Friday, 25 July 2014

Upcycling a table

These last few weeks have been a whirl wind of activity in our home.  Last prom, last time wearing a school uniform, and last school leaver’s service.  In the afternoon heat, waving the school programme in front of shiny faces, we sang, we stood, we sat,  we clapped, we sang, we stood and we sat again and then we watched a DVD compiled of school trips and days out, from their early days as little boys and girls to their last days as young men and women and I realised how quickly it’s all passed by… we shuffled out, wiped tears, sniffed, drank toasts and congratulated, hugged, patted backs and shook hands and lastly said goodbye…to lost rugby socks, forgotten lunch boxes, pens, lunch money and books,  ever thankful for lasting friendships, countless sleepovers, laughter, shared experiences and camaraderie.   So to my Son, I am immensely proud of who you are and the man you are becoming. Thank you for finishing strong.

I’ve also been having a lot of fun.  I absolutely love finding something for FREE and changing it into something useful and beautiful.   When we were doing the little house project, the house was derelict and full of rubbish, and most of it went straight to the tip.  But in the corner of one room was this old wooden table, which looked quite sturdy, and I felt not yet ready to be dumped.  I knew I could do something with it.  Initially I thought about sanding it down and giving it a coat of Annie Sloan old white …but then I started thinking of an ottoman and how good it would look covered in a deep tufting.

So this is what it looked like before the makeover:

and this is what it looks like now, ignore the clashing fabrics, it’s merely been placed here so I could take photos… it will be moving to a new lounge soon in a much calmer two toned setting of grey and off white.

I didn't want to use expensive fabric, that sort of defeats the object of finding something for free, but I wanted it to look good, so I went for a simple rose design in canvas cotton by Ikea for £6 a metre.  I used my trusted upholsterer Lesley and gave her my brief.  Whilst Lesley was busy with the top half, I got painting the framework.   I used Annie Sloan Paris Grey which I had left over from another project.  The tufting is simply beautiful, you still get to see the design and it works really well with the painted table legs. 

I've been on the beach along with a couple of hundred other people this afternoon, it's been a scorcher! And although I'm not one to complain about the weather, it’s school holidays and the last thing we want is bad weather, but a storm is approaching and with it the wind…and I am just ever so grateful for the breeze!

So have you ever done anything like this?  Do tell!


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Gold shelving

I still have a little wallpapering to do before I can show you the entire room so I'll share the Ikea hack that I did for the dining room project.

I had visions of  the classic James Bond movie, Gold Finger whilst doing this! I had been looking for the right piece of furniture to put into this just over 50cm wide space when I realised that the Ikea Vittsjo would be a nice snug fit, only I didn't like the black.

I knew gold would be a better option and tie in with the mirror and the chandelier, so we spray painted it with some Montana Gold spray paint which I ordered from Amazon.  I replaced the faux wood with mirror which I had cut to fit the shelving to ramp up the glam factor.  

I wasn't sure which gold spray paint to use, so I went online to see which was the most popular and then I chose Montana Gold which apparently graffiti artists use all the time.  I found Montana Gold paint to have a really good even spray without having to press down too hard.  We sprayed the whole shelf and still have a little left in the can.  I suggest doing this outside where the fresh air can absorb the fumes.  We gave it two coats, waiting about 10 minutes in between coats and then left it for about half an hour to make sure it was completely dry enough to bring inside. We didn't need to prep the metal beforehand as it was brand new.  It dries to a lovely silky finish, not quite matt and not really shiny either.  It’s not going to get a lot of touching in this room so it should last quite a long time.  I did think about gold leaf, but I didn't want to spend loads on this shelving.  I just wanted to up the elegance factor which I think it did.  I also spray painted the little plant pot holder you can see on the top shelf...I love how it’s turned out, especially the mirrors which reflect the pieces on the shelving!

Are you enjoying the weather?  We have been so lucky down south, lots of bicycle rides and picnics on the beach.

