Knick knacks and what nots

So I promised a blog on decorating the top of the Mexican chest. I now it’s been a while, but my real job has been somewhat hectic this last week or two, meaning that I’ve not been able to spare much thought to much else. Likely to continue for a while as well, I’m afraid. But I’ll do what I can to keep updated!


So with the new chest, we knew we wanted it to look nice on top (and not just be another shelf for books. Though we do need one….). Some time before, we had bought a rather nice table runner in Malta. It had a pattern of orange butterflies on cream material, and we had always felt that it would be good in the loft room. And lo and behold – it does look good! And it was a good size for the chest too. Sometimes it’s just fate.


Our little stereo vignette

Our little stereo vignette

But that’s just a base. We also knew we wanted the stereo on the chest, and angled so that the sound would reach into the whole room. The black of the stereo looks really good against the walls and with the black metal on the chest, so that worked out well too. To soften the lines a little, I added a black metal candlestick, that stands out well against the wall.


I’d previously bought a dark purple faux rose (from the ever fabulous Abigail Ahern’s store). I’d hoped it would work in the hallway, but it wasn’t right there. However it was the perfect colour for the loft room – that purple matched the trim really well. And I may say now that against the wall it positively glows with warmth. So it got added to the candlestick, in a beautiful single stem cut glass vase my brother bought me for my 18th birthday. Added to the bottom is a little tag that was part of a present I bought my lady.


You can see some of the philosophy I bring to decorating shelves etc. It’s important that what you put out looks good. And it should match the room in some way. But if you’ve bought or been given something, it comes with a story and with memories and associations and affection. And that’s what a home is all about. It’s about memories and love and all the things that make up YOU and if what you put out doesn’t say that to you (I don’t care about visitors – you live there, you see it every day) then you’ve failed.


Which is a distinct link to the other main feature of the chest’s decoration. The thimble collection. As it turns out, the dark wood of the official thimble collection holder is lovely against the wall. But they overflow out onto the little book collection (it’s Beatrix Potter, which none of us read, but the collection in a box case is too lovely not to have out) and even on to the cake stand. And isn’t that cake stand lovely? I’m a fan of using cake stands to put other things on instead of hiding them away in cupboards. Cake stands can be so lovely in themselves and are clearly designed to display things too.


The white rabbits are a nod to our obsession with bunnies (as mentioned in the cushion blog), and look rather fun away in the corner. In fact, all the things you can see have some personal memory attached.


All our bits and pieces looking lovely

All our bits and pieces looking lovely

Which is why (or one reason anyway!) that I’m starting to love spending time up in the loft room….


Going to the dark side

One of my favourite interior designers at the moment is Abigail Ahern. Interestingly, I agree with almost everything she says, but actually don’t like some of the finished products.

Anyway, her big point of difference in terms of design is her enthusiasm for the dark side – or at least dark paints. She’s been enthusiastically pointing out how dark paint doesn’t actually make a space feel smaller (if it’s small, it’s small!) and that it does make it warmer and all the items in front of it look infinitely more glamorous. As a credo, it makes sense to me. Not least because I’ve never been in love with the white ‘spacious’ look. I think it too often looks clinical. Not to mention that my way of life would never work with that look. I’m messy and white would scuff too easily…

So, all in all, I’ve been pretty keen to try it out in one of our rooms. So far though, the closest was the loft room. And while that orange/red has a lot of the same qualities, it’s not really a dark colour. But with the blue tiles in the kitchen, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to see if we could match that colour and paint the space that dark blue.

It’s a little bit cheating (or safe perhaps might be a better way of saying it), seeing as the room is open plan with the living room so you wouldn’t get the full effect of the dark paint, and also seeing as the cabinets cover a lot of the walls. But, if playing it safe at first meant I got agreement, no worries there.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had some real struggles finding the right blue. Endless navy blues. Endless lighter blues. Nothing that worked with the glorious tiles. In the end Little Greene Thai Sapphire was the closest. We were slightly worried as it was a perfect match with one coat, but a bit dark with two – and we’d need two coats to get it even a little bit even. But I went for it.

Two coats later, and I’m in love. The finish is a touch messy – I should have used the masking tape my lady thoughtfully provided me with – but the colour is wonderful. The dark blue really shows up the cabinets so they look like a more glowing wood, and makes the whole space look that bit more glamorous and finished. Even the enclosed corner doesn’t look too dark, but just rich and luxurious. Like walking into a temple of lapis lazuli. Shame that’s the washing corner and we currently store the ironing board there. (Anyone know where to get glamorous ironing board covers?)

Our blue corner

Also, just look at this sweet little snowflake print we hang in the kitchen. On a white wall….and on the blue wall. On the white wall, it looks nice enough. On the blue wall, the frame gleams. The flowers stand out and overall I think it looks about ten times better.

Snowdrops on white wall Snowdrops against blue wall

The same can be said of these flowers we have on the windowsill. Against white – a nice, maybe a bit stark, colour pop. Against blue – a glowing warm feature.

Flowers against blue Flowers against white

With the lights on, the blue walls look expensive and warm and the kitchen looks amazing. In daylight, the effect isn’t quite as dramatic, but it still looks finished beyond anything you could have imagined when we moved in.

Amazing what a lick of paint can do!

