Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter and goodbyes

I hope you've all had a good Easter.   

This year, Easter also coincided with Honeybee’s 23rd birthday, so it was an eventful few days!    As well as a birthday celebration, Easter was even more special than previous years as my sister came to visit for six days before jetting off south of the equator to a place she calls home.

 Our few precious days together were spent chatting until the wee hours of the morning, catching up on a year’s worth of happenings as only sisters can.  We took long walks where we walked arm in arm together, our voices mingled with the sound of the seagulls and the wind.  I adjusted the seat on my daughter’s vintage bicycle and we went cycling together, something we had done last as children when we rode our bikes to school.  The highlight of her fleeting visit was to go up to London and watch Les Miserables and then have a meal out together.  It’s become our special thing we do together.  We are creating memories for our old age.  Moments like these are just so precious. 

In the meantime, the front door renovation continues.  The door has what they call an Edwardian Vertical Letter plate, which is a combined knocker and letter box all in one.  Until now I have to confess I had never heard of it before!  We thought about removing it altogether but then we were faced with the  dilemma of filling a fairly long hole in the door of about 7cm x 30cm.   I thought it would be hard to find a replacement, but I found a brand new one of eBay.  I went for a chrome finish as I thought it more modern and would look good with the light blue door paint.   We matched it up with a shiny chrome door knocker ring also bought on eBay!  I love it when I find exactly what I’m looking for!  I'm hoping to finish painting the door within the next week so I'll post some before and after pics shortly.

How do you celebrate Easter?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


Hope you've all been having a great few weeks.  As some of you know I don’t have much of a garden but I do like a pretty flower or two.  My dilemma is whether to pick them or leave them in the pots.  If I had a garden full of tulips I’d be inclined to pick a bunch or two, but I've only a few and so I'm reluctant to pick them and leave the pots bare…so I guess I'm leaving them outside. 

Wish I had a garden full like these:

I've been looking at paint colours for the front door of the house project and thinking about front doors and what they say about us.  We tend to neglect the exterior and focus only on the interior, but as you approach a home, the front door is the first thing you see before you enter the house.  It’s a little glimpse in the lives of those who live behind the door
  A beautifully kept front door with a fresh coat of paint, clean handles and a neat entrance makes all the difference to the fa├žade of a home.  On the other hand, a neglected front door is equally off putting.   

A grubby front door is one of the least attractive things about a home.  If you home inside is inspiring but your front door looks like it belongs to another home, then it’s time for your front door to get a face lift!  As far as I'm concerned, interior design starts at your front door.

So…step outside and turn around.  Take a good look at your front door.  What is it saying about you, about who lives there? 

  • Is your front door clean
  • Does it need a new paint job
  • Does the hardware need replacing
  • Have you brushed the cobwebs away lately
  • Does your front door mat need replacing
  • Are your windows and windowsills next to your front door clean

I regularly wipe down my front door, brush away cobwebs and windowsills just so it looks clean.   In Spring I love hanging up a basket full of flowers too, it makes such a difference and now that the weather’s changing, there’s no excuse.

Traditionally front door colours are usually Black, Red and Green and plain old white, but I wanted something a little different and I was prepared to go out on a limb if the client allowed me to…so initially I was drawn to the colour pink, but when I saw my client’s face I knew I was never going to get away with a pink door!

I then thought of the coming summer, clear blue skies (I'm always hopeful) and the fact that the house is fairly close to the seaside and focused on looking for the perfect blue for a front door.

Valspar have a great range of paint swatches so I came home from B&Q with a few samples of different blues. 

And this is the one we chose:

I chose Valspar Satin Finish Exterior paint for wood.  As well as giving it a new face, I’m adding some shiny new chrome door furnishings to finish it off.    I can’t wait to get started!  

What’s your door colour?  
Do share, I’d love to know!


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Another project

If you've just stopped by, welcome and don't be shy about leaving a comment.

My little courtyard garden is blooming lovely at the moment.  The tulips, anemones and daffodils are sunny and bright. The tulips I bought from Sarah Raven and I'm pleased they have started to flower. Today is raining so not an outdoor day at all.  Instead, a pile of interior magazines and books are propped up next to me with a cup of tea.

A few weeks ago, just after I finished the bedroom renovation here I started another much bigger one.   It’s a home renovation project.  It’s in a very bad way.  If you can imagine what a place would look like if squatters had moved in you get the picture!  We've cleared van loads of rubble away already but there is still more work to do.  It’s seriously derelict and in need of a lot of TLC.  After fixing the holes in the roof tiles (yep!) it’s in need of a complete paint redo, fixing mould and damp, refitting new carpets, new wooden flooring and the entire front of the house needs a facelift.  

