Art around the house

It has been a year since we moved in and while we are working our way through our to do list I can’t help but notice all the things that are still to be completed. It was only recently that we got our pictures and photos out and decided to actually hang them. I’d love to be able to say that I wanted to make the place more accomplished and homely but the truth is that we still had a few boxes knocking around and needed to unpack them. The added homeliness was more of a welcome side effect.

At the moment we are lacking shelves and anywhere to display sentimental artefacts and that’s why I decided to put all our photos together and start a gallery wall at the bottom of the staircase. I didn’t follow the advice to plan out a gallery wall with sheets of paper first and all worked out OK in the end – that was mainly luck though and for my planned expansion of the display I will have a more thought through approach.

We don’t own very many artful pieces but all of them mean something to us. The church is where we got married and was painted for us by a very good friend as a wedding gift. The same friend also painted the cornflower. I love botanical art and when you can get a friend to create one for you it’s even better. We have picked up the Italian town canvas on our honeymoon and it really stands out on the grey dining room wall.

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The photos above the sofa were taken on our holidays and the large format and white Ikea VISERUM frame makes them look pretty cool. I am really looking forward to adding more art and general prettiness to our household and have recently discovered the art section on minted.com which is just and amazing. I can spend hours selecting my favourites and fear our house isn’t big enough to fit it all in!

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How I’ve lost the hairpin leg battle

Back in April I’ve posted about how much I love the hairpin leg look. Unfortunately it turned out I couldn’t convince Mr S that it was the prefect style for our dining room and while he normally doesn’t care much what I do with decorating he felt quite strongly about this one. We had to work out a compromise in the form of an IKEA KEJSARKRONA dining table and some DSW style chairs which I’m pretty happy with. Having failed with the hairpin legs I was pretty sure that suggesting some plastic chairs wasn’t going to be much easier but to my surprise after sending Mr S to an M&S cafe to check them out he happily agreed. Admittedly the £29.99 price tag could have had something to do with his enthusiasm. I was slightly worried about how comfortable they’d turn out to be but must say they are great. More comfy than a lot of wooden chairs I had the pleasure to sit on.

It was a great feeling to move our garden table back into the garden where it belongs and setting up the IKEA table in place. I’m not going to lie – I’m not the biggest fan of IKEA furniture as I don’t think it looks great next to a proper solid piece. This table looks pretty good though, it is solid wood and the assembly didn’t take 8 hours and neither did we require an engineering degree to do it. The table itself does add more of that cottagey feel I was so badly trying to avoid but the chairs do tone it down a fair bit and I absolutely adore the slightly rough table top.

The dining room is now looking  much better and the table is large enough to sit a few friends around. The only thing detracting from the rather smart look is the nappy changing table in the corner (which I have managed to keep out of the photos). I still need to add some art to the room and possibly a couple of shelves to be able to call it complete. I am toying with the idea of hanging some plates on the wall above the dining table but still a bit worried about going too much towards the country cottage look.

Never too late

Firstly Happy New Year everyone! I have gone all quiet over Christmas which turned out to be more eventful then I imagined. At least in the UK January has been pretty dull and grey so I’d like to share a few glimpses of our Christmas decor which needless to say has now been banished to the loft for another year. It’s definitely been a very happy time and it’s nice to be reminded after a long week at work!

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Living room update

Our living room was the first room we decided to decorate as we tend to spend most of our time there. I have mentioned before that after years of living in rented apartments surrounded by a sea of magnolia I had an overwhelming desire to go a bit wild with the paint colours. I’ve seen a few lovely pictures of powder blue rooms with white accents in the form of skirting boards and window/door frames but Mr S always found the colour too cold.

The day before we could finally move into our new house we’ve stopped for lunch at a lovely pub in the Cotswolds and that’s where we got our inspiration from. The dining room was painted quite a deep shade of teal. Admittedly this colour is a lot warmer than the powder blue I have been presenting Mr S with previously but it also definitely helped seeing an entire room decorated in that hue that convinced him in the end.

Dulux Blue Reflection

Dulux Blue Reflection

When it actually came to choosing the colour we’ve gone for Dulux Blue Reflection which might be a touch lighter. I was still keen on some white accents to break up the fairly intensive colour and set my heart on a picture rail. Not to actually hang pictures on but just to divide the wall a bit.

Ever since we moved and started a variety of DYI projects it mostly starts with us thinking “it’s going to be a 15 minute job”. I couldn’t imagine hanging a picture rail being overly complicated but in the end it has probably caused the most arguments in the whole time we’ve been together. To top it off while really struggling with making the corners look neat we’ve googled a few how to youtube videos and there you have a cheerful American chap smiling back at you while saying: “Hanging a picture rail is one of the easiest project you’ll ever undertake…”. If you weren’t sufficiently frustrated by now you definitely are after watching the video.

