Rennie Mackintosh

On my trip to Glasgow (mentioned yesterday), we had a sliver of time free before needing to head to the airport on Sunday morning. We got brunch, and then made our way to the University, with the intention of going to the Mackintosh house. The trams weren’t running due to maintenance, so it took us a little longer to get there (although did mean that we only paid a pound each for the journey – winning), and by the time we made it, probably not via the most efficient route, and slightly weighed down by our luggage, it didn’t seem worth the entrance fee (£5 per person at time of writing) to get twenty minutes looking around. We ended up at the Hunterian Museum instead – free and varied, but more on that another day.

The Mackintosh house is definitely still on my “to-visit” list, whenever I’m next back in the city. Why? Well, because Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh produced so much iconic work that is such a big influence on my taste in interiors and architecture – I mentioned the Everard’s Printing Works in my post about Broad Street, Bristol, but didn’t see fit to mention the butterflies it gives me every time I lay eyes on it. It’s not hard to see the Art Nouveau influence on the work (and not just in the lettering).



Growing up, a house that I lived in for four years had a cast-iron fireplace that featured decorative panels very similar to these ones designed by Margaret. I also had the version of  Grimms’ Fairy Tales illustrated by Kay Nielsen (featuring this astonishingly beautiful piece, Twelve Dancing Princesses). The way real-world elements of the designs (e.g. humans, trees) are forced into geometric shapes has always fascinated me.


Home Design Resourses

I had a subscription to Self Build Magazine for a year.
The website has lots of resources for people self-building (of course – the clue is in the name), but a lot of the elements can be used for smaller projects – for example, kitchen design in the Beginners Guides. You need a login but I think it’s free to sign up & everything.

Mid-century Modern Complete

Dominic Bradbury’s Mid-century Modern Complete is, frankly, a tome. Published by Thames & Hudson, it seeks to be the definitive reference material on mid-century design across the globe – or certainly, Europe, Scandinavia and North America.

It collects its content under:
– Furniture
– Lighting
– Glass And Ceramics
– Textiles
– Product And Industrial Design
– Graphics And Posters

For me, section I is the most informative and therefore my favourite, but fans of “Pinspiration” will likely prefer section II, with its (visual) suggestions of how to incorporate several elements into one scheme.

There is a lot of supporting information – if you want a book of pretty pictures, I wouldn’t shell out fifty quid on it. But it’s a book that I find myself returning to once a month or so – and not just because it lives in my coffee table (1 – I like to show it off, 2 – I’m not sure I trust the shelves with it… so heavy!). There is plenty of reference to the existing rules that this design movement was breaking, and as every music & art teacher will probably tell you, you have to know the rules to break them.


The book on the more secure lower shelf of my £10 charity shop coffee table, an absolute find.

EDIT AT 15/05/2016: If you’re just looking for a collection of inspiring images, there is a related object you can get, instead – 100 Postcards of Iconic Designs, £15 at time of writing.


Shelfie: gas fire


This is the gas fire in my living room. We’re too scared to fire it up, so it’s a glorified shelf. Here’s the lowdown:
1. Howl’s Moving Castle print – birthday present from husband to me. This film is my visual equivalent of Ben & Jerry’s: my favourite, not really good for me, super sweet. HERE is a great blog post comparing the film to the book & I agree with almost every sentence. AND YET, I still love the film. It’s lovingly created, visually stunning and still makes my heart clench, even after fifteen views or so.
2. Anglepoise lamp – Ikea classic. Husband loves the clean lines. We do actually use this for lighting up detail work (airfix, paper-cutting, etc.).
3. & sign – origin unknown. Wedding present from my sister. Would make a great bookend (but we never have gaps on our bookshelves…).
4. Vase full of corks – from TK Maxx,  I think. Housewarming present from my mum. Corks… self-generated. This is the only vase in the house, so when we have flowers, we usually put them in a jug.
5. Wedding photo. We’re neither of us massively keen on lots of photos of ourselves around the house, but this is a silly one that makes us smile. Frame from Waitrose (I think), gift from workmates.
6. Groot, Troy Polamalu, tea light holder, VW combi, Horus, Buddha, (just top visible) Charlie Brown. All gifts from various people, various places. The line-up changes.
7. Stack of coasters. I’ll cover these another day.
8. The aforementioned gas fire.
9. The walls – Sophisticated Sage, Dulux Heritage Collection. It’s a little more green than the photo shows.