Welcome home

Making An Entrance

Welcome back, friends. Today I’m sharing the changes I made in the hallway.

Guess what colour it was when I moved in? Yep, magnolia.

The laminate flooring that was down wasn’t my cup of tea either.

This was replaced with the rest of the house. You can read about that Here.

The hall isn’t quite wide enough for a piece of furniture but I wanted to have a surface for dumping keys and mail when I come in. There is also a radiator slap bang in the middle of the wall, I did toy with the idea of changing it for a tall vertical one and moving it closer to the door, I did this in the kitchen to make room for a cabinet and it’s brilliant, so much heat from it in winter. In the end it was an unnecessary expense though and I decided against it. I went with a simple radiator cover in the end.

Not the most exciting design choice but does the job. Also hides the ugly radiator nicely, they are such a necessary evil!

I love that umbrella stand, the writing is Hungarian and I have no idea what it says but I love the colours and the size is perfect to sit beside the radiator cover. I keep my grandparents walking sticks and hats in it, along with a few umbrellas.

The hallway is where most of my family photos are and some sentimental mementos that I keep in a vintage printers tray.

Everything in here has special meaning to me. They’re either gifts or travel souvenirs.

I really like the little brass cross braces on the join of every section.

For the floor I found an amazing rug on eBay that isn’t in the best condition but it kind of adds to the charm.

The colours are amazing and I like the irregular shape. Where it’s faded in parts it has an ombré effect now. This is definitely one of my favourites. It’s very soft and difficult to keep in place, even with the use of a rug pad. Not a massive problem but a little irritating.

The mirror was from Graham and Green around 8 years ago, they still stock it. Click on the link and you’ll see they have it in two different sizes now.  It’s very, very heavy but with decent wall fixings it’s fine. I love seeing those black bannisters peeking out in the reflection.

The pretty frames hold old family postcards from trips abroad, the one at the bottom is actually made from cork, sent to me when I was a child from my grandparents on a trip to Portugal.

The scented candle you can just see poking out was from Dunelm, it smells amazing. It’s almost identical to some very expensive ones from Anthropologie.

The prayer plant, I’m not so good with the Latin names… is so easy to care for. The hall doesn’t get an amazing amount of light but on a bright day it’s quite light, enough to keep the plant happy. You can find similar at Perfect Plants.

The light fitting wasn’t my brightest moment (pun intended, sorry). It hangs a little too low and the door for the cupboard bashes in to it, fine because I know and don’t open the door that far but it’s difficult to remember to tell everyone who visits. I can’t imagine it’ll last forever. It’s also way too bright, even with the lowest wattage lamps in it. I think it’s days are numbered.

So pretty though….

The front door wouldn’t of been my first choice, it’s black on the outside, white inside. It is the same as all the other houses in the close though so I’m in no hurry to replace it. I did consider a more vibrant colour for the inside rather than the white but I’m undecided. With all the other doors being green I don’t want it to end up giving visitors a migraine with colour overload.

There’s a little spot hang your coat and the pups leads are usually here. I make a point of not over loading it though, it’s the first this game you see when you open the door and I don’t want it to look untidy.

The Hilda Ogden ducks are vintage and just a little fun addition.

There’s a gallery wall in progress on the stairs. I’ll share more of this once I’ve got my act together and finished it. The baby leopard is actually a small rug, a gift from my grandparents when I was a toddler, it was in all my childhood bedrooms and I loved it growing up. Anything with an animal on it and I was, and am, obsessed.

There’s some debate whether or not gallery walls have had their day. I’m not concerned if they’re not so popular now, I like them and I have another one in the living room, besides I have too many pictures that I like to much to hide away and not enough walls to display them separately!

Over all I’m pleased with how cheerful the hall looks when I get home and open the door. Some of my most favourite things are in the hallway and they’re the first thing I see when I get home. My family photos, my Grandfathers Barometer, my Grandmothers beautiful face smiling from the photos.

