Turning to the Darkside // Bedroom plans.

 

Hello folks, happy belated new year. No resolutions here, and definitely no dry January. However this year is the year my bedroom will cease to be the studentesque hovel of ill fitting furniture, and the year it gets its mojo back.

My bedroom is the only room (other than the bathroom) that has been left untouched since I bought this house three and a half years ago. The kids bedrooms have had two upgrades, one whilst they shared and another when they split rooms. I am sure most families find the kids rooms and receptions come first and parents spaces get put on the back burner all too often. Another reason I have never gotten around to my room is my bedroom bipolar condition….. I have no issue with thinking of ideas to capture the look and feel a  friend might want to reflect themselves in the bedroom, or even in other rooms in my own home. However, my bedroom….mind blockage everytime. If I had ten bedrooms I guess I would be fine, I could try each vibe in each room, and interchange where I relax on a mood by mood basis. Alas I live in a 1970’s three bedder so that ain’t gonna happen.

Below is the current travesty affecting my R&R. As you can see I have  a mix and match of various items I bought years ago and have since moved home with. None of which fit here or were purchased to work together.Then there is the matter of the vintage style headboard which I got for almost nothing from Gumtree when the twins were a few months (I thought the extra back support might help me in the middle of the deep dark night when I was nursing the twins;it didn’t help, but hey, I would have tried anything!)  wp-image-972029362jpg.jpgAlong with the above mishmash of hand me down furniture which I am now truly sick of, to the right here there is  an E Gomme  triple  wardrobe along with a tall dark oak period chest of drawers which has tons of storage but doesn’t work in this room/house for me. All this needs to go!!

My room isn’t huge, but its plenty big enough for me and my kingsized bed. With some concentration on spacial planning and streamlined storage I should be able to magic something up. I had biggish plans for the room width alcove (on the right of the above pic, opposite the window)  to have a reach in wardrobe/storage with sliding doors. Alas our gas boiler has banjaxed and I need to sell my kidneys to pay for that which is a boring priority I hadn’t banked on (literally).

However friends,  let’s think solutions not problems! My budget for my bedroom is now on a shoestring,  but this wont affect the majority of the plan if I use my thrifty skills. I also love a challenge and in some respects I think we all have to be more creative when we cant throw money at a problem, and if anything is going to reflect my inner diva then it will be a bargain makeover. Storage options can always be upgraded when I am more minted.

My bedroom is currently white and is north east facing meaning it only really gets direct sunlight in the summer months at sundown. I am usually a huge fan of the light and airy rooms of Scandinavian ilk, the light and bright Dutch home of Souraya Hassan or the Cali Cool laid back, boho homes created by the likes of Amber Lewis. However in my room, my usual choices will not cut it. I have been seduced by #styleitdark feeds on instagram and love the cosy, moody darkness shown in other people’s homes  and think that if I am going to try it anywhere then the bedroom is the place.Some dark side inspiration below….

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Source                                                                              Source

So here is a little moodboard to help capture the vibe I am hoping to achieve. A little moody, a little Scandi and a little Boho.  I recently jumped on the latest bargain Aldi purchase bandwagon, and bought two of the little table lamps seen below. After months of  fruitlessly waiting for ebay to show me two leggy vintage mid century  bedside tables in my budget, I actually found two of these perfect ones online at  TK Maxx. The other staples shown in the board I already own, although the lighting option for the ceiling is likely to change, but I need to see how the room looks once it is painted. Watch this space.bedroom-on-a-budget

I did have plans to DIY a jumbo pegboard-headboard from ply and dowling, but I wonder whether it might be overload with the DIY  ladderax inspired desk/shelving I have planned for the wall facing the foot of the bed.

What do you think? Have any of you turned to the dark side recently? How does it feel?

 

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Christmas Inspiration // Instagram

Like it or not, Christmas is just around the corner and by now most of us have made the annual delve into the spider infested boxes in our lofts or cupboards to haul out our sparklies to festoon around our homes. Every year I vow to up the anti in the Christmas decor stakes, however in reality I struggle to even get the tree and decorate it before the middle of December. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have noticed this year I have found some mojo from someplace within and our home is looking fairly festive already. This is largely due to the fact that I won a GiftShopDotCom voucher worth £25 via Home Style Magazine for a photo of my  dining room which featured in the magazine after being chosen from the #myhshome on Instagram.

