

It's a beautiful day when you open your eyes and enjoy what is right in front of you at absolutley no cost!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Doing nothing in the Cotswolds today and it is brilliant.  I will post pics when I return.The food has been amazing...pigeon and quail eggs...and the weather has not been bad at all...49 worst and 66 best...the pubs are everywhere. Gardens and houses have been visited and small high standard cosy Cotswold village cottage is extremely functional and central. Creativity has been awakened and art galleries and antiques are being studied...can't wait to share the pics.

Here is a few more ideas for your blackboard....

One look at Medusa and you could be turned to stone however with Benjamin Moore’s Chalkboard Paint you can turn just about any item into a chalk board. Just think on the possibilities for your children alone. One wall of their room, section of wall, table that they can draw on directly….endless possibilities and the chalk wipes clean.

Large Chalkboard for Kids Playroom Design Ideas
Picture from:
Also you can use it in your office ( appointments, reminders), the garage (task list) in fact any space for notes to self, notes to family- the rest of the household, phone messages, appointments, calendar for school or work events etc., very helpful. However the ones that are catching my eye have a designer look to them with a quote of the day, month, year- permanent quote and coloured chalk with pretty designs around the edge or just a flower applied in the right space.

Home Office Design with Chalkboard Wall
Picture from:

Kitchen Design with Chalkboard Backsplash Decoration
Picture from:
It is a beautiful life doing absolutely nothing in the Cotswolds...


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


 A follow up to my announcement of April 6th...

The chalkboard paint has cured for the three days as per the requirements and we now need to apply the chalk to the whole board before "chalk writing/ drawing " on it.  I applied the chalk and wiped off with a cloth. Benjamin Moore recommends using a cloth to wipe off and using only blackboard light coloured chalk for design/quote application as other chalks can leave a residue...well we don't want that
Prior to initial use rub the entire surface
with a piece of chalk  and then wipe clean

Using a decorative  molding cut the trim pieces to
fit surrounding area to make a frame

Tip: Paint trim pieces before applying
Go to Michael's with 50% off coupon and pick up
stencils and chalk ( white and coloured)

If you thought I was impatient ???These two little helpers
 were all over it the minute the supplies arrived

Using chalk and stencil apply to board. These stencils worked well as
they had a large space to apply the chalk.  Smaller stencils were just blurry.

 Tip: when you remove the stencil use a small wet brush to clean up the edges

Or, using a combination of stencils and free
hand design/ quote...come up with your own images
Stencils did not do too well they were too small
so we used our own free hand style.
Note to self: buy larger stencils
All of this had to be wiped clean of course to apply the trim
but it was fun and we are getting the hang of writing on the board
which is cork board with chalkboard paint so maybe not as smooth.

We stuck the painted wood frame on with "No More Nails"
Worked very nicely

Framed and flowered - Thistles freehand

Dearest GD added some poignant words of her own choice

... we have a ...blackboard!!
  It's a beautiful life when you "leave a message".

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Cottage Life Show or... hour and half...with Colin & lucky am I and it was April 6th, 2013 -Tartan Day. How appropriate that I spend it with them after wining two tickets on their Facebook page...I think they planned it that way lol!!
Is that real tartan? Can't be McAllister
Are you sure you are entitled to that...uh clan tartan?
...  DH and I headed down to the show yesterday with our complimentary tickets to be picked up at the "Will Call" booth. The staff were organized and  knowledgeable and picking up the tickets was a breeze.  I have done this many times before and it has not been as smooth a process...good start!! 
Freebies are good- although I would have paid big money for these
I usually go to Design/ Home Shows on Trade Day and it is can be quite busy but not overcrowded...lots of room, very pleasant experience.  At the The Cottage Life show on Saturday it was like Sauciehall Street on a Saturday afternoon...couldn't swing a cat...let alone get your camera out of your pocket. However Colin & Justin did not disappoint.  They were on stage at the exact minute published and they were absolutely hilarious.  Now DH does escort me on some of these trips and he is gracious enough to sit quietly and look like he may be interested (he must be somewhat as he comes back with explanations, what was said sometimes word for word etc) however each time I turned to look at him he was smiling ear to ear...his kinda show eh? Did I say they didn't disappoint. And he could not have been more complimentary on the boys performance and how quick witted they were...their entertaining skills were hailed to sheer excellence...well maybe not so much, he is conservative in his compliments like the true Scot he is. But he did rave a wee bit and said how he enjoyed the show...rare thing...makes it easy for me to show my excitement about the whole thing sillily ( not sure that is a word) and review the highlights over a nice dinner out later.
And here they are in the land of...cottages
The audience were treated to a presentation, power point style, of the cottage Colin & Justin bought in December 2012. A log cabin design with beautiful views over the loch  lake and amazing indoor spaces. Large area with wrap around screened in sunroom/ Muskoka room with lots of space for a nice seating and eating area and although it was functional (not sure what as) right now their ideas for the future are more in keeping with a luxurious multi functional space with lots of light and making the best of the outdoor views with mature trees. Future changes for the bedroom included tartan drapery and blankets, who knew. In the main seating area that looked out onto the deck the first thing I thought of was to replace the two windows in the sitting area with "panoramic doors" for an unobstruced view of the loch lake and to bring the outdoors in...maybe a bug screen any event that is what they talked about / planned good am I lol!! My services are cheap boys and can also be bartered for cottage time!!
Design discussion in the most humourful way...
Now I have heard many a designer give a talk, interview, design demonstration and I have really enjoyed the exchange of information or/and the demonstration ...but to have been entertained like this at the same time was like taking in a show ( well it was a show but you know what I mean). That could be because I get it...the jokes, little innuendos, and just understanding everything they say ( being Scottish myself) but these two have personalities bigger than ...well bigger than know big personalities, really big personalities and if they were not designers they would probably still be on stage as comedians.

I think Justin is trying to figure out who I really am - someone less famous lol!!
Just outside the main stage area the Model Cottage had been set up and we toured through it.  Not terribly big but I could see our little family out there on the edge of a lake in this cozy space and of course enjoying the outdoors in the warmer weather. We really enjoyed the show and most of all Colin & Justin's performance, that is what it was, a performance and hard work but they pulled it off effortlessly probably because they know their stuff.

Maybe next year I will win a cottage ...any cottage, a bunkie...time at a cottage...maybe rent a cottage...Colin & Justin bought this cottage with another couple. Friends that could be trusted to take on their share of the responsibilities and I thought that was an excellent way of "owning" in cottage land.  It would have to be someone you trusted implicitly but it could be done at half the cost of buying the cottage and half the expenses.  People are not at their cottage 24/7 so scheduling time for all and then separate quiet time for each couple should be relatively easy. I thought this was an excellent who could I share a bunkie with...oh well!

It is a beautiful life in cottage country if you can afford it!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


...and lentil soup
 Happy tartan day to all ... Christmas the Interior Design Show our family room

...over the chair Campbell shawl - luv it!

...whether your a Scot in Canada, rest of the world,
just wanna be...wear your tartan today!!

It's a beautful and colourful life in tartan!!