Showing posts with label Stow Renovation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stow Renovation. Show all posts

Monday, 4 January 2016

Wall-hanging Love

It is a little late for this but... happy New Year everyone. Hope you had a wonderful holiday and I am sorry you are (most likely) back at work today. I feel your pain, but let's try to get through this together...

To kick off the new year I wanted to revel in my love for, and obsession with, a wall hanging I got for Christmas. Walls are something I am still coming to grips with and having things hanging from them is something I find quite challenging. Not a particular lover of a picture wall, or of a lone piece of art in a frame, hanging somewhere awkwardly and alone, I'm never quite sure what to do. The pictures you do chose to hang also say so much about you, or at least they probably should, so I find it can be quite pressured to select something. An insight into my deepest internal struggles there.

Anyway, when I saw this Elkeland wall hanging from Ferm Living I knew it was exactly what I have been looking for...

Made with 100% merino wool in the Danish woodland
Over my bed in a sort of dream-catcher-esque vibe

I love the creamy colour against Farrow and Ball's Dimpse and the brass bars pick out the side lamps. What do you think? Stay tuned for a full bedroom renovation reveal coming soon. As a teaser, about 4 months ago it looked like this...

H x

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The bathroom is finished! Ish

First of all a huge apology for the radio silence over the past few weeks. Between a house renovation, full time work and a horrible bout of flu things have run away with me slightly on the blog front. But I am back and promise *brownie's honour* to try harder in future...

To help get things back in the swing of things I thought I would share an update of my bathroom project. For those who missed the last update (and for the shocking before shot) have a read of my previous blog on this here.

Although the bathroom was the rest room in the renovation to get any attention, it is the room that will probably get totally finished last. However, it is pretty much, very almost finished. In fact, despite the fact that we don't have blinds in the window yet  - to the delight of a pervy neighbour we caught peering in on a couple of occasions - I think we are there. So here you have it...

The yucca may be taking it a bit too far...

Still moving things around and deciding on the smaller details like toilet roll holders, shelves and towels. The obligatory Aesops handwash made its way onto the sink this weekend and I intend to buy some sort of lovely laundry basket to feature somewhere but I haven't found quite what I want yet. Oh and a pedal bin. And maybe some new towels... potentially a shower caddy... a bath caddy too? Oh and that marble soap dish I saw... Hmm maybe this room will never quite be finished

H x

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

How to create a mood board

I am very happy to report that our renovation is really starting to take shape now and we should be set to start decorating the bedroom within the next week or so. Making the first paint decision is really tough when you are starting any room renovation so the first thing I do is dump colours and furnishings into a mood board and start working it out. I switch in and out images, colours and accessories until I find a look I love.

Lots of people have asked me for more info on how I pull these together and the answer is so low-tech and unfancy, and it's a program most people already have on their computer. And that is Powerpoint. I have tried various design software packages, free tools online and lovely, crafty, 3D mood boards but I always come back to Powerpoint. It is simple and easy to use and really helps me visualize a room.

So here is my step by step guide to designing a space using a mood board in the context of my own current bedroom planning...

  • Think about the existing furniture and accessories you have which will play a part in your new space. For me and my bedroom I have a pine chest of drawers which isn't my dream piece of furniture but it also isn't enough of an issue to change it just yet. Grab images of it in the flesh or online if you can and pop it into your Powerpoint slide
  • Now have a think about the new things that you have your eye on which are achievable in your new room. When I say 'achievable' I mean pick things which are in your price range which you could afford to splash out on once the room is decorated. Inspiration boards are great things, but if you are just about to get started on a room, this mood board is about bringing to life what will become the final scheme. In my mood boards for example, I have picked rugs and accessories which have been on my wishlist for a while from high-street retails such as H&M home, Zara Home etc
  • Once you have picked the key pieces in the room, play around with the layout. I like to set it up to represent the positioning of the room as best I can but it's totally up to you. I also like to remove the white edges from images pulled from the internet to give it a clean look. If you don't know how, here it is - select the image, go to 'format' and 'remove background'. It doesn't always give a clean removal so play with the 'select areas to keep' and 'select areas to remove' functions which will help you get it right
  • Once you have the layout,  play with the background images to represent the flooring and the wall colour. This is what I find the most useful as finding the perfect backdrop to the furniture and accessories in the room is what I find the hardest, especially as I am a bit of a colour-phobe
  • Once you have your layout and your first design, simply 'duplicate' the slide and start a different configuration, throw in a different rug or background colour and just have fun with it
  • And that's it - really simple and so so useful. Here is where I am at with my bedroom mood board at the moment, using this same technique...

