Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Bedroom Renovation and Statement Lighting

I'm doing a merry little jig around the house because I've just taken delivery of two large boxes containing some beautiful table lamps that I ordered for Angelgirl’s bedroom.  As you might have read from previous posts, we’re doing a little makeover in her bedroom. 

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know we started with a house renovation project last year.  I remember when I first set eyes on this renovation project, I looked at the mess, thinking, urgh.... I'm having doubts, I just can’t see past the rubble and muck left by the last tenants…that’s how I felt when I first saw this property.  There was so much filth, grime, rubbish, old furniture, cat poo, mould growing everywhere….almost looked like a condemned building (okay I'm exaggerating but you get the idea) It took us a few weeks to clean it up, drive away the rubbish and then start on prettying it up.

Here are a few photos of the bedroom before the renovation, which gives you a good idea how awful it was. Actually this room was one of the cleanest in terms of rubble and dirt.  We painted the whole house using just two colours throughout, except the dining room reveal and then we laid down the carpet.  Medium grey, soft and squishy under your feet kind of carpet with a deep pile.

It started to feel like home for Angelgirl.  But she still wasn't finished.  Mademoiselle wanted wallpaper of the glamorous kind. We  had just enough wallpaper over to hang against the wardrobe wall side, the light bounces in from the opposite window and gives the wallpaper a lovely shimmery effect. Once the wallpaper was hung, we realised the iron bedstead, although nice enough, was a bit too vintage/boho looking for the wallpaper, so we bought a new fabric covered bed with a headboard.  We chose grey because it’s a great neutral colour and most colours go well with grey, you can mix it with pastels, pinks, blues and more greys…so perfect.

The bedroom looked really ‘nice’ before, but hanging this wallpaper and swapping out the bed changed the entire look to a more sophisticated one, but something was still missing – great lighting.  The Ikea lamps she had were basic, small and uninteresting but at the time that’s all she could afford.  They didn't say wow and they didn't complement the newly hung wallpaper – or the bed.  Enter the great statement table lamp and this is when I was doing the merry little jig – which makes me sound like some little Irish Leprechaun doing a jig around a toadstool…which I'm not...I promise...anyway

Sometimes all you need to do is change out the table lamps.  I'm not advocating that all table lamps should be enormous, some little nooks call for a tiny lamp propped on a pile of books, but this bedroom needed BIG and these are around 60cm high.  Large table lamps make a room look more opulent and expensive.  The bedroom has gone from pretty nice to boutique hotel bedroom.  It looks so inviting that I feel like moving in myself…

A few before photos. The door you see in the photo no 2 is actually a little closet with shelving.  We took the door off and remodelled the entire area adding two deep clothing rails and a billy bookcase, and then closed it all off with mirrored sliding doors.

 In between with the iron bedstead and Ikea lamps.

And as it looks now, completely finished (I should have ironed the bedding before I took pics!) 
With the new lamps from Joss and Main.

If your bedroom is aching for a makeover, and you would like me to redesign it for you

Have a great week!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Summer table decor

It's hot down south... I had quite forgotten how warm summer can get here in little old England.  Now I have no excuse for not cycling along the beach front and getting a little exercise...at least there is a breeze when I cycle.  Talking of heat, my seeds I planted a few months ago have all flowered and my little courtyard garden is full of cottage flowers in pots and my roses are flourishing.  I am trying hard not to pick them!  My wild flower meadow mix was a bit of a disaster, with more weeds than anything else, so I pulled them out and scattered a few delphinium seeds and already one week later I have green shoots smiling at me!  I'm still obsessed with flowers, and I love using them to brighten up the table decor.

A few days ago it was my eldest daughter’s 26th birthday. It’s a tradition in our home that we celebrate birthdays with a family meal. This lady likes her flowers too, so I went for a mix of peonies and roses on a white tablecloth with pops of gold, because she does like a little sparkle! I bought my peonies from a local flower seller in Southsea, I haven’t seen any local supermarket selling these lovely blooms so when I saw them at the stall, I snapped up two bunches!

