Tuesday, 31 January 2012

headtorches at dawn

I am so very, very tired.  I woke up with a start half an hour ago after telling Allanis that I was gong to tidy away The Baby's toys.  I had conked out on his playmat and was only roused when the toy I affectionately refer to as Noisy Puppy (this what I call it out loud. I call it something with more !$%!*'s in my head) started barking at me and demanding that I hug it.  It was obviously not the best choice as a pillow for my cat nap.

I'm knackered because I went to the antiques fair this morning.  I was going to get up at 5am but I realised I needed an earlier start after I got in bed last night and said "Hmmm.  I wish I could find the tape measure!" in a flippant and throwaway manner.  I felt Allanis sink further into his pillow in despair "You only had it yesterday" (which actually, is irrelevant.  Things can be lost even if you have just used them a SECOND ago, there isn't a time prerequisite on losing things is there? Sometime my husband's logic is baffling.) "That is irrelevant!" I said. "Have you measured up for the furniture you need Hayley?" he muttered through gritted teeth.  No I had not dear reader.  Nor had any means to do so and yet I was supposed to be off on a mission to find a wardrobe for our very problematically sized bedroom alcove.  Needless to say I felt a bit of a tool.  So I got up at 4 flipping am to find the ruddy tape measure which I did thankfully, in the bit in the car that holds your coffee for you whilst you drive. (Of course, where else would it be?)  

I didn't mind though because this fair is a bit aggressive.  You have to get your elbows out a bit and hustle for the best stuff so the earlier the start the better really. Or so I thought.  I last went in summer.  It was pitch black when I got there. Look...

Can you see the little dot of light hovering about in the middle?  Well that's a geezer wearing a headtorch that shone right at me and frazzled my retinas for a good 15 seconds.  The swine.  That's what I was dealing with people.  Headtorches at dawn.  And how cold was it this morning? Yowzas.  Needless to say it wasn't an especially fun experience.

There were very few wardrobes, problematically sized or otherwise.  There were a LOT of mirrors and a LOT of mega massive dining tables and really knackered armchairs and chaises but not a great deal else.  I felt a bit miserable at the amount of people flogging really naffly painted wooden furniture and calling it 'shabby chic' encouraging the punters to repaint it, change the hardware and 'it'll come up a treat!"  Sorry what was that?  Did I buy anything?  Yes actually, this for the bathroom...

I'm planning on redoing thee crapola paint job and changing the knobs. It'll come up a TREAT!  (Ahem.)

So it was a bit of a success but still no wardrobe and it's starting to drive me mad.  I have been looking for eight months now. I need a plan B.  I have no mental capacity left to think about that now though, I'm, going to bed.  I have tormented myself looking at these pics of gorgeous pristine white bedrooms, they would be the perfect antidote to my day spent in a muddy field in the cold.  Night night. Zzzzzz x

 {images via: automatism, elle deco, fantastic frank, forgotten source}

Monday, 30 January 2012

pack it up pack it in, let me begin

You know I was doing a tartan ribbon dash?  Yeah yeah, well they sell ribbon here at The Packhouse, an antiques centre (shabby chic emporium) in nearby Runfold.

So I just nipped in.  And ended up coming home with this....

...and no ribbon.  Soooooo that was good wasn't it?

It's a wee cabinet that looks nothing much in the photo, it's very plain and simple, but it looks great inside No 74.  I just tried to take a photo to show you but my camera obviously can't cope without daylight and it looked like we live in a cave which was rather unfortunate. I'll try again tomorrow. It's going to get a lick of paint and some new hardware and it'll look brill.  It was also mega cheap which for The Packhouse was a bit of a turn up for the books.

The place is like a maze.  A really nice maze with oodles and oodles of furniture and mirrors and THINGS that you don't need but WANT REALLY BADLY.  You know the sort of THINGS I mean?  Here is a really nice bookcase with a curved top shelf which was aces (but which I have succeeded in missing in the photo almost entirely) filled with THINGS! You're right yes, I also come home with a useless but pretty nicknack that I found on that shelf.

I loved this, but it was quire astonishingly expensive.  I actually took a step back from it when I read the ticket.  Damn it.

I have looked at these mirrors time and time again.  Allanis is having precisely none of it. (I shall persist.)

I also started to go a bit bonkers because I took a picture of this:

although I'm not sure why.  I am not a fan of jaunty paintwork on furniture.  I have no need for a harlequin chest of drawers. I also really don't like those miniature mannequin things. I almost bought that lamp once though fact finders, perhaps that was why.

