Monday, 14 November 2011

In Black and White

Call us outspoken if you will. Many do. We should rather think of ourselves as incisive, clear thinking, focussed even. Still, one thing is for certain, if an opinion is required on any subject, any subject at all, then we are the people most likely to give it.

a still from 'My Fair Lady' with Audrey Hepburn [click to enlarge images] 

We cannot recall wearing pink or blue but suspect that this must have happened once upon a time. Nowadays, however, as we gaze into the black hole that is our wardrobe, brilliant white shirts and blouses are the only light sources shining out from a sea of inky black suits, skirts and trousers.

Our tights, socks and scarves add a flash of coloured fireworks otherwise we present a monochromatic sight when dressed for any occasion - a pair of photographic negatives reminiscent of the days of silent films or, more recently, Cecil Beaton's masterpiece, 'My Fair Lady'.

In our gardening days paths had to be straight, designs formal, planting schemes restrained [never was orange permitted as part of our palette] and a spade was, well, a spade. In our teaching years discipline was strict, Shakespeare unabridged, algebra revered for its elegant simplicity, failure was not an option and excellence was the goal.

'even our pets [Cat shown here] witnessed a shift in the colour spectrum'

And now, as we come to think of it, even our pets have witnessed a shift in the colour spectrum. An elegant ginger tom and a regal Cavalier King Charles Spaniel giving way in recent years to black and white felines, imaginatively named 'Cat' and 'Pussy', from the Cat Protection League.

All of this brings us to the decoration of our small apartment in Budapest which is let for holidays.

a selection of our design drawings for gardens of Hungarian clients 

A flight of pen and ink scale drawings of some of our designs for Hungarian gardens line the staircase wall, snowy white bed linen, sooty-black lamp bases, and chalky floorboards accessorise the sleeping gallery. A jet black bookcase, illuminated only by a rainbow of paperback spines, stands sentinel in the sitting room adorned with nothing other than a few framed photographs, black and white, of course, and a sign, 'Garden Open Today', from former Herefordshire days.

But should this all prove a little too sombre for our holiday visitors, then the introduction of a little colour in the form of a pair of 'cocktail' chairs in scarlet and the complete works of Shakespeare on board add, what we hope, is a touch of glamour.

a pair of red covered 'cocktail' chairs in our Budapest holiday apartment

the complete works of Shakespeare [oil on board] by John Hensher

Now, who dares call us dull?


  1. I love black and white it is so clear cut. I have to admit though my wardrobe is full of colour. Diane

  2. Food, Fun and Life in the Charente:
    Certainly having everything in monochromatic tones means that one is never concerned whether anything will match with anything else!!

  3. Why you live in the very essence of Claridge's, whose heart does not rise when stepping over that chequerboard threshold?

  4. How wonderful to be so disciplined. I am certain that there are (among the many ways of dividing up people) two kinds of people, those who can manage to live in black and white and those who cannot.
    Your opinions on everything are always excellent, well considered, sensible and elegantly expressed!

  5. I'm pleased to be able to comment on this post today wearing black clothes with the merest touch of white given to the ensemble by the pearl earrings. I would be horrified if I were to do you the disservice of clashing with you.

    Your apartment is beautiful, its elegant dignity enhanced by the occasional outbursts of colour. But tell me this: are you willing to drink pink gin?

  6. So many designers insist upon monochrome wardrobes and living spaces, yet produce exceptionally vibrant artwork.
    I suspect the clothes provide a simple backdrop for your colourful personalities, and your living space the same for the variety of culture you bring to your homes in the form of guests, music, books, tennants and food.

  7. I am like you! I love black and white! One can never go wrong. There is the possibility to add grey shades to "soothe" (is this the right word? I am not sure..) it all. I also like to add a little bit of color with a small bunch or red and/or pink roses. My cupboard is also full of white and black clothes but then I also have some colored shoes and bags and scarves just to give it all a twist. I love this post very much! Well done!

  8. You Probably won't like my "Carrot Coat" for the "March Hare" then.
    Cecil's costumes have always been an inspiration. One can never miss with Black and white!

  9. This may be a little off-topic, but I always have the impression that your blog posts are written by one of you alone, and it's always the same one - Jane or Lance?

  10. Bourbon and Pearls:
    We often toy with the idea of living in a hotel in our dotage. Oh, that it could be Claridge's, we should move in today!!!!

  11. You are indeed a very chic couple with a forward sense of design that defines you—have you been holding out on us? The red chairs are divine and the Hensher (Johnsesque) painting is a most amusing concept. I would rent the place but when I vist Budapest I want you to be there (my scheme).

  12. Full of common sense as well as wit! I love old black and white films because of their 'other-worldliness' and I never go to the cinema because I want a taste of 'real life'! There are many colour films which try to achieve this effect by having a kind of washed-out colour, don't you think? Myself? I am awash with colour -- in a pale chaotic kind of way!

  13. If I wore much color, friends would faint. I have a rather earth-toned clothing palette. I've even been giving some thought to going the Georgia O'Keeffe route - white for summer, black for winter and that's that. It simplifies everything and I've never been much of a clothes shopper, so this would work very nicely for me.

    What a beautiful woman Audry Hepburn was and such a classic shot of her.

    As for your apartment, it is the height of design fashion. A minimalist approach is hot right now and gray is such a good color to show off art (love The Complete Works of Shakespeare). I have to say, I may have to put those red chairs at the list of things I would cart off should I ever burgle your apartment (in the imaginary game version, of course). There's something about red leather chairs that have always captured my attention.

    Never dull. Not you two. Not for a moment.

  14. Jenny Woolf:
    It is not, we feel, necessarily to our credit that we have difficulty with 'shades of grey' either in terms of decorating colours or with personalities. Like moths to a flame, we tend to be attracted to those with definite opinions, whether we share those opinions or not matters little. The fun is in the debate!!!

  15. Mise:
    We are so pleased to note that you are fully bedecked with pearls when sending a comment to our blog. For that, we thank you, and shall ensure that we return this most generous gesture by donning white tie and tiara when visiting you!!!

    Dry Martini rather than Pink Gin, but, if needs must, then we 'go with the flow'......

  16. Oh, dear, this is begging for some witty reply but, I, poor thing, have barely started to sip my morning coffee. sigh. Not from me...

    I've always admired the sophisticated people who can wear and dress their homes in black and white. I am, also, desperately admiring the shades of gray and elegance in B&W photography and the otherworldly and surreal sense it brings to a subject. I love and admire it but I can't seem to carry it off myself. What's more, I can't seem to get away from brown - I love it! My skirts are brown, my walls are brown - I even have brown transferware china. (Oh, dear, this is bringing to mind a post of Edith's about a brown suit....) Well, I don't know what kind of strange taste that I'm confessing to but being the country mouse that I am, I think that brown is the color of the branches and those lovely, warm birds, good garden soil - actually, the whole November world seems brown, at the moment....unless, of course, you count the chickadees. They're of your B&W mindedness!

    I have had such a transformation, this year, in my sense of speaking my mind. I'm not quite sure what's come over me but I feel so comfortable with my opinion. It's quite wonderful! I think that it may have a bit to do with being with lovely assured people like you who know their own thoughts! =] It's so refreshing!

    and, I had better finish my coffee and continue reading....I've missed some posts, as usual, but don't want to miss a thing!

