With holidays over, we’re planning a few tweaks and improvements round the house at the moment.
We’ve been planning to paint the chimney breast a darker shade of grey for ages, and I think we’ve found a good grey (Little Greene’s Lead). I think the Photoshop mockup shows it will look pretty cool, and draw even more attention to the pretty fireplace.
We also need some new curtains made, as the current ones are too flimsy and I don’t really like the pattern any more. I really love the grey arrows fabric above right (from Spoonflower) but just weeping over the expense at 9 yards of it plus insulating lining right now.
This space is really bugging me at the moment. We’ve got quite a narrow walk-through past the kitchen breakfast bar to get into the living room, and at the moment it’s basically a dumping ground for coats, the hoover, recycling bags and so on. I’d like to make better use of it, and it would be useful to have a ledge of some sort there for dumping keys and post, but it can’t stick out too far or it will get constantly knocked. There’s also an ugly radiator in the way! Thinking a kitchen island/trolley of some sort but haven’t found any thin enough (sub-40cm). Any ideas?
I also want to paint the bit of wall on the left as you walk in (behind the bin) in a chalkboard paint, but can’t decide whether to go right up to the ceiling or cut it off where doorway ends.
Finally, a quicker win. I found these adorable push pins in Paperchase so I want to decorate an old corkboard to match them. I’ll either just paint it or cover it in a cute fabric.
I brought back a few souvenirs for the house from Brighton, and gave the fireplace yet another rearrange…
I was happy to spot the Cable & Cotton shop in Brighton as I’d been hovering over the ‘buy’ button on their website for a while, after seeing their lovely bespokely-coloured bauble lights on Kerry’s blog. The shop’s a fun experience where you can fill a basket with your selection of colours from the containers, then you receive your appropriately-sized fairylight cable at the till. We picked some tones of yellow and grey to sit in our non-functional fireplace and make it feel a bit more cosy.
I’ve got a bit of a thing for West German / lava / studio pottery at the moment – again I blame blogs for kicking off this obsession, namely Fat Cat whose collection I’ve been coveting for a while. They remind me a little of the stuff my parents and aunt had when I was growing up, so there’s a certain nostalgia to my fondness for it. Sadly (or perhaps a bit luckily) it’s not Josh’s aesthetic cup of tea at all so I can’t go mad and buy loads to throw onto every spare bit of shelf, but I think a few selected pieces in more muted tones look great.
I got the Colin Pearson stoneware goblets from the Marina Car Boot for a fiver, and the brown tenmoku vase and candle dish from the Kemp Town Flea Market, £9 for the two.
It feels quite strange to be done with all the ‘big’ house renovations, at least until the summer when we can finish off the garden. We just have a small list of tasks for the coming months: a bit of repainting, some built-in bookshelves in the bedroom and, less excitingly, to fix the mysterious patch of damp that’s appeared in the hallway. Right now I am just finding homes for all of my Christmas presents…
My mantelpiece aviary has grown and nestled amongst some vintage boxes
Cat and pots in the bedroom (the middle vase is from the Habitat sale, rest are vintage)
Kitchen updates: box from Josh (via Ebay), Lush Designs tray from my aunt and Lisa Stickley oven glove.
Josh is having a bit of a rearrange in his man den, with a new chest of drawers on the way.
I’m pleased to see that Urban Outfitters UK is taking a leaf out of the US’s book and adding more homewares to its range. Much of it is online only, but there’s a great selection of rugs, bedding, storage and knick-knacks. And isn’t the photo styling nice and enticing?
Rugs starting at just £12. I fancy a bright floral one to give some colour to my study.
Storage and shelving. How cute is that heart-shaped curio shelf and little retro record stand (which I nearly bought as a bedside table)? I hope they get more of the US furniture stock in because they have some great sideboards, coffee tables and sofas on there.
I really, really don’t need more cushions (I had to retire some the other day to actually fit myself on the sofa) but omg, kittens and foxes.