Have a great week!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Guest room dressing

On Saturday I went to Selina Lake’s Vintage Fair in Guildford, fortunately the rain held off but only just.  The Guildhall was jam packed full of lovely vintage goodies, linen, crockery, fabrics, beautiful vintage crockery, as well as a few pieces of select clothing and the most gorgeous hats by GilFox.  So with lingering memories of all that lovely floral fabric and the rest of that lovely vintage stuff, I thought I’d do a post on creating a vintage style guest room.

The guest room is usually the most forgotten room in the house.  Left for last, it gets all the cheap bedlinen and the lumpy pillows…blehhhh!!! It’s time to jazz up that dull little room, get rid of all the junk that’s been plonked in the room and turn it into a vintage bedroom to dream in.

Guest rooms are ideal for using your creativity.  Because you don’t sleep in it yourself, you can really go to town with decorating it in your own personal style.  Whether you like vintage décor or industrial modern, the principle elements in ensuring your guests enjoy their stay remain the same.

It’s always a good thing to spend one night in your own guest room so you know how comfortable the bed is and whether the pillows are lumpy and if the bed needs an extra blanket.  I want my guests to feel so comfortable in my guest room, they want to move in!  So we have to start with a comfortable bed.  Add a mattress protector for extra comfort and for protecting your mattress, it will last years longer if you do.  I like my duvets to be goose down.  They plump up nicely, keep in the warmth in winter but are cool in summer.  DON’T go polyester in the guest room. Sleeping in Polyester feels like sleeping on sandpaper…don’t do it.   Make it special.  Dress the bed in good quality 100% cotton or linen.  Pretty up the pillows with some lovely floral pillow cases.  Use feather pillows for a good night’s sleep but keep a few allergy free ones in a cupboard in case your guests are allergic to feathers.  Drape the bed with a lovely wool blanket and a few interesting cushions or a vintage floral eiderdown. If you’ve got the space add a bedside table or chest of drawers and a reading lamp.  Leave a couple of your favourite books or magazines for any late night reading.  

Hang a mirror on the wall or propped on a chest of drawers.  Don’t leave the walls bare.   Add some pictures, photos or a mixture of both.  If you’re going the vintage route, you could even use washi tape to stick some unframed photos of whoever is visiting, so that they get a sense of feeling welcome and at home.  Always give your guests more towels than what you think they’ll need.  They’ll appreciate it.   Hang some floral curtains at the window.  If the window overlooks a busy street, it’s a good idea to have fairly heavy drapes lined with blackout lining or better still install some Purlfrost here   A vase with a few handpicked flowers from the garden always get a compliment and just before your guests arrive spritz the room with a fragrant room spray  or leave a bunch of freshly picked lavender on a shelf and close the door. 

So, here’s the tick list:

·         Good comfy bed
·         Goose down duvets and feather pillows
·         Good quality 100% cotton bedding or go full out luxury 
          and buy linen
·         Throws, wool blankets or eiderdowns
·         A few cosy cushions
·         Lined Curtains
·         Wall art
·         Mirror
·         Bedside table
·         Reading lamp
·         Flowers

until next time!

(All photos are mine, please do not use without permission)

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Now you see it, now you don't...

I promised photos of the chandelier, but unfortunately I didn't take my camera along with me today so instead I'm showing you pictures of a little something we did at the little house project this weekend.

Have any of you used Purl Frost before?  I came across this wonderful window film a few years ago but never had the need to buy it so I could try it out. When I was doing the dining room makeover for my client I was thinking of installing a blind, but I didn't want to block out the natural light. The dining room overlooks a residential street full of cars.  The idea that you sit and have a meal whilst looking out onto a busy road really niggled me.  I wanted to create a tranquil space for my clients to enjoy and I didn't want their dining experience to be invaded literally by the sight of cars pulling in and out.  That’s when I remembered Purl Frost window coverings! 

You can order as little as 0.5 metre and it has a width of 1.22cm.   We opted for the plain frosting and decided to go for the 70% transparency film and left a few centimetres border around the edges.  We left the top window alone and only used Purl Frost on the large window.  It’s AMAZING how installing this film has made the space much calmer and prettier now that you can’t see the traffic outside.  You can just about make out movement directly outside the window, but the comings and goings of traffic have totally disappeared giving my clients total privacy!  No one can see into the room so the sheer curtains can remain open even at night.  From outside in the daylight you can’t see inside at all, which is exactly what I had in mind.  By far the best decision I've made during this little makeover!

