Saturday, July 23, 2011

Recent Finds | An old camera, 50s mags & a sludgy lamp

A selection of recent finds. More tat for the shelves as my Mum would say...

Top left: A St Clement pot stand in sludgy 50s colours, a mint green flan dish, and a selection of home magazines. I'm thinking the mags would look fantastic framed in a row on the kitchen wall, although they have fabulous pictures inside so it would be a shame to cut them up. From the fabulous "Paris Accent", a store in nearby Maidstone where the stock comes from Parisian markets and auctions.

Top right: A Hornsea style lamp from eBay. £15. Score! I need to find a suitable shade though.

Bottom left: G bought these the other day from the market. A fabulous old 35mm camera and a cute little brown pot...both for £3!

Bottom right: My planters from Habitat. I lusted after them ever since seeing them on Obsessilicious and I bought them on a recent visit with Katie from Mayfield. I've planted them up with roses and spiky plants and they look fabulous.

Next week: kitchen gets plastered! G is also buying materials to make our new front door. To quote a line from Muriel's Wedding, you can't fight progress.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taking Control of the Kitchen

Before we bought the house, the owners had decided to replace the kitchen and so took a trip to MFI (now defunct) where they purchased new oak doors. They are most definitely not my style, but in the interests of saving money (& the environment), we are going to keep them.

I am also in love with the worktop, which they had made specially out of formica and has a handy little lip around the edge to stop any liquids spilling. I think most visitors think it's hideous and I can see them biting their lip when I tell them it's my favourite thing about the kitchen. It's pretty naff, but there you go. What can I say? I pretend to love polished concrete worktops but really, I'm just a formica girl.

I can't WAIT to do something with the kitchen. It has carpet, it has artex, it has brown 70s tiles with fruit on them, it has unfinished walls...It definitely needs some love.

We took the archway out as planned, but unfortunately couldn't get rid of the wall completely because a) it's the old exterior wall and is therefore supporting, and b) the left side of the wall houses the waste pipe. So we made the best of it and it has let in a little more light into the breakfast room area (the longer room at the back). The kitchen is about 20 ft long. It's pretty insane, plus everything is spread out all over the place. No handy cooker-fridge-sink triangle
here. (My nephew calculated it takes approx 30 steps to make a cup of tea...)

And yet, I love the space. The light is amazing. I keep saying that I want to get rid of the tiles and replaster the room in one hit. One day this summer we will do it. The downstairs is virtually finished and it's just that room that's letting the side down.

I'm not a pink girl at all, but I love the 50s vibe of this kitchen.

Words can't express how much I love this.

And right at the very end of the breakfast room, at the end of that 20ft stretch, I want this:

A booth of my own.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Out & About

After a little hiatus, I'm back. The poor blog got neglected as we attacked the house with gusto, but it does mean that things actually got done. More to come.

Right now, I am all about the garden. It's sunny and warm here right now, and in England, we get maybe 2 or 3 months of that, so I'm working furiously to get the garden into shape.

This is what I have to work with (and I didn't bother tidying it up for its close-up):

Not exactly Palm Springs, right? The front and side gardens are mainly lawn and plants, but out the back it's a little courtyard garden. This is what held me back from buying the house at first. After growing up somewhere with a couple of acres outside space, I couldn't imagine the thought of having kids and not owning a couple of trees for them to climb. But hey ho. I decided that instead of worrying about things that might never happen, I could relish the fact that it's virtually maintenance-free and can just be for entertaining.

And that odd silver building in the corner? That's an observatory. The previous owners had an amazing telescope and would star-gaze - the room slides back and revolves...the whole she-bang. Unfortunately, the poor building is being used as a shed. Not quite what it's used to. Still, I love the fifties words "atomic" and "sputnik", so it's not entirely lost on me.

Bought some plants this week...

A little too much red? I had to buy the purple hydrangea and some yellow plants to even things up a bit. The colour is stunning. My mum is coming over this week to show me what to do with them. I'm not very green-fingered just yet.

This is what I would like to aspire to one day.

I'll just keep on dreaming...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

going going green

The painter mixer guy must have thought I had a screw loose when I asked for 15 tester pots.

After umming and aahing, we've decided on an olive green for the very long lounge wall. This is G getting on with the job..

After two coats, it looks amazing! You can see the finished colour by looking at the edges at the top which are thicker. When we had the room plastered, my worry was that a dark colour would make the room seem really small, but luckily that is not the case. It's almost the opposite ~ having a strong colour on such a long wall only seems to emphasise the space. I'm not sure I'll be saying that when all our furniture's back in the room..