It’s so important that your home has a soul, not just generic art and feature wall wallpaper. Show your personality and your treasures. Worthless to anyone else but completely priceless and irreplaceable to you.

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Bathrooms, Paint and Colour

Small But Perfectly Formed

The powder room, to posh people. The downstairs loo to me.

It was a boring little magnolia room when I moved in.

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The builders had put a small splash back of tiles behind the sink that were the same as the ones in the kitchen. This bothered me, I didn’t want matching tiles in the kitchen and loo.

With plenty of other jobs to be getting on with, this room wasn’t a priority. I’m not sure why it ended up being one of the first I tackled. Maybe because it’s the smallest? It would be the quickest to get finished.

I wanted to do something really bold in here and I was pinning pretty powder rooms like crazy.  Bold wallpaper and pretty tiles.

Although this is my absolute favourite.

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Sadly, changing the floor and a marble sink just aren’t in the budget.

These were a few favs…

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I like the gallery wall in the small space, so many interesting things to look at.

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The bold wallpaper is a winner for me.  I seem to be drawn to the darker ones, perhaps that’s why I painted dark at first.

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I really like the pop of red here from the mirror.  Really brings the wallpaper alive.

In the end I just went for a quick temporary fix, just to cheer it up until I decide on what to do permanently.  Is it ever permanent?

I think I just desperately wanted to get rid of those tiles.

I ended up painting it a very dark grey.  A Valspar colour which I don’t recall the name of now.  It had a slight hint of purple.

I hated it! My friend said it looked like a night club toilet. She was right! Hit the nail right on the head. Time to change it back!

I knocked the tiles off the wall, they came off really easily. Then just sanded it down and replaced the silicone around the sink.

I just painted it all white for now, no doubt some very exciting wallpaper will go up in here in the future.

Making progress here.

I got this very cute toilet roll holder and towel ring from dunelm. A nice cheeky addition.

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I also picked up the orange towels to match with my beloved vintage rug. I want to be buried with that rug.

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with the ceiling, I decided to keep it dark. I did this in my old apartment and it was a nice change from the usual white ceilings. There was no window in in here either and it just added a little interest to the room.

There was also a bulk head light situation in here, swiftly removed and replaced 🙂 I’ll share the lighting all over the house in a separate post as I changed them all. I added this cute, little ceiling rose I found on eBay.

I already had this cute little vintage wooden shelf unit and it was just the right size for in here. Handy for spare hand towels and room spray etc.

The mirror was a Homesense find and gives the room that touch of glam.  It’s nice to have that warm gold glow I think.

This is the only room with no window, sadly no real plants in here. I found a couple of realistic enough, plastic ones instead. This one from NEXT . The other is an old IKEA one I already had lying around which I pulled out of it’s plastic pot and put it in to this TKMaxx find.  I love the strange shape.  The hanger is made from nylon rope. This came from eBay.  I like the pop of green it brings.

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I have a small vintage stool in here that I keep a few magazines on. It’s just the right size to sit by the door.

The art is a mix of my paintings and a print from Desenio .  I’m no artist but I like to paint and draw and wouldn’t expect anyone else to put my pictures up on their walls but it’s fine in my house.

Desenio have an amazing selection of prints and frames and don’t charge the earth. Affordable art!

This cute little elephant hook is from M&S a few years ago.  The door already had a hole in it from an old hook so I just replaced it with this one.  I have a real soft spot for elephants, you’ll see them pop up all over the house.

I don’t think I’ve ever liked a waste bin so much, which is a strange sentence to type….. another Homesense find.  It’s such a nice grey/blue colour and I love those little copper accents.  Kind of like an updated, more polished version of Dusty Bin, think that might be giving my age away there.

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This is enough to placate me for now. Until the rest of the house is done anyway.  Then i’ll most likely start all over again.

What do you think? At least an improvement? How bold would you go?….