    K xo

  17. Lucewoman:
    Thank you so much for your kind and generous comment, we appreciate it very much.

    It is true that whatever the decorating style, it is people who come first with us and the more colourful the personalities the better. Add to the mix a library of good books and an endless supply of delicious food and drink and we are more than satisfied.

  18. Emilie's Daughter:
    We are so pleased that you enjoyed the post. It would seem that we have much in common.

    Fresh flowers around the house are important for us too and they do, as you say, add a splash of colour and seasonal interest. However, even in this respect, we are usually drawn to white Hydrangeas in pots, towering spires of white Gladioli, Regale Lilies, white Roses and white cyclamen.

  19. Princess:
    We love all the costumes that you make. You have such a way with a sewing machine!!!

    Cecil Beaton's costumes in 'My Fair Lady' are absolutely wonderful we think, particularly the hats. We are delighted that you share our view.

  20. Hello Jane and Lance. Like you I think black and white always looks goo and your apartment superb, but I must confess I couldn't live for any length of time without colour, both in my clothes and my surroundings. I haven't quite reached the stage described by Jenny Joseph in her poem, "Warning" "When I am old I shall wear purple with a red hat..." but I may be on the way. :-)

  21. Tom Stephenson:
    No, the posts are not written by one of us, we do take it in turns as we do in responding to comments. However, one of us does write more than the other,but which one?!!!

  22. Hi Jane & Lance,

    I have been doing some blog 'catching up'. Love this post and your beautiful apartment, although I could never have be disciplined enough to have a home like it myself - ours is a riot of colour, more by accident than intent!
    What a shame about the asbestos in the wonderful Kastely - still, better to have found out than be brought to your knees financially and possibly physically too! M x

  23. Oh Jane and Lance,
    My wardrobe is as black as the ace of spades with a little grey and white thrown in for a little variation....little being the operative word !!
    I am typing this fully clothed in black.
    Your apartment looks absolutely beautiful and I am very impressed that you are embrcing a little colour as the years go by. I'm afraid that I'm getting worse as I get older.
    Perhaps I need counselling !!!! XXXX

  24. Hello Jane and Lance

    Your architectural drawings have left me breathless. I would love to see them up close.

    What a delightful little apartment and so beautifully appointed. The pop of red is inviting. The Complete Works Shakespeare, John Hensher is fascinating. Then to read his works here in this little haven would be so memorable. I love the feeling you have created in this joyful apartment.
    You mention it is "To Let" or if I may translate for my American friends "For Rent". How many people does it accommodate?

    Dull, who is dull? certainly not our friends the Hattatts.

    Helen xxx

  25. Paul Gervais de Bedee:
    This apartment, which we let for holidays, is a place where we can have a little fun with the decorating without having to live with it ourselves!!!

    We are delighted that you like it, but should you ever consider a visit with Gil to Budapest, then we should insist that you stay with us as we have a spare room and bathroom which is always ready and waiting. What fun it would be!!

  26. The Broad:
    We are certainly drawn to black and white photography, believing it to allow one to focus on the detail without the distraction of the colour. And, although we are regular cinema goers, basking in glorious 'technicolour', we do have a penchant for the moodiness of 'The Maltese Falcon', 'Casablanca' and others of this ilk.

  27. I am part way there. I wear white shirts, but with tan chinos and brown shoes.

    I must now consider black instead.

    PS: Algebra frightens me whenever I think about the trauma of solving for X. Sorry.

  28. Teresa Evangeline:
    Yes, staying with the black and white really does simplify things, especially if shopping for clothes, something we do only infrequently, is not a favourite pastime. We rather like the idea of adopting a Georgia O' Keefe look!!

    The red chairs were a happy find in an antique shop in downtown Budapest some years ago. Made in 1958 in Szeged and complete with 'matching' coffee table, they add a retro feel which we rather like. Steal them in your dreams only, please!!!!

  29. Katy Noelle:
    Oh dear, Katy, we are very aware of Edith's firm views on all things in general and brown in particular. But, you are in the country, so earthy tones and tints are eminently acceptable and, we are sure, look absolutely wonderful on you.

  30. Perpetua:
    We love the Jenny Joseph poem. It is certainly our intention to grow old 'disgracefully' and we are certain that your spirited approach to all things, clothes, travel, life etc. etc. is something with which we should identify very closely indeed!!

  31. Vintage Jane:
    This apartment is just a small place that we have for holiday lets and so we do not have to live with the minimalist style which we impose upon it. Our main apartment is far more eclectic!!!

    Thank you for your kind words, Marina, about the Kastély. In the end, the decision was relatively easy as we just could not bear to live with the thought of dealing with the asbestos.

  32. People with no opinion are dull, or perhaps just to lazy to form one.
    If you know what you like and what works for you why not stick with it. Black and white is classic and classy.
    By the way I love your 50s red chairs - a splash of colour and fun.

  33. Jacqueline@HOME:
    Black is just such a wonderful background, we feel, against which all manner of flights of sartorial or decorating fancy can be played. You, dear Jackie, are the epitome of style, so if it is to be moving deeper into the night of fashion, then so be it. Where you lead.....

  34. Dear Jane and Lance
    Oh, I do love black and white... well, white with black spots to be precise!
    Your post has brightened up a very dull day here in Northumberland.
    My husband sent me a text message earlier today that read: 'Staying in the Budapest Marriott. Woken to a clear blue sky and looking out at a stunning view of the Danube'. Of course, I am wishing I had accompanied him on his trip now. I could have come to your apartment and enjoyed playing your special game. Those fabulous red cocktail chairs would certainly be on my list!
    Abby xx

  35. Jane and Lance! How lovely.

    You were teachers! Somehow, this escaped my knowledge.

    As I was reading this, I was thinking how my own wardrobe is a study in black, charcoal and white with denim and the occasional POP! of red. When I saw your scarlet chairs and read of your ginger cat, I was not surprised. I think people of our temperament tend to desire uniformity in their environment and on their person but after a while, a taste for something more develops. A desire for a sort of spice or warmth and red, orange and sometimes brown fill that 'need' quite beautifully.

    I am reminded, here, of the apartment of your friends in Vienna, decked out in black, white and chrome with the one lipstick-red espresso maker.

    I do feel such a genuine affinity for the two of you. Sending you and your impeccably-appointed environs a wave of affection this day.

  36. Chinese objects tend to polarize around very plain (beautiful hardwoods or bamboo) and very fancy (with much carving and gilding). I prefer mostly plain, with a few elaborate pieces to perk things up.

    If I had the space (shades of your not-meant-to-be country house), I would like to try a room that displayed more intricate pieces, but I would not like to be constantly immersed in riots of patterns and hues.

    --Road to Parnassus

  37. Helen Tilston:
    We are so pleased that you like the drawings which are just some of the many designs which we did for gardens in England and in Hungary. When we bought our current apartment and decided to use this much smaller apartment for holiday rentals, we thought that the garden plans would look interesting when framed and hung on the plain white walls. One day you will, of course, see them at close hand, accompanied by us with a glass of fine Hungarian wine in hand!!!

    We find the 'Complete Works' by John Hensher witty and fun and we have another work of his in our large apartment. He was a friend from our gardening days and lived nearby in Herefordshire. Sadly, he died recently.

  38. Von LX:
    White shirts always look so wonderfully crisp we think and perfect whatever the occasion, formal or casual. We always imagine you to look the height of sartorial elegance and are sure that you cut a dashing figure on the streets of Berlin!!!

