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Design, Interiors, My Home

My Bedroom Plans. Moving Away From The Minimal.

When I first moved into the flat here I decorated simply to make things more to my liking than they presently were, rather than each room ever being a fully realised idea or concept. If truth be told, I’m just not that kind of thinker. I’ve typically always tried to let things evolve over time after the initial white-painting spree was completed. That way it gives you chance to work out what it is you need over time, gradually building up the room to a fully evolved space.

After painting the living room white I immediately moved onto the room I’d chosen as my bedroom, again painting it white simply to banish the magnolia. Technically I live in a three bedroom flat, with what is used as my living room intended to be the master bedroom. That was never going to work for me. For starters it’s too large. Secondly it houses the flat’s only original fireplace; it had to be the living room. I opted for the slightly larger of the two other rooms for my bedroom. It is by no means a big room and that’s kind of how I like it. I don’t like bedrooms to be huge and filled with things – I like them small and cosy, neat and peaceful.

After the white paint had been sloshed over each wall I built the simple white metal bedframe I’d ordered from John Lewis (because truthfully it was the cheapest I could find that wasn’t some kind of garish chrome), moved in the bedside table and chest of drawers I already had and hung a few pictures. In my head at the time it was a sort of temporary measure. The drawers, whilst being partly made of actual real life solid oak, had succumbed to the fate that all IKEA products equipped with drawers do all the same, despite the lack of chipboard. The bottoms fell out and they were rendered all but useless. In the back of my mind I knew I’d change everything at some point… but three years later and I still haven’t.

I’ve never really doubted that I’m a type of minimalist at heart: the bedroom in its current state is perhaps the biggest evidence of this. My wardrobe lives in the spare bedroom, so furniture and ‘things’ are pretty scarce in the room. A few months ago I made the decision to buck my ideas up and start work on deciding exactly what it is I wanted a bedroom to be, thinking from the ground up.

Did I want a colour on the walls? Did I want a wardrobe in there? What sort of beds do I actually like? Having never had to think about it previously I quickly came to realise that in the efforts to make everything not magnolia I lost my own taste a little. I love white, don’t get me wrong, but if this wasn’t a rental flat and it didn’t have to remain ‘neutral’ then I’m not sure I’d actually have entirely white rooms.

Are you shocked?

I’ve been in the flat so long now I’m no longer worried about straying from the neutral colours of white or beige. If my landlady dislikes it, I’ll paint it back. It’s a small room. So, exactly what do I want to do in the room? That’s the million dollar question. I am certain I wasn’t something a little softer in its look and feel, with natural elements carefully weaving their way into the minimalism. It’s never felt cold to me but in reality it actually is cold. The winter months are pretty icy thanks to badly fitted windows and a heating system that isn’t regulated by a thermostat. My options are on and off.

And so, the plans. I made several moodboards. Very unlike me. The interior world loves a good moodboard, however for me they’ve never held too much fascination. Likely due to many years spent being made to produce them through college and university…

 

 

The Bed. 

After much deliberation, I think I’m a wooden bed kind of person. Fabric beds fill me worries about dust mostly, padded headboards make me flinch somewhat and the idea of Divan bed just brings back University room nightmares. So an Ercol-esque wooden bed seems like the best option here, allowing plenty room for storage beneath it also. Not cheap and not that easy to come by it would seem. Made.com’s Penn Bedframe in Oak seems to be about the best (achievable) example of what I’m thinking of.

 

 

Although given any budget, Ercol’s Shalstone Bedframe would likely be getting my hard earned pennies.

 

The Floor.

I was lucky enough to work with the lovely people at Artha Collections earlier in the year, receiving a hand woven Arrow rug as part of the partnership. It’s beautiful – cosy, warm and just the right size. That will absolutely be staying and has in part actually dictated the ideas I’ve had for the room as a whole.

 

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

The Drawers.

The bottom of these drawers have been sellotaped, nailed, glued and screwed. It’s time to cut my losses and get rid. IKEA HEMNES, you’ve been a loyal friend these past five years, but no. You’re out. The monochrome striped handles (an amazing Zara Home find a few years back) however, may be staying on whatever comes in to the replace them.

 

The Bedside Table.