A little bit of upcycling…

Well, maybe it’s not really upcycling. The chandelier in the front room was the one that came with the flat. It’s quite pretty, in it’s way. Or was. A sort of pale green, distressed to see the brassy metal beneath.

I’m not a fan of shabby chic anyway – I think that distressed stuff tends to look uncared for, almost dirty and messy. It’s worse with wood, which I always think looks mouldy and like the paint is peeling. But what felt bad for the chandelier is that it really rather blended in to the walls. Surely the whole point of a chandelier is that it’s a statement? And of course the pale green/brass didn’t go with the proposed yellow and teal theme for the front room.

So I bought a teal enamel paint and set to work.

Of course, I did it the wrong way. I didn’t properly detach the chandelier so I was painting over my head. And, being stupid, I did the first coat at night so I was staring at the lit bulbs. Yes, stupid stupid! I got teal paint on the table, the remote control and my hair.

Worth it though. I think the result looks stunning. Hope you agree!

Now just wondering what to do with the rest of the tin of paint….

Busy life – and orange rooms

Things are pretty hectic for me at the moment. I’m changing jobs – this is my last week in my current one – and there’s lots of loose ends to be tied, as well as leaving drinks to arrange! New job starts next week, so that might take up a lot of time as well.

There’s one room I haven’t mentioned much so far – the loft room. It’s incredibly awkward as a space – the ceiling is very low even at the highest point, and all of the widest part of the room is under the sloping ceiling. At the lowest point the ceiling is about 3 foot off the floor, so there really isn’t much you can fit under there. Though that ‘wall’ also has the two doors to the loft storage in it, so you wouldn’t want to cover it anyway.

I’d originally wanted to have the main bedroom upstairs, but you could barely fit a bed in, and certainly not a wardrobe. Remember how much wardrobe space we installed in the bedroom? Yes, well, that would have been impossible. So we wanted a cosy, second sitting room – a sort of library almost – but with a sofa bed for guests.

Most of the colours we’ve chosen so far are a little on the cold side, though quite bright. I wanted to try a dark colour, that would say ‘cosy’ and ‘warm’ and studyish. So we looked at reds and oranges. We did try a few similar to the Colour Of The Year (Marsala), but they were too flat and brown. I loved some deep, almost purple blood reds, but got vetoed in that they were too red.

So in the end we chose a fiery orange red. It’s Cinnabar Red from Fired Earth, and the colour matches the name – spicy and exotic, orangey but still red. In fact it kind of matches a coat of mine…

Close up of the paint colour

Close up of the paint colour

Its a bit brighter than I envisioned originally, but in the sunshine, or with just a side light on it, it absolutely glows and does actually convey the image I wanted of the room – so all’s well that ends well!

Painting in progress - really shows how the sunshine makes it glow

Painting in progress – really shows how the sunshine makes it glow

Inspiration comes from….a corporate strategy document??

As the title, says, inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere.

A colleague of mine was looking at a corporate strategy document and complaining about the diagram making one of the points – a hexagon in alternating dark and pale grey with a purple shape at the centre. It might not have made it’s point very well, but she was also complaining about the colour scheme.

But when I saw it in terms of colour, I could just see the greys as a wall and the shape in the middle as a lovely squishy sofa. Which I thought would be sophisticated and luxurious and comfortable looking all at once.

And a skim through Pinterest confirms this – look at the examples I’ve found. Sure you can find some more…

fdb28ee1377ea06f6588206176593247 d6397b4f3a1ec9c7be4dceb5c2544577 cf32269fe081e43615e18aae650ab8ff Dark purple chair pale grey walls 375ae55f09b5dcb0120ff395af92c139

Moving on to the study

I’m not blogging these updates in the order we did them in – progress on our house wasn’t as simple and linear as I’m pretending to create some sort of coherent narrative…

Anyway, while doing the bedroom, we were also doing up the study. This is a tiny little room, sold as a single bedroom, but would only just be big enough for that. And in fact, having a study was a big selling point for the flat. My partner needs some space and a bolthole (yes, even from me!), and having a room to go to was going to be a big thing. She’s also hoping to write something, and an inspiring, beautiful place was going to help. Or that was the plan.

Anyway, the study was predominantly going to be ‘her’ space, so it was important that she picked the colours. Her absolute favourite colour is, if not teal like the sofa, a clear, slightly greenish blue. Duck egg, TIffany style blues. Blue is, of course, also a very serene colour, and so we felt that it would be suitable for a study space. Out with the Dulux charts, and nearly endless discussions of colour. Eventually we found the right Tiffany blue, but were slightly scared that it would be too intense in such a small space, so we decided to paint two walls in a paler, sky like blue to offset that problem.

Finally we went really intense blue and painted the skirting boards, radiator and door in a really dark version of the Tiffany blue. This not only added some drama and interest, but the darker colour feels warmer – good in an icy blue room with only north facing light!

Below is the radiator and the paler wall, with a sneak preview of some of the other stuff…


Friday feature – something pretty

New Friday feature! Find something random on Pinterest and share it.

So look at these gorgeous chairs! (random search for colourful furniture)

I love the jewel green colour, and the lovely luxurious fabric. But also the shape and detailing, kind of Art Deco shape. I think I like that era quite a lot…

Enjoy! Wish one day I could have room for things as gorgeous as this.

Ok, more things as gorgeous as this – after all my beloved sofa is pretty much as good.