Apologies for the really bad photos which I took with my iphone.

So what do you think?  Big improvement yes?
Cup of tea and feet up after all that work!

Till next time!


(this is not a sponsored post but my own opinions only)

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Holiday living

I can't believe we've been so fortunate with the weather lately. Lots of cycling along the beach and quality time spent with my eldest daughter Angelgirl.  Yesterday we took a train trip to Brighton to celebrate her 25th birthday, have lunch and enjoy some retail therapy.  

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

The chandelier is finally up and I'll be sharing a post with you as soon as I've taken some photos. In the meantime this post is all about furnishing a holiday apartment that isn't all about white washed distressed furniture and follows on my last post.

With the warmer weather and sunnier skies I am thinking of holiday living.  Picture an apartment with sea views and an ocean breeze, somewhere a bit further south of here.  Shorts, kaftans, bikini bottomed bods and cocktails on the deck.  The kind of relaxed space you want to spend time in.  Where you can shake off your flip flops and brush the sand from your toes and not bat an eyelid about the sand left on the tiled floor.  Where barefoot is the norm and heels get shoved in the back of the cupboard strictly for nights in the city.

The kind of apartment that requires little maintenance but looks cool at the same time.  So how do you go about putting all that into open plan living?  Forget white washed distressed furnishings here.  This apartment is laid back but elegant, relaxed and informal all rolled into one great space.  Take one large sofa.  Add a couple of leather statement chairs.  Pop down a groovy floor lamp for some holiday reading when it’s drizzling outside and you’re too sunburned to go out.  Create a gallery wall with a few pieces of great art, or one large statement piece, perhaps by a local artist.  And you’ll need a coffee table for those endless cocktails and snacks.   Add a good looking sideboard for hiding all the CDs, DVDs and TV remotes and use it to stand your TV on.  Throw down a few textured throws for snuggling under for when you’re still in shorts but the breeze off the sea gives you goose bumps.  Next some plump feather cushions for propping up and getting cosy.  Invest in a few faux plants, large ones, so you don’t have to worry you’ll come back to a dead delicious monster in a few months’ time.  They add instant atmosphere.  Plonk a few seagrass pouffes or a couple of large floor pillows down for extra cosiness.

Even if you have a veranda with great sea views, sometimes you’ll want to eat indoors.  You don’t want fabric chairs here. Sooner or later you’ll have little people climbing up those chairs with sticky chocolate fingers…you want to live stress free…its holiday time.  You want it to look good.  All the time.

Comfy yet? Now sink into that large squishy sofa and take a peek at that view…aren’t you the lucky one?

modern space in neutrals

modern industrial look in white

And my take on a modern apartment which is clutter free but good looking at the same time. 

Hope you are enjoying the sunshine where you live.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Apartment living

It’s been a busy week, but finally our Honeybee left for the USA on Friday for three months volunteering at a summer camp.  We’re hugely proud of her.  With three years of uni behind her, the dissertation marked and passed, she can now get on with doing what she does best, having fun! We’ve been enjoying the warm sunshine down south and have had many cycle rides along the beachfront but I haven’t done much in the way of finishing up the house project though.

A lot of my purchases I buy off eBay especially if I am looking for something special and I can’t get it locally and also because you can get lucky if you've got time to wait for the right thing to come up on auction.  However lately I’d had some really bad luck on items I’ve bought on eBay and it seems to take the edge of the excitement of winning something for a great price especially when it arrives damaged.  Even though the suppler replaces pieces, it’s just not the same.  So currently I am waiting for a glass piece to replace the broken sconce on a chandelier…I’m not very good with waiting…

Anyway a few days ago, a good friend and I were having a conversation about her newly renovated apartment and how to go about furnishing it.  For some this is an easy task but for most people it’s like having to build a computer but not having the slightest idea how to start or what components one needs to assemble it.