I’m so torn. I love this piece. I wanted it for months; pinning it to boards, bookmarking it, attempting to save for it… and then it went. Gone. Only to reappear three months later in M&S’ final reductions for the bargain price of £102, instead of the original £450 price tag. For that reason alone I want to keep it, but no. I’m being bold here. If a better option occurs, it’s gone. Maybe.

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

The Walls.

From the moodboards I’ve been creating grey seems to be a common theme, shockingly. The jury is out on whether or not I want a grey bedroom however. Neutral tones, whilst being very prevalent in the ideas here, aren’t something I feel comfortable with painting a wall in. In short, I just don’t know as yet. There’s a lot of pinning still to be done here clearly, although The White Company is constantly assisting in this task..

 

 

I’ve also always loved the soft putty-like grey of this project from the beautiful blog Avenue.

 

 

I do know that I want the walls to be much less minimal then they are currently. That much I’m sure of. I don’t want anything quite so statement as a gallery wall but I find myself drawn towards images of bed frames encased in large-scale artworks, generally always sitting on a picture ledge. That looks like it’s the route I’m going down. Choosing the artworks for the space is however something I know will take me months on end.

 

The Lighting.

Here I’m more certain of my tastes. I’d like a wall mounted bedside light, angled over towards the bed. The only problem I face here is that it can’t be wired in but instead must be one that plugs in and is simply wall mounted. This does narrow down the options quite heavily it seems, but aesthetically, I feel I’ve nailed what it is I’d like at least. Half way there.

 

 

Watch this space. One distinctly less minimal bedroom coming your way soon. Ish.

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Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

Making A Difference with Artha Collections

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

For a while now I’ve been exploring how possible it is to purchase products for the home that have a reduced effect on our environment and actively promote change. I believe we all have a responsibility to ensure we have as little impact on the planet as possible, along with an even more important responsibility to ensure we buy with our brains and support sustainable manufacturing.

At the same time I believe you shouldn’t need to sacrifice any element of style in order to do so.

Over the past few years our attitude towards conscientious homewares has definitely changed, there seems to be a much greater appetite for it now, something I’m incredibly happy about.

For the most part  the highstreet doesn’t seem to want to get behind the idea, either ignoring the issues entirely or hiding behind tiny capsule collections that come branded as being conscientious whilst really only making up 1% of their offering.

Finding the pieces and brands that do offer something more evolved isn’t easy, which is something I would like to try and assist with on millergrey. Perhaps it isn’t an issue that everyone concerns themselves with, but whilst I have a space like this blog I’d like to know it was helping in promoting those brands who are making a difference.

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to work with Artha Collections through Positive Luxury, an incredible collective of progressive brands who challenge the mass produced nature of the fashion, homeware and beauty industries and champion a selection of brands to trust.

Artha work with highly skilled artisans around the world to produce handmade homewares, offering women a chance to select their own working hours in order to ensure they can provide an income for their families without adversely affecting their home life.

The rug that now offers my feet a cosy place to land every morning was created by a single weaver, with its design adapted from traditional rugs in Ndbele tribal villages. When it arrived it seemed a shame to be relegating it to the floor, despite looking perfectly at home.

 

Artha Collections Arrow Rug

 

I’ve been toying with the idea of redoing my bedroom for some time and think the arrival of the Arrow Rug may just have confirmed that plan. As soon as I had unpacked it and rolled it out on the floor I knew it had to make it to a wall. Exactly how I turn it into a wall hanging is something I’ve been investigating via the medium of Pinterest ever since.

The plans for my bedroom makeover are something for another post (I might even moodboard, who knows), but for now the rug is making each day that little bit comfier in the room as it currently is.

If you’d like to find out a little bit more about Artha Collections and Positive Luxury you can visit their site.

 

Artha Collections

|1.| Arrow Rug |2.| Khullu Throw |3.| Petal Row Cushion |4.| Petal Row Cushion |5.| Storage Basket |6.| Karakul Rug

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Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

The Secret To A Getting A Good Night’s Sleep This Summer.