  39. Hello Jane and Lance,
    reducing a palette so strictly can eliminate distraction and allow for attention to be given wholly. It can be very soothing, and it can invite colour in other forms ( laughter, for example ).
    I salute you for being able to follow through with the concept so assiduously...does it just get easier as you proceed?

  40. Topchelseagirl:
    We agree. Far better to have decisions made and opinions given than to receive nothing at all.

    We are delighted that you like the red chairs. Small sofas were made at the time in the same style and we are toying with the idea of buying one.

  41. My Spotty Pony:
    A white horse with black spots, now what could be more perfect!!!

    Oh, we do wish that you were here in Budapest, Abby. We are relieved to know that your husband is staying at the Marriott Hotel since that enables him to have the most wonderful Danube panorama with a view of the Royal Castle. If he had booked a hotel on the opposite side of the river he would have had the unfortunate experience of looking at the Marriott which is probably one of the ugliest buildings on the Danube!!!!

  42. You could never be described as dull!

    Having developed my style while growing up in NYC, my favorite "color" has always been black. When I was daring, I would throw in a splash of white... or even some gray. I try to add a bit of color now, but I myself have grown kind of black and white with age, so too much color can look a bit garish.

    My bedroom here is black and white. I love the art on your walls and the splashes of color added by the chairs and the Shakespeare! What style.

  43. My wardrobe looks like Widow Twankys.

    Black is tres chic!


  44. Suze:
    Well spotted. An English teacher and a Mathematics teacher, another story for another day!!!

    Yes, our rental apartment has some similarities with that of our friends, Zoli and Viktor, who incidentally live in Budapest, not Vienna. Sadly, however, no wonderful Italian red coffee machine for us, just a chrome cafetiere but there are black and white cups.

    The flash of red rather reminds us of that wonderful film 'Don't Look Now' but as you say, sometimes one just must have a dramatic addition to the scene. How exciting it would be for us all to be in the same room together, don't you think?!!!

  45. Parnassus:
    We suspect that we should be very much in agreement with regard to decorating as we too tend to shy away from pattern upon pattern. However, there is something exciting about introducing more elaborate ornamentation into an otherwise plain space that is life enhancing.

  46. I cannot and never have been able to resist masses of colour & detail - my eyes are greedy for as much as possible. Perhaps this is why my children scurry away to their beige lives for a rest, sometimes! I do not, however, subscribe to Jo Brand's version of the Jenny Joseph, poem: "When I am old I shall BE purple!"

  47. Gardener in the Distance:
    In the garden, we found it easy to adopt a strictly formal style which enabled us, within the highly restrained structure, to introduce all manner of follies, flower schemes and fripperies [shocking pink painted garden shears were a favourite]. Indoors we have always adopted a more eclectic approach as so many of our possessions have connections, memories and associations. We have enjoyed applying our 'minimalist' principles to our small apartment, but it too is filled with books. Some things never change!!!

  48. Ah, at last, Bardophile(s)! - at least I assume. I could use this knowledge of you to touch on the subject in a future blog of mine. Been rather reticent to broach this contentious (to some) topic up to now as I'm under the impression that just typing his revered (by me) name will make more readers turn away then to linger to read. But I'll have to muster my mental forces first. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, then.

  49. Mitch Block:
    We love the sound of your black and white bedroom. New York comes to Sevilla, how exciting is that!! How wonderful to have developed your style in NYC, a city we so very much want to visit!

  50. SP:
    This made us laugh so much but we do not believe it to be true!!

    We like to think that black is chic, since there is no turning back now!!!

  51. Well I love the idea of your wardrobe, the white shirts and blouses and everything else black!
    It must be very easy to pack up for trips as you have your color story absolutely worked out.
    Of course I would never think you a dull couple, your personalities leap off the screen!
    Thank you for sharing your holiday apartment with us.

  52. Your calmness, clarity and (as you describe algebra) elegant simplicity are very appealing. The pen and ink design renderings are an interesting personal touch, and I am in love with the red chairs. They make me think of having cocktails at the Algonquin wile listening to a sultry jazz vocalist.

  53. Nilly:
    Oh how we wish to be skilled at combining colour and pattern. It really is an art and so wonderful when carried off to perfection as we are sure you do.

    We did have to laugh at the Jo Brand amendment. We hope not to BE purple too, but we do rather like it as a decorating colour and we used it extensively in our gardening days.

  54. Raybeard:
    We look forward to all your posts, Ray, and one on Shakepeare would be no exception. For many years when it was more accessible we were regular attenders at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and have seen many memorable productions there.

  55. DaniBP:
    As Mistress of the Wardrobe, Dani, we are flattered to think that our clothes might pass muster with you as you have the most wonderful taste and fashion sense. As for packing a suitcase, well, Dani, there is no-one in the entire Blogosphere that we can see that can come even close to you!!

  56. Jen:
    Oh we love the sound of cocktails at the Algonquin and a 'sultry jazz vocalist' as an accompaniment would be just the perfect way to spend time, especially if we were deep in conversation with you. Now, just where is the Algonquin.....

  57. For 6 months of the year most of my clothes are also black and white. I feel thinner and more elegant and why fool with what works. I do break out in color in spring and summer, but around August I start longing for my darker, crisper wardrobe. However, I do love to be surrounded by color and there is red in all my rooms.

    Orange in a garden - Never. If one pops up (some nasty bird must have dropped the seed), I start breathing heavily, and anxiety takes over. Although I hate to destroy any flower, the offending orange must be pulled and quickly thrown away. All my daughters are also afflicted with this phobia (called Chrysophobia), but my son does the opposite and plants orange as his main color. I am sure it is a bad recessive gene he has inherited from his father.

    Elegance is a synonym for Hattatt!

  58. Black and white is classic and classics are never dull. I love to dress in black and white myself, especially when out on the town.

    The cocktail chairs remind me of vintage auto upholstery. Are they vintage? And the complete works of Shakespeare - what fun!

  59. Hurrah for a little splash of colour!

    I love the simple stark lines of black and white, in decoration, and in clothes. I once wore nothing but black clothes with white trainers for a whole year. It's still a trend you know, Now these days that's called emo or goth like or something like that.

    I only managed a year in black, for I have to say, I've always had a pash for colourful shirts! Though I tend to keep that secret.

    I adore the Shakespeare and those seats, so appealing.

    have a wonderful and colourful week!!

  60. Garden designers and teachers, well you learn somthing new every day. Neutral palettes are fab you can add a splash of colour when the mood takes you!

  61. Dear Jane and Lance - I am pretty sure that no one would ever call you dull! And I love the black and white of your apartment. Like others who have commented, I do think it shows discipline to maintain this style, though. Discipline I just don't have!

    This is an interesting post to me because I am about to do a post on the colours we choose to live our lives in or with. It was with some surprise, I found I can't live without (dare I tell you) orange!

  62. The framed garden designs look fabulous. I thought I detected dash of the English teacher in the writing mix :-) Antoinette

  63. Starting Over, Accepting Changes:
    Clearly you are ruthless in your elimination of orange from your garden. We have to admit that when orange flowers appeared by way of self-seeded Icelandic poppies, we never had the heart to remove them.

    We think it rather fun that you break out in colour for the spring and summer. It has a wonderfully joyous feel to it!!

  64. La Sombra Sofisticada:
    We only dare to give a glimpse at a time!!!

  65. Xoxo:
    Classic to some, conservative to others, we have always found that simply tailored monochromatic pieces work best for us.

    Yes, the chairs were made in 1958 in Hungary and the coffee table of the same period has the original maker's stamp underneath. The upholstery is, as you say, reminiscent of that used in old cars, a fabric we should have called 'Rexine'.

  66. Jason Shaw:
    Colourful shirts to match a lively personality and a sunny life by the seaside. We really cannot imagine you any other way, dear Jason.

    We are so pleased that you like the Shakespeare and our jolly red chairs.

  67. Black and white will always pure and elegant. For a 100 years of photography and nearly as much of cinema, a necessity made art. A sign of those times, nearly nostalgic, forever for us.

  68. Caroline Lovis (Redneedle):
    Garden designers and teachers, yes, amazingly, we were seen fit to be employed once upon a time!!!

  69. Annie:
    Fortunately, we could impose a discipline on a place in which we did not have to live with the consequences. A luxury indeed!

    How interesting that you too are thinking of colours and the way in which they form a part of peoples' lives. We shall await with interest the orange post!!

  70. Niall and Antoinette:
    We were very fortunate to have a number of clients who gave us free rein when designing their gardens and, as a result, our work was incredibly satisfying and interesting. They seemed happy with the designs too!!

  71. Pet:
    Oh how we love that expression, 'necessity made Art' and so true of black and white photography, something we continue to prefer above colour.

  72. Just knowing you from your fabulous blog, I always knew you both have impeccable taste! xo

  73. You two are true artists, I could spend hours on that stairway, and the two cocktail chairs are genius!

  74. Barbara F:
    You are very kind. Thank you so much.

  75. Sue/The View from Great Island:
    We are so pleased that you like the drawings. They were languishing for years in a folder but really came to life when framed and hung.

    We love the cocktail chairs too and, although they might not look it, they are really comfortable.

  76. I wouldn't dare to call you dull! I think vibrant, in all senses of the word, is a more appropriate adjective.

    Having opinions isn't a problem, although it is useful to be able to express these opinions with tact and diplomacy! At least you won't have a bruised backside from sitting on the fence .....

  77. Gaynor B:
    We really laughed about the bruised bottoms!! No, fence sitting is not our style, but we have enjoyed many happy hours choosing colours for fence painting. Cobalt blue was a particular favourite.

  78. So long as you guys are happy, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks:) Enjoy your uniqueness:)

  79. Mark Noce:
    It is the variety in life which makes it all so very special in our view.

  80. i love black and white!
    but in my case i experienced a bit of the opposite.
    from black ( and a bit of white) in my younger days,
    i `ve become more colourful lately...

    your appartment seem to be a very delicate
    and welcoming place : )

  81. Demie:
    Strange is it not how different colours seem to belong to different phases or places in our lives? More colour sounds like a very good way of brightening the dark days of winter!!

  82. 'Vibrant.' Yes, I agree with GaynorB. You are both 'vibrant' in your posts, your designs and obviously, in your life.

    Black and white is your statement. Nothing wrong with that. I wonder though, what music serenades your black and white esthetic? (I'm thinking Mussorgsky - too colorful? Maybe Mozart is more black and white. Some jazz too, would be apt.) And what about movies? Do you only watch black and white movies? :)

    I've always said, and I'm glad you seem to agree, that '...there's no room or design that can't be enhanced by some touch of red.'

  83. I find a certain deep comfort in black clothing, my wardrobe is testament to this, it's black, black and then there's black. It goes with anything should you decide to add another colour, however I never mix it with blue as I remember my mother always saying "black and blue will never do". Am I the only one who ever heard this saying, she also said "black and green should never be seen", but black and emerald green look stunning together.
    You apartment looks perfect and I would bite you legs for those chairs.
    have a great week
    Di :-)

  84. Yvette:
    Well, although we think that the music of Mozart is very fine, it is generally too 'thin' for our liking. Beethoven is more to our taste, Verdi for opera and Visconti when it comes to films. The strident notes of black and white laced with the passion of red!!!!!

  85. YONKS:
    Funny that you should mention about black and blue as we recall something to that effect too. Although we never tend to wear the two together, we do think that they can look rather good, although the emerald green would certainly be more stunning.

    Ah, the chairs, we are so pleased that you like them. Bought for a song years ago but becoming more collectable these days.

  86. Dearest Jane and Lance, I love the way you started your post, it really made me laugh. It also made me laugh because, when working with my sister today, she proclaimed that people with black and white cats seem to have lovely homes! I was most miffed. She has a black and white cat, I have a white dog and an ORANGE goldfish!

    I love your discipline with clothes. I love the idea of it, but am too easily distracted. Your apartment looks tres chic. I love the staircase, with your wonderful drawings.Have a great week, love Linda x

  87. I must tell you I always look forward to and enjoy your directness and opinions. I am pretty much a black and white lady. I don't like to deal with the grey areas.

    In the closet, black and grey make up so much of my wardrobe, but I always love to add a bit of red to punch it up....scarf, gloves. With that said I love color. I can never put my finger on my favorite though.

  88. Flowersonmytable:
    Oh how we have laughed, dearest Linda, about your orange goldfish. We agreed that we should rather like one but can only think of obtaining one at a fair as a prize for throwing balls into a bucket or something. Whatever, we know we should be hopeless at it and so remain goldfishless. Do pet shops have them?

    Thank you so much for your generous praise of our holiday apartment. We are never sure quite what the guests make of it all, especially the 'Garden Open' sign which requests an admission fee of £1. Those were the days!!!

    Hoping that your week goes swimmingly, just like the goldfish!!!

  89. Dear Jane and Lance,

    Not really sure if I read your post correctly, but do I read between the lines that you bought that beautiful mansion in the countryside? Oh I do hope so. The house looked absolutely perfect; old, quirky with a huge garden and beautiful surroundings.

    I enjoyed reading about your wardrobe. Especially in winter I wear black often too. I think it makes you look slim, stylish, fashionable & chique at the same time :-)!

    When I look at your garden designs and read your text about 'teaching' I realise the two of you must be 'important' in the horticultural world. I feel very honoured that I have the two of you as my followers, as I only have a simple allotment garden (and barely any knowledge).

    Have a lovely new week!


  90. Bonnie:
    Oh, dear Bonnie, we are absolutely hopeless about dealing with 'grey areas', talking things through or looking at things from all angles. It makes our heads hurt to even think of it. Of course, this had led us down some rocky roads but then one has to be prepared to put up with that and we are always hopeful that an unexpected adventure might be the result. It usually is.

    We love your expression of 'punching up' an outfit and can well imagine your cutting a very colourful figure as you stride through town!!

  91. Wonderful and funny post.
    I wear black and white because I love to have my jewelry stand out.
    The red chairs are fabulous !

    cheers, parsnip

  92. There is such a glorious treasure of information about you both here that I don't know where to start...but, I must say that your apartment is so charming, it would be a dream to have a second dwelling to decorate in different fashion that the main home. I've learned that I must have color around me, and so that is what surrounds us, but the simplicity and beauty of a white & dark contrasting palette would be lovely to have on the side (with pops of color of course, as you've done so wonderfully here).
    Nextly (word?), your landscape drawings took my breath away...I'm so in awe of them, they're exquisite and it's very generous of you to share them with your renters...I think I know what would make a lovely giveaway if you should ever choose to copy them (shameless hint).
    I also loved knowing that you've had precious fur friends...I dogsat a Cavalier for several years and I miss her every single day, she was such a joyful presence and a love, also, I had two cats for 19 & 21 years...needless to say they are missed greatly. I love how yours are framed...very sweet.
    My goodness I went long...
    Thank you for such a wonderful post!
    xo J~

  93. Madelief:
    Sadly, we did not go ahead with the purchase of the Kastély. The problems, at least as we saw them, were too insurmountable but it was with great reluctance that we let it go. The house, bathed in golden sunshine on the day of our visit had stolen our hearts, but we knew that the task of its restoration was beyond us.