So there has been a fair amount of shuftying about of furniture in our living room to accommodate the cabinet. I'm not sure about the set up at the mo, photos to follow.  Needless to say I have been shouting PIVOT!!!! very loudly every time we have moved something. Ho ho ho.

I'm off to an antiques market first thing, for which I will be getting up at 5am which makes me feel nauseous. Anyway, more of that tomorrow.  And for those that were wondering the Burns Supper went swimmingly and of course I made my own shortbread really.  And it was glittery.  Oh ye of little faith! x

Friday, 27 January 2012

burn(s) after reading

I am trying to do a million things this evening in preparation for our Belated Burns Night Supper tomorrow.  Allanis is dusting down his bagpipes and I have shortbread to get out of a packet and try to make look homemade. 

I had grand plans for the table but this week has passed by in a FLASH people an actual FLASH!! So now I'm going to have to do a panic tartan ribbon run tomorrow so that I can add a patriotic flourish to my napkins. Great. Having a bit of a crockery addiction I wish I had something like this to serve up the haggis, neeps and tatties. Isn't it gorgeous? Is it weird to swoon a bit at crockery?  Yes? Oh.

Have a fab weekend y'all. x

{images via: elements of style, crockery by Jill Rosenwald who is a designer after my own heart}

Thursday, 26 January 2012

you bevelled believe it

Dermot O'Leary was on the radio yesterday.  Whilst he was being interviewed his girlfriend (and I assume a gaggle of burly types - surely not her alone) were moving house.

I felt emotional!  Dermot's house was featured in Living Etc a while back and I fell in love with it.  It's modern simplicity with perfect touches of glamour (bathroom anyone...?)  Certain elements of it remind me of our very own No 74 (in that it has walls, a floor, a roof...) and I felt inspired seeing that kitchen. Perhaps one day we could do something similar to make our dark and pokey little cuisine into something as bright and airy and inviting.

Dermot and his girlfriend also unwittingly helped me out during our bathroom remodel.  I spent weeks searching for the right metro tile.  I was obsessed with the degree of bevelling at the edges.  I could try to explain why but it's a long story and it would be better if I could elaborate on just how bevelling can cause me such distress in person.  (I do a lot of wincing and gesticulation and although it still probably wouldn't make sense it might be more entertaining).  Anyway, I thought I would have to go verrrrry high end for the right tile which set Allanis off doing a lot of pacing and muttering about price per square meter whilst wringing his hands and and then I saw the angle that the light had hit Dermot's tiles in the kitchen pic and I thought 'YES!  THAT IS THE EXACT BEVEL FOR ME' 

Don't you just love it when that happens?  When Dermot and his girlfriend help you find your EXACT BEVEL? And would you Adam and Eve it, they're only from B&Q and were the cheapest I looked at.  What a result. I hope Living Etc hurry up and get some pics done of the new pad because my kitchen seriously needs tackling and Dermot might come up trumps again.  I am relying on you O'Leary.

{images via daisyspotter & living etc}

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

you spin me round

Allanis is on holiday at the moment and so he is privvy to what The Baby and I get up to in the day.  He now knows how much of our day is spent lolling about playing with Captain Calamari and Noisy Puppy (him), drinking cups of tea (me) and watching the telly (both).

Homes Under the Hammer's theme tune struck up this morning whilst I was trying to post food into The Baby's mouth and he batted me away, actually squealed with delight and burst out laughing looking from me to the TV as though to say ' BUT LOOK MUM!  LOOOOK!' I tried to ignore him and pretend I didn't know what on earth he was taking about but of course Allanis saw straight through that. Bother. I didn't realise quite how many house programmes we watched during the day but apparently it's quite a lot. I suppose we should be keeping up with the Night Garden and shows of that ilk but I like to tell myself that I am equipping my son with all the education he might need should he venture into property.  For instance I am sure he has learnt how one might tackle a nasty case of dry rot simply by osmosis and today we discovered how to search for damp by tapping a wall with a car key "now THAT'S useful!" I told him.  He looked at me rather earnestly and I am sure, made a mental note.

Most daytime TV property shows are frothy and light but Channel 4's Restoration Man is on at night and is Therefore Serious.  I like the presenter George Clarke.  He doesn't adopt that superior tone with the featured self builders that basically implies they're doomed to failure and are making appalling aesthetic choices.

One episode in particular was incredibly moving.  Pete and Nikki Fagg set about saving and restoring a crumbing, roofless windmill that had been in Pete's family for years, inteding to transform it into a family home.  During the build Nikki because seriously ill with cancer that she had beaten once before.  Sadly, during the project Nikki passed away and Pete continued the build alone.  