I chose these sweet little Tea Light Houses from the GiftShopDotCom website and  I have placed battery operated tealights inside for child related issues (what else?!) and they flicker away inside without burning little fingers (or the house down for that matter), added bonus is  that the kids love turning these on for me, winner.

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I also ordered a chalk pen from ebay for a couple of quid after finding this inspiration in my feed via  Lucy Tiffneys Instagram. You may remember her creative genius from the last series of BBC’s Great Interior Design Challenge.

We are lucky enough to live five minutes walk from the sea, but also be in an  area which has a woodland landscape vibe when looking out of the window. Being a 70’s house we have large windows and our house specifically looks out over the woody areas in our little road. The main town where we live is the ever popular Deal, Kent a gorgeous old smuggling town with lots of history and architectural interest spanning centuries of different styles. The seafront and pier area is something to behold, along with an amazing High Street full of charity shops and independent cafes and retailers. Deal has a plethora of architectural gems and an amazing conservation area with more tales of smuggling and debauchery than you can throw a stick at.

Along the seafront itself two of the more unusual icons are the Timeball Tower and the old Regent Cinema building which are juxtaposed next to one another.

When my chalk pen  arrived I couldn’t wait to get freestyling on my window and it didnt take me long to finish at all. Big impact for less than £3… I used both the ecclectic seafront architecture along with the woodland-esque setting of our home in my design to create a festive window scene and I am pleased with the final result. It looks fabulous when its dark outside and the nearby street lamp looks like the Star of Bethlehem in the sky after a few mulled wines…

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Aside from this the rest of my Christmas decor is average and although it look rustic and cosy, I really would like to give it a bit more welly. I have seen some amazing inspiration from some very clever people across my Instagram feed and most of it really isn’t that difficult to achieve something rather wow! It does however require some fore planning to purchase some crafty bits and bobs and a little bit of time to faff. Here is a little round up of some of my favorites so far…

Reena from Hygge for Home  has decorated a wall hanging tree made from birch branches against the dark backdrop here, it looks simply stunning in all its simplicity. I have in fact made a version of this (or two) myself, but doesn’t look as polished as this baby, which I believe can be found here and there is a 20% off code floating about too. The smaller version is sold out at the moment.

The next lady is the talented Fiona from Around the Houses, and she has genuinely blown the Insta worlds’ socks off with her contribution to 2016 Christmas Decor DIYs and she has shown us these two amazeballs ideas. You can check out how she got the look on her blog here and here.

Kimberly Duran from Swoonworthy has literally stuck gold with her beautiful blush and gold, typically glamorous tablescape below…

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A little sneak peek of my Christmas dining room! Special post tomorrow on the blog with over 20 UK home bloggers taking part in a Christmas blog hop sharing our decor ideas, diys, recipes, table settings and more with me as the host!! Tap the pic for just some of the bloggers taking part all next week!! #UKHomeBlogHop . . . #swoonworthy #myhouse #eclectic #colourmychristmas #glam #gold #blushpink #christmas #christmasdecor #interiordesign #interiorsblogger #homedecor #flashesofdelight #visualsoflife #fearlesshome #diningroom #myhomevibe #myhousebeautiful #abmathome #apartmenttherapy #sodomino #thatsdarling #interiorinspiration #interiorlovers #instagood #homestyling #onmytable #colourmychristmas #ihavethisthingwithpink #dspink http://www.swoonworthy.co.uk/2016/12/uk-blog-hop-christmas-dining-room.html/

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The inspiration on Instagram is tremendous and endless and I prefer it to Pinterest as it is more tangible and most of those I find inspiring due to their ambiance is because they are set in real homes, the images are probably edited and  filtered, but not always photo-shopped and styled to within an inch of their lives. Its like peering into peoples homes as you walk past in the dark when the lights are on inside (in a nosy way, honest…. not a stalker way, surely its not just me?!)