So let’s take a look and see what elements we need to look at in order to simply the process of furnishing it.

How will you use the space - Is this a holiday home or a permanent base?  And yes it does make a difference.  You need more space when it’s your permanent home, but you get to be more creative with a holiday home especially if you’re not renting it out.

Flooring plays a MAJOR factor in any space.  It can dictate how the space feels and can give or take away character from a room.  Does it have original wooden flooring, wall to wall carpeting or more modern ceramic tiles? What colour is the wood or the tiles, is it dark or light? You might need some rugs to cozy it up or create different zones.

Light - How much light do the windows allow into the rooms?  Are the windows small and pokey or floor to ceiling?

Wall colour - fortunately whatever the colour is in any room, this can be changed in an instant.   Paint is the easiest way to transform any room.  What colour you go for will depend on how you want the room to feel.  You can also go horribly wrong if you choose the wrong paint colour.  I’m so over seeing Magnolia everywhere…especially when there are so many exciting paint ranges on the market and a vast array of the most interesting colours we’ve ever had….so be creative, take a step outside of your comfort zone and try a new paint colour even if you only paint one wall!  Having said that, a white canvas can be just what the space needs.  It’s all about the mood you want to create.

Floor plan – open plan or traditional - the idea is that there is an even flow from one room to the next. This is more difficult to achieve with an open plan space where the kitchen, dining room and lounge all merge into one large space.  The elements that make up an open plan space need to TALK TO EACH OTHER.  You can mix pieces of furniture from different eras but you need to be careful what you’re mixing with what.  Eclectic interiors are not easy if you don’t know how to achieve the look.

Colour – don’t bring in too many colours – three to four colours at the very most.  Think about the colours you love.

Furniture – if you’re starting from scratch, this is literally a head scratching moment.  Think outside the box.  Try to stay away from everything matching.  For me it all boils down to how I want the space to feel.  Whether I’m decorating a bedroom or a dining room.  Mostly I visualise how it will look.  I make a list of what items I want to see in the room and then I start looking for them.  I never purchase everything from the same place.  This is a HUGE no no.  Putting together an interesting space takes time.  You can’t do it in a day.  It might take you a couple of months or longer.  You get the bones right, and then you start adding some cool art, a few great décor items, a couple of your favourite books, some cushions and throws etc…and suddenly it starts to take on character…your personality. This is when a space is successful, when it echoes the personality of the people who live in it.  When someone comes in and says ‘oh this is so you’…then you know you’ve done a great job. Oh and one last thing, don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely LOVE. 

Here are a few of my go to places for Art, décor items etc. 

  • All
  • Rockett St George
  • Abigail
  • TKMaxx
  • And don’t forget to trawl your local antique shops, charity shops and high street shops looking for one off pieces.

It's my birthday today and it's Father's day, so double cause for celebration.  We're off for lunch in the great British countryside.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Making a space your own

Thank you all for your comments on my last post and welcome to new followers.

While the little house project is nearly finished but not quite there yet, I thought I'd share some pics on injecting a little personality into a room without going overboard with colour.

The key to creating a room that doesn't look like its straight from the pages of a furniture brochure is to inject some of your own personality into the space.  Whether you’re a collector of vintage teapots, a reader of books or lover of art, these things add interest to the blank canvas called your space. You don’t need to have it all cluttered around you, but you can add elements that tell a story about who you are.

I like the touches of tan in the leather chairs and the different designs and textures on the cushions.  


I'm a huge fan of artwork on the wall, small pops of colour in a neutral palette mixed with some vintage pieces and I'm loving the coffee table with the built in magazine storage.

A beach feel without being over the top. This works if you actually live at the seaside.  Fish prints and oars propped up against wall indicate these people love water and the unpainted furniture has a rustic and earthy appeal. Sofas are covered in off white linen and cushions seem to have been made from old grain sacks.

Minimal, but with great pieces of furniture

Hope you're having a great Thursday!
It rained all night and there's a slight mist hanging over us with everything covered in dew...