Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The World Through Blue Hues

Blue may not be the colour of the month in former prime minister Julia Gillard's house, after the "men in blue ties" controversy helped to cut short her term in office, but elsewhere blue is being embraced by fashion designers, interior decorators, gardeners, and even a few stylish hoteliers. (Did you see that JK Place has just opened a new Rome outpost?)

Here's a long and very blue post about this classically beautiful and coolly glamorous colour, which just keeps on comin' back into fashion.

Chanel's wildly successful range of blue nail lacquers. 

(The Coco Blue shade is the perfect summer colour.)

Have you seen Chanel's 2014 Resort Collection yet? Karl has gone back to the classics. 

Some new silk fabric bought from Mood in New York. 

It's called 'Ocean Liner'. It's almost Titanic in its elegance, don't you think?

A blue border at Chateau Brecy in France.

Our messy kitchen, which seems to be becoming blue-er by the hour...


This is our breakfast table. We can no longer sit here for all the white geraniums in blue pots.

Still, a $300 navy Ikea sofa, a $100 rattan wingback armchair (bought on discount) and a $50 blue-and-white planter with a home-made ottoman mean a $450 sunroom. 

As you can see, we're not design snobs in this house. Any ol' (blue) bargain will do.

Harbour Island in the Bahamas, on a very blue day.

The blue bathing box on Harbour Island.

Cap d'Antibes in May. 

This was a perfect cove, on a perfect afternoon.

St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the Cote d'Azur. 

One of the prettiest villages in the world. Tall call, I know.

More from Cap d'Antibes.

Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. 

Did you see that an Australian has just taken over the head role here? Wonder what the English think about that? Probably muttering dark thoughts into their Hunter wellies.

A friend's house, with antique light sockets on exquisite blue wallpaper.

This London bookshop is lovely. It's owned by Graham Greene's nephew.

Did you see Australian Story on Sunday night? It focused on 26-year-old Hannah Kent's new novel Burial Rites? She's written a haunting tale about the last woman beheaded in Iceland. 

The unpublished manuscript sold for a reported $350,000 in Australia, and a reported seven figures in the US. 

The Australian Story doco was very moving. Especially for this author. Who's never had a seven-figure advance in her life.

But the book looks like an extraordinary story. I'm so thrilled for her. Hope she goes and treats herself after two years of hard work and pauper-dom.

It was also interesting to see how Australian Story do things. I've been in talks with them this week about doing something on the Picnic at Hanging Rock story. It's strange to see how electronic media works, and how it's so different to print media and long-form journalism – and then again to writing a book (which is another beast altogether).

But back to blue. And the Belles Rives Hotel on the Cote d'Azur.

The new Provence book, in which this features, is almost finished. Yay. Never thought I'd say this but I don't think I can write another word about lavender. Ever again.

The copy and images have now gone to the designer. 

Pub date is this Christmas 2013.

The ' Do Not Disturb' sign from The Roger Hotel in New York.( A hotel's that a tribute to blue.)

You may not be able to see because of my appalling photography but this is a little bow-tie, which is actually un-tied, so as to signal to the maid to "come and clean the room". 

Or take off some clothes. 

It's your interpretation, really.


Which is very nice.

The view from my Riviera hotel room. 

Highgrove's branding is some of the most elegant in the world.

The garden's not bad, either.

The view from my Harbour Island hotel room.

The John Dory bar in New York.

Such a bustling place. Full of blue-shirted bankers and hip Flatiron creatives tossing down oysters and knocking back vodka shots. Had a great time here. Until I saw the prices.

The Landing on Harbour Island. (More on this in a post to come.)

Two of the loveliest ladies on the Garden Tour, Kerry and Trina. 

You can't see this as we were all laughing and my hand was shaking wildly as a result, but their dress sense is impressive. Their humour is superb too. AND they're beautiful. 

Kerry runs the Mudgee Readers' Festival, which is on August 10 and 11. If you love books, go along. Sarah Turnbull  (Almost French) is speaking this year.

Another cute blue beach house on Harbour Island.

New book. Looks good.

Another newie. Out October. 

Already on the Christmas Wish List.

We are seriously considering booking tickets to fly to Scandinavia to see this man, Peter Gabriel (although I'll probably be in Europe for work anyway, so it's not far to go). He's doing a world tour to celebrate the re-release of his iconic album So. I have to go up to Scandinavia anyway to see family, so it's perfect timing.

