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February 2018

Design, Interiors, My Home

Goodbye Blue, Hello Grey

Ikea HEMNES Bookcase In Little Greene Gauze Deep

 

Sometimes the reality of an idea isn’t quite as amazing as the image you’ve had filling your head.  Despite looking absolutely perfectly and seeming like an excellent idea in your head, some ideas just don’t pan out. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, if anything for me it’s only made me more aware of what my own style is. Sometimes you have to venture out of your comfort zone only to confirm exactly what it is you love.

I’m a big believer in visual balance and proportions – if you’re familiar with my Instagram you’re probably are of exactly how much I like (mostly white) space around objects. Visually it’s important to me for things to be balanced with the space around them. My living room’s chimney breast is flanked by two almost identical alcoves, one contained a black television unit whilst in the other sat a large bookcase I had the grand idea of painting in Little Greene‘s Basalt. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s a really beautiful shade of teal blue, pictured below. (Please excuse the less than minimal styling on this one…)

 

IKEA Hemnes Bookcase Painted In Little Greene Basalt

 

“Blue?!” I hear you say. Yes, blue.

I had it in my head for months before moving into the flat that I wanted a large teal blue bookcase. I’m not quite sure why, perhaps I’d seen some similar in an image somewhere, but in my head it was going to be perfect for the space. It would be the only real colour within the room; a bit of a decor curve ball. The colour was beautiful and I certainly don’t regret that aspect of the decision, but it just never sat right within the room.

The black fireplace beside it, along with the black TV unit made the entire wall heavy and clunky. The only three dark things in the room sat in a row and it pushed the whole room out of balance. All of the heavy aspects sat on the one wall, severely weighting your eyes in one direction when you were in the room.

 

Ikea HEMNES Bookcase In Little Greene Gauze Deep

Ikea HEMNES Bookcase In Little Greene Gauze Deep

 

I bought the bookcase, IKEA’s HEMNES in natural pine, knowing I would be painting it straight away. It’s a sturdy piece of furniture despite the disappointingly flimsy veneer backing panel. With the wood being untreated painting it wasn’t exactly an easy task. A coat of white and three coats of Basalt later, it was done.

As soon as I pushed it back into the alcove I knew it wasn’t right. Sometimes you just know it. Instantly. In the end I left it that way for the best part of a year, cropping it out of most images of the room. Last week, whilst taking some time off from the day job, I decided it was time to update it to something far more familiar; grey. I’m all for a healthy dose of grey. This time around I opted for Little Greene’s Gauze Deep, kindly provided for the project by Little Greene. Narrowing down the vast shades the brand produce was a lengthy process that involved lots of thoughtful gazes at hurriedly painted swatches. All of which turned out to be very, very similar.

 

Little Greene Gauze Deep

 

A thick coat of white paint went on first to ensure the Basalt was blocked out, before a single coat of the Deep Gauze.

I’ve always found Little Greene’s paint to be the best out there and that’s an opinion formed without payment from anyone and actually a conclusion I came to many years before this blog was even a concept. The fact I managed to get away with just one liberal coat of the paint was incredibly welcome. You don’t realise exactly how long it takes to paint every last nook and cranny of a bookcase.

The jury is still out on whether I should have put a top coat or matt varnish on to project it from any scuffs. I have issues with shiny or glossy surfaces and much prefer things to appear absolutely matte, so I actually opted for eggshell to paint the piece. It has such a lovely flat finish so I’m loathe to add any form of sheen to it with a varnish, although I’m sure three months down the line when there’s scuffs, marks and soot-lines from the various candles and matches that fill the shelves, I’ll be regretting this decision.

 

IKEA Hemnes Bookcase in Little Green Deep Gauze

Ikea HEMNES Bookcase In Little Greene Gauze Deep

 

Styling wise I won’t even pretend to disguise the fact I painstakingly selected the books that could remain on the shelves. I did indeed literally judge every book by its cover. I’m all for a colour coded bookshelf.