   This is a sponsored post produced in collaboration with Bedroommood.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

Ah, sleep. That ever elusive must-have we can never quite seem to get enough of. I’m forever envious of those who can fall asleep in any situation, position or condition. Children included. I am the polar opposite of those people. Rarely do I manage to obtain six hours sleep a night, let alone the eight hours we’ve all been drilled into believing is essential in order for our bodies and minds to function correctly.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably noticed a lot of sleep related talk of late, and it turns out you wouldn’t be the only one to have noticed it. For full disclosure, prior to receiving an e-mail entitled ‘Dan, we’d love to sleep with you’, I had never heard of Bedroommood. I’m all for a clever piece of marketing. Bedroommood invited me to rest my head on their sheets and spend a night with them, firmly believing their inclusion in my bedtime routine would result in me receiving a good night’s sleep.

In the summer months the precious six hours sleep I do get become broken, restless and ultimately pretty unsatisfying. After displaying some rather irritable behaviour and becoming sick of finding ways to stifle a yawn at my desk, I took Bedroommood up on their offer and set about exploring exactly what we can do to get a good night’s sleep in the ever changeable British summertime.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

1. The Sheets.

Bedding seems as good of a place to start as any. In the simplest of terms, you should keep it cotton. Cotton allows the skin breathe and remains cool to the touch, where as manmade fibres such as polyester prevent your body from breathing, working to trap in the warm air, resulting in all of that unpleasant tossing and turning.

I can’t profess to be a bedding expert and prior to exploring Bedroommood‘s range I wasn’t overly familiar with the thread count of my existing sheets. What I can tell you is the 100% Egyptian Cotton Percale Sheets I opted for have a thread count of 300. What I have come to learn from this is that 100% Egyptian Cotton Percale with a 300 thread count roughly equates to a kind of heaven on earth scenario.

There’s a gentle crease and soft, dry handle to the sheets that perhaps the photos will simply never do justice to, but when you’re cocooned inside them and about to drift off, that’s exactly what you need. It can be hard sometimes to understand if a blogger is genuinely enthusiastic about a product or simply following guidelines provided by a brand, however I can say with all honesty, these sheets are a thing of beauty.

Most importantly they have actually helped, since changing over my sheets I’ve had some of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in months. Keen to start to understand why it might be, I checked the care label of the bedding I most frequently use. 40% polyester. Often its included in a fabric’s yarn to reduce the level of ironing needed, so watch out for ‘easy care’ options as generally this would donate the inclusion of a manmade fibre. Instead just roll with the artfully creased look of percale!

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

2. Switch Off.

Once the stage has been set in metres of luxurious cotton it’s time to prepare yourself for the main event. Switch Off.

It’s hard to do I know, but spending the hour before you plan on going to bed reading a book, flicking through a magazine or simply getting on with some mindless chores around the house is an hour well spent. Scrolling through our phones or catching up on Love Island causes our brains to stay alert with the colour and lights its being presented with. (Yes, even Love Island causes some stimulation to the brain.). Switch off, climb into your luxuriously plumped bed, reach for a book from the stockpile you now keep by the bedside table, light a candle and relax.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

3. Cut The Caffeine.

I remember once watching an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show where she proclaimed never to drink a cup of tea or coffee after 3pm and even that was rare, it should always be something you drink in the morning to allow it to leave your system before your head hits the pillow. Now I’m not the kind of guy to disagree with Oprah, so I follow that rule rigidly.

Instead go for a chamomile or one of the plethora of sleep-inducing wonder teas you’ll now find in your local supermarket, and swap out your afternoon pick me up coffee for something punchy like a ginger and lemon infusion.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

4. Enjoy The Routine.

This is probably going to be the most controversial point here, but when your alarm goes off? Get out of bed. Don’t lie there and snooze until you’re late and having to brush your hair on the bus. Ultimately this dedication to getting up will pay off in undisturbed sleep. Our bodies understand routine, it’s a simple fact. The more you wake up and get out of bed at the same time, the more your body will allow you to sleep peacefully until it knows its time to get up. Think of it sort of like the night before a holiday and you wake up constantly to check the time and make sure you haven’t over slept. Training your body to the time it needs to get up over time alleviates that issue, it knows what’s coming. After a few weeks you’ll find you naturally wake up before your alarm goes off, with the sleep before hand having been unbroken.

