Warning: if, like me, your idea of domestic decoration involves a withered spider plant, books covering every available surface and empty whiskey bottles on the mantelpiece, all of this might leave you feeling like a knuckle-trailing Neanderthal …
2. Interested in works that “defy particular typologies, diverge from conventions and are more than merely consumable objects.” Weird stuff basically. Like bomb proof wallpaper. And they love a good list.
4. Very cool user generated site, though they win our arsiness award for describing themselves as “a user-submitted visual curation site featuring residential architecture and design, craftsmanship, materials and products.”
5. Engaging, if slightly self-obsessed, blog by Dublin-based interior design journalist Zita Spring. When, I wonder, did Irish people start calling themselves Zee and saying things like “my style ethos is pretty much the opposite of Coco Chanel”?!
7. Lots of lovely pics and great pets on furniture feature atthis blog by “a Canadian and an Australian trying to inspire the World one room at a time.” Hang on, hasn’t Apartment Therapy bagged the role of global saviour? Fight!
9. Funky Dutch-based design blog showcasing lots of unusual products and spaces from around the world – leans towards the retro, salvaged, organic and distressed-looking. I always knew my fading whiskey bottles were really a design statement.
10. Smart professional offering from the terrifyingly overachieving Grace Bonney and a team of bloggers who look like they’ve escaped from an indie movie. Aptly described by the NY Times as “Martha Stewart Living for the Millennials”, its style guide seems to be inspired by e.e cummings.
Have I missed any (aside from the excellent myDeco blog, which we already link to?). Send us your suggestions.
This week’s graph comes from the latest RICS Lettings Survey, published today (2 December 2009).
The report (Q3 2009) reveals that as the sales market recovers, excess stock in the rental market is on the wane and rental prices are edging back up.
RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf commented: “It seems the current upward trend in the housing market is having a more significant effect on the lettings market, with many of the accidental landlords returning to the sales market to take advantage of the recent price increases.
“As a result, the recent oversupply is reversing, with new instructions at the lowest levels we have seen. This, of course, is impacting on prices, and tenants no longer have as strong a bargaining power as they did.”
Our own FindaProperty.com: Rental Index shows a similar trend. This month’s report (November) revealed a rent rise of 0.1 per cent to £831pcm, the seventh consecutive month of stable or rising rents.
The supply of rental properties fell by a 3.5 per cent in November, following a ten per cent fall in October. And properties let within 55 days, 16 days less than at the beginning of the year.
For tenants, the message is clear: the days of discounted rents, juicy incentives and plenty of high quality stock to choose from are probably drawing to a close.
Here’s a new website that’s just come to my attention: Kitchen Synch, a brokerage service that will flog you a used or ex-display kitchen at a bargain basement price.
It’s a bit like a TK Maxx for kitchens and lists dozens of models by everyone from Poggenpohl and Siematic to Oxford and Alno. You can also sell off your old kitchen here, so it covers all bases. Nice!
Prices start at £3,000 for a ‘wood look’ Wellman kitchen in Beech Vinessa (retail price, £10,000, so they say) and rise to £65,000 for a stone two-island extravaganza with a Gaggenau ceramic induction hob … which I’m guessing is some kind of fancy schmancy cooker.
Mr Benn, for anyone who isn’t familiar with the name, was a bowler-hat-clad character from a popular kids’ TV show in the ’70s.
He lived at 52 Festive Road, a street which also housed a fancy dress shop, of which Mr Benn was a very regular visitor.
He’d pop into the shop where, as if by magic, the shopkeeper would appear and suggest a particular outfit for Mr Benn to try on, whereupon a whole load of jolly escapades would ensue.
The show’s creator, David McKee, lived at 54 Festing Road in Putney when he wrote the show – basing Mr Benn in the house next door and changing the street name to make it more child friendly.
And now, current residents of Festing Road have clubbed together to honour the TV series in the form of an engraved paving stone which will be unveiled this Saturday.
Mr McKee will be there for the unveiling ceremony, although at present it’s unknown if he’ll turn up in fancy dress.
Fancy a trip down memory lane? Here’s the Mr Benn intro sequence: