It’s been a long time – nearly a year! – since I shared a house update. We were dithering over whether to move for a while, but ended up doing a bit of building work earlier this year (taking down a wall in the hallway to the back door, opening up my spare/study/sewing/guest room into a bigger room) which has made the whole flat work a lot better. (Well, I have more space, so no longer have itchy feet.)
Category: interiors (page 1 of 7)
When John Lewis offers to send you vouchers to pick some homeware goodies to share their Copenhagen range, you say yes please! We haven’t really done anything to the flat lately… we are waiting for a builder to be available as we’re planning a bit of wall-knocking-down, which is quite exciting. But in the meantime it was nice to select a few new accent pieces to give the living room and bedroom a bit of a new look.
John Lewis created the Copenhagen edit to highlight products with that lovely Scandi mix of warmth and texture but with a clean and minimal finish. Modern monochrome sits alongside natural woods and calming neutrals. My whole flat is in this style already, so it was great to pick out some complementary pieces.
In the living room, I chose a new table lamp to replace a tired old Ikea one, which perfectly matches the greys of our sofa as well as echoing the tripod shape of the Tu floor lamp in the corner.
I’m keen to add a bit of graphic monochrome to sharpen up the look in here, so picked the Copenhagen cushion.
For the bedroom, I picked a new duvet set. It’s a lovely silky cotton, and two-sided so you can switch it up.
I also chose the Devon lamp, which throws lovely shapes across the room when lit and matches our tree wallpaper perfectly.
Here are some more of my favourite items from the collection. What would you pick?
Goods supplied by John Lewis for review.
My sister Natalie moved into her new flat a couple of weeks ago, and an Instagram I took went down well so I thought I’d share a few more photos, along with the housewarming gift I made her. I have house envy to be honest, it’s making me want to move and start over with ours!
It’s a first floor flat in a low 60s block in East London. It’s light and pretty spacious, and she’s done a brilliant job decorating: it’s very ‘her’, cosy and colourful, but still in keeping with the 60s architecture. The sofa is from Made.com and do you recognise one of my old chairs? I donated it when we got a new armchair.
My favourite part is the seating area in the long living room. The coffee table is vintage G-plan from Past Caring on Essex Road, and the fluffy round rug is Ikea. She’s got the same ladder shelf from John Lewis as we do in our bedroom.
On the far wall she used the same Cole & Sons wallpaper as our bedroom too. (She lived with us while the purchase was going through so picked up a few ideas – as well as hand-me-downs!) The beautiful sideboard was another great vintage find from a shop in Finsbury Park.
For a housewarming/birthday gift I made her this sofa throw/lap quilt, to keep up the fox theme. You can read about all the nerdy construction details if you’re interested over on my sewing blog. We also made that cushion using dashwood studio fabric.
Luckily the kitchen was modern and in good nick so didn’t need changing. There was a hideous textured glass-panelled wall with an old-fashioned serving hatch dividing the kitchen from the living room which came down, and a breakfast bar went in. The bar was custom cut by Unto This Last and looks great.
She inherited my old table and chair (Ikea) to use as a desk. The gorgeous light is from Tu at Sainsburys, but seems to be discontinued; the typewriter print is from Paperchase.
I made this storage cube for her, just by staple-gunning an old hinged-lid box with a layer of padding then flannel fabric from Plush Addict.
She’s an English grad and works in a London museum, so there’s a literary and London theme throughout. A touch of Penguin book wallpaper in the bedroom!
This is the before! Scraping off the woodchip was a team effort – it took FOREVER but was definitely worth it. I’m so pleased she’s in and has made such a lovely home. It also means I have my spare room back, so next on the list is sorting out my own study/sewing space.
Time for another little house update – quite a few things are new thanks to some lovely Christmas and birthday presents.
Some new mantel pottery: the white biscuit vase is (allegedly) Troika via eBay and the blue-dipped vases were a present from Josh.
I love this giant scallop-painted vase, also a Christmas present (from Habitat).
The art above the fireplace is new too, a Kai and Sunny screenprint.
Dying flowers, still pretty though
I made this footstool from an old duvet.
A new owl pal (from the Donna Wilson sample sale back in December) perched on top of the bookcase.
Gorgeous new kitchenware by Tom Butcher
Sewing notions are taking over! I can’t wait to get my own room back (my sister’s been staying with us for a while) and organise it into a proper sewing space with a home for everything.
We didn’t get a tree this year – even a baby one in the garden centre was £30 and we really don’t have the space. So instead I just bought a couple of large fir branches (£2.50 each), popped them on the fireplace and adorned them with lights and baubles. I think it looks just as pretty and festive as a whole tree!
I got the little horse and sausage dog from Jonathan Adler in the sale earlier this year – they are actually supposed to be Christmas tree ornaments but I keep them up all year.
Muji candles are my favourite: they cost like £3 each and smell gorgeous.
I found the berry twigs on the pavement after someone had cut their bushes – free decorations for the win.
I made my cards this year using my loaned Cricut machine (first blogged here). There are tons of pretty Christmassy designs available so I picked out these ones and simply stuck them onto decorative paper (leftover wrap and some Japanese washi paper). Super quick but effective.
Ugh, autumn is truly here isn’t it? I swear it got dark at 3pm yesterday, so miserable. In my mind the only good things about the gloomy seasons are of the edible and quaffable varieties: a few months of soups, stews and mulled things make it all bearable. So I was happy to get an email from Garden Trading asking if I’d like to try out an apple press from their range of harvest season products. If you haven’t heard of Garden Trading yet, they make timeless and practical homewares that look equally at home in a country cottage or a more modern setting: I’ve got their enamelled metal lightshades in both my bedroom and kitchen.
Here’s the sweet little apple press they sent me. Crafted from solid wood and pretty sage green painted cast iron, it feels solid and well made. It’s nice and petite so fits onto the kitchen worktop easily.
It comes ready to roll, complete with a mesh pulping bag, pressing blocks and simple instructions.
To give it a whirl, I bought a lovely range of apples from my local greengrocer: a mix of eating apples like Granny Smith and Gala for sweetness mixed with cooking varieties like Bramley for sharpness. Don’t they look pretty? The 9kg I bought yielded about 6 litres of juice.
The process is pretty simple, though you need a bit of elbow grease and be prepared to get pulpy and sticky! First wash and roughly chop the apples: I did this by hand but for a larger batch you’d probably want to use something more mechanised. Then you need to roughen/pulp them up a bit: we used a stick blender but a bowl food processor would have been quicker and cleaner. Give them a good whiz so they’re broken down but not entirely mush.
Load the mesh bag into the barrel and fill with the pulpy apple goop. (This photo shows our first try where we hadn’t whizzed them up enough and they would not press: the right consistency looks more pulpy than this.)
Pop the pressing blocks on top and start turning. Ta-da, out pours lovely apple juice! Of course you can just drink it right away, but I really fancied trying to make cider from it, with a little help from the live-in brewer boyfriend. It just requires a couple of extra supplies and ingredients – cider yeast, Campden tablets and PET bottles, all which I got from Brew UK – as well as the fermentation bottle and airlock which Josh already had from beer brewing.
The Campden tablet stops any wild yeasts or bacteria from mucking up the fermentation, as well as lightening the colour. After 24-48 hours the cider yeast is added, then it needs to be tucked away away under the stairs for a couple of months, so it should be ready just in time for Christmas. Can’t wait to try it!
We also had a bit leftover to drink straight away, to which I added some of this Morris Kitchen ginger syrup I got in Brooklyn. Delicious. The juice can be frozen too, which would be handy if you’re lucky enough to have a glut of apples to use up. All in all, top autumnal fun.
I’m loving this new Underground 150 collection from Fired Earth, a collaboration to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Tube.
The Edwardian range, based on original early 20th century tile molds.
These Landmark tiles are also reproduced from original molds from 1939.
Some classic Underground signage recreated in faithful typefaces.
To complement the range they’ve also got a fabulous range of repro posters spanning the entire 20th century.
A few updates from the house, garden, and furry ones…
We solved our kitchen storage dilemma with this lovely Lean Man console from And Then Design. I just love it – it’s perfect for the space, beautifully made, and I can finally fulfil my dream of having grains, pulses and sugar stored in twee vintage jars.
Of course, it stayed this pristinely tidy for approximately three days and is now covered with mail, pottery and other life miscellany. Minimalist I will never be.
Here’s the Clive Pearson pot I picked up in Clovelly – it matches my (similarly named but I think unrelated) Colin Pearson goblet very well.
The garden’s ticking along nicely, with the veg taking it in turns to give us tiny harvests – broccoli, broad beans, tomatoes and chillies.
