Friday, September 9, 2011



One of the perks of the job here is that I get to flick through all the glossy design magazines that we subscribe to.  It's really inspiring at the best of times, but this week whilst 'flicking through' my eye hovered over the pages of Vogue Living (September issue) a tad longer than usual at the article on Palmyra House, an elegant pair of buildings that open out to the Arabian Sea. An idyllic 21st century beach house blending the old, new and enhancing natures beauty.

The walls and floors were built with basalt in the area, covered with plaster sand and pigmented.
The structure is made from Burmese Teak and Ain Hardwood with flexible louvred shutter walls.  The Pool, with fresh water from the plantation Aquifer (natural spring) is edged in local stone.

Far removed from the big bunkered modern influences of the west, this Indian beach house simply drips with peacefulness with the crash of the waves, balmy air flowing through the louvres and the shadow of light and shade through the hundreds of palm trees that envelop the property.

Looking at the property from the ocean end, it is designed to open out at the front revealing the bedrooms on one side and bathroom, living area on the other side.

The two-storey home, built as a weekend retreat lies near the fishing village of Nandgaon, south of Mumbai.  The home consists of two oblong buildings, slightly offset from one another.

Created by Studio Mumbai Architects
(We would have LOVED to have included photos of this amazing home, but after contacting the Architects were advised that they didnt wish to give exposure??...go figure...still..instead of removing the posting you might like to have a look at their website yourselves.)



We have been watching the Channel 10 show The Renovators when we can spare the time.  Some of the challenges are really tough!  Last week, the outdoor space challenge really got us in.  
When I was a girl, the closest thing to having an outdoor room or space was gathering around the family BBQ and sitting on one of those fold out picnic tables.....remember the ones that came in like a suitcase form and they unfolded to a connected table and chairs, with a weight restriction of around 40 kilos!
So, with the weather really warming up, especially here in Brisbane where we seem to have just two temperatures with the seasons (hot and coolish) we have started thinking about cleaning off the cobwebs on the deck at home, getting stuck into the garden and what little extras we are going to need for our outdoor spaces.  Here are a few great suggestions, focussing on comfort, creating space for group get togethers and also solitary spaces, so you can curl up with a book and indulge in a little bit of 'me' time.

A gathering space with plenty of room to stretch out and relax by the pool.

Credit to epitomized1 via 'flickr'

There's nothing more simple than stringing up a hammock between two trees.  I love nothing more than whiling away the hours taking in the dappled sunlight and getting lost in a book.

How about this for a grown ups version of the outdoor cubbie house?  Remember grabbing one of mums good sheets from the laundry, a few strategically placed chairs and instant cubbie!  
This more sophisticated version is just as easy to create, with 4 poles, a crisp white sheet, your favourite outdoor lounger and all the essentials at arms, book, sunnies, mags and perhaps a nice cool glass of sauvignon blanc if its a Sunday and you can just chillllll.......zzzzzzzz


I hope that all the Dads enjoyed their big day on Sunday!  Ours started interestingly enough with a visit to the emergency room to pick up one daughters boyfriend with a badly cut finger at 6am, and then home to make breakfast for 9....we had pancakes, bacon, sausages, eggs...the whole heart attack.  Was loads of fun.  Then a big drive in the country with music blaring and then off to the Father-in-laws place for the big Rugby League game and a couple of glasses of the red wine we gave him for a gift!...he's a great sharer :-)
We are all family here at Charcoal Interiors, and the gatherings are always loud and there's loads of food and wine on offer.

The other thing that got me thinking on the day was how many of our friends had lost their Dads over the past year.  I found myself thinking of my friends and wondering how they were feeling so I sent out a blanket text to everyone to say Happy Fathers Day, but also to say that I was thinking of those whose Dads were no longer with us.  It was very well received, so I highly recommend getting in touch with your mates on days like mothers and fathers day, just to let them know you are thinking of them, as a happy day for some can be a debilitatingly sad day for others.


This week we have an extra special recipe for everyone.  One of our readers, Kellie Layton has made us aware of the publication of her Mums favourite dessert recipe - Chocolate Fudge Pudding....anything with the words Chocolate and Fudge in it, and I am all ears!
Anyway, this recipe is so good that its been chosen for publication in the Australian Womans Day!
Kellie tells us that "she made this pudding for her and the siblings when they were kids.  Now she makes it for all her grandchildren and her children as well as all 8 of us!"
Congratulations to Lorraine (Kellies Mum) from all of us here.  As usual this recipe ticks all the boxes as far as flavour, simplicity etc...which does not reflect the end result at all which is just pure indulgence!  We had ours with some fresh strawberries that are delivered to the showroom every week and some sprigs of fresh mint from the herb garden in the courtyard out the front of the showroom...oh and some icecream...which we just bought at the shops :-)

Thank you to Kellie, and Lorraine for allowing us to share this delicious family favourite (soon to be one of our own now I think) with all of us!

Serving size: Serves 8
Cooking time: Less than 60 minutes


1¾ cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup caster sugar
90g butter, chopped
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
11/3 cups boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to moderately slow, 160°C. Lightly grease a 2-litre pudding basin or casserole dish.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa and salt together into a large bowl. Stir in sugar.
  3. Combine butter and ¼ cup milk in small saucepan. Heat on low until melted. Cool slightly, then add rest of milk and vanilla. Add liquid to dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Pour into prepared dish.
  4. TOPPING: In a bowl, combine brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle evenly over pudding, then pour boiling water over.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cooked when tested. Invert pudding onto serving platter. Serve with ice-cream and some fresh strawbs and mint as mentioned above.


SPRING FEVER MOCKTAIL!  (Have as many of these as you like!)

The transition from winter to Spring is one of the most anticipated times of the year.  The ground comes to life with green, the smell of Jasmine is in the air and the sound of lawnmowers cuts through on a Sunday morning sleep-in (I know there's a lot of keen gardeners in our area, so all I can say is 'Sunday Noise Curfew'...) but I digress...back to sunshine and lollipops.  As you finish up your spring clean and plan your gardens, take some time to sit down on the deck or verandah with a refreshing drink that awakens your taste buds from the winter blues with this Spring Fever Cocktail.  Its OK to down as many of these as you like because its alcohol free and very, very refreshing.  


35ml lemon juice
35 ml mango juice
60ml apple juice
60ml orange juice

1. Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a tall glass half filled with crushed ice.

To be imbibed out on the deck or verandah whilst wearing your fave Spring Bonnet with the tunes of Doris Day or similar light, girly tunes in the Spice Girls please.



We asked our Facebook followers for their most inspirational quotes.  The saying that you keep in your head for when the times get tough, or you lose control and have to just succumb to the forces that be.  We all have a little mantra that we inwardly recite that brings a sense of calm or perspective.
Over the next few weeks we wil be sharing some of the inspiration and helpful quotes from our Charcoal Interiors Facebook friends.  There are also a few funny ones to share too, just to balance it out a bit and remind ourselves not to take life too serious.
Thank you everyone for your input!

This week from Fiona Rowlands:

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes"


And so to the end of another week.  We wish you a wonderful weekend.  Enjoy the beautiful Spring weather if you are lucky enough to have some sunshine in your part of the world.  Life is good....enjoy!

The Charcoal Team.  Cathie, Colette and Jen xxx

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