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!