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!

Flooring

Fine Floors

When I came to view the house, I knew straight away the carpets had to go. As it had been a rental it was fitted with beige carpet everywhere, only the kitchen and bathroom had tile and the hall had some dark laminate.

Check out that crooked curtain pole!

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The carpet wasn’t in good condition, it was grubby and discoloured in patches, I really disliked the colour.

I spent many hours looking around stores and online at my different options. I thought this would be my chance to have beautiful oak floors amd dreamed of a chevron or herringbone pattern. Even though it wouldn’t of been in keeping with the age of the house it would of been difficult not to.

After lots of thinking and listening to my mum 🙂 I realised that with two dogs who come running in with wet paws and occasionally throw up that an oak floor wasn’t my brightest idea.

I wasn’t sold on the idea of laminate either, I had no idea how good some laminates are now, when I started looking it changed everything.  I found a lovely light oak coloured laminate that looked so much like real wood, I wasn’t actually sure what it was when I first saw it.

It was so well priced and the colour variation in the planks sold me.

The flooring was fitted over two days and all the beige carpet was no more. Well, apart from the stairs.

I really wanted to have it put in without the beading around the edges,  I asked the fitter to remove the skirting boards and for the floor to be fitted under them. I also chose to not have any threshold bars in doorways so the flooring flows right through.

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Overall, I love the floor. It’s laminate so it’s easy to keep clean, I don’t have to worry about spills or wet feet, human or doggy, and I can mop it as often as I need to without the worry of caring for real wood.

It’s a warm colour and I’ve covered so much of it up with rugs I honestly don’t think it’s obvious that it’s not real wood.  Up close if you stare at it, obviously you can tell.  I chose a good insulating underlay too as the floors downstairs are concrete and I wanted to block out as much cold as I could.

I know some of you prefer carpet in a bedroom or even throughout the whole upstairs but I wanted to use rugs instead then I have the freedom to change them and replace if needed which would be much more cost effective than replacing a carpet. I have been known to drop a whole can of paint on a carpet. Probably wasn’t my fault. Honest.

What do you think? Would you choose laminate over real wood for convenience and cost?

Kitchen/Diner

Shelves, glorious shelves!

Shelves!! My favourite thing! This was honestly one of the most exciting projects.  I guess it must be sign I am becoming more, ahem, mature when I get more excited about new shelves than I do about what i’m doing on Saturday night.

I had a wall of shelves in my old apartment.  I loved those shelves… I spent many hours re-arranging them and telling them I loved them.

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A very cute, sleeping Charlie doesn’t hurt either!

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In the new place I thought i’d go for a piece of furniture rather than wall shelves.  As a quick (impatient) and purse friendly option, I decided to go with some short BILLY  bookcases from, yep IKEA.

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I originally wanted to put my old TV in here on top of the bookcases and had to stand it on a join as I was a little worried the weight would make the top bow. You can see Mia chilling on the corner of the rug there.  We will talk about the rugs in the house in a future post, there’s a few! But I do love that layered cowhide combo.

This arrangement did not last.  It just didn’t have any wow factor and didn’t make me smile when I looked at it.  I decided I didn’t like the huge black box of a TV in here and realised I probably wouldn’t use it much anyway.  Back to the drawing board.

When I left my old apartment, I also left all the furniture.  I literally had a mattress, 4 dining chairs and a coffee table to bring with me.  This meant I couldn’t go down the expensive, high end route with everything.  Something had to give and I went back to day dreaming about my old shelves…  As a result I turned to Ironmongery Direct who supplied my last lot of twin slot shelving brackets.

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This time I decided to go with black uprights and brackets, I wanted some black in the room and didn’t want the actual shelves to be too dark and show up the dust too much!

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They deliver super quick and the price is so good.  The brackets are less than a pound each!

The shelves are the Ekby Jarpen from IKEA, the shorter and narrow ones they sell.  I didn’t have loads of space for them to sit out from the wall too far.

I wanted to have the majority of my books and favourite ornaments and plants in one place to make a kind of feature wall if you like.  A lot of my plants came from this fantastic eBay Seller.  They also have their own website Perfect Plants  I’ve bought  a lot from them over the last couple of years and everything arrives well wrapped, quickly  and alive! They have some rare and unusual plants you just don’t see in garden centres or high street shops.  I’m a sucker for Cacti and anything that goes in a hanging planter.

