Monday, 31 May 2010

My study / kids lounge

Quite a few years ago we had some building work done on our house.  We built over our garage making our third bedroom bigger and adding a fourth bedroom.  As we had to have pillars built into our garage to support the extra rooms above it meant the garage door wouldn't close so we decided to have a window put in and convert the garage into a room which could double as a kids room and a study.  As we would be losing so much storage space we decided to have floor to ceiling cupboards built at the back of the room to house everything from paint to craft supplies.  The cupboards at the top we called our 'December cupboards' as they were out of reach of inquisitive children so would be a good place to hide presents.


Unfortunately this room has never worked for me.  The desk has moved from the long wall opposite the door to below the window.  Same thing with the sofa.  That always left a biggish (it is only a small room) floor area with no definition.  I had told my husband I would be quite happy to turn it back into a garage as I felt there was little we could do to make it work.

I then came up with the idea of splitting the room down the middle to give it two distinct areas.  Just before Christmas my husband had a week off so built a just over half height wooden structure which took some work as we didn't want to attach it to the floor in case we didn't like how it ended up.  We didn't want to be left with screw holes in an expensive oak floor.  He then attached bead board and trim and I painted it white.  It is really solid and not going anywhere.  We didn't want a full wall as the study part would have ended up too dark plus it's just tall enough to give privacy when you are in either area.  My desk backs onto one side of the wall with my storage cupboards behind me and my kids telly and x-box backs onto the wall on the other side (I am planning on making a Pottery Barn style TV unit adapting plans from Ana at Knock Off Wood) but haven't got round to it yet.  I will then change our 'antique' portable TV to a flat screen but due to time and money this won't be for a few months yet.


I've now gone from hating this space to loving it.  It really works for us.  I now have quite a decent sized study where all my half finished projects can sit until I have time to finish them.  I have my memo board where I can hang inspiration photos or chalk down ideas and I have a lovely wire heart to hold photos and postcards that I love.  I plan on making a sign to go above my wire heart and 'bus roll' hanging but haven't decided on the wording yet.


My kids (mainly my son) now has a little lounge where he and his friends can play on the x-box or where you can just go to read if you want a bit of peace and quiet.  The decor isn't quite how I want it yet - my Mum gave me the rug so I may change that, the wall colour blends too much with the leather (I may change it to white or really pale blue) the large picture frame is overbearing so I may make this wall into a gallery wall with loads of frames.  Plenty of scope but I have got decorators block at the moment thanks to all your gorgeous homes and my total confusion as to what I want!
For now though this is how it's staying!


Monday, 17 May 2010

Jumping on the bus roll craze, a lottery win and moving closer to a new camera

Please forgive my photo quality - I now have to wack my camera against my hand to make it work!

I am now the proud owner of my very own bus roll - thanks to Mel of Mel's Rose Place

A while ago Mel had a giveaway for a tea towel in the style of an Australian bus roll.  She had one herself in her own home framed in a gorgeous ornate white frame and I just fell in love with it.

I particularly love the interesting place names.

Unfortunately I didn't win but Mel obviously sensed the desperation in my comment and e-mailed me to let me know where to buy one so I did. 

It's been sitting in my house for the last couple of months waiting for me to find the right frame but there aren't many junk shops in these parts so last night I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I (my husband) cut me four strips of wood trim all the same length which was just slightly wider than the tea towel.  I painted them black with acrylic paint and then used varnish to finish them off.  I ran a length of double sided tape along the inside of all four pieces then sandwiched the top and the bottom of the tea towel between two bits of wood (so that I would hang like old school maps do - with a piece of wood across the top and the bottom).

I have walked around the house with this in my hand trying to find the right place to put it.  I confess to making a few nail holes which now have to be filled!  At the moment it's in my study but it may well move.


On Friday I and 34 of my colleagues entered the Euro Millions lottery and were one number short of winning a share of £84 million!  I kid you not.  To win the jackpot you need 5 numbers and 2 stars and we got 4 numbers and 2 stars.  So, you're wondering, am I still a millionaire?!!  No, but I did win a 35th of just over £5,000 so next week will have around £150 to go towards a new camera!  Yay!  And not a moment too soon I hear you all say!! 

Saturday, 8 May 2010

My Pottery Barn inspired memo board - finished at last!

Remember when I posted here that I was planning on making a notice board/blackboard taking inspiration from Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs?

Well here, after much faffing, it is:

It seems like I've been working on this thing for ages.  I had a few hiccups so kept putting it to one side but have now finished it (apart from adding two more hooks on the bottom).


