Category Archives: Travel

Postcards from Puglia | Part 1

February 23, 2018

Postcards from Puglia | Part 1 | These Four Walls blog

Back in September Chris and I spent a lazy, sun-drenched week pootling around Puglia – a much-needed break between leaving my job and taking up blogging full-time. I’ve finally found a few hours to go through the hundreds of photos I took, so I want to share a few snippets from this beautiful region of silvery olive groves, whitewashed hill towns and rugged cliffs, which occupies the heel of the Italian boot.

We started with two nights in Monopoli, set on the Adriatic coast an hour north of Brindisi Airport. Founded by the Greeks, invaded by the Romans, the Normans and the Byzantines and then annexed to Venice in the 1400s, it was once an important trading port. Today, it’s made up of a modern commercial zone, plus a sleepy old town dominated by a 16th-century castle.

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New designs inspired by Copenhagen’s iconic Royal Hotel

February 21, 2018

New designs inspired by Copenhagen's iconic Royal Hotel | These Four Walls blog

Rarely does a single building have as much influence on the future of design as Copenhagen’s iconic Radisson Blu Royal Hotel – a place which has fascinated me ever since I first visited the city on a school exchange at the age of 14 and saw it towering above Central Station. And it’s still inspiring new creations today.

Opened in 1960 and originally known as the SAS Royal Hotel, it was the work of legendary Modernist architect Arne Jacobsen and is now regarded as the world’s first design hotel. Jacobsen was responsible for every single element, from the overall shape – a pair of angular boxes, one balancing on top of the other to fit the triangular plot right down to the wine glasses and cutlery. He even went as far as to create bespoke typography for the signage and geometric patterns for the carpets (incidentally, the latter now feature on stationery produced by Design Letters & Friends).

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Home tour | A stylish farmhouse rental in Wales

December 18, 2017

Home tour | A stylish farmhouse rental in Wales | These Four Walls blog

This wonderfully cosy Welsh farmhouse seemed like the ideal choice for my last home tour of 2017. Available to rent for short breaks and holidays, it forms part of Fforest – a collection of teepees, bell tents, eco-domes and cabins hidden among wild meadows and ancient woodland, just a few miles from the coastal town of Cardigan. I was lucky enough to have a peek inside when I spent three nights at Fforest for the Sisterhood retreat earlier this year, and I can think of few better places to hole up for a relaxing winter escape.

When Fforest’s owners, former textile designer Sian Tucker and her partner James Lynch, took over the site, the 200-year-old house was an unloved, derelict shell that had lain abandoned for more than two decades. They put their heart and soul into restoring it to its former glory, salvaging worn staircases and lintels, repointing lime-plaster walls, and removing the thick layer of bat droppings which carpeted the floors. The results of their efforts are stunning: a mix of Scandinavian simplicity and rustic Welsh character, with pine-clad walls, swathes of exposed stone and window seats covered in snuggly sheepskins.

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A stay at Copenhagen’s Hotel Danmark

November 17, 2017

A stay at Copenhagen’s Hotel Danmark | These Four Walls blog

When inconvenient flight times meant Lou from Littlegreenshed and I ended up with a night’s stopover in Copenhagen on the way back from our recent trip to Skåne, I wasn’t going to complain. Not only did it allow me to spend 24 hours in one of my favourite cities, it also gave me the chance to stay at the beautiful new Hotel Danmark.

I first wrote a post about the latest boutique offering from Brøchner Hotels, who also manage the super-stylish SP34, when it opened its doors back in spring, so I was very excited about trying it out in person. I wasn’t disappointed.

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The VIPP Loft

November 6, 2017

The VIPP Loft | These Four Walls blog

Danish brand VIPP has long been known for its pioneering design, evolving from humble origins as a manufacturer of metal bins to become a world-renowned company whose products encompass kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, home accessories and lighting. And its latest project, the newly opened VIPP Loft in Copenhagen, is just as innovative as I’ve come to expect from the 78-year-old family-owned firm.

The Loft forms part of the ‘VIPP Hotel’, which turns the traditional concept of a hotel on its head by offering private suites in separate locations, rather than lots of rooms in a single setting. You can already book the VIPP Shelter, an ingenious prefabricated cabin on the shore of Sweden’s remote Lake Immeln which I featured last year, and another project – a converted chimney house in northern Copenhagen – is due to follow in 2018. All three suites are intented to provide ‘curated design experiences’, as VIPP CEO Kasper Egelund explains: “Our destinations all share the same goal. We want to invite people to experience firsthand our philosophy of good design in a place that’s out of the ordinary.”

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Exploring Skåne | Malmö

November 3, 2017

Exploring Malmö | These Four Walls blog

It’s time for another instalment from my recent trip to Skåne with Visit Sweden and Visit Skåne (read the first here), and today I’m focussing on the region’s capital, Malmö.

Sweden’s third-largest city was once a thriving port and shipbuilding centre, but since its heavy industry died out in the 1980s it has reinvented itself as an edgy, cosmopolitan place with a wonderful mix of cultures. It’s home to a pretty old town with half-timbered buildings and cobbled squares, all sorts of fascinating restaurants and bars, and a redeveloped waterfront that was Europe’s first carbon-neutral neighbourhood. But the main attraction for me was its vibrant design scene, which has been fuelled by cheap rents, a supportive atmosphere that lures start-ups, and a collaborative approach that often sees studios team up to showcase local talent.

Malmö is connected to Denmark by the famous Øresund Bridge and you could easily visit on a day trip from Copenhagen, but I reckon it deserves a longer stay as there’s plenty to see and do. Here are my favourite finds…

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Exploring Skåne | The Wanås Estate

October 27, 2017

Exploring Skåne | The Wanås Estate | These Four Walls blog

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to Skåne in southern Sweden along with a small group of other bloggers – Sarah Akwisombe, Lou of Littlegreenshed and Kimberly of Swoon Worthy. The trip was hosted by the lovely people at Visit Sweden and Visit Skåne, with the aim of showcasing all the wonderful design, scenery and food which the region has to offer.

I’ve visited Sweden many times before, but this was my first stay in Skåne. I already know it won’t be my last: not only is it very easy to reach (just a 20-minute hop across the Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen Airport), it’s also incredibly beautiful. Our trip took in the vibrant city of Malmö, the elegant university town of Lund and more, but I want to start with a post about our first base: the enchanting Wanås Estate.

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Foraging in the Forest of Dean

October 18, 2017

Foraging in the Forest of Dean | These Four Walls blog

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days, but I’ve been in southern Sweden, discovering the wonderful design, food and scenery of the Skåne region. More on that to follow soon, but first I have a find from home turf to share with you: beautiful Forest of Dean hotel Tudor Farmhouse.

The Forest of Dean is only an hour north of Bristol, but for some reason I’ve never spent much time there. So, when Tudor Farmhouse asked if I’d like to join a small group of bloggers and journalists (including the lovely Lottie from Oyster & Pearl) for one of their autumnal foraging breaks, I jumped at the chance to explore the area. I soon realised I’ve been missing out. This sprawling oak woodland – the oldest in England – is utterly magical, with mysterious glens, twisting tree trunks, haunting mine ruins and roaming wild boar. It’s said to have inspired the works of Tolkein, and more recently it’s been used as a location for the Harry Potter films.

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