 

Bedroommood Percale Bedding

 

5. Treat Yourself.

Until July 31st Bedroommood are offering millergrey readers 20% off orders with the code DAN20 which is pretty lovely if you ask me.

I went for the 100% Cotton Percale Bedding Set in White, with the 100% Cotton Percale Sheet and two additional pillowcases in Light Grey. (If the site appears in Euros, just flip the currency option to the right hand side into GBP.)

If you do decide to give them a try I’d love to hear how you got on – leave me a comment or head over to @_millergrey on Instagram and let me know how you slept. I’m all ears. Unless it’s after 10pm, then I’m sound asleep, with my phone face down on the bedside table.

 

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Interiors, My Home

How To Create The Perfect Gallery Wall.

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

 

It’s easy to forget that in this world of highly stylised homes that not everything goes right first time, our homes are as much a case of trial and error as our haircuts or our choice in jeans might have been. There will be times it goes wrong and there will be times you wish to eradicate from existence. My dining room’s gallery wall is testament to the fact that sometimes it just doesn’t go right.

Despite following all of the steps that I’m about to outline below, it was wrong. The layout was unbalanced, the frames too close together and the imagery just wasn’t very cohesive. I’m, perhaps unsurprisingly, a visual person. I see things perfectly in my mind and then when the reality doesn’t allign with that image in my head I get rather angry. The gallery bugged me from day one. I hung the final picture, I stepped backwards, looked up at the afternoon’s work and hated every last bit of it.

Despite this it managed to stay for a full year, mostly because I couldn’t bring myself to readdress it until now.

 

How To Hang A Gallery Wall  How To Hang A Gallery Wall

 

The ground work.

Have an aim. If that aim is for a multi-coloured, eclectic gallery including all sorts of tones and imagery; then great! Spend time collecting the objects and artwork that will fill that space and create the look you want. Find them over time, let the collection evolve. Clicking ‘add to basket’ on a selection of prints from the same online store may well give you a very cohesive, stylish gallery wall, but it won’t give you a very personal one. Spend time saving things, printing out photos you like, ripping out pages from things and save them up.

If your aim is for something deliberately cohesive then define what exactly that means. Is it all one tone you’re looking for, or all one theme of imagery perhaps? Once you know the sort of colour spectrum you want the gallery to go through you can source the imagery to fill it with or in some cases adapt imagery that doesn’t suit to be something that does. Quite often I’ll simply convert an image to black and white through Photoshop and send off for it to be printed. As you might expect most of the imagery included in my gallery wall is rather monochromatic. No-one is shocked by this.

 

Kate Moss Gold Vogue Cover

 

Go on a hunt.

When it comes to sourcing for your gallery wall – think outside the box. The internet is filled with retailers of typography prints, but so are the magazines you’ve kept in stacks around your house for the past few years. Buy vintage magazines from eBay (French Vogue is perfect for beautiful typefaces, not to mention editorial images), collect postcards from exhibitions you go to and even rip images out of catalogues if you find them appealing. It might not be apparent from first inspection but a lot of the images that fill the gallery wall in my hallway are actually taken from Toast catalogues.

 

Gallery wall

Gallery wall layout

 

An impartial and unsponsored view on frames.

So you’ve sourced your collection of images and miscellaneous items. It’s time to frame. As a general rule of thumb if I’m looking for a coloured frame, ie black in most cases, it will likely be a cheaper purchase. The oak frames however I would tend to spend a little more on to avoid any plastic looking ‘wood’ creeping in. Your eye will automatically go towards the wooden frames over the solid black, so if possible it’s a good idea to focus your budget on these.

The majority of the black frames I use have been sourced from IKEA or Desenio, with the solid oak frames that feature throughout my flat being from Habitat.

It’s true they’re more expensive, heavier (Habitat’s tend to come with glass rather than perspex in) and all together a bit more of a mission to hang due to their weight, they are beautifully made, sturdy and built to last. My favourite range, Rona, has unfortunately now been discontinued, so I’ve been making do with the Trieste and Ontario ranges instead.

If you find your images are all a little on the smaller side then make them all the more of a feature by double mounting them, allowing you to place the image within a much larger frame. For mounts I always use The Picture Gallery & Framing Centre. You can select the card, the thickness, the colour and the precise dimensions of the mounts you’ll require, all for an incredibly reasonable price. Doubling up on the mounts is a great to vary the scale of the frames in your gallery without purchasing huge images.