    For many years we had a very successful garden design business, based in Herefordshire, London and, latterly, Budapest during which time we were fortunate to have published several books based on gardening. Because of all this, we had the opportunity to meet, and often make friends with, a great many people connected with plants, gardens and horticulture. Many have remained firm friends to this day.

    Your own garden which we know from the pictures you post looks absolutely charming. We are certain that we should love it!!

  94. Angryparsnip:
    Yes, black is such a good foil for jewellery and lends itself to being dressed up or down according to the occasion.

    We are so pleased that you like the red chairs. We think that they are great fun!

  95. 24 Corners:
    Jessica, you have made us nervous with your comment as we now feel that we may have revealed too much. How shall we manage to keep all our dear Followers interested without retaining an air of mystery?!!!

    We bought our small apartment to stay in when we first came to Budapest, some eleven years ago now. When we came here for more of the time, seven years ago, and bought a larger apartment we kept the small one which we now let for holidays. This gave us the opportunity to try out decorating ideas which we thought to be fun although not our usual style. We shall keep your 'shameless hint' for a giveaway in mind for a possible future occasion!!

    Sadly, all our pets have now died but we miss each and every one of them. All such different characters but they do become family members when they are with you.

  96. I think black and white is very classy and those red chairs are gorgeous. I think its good to be ourselves and not follow others like sheep, keeping our own personal style is good for our souls and makes us who we are. A lovely post and it was nice to hear a bit more about you both. dee x

  97. Delia Hornbook:
    We are totally with you here. There is so much standardisation in the world and not enough individualism. It makes for so much more interest when everyone pursues their own personal styles and enthusiasms. Vive les différences, say we!!

  98. Oh, if only I could be as elegant as My Fair Lady!

    To be able to live in black and white is a designer's dream; unfortunately my world is less pure and colour is the order of the day. Dirt shows on b & w, whereas colour disguises it.

    I detest the beige and greige tones one is confronted with constantly here in the UK. There are no other colours, it seems, for anyone over the age of twelve. Even black turns to bleige. At a concert on Saturday evening the entire audience blended into itself, not a speck of light anywhere. Only the musicians were in black. I was in a muted kind of green, with black accessoires, very tasteful, I thought.

    I saw your comment on Rubye Jack's blog. Isn't life wonderful!

  99. Friko:
    Neutral just means dull in our book. We are with you regarding beige and greige and smiled at the prospect of the audience blending into itself. Just like a gigantic creme caramel we imagine.

    We are sure that not only were you tastefully dressed but that you looked elegant too in your green and black. We rather despair of theatre audiences in the UK these days who do not seem to dress up for the occasion. Not so here in Budapest where putting on the jewels for the Opera is still the order of the day. Hooray!!

  100. I like a straight line too. Penelope Hobhouse wrote how much she disliked 'pointless meandering curves' - exactly! I love the prints above the stairs so much - what a gorgeous flat!

  101. I'd be lost without black and white especially in my wardrobe! The landscape drawings are truly exquisite!!!

  102. You're hardly dull.

    I own very little black, because I have two white cats. I gravitate toward colors which hide all my additional 'hair' best. :)

  103. Mrs Exeter:
    We have a great admiration for Penelope Hobhouse who in the early days of our garden making offered us a great deal of invaluable advice. It was she who taught us to 'look up' in a garden in order to see the shapes made by the various garden structures, trees, plants etc. against the sky ,and the importance of scale. A remarkable woman.

  104. Acanthus and Acorn:
    We are delighted to see that you have become our latest Follower. Thank you so much.

    As such an arbiter of style and taste yourself we are thrilled that you like the garden drawings. And, a wardrobe filled with black too, great minds...!!!

  105. M Pax:
    Your comment made us smile! Yes, animals can play havoc with one's clothes and furnishings, although we forgave them everything in the name of creating a shabby chic look. Or so we used to say to ourselves when the cats practically shredded the sofas!!

  106. Now I especially like those chairs - what was it they used to say about newspapers... black and white and read all over.

  107. It's all in the head.... you are such vibrant people , that you certainly get away with strictly black and white on the outside...
    When I was young, I wore only black, perhaps as a kind of sub-concious protest.
    Now, at a rather mature age, I have vowed to use less of it. Especially in my wardrobe choices. I feel it's too harsh with my complexion.( I am vain...)
    And my house I have to admit, must surely make you shiver, since it's colorful and not restrained at all...

  108. Dull, Hattats, dull. When I have money I will wear the clothes of the harlequin, and my house will be rich with colour of carpets from Turkmenistan and Persia. Colour filled pictures will crowd the walls, and books will climb the stairs. Papers, drawings, letters will cover every surface. My bed will be rich with embroidered hangings, and my larder will have row upon row of deeply coloured jars of jam and fruit.
    My garden will be a riot of colour, waywardness, and scent. Things will flop and become entangled and have to be cut back. They will climb and submerge the house. All plants will be blowsy, and fruit will hang heavy on the branches lending lustrous colour to the scene. The orchard will grow tall with wild flowers and grasses, and wide paths will be cut to picnic places. The sun will shine through slender elegant trees and cast shifting, dappled shade. Somnolent bees will hum in the heavy air, and birds rustle the leaves. At night strong scents will float on the breeze, and night creatures wander across the lawns leaving tracks in the dew. Ghostly lichen grown statues will seem to live in the moonlight. No straight line will remain uncrossed, no rows remain straight.
    This is an antidote to Hattat world. :D
    Love, Alec xx

  109. Never the sophisticate, I love color! Also, since the bulk of my clothes shopping is done at the Goodwill store, I take whatever meets my fancy at the time. :-)

    The chairs are perfect! Perfectly minimalist and sophisticated and with color too.

  110. Dear Jane and Lance, so glad I gave you a laugh. I have a permanent smile as I scroll down the comments. It really is the best entertainment ever.You can get goldfish in pet shops. Perhaps I should place one in the ginger jar for you.That way,you can have a pet, and if placed on a high enough shelf, your visitors won't know that you have something ORANGE! What nonsense, it's obviously time I was in bed. Nightie night! Love Linda x

  111. I just love your posts- you both have a brilliant way of putting your point across! Black and white is very chic- I have no objections! And love those red chairs :)

  112. I would never call you dull! Your beautiful writing always makes me smile so thank you. I love the landscaping sketches up the staircase; I love the ability to stop and enjoy 'frames' (we have maps of places we've lived), and these sketches are very special. Actually, I just enjoy seeing your beautiful apartment. I'm terribly nosey like that! Thank you. Annie x.

  113. The chairs are fantastic. The closest I have seen to them are BA Domestic economy seats, but the less said about that the better. I'm sure your cocktail seat are much more comfortable but if their function follows their name, then perhaps cocktail chairs should not be too comfortable. Cocktails is surely a brief affair and lingerers should be discouraged.

  114. You? Dull? Never!
    I've seen many dull people with colourful ideas.
    Having visited the houses that we visited during our search, I have come to the conclusion that, when we buy our own house, I will paint everything white. Everything!