I’ve been really trying to live without so many objects around, mostly born out of the desire to have a much more minimal interior. To the top and bottom of the bookcase you’ll see two beautiful handmade baskets from Artisanne. Inside each you’ll find a plethora of matches, candles, candle holders, spare buttons, tape measures and around nine tubes of hand cream, but from the outside? Beautiful baskets.

You’ll find both the Small Round Basket and the Small Alibaba Basket on their site now.

 

The White Company Pomegranate Candle

Artisanne Woven Basket

Ikea HEMNES Bookcase In Little Greene Gauze Deep

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Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

The Contemporary Lighting Edit

MENU JWDA MARBLE TABLE LAMP

Image credit: Utility Design

 

I have strong opinions about lighting. I’ve been known to have strong opinions about a number of things related to interiors it’s true, but lighting is a particularly large issue for me. Last week on an Instagram post it became apparent I’m not the only one however – always a nice thing to discover. Contemporary lighting is tricky all round.

Each room in my home has light fitting that I’ve spent a great deal of time selecting, they can be hard to get right. We call these the ‘big’ light. A great way of adding a bit of a statement into a room, there are some amazing options out there right now. All of that being said, I absolutely wouldn’t resort to living by the light of the ‘big’ light unless there was no other option. That was sadly the case for me in my dining room where two weeks ago I went on a bit of a crazy smashing spree and managed to obliterate a porcelaine and concrete lamp I’d picked up in The Conran Shop sale a few years back.

It was a sad moment, not just because it meant the lamp was no longer with us, but because it meant the ‘big’ light was terrifyingly the only option.

 

 

I live life by lamp light, interspersed with a plethora of flickering candles. It’s just nicer that way – softer and friendlier if that’s possible?  The last time my living room’s ceiling light was turned on was over the Christmas period whilst I set about wrapping some particularly fiddly presents. It’s a technical light. It’s there for technical assistance. It isn’t there for ambiance.

Whilst looking to replace the smashed lamp I came across a great piece from John Lewis’ Design Collection. An opal orb sitting atop a brushed brass and concrete base. It’s perfect, it’s contemporary and it’s brilliantly priced at £65. The diffused glow it gives off is enough to light up my living room on an evening, which is where it’s actually ended up despite the fact I needed a lamp for the dining room.

 

Image credit: Debenhams

 

Both looking for and deciding on a lamp proved to be a tricky task. Being a bit of a not fully committed minimalist, I have specific tastes. The design needed to be simple, with a neat silhouette but at the same time not look like it belongs in a 2001: A Space Odyssey. That’s the hard part. Why is so much contemporary lighting design on the high street produced in mirror-like chrome?

Featuring a distinct lack of polished chrome and a heavy dose of brushed brass, I’ve compiled an edit of the best contemporary lighting I came across whilst scouring the internet for the perfect replacement.

 

 

Minimalist Table Lamps

|1.| Doshi Levien for John Lewis Lamp |2.| J by Jasper Conran Lamp |3.| MENU JWDA Marble Lamp |4.| John Lewis Design Project Lamp |5.| HAY Pion Lamp |6.| J by Jasper Conran Task Lamp |7.| A by Amara Marble Lamp |8.| Flos Copycat Lamp

 

Minimalist Floor Lamps

|1.| John Lewis Grayson Lamp |2.| French Connection Floor Lamp |3.| French Connection Tube Lamp |4.| Flos Floor Lamp |5.| Habitat Kuriko Lamp
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Interiors, My Home, Shop

Starting Afresh. Three Ways I Welcome In The New Season.

Spring, noun
The season after winter and before summer, when the weather becomes warmer, leaves and plants
start to grow again and flowers appear.

 

Bloom & Wild Piper

 

When January draws to a close everything starts to feel different. Spring is technically almost two months away but still everything feels like it shifts into the new season. The final remnants of Christmas are treated to the shame of the 70% off sticker and the new season collections lie in wait for January pay cheques to clear; it’s coming.

I’ve always loved Winter, but I’m also always happy to see it start to give way to something new. Come February the Winter fatigue is very much in full swing. I start to change things over. The blankets that are folded neatly over the arms of the sofa are stowed away in the hope they won’t be required again until the autumn, the heating takes a step down and the curtains are taken down and washed ready for the sun to sail through them when it finally manages to scrape past the rooftops of the houses in front of mine.