You’ll probably have noticed that I don’t tend to frame all of my artwork, some is simply taped to the wall with Washi tape, sourced from eBay in various colours and designs. Working like this allows your wall to really adapt and change over time. If I find a postcard I love it will likely find itself included in a gallery somewhere, as might a page from a magazine or even a label from a piece of clothing I’ve got. To me working like this just makes everything feel a little more personal and a little less formal!

 

Keira Knightley Interview Cover

 

Start on the floor.

Clear some space and lay all of your frames and images down on the ground. Play around with layout and placement of everything, if you’re using different coloured frames it’s a good time to start spreading them out evenly. You might find you need some more landscape images, or some smaller pieces.

 

Gallery wall layout

 

Find the centre.

If you’re filling a section of a wall rather than a full wall then mark the wall’s dead centre (or at least the centre of the area you want to focus the gallery on) and fan out from that point. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical, but it should be balanced.

 

Gallery wall layout

 

Mock it up.

Once I have a rough idea of the kind of layout I want from laying everything out on the floor, I draw round each frame on brown paper and cut it out. At this point it’s a good idea to also mark on the paper exactly where you’ll need a nail to be hammered in. Then when everything is in place you can hammer it straight through the paper then simply rip it off.

When each frame is cut out of paper start sticking them to the wall with masking tape to mimic the layout on the floor, using your central point as a guide. Here you can start to work on the spacing between the frames. I don’t measure the spacing between the frames but would roughly keep it the same, varying it between smaller frames if they’re going to be sitting as part of a group within the gallery itself.

I definitely recommend doing this on a morning and going about your day, checking back in over the course of the day. The first draft of the layout is very rarely the one I end up going with. Over the course of the day I’ll unstick and move the shapes closer together, higher up or off the wall entirely until I feel I’ve reached the perfect layout.

Thanks to the handy nail marks you made before taping the paper to the wall you can now quickly hammer in the nails for everything, ripping out the paper as you go. Easy.

 

Sunspel Sunset Postcard

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

 

Nothing’s permanent. 

As my own wall proves, it can easily be changed if it isn’t right. Using the Washi tape allows me to shift and alter the wall over time, adding more things as I find them but also taking things away to leave more space or even be replaced by a freshly framed fine. Let it evolve over time and allow it to become personal. Everybody can have the perfectly manicured gallery wall from glossy online store but only you’ll have the gallery you piece together over time.

 

Washi Tape

How To Hang A Gallery Wall

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Design, Interiors, My Home

Styling Scandinavian Design Classics With Amara

This is a sponsored post produced in collaboration with Amara.

 

Ferm Living Ripple Carafe

 

Styling and the process involved in creating an image has always been what I enjoy the most about working on the blog. When I decided to leave London and head back to the North East I left behind a job where doing just that was my day-to-day and pretty much something I took for granted. Now, with that a lifetime away, whenever the opportunity to really play with products and creating imagery arrises I’m always incredibly excited. Never more so than when Amara offered me the chance to style my favourite pieces from their incredible range.

A few years ago I decided to consciously alter the way I consumed things, stepping away from purchasing anything too trend-driven. I like to think the interiors of our home should evolve and progress over time, rather than being subject to entire clear outs when it turns out salmon pink is no longer the colour du jour. I started the year with the idea that I was going to try and make the good decisions and applied that approach to the approach here. Classic pieces that would never be subject to the whims of a trend, or worse still, boxed up and moved to the ‘spare bedroom of shame’ once my affections had wained.

 

Hay Concrete Flower Pot

Hay Brass Tray

Niki Jones Harlequin Cushion

 

If you’ve ever found yourself on the Amara site you’re probably aware of the incredible selection of brands they edit collections from. HAY, Normann Copenhagen, Ferm Living, MENU; it’s a veritable feast for anyone harbouring Scandinavian ambitions. Without delay the first category I found myself in was that of Danish brand Skagerak. They’re a label I’ve been following for quite a few years now, constantly saving and pinning images of their elegant designs. Their ethos is to create products that will span a lifetime if not longer. Sustainably sourced and beautifully crafted from the finest materials, everything is relatively quiet in its appearance. Saying something looks quiet is most definitely wrong, but that’s exactly how I’d describe it.

