Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Shed Chic

These early mornings are definitely much cooler don’t you think, a little dewy and a little nippy.  Almost time to replant the tulips I took out and carefully wrapped in newspaper a few months ago...let’s hope they flower next Spring…

My garden is tiny, I call it my courtyard garden because compared to what I had previously, it’s like having a garden the size of a bathroom….it’s also low maintenance (which I love!)  I have faux grass (becoming more and more popular nowadays!)  and a long narrow strip of planting beds, enough to grow cut flowers and indulge my new love of gardening.  And I have a shed.  It was a sorry looking shed, which was brown and unloved and full of spiders and forgotten boxes we have yet to unpack even after seven years….so not a place I go into often.  But all because of a tin of really cheap metal and wood paint found on the bargain shelf at B&Q, I got the urge to paint it and vintage it all up!  So armed with one litre of bargain paint costing £10 in a colour that’s not quite sage green, not quite grey, and definitely not white, we set about painting this sorry looking shed one Sunday afternoon, because that’s what you do on Sunday when you think the sun has gone on holiday for the day and then when you’re in the throes of painting it comes out again, furiously hot and shining, making you all sweaty and unpleasant!  Anyway, the one litre tin of paint was just enough to cover two sides of the shed because the shed is in the corner of my garden and that’s all it needed.

We didn’t stop there.  We unpacked the tiny shed, which was pretty much packed to ceiling height inside, taking lots of unused and unloved things to the recycling tip…leaving us with an almost empty shed and the two tired and exhausted and not to mention dirty people!

A few days later I asked hubby to vacuum out the shed and suck up all the nasties lurking in the corners in thick cobwebs.  We bought another litre of paint this time in a soft pink and another in a vintage green colour, both off the bargain shelf at B&Q and already mixed….haven’t tackled the inside yet but I want it to look bright and cheerful.  This shed is so tiny, I can’t even stretch out both arms across the width, but nevertheless, I want this tiny space to look gorgeous with vintage finds and by adding pretty things.  I also want to create a little ‘potting corner’ for the budding gardener inside of me, spurred on by my lovely green fingered friend Irene! 

So what’s the first thing you do when you move into a house?  Yes, you’re right, you start making curtains.  So here in this tiny shed, with one tiny window looking out over my miniscule garden, I hung some hand made by me floral curtains which I strung up with garden string and tied onto nails.  (the curtains are odd – I deliberately wanted the curtains to look like odd bits of fabric sewn together) I also hung some five minute bunting, which is how long it took me to make it, propped a little bottle with faux flowers and a teeny weeny watering can on the inside window ledge and the window is dressed...so now the shed window looks good from the outside too…and it’s amazing the difference it has made to the view from the house….

 I’m totally into this shed, might even move in!  So pretty, what do you think?  

( At the time I didn't even think of taking photos...so I don't have any before pics, but trust me, it's a huge improvement!)

Saturday I’m going to the Antiques on the Green….if you live nearby do pop in, it promises to be vintage heaven!

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Nature's bounty

Thank you for your lovely comments on my previous projects, I have a few more to show you and then I might finally be able to show you the dining room!  My last post was all about taking something that cost nothing and turning it into something beautiful.  This is a similar post and ties in nicely with getting something for free.

It rained on Saturday but it didn’t last long and so early morning we went out meandering around our local antique/vintage shops I haven’t visited for a while.  An old artist, a man who I spent time with doing a painting for a friend of mine, had died and his shop had been turned into a lovely vintage looking flower shop. On the way out, in the window I spied a green vase and I fell in love with it instantly.  It has a very vintage feel to it, but I think it’s the shade of green.  Of course then I needed the flowers, the Ammi Visnaga, so beautiful and white, the Clematis, the tiny daisy like flowers (don’t know the name) mint, and some green lollipop looking flowers and I had to look them up first to tell you the name - Dianthus Barbartus!  I wanted cottage garden flowers, like I’d just picked them myself. 

We are very fortunate to live about 5 minutes from the seashore but also have green areas where in summer, hedgerows of ripe fruit are abundant as well as wild flowers.   Late afternoon we took ourselves out for a walk and I took along my gardening scissors and a container for foraging because you just never know what you might find when out walking.  Mother Nature did not disappoint…..there was enough blackberries for hundreds of bottles of delicious sweet jam or a sauce for vanilla ice cream.   The fruit proved more difficult to get to than the flowers.  Prickly and with the ripest ones high up and out of reach, I only managed to pick 500ml, but enough to have with ice cream! On the way back a neighbour was picking his apples that had fallen from his tree and placing them in bags to offer to whoever passed by. He offered us a bag to take home and said he makes puree and freezes it so instead of making a crumble I'm thinking of making an apple puree which can also be used as a sweet sauce…rich pickings for an afternoon walk!

Sometimes it’s the small things in life that gives us the most joy and walking in amongst the wild flowers, picking fruit and flowers to my left, and watching the boats bob up and down on my right, is pure contentment!

and these are the wild flowers and fruit we picked later in the day:

And last but certainly not least - welcome to my new followers, thanks for joining me!

Hope you have a wonderful week!

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 d├ęcor 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.