The leaking roof has now been repaired and the painters are currently doctoring the damp and the mould. Paint colours have been chosen for the ground floor and upstairs and I am pouring over flooring samples and can’t decide between real wooden floors and laminate.  Price is always the deciding factor especially when the budget is tight.

In the UK we have a penchant for carpeting from hallway to bedrooms and I don’t think this is particularly wise given the weather we have here (see my post on floors here ).  It’s much more practical to lay wooden flooring or ceramic tiles in entrance halls to avoid having a continuous dirty carpet especially if your front door opens straight onto a hallway, which in this particular case it does. I'm favouring wooden floors for a tactile smoothness and underfoot warmth and because it's easy to keep clean.  Ceramic tiles are cold, even in summer.  As well as project managing,  I’m also doing a spot of decorating, so as soon as the renovation work has been completed, I can start on prettying the place up for the owner.  Did I say I’m excited?  I am…

Have a great week!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Fabulous Faux

What a glorious morning!
I have the luxury of a day to myself with my middle child, Honeybee.
 I think it might just be the day to have our first Spring cycle to the beachfront.

I love going to a florist and carefully picking out individual flowers to take home, it's a real treat, but a lot of flowers nowadays don’t have any fragrance. I love seeing them dotted around the house in tiny votives, or propped in jugs or tiny bottles, but they are kind of expensive to keep buying weekly and if you don’t have a huge garden big enough to grow your own cutting flowers, then faux is the next best thing. 

One word of warning, there are a lot of really bad faux  flowers out there….really bad…I’ve shopped around and the absolute best,  The Chanel of Faux Flowers, just has to be Abigail Ahern's Floral Collection  They are simply superb.  They are petal and stamen above anything else you will find anywhere, so although they are expensive….they will last forever if you look after them.  They also look so glorious, so touchable, that people will think they are real.  They add softness to an interior space, a place for nature to reside, without having to water them or pick out all the dead blooms.

When I buy flowers, I usually cut them down anyway, and prop them into tiny bottles or pretty vases, they tend to look better that way than just plonked in a vase the way they were wrapped up at the florist or supermarket.

Now I'm not saying faux flowers should replace real ones, absolutely not.  There’s nothing quite like the scent and prettiness of home grown sweet peas in a little vase or the heady scent of roses.  I'm saying faux blooms can complement a space and can  be used together with real flowers if artfully arranged.    Adding flowers to a space can totally change the atmosphere in a room, so they should be seen as a crucial element in interior design, almost like how a piece of artwork is placed strategically to enhance both the space and to highlight its own beauty. 

 So how do you feel about faux flowers, would you dare to have faux flowers in your home or are you appalled by the idea?

Can you guess which of mine are faux?
Have a great weekend!

(This post is in no way sponsored by Abigail Ahern and the opinions expressed in this post are my own)

Monday, 10 March 2014

Bedroom Reveal!

This weekend we finally finished the bedroom renovation!!
We started this project last year, but with the holidays and the extra plaster work that was required, it all took a bit longer to complete.  The first post was here This is a long post, so please indulge me!

So let’s revisit:  the brief was to create a bedroom that was beautiful but at the same time plain and simple.  No frills, no vintage frippery, no bold patterns, no bright colours.  Muted and considered was key to a happy client and keeping costs within budget was crucial.

The first thing I did was reconfigure the layout of the room to create more space by doing a quick sketch by hand.

 My idea was to create a colour palette that echoed the colours of the seaside but wasn't in any way nautical in look, with the Duck Egg blue paint colour as a starting point.

My final moodboard that was presented to client was this:

Let's remember what the room looked like:

So you'll remember that I said the first thing to go was  the navy carpet.  Underneath it revealed the most beautiful wooden floors, which immediately give character to any room.  They were given a light sanding and a couple of layers of wax to seal them.  The wax allows the natural grain of the wood to show through without any yellowing.

As client has an aversion to anything second hand, we decided to upcycle the existing pieces of furniture rather than buy new ones.  All the disparate pieces of wooden furniture were made cohesive by painting them all in the same paint colour.   The only piece of furniture which didn't get a makeover was my client’s late grandmother’s dressing table and chair.  We left this as is, at the request of the client.

Custom blinds above the bed and large window allow for additional privacy and this creates a really casual feel which is what I was hoping to achieve.

Working within the small budget was crucial, so instead of having a new headboard made up, we decided to make a cover in a canvas cream fabric which just slipped over the existing headboard very much like a tea cosy. 

I knew I couldn't bring in any large florals or bright colours, so I went with subtle stripes, a check and a subtle floral on cushion covers to add texture and interest which complemented the restful feel to the bedroom and with the addition of a striped throw at the bottom of the bed, really upped the cosiness factor.   