The finished product was an amazing property that was all the more inspiring because of the love and dedication that had gone into it.  This is a property with soul.  The photos don't do it justice which is a shame, I wish there were more.  The marriage of stark new glass nestled against ancient brickwork is stunning and completely transformative. The interior design was inspired, playing up to the curvature of the windmill itself with a gorgeous circular kitchen (and some incredibly impressive tiling in the en suites - whoever did that should be on every renovator's speed dial.)

I wouldn't recommend most of what The Baby and I watch during the day but I would catch up with this series if you are interested in architectire and self builds.  This is a brilliant example of how impressive restoration can be and how amazing a home becomes when infused with love.

{images via@ channel4}

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

ines de la fressange does it right

And just to prove I am a complete and utter contrary Mary after harping on about the delights of dark walls, here is a study in pink...

Ines de le Fressange (I have never really known how to say her name Eeeeenes, Innes?  I do wish I were more cosmopolitan, seriously) and her Paris apartment appeared on The Selby yonks ago.  I loved it then and I love it now.  Couldn't live with it myself but it doesn't mean it's not great . I have tried.  When I was nineteen I had a bedroom that was this pink.  (Why I waited until I was nineteen to immerse myself in pink rather than getting it over and done with at like, 6 is one of the mysteries of the modern age but let's not get bogged down in the whys and wherefores of all that now.)  I was about to come home from uni for the holidays when my parents set about decorating my room. My Mother called me with A DistinctTone to her voice.  'Are you sure about this Hayey?' she asked 'because I have to tell you, it it making the whole landing actually GLOW and I hate it'.  I stuck to my guns and reassured them that it would be great when all the furniture was back in there.  I was sure then it would glow less.

You can tell where I'm going with this can't you?  I mean it was so hideous I could barely sleep at night and when I was writing my two dissertations in there over the summer the room actually seemed to actually seemed to make a 'wowowowowow' hummy noise.  It did I swear.  I lived with it for about six months and then I gave in and it went back to white.  My Mum was gleeful that day, but secretly so was I.  

Anyway, the moral of the story is that pink is often heinous, but Ines does it beautifully. I'm not overly keen on the luxey taupe room but that shade just screams EXPENSE does it not and I imagine In The Real it looks amaze.

I saw photos of her holiday home the other day which is a complete contrast to this.  If I can remember where on earth they were I'll show you.  There was no pink in the holiday home.  As far as I am aware my Mother has not taken Ines to one side and staged an intervention....

{images via: the selby}

Monday, 23 January 2012

black to it

A couple of days ago I read this article about how and why wearing black can be addictive.  I couldn't agree more.  It's only recently that I have started breaking a out a bit of colour in my wardrobe.  A daredevil dash of mink here, some French navy there, a pale pink frock come spring, a white jean in summer....I know, I know I'm no Anna Dello Russo when in comes to embracing colour but Rebecca Willis is right, it's hard to escape the lure of black once it take you in it's sartorial clutches.  The truth is I have merely shifted my focus. I have only been able to stop wearing black so much since I started decorating with it, and now I have found myself enslaved to a whole other darkside.

It was this bedroom that convinced me to finally bite the bullet and go noir. When I told Allanis that I wanted to paint the living room wall black in our last flat he looked at me out of the corner of his eye and just gave the idea a non committal 'hmmmm.' I convinced him to let me get on with it with many reassurances of 'it's only paint, what's the worst that could happen?'  He loved it of course, but it seems that the worst that can actually happen is that your wife can become obsessed and now needs at least one verrrry very dark wall or painted furniture in every room. It must drive him to distraction but rather than making a room seem gloomy, or smaller or depressing, to me a splash of black paint makes things seem crisper and more vibrant.  I hung loads of pictures on my previous wall and every print popped against the black backdrop and made the whole room seem cosier and more interesting all at once.

I didn't want to just replicate our previous flat in the new house so the living room is going to get a lick of fresh Arctic white paint just as soon as we get a chance but the dining room is getting a black out. We don't eat out as often as we used to so I want to make that room as atmospheric as one of our favourite old haunts and for me, one of the best and most inexpensive ways to do that is a rich dark paint colour and some fabulous lighting.

It'll be a little while before that gets done so for now let's live vicariously people...