The Georg Stool: the stool that launched a thousand Instagram posts. It’s just as perfect in person as it is sitting on the accounts of some of Denmark’s finest tastemakers. I’m aware this could sound rather odd but if you ever find yourself within touching distance of the stool, feel it. It’s so beautifully shaped, smooth and tactile underneath. It’s exactly how a piece of furniture should be for me. Immaculately executed and built to last.

 

Skagerak Georg Stool

Skagerak Georg Stool

HAY concrete flower pot

 

Ferm Living’s ripple carafe and stacking glasses have been on my hit list for quite some time too, equally as perfect for a mid-afternoon G&T as they are filled with water for your bedside. You can decide which.

 

Niki Jones Harlequin Cushion

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table

 

You can explore my full Amara edit and see how I styled them in my own home as part Amara‘s shoppable Home Inspiration gallery. If you haven’t already taken a look, you’re missing out.

 

Amara Scandinavian Edit

 

|1.| Ferm Living Ripple Carafe |2.| Ferm Living Ripple Tumblers |3.| Vitra Eames House Bird |4.| Hay Brass Tray |5.| Skagerak Georg Stool |6.| Skagerak Norr Tray |7.| Serax Bowl |8.| Hay Glass Container |9.| Hay Large Glass Container |10.| Anglepoise Type 75 Desk Lamp |11.| Niki Jones Harlequin Cushion

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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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Design, Interiors, My Home, Shop

Good Decision #1. The Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table.

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

2018 is going to be the year of the good decision. I’ll be applying that logic to pretty much everything. It’ll be particularly prevalent within my home as I spend the year putting my disposable income to one side in the hope of being in a position to start looking at buying my first home come January 2019. This year if I’m going to spend money on something for my home then it has to be something built for my future: a piece I know I’ll never tire of.

Christmas money is not a thing I find myself with often, my family is big on the present and I’m fine with that as that’s precisely how I am too. This year however, some came my way. I know what you’re thinking, I could have popped it into my savings account for my deposit, but I didn’t. It was intended for a gift so a gift it became.

The Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table has been on my list for quite some time now. I’ve lost count of the amount of times it’s been added to my basket. On December 27th I took the plunge and finally ordered it from the sale at istome. Naturally I went for white, though the pale grey did give it a good run for its money, honest.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

Before the block table’s arrival my living room had started to feel a little bit cluttered. I have very minimalistic tendencies and tastes, but at the same time I have that rather annoying habit of liking things and therefore thinking I have to have them, regardless of wether I a) need them or b) feasibly have room for them. The room had become a little too busy towards the end of last year; some good decisions were needed.

The nesting set of three oak tables I’ve had for about eight years now we’re a gift from my mum when I moved into my first unfurnished property. There’s a sentimental part of me that wants to hold onto them but there’s also the sensible part of me that knows they take up too much room and don’t particularly fit in with the way my interior has evolved. With the blessing of my mum they will be finding their way to eBay in the search of a new home, the money from which will go straight into my savings account. Promise.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

Essentially the minimalist version of a drinks trolly, the Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table is a dream on wheels. Powdered steel and solid ash, it’s exactly what I wanted. It took all of two minutes to screw together and joyfully lead to several minutes of pushing it around the room like it was 1962 and about to offer people a Snowball.

Designed by Simon Legald back in 2012 and filling Nordic design hashtag feeds ever since, the table call be wheeled about in just about any direction you’d like. For now it will live comfortably in my living room, but in the future it may find itself anywhere. I suppose that’s the idea of these good purchasing decisions – buying things I’m confident I’ll always have a home for.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

ARKET Matches

 

Now the table is perfectly positioned beside the sofa, ready to receive a cup of tea and no doubt several magazines. It’s only January 7th I’m aware, but I can’t help but feel this is a good decision to start with. An investment piece I’ve had my eye on for years; versatile and adaptable.