A new pendant light was chosen for its beautiful  shape and its texture and the pretty shadows it casts when lit at night and we went for plain white pleated bedside table lamps.   You can see the chest of drawers isn't correctly positioned in the middle of the alcove - a small area on the chimney breast had damp issues which has just been painted, so once this is dry the chest will be moved over a bit and the mirror can be hung, so for the moment it's just propped up!

There is always a risk of overdoing a design, everything looking a bit too contrived but this room is bright and airy and the colour has really lifted the room out of the mundane and now feels cosy and calm but cheerful at the same time.  The walls are a bit bare at the moment, client has a few framed family photos to hang up but I think it's got a great feel as it is and doesn't need too many pieces on the walls.

I wanted to add in a pop of colour but instead of going with a traditional blue rug which would make the room look more formal, I added a yellow rug from Ikea, which brings a fun element into the room and draws the eye down to the beautiful waxed floor boards.  We continued with the yellow by adding a cushion on the chair. 

The look is restrained yet inviting, elegant but still informal.  No stuffiness or over accessorising.  I think we met client’s brief of beautiful but plain and simple….what do you think?

(all photos are copyright SharonJaneInteriors - please do not use without permission)

Take care and have a great week!

Friday, 28 February 2014


Thank you all so much for your comments the bedroom makeover. Know that your comments and time spent reading my blog mean so much to me.

 We are in the final stages of putting it all together, so don't go away, I'll be posting pics of the final reveal soon!

After all this rain we've had, I'm in the mood for Spring days - sunshine and bicycle rides.  My potted bulbs have all but drowned in the heavy rain we've been having, especially the tiny crocuses.  

And with warmer days in mind I feel like a change in decor.   Now I love paint, but I'm even more in love with wallpaper.  There are so many patterns available and it just changes everything about a room.  It might be because I spent years in a country where no one used wallpaper, in fact you had to import it, or pay extortionate prices just for one roll.  So I've been browsing my favourite wallpaper stockist Farrow and Ball.  

Now one thing I really love about Farrow and Ball wallpaper is that it is tactile.  It really does feel like the pattern has been painted on with their fabulous paints.  But not only that, the wallpapers have all been designed to match their paints, so you're always going to get a really good match!


And here's how it looks on the walls.  This is a very arts and crafts looking house, with beautiful pieces of hand crafted  furniture and it could have looked quite heavy and drab but the wallpaper really lightens it up and brings a fun element into the room.  The tones are warm especially when teamed with brass lampstands.

and here's another picture of the same wallpaper but see how different it looks teamed with black and  brass - the black furnishings have cooled the entire look down.

and who would have thought about putting this lovely Lotus wallpaper in the kitchen to glam it up a notch!

And right on the opposite side of the colour wheel I've been looking at this beauty - Cole and Son's Cowparsley wallpaper.  It's sunny and bright, has a beautiful pattern which immediately puts one in the mood for Spring.  Cowparsley is available from John Lewis or any good wallpaper stockist.

(The views and opinions expressed on this blog post are solely my own and not an advertisement for Farrow and Ball).

Is it getting warmer where you are?

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, 23 February 2014


I've had computer problems these last few weeks and believe me I've suffered the equivalent of 'cold turkey' being without it!  A new battery and a complete overhaul and my laptop is ready for another few years or so!  

I've been busy with a bedroom makeover...a teeny one....the brief:  to turn a once neglected bedroom into a calm and inviting haven.
 The budget  - ZERO!  Seriously though, this had to be done on a 
TINY budget and that's always hard as it forces one to come up with ideas which don't cost the earth!

It's also especially challenging when you have a client who wants something 'plain and simple'.  Sometimes you have to reign in the creativity, get rid of your own ideas of what is beautiful and get inside the head of your client, mix it up and come up with a scheme SHE can live with.

A couple of photos of BEFORE...

So this is what we were going for - We started with duck egg blue/green wall paint which is the client's favourite colour, and a pop of colour in the rug.

We started by removing the fitted dark blue carpet which revealed the beautiful raw wooden floors beneath.  I managed to convince the client not to fit another carpet.  They were given a light sanding and a few coats of wax to keep the look natural.  No yellow varnish on this floor!

The bedroom walls had wallpaper on them but you can't really see this in the photos, so this had to be removed.  This was disastrous as some of the plaster came with it so we ended up replastering the walls too!  The ceiling was also replastered and the old light fitting was removed.  This wasn't in the original budget, but it had to be done.   Once all the plaster work was finished, we started on painting the walls.  I love Farrow and Ball paints, but when you're on a budget, every penny counts, so we successfully matched F&B's Teresa's green and pale green with another paint company and came out smiling.

I'll show you more photos we took during the process next time.

Aren't you glad it's getting warmer?

Happy week everyone!