{images via: the decorista, from the right bank, estefania & vintage luxe} 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

urban sex kitten

So now I'm obsessed with bedrooms.  It was kitchens (more on that to come - absolutely no doubt about it that my kitchen issues are going to rear their head very soon, I usually start most conversations with Allanis with the words 'I've been thinking about that bloody kitchen and...') but after being holed up in ma chambre for days I have decided it needs sorting. There is a storage issue for starters that is resulting in clean laundry being built into precarious towers on the floor in apparently random spots rather than being stashed away neatly.  It's like an agility test just getting to the bed from the door without upsetting a pile. It can't go on!

I had a flick through some images for some inspiration and found this.  The aesthetic couldn't be further away from what I plan to do at No 74 but that doesn't make me love this any less.  The lighting is fabulous, combined with the mix of texture it gives the room an atmosphere of delicious intimacy and there is sensuality about it that's as raw as the exposed brick work. I would call it Urban Sex Kitten. Gorgeousness.  Wouldn't work here unless I started chipping plaster off the walls but it's great.

It doesn't solve the storage issue but we'll gloss over that for now.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

bed rest

Good. Grief. I have been in bedroom quarantine for the last three days after being got by a horrid sickeness bug.  I emerged, blinking and confused into the real world (i.e. the rest of the house...it felt enormous) today.  After wobbling about like Bambi for most of the morning I thought a restorative cup of coffee and a biscuit must be in order and BAM!  As quickly as it struck it vanished and I am fine which is good but frankly baffling.  Clearly coffee and a biscuit is the way forward with such things, who knew?

I spent three whole days tucked up in bed which would have been great were it not for the feeling that I was at sea for most of it. Thank goodness I remembered that I had the entire season 4 of the Rachel Zoe Project to catch up on which whiled away a few hours - although I must say there was a disappointing lack of shouting about B A N A N A S and I do so miss Brad and his bow ties and smart short combos.

The rest of the time I spent thinking about how my bedroom is supposed to have this sort of vibe...

crisply chic and enveloping and cosy, you know?

Please note I said 'supposed to'.

There is work to be done in that room people.  A whooooole lotta work. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

mirror mirror on the....oh.

OK. I had another blog, which I posted on sporadically. I was a bit rubbish about keeping up with it and used it more as an online mood board of images I liked rather than making the most of it. Anyway, the last post I did for that one was about this disco ball staircase which I was in love with.  In love!  I waxed lyrical about how, as soon as I had a house with actual real life stairs I'd get this whole mirror tile thing going on toute de suite. Oh yeah baby!  There would be no stopping me.  I had my vision, I would stay true to my aesthetic...you just watch!

Soooo.  What I didn't know when I was writing that post is that I was pregnant and in fact a move out of the leafy London suburbs and our beloved flat and in to a house with actual real life stairs was imminent. Yes!  The two things I had been hankering after happened.  Joy upon joy! The other blog just hung about, lonely and abandoned as I set about growing my tummy to resemble Humpty Dumpty and applied myself to developing a rather unhealthy obsession with pistachio ice cream.

We moved in to number seventy four after a lot of estate agent to-ing and fro-ing when I was eight months pregnant, in the height of summer.  The house is a Victorian terrace and needs some doing upping but nothing scary. On moving we discovered that the previous owners' puppy had very clearly staked his claim on his territory all over the carpets running up the stairs, landing and bedrooms. Although we didn't expect to be doing any work at all on moving in...'We have a baby coming!' we thought 'This needs sorting IMMEDIATELY!'  What can I say dear reader?  I wasn't in my right mind.  My hormones were all over the shop and all I really had mental space for was how I was going to fit more pistachio ice cream into my freezer just in case there might be a world shortage or something.  (Which might have been a possibility at the rate I was going, for reals.)

What did we do you ask?  Measure up and get straight to the nearest mirrored mosaic tile supplier?  No.  We covered the whole lot in carpet, that's what.  Beige carpet.  The polar opposite of a disco ball mirrored staircase.  Gah!  The Baby is now six months old and every time I climb those stairs I bemoan my hormones and damn pistachio ice cream and promise that I'll have a word with myself next time we need to make a big change in the house so this type of error doesn't happen again.  Stay focused Hayley.  FOCUS!!  Admittedly it was a much more practical option and it brightens what is a very dark hallway enormously.  I oft remind myself that if Kelly Hoppen were to nip round for a coffee she would approve and I mean, that's important in life right?

This blog is a new fresh start for our new house and the changes we want to make in it along with sharing a bit of interior porn that I have stacked up on my desktop and don't know what else to do with.  It is also an Ode to These Stairs.  I'll get over it.  No, no seriously I will.  It's FINE.  (Sob.)