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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

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

A Living Room Update. Part One.

IKEA x HAY YPPERLIG Tray Table

If truth be told, I didn’t strictly need to do anything to my living room. I just really wanted to. I have a habit of convincing myself things are absolutely essential, if not imperative to my happiness in life. Saying that, there were very real reasons for wanting the living room update, but they definitely didn’t push it into the ‘absolutely essential’ category.

I had bought my previous sofa from DFS specifically for a rather narrow living room in flat I was living in at the time in Ealing. I definitely didn’t have the money to be buying sofas but it one was required and like much of the United Kingdom, I was drawn in by the ever-present DFS offer. You know the ones: ‘WAS £999, NOW £299 – BUT ONLY TILL TUESDAY’, which is of course swiftly followed by ‘OFFER EXTENDED!’. It’s all a con. They know it, you know, I know it, but still, when you can take the finance option and pay around £8 a month for a sofa, you do it. Picking a new sofa was the first step in the room’s overhaul. You can read my initial musings on that tricky topic here.

The sofa I eventually decided on was IKEA’s Two Seater Nockeby in Tallmyra White & Black. Surprisingly for me, I went with the chrome leg option. I visited my local store on numerous occasions to test it out prior to purchasing online, and it most definitely came out top. I even took two friends for back up opinions and thorough testing of its capacity.

IKEA Nockeby SofaIKEA x HAY YPPERLIG Tray Table

It’s comfy, it’s satisfyingly grey in appearance (yet is actually a two-tone black and white weave) and it is precisely the dose of modernity I wanted to inject into my living room.

IKEA Nockeby Sofa

Naivety took a hold of me when it came to the sofa’s delivery however. I had the incredibly bold idea I would simply be attaching the sofa’s legs and putting on the covers. An hour’s work at most. Well, I was wrong. As I was presented with three very large boxes, it all started to dawn on me. I had to build the sofa. It was a flatpack, of course it was. This is IKEA after all.

IKEA Nockeby Sofa Flat Pack Two SeaterIKEA Nockeby Sofa Flat Pack Two Seater No Covers

Several hours later and with some rather tricksy straddling, foot balancing and awkward bending, it was complete. Angels sang and golden beams of light descending from the heavens. Ish.

Now the sofa is safely installed, I can start to think about the rest of the room. I originally painted the room’s bookcase in Little Greene‘s Basalt Blue and still love it even now, but after much deliberation have decided it shall be going a pale shade of grey. I’d like it to blend in a little better. The side of the room it lives on has the large black fireplace and a black TV cabinet, so three large pieces of dark furniture in a row like that has always bothered me. It feels weighty in comparison to the lightness of the other half of the room.

IKEA Bookcase Painted In Little Greene Basalt

The next thing I’m going to be doing is making myself a desk area, complete with the freshly purchased HAY x IKEA YPPERLIG wall frame. I knew as soon I saw this piece in the lookbook that it would look fantastic hung directly above a shelf.  It’ll be a small desk area but I’m confident I’ll still be able to plan for world domination at it. Currently the corner of the room it will occupy is filled with what could possibly be several tonnes of magazines, so where these will be relocated is at the moment a little bit of a mystery. For now the frame is propped nonchalantly against the wall, awaiting some carefully selected images and magazines to be filed within it.

The YPPERLIG collection makes another appearance in the room in the form a new side table, replacing the set of nesting oak tables that I used to move around the room on a weekly basis. I’ve always loved the tables for their mid-century curved shape, but I can’t help but feel the tray table sits a little better with the sofa’s sharp lines.

IKEA x HAY YPPERLIG Tray TableIKEA Nockeby Grey Sofa

I’ve set aside September to get everything completed, all set and ready for the autumn’s arrival. I find myself spending so much more time in the room over the autumn and winter months, so what better time for it? The large wall behind the sofa has been irritatingly blank since I moved in due to my issues with artwork commitment, so that’s first on my list of things to sort after the desk. I’ve now decided I’m going to put my sewing machine to good use and make a wall hanging – something graphic and colourblocked. Maybe a greyscale Mondrian effect, but perhaps don’t quote me on that.

