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?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First up....the project itself

I am a mid century modern nutcase. I love trawling flea markets and boot fairs, perusing eBay for bargain gems, and visiting California just to get my architecture fix. My love for this era's design aesthetic only serves to make me hate my home country all the more.

You see, I live in England. And at a time when America was painting everything bright and cheery, post-war Britain was awash with austerity and lack of funds. The result of which means that there is very little here to satisfy a mid century appetite. Of course there are the amazing 60s Bauhaus inspired buildings in every English town, but they are now considered "eye-sores" and are regularly torn down to be replaced with faux-Georgian townhouses.

The husband ("G") and I are determined to change things. We have just bought a 1965 semi-detached house in a little English village. Our mission, should we choose to accept it (oh yes), is to bring a little retro love to this little idyll. Our 1965 will become Palm Springs 1965. The stunner in the banner of this blog is a little over-optimistic, but we can but try.

I am aiming for the essense of these...

(This last image is never going to happen...but I love it)

And here is what we have to work with:

Have we set ourselves an impossible challenge?! We will do our very best.