This Christmas were fortunate enough to spend time with our friend Jacob in Dover, Tasmania, Australia. Originally we had met Jacob when we booked his Quarry Hill Lookout holiday home (featured on Total Design Reviews) around this time last year. He is a very amicable bloke so we stayed in touch and he kindly invited us to spend the festive season with him. He also wanted to show us how his cookery school was progressing. Certainly we were impressed with the overall result especially the industrial style kitchen with a bespoke cantilever bench. This was co designed with local craftsman Mark, who is also in the process of creating his own cantilever house. Read more
This Christmas (2017) friends kindly invited us to stay as their guests in a cottage they own in Tasmania. As the temperatures were due to soar in South Australia we jumped at the opportunity. At this time of year Hobart was hosting many events like the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and ‘Taste of Tasmania. Ultimately this meant we were unable to hire a car because we hadn’t booked in advance. Fortunately, our hosts generously loaned their car so we could engage in various activities. One of our main highlights (recommended by many people) was the amazing Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Read more
Recently I completed a book about Australian architecture featuring 25 unique homes. Interestingly my editor Cheryl (and co author) is based in Pennsylvania in the United States. She is absolutely fanatical about Australian properties and the huge diversity in this landscape. Although geographically this region is a similar size to North America it only has a 10th of the population. Ultimately this means there is an abundance of land for owners to build their dream dwellings. However, rather than focus entirely on extravagant mansions we decided to include many affordable residences. A great example is ‘The Toy Management House’ by Austin Maynard Architects. Read more
Just over a year ago myself and family treated ourselves to fantastic cruise around New Zealand. As a child I had always dreamed of visiting this amazing country and certainly was disappointed. In fact, arriving by ship is delightful because you are greeted by the awesome Milford Sound Fiords located at the tip of the South Island. This is one of the regions most famous tourist destinations and is described by Rudyard Kipling as the eighth Wonder of the World. As well as being considered as an area of outstanding natural beauty there are also some ground breaking residential homes. A great example is Back Country House by Ltd Architectural. Read more
Since I published the first two instalments of ‘The Genius of Craft Gin Producers’ I have had many in depth conversations about this fascinating subject. Certainly, I can see why it appeals to people of so many ages. This is there are specialist gin bars opening in every provincial city in the world. While writing these article I have been able to test a broad range of varieties. The essence, complexity and aromas are completely unique to each particular brand. If you have never tried this amazing spirit before then I highly recommend rectifying that in the very near future.
Recently I wrote a review of a fantastic holiday home located in the picturesque town of Dover, Tasmania (Australia) called Quarry Hill Lookout. The home wasn’t excessively large or expensive to build but illustrated how you could achieve something special without breaking the bank. At the other end of the scale MGA Architects are really pushing the boundaries of modern design and work for discerning clients who haven’t got monetary restrictions. One of their finest accomplishments is a residence in Battery Point, Hobart. Read more
Generally, in my spare time I really enjoy perusing real estate property websites to look at aspirational homes. Certainly in South Australia (where I reside) there are many generic residences that are pretty formulaic. Normally these building are formed around a cheap timber frame and clad with various materials like brick, rendering, stone etc. However, at the higher end of the market I have found some extraordinary architecture. A primary example is a dwelling located near Adelaide hills that was designed by renowned Melbourne architects Wood Marsh. This seemingly floating curved structure is composed of concrete, glass, metal and timber. Internally the aesthetic is also very minimalistic but interestingly the present custodians have chosen vibrant touches like deep purple carpet. This colour is my personal favourite and has become synonymous with UK footwear company Eves & Gray. Read more
A few days ago I watched a couple of episodes of TV programme called ‘Most Expensivest’. The show is hosted by a US rapper called 2 Chainz (Tauheed Epps) who also is an entrepreneur. Essentially each episode illustrates different ridiculously expensive products that extremely wealthy people purchase. Some of the examples include $1,000 gold leaf doughnuts, $4,900 chicken wings (that are smothered in caviar, truffles, vintage cognac etc.) and even bottled Swiss air. Obviously the sensationalist and tongue in cheek format is designed to attract viewers. It is also very intriguing, thought provoking and entertaining. However, I could certainly think of more interesting ways to spend my money. One of them would have to be one of Steve Hermann’s minimalistic Californian houses. Read more