Family

Pet Friendly Decorating

Can you have dogs and a nice house? Yes, it’s possible. Fortunately, for starters my two don’t shed hair. They do have dirty little feet and like to chew treats on sofas though.

My dogs mean the world to me and I wouldn’t dream of not letting them on the furniture, it’s when they give me their best cuddles.

I know lots of people have a no furniture rule but I’m guessing that’s mostly because of the hair.

I didn’t want anything to be too precious in the house that meant the dogs couldn’t go near it. I was dreaming of jewel coloured velvet sofas but that’s never going to work.

Leather isn’t my favourite option for sofas but makes the most sense for me. I used to have a large cream leather number in my old apartment that I loved. Sadly it wouldn’t fit in the new house.

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I looked everywhere! Everywhere that sells sofas, I’ve been there.

I settled on one from sociology. I had my reservations after reading reviews about the company, to be honest I was on pins until it arrived.

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Charlie got the first comfort test.

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Thankfully, no problems. I love it. Comfortable and a good understated simple shape. I went for a dark butterscotch leather which is super soft.

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I’d seen a lot of similar ones from the Is on Pinterest and I was smitten.

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The little, furry, cheeky monkeys like to stretch out, kick the cushions off (a favourite game of Charlie’s ) and occasionally bury the odd treat they’re saving until later. The sofa is holding up just fine. Even when they come in from the garden like this.

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Same rules upstairs, nothing they can ruin, nothing they’re not allowed to sit on, sleep on or chew a bone on.

Admittedly the little muddy paw prints when it’s been raining are unavoidable. A small price to pay to have them in my life.

That’s her cutest “it wasn’t me” face.

They have the run of the house, they’ve never been in a crate, or closed off from anywhere. Neither of them had a great start to life with previous owners so it has lead to them being very spoiled, as they should be. They’re not here for long and deserve to be treated, that’s why they’re pets after all. There’s never been a need for dog cages or baby gates. They have never chewed anything or been naughty.  I realise I’m incredibly lucky.

I’m pretty sure they make a lot less mess than children 😃

I said have to satisfy my velvet craving though. I ordered a velvet one from  Made.com.

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So far, it’s fine. Mia likes to sleep on it and chew her tennis ball, so far, so good.

It’s the perfect size so whether you’re in the chair or on the sofa you can put your feet on it. There’s also room for a tray to corral bits and pieces and the obligatory scented candle. You can just see it peeking out here.

The armchair is covered in cowhide. Not for everyone, I know. My feelings are that I eat beef and wear leather so this is a natural product of the meat industry. I would not have the hide of something in my home that I wouldn’t eat. I have a beautiful cowhide rug in the dining area and some sheepskin rugs too. You’ll see more of the chair in a future post about the living room.

Cowhide is indestructible! Honestly, that rug has had everything on it, including half a can of paint I dropped on it and it exploded. Thankfully it was water based undercoat, otherwise the rug would have been toast.

There’s been food and drink spills and the odd doggy accident when they first came to live with me. I just literally washed it. Soaked it right through and rinsed it and it dries like a dream.

I also picked up this armchair from homesense.  Apparently it’s the ideal place to eat your dentastix.

I was still decorating and didn’t want to remove the protective covering from the legs, if you’re wondering why they look a little strange.

I’m lucky enough to have them go to doggy day care whilst I’m at my day job in London. A wonderful place. They get to play with other dogs, go for walks and get a delicious lunch. Not to mention cuddles and their own sofas to sit on. If you’re in the London area, check them out. Pretty Paws . Amazing ladies, they’re so passionate about dogs, they sell only the best food, treats and toys and offer a grooming service too.

Paint and Colour

Doors To Die For

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I do like white walls, so fresh and clean and the perfect blank canvas.

When you have as much stuff as I do, it becomes a little to much to look at with a strong colour on the walls too.