Finally, finally found the (nearly) perfect bedside table, after months of eBay saved searches and keeping eyes peeled at every vintage store and market. Simple, stylish, good storage, matches the other unit and the bed well. Welcome to the family.
I was asked to post an update about whether this gadget has changed our drinking habits – and look ma, no kettle. We get all our hot and cold water from the Virgin Pure now so it’s ben retired to the cupboard for the time being. I certainly drink more cold water from it rather than buy juice all the time, and the instant hot water for tea is starting to prove its worth at this time of year. Thumbs up.
Beer, beer, everywhere. Any tips for upright storage of beer? (Putting bottles on their side shakes up all the sediment, y’know.) Thinking an old soda crate maybe.
Sooo. We didn’t quite get the garden finished in time to enjoy any of summer in it. But at least I got a few plants in so it looks a little less bare over the winter, and we can really go to town next spring.
Colour from a Japanese maple and pink heather
I planted some winter onions, which are just beginning to peep out. Going to try some garlic, too.
Managed to get a few tiny chillies off my plant grown from Wahaca seeds.
Handy herbs by the back door.
…If nothing else, it’s definitely the cat party garden.
I meant to visit loads of London Design Festival stuff, but ended up being quite lazy/disorganised last week and ended up just going to Design Junction on Saturday. Worked out pretty well though since it seemed to be all of the coolest stuff, housed in an awesome old sorting office warehouse.
There’s some great mid-century modern inspired furniture pieces to be found at Berlin-based Fashion For Home. The site is new to the UK and focuses on innovative and stylish home furniture from an international team of designers. They manage to keep the prices low without sacrificing quality and workmanship by avoiding middlemen along the supply process, and are environmentally conscious.
I’m mentally re-dressing my home with these pieces…
Okay, I don’t take many blog freebies but I couldn’t resist this one since it’s a house-y luxury I would have loved to buy but couldn’t afford when we were doing up the kitchen. The Virgin Pure is a new worktop ‘water bar’ that purifies your tap water and provides instant boiling or cool water on tap – as it were. The machine connects into your mains water supply so it never runs out or needs refilling – installation is quick and tidy.
The machine’s got some nifty features: you can set a daily wake-up timer, fix your glass and mug size to dispense just the right amount, and set your preferred hot and cold water temperatures. It has a built-in replaceable filter plus bacteria-killing UV lamp to make the water it dispenses super pure and tasty. Plus it looks kind of pretty too: it comes in loads of colours. I picked silver to blend into our grey tiles.
Virgin’s aim with this product is to get people drinking more pure water at home without having to buy bottled. This machine really does make tap water taste better, and I love that it’s perfectly chilled without needing ice, especially in this lovely late summer weather. The hot water function makes a lovely cuppa without any scum or limescale flakes, and makes boiling water for cooking super quick. Plus the homebrewing boyfriend is looking forward to trying to make a beer with filtered water becuse apparently it makes a superior brew *shrug*.
My only initial concern is its energy usage, but it does have standby and shut-down modes to save power, and only takes a few minutes to re-heat and cool when turned back on. I’ll update in a month or so with whether I’m drinking more water (and/or spending more on energy bills) as a result, but I love the Pure so far. Would you buy one?
Not much has changed around here since my last About the house, but since I keep snapping little shots to try out my new camera I thought I’d share.
Always rearranging the mantelpiece
Picked up this sweet little dresser from a new vintage shop in Stoke Newington. It was only £125 and fits in great. The bedroom is the last room to be ‘done’ since I’m looking out for the perfect vintage bedside table and we need some shelves building. But it’s slowly coming together now.
I got these gorgeous things from Spitalfields market. They’re original pencil drawings by lettering artists at the Linotype factory in Manchester. The drawings would form the basis for hot metal type letters to be cast and used to print books. Nice piece of history! Not sure where to hang them though – is above the bed too cheesy?