As you can see, I have popped in the chest of drawers and armchair which I already have. The Ikea bench, wall light and H&M linen bedding are all things on my wish list for the room and the other bits, such as the rugs and cushions, are just me trying to see what colour schemes work and which don't.

I think I am leaning toward number 3 and maybe bringing in some more coral colours to pick out the details in the rug, Hmm i'm not sure though... more mood-boarding it is! Which do you like best?

H x

Monday, 14 September 2015

Bathroom progress report - nearly there!

Hello! So today I wanted to share with you a little update on my bathroom renovation... it's not 100% finished but I can't wait any longer and it's just a few little touches left to do, so I will be sure to update this post at a later date (hopefully not too much later, ahem builders...) so you can see. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram too for updates as they happen.

For regular readers, you may have seen my inspiration post about my plans for the bathroom (here if you missed it). I wanted to go pretty monochrome with some statement floor tiles and touches of pale wood to warm things up a little. I am really pleased with how things are shaping up and I can't wait to start pulling it together with some great accessories like succulents and pretty ceramics.

All of the functional sanitary ware was from Victoria Plumb as they offered the best price, and we really couldn't tell the difference with the quality compared to other places, for almost three times the cost. We went for the mixed shower head for flexibility and the frameless shower to create a feeling of space. Simple metro tiles line the shower - with the floor tiles being such a statement pattern, I wanted the wall tiles to chill out and disappear into the wall. Although I love dark grout with white metro tiles, I do worry they will date soon too.

The towel rail was from Victorian Plumbing. Finding a black towel rail was surprisingly tricky but I'm really pleased with this one. I haven't tried it yet - just waiting for the electrician to connect it to the thermostat but can't wait for some toasty towels.

The hamman towel was from a Turkish seller on Etsy. I just bought one to see how it sat in the room and I love it so am planning to buy a stack more. They are just so much more interesting than normal towels, although come winter I might start craving a cuddly cotton version... we'll see.

The basket was from a little shop in Brighton, but there are loads around. These ones from Homebase are great value.

The sink unit was from Ikea and it is such a great little addition to the room.  Alongside all of the storage space, Ikea has specially designed organisers which fit neatly inside so I have all of my make-up professionally laid out so it is really accessible and easy to find. Honestly a life changer! I can't recommend getting a storage unit like this for your bathroom and Ikea absolutely had the best range on the market when it came to style, but also when it comes to cost.

The mirror was bought from Rose & Grey and sits perfectly over the sink. Love that I can pop a couple of my mini succulents on the mirror's tray too. We are waiting for a lamp to be fitted above the mirror to give some extra light which I think will finish it off nicely. It is also black and should give a nice glow to the room when you don't want the main spotlights on.

The succulent and concrete plant pot were bought from House of Hackney a while ago.

Finally a word on the tiles... when I posted a picture of the tiles on Instagram a week or so ago, lots of you wanted to know where they were from. Just gorgeous aren't they! I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. So striking and really make the room a little special. They were from Tons of Tiles who I just stumbled across on Google. The savings I made on using them versus a high street chain was really significant and the quality is great. Delivery was a little delayed but otherwise, really happy with the product.