For quite a while I’ve been wanting to paint some interior doors something a little different.

The hardest part was deciding on a colour that would complement each room. I didn’t want to paint numerous colour doors and needed a colour that would create an impact, but still be neutral enough to go with everything.

I thought about this for quite a while, I thought I had my mind made up on coral pink but I knew that I would tire of that in time.

So tempting though…. and that wallpaper!

My mind turned to green, yes, nothing like coral pink 🙂

I settled on a Farrow and Ball colour.  Yeabridge Green.   The perfect tone, not too dark, saturated and definitely creates an impact.

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I asked the help of a local tradesman. Chris from a4dabuild. By this stage I was so tired of painting (remember all that magnolia).  I wasn’t relishing the thought of painting nine doors, front and back.

Chris stepped in and painted the fronts of the doors that face out into the hall and landing.

With the doors this gorgeous, rich and saturated colour I wasn’t feeling the chrome door handles.

I started my search for new ones.

I thought about brass, always love a bit of brass.  However I thought a matte black handle would really make an impression here.

I soon discovered they’re pretty pricey.  Until I stumbled across this website.  The Door Handle Company.

The handles came quickly and I was very impressed, sleek and easy to fit.

I removed the old handles and painted the other side of the doors before I fitted the new ones.

I used the recommended farrow and ball mid tone undercoat  which Chris picked up for me.

It’s quite chalky and not a bad colour on its own! Obviously very patchy as it’s just one coat.

My love affair with brass and gold is far from over, you’ll see it all over the house, in every room.  I am loving the way a pop of black looks now though too.  So much so I decided I needed a black staircase.

When I moved in it looked like this.

Fine, but pretty safe and boring.

I went back to my farrow and ball colour chart and scoured Pinterest.

I was in love ….

Railings by farrow and ball was meant to be. Not a flat black if that makes sense. Has a depth to it and really stands out against the white walls and green doors.  There is a faint hint of blue.

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Excuse Charlie having a quick scratch of his ear.

2.5 litres of the Yeabridge Green was only just short of 9 doors. I didn’t manage to finish the back of one door. But, 2 coats on both sides of 8 doors, that’s really 32 doors! One side that is. I think that’s pretty good. It’s the first time I’ve used Farrow and Ball and I’m so impressed.  A little goes a long way and it goes on so nicely, even someone like me who’s not a professional painter and decorator can use it and not have shocking brush marks.

would you paint yours doors a bolder hue?

Bedrooms

Welcome to the Guest Room

Welcome to the guest room

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Apparently the dogs think they have their own bedroom.

That lovely lady is my best friends daughter.  She’s beautiful, bright and has the kindest heart.  She is growing into a wonderful young lady.  I’m hoping she’ll be helping me on some future craft projects.  She loves art and tying new things.  She’s already created quite the masterpiece.  She even has her own blog Here

So this is what I started with.  More beige carpet but at least the walls weren’t magnolia.  The only room in the house that wasn’t magnolia.

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the wardrobes ended up in this room.  You can read more about that here, love those handles….

Because I had to move the wardrobes in here, it messed up my plans for luxurious curtains, just not enough room for a pole or fabric to hang nicely.  I went for a blind again in here.  At least the wonky curtain pole was gone!  I chose this TRIPPEVALS one from IKEA.

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It’s so easy to open and close, you just push with one finger and it’s open! I did add a cute little beaded tassel to the little handle on the bottom.

I also obviously needed a bed and chose this one  from NEXT.  I went for the dark grey velvet option.  It doesn’t come assembled but was easy enough to do.  The beauty of NEXT is their quick delivery, I knew I’d have people coming to visit very soon and needed something for them to sleep on!  It came within 3 days of me ordering.

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Of course I wanted shelves in here too!  Enter, IKEA! I wish I’d either spaced the brackets evenly or used 3 on each shelf. The placement of them bothers me slightly.  Also the linen bedding is a nightmare to photograph! It doesn’t look that creased in person, honestly!