Update: also check out the #UKHomeBlogHop for several of my favorites showing off their lovely festive homes on Twitter and Instagram.

Do you have any favorite Instagram accounts thriving with inspirational ideas for your home?

Kitchen Makeover Inspiration // How to Hygge your Kitchen.

Here is my kitchen/dining area. I renovated it back in 2013 before Hygge and copper were trendy. But it still works now, and we still love it.

Hygge is not a new concept however clearly it is now ‘out there’ for the masses, which is a good thing, right? A bit like when Westlife/Mariah covered Phil Collins ‘Against all Odds’…bringing it to  a new generation (no….? okay, wrong example).

p1010485But this kitchen didn’t feel like this when I bought the house. Far from it. Tired, dated and lacking in actual cupboard space this is what it was before…

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I soon realised that a peninsula between living and dining spaces was not a good option with one adult vs two babies. Walking back and forth to the sink with dirty cloths/dishes/bibs etc probably increased my step count by a couple of miles a day. I also found it hard to cope with lack of quick access cupboard space, although if you can spy the open door below in the ‘peninsula’ photo on the left; there is a large cupboard which had ample ‘dump and forget’ storage, but not much use to anyone in a hurry.

Within a couple of months of moving in I had re designed the kitchen on paper including replacing the large non opening patio ‘window’ with french doors, ripping out the small radiator (above) to allow for additional floor cupboards and work surface, and also knocking through the cupboard wall (retaining wall= bigger cost).

As  for the style of cupboard I knew I wanted something classic that was not going to date. I  also wanted white to reflect as might light as possible as the room faces north-ish. Gloss doors were all the rage but I knew I would be investing for the long term and wanted something that I wouldn’t get fed up with and also kid proof. I felt gloss might get scratched/smeared by toddlers so I decided upon a classic shaker door in white at Howdens. I also negotiated a trade discount via my builder whom I had used at my old house. After meeting the ‘designer’ and him ‘carefully’ plotting my design with technology/ measurements of my house (hear my sense of irony?)

 

When it came to the fitting my builders did the ripping out and tearing down. We also discovered Howdens had mucked up the measurements of my design and the hob was not central in the alcove (was out to one side by several inches) which threw the whole design out and would have looked crap. I quickly changed my design layout with the builder and re-ordered a different extractor in order that the focal point in this area (hob) was centered. Crisis averted, it all worked out well in the end. Nothing ever runs smoothly in the world of design they say!

Be aware that companies who deal with trade often have different prices for different tradesman, I think if your builder uses Howdens a lot then the price is cheaper. Cautionary tale – I managed to beat Howdens down on their original quote by almost half, so please don’t accept the first quote without question..

After a round a week (or two) of hammering, bashing, dust (everywhere) and eating microwave meals the kitchen, flooring, plastering, wiring and tiling was completed. Two years later and I am still very happy with it and also still trying to work out which drawer is best for endless tupperware supplies.

p1010494In the summer months the sun sets straight through the French windows and creates such a beautiful light. Above you can see how this newly formed alcove (from removing the walk in  cupboard) now makes as a more usable space.

p1010510Where the action happens….and a centred hob (area unstyled, how very un –Emily Henderson of me, sorry). The long wooden object on the end panel above is a Height Chart Ruler I made to document the kids growth.

p1010487Out in to the, then, newly laid, garden. Along with the beautiful primary coloured plastic that comes with kids.

p1010480The Kilim rug was an ebay find (from Afghanistan I believe) that I had to search for months until one I liked cropped up. I then had to wait ages for it to arrive as the wrong postcode got put on my parcel and this lovely rug was sent across the UK and back until it found its final resting place with us.

p1010512The copper pendants were (at the time) so hard to source. I eventually found those John Lewis Gideon Copper Funnel Pendants online (no longer available). Clearly now the copper trend is in full flow and there are dozens of options from which to choose.