  115. Dull? Never! You and your blog are like the old line about newspapers - black and white and read all over!

  116. You can call yourselves anything but dull! :) Lovely chairs!

  117. No controversy with me here! I love black & white together and the pops of red here and there are perfect. I'm a big fan of black & white photos also.

    I still miss the black & white checkered bathroom floor at our old house...though I am tempted to do the same reno to our en suite bathroom and be rid of the beige!

  118. Nothing dull about black and white, in any event--and certainly not in your tasteful hands! I did enjoy, along with the splashes of color you gave special note to, thinking about that "jet black bookcase, illuminated only by a rainbow of paperback spines." I have always felt books are the most beautiful adornment any home could have.

  119. Mark:
    We are glad that you like the chairs which we too think are fun and which, in an apartment let for holidays, have proved to be very practical too.

  120. VictoriaArt:
    Oh, Victoria, we must not mislead you for it is only this small holiday apartment where we have been able to contain ourselves in a minimalist kind of way. Our own apartment, and our flat in Brighton too, are anything but restrained and are, in fact, an eclectic mix of the last two hundred years!

  121. Alec Lindsay:
    You paint such a colourful and delightful picture of your future house and garden. We do so hope that there will be a spare room and that we might just, if we behave ourselves, be invited.

    Where gardens are concerned, we are entirely with you and with all those we designed over many years, and our own included, we favoured exuberant, romantic, barely controlled planting but always within a very tight, formal structure. And we did, through the orchard, have mown paths through long grass much in the way you describe here.

  122. Suze [again}:
    And one day surely it will happen. Of that we are certain.

  123. Rubye Jack:
    But you are, of course, completely your own person and we so much admire you for that.

    The chairs are, we agree, great fun and originally, when bought, acquired for very little money and in that condition. We have done nothing to them!

  124. flowers on my table [again]:
    We are definitely warming to the idea of a goldfish which would, despite the orange, make an accent of colour and, as a pet, would most certainly not be placed out of sight! Too cruel!!

    And how kind of you to have stayed up to write another hugely entertaining comment to be discovered by us this morning. We trust that you slept well!

  125. The Daily Connoisseur:
    Thank you, Jennifer, for such a very generous comment and for the reassurance that black and white is not necessarily colourless and dull.

    We are so pleased that you like the chairs which are rather fun.

  126. Annie Loveridge Interiors:
    We so like the idea of framed maps of places you have visited, indeed of any maps. We did, once, start collecting and having framed antique ones but only got as far as two of France and have not got any further since!

    The garden designs 'work' quite well up the stairs in the holiday apartment although we have thought to arrange them differently when we have it all repainted this winter.

  127. Nobody in the whole world would dare accuse you of being dull! So wittily far from it. And having a preference for black and white simply shows a preference for the dramatic, the defined, the perfect balance - upon which the colour of life can hop about in a merry dance. Virgnia xx

    ps - the apartment looks stunning and I bet you don't have any trouble at all booking it out.

  128. Andrew:
    We really rather like the idea of yours that cocktail chairs should not be too comfortable as one is not, at such parties, encouraging people to linger. Indeed, does one want them to sit down at all?

    We have an identical pair, but covered in an oatmeal Irish linen, in a spare bedroom where they work well as occasional chairs.

  129. Olga:
    We do enjoy the all white effect of our holiday apartment, which is also quite practical, but have to say that in our own apartment, and in our Brighton one too, we are far less restrained. But, that said white does make an excellent backdrop, particularly if you have a lot of pictures.

  130. DearHelenHartman:
    We really love that line about newspapers and how very kind of you to apply it to our blog. But far too generous!

  131. Rose:
    We are delighted that you like the chairs for which we paid very little money when we first came to Budapest. In fact they came with two others and a 'matching' [i.e. 1950s] coffee table - all made in Hungary.

  132. LR @ Magnificent or Egregious:
    Yes, we too are great fans of black and white photographs and never, in fact, have coloured ones on display.

    We have black and white check tiles on the floor of our kitchen which do 'work' really well. We should certainly recommend them when you decide to change your existing bathroom ones.

  133. Susan Scheid:
    Like you, we think that books [and can one ever have enough?] are ideal as a means of adding interest to a room and their dust jackets always provide additional colour and warmth. We also use them piled on chairs and as 'plinths' for other items.

  134. Glamour Drops:
    Thank you, dear Virginia for your most kind comment. We should hate to be considered dull and the thought of allowing the 'merry dance of life' to play all around us fills us with joy!

    We very much appreciate your compliments of our small apartment. From you, it is praise indeed. We are fortunate that Budapest is seen as a 'holiday' destination the year round and so, although tourists have been thin on the ground generally, our bookings continue to hold up.

  135. Haha! I too am willing to approach ANY topic with an open mouth!!

    I spent many years happy in monochromatic minimalism before my recent breakout into - of course - RED!

  136. Red Nomad OZ:
    The directness of your approach we always find so very refreshing, and the passion of red, a winning combination for sure!!

  137. My Dears, as it happens I didn't sleep too well last night. I was worrying about whether I should have posted about my mum or not.This morning I am moved to tears by your comments. As usual you cut right to the heart of the matter, and I thank you for it.
    Oh and I have to say, that I rather like having a goldfish. He lives in the bathroom (which new guests find rather unnerving, but children love) and his name is Nemo!
    I am not working today, I may go back to bed for a little snooze!Thankyou once again, for your generous remarks. With all my love, Linda x

  138. Flowersonmytable[again]:
    Dearest Linda, how sweet of you to come back in reply to our comment. We meant every word. Your mother, the idea, the Angel, everything about this is truly remarkable and inspirational. How fortunate we would have felt to have been to have known such a woman and how perfect that she was your mother!!

    the idea of Nemo keeping watch over the bathroom is a wonderful idea. So soothing to be able to float in a deep bath whilst being calmed by the gentle swimming of the goldfish in the bowl.Just a thought, perhaps there are black fish available....well, when we kept chicken we had 'Black Rocks' which looked so very stylish in our orchard. The eggs were good too!!

  139. Jane and Lance,
    Thank you for commenting on my blog. Did you see the post the day before on Stone Mountain? I only mention it since I made you look at a pile of rocks, I wanted to make sure you saw some beautiful trees!
    Now, black and white...I think this is lovely, but interjected with a touch of red...perfect!

  140. My dear Jane and Lance, it's beautiful - a kind of restrained elegance with the monochromatic scheme. It's absolutely delightful and sophisticated (not at all dull!!). Too many colours can be very crude and garish (but that's fine if one likes that sort of things). Burgundy coloured cocktail chairs are like two cherry on the top of a black forest cake. It's a nice finishing touch.


    PS. A friend of mine commented to me once that after he visited my flat, he went back to his house and he felt he'd been burgled because his flat looks so minimal chic compared to mine!

  141. Kay G:
    We did not feel that we were just looking at a pile of rocks at all!! The landscape is so very interesting as it is all so new to us.

    We are so pleased that you like the monochromatic scheme and yes, a flash of red makes all the difference.

  142. A Super Dilettante:
    Your comment about your friend really made us laugh!!

    Our small apartment is a direct contrast to where we live both in Budapest and in Brighton where restraint and caution are thrown to the wind and maximalism is the order of the day. Much more in tune, dear ASD, with your own beautifully eclectic home which is so full of carefully chosen treasures.

  143. Black and white has its very own beauty. I love it too, its not dull...
    The apartment with the cute red chairs and the lovely paintings is pretty... Very well done on that front too.
    Have a wonderful day Jane and Lance:)

  144. Arti:
    Thank you so much. We always appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments.

    Hoping that your week goes well.