I’m also planning to make some new cushions, along with stepping up my search for a simple oak bench and the perfect footstool. If you find yourself interested, feel free to head over to Pinterest to check out my board.

 

 

IKEA x HAY YPPERLIG Collection

|1.| IKEA x HAY YPPERLIG Tray Table £35 |2.| IKEA x HAY YPPERLIG Candle Holders £4.95 |3.| IKEA x HAY YPPERLIG Wall Frame £12

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Design, Interiors, My Home

Flight Of Fancy.

 

I moved into this flat just shy of eighteen months ago now. The first place I was ever going to live on my own. Still a rental, but on my own for the first time none the less. I knew as soon as I walked into the empty living and saw the fireplace that I wanted it. I was prepared to look past the sea of vomit-inducing magnolia and picture what it could be.

 

 

There may be some people who love the colour magnolia and of course, you’re more than allowed to! We’re all very different and should be allowed to be so. It’s just that I am not that person. I am so far from that person that it makes me twitch slightly at the thought of it. There are varying shades of offence. Sorry, magnolia. This flat happened to be in the peachiest, yellowest, most awful tone imaginable. This could potentially be due to having been last painted in 1995, it was unclear. I begged my new landlord to let me paint it and to my delight, she said yes! Of course I now realise she was mostly just happy that I decided to redecorate the entire flat for her, costing her absolutely nothing. Even so, it felt like a win for me.

 

 

The living and bedroom were the first to get the white treatment, swiftly followed by the dining room and spare bedroom. The double height hallway however… well, that was a daunting prospect to say the least. If I’m perfectly honest with you, I mostly just tried to pretend it didn’t exist. It wasn’t a thing. You opened the front door and walked into the white living room, that was it. In reality, you opened the door, walked up a flight of dingy magnolia stairs with a drab brown carpet, saw a muddy lampshade hanging askew and a yellowing radiator. For too long I let that be the sight for visitors. It was an embarrassment. An eyesore so at odds with my own taste. I swiftly ushered any visitors into the living room and made them sit down on the much more Instagram appropriate sofa, hoping they hadn’t noticed the past minute had even occurred.

 

 

Well people, I am here to you tell it has all been changed. My staircase and hallway are no longer the source of extreme guilt and involuntary twitching. This isn’t a makeover post or a ‘how to’ on how to design a hallway, I’m going to make that quite clear. There’s been no great feat of interior design brilliance here. The greige carpet sadly remains and no insane transformations have been made.  What it is now, is lighter, brighter, fresher and ultimately much more me. It did however come with an awful lot of work. To paint a double height stair case and hallway on your own, with skirting boards, dado rails, door mouldings and four doors, was certainly no small undertaking. My arms ached, my back groaned and I used absolutely litres of paint. That horrid shade of magnolia I mentioned? Three coats it took to cover it. Three whole coats.

 

It turns out making a gallery wall go up a flight of stairs and onto a landing is in fact even more terrifying than making one on a simple rectangular wall. Perhaps it’s just me who’s incredibly daunted by the prospect of committing to so many nails in a freshly painted wall, or maybe there’s some logic in the terror I feel when faced with a blank wall and a filled frame. The exact level of my OCD has been questioned repeatedly I assure you, the cutting out of every single frame shape in brown paper to stick temporarily to the wall to decide on the positioning of corresponding frame, potentially took it up a notch in many people’s eyes. But it helped immensely and I recommend it if you too feel the fear. It is very much still a work in progress, however it is getting there. I haven’t yet resolved the far right hand side of the wall. Does it just stopped to abruptly after the eyes? I can’t decide. Many cut out frames have been taped here. Many cut out frames have been untaped from here.

 

There will also (in the very near future, when IKEA delivers it) be a large white peg rail, just inside the front door. I’ll be artfully hanging a Swedish raincoat and a dandy umbrella here at some point. No doubt you’ll see that exact image on Instagram in the coming months and roll your eyes. I give you full permission to do so.

 

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