For me, decorating the table is one of the most enjoyable parts of giving a dinner party. Even with the few flowers I grow myself I would have enough to fill pretty vases or jars and place them all over the table. If you don’t have vases, try using tea light votives as long as they’re waterproof.  The more vases you have the better it looks.  For my centrepiece I used a crystal candelabra I bought from Bellamy’s Antiques many years ago, they always stock unusual and beautiful items.  I added gold chargers and gold and white cotton napkins from Zara Home, which I used at my Christmas Table. The silver heart name holders I bought several years ago for a valentine’s dinner, they add a touch of formality to the occasion but it was all meant to be a little bit tongue in cheek because Angelgirl loves hearts. I mixed metals but it lightened and brightened the table and kept it informal and casual looking.

This was the last of our family birthdays for the year.  Are you planning any summer dinner parties?


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Rug Appeal

For a while now I've been looking for a rug.  As some of you might already know, I'm updating a little room and turning it into an office.  The room already has a neutral colour carpet, also known as beige, and this is staying, because you’ll remember from this post, that the plan is to shop the home for items I can use here and spend less than £500!  Challenging! So I only wanted a small rug, something to sit under the desk and add a little visual appeal. 

Rugs are funny things.  They need to visually appeal, but they shouldn't detract from everything else that’s going on in a room. Especially if the rug isn't supposed to be the focal point in the room.  It’s sort of the canvas upon which the rest of the pieces of furniture need to be displayed, just like using certain colours, it’s utterly important to get it right.

Anyhow on with the rug story. Finally I found a rug I was happy with.  This one comes from Joss and Main.  It’s a great little site where they curate all different furniture/accessories sales under one website.  The only downside is that the items are only available for 2-3 days so if you don’t buy it when you see it, you lose it!  And believe me I've done that a few times. But I learn fast, now when I see something I absolutely LOVE, I don’t hesitate.   Anyhow this little zigzag pattern had me at the start….although I previously said I wanted something simple, no pattern, just texture, I am really in love with this rug.  I knew it would work with the pieces already in the room and the pops of natural wood. It has a really plush pile, the colour is just right, a great pattern and complements the other elements in the room without overpowering them and it’s not fighting for attention either which is a good thing when the rest of the pieces in the room are mostly white except for the artwork and a few accessories.

My peonies eventually opened,  all but 3 of them.  I've started picking my sweet peas because someone told me the more you pick them the more they grow!

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Devon countryside

Hello lovely people, apologies for not stopping by your blogs this last week, we've been away but I promise to catch up with you all soon.

I'm deviating a little from my usual interior post to share our recent trip to North Devon.  We experienced our very own ‘far from the madding crowd’ in the pretty rural countryside.

We stayed in a National Trust cottage in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and driving down the steep narrow path to the cottage with old oaks leaning over creating a canopy of beautiful green leaves with the dappled sunlight dancing on the flowers….it was almost magical, especially when we passed a pink and pretty thatched cottage on the way.

Hidden from view and tucked in amongst the trees, the cottage sits in the beautiful secluded woods of the Peppercombe valley.  The cottages were traditionally built out of Cob in the late 18th century, to house the officers of what was then called the Preventive Service – tasked with policing this wild stretch of coast to prevent smuggling!  Whilst being sympathetic to the original building and original features, it has been modernised in such a sensitive manner, we hardly noticed the modern amenities, but were ever grateful for them none the less!

We woke to birds chirping and the sound of a babbling brook at the bottom of the garden…idyllic...  It was the remoteness of the cottage that first lured me in, that and the fact that mobile phones were completely useless in this area, just what we wanted…

We lit a cosy fire each night, ate delicious cheese, sipped Blackberry wine, read books and just listened to nature talking.  It was a wonderful getaway.  Most days we pulled on the hiking boots, flask in rucksack (all provided by the cottage!) and took ourselves off to various walking routes along the coast.   We’d come back exhausted, with burning calves and a healthy red glow about the cheeks!