  145. I designed the drawing room scheme in our Edinburgh New Town flat in black & white, (with an occasional burst of burnt orange) and my other half keeps trying to get me to revert to that. It is certainly a palette that I like, (and this of course includes black and white drawings - architectural or otherwise). Yours of the garden designs look very elegant.

  146. Elegantly simple and totally lovely. I'd love to see the Shakespeare piece brightly-lit some time---it seems to be an intriguing puzzle, and I cannot resist one of those.

    Dropping in here gives the feeling of being at a wonderful party, with bons mots flying and everyone witty and charming, and I've missed being able to comment.

    Your home always seems so spacious, so does the word "small" mean a second abode in which you host paying guests? And I'd think you'd be pre-booked years in advance.

  147. Columnist:
    We always imagined ourselves living in New Town and seem to recall a very pretty small row of houses in St Ann's Grove [or some such name]that we were very tempted by.

    Your own black, white and burnt orange scheme sounds to have been very dramatic but your present apartment in Bangkok is perfection!

  148. Racheld:
    Yes, this apartment is rented out to tourists as self-catering accommodation. Fortunately Budapest is a holiday destination all year round so bookings are brisk.

    You are always so generous with your very kind comments, dear Rachel. We are amused and entertained most royally we feel by our endlessly imaginative and creative commentators. We love the 'bons mots' as you so elegantly put it, they really make our day!!

    The Shakespeare is great fun. We are so pleased that you like it.

  149. Unlike you, i am all about colour. It's a mish mash of colours in my apartment.
    However, your black and white palette is just wonderful. You dull? Never! I'd say stylish!

  150. Boye By Red:
    Be not mistaken!! Whilst we limit ourselves to a largely black and white scheme in what is, after all, a holiday apartment, at home we allow colour to run riot, almost at times without exercising any control. At the moment we have a particular passion for pattern on pattern on pattern. Nothing restrained there!!

  151. Not I! Another cracker. There's something about your writing that is clear and precise and beautiful.

    Thanks for that Jane and Lance.

  152. Genius Loci:
    Thank you so much, Ben. This is most generous of you.

    And thank you too for displaying the book - Google our name and the other titles will come up!

  153. I am very much in love with black, I cannot explain it, I just I entirely understand the effect colors can have on people's spirit.

  154. Unikorna:
    Yes, it is true that people do show an affinity for certain colours and it would be most interesting to know why certain shades are attractive to certain individuals. And, do these preferences alter over time? We suspect they might.

  155. In my next life, or perhaps in a parallel universe, I'd like to study the relationship of color to personality. I wear almost nothing but blue, and yet there's very little blue in the decor of my home. I find it fascinating that B&W predominates so thoroughly in your lives. Doubtlessy that complements each and every guest.

  156. Hello [again] dear Jane and Lance
    I have returned as I forgot to thank you for your very generous comments on my post. However, I do feel the awards should go to Spotty as he is the reason I started my blog!

    I also wanted to tell you that I put my glasses on and had a closer look at your garden designs. They are simply wonderful, a work of art, and I should love to inspect them in more detail. I have an original book written by Gertrude Jekyll which has some of her designs in it. I get so much pleasure from looking at them, and now wonder if I should frame them as you have done with yours.

    My husband has returned from his trip. He has taken many pictures of some beautiful buildings. And just one hideous photo of....
    the outside of the hotel!
    Thankfully the inside was much better!

  157. So cool -- and I just saw a wild hat that Sara Jessica Parker wore for an event and it sort of reminds me of that hat if that hat was on speed!

  158. It's not just that white walls are wonderful for the purpose of displaying pictures. It's just that I have recently seem so many rooms painted so many eccentric colours that black and white is therapeutic for me at the moment. I have some pieces of evidence that I will show you a bit later in my blog.

  159. Mark D. Ruffner:
    Now this is a most interesting idea, to consider the ways in which colour is related to personality - something about which we have never previously thought.

    The black and white of the small apartment does, we feel, provide a neutral background for the holiday visitors. Although they may not, of course, see it in that way.

  160. My Spotty Pony:
    You must, of course know, Abby, how much we enjoy your posts and so it is always a real pleasure to comment.

    Thank you for the kind words about our garden designs. We do have many similar drawings dating back over the years but thought that the little apartment would be a good place to display some of those we made in Hungary. What the visitors think of them we have no idea. Gertrude Jekyll's plans and border designs are, as you say, so very beautiful.

    We are glad that your husband has returned safely and with many pictures to give you an idea of Budapest. We are so sorry that you were unable to come and really hope that there will be another opportunity.

  161. Lori Anderson:
    Thank you so much for your kind comment. Black and white does, more often than not, look so very elegant when worn.

  162. Olga [again]:
    We do so agree with you when it comes to what you describe as 'eccentric' use of colour. We know exactly what you mean and it is so easy to go wrong. In fact in our apartment here we have used Farrow and Ball's very chalky, slightly faded 'Lime White' throughout, relying on the introduction of colour in soft furnishings and, of course, pictures and furniture.

  163. Hello Jane and Lance - how beautiful your garden designs look - are they hand drawn? Although computers are a wonderful invention there is nothing so beautiful as a design rendered by hand - in my humble opinion. I do love black and white for its cleaness and simplicity but I must admit I am a girl who loves colour so the red chairs are a hit with me!

    Happy Wednesday to you!
    Stephie x

  164. StephieB:
    Thank you so much for such a kind compliment. Yes, indeed, they are hand drawn. We never at any time used CAD for any of our drawings and always felt that by not doing so they were much more personal in keeping with the whole philosophy of our design business.

    Yes, the red chairs are great fun.

  165. I can only imagine then how truly beautiful they must look when you get to see them up close - the only thing that would look prettier would be the gardens themselves! Will you ever share any pictures of them with us?

    Stephie x

  166. I like to look at black and white and I admire the simplicity and clean lines it represents but I think I'd be in a monochrome environment just two minutes before itching to throw in a mish mash of colour.

    I also have very strong opinions and ideas but try to keep them to myself to avoid confrontation. I am not a good debater or defender of my thoughts and beliefs - not in the spoken word that is (written is another matter entirely) - my tongue gets twisted in knots and the point of the argument is lost in layers of miscommunication.

    In a real life situation I think you two would run verbal rings around me. :)

  167. There's currently an exhibition of portraits and designs by Cecil Beaton at the Museum of the City of New York. I must admit to a lack of familiarity with his work, My Fair Lady aside.

    I'm in a grey phase, myself. Black and white makes for a nice contrast to a colourful personality, wouldn't you say?

  168. StephieB [again]:
    In the main the gardens created from the drawings and designs were, and are, private and so we should be reluctant to publish pictures without the permission of the owners and that is something which we should hesitate to ask.

    Our own garden, which served as the flagship of our design business, may well be the subject of a future post. But how kind of you, Stephie, to show such interest.

  169. wendz:
    To be honest, our own apartment is filled with colour, which we should not wish to be without. However, our holiday apartment is somewhere we can experiment without having actually to live with it ourselves!

    We are always drawn to people with strong opinions and ideas which are, in our view, always worth listening to. What is more, where a second language is concerned, we suspect you would leave us at the starting blocks!