I managed to get hold of a 2015 calendar from  Rifle Paper Company and frames each of the twelve prints in Ribba frames from Ikea. Twelve was the magic number; fitting the wall perfectly for this gallery. If you follow my Instagram you will see that I have since switched out the art to a new calendar. Its the perfect way to afford artist work that you can’t afford otherwise, as I expressed in Homestyle Mag this month with #myhsstyle.

The chairs are another vintage Ebay find and are vintage  Bertoia side chairs ; I got all six for under £100 several years ago so  imagine they are replicas but still beautiful and well made.

This kitchen always feels pretty Hygge, which for me means homely, welcoming and relaxed. If I could rewind time to a time where I had more time to make decisions there are a couple of things I would have done differently, namely doing the tiling myself as I would have paid more attention to the finer details which my builders didn’t. However all in all we love this space and it truly is the heart of the home. We celebrate,cook and eat here, get tispy (my friends and I, not the kids obvs.), craft and share our days events here.

DIY superhero lampshade: inspired by Graham & Green birdcage lamp

If you read my first ever blog post of our downstairs toilet makeover you probably saw a glimpse of my DIY birdcage lampshade, inspired by Graham and Green’s bird cage lampshade. The original was designed by Mathieu Challières and comes with the designer price tag of £495, they can also be found in The Conran Shop, and Graham & Green for a princely sum too. Luckily this style of lampshade is perfect for a DIY and that is exactly what I did here.

Today however,  I wanted to show you something rather more original/fun that I designed myself (dont worry it wont cost you £495…)
Last Autumn my twins had turned three and were ready to transition from cot beds in their shared bedroom to separate boy/girl rooms with single beds. I asked them their opinions of what they wanted their rooms to be like when they were older, and then covertly redecorated their new rooms over two days. Alas, Max never quite got a lampshade as I could not find anything inspiring that would fit his personality/style and thus he had a bare bulb-a-swinging for months!

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Pretty cool eh? I thought so and so did the little man in my life. You dont need much to be able to make one of these. I also make (and the birdcage lamps) them so if you would rather just buy one please get in touch.

What you need :-

A redundant lampshade – best type for these are with parallel sides (not tapered) as it makes wrapping the mesh easier/neater looking. I found a tired two tier shade in one of Deal’s many excellent charity shops for under £5.

Wire Florist  Mesh – I used this – Amazon £7.00 + p&p

Sandpaper – fine grit, I already had this but you can pick it up for a few pence per sheet at a local DIY store.

Primer Spray Paint – I already had some but you can buy at B&Q/Amazon/Ebay for around £5

Spray Paint – I already had a red one but you can buy at B&Q/Amazon/Ebay for around £5

Superhero figures – I already had the figures and they are around 9 cm tall. You can find them in most toy stores or ebay. £5-10

Needle nose pliers

Wire Cutters

Glue gun – if you haven’t got one just buy one, you wont regret it. I have this one   £7

Nylon threadhere  £1.75

Basically you need to rip any existing material from the exsisting lampshade you have chosen to use. This often leaves a gluey gunk on the wire rings you will have remaining after the fabric demolition . I used soap and water and a good sanding to remove this residue, leaving the rings nice and clean/smooth.
Once my top and bottom rings were clean I unrolled the florists mesh and bent it around the circumference of the hoop until it over lapped where it met.  I then carefully snipped the required length ensuring I allowed  enough overlap  to use the raw edge wire to wrap around the other raw edge to close the gaps and fix the cylinder together.

I then snipped the mesh to my desired height, again allowing for using the bottow and top squares as wrap over to fix in place at the bottom where the rings attach. Then using the pliers I  cut the first strip of wire off to allow me to use the raw edge to wraps around the hoop to secure in place.

I worked around the perimeter of the hoop, making sure the wires I twisted were as tight and neat as I could manage. Be careful, the spikes of the raw mesh are needle sharp (I stabbed myself several times!). Clothing can also get snagged so perhaps wear old clothes unless you are super careful. (I would recommend wearing gloves).

Once the top hoop was secured to the mesh and I was  happy with the shape/fit I carefully repeated the technique on the bottom hoop carefully closing the join on the long side as I went. As my shade was a double tier clearly I repeated this twice.

Thats the fiddly hard part done!