Anyway we got there in the end and I’d like to share a few mistakes we’ve made and how to avoid them:

  • Buy more picture rail than the perimeter of your room. Not just because you’ll most likely mess up a few times while cutting it but also because you don’t want to have to join together ten bits of wood you have left over along one wall.
  • When marking the line for your picture rail measure the same distance from the ceiling at three points for each wall. This works a lot better than a spirit level as it turns out our house (and probably the majority of others) isn’t quite level. On top of that any slight inaccuracy just multiplies as you go around the room.
  • Only cut a couple of bits at a time as accuracy is really important and chances are your walls aren’t perfectly straight either. You can always fix or at least minimize any inaccuracies of your previous cut on the next.
  • If like me you’re painting the rail with white gloss paint you’ll most likely need two coats and allow 12 hours between the coats and 24 hours after the second coat.
  • Even if you’re not planning on hanging picture off the picture rails and it’s more of a show feature no more nails isn’t going to do the trick. Unless your walls are perfectly flat and the picture rails touches the wall for majority of the wall or you’re prepared to stand holding it for half an hour. A nail gun did the job much better and the nail marks were easily covered up with more gloss paint.
  • Don’t worry if your joins aren’t completely perfect. There’s very little some wood filler and more gloss paint wouldn’t sort out.

These tips probably sound like common sense but trust me when you start with the attitude of a 15 minute job even the most obvious things don’t occur you. Hopefully this will save someone making the same mistakes.

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I’ll post some before and after photos of the progress so far in the week so drop by and let me know what you think.

Christmas comes early

The last week was very eventful and busy hence my week long silence. On the bright side I have plenty to share now starting with our lovely new sofas which arrived last Thursday. I was really excited before their delivery but also super nervous as we weren’t completely sure if they were going to fit through the door. The last thing I wanted was to find them piled on top of each other in the hallway. You might say why on earth haven’t we checked before buying them but we have and found our doorways 5mm off the recommended size. Our backup plan was the fact that we were having the living room windows replaced around the same time and they could always go in that way. Fortunately none of this was necessary and I came back from work to find these two lovelies.

SofaCollage

In the end the colour of choice was grey marl highland tweed. I really like how it nicely pick up the colour of the walls. The not so little love seat is my favourite – there’s no better place to cuddle up with a book! The room now looks a lot more homely and is a lot less echoey. You can see there is still a long way to go before the room feels cosy or complete but a Christmas tree will go a long way towards that I think.

I’ll be sharing more details on decorating the room as well as some festive touches. I thought I’d start early this year and properly enjoy slowly adding more and more Christmas and winter decorations.

Scrumptious sofas on their way

Nearly six weeks ago me and Mr S embarked on our 3rd trip to the sofa.com showroom in Chelsea. This time with the intention of actually deciding and ordering new sofas for our newly decorated living room (I’ll share more on this later). We have been a couple of times before and enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee and lounging around on their very cosy sofas. The hard bit was choosing the one. I have spent hours online before we went for the first time and already had my eyes on their Snowdrop sofa with it’s traditional look and cute turned feet.

Snowdrop sofa - sofa.com

Snowdrop sofa – sofa.com

It has nearly become a tradition with me to never stick with what I originally chose and it was soon decided that the cushion back Bluebell was more our style and if it is at all possible even comfier.

Bluebell sofa - sofa.com

Bluebell sofa – sofa.com

Once we had the style sorted it was down to the endless choice of material. We have provisionally settled on the pigeon coloured herringbone but there were more colours in the game then and it was decided that choosing the colour will require another visit. You can see they are all pretty neutral colours apart from the hyacinth highland tweed.

Pigeon coloured herringbone - Undyed broad weave linen - Grey marl highland tweed - Hyacinth highland tweed

Pigeon coloured herringbone – Undyed broad weave linen – Grey marl highland tweed – Hyacinth highland tweed

From this point it has taken another two visits, two more cups of coffee and stacking boxes into sofa shapes to check the sizes before we were ready to part with some cash and place the order. It was a really good idea to use our moving boxes (of which we have tons) to give us a better idea of how the sofas are going to look in our living room. Before we’ve done this we were thinking of getting a four seat and a a two and half seat sofas but that would result in blocking at least one door off and a major problem. In the end we are having a four seat and a cosy love seat which is still quite easy for two people to share without getting too close for comfort…and the colour – to be revealed on Thursday when these two lovelies arrive.