  170. Ben:
    We were aware that there was to be a Beaton exhibition shortly in New York but did not realise that it has actually opened. Alas, we shall not be there to see it although we have always admired his work and do have, in addition to books of his photographs, his diaries, published in the 1960s, which make for fascinating reading. We should recommend them to you but, we fear, there is no mention of football!!

    Grey we should closely link with black and white and all are, as you suggest, a foil to colourful personalities.

    To return to a previous reply made by you on Decade 4, we think, very sadly, we should be considered too old to adopt. But you would be welcome to visit at any time.

  171. Well, since I'm a big fan of wearing black clothes and love white in my interior, this post was right up my street! Thanks for sharing it, have a good Wednesday! Maureen

  172. Daydream Living:
    We are so pleased that you enjoyed the post. We certainly find black and white to be very flexible colours for both decorating interiors and decorating oneself!!

  173. Dear Jane and Lance, mere words are not enough, but thankyou all the same.

    In actual fact when we got Nemo we also got a black fish. It was rather lovely with floaty fins that looked like organdy, but unfortunately she was a bit of a bully and fought with Nemo. She died, so Nemo won! Love Linda x

  174. Flowersonmytable [again]:
    Oh dear, Linda, this is a sad tale!!! As it happens, our Black Rocks were always fighting too, perhaps it is the colour. In the end, they had to be taken back by the farm from which they came. Indeed, we understand that one of them was in such a poor condition [we had three] that she had to be revived in a low oven in the AGA!!!! She survived!!!!

  175. Oh I wish I could instill a very strict discipline on myself and on my son... oh but I am too lenient at times and a bit on the happy-go-lucky side. I am definitely not boring, not on my outfits nor on my taste of food or interiors. I love colors and I tend to favor the happy and cheery ones.

    I have so much respect for people who can tame their wild side.
    This is a lovely post... love the cocktail chairs.

  176. Ann:
    There are so many temptations when one is choosing decorating paint colours or fabrics that it is very difficult to remain single minded. But, do not be misled here, Ann, for in our main apartment we have a far more eclectic collection with things bought and acquired from that past two hundred years!!

    We are so pleased that you like the chairs. We think that they are fun too!!

  177. I well remember that scene in My Fair Lady.

    There is something so classic and elegant about black and white ~ the drawings are fascinating, I would love to see them up close.

    I have always wanted a black and white checkered floor...maybe someday.

  178. La Vie Quotidienne:
    The Cecil Beaton costumes in My Fair Lady are, in our view, outstandingly elegant, with the Ascot scene a particular favourite.

    Yes, we like black and white chequered tiles too and we have them on the floors of our kitchen, laundry room and separate loo. They always look so fresh and contemporary.

  179. I adore B&W photographs they're very forgiving on those with mottled skin tones. Black suits everyone regardless of skin tone, but people are under the misconception that black is slimming, I hate to shatter any illusions but you can't hide that big arse, whatever colour fatties wear, however black is the best colour to spill food down.

  180. I just returned from NYC, where it is a veritable sea of thin women-- their long black-sheathed legs stuffed in to sleek (usually) black boots. Your My Fair Lady image caught my eye, since I just saw the Cecil Beaton Exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York! I think you would love seeing it! What a fun post this is :)

  181. Mitzi:
    Dearest Mitzi, as always we can rely upon you for sound and straightforward sartorial advice. We agree, a big bottom is just that, clothed in black, blue or pink, it remains ever thus. Sadly.

    Thank you so much for the advice about black and white photography and mottled skin tones, we shall never be 'snapped' in technicolour again. And, as we are rather fond of soft boiled eggs.....!!

  182. Elizabeth Rose Stanton:
    Welcome back, dear Elizabeth, we have missed you so much!

    But, what fun you have had and, in NYC, so exciting. Yes, we are sure that you are right about the Cecil Beaton exhibition and how wonderful that you managed to see it whilst in town.

  183. Of course, i now remember the pictures of your house you posted previously.
    And i applaud your indulgence in coulour and pattern on pattern!

  184. Hello Jane and Lance ~ Dull? Never! I would say disciplined. Bad design, poor lighting (my pet peeve!)and ugly spaces are just plain painful. A carefully edited palette is a lot of work. I've tried, but color always sneaks in and a long time ago I fell in love with warm earthy reds, blues and greens of Persian carpets and woven tribal cushions. Welcome to my souk!

  185. Is it any wonder black and white photographs have remained popular even with advent of color. I'm envisioning a white artificial xmas tree with black adornment in your future.

  186. Boye By Red [again]:
    We are pleased that you are with us on pattern on pattern. An interior designer friend first inspired us in this way and since then...well, no stopping us!

  187. smilla4blogs:
    But the colours which you mention, and which you allow to 'sneak' in are absolutely lovely and just the ones we are hoping to find in a Persian or Turkish carpet, after which we lust for our dining room.

  188. Linda Starr:
    We totally agree about black and white photographs, always our preferred choice. In fact, we never display any colour ones within the house.

    Now, as for Christmas trees....!!

  189. Hello Jane and Lance

    Sorry for arriving so late at the party - but what a party: you really have a way of prompting lively debate.

    I much prefer to stay in a city centre apartment rather than a hotel when I am out travelling. I enjoy the space, the privacy and the flexibility. Yours sounds just perfect and rather chic. I do think, though, that visitors might be spending rather too much time loitering on the staircase while studying the intriguing garden designs.


  190. Anna at the Doll House:
    Yes, having one's own apartment in the centre of a city does, as you say, give one the freedom to explore what is on offer. As Budapest is both a winter and summer destination for tourists, we are fortunate to attract visitors the year round.

    Thank you for your kind and generous comment about the garden designs. They had been languishing in a cupboard for a long time and then we had the idea to have some of them framed. We may well get more framed and hang them differently when we next refurbish the apartment.

  191. This is why i love visiting you....the classic nature of your world is quite different from my world yet the love of beauty is dominant in both. Your drawings look so interesting...i would love to pour over them and see all the details....and then to see the gardens themselves. I love color and feel a bit glum in a black and white outfit myself. Color makes my skin warmer, my house prettier, and my life more fulfilled. During the long winter months we see so much black and white that a trip to a tropical country becomes mandatory to celebrate the joyfulness of hot, spicy, bright, over the top, color. Give me a gauche Hawaiian shirt and i look and feel better!

  192. Mermaid Gallery:
    Your bright and lively comment has really made us smile and we love the idea of you in a garishly, over the top, Hawaiian shirt!!

    It is one of the many wonders of the Blogosphere that one can see and appreciate so many different forms of beauty, design, style, etc.etc. Indeed, that is why we love to visit you where you always present us with a new, creative and highly imaginative 'eye' on the world.

  193. I would never in a million years call you dull!

  194. Pamela Terry and Edward:
    Thank you for that vote of confidence!! What fun we should have if we could meet up one day!!!

  195. Well, one can never go wrong with black :) Although I tend for earthy tones myself, and thats about as colorful I get, I do sometimes stray. :) And I think I speak for everyone that you two are anything but dull. ;)


  196. Who dares call you "dull" even without those red chairs???? My, but those chairs are great!!!! They are exactly the color red I adore and just the right shape and size....and there are two...perfect. If you wake some morning to find them gone...... :)

  197. Hello! Beautiful and interesting post! Have a wonderful day!

  198. How wonderful that you have cats from the Cats Protection League: Pussy and Cat :) My Tia Maria and Murphy Harold, alas no longer alive, were from the same society.

    Your design drawings on the staircase have caught my attention and interest completely. As has Henscher's oil.


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