So there you have it - where we are so far. The freestanding bath is still to be plumbed in and some little finishing touches need to be made here and there as I say, but it's really shaping up. What do you think?

H x

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

How to... stay sane whilst living in your renovation project

Our kitchen as it currently stands... *gulp*

We are currently entering week four of our #StowRenovation and so much has happened since we started, and thankfully so much progress has been made thus far, although there is still a very, very long way to go.

When planning the project, it was clear that we would need to live at the house during the work, mostly due to financial restraints, but also to keep an eye on things. This has proved invaluable so far, as things change drastically from day to day and being there to ensure every small detail is how we want it has been so important.

But living on site has also been a real rollercoaster and staying sane and upbeat can be challenging, especially when you are without a kitchen and a clean bathroom for weeks on end, builders are traipsing in and out all day and your cat is more freaked out than you about the dust. So today I wanted to share some tips on how we have managed to keep going whilst living on a building site...

  1. Think about your pets. This was a fairly big oversight from us when we moved in, as we thought that if we could endure the mess and disruption, our cat could too. But it soon became apparent that the noise, mess and strange people in the house were too much for her and despite us creating 'comfort zones' with blankets and clean areas to sleep, it just wasn't enough. Worrying about her was almost more stressful than everything going on with the house. Therefore if you are in the fortunate position, as we are, to leave any furry family members with friends or family for a few weeks then I strongly recommend it.
  2. Enjoy the progress. Since the project started, Peter and I have arranged to meet from work and make the journey home together. This way we both arrive at the house at the same time to explore and talk through the progress made each day. It has actually made coming home (to the considerable mess) a pleasure rather than a chore and it helps deal with the mess because each day you see you're a step closer to the end.
  3. Cover EVERYTHING or put it in storage. One thing that so many people warned us about was the dust. There will be dust everywhere, we were told. And we took heed, ish, putting things in boxes, closing doors to rooms with our things in etc. But my god, I can't tell you how much dust there is and how it manages to get into every single crevice of the house. That has been the hardest thing for us, as you can't escape it. It gets on all of your clothes, your towels and even your hair and skin feel clogged up but worse than that, some of my favourite pieces of furniture are being affected and it is a real concern. Self storage experts, Shurgard opened a store near us recently (they have 25 locations in all) and in hindsight I 100% should have used a storage company to keep things safe and clean whilst the work is underway. I am hoping nothing will be damaged beyond repair and recovery but to have them kept safely off sight would have been a real weight off my mind and I would definitely recommend considering this option if undertaking a big renovation.
  4. Tell your builders. Ensure every workman/woman onsite understands your situation and are mindful or your living situation when planning the order of works. We made it clear that we needed the new bathroom up and running and in a good condition before the original bathroom was taken out and because of that, not a single day went by without us having the facilities we need. We also ensured they understood that the bedroom was our 'clean zone' and any work in there was to be limited and as undisruptive as possible to ensure we always had a space to retreat.
  5. Stay on top of things. Although you are living in chaos, if you can stay on top of the work and the budget from a project management point of view, things won't start to feel too much. We have been keeping a very nerdy Excel spread sheet of our outgoings throughout the project, and when things seem overwhelming, looking over that really helps. It puts things in order in your mind and reminds you that things are happening and you are in control, even if it doesn't feel like you are sometimes.
  6. Get inspired. When things have been looking particularly bleak, retreating into other interiors blogs, magazines and Pinterest boards has been so helpful. It just reminds you of the end goal and you can busy your mind away from mouldy ceiling tiles, broken floorboards and dangerous electrics and think about gorgeous paint colours, cushions and rugs. A small thing, but it has helped me so much.
  7. Reward yourself. Eating out every night is not practical from a financial point of view, but on particular down days do not feel bad about it. It is easy to think that all of your money should be ploughed into the house, and luxuries like meals out make you feel guilty but microwaveable meals for days on end will make living in the build all the more awful. It is important to get out and feel like yourself again, at least once a week.
So there are a few things that have been helping me get through the renovation, but it is still very much on-going and I would love to hear any other tips you have to help us reach the end without divorcing, burning the place down or having a mental breakdown. If anyone is going through the same thing at the moment let me know too - would love to share war stories!