 

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They also have a weekly blog to help answer any questions you may have or just to look at the gorgeous plants.  I’ll be doing some garden posts in the future so i’ll be needing their services again! Check them out here Perfect Plants

I bought quite a large Fiddle Leaf Fig or Ficus Lyrata from them and it’s thriving, lots of new growth and not one single leaf has dropped, it has even branched.  I was convinced it would suffer during the house move and it was fine, success!

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Everything looks better against the fresh, clean backdrop of white walls so the first thing to do was get rid of that Magnolia paint.  Arghhh…. I wasn’t feeling the magnolia and grey combo and that randomly placed wall shelf you can see below had it’s days numbered.

The stairs in the house are winders and the bottom of the staircase juts out into the dining area so I couldn’t go full height, wall to wall with the shelves.

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I decided to go from the wall nearest the window, across as far as I could.  This left a gap under the underneath of the staircase to put a nice comfy armchair and a small side table.

The Billy bookcases ended up making excellent storage for the shed. At the price they were I wasn’t too upset about using them for tool and garden storage and I needed some sort of storage solution in there anyway.

The shelves went up and I finally got to put things away and clear some space and empty boxes that I was tripping over.  My books had a home and I could start the fun part of arranging things.

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Here they are, I tried to put the heaviest things on a join with a bracket offering extra support.

What do you think? What would you have done with this space? Traditional bookcases or open shelving? Share your thoughts!

 

Bedrooms

Dressing Room Blues

In the master bedroom I wanted to create the feeling of a more subtle and calming space than I’d ever had before. Although I now have 4 bedrooms as opposed to one, they are not overly large rooms.

In my old apartment the bedroom was big enough to be functional. I had enough space for one small double wardrobe. Even though I don’t have masses of clothes it wasn’t really enough as I had to keep winter coats in there along with everything else.

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Here, in the new house, I toyed with the idea of a whole room just for wardrobes. A dressing room, read on to hear about my mistake.

The master bedroom isn’t really big enough to have more than one small wardrobe,  because of the way the window and door are, you lose wall space.

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This is how the previous tenants had it set up.  You’ll see more of what I’ve done with the space in a future post.

My intention was to take the smallest room and use it as a dressing room. Wardrobes all around and a dressing table. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to use a whole room just for this but nothing is permanent, right?!

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My error solved this problem anyway… in my haste to get something into the house for storage so I could at least put some things away (I didn’t bring any furniture with me) I went to Ikea,  with the floor plan from the house and sat down with a planner to order my pax wardrobes. I decided to utilise the corner in the room and ordered a corner wardrobe and one single one. This would fit nicely and leave room for a large chest of drawers or a dressing table.

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It didn’t occur to me to measure the room myself as I had all the measurements on the floor plan the estate agent had produced. Big mistake. When I did measure the room I realised that the wardrobe wouldn’t fit and it had already been delivered. I could of arranged a return but Ikea’s delivery and return charged are not cheap.

It became obvious that the agent had measured the room into the window. Instead of measuring to the wall they had added another few inches onto the room by going right up past the window sill.

Plan B … the only room the wardrobes would fit in was the second largest room which would be used as a guest room.  My plan was to have this as a minimal guest room with a beautiful armchair and a couple of special pieces of furniture.  Not gonna happen..

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The wardrobes consequently ended up in the spare room.  The smaller room was now my work space.  This had been my intention for the third largest bedroom.  Confused yet?

Such a first world problem.

The corner wardrobe is a totally different design to how they used to be. If I’d spent a little more time making this decision. I wouldn’t buy one again. The corner unit is actually one double frame and an extra bit you attach to the side. The double robe has to sit 11cm away from the wall, leaving you dead space behind the unit. It has a cheap rubber strip on the front to close the gap between the double one and the extra add on piece.

Also, you cannot put handles on the doors as they close in together and the handles will clash together. You also have to open the double wardrobe door first as you can’t open the other one whilst this is still closed. My only solution was to use some vintage handles I had and fix them horizontally in the middle of each door.

Ikea have also changed the manufacturers of the Bergsbo doors and they are a slightly different colour white to the Pax frame. Annoying but not too noticeable once you stop staring at it and get used to it. Still, would of been nice to know they didn’t match!

All in all they do the job. My things are away and tidy and there’s plenty of storage in them but I would not have ordered this set up in hindsight. You win some….

Would you sacrifice a bedroom for a dressing room?