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Next up you will need to prime the wire work especially if the hoops are plastic coated wire to help the real paint adhere to the structure.  Short blasts of spray primer are best, keeping the nozzle about 30cm from the object to avoid drips. I did this outside on a dry day, by laying the rings on cardboard, waiting for each light coat on one side to dry and then turning them over. You don’t need a heavy coat for the primer, just an even one.

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Once the primer is dry you can get to the fun bit and get your coloured spray. I had red to hand and I applied two light coats to mine which covered well, again keeping the nozzle of the spray the recommended distance from the wire. Below you can get a better idea of how the wires are attached as I didn’t take any photos of the wrapping process (I didn’t plan on blogging about this)

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Okay,  so once this stage is over,  leave the newly sprayed lampshade to dry and cure for as long as you can, or as long as the tin stated is required. In my case this sat like this for two weeks waiting for the time to move to the exciting bit.

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I didnt know I would start a blog a this stage, sorry, there are only a few pictures to document how I made this; basically for the fun step I took my little superheros and mocked up where I wanted them positioned for battle. I tried to make the characters  seem to interact with one another and varied their levels and body positions. Once I was happy with all that faffing, I used my hot glue gun to glue the characters in place with blobs of glue on the soles of their feet and in their little fists which grasp the wire mesh quite nicely too. Captain Americas’ shield and Thors’ hammer were also glued in place to save them falling out of their hands later in life. I hope you can see, but Superman there is actually suspended in flight …this was achieved by carefully threading the invisible nylon thread around his body and neck and then fastened to the cross wires in the top ring to fasten him in the typical ‘superman’ pose. It was fiddly but you’ll get there in the end.

 Yes, that’s dust but it helps show you the nylon more clearly ! 😉

I hope you got some lampshade inspiration from either the birdcage lamps or the superhero cage. I would love to see any of  your own takes on this; I think my daughter wants a fairy magic version now too. Watch this space….

From Drab to Fab: Downstairs toilet makeover.

One of the many reasons this house was a winner when I saw it was the handy downstairs toilet as well as a fully functioning bathroom upstairs. I imagined that once I began toilet training the kiddos, not having to dash with child or potty outstretched in arms, up the stairs would be a big plus.

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As you might notice this room is naturally dark, owing to the tiny window  with bumpy privacy glass, which looks out into our closed porch. The cold, uninspiring lavender walls did not help the gloom factor, added to the fact that during the winter months, because this washroom backs onto to the porch, it is  f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g.

The living room and kitchen-diner in our home are fairly calm and soothing in palette, but I really wanted to have some fun making this small, dark room a pleasant place to tend to the call of nature. Once upon a time in my early 20’s my decor tastes were much more far out….I  once rented a tiny wee cottage where the previous tenant had gone to town with the paint brush already, so I painted the bathroom bright orange and decoupaged, (and sealed!) the toilet seat with  comic strips (the toilet seat was wicked mind you). Where better to release my inner 20 something than in the crapper??

Enough talking, already….here are the afters.

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I  had fallen hard for some of the botanical designs by  by Hanna Werning and Josef Frank; especially the beautiful Eldblomma wallpaper, all sadly out of my price range and mostly impossible to buy in the UK. After browsing online retailers I found  ‘Acorus’ wallpaper by Holden Decor and ordered three rolls.

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Although this room is tiny,  it was a pig to wallpaper as there are so many corners, obstacles, pipes, nooks and crannies. It took me the best part of eight hours to finish completely. But I am so happy with the final product (sorry about the not so fab pics).

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The art work is the front cover of a Rifle Paper Company calendar (bought from a UK supplier, sadly now out of stock) I bought last year, framed with an inexpensive Ikea frame.toiletcloseup

I have since swapped out the plant for a fake orchid as the natural (lack of) light in here will not sustain any plant life.

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To add the the secret garden that is now our downstairs toilet I also made a Birdcage Lampshade inspired by La Voliere lampshade, but at a fraction of the price. I need to get my electrician friend over to switch out that flush mounted ceiling fitting for a pendant, but other than that , the job’s a good’un!

Hope you enjoyed.