Yoni is taking his first steps outside since his accident. Obviously I’m a wreck whenever he goes out of sight, but his leg has healed up marvellously and seeing how happy he is outdoors makes it feel OK about it.
Lila’s so happy whenever we’re outside with her!
What a gorgeous weekend! We took the chance to get out and finish off our little outside space. I’m really pleased with how it’s looking now. It’s like having an extra room when the sun shines, and the west-facing aspect means it’s especially nice in the evenings for a post-work drinky.
Here’s some before shots. We did most of the heavy lifting work last year, when we replaced the paving slabs, levelling the uneven ground in the process, removed tons of weeds and and rebuilt the beds with railway sleeper edging. We also painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Mizzle’ and replaced the broken door.
This spring we’ve just been doing the finishing touches and fun stuff. We put up cheap bamboo screening across the ugly fences as a semi-temporary measure, but I quite like the effect it gives of a more enclosed room-like space. We’ve planted up the beds with a variety of things: hebes, Mexican orange blossom, ferns, alliums, cabbage trees and a baby magnolia.
The sunnier corner has lots of freestanding planters for the veggies, which seem to be thriving. We’ve got broad beans, mange tout, tomatoes, squashes, broccoli and strawberries – Josh even has a hop vine.
I’m so proud of how well the veg are doing. We enjoyed the first mini harvest of sprouting broccoli and mange tout with our dinner the other night.
The boring side: storage box for tools etc, attractive waste bin, odd bits of wood to get rid of. This side doesn’t get much sun so we don’t use it much.
We cooked a delicious pizza out on the firepit a couple of weeks ago, and I’m looking forward to hosting a ‘garden-warming’ barbecue soon.
Well we had a pretty intense weekend with a very long to-do list of house tasks: mostly involving cleaning, removing and assembling stuff. But there was definite light at the end of the tunnel by Sunday evening, and the best part was finally finishing off the bedroom. It’s been a long time coming… soon after moving in we wallpapered and painted the walls, bought some cheap curtains and put in a fitted wardrobe, but it was full of old mismatched furniture from our previous rentals and needed tying together. After this weekend – nearly three years after moving it – I’m calling it done! And I love the result. Let’s take a tour…
Here’s the view from the door. The bed is the Lansdowne from Made.com which I’ve been very pleased with – it’s super comfy and sturdily constructed and I love the padded headboard for reading. The reading spotlights were supposed to be wired in but our wall wasn’t suitable so we had them adapted to be plugged with a coloured flex. I got two sets of Orla Kiely stem-print bedding while it was on sale at Achica. The wallpaper is Cole & Sons ‘Trees’.
We were going to get a custom bookcase built to fit this annoying sticky-out bit of wall, but then found this John Lewis one that was the perfect width to fit. I built and installed it single-handed on Sunday morning, then tried – and got bored – colour-coding our books.
View from the far corner by the window. Like the living room we’ve got a lot of mid-century style wooden furniture in here. It took quite a long time to source each one and get a set that sort-of matches and suits our storage needs. The latest addition is this adorable sideboard from Hopper and Space.
Hello mirror-me! The dresser by the window serves as my vanity area and storage for more books.
This room’s a little lighter on the art and clutter than the rest of the flat – for now anyway. I’m not really sold on this wall config, but I love both my Kozyndan bunny prints and the vintage letterpress sketches, and it’s a big wall to fill. Maybe I’ll put all four bunnies along here and the letters above the bed.
There’s a touch of vintage pottery and indoor planting going on in here too. The pussywillow branches and aloe vera are from Columbia Road market – a treat on Sunday afternoon after the hard work. Pro tip: get there around 4pm as the traders are packing up and you’ll get a bargain.
Our coats and laundry are tucked away behind the door. We got the big fitted wardrobe built across the back wall a little while ago. It’s not exactly beautiful, but it stores a hell of a lot of stuff – all of our clothes, spare bed linen, suitcases etc. Debating switching the handles and maybe adding some kind of decal to the doors to make it a bit prettier.
I think this means it comes cat-approved. He pleasingly fits the colour scheme, too.
Wallpaper: Cole & Son ‘Trees’
Paint: Dulux ‘Egyptian Cotton’
Wardrobe: Sliderobes doors and custom-made frame
Bedding: Orla Kiely via Achica
Lights: Garden Trading, adapted to be plugged with Fabric Cable flex
Bookcase: John Lewis
Mirror, dresser, pictures, bedside table, vases, pots: secondhand/vintage