I started with a sheet of MDF which measured 4ft x 2ft but this wasn't quite tall enough so my husband added another strip of MDF along the bottom.

I measured and cut all of the trim pieces myself which is a first for me!

I lay each piece out on the MDF to decide where it would all go and then drew around each piece so I knew where to paint my blackboard and how big a noticeboard I had to buy.

I painted a blackboard on the main piece of MDF.

I spray painted each piece prior to attaching with Rustolem primer and then finished it off with a few coats of Rustoleum painter finish paint in White gloss finish.

Once all the pieces were on the board I covered the notice board with linen and hot glued that in place on the back.  I then attached it (sunken into a frame I had made within the board) with Gorilla glue.  I put really heavy books on top for a couple of hours and it's stuck fast now.  I then used parcel tape to tape off lines as I wanted to paint the linen to look like an antique grain sack.  I did this by eye as I wanted it to look quite simple and not too perfect.

I then decided to add some letters either side of the stripes so added S and L which are my children's initials.

I added some black iron hooks along the bottom to hang things as I make them!
I want five hooks so will add two more.

Lastly I painted a few small wooden hearts and hot glued them to drawing pins to make nice push pins.

I used a piece of L shaped trim between the main piece and bottom piece to hold chalk and to prop up pictures etc.

All the joins which were visible down the side were covered by yet another piece of trim.

I hope you like it!

I am linking this to I made it without my hubby over at Shanty2chic
and SNS#29 at Funky Junk Interiors
and Funky Junk Interiors SNS#69 Bulletin-Boards

Thursday, 6 May 2010

You're all confusing me!

I've always been quite confident in my taste in interiors.  I never really follow popular UK trends as they tend to change a lot (I know people who have decorated their house in one style only for it to go out of fashion and then change the look completely).  I get my inspiration more from French, Scandinavian and American homes.  I love old furniture especially if it's been painted and the paint is a bit worn or chippy.  I love simple natural fabrics in either a neutral colour or a faded floral or stripe.  Wooden floors.  Wall panelling.  Neutral colours.  Leather.  Chippy paint.  No fuss.....

I love this room below:

photo: Atlanta Bartlett

I'm torn though as on the other hand I love the clean simple lines of everything sold by Pottery Barn.  I think their furniture does mix well with old chippy items as the Pottery Barn look is very simple and looks almost built in which then tends to give the older battered pieces centre stage.

I've always had my inspiration from American Interiors Magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, Coastal Living, Country Home and Country Living but lately haven't been getting my proper dosage of these.  Country Home is no more and other than Country Living the others aren't sold anywhere near me anymore since Border's bookstores closed down.  I'm having serious withdrawal symptoms.
Instead I am getting all my inspiration from my fellow bloggers.  But you confuse me - I find I'm loving homes full of old stuff with all sorts of things hanging on walls but at the same time loving homes with simple, uncluttered PB style.  I'm thrown as you all make me end up wanting to change things around in my own home.  I also end up doubting myself a lot - for example should I carry on with my never ending project of my PB inspired notice board or should I find a vintage frame and make a shabby chic burlap memo board instead?

Another thing which has thrown me into turmoil is that I've always gone for cream walls.  However, it seems that my favourite rooms tend to have white walls.  Why is this?  Am I a white walls person or a cream walls person?  Do I repaint all my walls?  Oh my word - what are you all doing to me?...............

If someone could transplant me into one of the following homes my decorating dilema's would be forgotten:

photo: Cabbages and Roses

photo: source unknown

photo: Tricia Foley

photo: Marley and Lockyer

photo: The Lettered Cottage

Aren't they all just gorgeous?


Monday, 3 May 2010

Lily's Garden

Lily and I had to go out this afternoon to buy her new shoes so we decided to stop off at the Garden Centre so she could choose some flowers to plant in the old crate I bought last week.  She chose lavender as she liked the smell on her hand when she touched it. 

I think that when it flowers it will look lovely against the colour of the crate.

She wrote 'Lily's Garden' on the little heart blackboard stake which I also bought last weekend.

No doubt, being that we live in wet'n'windy Wales, this sign is going to have to be re-written and re-written probably daily!

We also planted some sunflower seeds but I didn't take a photo of these yet as it would just be a photo of a tub of mud!

She was so thrilled to plant these and did most of the work herself.  I hope the dog doesn't eat them or pee on them and ruin all her hard work!

Fingers crossed!