H x

This was a collaborative post.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Wallpaper discovery

I uncovered some original Victorian wallpaper behind a cupboard over the weekend...

So exciting to see little glimmers of the house's history. It has made me want to consider wallpapering the whole room again, as it once was, in a traditional pattern. Some that are tickling my fancy are...

A definite leafy theme happening. Which is your favourite?

Clockwise from top left...
H x

Monday, 27 July 2015

Bathroom renovation project

As you know, just before the wedding Peter and I bought a little slice of East London to put our stamp on. When I told people it was a 'do-er up-er' I don't think they realised how much of a project it really was. I mean literally every. single. room needs gutting. It's a lot to take on, particularly for someone who has never done anything like this before but I am so excited to be doing it and also to be documenting our progress on here. I will be using the hashtag #StowRenovation so do follow me on Insta and Twitter to see how we are getting on! I will also be sharing everything on here so do pop by and let me know what you think.

SO after lots of conversations with builders, plumbers, electricians, damp proofers, window fitters and several hours spent online doing as much research as possible, we are just about NEARLY ready to go...

The first job is to move the bathroom upstairs into the third bedroom. We will loose a bedroom by doing this, but as it's just the two of us it seems like the right sacrifice, particularly as it means getting a much bigger kitchen. And bathrooms downstairs are just annoying (we have lived there for 4 weeks now and I don't know how people do it). Eventually we would like to go into the loft so hopefully one day we can recoup the extra bedroom.

For anyone else doing a full house refurb, just a note to say we are going to be living on site for the duration of the project so will keep you updated on how that is going and how we are (not) coping.

Obviously as an interiors blogger, the fun bit for me is planning how things are going to look and having the rare opportunity to literally start from scratch. So to kick things off, here are my plans for our bathroom...

For me, there were three things I jotted down as being absolutely essential in my dream bathroom:

  1. Lots of storage (I hate seeing toiletries everywhere and I have far too many...)
  2. I have always dreamed of a freestanding bath so now is the time!
  3. A good sized, walk in shower

Worried that some of these elements might be a little pricey, I did lots of research and actually seeming luxuries (free standing bath anyone) are surprisingly affordable if you shop around. The vanity unit I have picked out is from Ikea, and is about a quarter of the price of others I have seen on the high street.

I was always going to go for a monochrome scheme, as my love of Scandi interiors pre-sets me that way, but also because it gives a good neutral base for you to play with when it comes to textures and I love wickers, linens and woods, all of which I want to bring into the room to warm it up.

To bring some interest, I really want to bring in a strong floor tile and these from Tons of Tiles, are amazing. Such a good price too - £250 to cover a pretty large space. Adding in some hamman towels, succulents in pretty monochrome pots and the obligatory Aesops handcare and we should be good to go. I would also  love to get some black taps for the sink but am struggling to hunt any I like down - recommendations very welcome!

This weekend was the first time we got our hands dirty and as you can see, the bathroom has a long way to come...

It was used as a study by the previous owner, and had about 300 shelves mounted on the walls (slight exaggeration) and huge desks fixed to each of the walls (not an exaggeration). So striping the room was harder, and more time consuming than we had initially thought. There were also two layers of anaglypta wallpaper to contend with, which was a bit of a nightmare. We donned gloves, face masks and goggles and got to work scraping it off. As you can see, the red paint is the layer underneath all the wallpaper, everything else is just very stubborn so we will be getting a steamer to finish off these last bits before the builders come in.

What do you think? A good plan? Would love to see any schemes you have created at home or in your head. Stay tuned for how it all pans out, and for more mood boards for the rest of the house!

H x