I originally thought a grey would go nicely, but after "test potting" it, I thought it looked a little drab. We aren't going for post-war austerity here, and the green and grey made things look a little institutional or like a depressing home in 1950s England. Instead we have teamed the green with an off-white that keeps things looking "bright and gay" (to quote a very old English expression). I don't want to post a picture until the room is complete, but suffice to say I love it!

On Monday we are knocking down the archway between the two kitchens. Our home has a rather quirky layout and has two kitchens, but we want to knock them through to create one beautiful space. We are open-plan living kind of people, so the thought of having no doors in between is perfect to me.

Then later in the week we are laying beautiful walnut floors in the lounge and hallway. Finally it will be goodbye carpet and hello beautiful grain.

And on a bright note, I have ordered sample swatches of these fabrics for potential lounge! Probably leaning towards the lighter shade due to the olive wall, but I had to see what the coloured ones look like.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

& God said "let there be George Nelson lights"

I have been in love with George Nelson lights for as long as I can remember.

The gold '80s monstrosities have now been removed from the ceilings and walls, and so my lighting dream will soon be realised. Scouring the internet one morning, I almost choked on my granola when I saw the cost of the George Nelson lamps over here in the UK. Heals has them starting at £305!! This is in comparison to US sites who currently have them on sale at $228, which works out at about £145. Crazy huh! I know we have to pay a small fortune for things in this little island country, but still... Of course, the manufacturers know they can screw us on price, so I'm not allowed to buy them directly from a US store and have them shipped over. Instead, my lovely sister-in-law is letting me have them shipped (free) to her home in New Jersey, and then depending on shipping costs, will either forward them on to me or store them until I am next across the pond. Even if I paid a lot for shipping and customs duty, it would still work out as a bargain compared to the prices over here. Plus my electrician has confirmed he can convert it absolutely fine. Yay!

So these are gone gone gone... 24 carat gold plated apparently... any takers?... anyone?... thought not.
These nasty strip lights have been removed and replaced with simple pendants for now. Not sure what they will be replaced with long term...a whole new project to research!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the lounge is the first to go

On a recent trip to LA, we went to a flea market and fell in love with a 1957 Wurlitzer jukebox.

We purchased said jukebox. A bit of an impulse purchase you might say...especially as we had to ship it from California to England. The lovely jukebox fellas have organised this and it is currently on its way across the Atlantic.

This means we have three weeks to get our living room looking spruced up for the new tenant. In preparation, we have the following tasks:

knock down old boiler cupboard and archway (see below)
remove 1980s gold-plated ceiling & wall lights
box in pipework (I hate boxing-in but it's the only option)
remove coving
replaster walls & ceiling (goodbye hideous artex!)
repaint walls & ceiling
new pendant lights
new walnut flooring throughout

Archway before:
Archway no more:

(Excuse the awful image quality ~ taken on my phone)

Boiler cupboard now gone:

You would not believe how much more space this has given us in the living room. When we first came to view the house, my first impression of the room when I walked in was "why the heck is there a big chunk of wall sticking in to the room". Contrary to what many home-show TV presenters tell me, I am not someone who cares particularly about a massive kitchen. I like to lounge, and to do that well I need a big airy space. Fabulous.

So this is the mood board for the living version anyway...I don't know what G thinks of it.. I'm thinking olive, mustard, hint of red/orange with lots of dark woods. I'm planning a George Nelson bubble pendant along with lots of West German pottery. Cosy for all those dark evenings coming up.

Not only that, but we'll have our jukebox to keep us company.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I heart orla

Ok, I will come right out and admit it. I am an Orla addict. For going on 6 years, I have poured over every look-book, visited virtually every sample sale and made regular pilgrimages to the Covent Garden store (I'm there today actually...meeting a client...ahem..).

I'm not someone who believes that you have to spend a lot of money to look good. Style can come at any cost, but it just so happens that this style aesthetic comes with a rather heavy price-tag. I'm prepared to turn a blind-eye to the cost, for when Orla charges a hefty sum, Orla always delivers. The clothes look gorgeous, and they feel a million dollars. They may come with a "dry-clean me please" label, but I'm willing to accept that that lambs-wool needs to be looked after. The mugs wash well and don't lose their sparkle. The bags are...well...pretty darned amazing.

When it comes to the home items, I am just as dedicated. So far I have built up a collection of vases, mugs, plates, a cake stand, wallpaper, oven mitts, napkins, glasses, a rug. I even have an Orla Kiely bed. I need an intervention. I try to steer away from the obvious stem signature print, as I don't want it to necessarily look like I'm an Orla freak....I would rather the 60s & 70s style added to the overall effect, rather than stand out. Although I am toying with the idea of making some of the stem print bedding into curtains for my soon-to-be-studio, as they just make me happy. That's a priceless emotion, no?