I might not be able to arrive home to my flat bathed in light just yet but I might as well be ready for it.  The start of the new month seems like the perfect time to talk about the simple little things I change to trick myself into thinking those bright Spring days are a little closer than they actually are.

 

Bloom & Wild Piper Spring Bouquet

Bloom & Wild Piper

 

Flowers can change everything instantly – they’re the easiest way to make it feel like spring’s arrived. In winter my mantlepiece tends to be filled with gigantic bunches of eucalyptus or simple white roses. Once February arrives you’re more likely to find jars of hyacinths chopped from their bulbs before they fall to their floppy end mounting up on the surfaces, along with ramshackle collections of vases and jars filled to the brim with blooms.

As I type this my mantlepiece is currently playing host to an orchestra of vases I’ve collected over the years, each filled with the soft pink and green hues of The Piper bouquet from Bloom & Wild. I’ve chosen to group the vases together, but realistically one letterbox bouquet is enough to fill a vase for each room in the flat. I think we get ourselves into the habits of thinking everything needs to be arranged in a single vase sitting in the centre of the coffee table. I’d rather flowers were everywhere, even if it’s just one or two in a tiny bud vase sitting on the side table.

Never underestimate the power of flowers in a room. Also never underestimate the glory of beautiful bouquets than can be posted through your letterbox.

 

Bloom & Wild Indie Bouquet

Bloom & Wild Indie Bouquet

Bloom & Wild Indie Bouquet


If you walk into my flat during the winter months you’ll likely be met by darker, musky scents that make you feel like there’s a log fire burning and maybe some mulled wine on the go. You’d smell that because there’s a plethora of candles and diffusers about the place designed to evoke those exact scents. After Christmas has been and gone I want everything to start to smell crisp and fresh, so the somewhat ceremonial switching over of the scents takes place.

 

The White Company Linen Diffuser

Bloom & Wild Piper

 

This month I swapped over the deep mossy diffuser I had in the dining room with The White Company’s latest fragrance, Linen. Now when you walk into the flat your nose will be met by the soft scent of neroli and eucalyptus. When you walk past it and that breezy scent of the Mediterranean catches you, it’s absolutely perfect. Like a sunny afternoon spent lazing about in the sun.

For spring, The White Company have also looked to embody the luxury and comforting nature of everyone’s favourite thing, Cashmere. It’s warm and cosy without any of the heavier notes that fill winter’s fragrances, making it exactly right for February. I genuinely believe the scent of a room is just as important as its colour or furniture. For me when I think back to places I’ve been I always remember how it smelt. So if someone leaves my home thinking it smelt like cashmere? I’m okay with that.

 

The White Company Cashmere Candle

The White Company Cashmere Candle

 

Generally January is a month of tightening your belt and praying for your bank account to once again enter the world of positive numbers. In February I say you treat yourself to some small luxuries. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant purchase by any means, but after the mammoth task that was January, you deserve something just for you. If a candle or a huge bunch of spring blooms isn’t for you, try treating yourself to fresh bedding.

 

The White Company Easy Iron Bedding

 

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, or maybe it’s just because of the sheer volume of cool I possess, but very little ever makes me as happy as fresh bedding. There is nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning nestled beneath fresh sheets whilst the sun rises behind your curtains. February is when I treat myself to fresh bedding, although due to budgetary constraints I’ve kept it to just fresh pillowcases this year. White, naturally.

Team the crisp new sheets with a bedside table stacked with scented hyacinths and a freshly lit candle. It’s all your February could need.

 

The White Company Cashmere Candle

|1.| Stoneware Vases, The White Company |2.| Glass Plantpot, ARKET |3.| Cashmere Scented Candle, The White Company |4.| Linen Diffuser, The White Company |5.| Washed Linen Pillowcases, H&M |6.| Glass Bulb Vase, H&M |7.| Glass Bud Vase, H&M

 

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