Monday 23 September 2013

Thirty Pound Bathroom Makeover

I've written before about how I've never been in love with our bathroom, which was put in by previous occupants who were obviously trying to keep it within the Victorian style of our house. Within a couple of months of months of moving in, not only had I managed to crack the sink by dropping a cup in it, but the dark stain of the floor also started coming off. 

Since replacing the broken sink a couple of months ago with a similar eBay bargain, it really highlighted how awful the rest of the room was, and now that I have a bit more time on my hands, it seemed like a good opportunity to tackle that embarrassing floor:


The dark stain is what the entire floor was previously covered in.

The lovely Karen from The White Approach had previously recommended Ronseal's Diamond Hard Floor Paint as one that she had successfully used in her own house (with four men!), and her recommendation was good enough for me. 

We decided against brilliant white, and instead went for the off-white "cotton" shade in the hope that it would blend better with the rather tired paint in the rest of the room. The tin recommended two coats, but in the end I probably applied more like three as the floorboards weren't in great condition to begin with and needed lumps and bumps going over a couple of times. 

My biggest fear was that painting the floor such a light colour would only highlight the gaps in the floorboards, which to an extent it does. However, I think the overall much brighter effect it definitely worth it:


Finally our towel ladder from Cox & Cox feels a bit more at home

Not bad for thirty quid, if I do say so myself!

Thursday 12 September 2013

Hues of Blue

Remember that Cyprus holiday apartment that's slowly been taking shape? Well, I thought it was time for an update on how far it's got now...We spent a couple of weeks there in August, and, while it needs one or two more finishing touches, it's pretty much got all we need.

We went for a hard-wearing navy in the living area:

With a slightly brighter blue in the kitchen/breakfast area:

The inside table is relatively small, but most of the eating will be done outside anyway:

We've continued the blue theme in the bedrooms, with the main bedroom mirroring the navy of the living area:

...and the twin is the slightly brighter blue that's a bit more fun for kids:

teddies not included ;-)

And while we're still lacking a few more wall decorations, we do already have a few bits and pieces up that we took with us:

Boo & Boy

mirrors from TK Maxx, sticker from Not on the High Street

Vase an old one of ours, filled with blue stones found at Lidl!

Our next trip out is at Easter, so until then the quest is on to find a BIG blue seascape for the main living area!

Friday 6 September 2013

Review - The Inspired Home by Karen Lehrman Bloch

I've been wrestling ridiculous amounts of spam on this blog over the past couple of months - everything from dumpster rental to p*nis enlargement (and no, it doesn't fool anyone if you type the link in Spanish, dear spammer). It's been more than a little disheartening and frustrating, to say the least. So when the lovely folks at Harper Collins asked me if I wanted to review a book called "The Inspired Home - Interiors of Deep Beauty", I figured it was just what the doctor ordered to get me back on track and focused on what really matters with this blog!

The foreword is by Donna Karan, and her opening sentence sounded like just the tonic; "What is a soulful interior? How do you create a home that feels like a retreat, a sanctuary, every time you enter? How do you find the calm within the chaos?" This sounded like just the book for me.

The author's premise is simple - that in fact the modern trend for a "decorated", and fashionable home is not a concept that actually makes for harmonious living. Instead, she advocates the use of natural elements to create a home that we feel comfortable and at peace in. It's an approach that appealed to me straight away.

She uses photographs of the homes of, and interviews with, a number of artists and designers from around the world to illustrate her point, e.g. Consuelo Castiglioni (founder of Marni), fashion designer Alberta Ferretti, sculptor Jérôme Abel Seguin, interior designer Mimmi O'Connell, Donna Karan herself, plus many others. 

The book is divided into five parts - authenticity, simplicity, balance, surprise, and grandeur - designed to mirror natural elements, and each idea is well illustrated through the use of several specific homes. 

What this book is not:If you're a fan of ultra-modern, or very colourful interiors, you won't find a great deal to please you. Also, if you are looking for step-by-step detailed instructions on how to implement some of the looks and ideas you probably won't find those beyond one or two vague pointers. I personally would probably describe it as aspirational.

What this book is:It may be short on text, and what text there is can be a little new-age for some sensibilities , but it is jam-packed full of stunning photography of some amazingly beautiful homes that I could spend hours drooling over:

The home of James Cavagnari in Salina, Italy, photographed by Giorgio Baroni 

Home of Marie-Laure Helmkampf photographed by Jean-Marc Wullschleger/Living Agency and Tim Street-Porter

Home of Cathy Vandewalle in Bangkok photographed by Vicente Wolf

Full of neutral palettes and quirky touches, these homes are individual, luxurious and incredibly beautiful. Be warned though - if you're anything like me, they'll spark insane jealousy.

The Inspired Home: Interiors of Deep Beauty Karen Lehrman Bloch is published in hardback by Harper Design and will be on sale in the US on 17th September at a price of $35 dollars. 

Disclosure: I was provided with a preview copy of this book, all views my own.

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