 

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

Normann Copenhagen Block Side Table White

 

It’s the first of a few changes I plan on making in the room in order to strip it back and pair it down. The large bookcase I so painstakingly painted in Little Greene’s Basalt Blue will be turning a pale shade of grey to make it less imposing, along with a large proportion of the objects that have accumulated around the room being boxed away, redistributed or listed on eBay. The large empty wall behind the sofa will also finally be receiving the linen wall hanging I’ve been talking about creating for two years. Well, it will be once I’ve decided on a design. It would seem that is much easier said than done.

Watch this (large white) space.

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Christmas, Interiors, My Home

The Perfect Host. Getting The Guest Bedroom Ready For Christmas.

Soak & Sleep Jacquard Bedding

 

When I made the move back from London two years ago I was adamant I had to have a place with a guest bedroom. There was going to be long weekends, filled with friends who’ve made the journey up to Newcastle to visit. I’d make them epic breakfasts, they’d revel in the glory of the soft guest towels and it would be an all round glorious experience for all involved. The reality is somewhat different it has to be said. In those two years the room has been used just twice as a guest room. The rest of those days have seen it filled with everything I didn’t want to appear anywhere else in the flat. From hoovers to Christmas wreaths and mountains of shoe boxes, it’s been a little abused.

Upon receiving the message to say someone was coming to stay I was stupidly excited. I do love to play host. Rather quickly however the dread set in. Where would the hoover go? Where would I put those ladders I had to buy to paint the hallway without realising I wouldn’t be able to store them anywhere afterwards? Exactly where had I stored the spare pillowcases?

 

Soak & Sleep Bed Linen

 

I think to some extent we all like to play the host. Inviting someone into our home and doing our best to make them feel welcome isn’t just about making the guest feel good, but it’s about the desire to make sure you’ve made someone else happy. I don’t think that’s ever more the case than at Christmas, so when a Christmas guest is coming, it just makes it all even more exciting.

After a ruthless clear out involving equal quantities of charity bags and bin bags, I set about preparing the room for the arrival of its temporary inhabitant. I first like to start with making sure it smells welcoming, which you may think is a little odd, but to me scent is one of the most important things about a home. The room is unused for the most part so there’s always going to be the familiar smell that goes with a forgotten room. Light a candle or bring in a diffuser a day or two before so it has time to alter the room’s scent. If (again, like myself) you haven’t had the radiator on in there in a while, make sure you do it a few days before. Even the most thorough cleaners can’t get rid of the scent of a disused radiator kicking into action. If anyone was to make a candle of this unpleasant scent I imagine it would be entitled ‘Scorched Dust’.

I plump the pillows that have now been extracted from their vacuum packed storage beneath the bed and jostle with the feather duvet. There’s nothing like sinking into a squishy cloud of a bed. When it comes to bedlinen, I’m picky to say the least. I like things to remain white or neutral so everything feels as fresh as possible. This beautiful jacquard set from Soak & Sleep are a soft oatmeal in colour, flecked with a light grey slub.

 

Soak & Sleep Bed Linen

Soak & Sleep Bed Linen

 

I team them with white sheets and layer with a grey waffle bedspread. A throw or bedspread is essential in my eyes – we’re all very different when it comes to temperature. I find myself cold approximately 99.7% of the time, never more so than when in bed. Folding it neatly across the bottom of the bed allows your guest to adjust as they see fit without having to ask.

 

Soak & Sleep Jacquard Bedding

I’ve still not quite got around to buying a full set of furniture for the room so a bedside table arrives in the makeshift form of a stack of magazines. They’re satisfyingly white and if my guests can’t sleep, there’s something to read. A win/win. As it’s Christmas – and I have an abundance of decorations I’ve still yet to find a home for – I add a simple felt stocking and the star garland I spent the night before making. Having just discovered exactly how to make the stars I’ve now thrown them at just about every surface, present and person I’ve come into contact with.

 

Soak & Sleep Bed Linen

 

Finish with a carafe of water (I hear guests like to be hydrated) and a set of your fluffiest towels. Giving guests a set of white towels always makes me slightly nervous, 1. because I’ve seen the level of eyeliner some of my friends adorn themselves with and 2. because I know it also makes them feel nervous as they too know the level of eyeliner they adorn themselves with. With that in mind, my guest towels are always grey. Let’s preserve both of our nerves.

The bedding featured in this post was kindly gifted by Soak & Sleep

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