Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome Kerry from A Tranquil Townhouse

I am delighted to have Kerry, a bloggy friend from down under (Australia that is), doing a guest post today.  Kerry and I became friends over discussions about what colours to paint her study which has a lot of red in it.  We both googled our little fingers to the bone to find inspiration photos and did simultaneous posts showing our findings.  It took quite a bit of skill to sort out the time zone issues, let me tell you.  Since then we have emailed back and forth and got to know each other more.  I would encourage you to head on over to Kerry's blog, if you don't already read it, to enjoy her wit, her wisdom, and her aesthetics at A Tranquil Townhouse.


Hi Sense and Simplicity'ers (that's hard to say)…Kerry here from A Tranquil Townhouse in Canberra…the nation’s capital…the nation being Australia just in case you got confused because after all, I didn’t say Sydney!  You would be astonished by how many people think that...or maybe you wouldn't. This is my first ever guest post and I couldn’t be more chuffed to do it for Grace whose blog I love and who is a wonderful supporter and commenter on mine. Grace very kindly provided me with a list of questions to choose from. Easy as pie…well, not quite. She asks difficult questions and there were 20 to choose from…too many decisions involved in that Grace.  I used to be in the Army…you need to order me! 

Anyway, here goes…I do have a tendency to rabbit on a bit, sorry, but I’ve provided pictures as well, so feel free just to look at those if you can’t be bothered with the words.

Q: What is your favourite place near where you live to show visitors?

A: Canberra is my adopted home and it is truly beautiful. For a long time the rest of the country described Canberra as soulless (some probably still do)…filled with public servants, and with nothing to do…the place not the public servants (although they’ve been accused of that as well...quite unfairly I might add).  If I have to choose just one place, I’d choose Parliament House.  

It is a stunning design (I was privileged to meet the architect, a humble and captivating man called Aldo Giurgola who is now in his late 80s) and it has been built with such attention to detail and thoughtfulness...and it's different! I drive by it every day on my way to work and still marvel at it, especially when the flag is flying in the breeze. I try not to think about the ludicrous shenanigans that go on inside it sometimes though!

I’m going to sneak in another one…that's the National Museum of Australia above…this is where you go when you want the quirky an explanation of the term drongo or a look at Phar Lap's heart (a famous racehorse). Isn't Canberra beautiful?

Q: What are 3 colours you love and do you have them in both your home and your wardrobe?

A: People who read my blog will know that I have a bit of an obsession with hot pink at the moment. I have no idea where it came from but I think it’s here to stay. My living room is full of colour (yellow sofas, a chinese red lacquered sideboard, Persian rugs, colourful accessories)

...the dining room chairs (scored at the local op shop) are about to be reupholstered in purples and lilacs...this fabric will go on the back, the rest will be plain...

...the bedroom is black, white and hot's the first view of my new persian rugs (and the makings of the yet to be installed gallery wall in the lower part of my bedroom) study has shots of red; my studio (which the 22 year old is currently inhabiting) is quite neutral but with lots of texture and pattern in rugs and wall hangings. Sounds like a mishmash I know, and maybe it is, but I can’t live without colour, pattern and texture… and things to look at. I am definitely not a minimalist!

As for my wardrobe, believe it or not it’s predominantly black and white…although I do have a hot pink winter skirt!!

Q: What is the oldest item in your home?

A: The feral offspring would no doubt say that would be me! I do have some antique pieces and I’m not sure of their age relative to each other I’m afraid, so I’ll show you and you can let me know…someone, somewhere will have a clue I’m sure.  This chest of drawers….the chinese sideboard….the rocking horse…the silver watch chain…

I’m not a fan of the ultra modern.  I love the patina of old things but I don’t do shabby chic, although I do love looking at it very much. I can just hear my mother saying ‘why don’t you paint over all those chippy bits’, and it puts me off a bit. Mothers...honestly!!

Q: What 3 words would you use to describe your decorating style?

A: Style, what style! Hmmm….boho (definitely), comforting, comfortable? The biggest compliment someone can give me is to say they think my house is welcoming.  Having lived in a lot, I think I’ve almost got it cracked. And I like my home to have interesting things, different things....weird things?? Ok, not weird!

I don’t think I follow trends, although there are many beautiful trends out there. I just go with what I like (finally having the confidence to do just that) and I figure the people I invite into my home won’t care one way or the other.  And as Ralph Lauren apparently said:

"When friends enter a home, they sense its personality and character, the family's style of living - these elements make a house come alive with a sense of identity, a sense of energy, enthusiasm, and warmth, declaring, "This is who we are; this is how we live."

Q: what is the most meaningful item in your home?

A: Grace did say family was a no-brainer so I couldn’t give that answer. And I'm going to resist saying my framed John Denver autograph lest you think I'm completely lame! This question is so, so hard. There are lots of things that I treasure because of the people who’ve given them to me, or the memories they hold, or the places I visited to find them. So I don’t want to single any one thing out like that. So I’m going to say: books.  

I would be completely and utterly lost without reading.  When I moved to the townhouse I culled hundreds of books and I’m still grieving for them! In the days when I was without partner (thankfully Richard came along just at the right time…big smooch to him) I used to say I had a better relationship with some of the books I’d read than I did with some of the men in my life!! Because a good book nurtures, restores, challenges, provokes, keeps you company, makes you laugh, makes you cry…a bit like family, now I come to think about it! Even the vampire slayer can be meaningful when she's asleep!

So there you have it...a bit of my life. Thanks so much Grace for this fabulous opportunity. I do hope you’re enjoying what’s left of your summer and getting that to-do list well and truly done! And I WILL visit…some day when you least expect it!


  1. Great post Kerry and so very good to see that the Vampire Slayer was included. Loving the rugs and that rocking horse, he's a bit like my Harry but a bit spiffier looking :)

  2. What a fantastic post ladies, what a great idea! Love the pics, and I'm so surprised to hear about your colour fetish Kerry - your posts are usually so bland and boring (my tongue is firmly in cheek, of course!) Wondered what you were up to with no post this morning, and now I know! It was definitely worth the wait. K xx

  3. Thanks so much for having me Grace. Sorry I've rabbited on a bit! But hopefully that's given you a bit more time to get to that list of yours, or nothing at all :)

  4. I loved reading this Kerry and thank you for introducing me to Grace's blog which I hadn't checked out before - 'Hi Grace!'
    Love your red chineese cabinet Kerry and the new rug is gorgeous!

  5. Hi Grace... I am a regular reader of Kerry's blog, and loved reading more about her. Great photos Kerry, and I dont think you 'rabbit on'. I look forward to being a regular reader of your post Grace.

  6. hi grace and hello lovely your answers...its always sooo lovely to hear some really special personal things shared between blogging friends.....your life does sound absolutely *welcoming*...this is what i hope for in our time i'm ever in canberra...
    melissa xx

  7. Hi Grace, just found you through Kerry1 Just spend 2 weeks in Toronto with my sister who lives in The Beech! Will try to meet up with you when I am in Toronto next time!

  8. She's so funny - fantastic idea for a guest blogger Grace! Rachaelxx

  9. This was so interesting. I really enjoyed reading it and looking at the pictures. The museum is a stunning piece of architecture! Love that rocking horse and John Denver!

  10. Great post Kerry, very entertaining! I love your Chinese cabinet too and the rugs. Nice guest blog Grace. Have a great week!

  11. Very entertaining. Loved all your Aussie sayings. Also loved your pictures.

  12. What a great post by Kerry. Her blog is one of my favourites and I enjoyed reading what she had to say over here :)