I wanted somewhere to keep the paperback novels I haven’t read yet and as there was no where to put a tv in here, at least anyone staying over could choose a book to read.

I also wanted a rug in here, something warmer than the laminate to put your feet on when you climb out of bed.  Originally I put this rug in here, I’ve always loved this rug but never had room for one.  I’m sure you’ll all recognise it as the IKEA Stockholm.

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I changed my mind, surprise!

It ended up in the other spare room.

I purchased a navy Adum rug from IKEA.  I liked the dark blue against the floor and it went well with the velvet bed frame.

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The light is from BHS.  It’s just a shade so couldn’t of been easier to put up. I changed all the builder grade, white plastic ceiling pendants for something a little prettier.  These came from Dunelm.  I like the scale of the shade and the fact it has a diffuser, I’m not a big fan of laying in bed and looking up at a light bulb.  Just a personal pet hate.

It gives off a lovely, warm, soft light.

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I’m sure you all recognise the bed side tables as the Ikea hemnes. I went for yellow as a nice pop of colour.

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I did change the drawer knobs though as I had these hanging around from an old dresser.  Excuse my fingers in the mirror there!

Those mirrors were a happy accident.  I had one for years, I think it came from eBay.  It’s old and very heavy and the brass has a lovely patina.  On one of my many eBay searches I found another one!  I hit ”Buy It Now” as fast as I could.  It is slightly smaller than my original one but the frame is exactly the same.

Those black table lamps started life as the IKEA Arstid

img_4426.jpgNice, but a little too plain for me.  The price was very attractive though.  Only £16 for a complete lamp.  I believe they now come in a gold colour lamp base too.

They got a coat of black spray paint and some new black velvet shades I found in TKmaxx

I do feel there’s something missing in here and I can’t quite put my finger on it, maybe the blind is too modern or the yellow tables aren’t quite right? I’m not sure, watch this space, I’m sure it’ll change in the future.

What do you think it is? How would you improve this space?  See anything you like? Ask me where I got it!

What would you choose?.....

Choosing Window Treatments In The Kitchen/Diner

Whilst house hunting I was very excited to move to a new place with lots of windows, or a normal amount of windows anyway.  My old apartment only had two, one very large patio door in the living room which lead to the balcony and one average sized window in the bedroom.  There was no natural light in the bathroom, kitchen or hallway.

This house has a window in every room, so exciting!

The previous tenants left me with some very crooked, nickel coloured curtain poles and two battered, black Venetian blinds.  All had to go.

I knew I wanted roman blinds for the kitchen-diner and turned to John Lewis.  They had the simple lines in the lovely linen fabric I was looking for.  I chose their Croft Collection Roman Blinds. I liked the colours and the fabric although some more colour choices would have been nice.  I was happy with the price too after choking at the cost of made to measure ones I’d gotten quotes for.

I decided to go with Storm.  This is a lovely grey colour that keeps the tie between the grey tiled floors and the subway tile on the back-splash. It’s a little darker in real life than it looks on the website which was perfect for me.  As i’m a hoarder collector I like to keep most curtains, blinds and walls quite neutral as It’s all a bit too much to look at for my brain.  I don’t dislike vibrant curtains and walls but I do love a bright white, blank canvas, it always feels so fresh to me.

Those old, black metal Venetian blinds were headed for the skip.  They had been fitted to the inside of the window so I just unscrewed the fixings and filled the holes.

I wanted to hang the new blinds on the outside of the window.  I like to be able to put plants and other junk interesting objects on windowsills and having the blinds on the inside would mean I wouldn’t be able to close them all of the way.

Cooking is not my strong point so I wasn’t concerned about cooking smells lingering or clinging to the fabric.  I know hanging fabric blinds in a kitchen may be an issue for some of you but you can un-clip them and gently wash them by hand.

