The Life and Times of a Japanophile

July 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s funny how over years one is influenced by the tastes and cultural tendencies of one’s life partner. I have been with David for many more years then I care to mention. When we talk of bygone days, we quite frequently refer to time as BC (Before Cigdem) and AD (After David)! Prior to meeting David, who is a most definitely a Japanophile, I did not know much about Japan and its’ culture. Now, I am a lot more learned.

We haven’t  embraced a total Japanese way of life but elements often come to the fore, often in small ways. For example, I wasn’t aware before that taking your shoes of upon entering a house was a Japanese tradition, as well as a Turkish one. Customs and cultures can often intermingle. When habits are natural, one is unsure where it necessarily stems from. Whilst decorating the Shoreditch pad, these elementals did bear influence. As it does when making decisions on what to stock on Raw Dice. So, here we have our long awaited Japanese products… with more to follow next week.

Brass Bottle Opener Mikaduki [Crescent]

Brass Trivets – Tsuki, Ginga, Taiyo and Hoshi

Brass Knife Stand - Designer: Oji Masanori

Brass Knife Stand – Designer: Oji Masanori

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Shoreditch: Part Two

June 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here we go, as promised, these are just some close-ups of the kitchen area. We are waiting for our Jielde lights to arrive from France for the kitchen wall to take more photos.

Bought a set of copper pans from The French House for David as a birthday present! I think he liked them, even though it’s not every man’s idea of a good gift (David’s note: I have actually used them to cook real food… not just baked beans!). We chose the tiles and the peg rail from Fired Earth to match the cherry wood worktop.

Copper pans from The French House

We have an ugly new boiler hanging on the kitchen wall and it was a job to decide what to do with it. Cruising the net we found these radiator grills from Retrouvius and decided to hide the offending item. Labour and Wait sell aluminium pegs that have come in very handy for hanging postcards and other interesting items.

Gold coated metal mesh radiator grill

Gold coated metal mesh radiator grill

Metal grates cut to cover boiler, with postcards to cover

On a recent trip to the Hop Gallery in Lewes, for the Art22 group’s exhibition, we came across these mugs by potter Rosemary Land at the Hamid Pottery. We could have bought so much more, but had to restrain ourselves! Handmade pottery is very much a weakness of ours.

Rosemary Land pottery mugs with Bouges Francais Candles

Fortnum and Mason have some very tasteful designs on their tins for the Diamond Jubilee. Yet more birthday presents for David. Lucky, lucky man! I am reliably told that the Piccadilly biscuits are delicious.

I am so keen on Falcon enamelware that I think we shall have to stock it on the website soon. I need to get on to it straight away.

1. 2 x Cherry wood 9 Peg rails cut to fit-Fired Earth. 2. Cherry wood Hanging shelf-Fired Earth. 3. Glazed Valencia tiles – Fired Earth. 4. Solid cherry wood top and splash back. 5. Vintage manual button hole press (gift). 6. Enamel mugs – Falcon. 7. Silver Tea strainer-Fortnum & Mason. 8. Olive oil (gift). 9. Bouges Francais Candles-Labor & Wait in Redchurch Street. 10. Espresso Cups-Rosemary Land. 11. Cork lidded sea salt from Aix-en-provence. 12. Rococo chocolates. 13. Enamel tea pot-TK Max!. 14. Tuna in olive oil-Brindesi in Borough Market. 15. Jubille tea from Fortnum & Mason. 16. Jubilee Biscuits (almost all eaten)-Fortnum & Mason. 17. Biscuits-Fortnum & Mason. 18. Virgin Olive Oil-Brindesi in Borough Market. 19. Pepper grinder-Waitrose. 20. Ginger & Lemon tea – M&S. 21. & 22. Tea-Fortnum & Mason.

Blackboard and Peg Rail from Fired Earth, feather duster from Labor & Wait and Spice Rack … can’t remember.

Show me the light

August 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Eric Therner's Diamond Lights at raw dice showroom

Eric Therner's Diamond Lights with Bakerlite fittings

Everybody needs time to reflect. Life is full of questions and dilemmas, waiting to be answered. Once in a while, after much deliberation,  out of the blue a lightbulb sparks in one’s mind and voilà – the answer is there to see. It is so clear and one is left wondering why we didn’t think of it before!

I cannot promise a Eureka moment with Eric Therner’s lights, but possibly they can give you a cause to reflect on life’s little mysteries.

If aesthetics are what you are pondering on, then these lightbulbs will not disappoint. Who knows they may just trigger an inspiration to write a poem or a story, to travel to a distant land in search of enlightenment or make you want to save the world. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, how can a lightbulb do all that?’ I hear you ask. I do not make any promises that any of the above will happen, but as you put on the light and see the diamond shape reflections it throws into space, stand still and contemplate. Now let your daydreams run away with you.

Eric Therner's Diamond Light Bulbs Photo by Jesper Lindstrom

Available from raw dice, £25.00 +P&P.

Marylebone – Kitchens to die for

June 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

We need to decorate the Shoreditch loft. It needs a new kitchen and a bathroom. Beyond a lick of paint, that is about all it needs. Since we moved in there at the beginning of the year, we have not done anything but gather catalogues and ideas. Given that we want to use the flat as a showcase for all our interesting finds that we have at rawdice, I feel we need to make a statement. Having ventured out to two of my absolute favourite kitchen showrooms, I am in a dilemma. Do I go for a  Bulthaup b2 kitchen workshop or my all time most desired kitchen company Plain English?

These kitchens ooze quality and I have fallen for them. The Bulthaup b2 kitchen has been designed with the idea of a workbench and toolbox. The kitchen cabinets fold away like a toolbox when you are not using them. It seems to turn the idea of a conventional kitchen upside down. The workbench is versatile, you can put it in the middle of the room, if you had enough space – instead of arranging everything against a wall. I can really see this kitchen working in our flat. It will not be intrusive, given that the kitchen is part of one big space for dining and living.

I am equally drawn to the elegance of a Plain English kitchen. I have been a fan of these ever since we moved to the country and started looking for a replacement kitchen for our cottage. I never did get to convince David that this was the one we needed. We did have an artist/yatchmaker David Storey (who was featured in Coast magazine) to design and make our kitchen. I was very pleased with it and still love my country kitchen, but I still covert a Plain English kitchen, regardless of the fact that my kitchen does not need replacing!

This design is called Spitalfields, which would also suit the loft. It will be very aptly named as well, given that the flat is a stone’s throw away from the Spitalfields. 15 years ago, we almost bought a huge house opposite Spitalfields Market, in Puma Court. We decided against it and bought a warehouse flat in Wapping instead. Back then, Spitalfields was not the busy hub it is today. The City was just beginning to burst and spread east and northwards. People were buying up derelict Georgian houses for around £350K. Anyway, I must tell you more about Spitalfields another time.

I really am torn between the two kitchens. I am off to contemplate the virtues of both and will keep you all informed of progress (if any).

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