The cottage is decorated sparsely but in keeping with a traditional 18th century cottage, but with hidden comforts like heated towel rails in the bathroom, fluffy white bath sheets and a very cosy and comfortable bed. 

The valley was teaming with birds and wild flowers in abundance.  I've never seen so many foxgloves out in the countryside...

It’s made me want to pack up sticks and move out to the lovely English Countryside, grow my own vegetables and keep a few chickens, take up knitting and jam making, all at once!


Now back to the noise of the modern world....

Hope you enjoy the week!


Monday, 1 June 2015

DIY - brass and glass side table

You might be getting a little bored with my posts lately, as they all seem to be DIY makeovers of the Ikea kind!  

But before I move on to the makeover, you’ll remember I told you a few posts back  how I planted some Ice Berg and David Austin roses at the front of our property. Well, they were doing really well, until a few days after I had planted them, I noticed one of the stems at the base had been twisted in an effort to tear off one of the branches from the iceberg roses.  Whoever did this didn't manage to sever it because rose stems are hardly things, but sadly, it was too far gone for me to save it so I had to cut it off...including the buds!  Last Friday afternoon I noticed the base stem of one of my David Austin roses laying limp and prostate on the soil and realised once again some wicked minded person had once again damaged my roses! It seems like it is the same person as the damage is the same on both rose bushes.  I cannot tell you how annoyed I was at finding this and how so utterly despondent it makes me feel!  I waited until hubby came home and convinced him reluctantly to dig up the roses from the front and place in the tiny garden at the back where hopefully they will be able to thrive without being vandalised! They seem to have settled rather nicely with their leaves looking all perky and with the recent rain I do hope they flourish! Anyway, that is my moan for the week, so now swiftly moving on to my latest DIY.

Last weekend we wallpapered Angelgirl’s guest room, ready for her friend who is coming to visit from South Africa in a few weeks’ time.   She wanted something with a subtle and sophisticated pattern and nothing too garish.  We were also thinking of replacing the bedside cabinet which was very ordinary looking and rather too small for the bed.  I saw a few on  Joss and Main  and really liked the brass and glass look but they were either a bit too short in height for the bed or they were more than I was hoping to pay.  So I hopped on over to Ikea yet again and saw a round glass topped table for £25 that I thought would be perfect and wouldn't cost me my weekly shop!   I do love a brass and glass table, and this was perfect for a DIY Ikea hack.  

Initially I was concerned that the gold spray paint would ruin the look, but I am glad I went ahead because I love how it’s turned out.  And by the way, I’m still using the same can of Montana Gold spray paint that I've used several times now and I also sprayed the four tiny black foam stickers the glass rests on so you don’t see any black at all.   It has a rather French feel to it, nudged on no doubt by the little gold Eiffel tower next to the pot of lovely faux flowers.  We’re still playing around with table lamps swapping them out with others that are already in her house, and we thought this black and chrome one actually suited the style of the bedroom even though it’s a different metal but I’m in two minds whether it should stay or not.  I didn't want to completely overkill the brass effect and have another DIY brass like lamp in this room, so this way it looks less contrived.  We threw down a faux sheepskin on the floor to increase the cosy factor ever mindful that this is a rarely used bedroom and to be budget conscious. I’d love to see a large sunburst style mirror over the bed or just above the table but I don’t think Angelgirl wants anything else in that room.  I've already had to restrain myself from banging a few nails in and hanging some artwork as daughter does not enjoy art on the walls as much as her mother does but with the new Command Strips, I might just be able to twist her arm!

At the moment the bedding is all vintage with lots of florals and has a slightly vintage glam girl look, but it’s probably going to be changed for crisp white with a few colourful cushions.

Here's what we started with:

And here's what we ended up with:


So a small resource list: 
  • Metal and glass table £25 Ikea
  • Faux sheep skin £10 Ikea
  • Little Eiffel Tower - Paris
  • Pale pink Fur cushion on bed - Matalan £14
  • Small floral cushion - vintage Sanderson fabric
  • Floral Duvet - Amazon
  • Wallpaper from The Decor Shop, Cosham Portsmouth

Have a great week!