The reviews on the website were mixed, some complained about the fixings that came with the blinds but I had no problems.  They went up easily.

Just a few holes to be drilled and the blind simply clicks on the fixings.

I especially like the metal chain for opening and closing as opposed to the fabric rope you sometimes get which always ends up a little grubby.  The chain is a nice finishing touch.

I have no small children in the house so I didn’t need to worry about securing the chain out of reach to avoid any disasters, this is super easy to do though if you do have curious little ones at home.

As it turns out I very rarely close these at night as I’m not particularly over looked and I only sit in there in the evening if I have friends over for a Gin and Tonic or two, which happens more often than I should admit.

Over all? I love them.  Good colour, nice fabric and well priced. Well done John Lewis!

I did buy more of these blinds in a different colour for other rooms, we’ll get to those in good time!

Over by the back door I was unsure if I should put anything at all there and then the warm weather came and so did the flies… and spiders.  I decided to put up a small matte black curtain pole, IKEA did the job nicely and the whole thing, rod, brackets and curtain hooks cost only £9. Can’t argue with that.  I chose some white cotton curtains with a subtle herringbone weave called Tibast

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I’m not great with a sewing machine and I didn’t want to pay someone to alter them as I felt like I was hemorrhaging money at this point so I just washed them, turned the tops over and used those cute little grippers that come in the curtain rings sets from IKEA.  All IKEA curtains come in a length of 250cm, so it’s likely you’ll have to alter them unless you live in a fabulous house with gorgeous high ceilings.

Eventually I will trim them down and hem them but for a quick fix to keep the wildlife outside, it works a charm.  I also bought the £5 a pair plain nets to keep closed during the day when I want to keep the door open.

This is not a sponsored post.  I bought the blinds online and paid full price.  This is just my honest, humble opinion of a product I would recommend.

Outside Spaces

Man Caves and She Sheds…

There is a shed in the garden, at the back of the house on a small patio area.  It’s the first thing you see from the window in the dining area, not a fantastic view.

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Quite a drab little area and the wheelie bins don’t help.

I cheered it up a little with some plants and a small table and chair set.

This helped until I had time to tackle painting it.

After the good weather we’d been having I was enjoying spending time outside, this is the first time I’ve had my own garden.

It was time to start project shed.

I decided on Cuprinol Garden Shades in Seagrass. I wanted to treat the wood anyway as a new shed in the future is not in the budget. The wood soaked up the rain like cotton wool and was very weathered. The water just beads up on the surface of the Cuprinol paint.

It will need two coats but the coverage after one is pretty good.

After searching for inspiration on PInterest and seeing some very pretty sheds and summer houses, I decided to go with two colours and purchased a tin of Jasmine White too.

I painted the trim and the door in the off white colour.

This area of the garden is very dark at night and I wanted to attach some lighting to the front of the shed. I didn’t want anything super bright as I didn’t want to disturb the neighbours.

I found these on eBay.  They’re a little smaller than I was expecting but they’ll do the job.

They’re not fantastic quality but they were so cheap. I paid only £7 for two lights.

They’re solar powered so no need for wiring in or batteries. They are very lightweight and won’t last forever but they do the job for a good price.

The shed now shows up the fence panels! There are so many of those I think it’ll be a project for next spring. They go all around the house and enclose the whole garden. It won’t be a weekend project.

Also when your parents come to visit and your Dad sees the inside of the shed and cringes…. you end up with an organised and tidy inside too. Thanks Dad 🙂

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The weather was good so I got lucky, I managed to do this in an afternoon.  The Pale Jasmine colour did not cover nearly as well as the Seagrass.  It took three coats.  It was so warm that the paint dried as soon as it went on so I was able to carry on instead of waiting for it to dry for hours.

The view from the window is at least a little more colourful now.

I think it looks a million times better. A cheerful little corner and the wheelie bins have been re-homed.

Maybe I’ll even spend more time around this little corner now!