If you want to know why we want to go, just take a look at this (blue) video clip; of Solsbury Hill.   Link here

As one viewer said, it's just about the most joyous performance you'll ever see. And how HOT does he look?! I've started running again to get my fitness back and have put this version of Solsbury Hill on my iPod. I tell you, nothing gets you up a hill faster than Peter Gabriel singing "my heart was going BOOM BOOM BOOM!"

He's getting older but he still looks as good as he did when he was in Genesis. Oh yes. We may just have to go to Denmark in September, I think. Plus Fleetwood Mac and John Mayer are playing at the same venue. In the SAME week. How fortuitous is that?

Just had to sneak another pic of Pete in there...

The view from my room on Harbour Island. 

Seems almost anti-climactic after seeing Pete grind his hips, doesn't it...?

Dinner with the girls (and one boy) in Paris. This was the view from our restaurant table. 

Very hard to find a restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower but we did. 

(PS It's called Chez Francis, and it's fabulous, despite the dubious reviews on TA. Don't believe everything you hear. Gossip is sometimes unfounded, you know.)

An old Hermes scarf of mine, with a vintage bag I bought for $100. Love a bargain.

The pool house at the Dunmore club on Harbour Island. The chairs here were the prettiest turquoise blue. The pool was a design delight, too.

Just like these planters, at Chateau Brecy.

More blue at Chateau Brecy.

A potting shed with a blue door, also at Chateau Brecy.

Yet another blue corner at Brecy. 

(Do go if you are ever in France with a hire car at your disposal. It's just beautiful.)

Harbour Island. Again. 

Loved these shutters.

Someone said this was Mick Jagger's house, but I doubt it. 

Still, it's a good story.


  1. your friend's house...with the embossed blue wallpaper and the fancy light switches...i am so intrigued...what is the rest of the house and what era is it? It's just a tantalising little snapshot of exquisite beauty but i would adore to see more....

    1. It's a beautiful combination, isn't it, the vintage light switch with the modern embossed wallpaper. The rest of the room, and house, is similarly amazing. Many of the light fittings are old and unusual. The house is being featured in the new magazine that's coming out later this year, and I'll let you know when it's released closer to the date. x

  2. Oh wow! Thank you, thank you for the injection of blue. How beautiful. Like a bowerbird, I am drawn to it, it doesn't even have to be shiny.

    1. Blue and white have that ability to draw your eye, don't they? I'm worried the world is getting sick of it, after it went through another huge popularity curve earlier this year (exhibition in Boston, etc), but I suspect it's timeless. x

  3. Blue and green are my favorite colors and blue is my fave for decorating for sure! I love the Chanel nail polishes!

    1. My favourite decorating colours too, although I do love hot pink and orange together as well! x

  4. I loved Australia Story too.

    I still think about the gardens we saw all the time.

    1. So pleased you had a great Garden Tour!

      I've had lovely thank you letters and emails from half the tour now, which has been incredibly gratifying.

      It was such a lot of hard work, but I hope people had a wonderful tour, and saw gardens that they'll remember forever.


  5. OH I didnt kinow you had a yellow Kelly ..its well its a KELLY

    blue boats , blue skies .blue water south of France is gorgeous.

    Slightly Foxed great name ..I have alot of old books in that very same condition

    how is Picnic ? Id love to see you on Australian Story ..fingers all of them crossed.

  6. Phew, so happy to get my blue fix here - MOTH is a real pain & hates blue. The first thing I had to do after we shacked up in sin together in MY house, was to repaint my lovely long blue hallway white, as he whinged so much. Glad to hear your book is off to the Publishers, well done you.
    Love Millie xx
    Be careful if you come across that John Mayer bloke on your Scandi concert trip. He has a reputation for taking on anything gorgeous & that you are!

  7. Hello Janelle I am just loving these posts since you returned from your travels.A couple of my replies vanished into blogland!!!!!This selection of photos is spectacular I keep looking at them all.I am at present deciding on a blue hue for decorating our new house.It is difficult but looking at your pictures does help.I am putting St Jean Cap Ferrat on bucket list.Loving the blue and green combo.Good luck with the writing.x Trish

  8. Hello Janelle I am just loving these posts since you returned from your travels.A couple of my replies vanished into blogland!!!!!This selection of photos is spectacular I keep looking at them all.I am at present deciding on a blue hue for decorating our new house.It is difficult but looking at your pictures does help.I am putting St Jean Cap Ferrat on bucket list.Loving the blue and green combo.Good luck with the writing.x Trish

  9. Best blue blogpost I've ever seen ; and I'm pinching that idea of the restaurant overlooking the Eiffel Tower !


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