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Things are looking up

24 May

When we first moved into our house seven years ago, it was a chintz palace. Everything was bright yellow and blue; there were frills everywhere; and the shell-shaped bathroom sink was very special indeed. Slowly, we modernised, but on a shoestring budget, which meant the faux-beamed artexed kitchen ceiling had to stay. I painted the beams black, and replaced the cast-iron chandelier with a row of spots, but frankly, it was still hideous. And gloomy.

So, when we’d finally saved enough to give the kitchen a little facelift, the ceiling was the first thing to get sorted. We couldn’t afford to redo the layout, meaning there was no room for fancy light fittings, so we decided to go for low-fuss spots instead.

But how easy is it to get a whole new ceiling and put in new lights? Surprisingly easy, as it turns out. Here’s how…

First, our friendly builder, Neil, built a frame a few centimetres lower than the old sagging ceiling. New lengths of wiring were joined to the existing central light fitting; then plasterboard was then screwed into the frame to create a new, flat ceiling.

Neil then spread a thin layer of plaster over the board to make it smooth; painted the ceiling; then drilled holes for the spotlights:

Finally, an electrician fitted the spots. We wanted good quality fittings that would look unobtrusive, but which would make bulb-changing easy, so we went for these brilliant recessed White Gloss Twist & Lock Fire Rated Downlights, £5 each, from FirstChoiceLighting.co.uk fitted with long-life LED bulbs (also from First Choice Lighting):

Extra safe (because of the fire rating), you simply twist out the bulbs when you need to change them. We wanted fittings flush with the ceiling, but if you’ve got more room to play with, they have a HUGE selection of modern lighting fittings – for all rooms in the house – that look a million dollars but don’t cost it.

And here’s the finished ceiling! The building work and electrician cost £350, and the light fittings themselves came to just £40 for eight. Honestly, it’s made SUCH a difference. Even my other half, who said he didn’t care about the old ceiling, loves the fact he can now see what he’s cooking. It’s like a light has been switched on (erm, because it has!).

What do you reckon? Have you completed a long wished-for yet simple project that has transformed your home? Let me know in the comments below or email me at thetreasurehunteruk@gmail.com – I’d love to see your photos!

Making an entrance

2 Sep

photo 3 (3)

I have no problems with yellow. I just don’t want a yellow front door. Yet, for the last five years, that’s what I’ve had – inherited from our home’s previous owners. Every time I put my key in the lock, I silently wished it looked swankier, but there was always something else more urgent that needed doing.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I ran out of excuses. In  a Twitter chat with Phil Spencer (yep, him off the telly), I sent him a photo of our house and asked him whether I should paint the door red, purple or green. Wise Phil said he liked purple, and suddenly I found myself dusting off my paintbrush!

Here’s what the door looked like beforehand…

photo 1 (4)

And here’s how it looks after its purple facelift..

photo 2 (4)

Not bad, eh? As well as giving it a paintjob, I also swapped the gold door furniture for silver; ditched the chintzy house number; removed the totally unnecessary black iron gate (which has ripped many a coat over the years!); and added a fun geometric doormat (just £7 from B&Q). To finish off, I cleaned and repainted the porchway with white masonry paint, to make everything feel fresh and new.

Fancy giving your door a makeover too? To choose the perfect shade, I recommend going to the Valspar paint counter in your local B&Q. They have handy free little tester cards in hundreds of shades, so I grabbed one each of all the purple ones that took my fancy. Paint can look VERY different in different lights, so they have clever little lightboxes where you can see what your choice would look like in daylight, under an energy saving bulb, or under a ‘normal’ bulb…

photo (100)

Having said that, I wouldn’t rely on this alone. I strung my cards together and took them home – the ones I thought I liked in the shop looked completely different when held up against my front door at various times of day. I also carried them with me for a few days and whenever I saw a purple door I liked, sneaked up and held the cards against it (luckily no-one saw me or they’d have thought I was a bit mad). My final choice, the rather excitingly-named ‘Cloak of Midnight’ looked far darker in the shop than it does in situ. I’d probably never have chosen it if I hadn’t taken it home first.

My other tips? Splash out on a brand new brush, and choose a nylon-bristled one for a smoother end result. Oh, and go for a satin finish paint. Most people traditionally choose gloss paint for a front door as it’s hard-wearing; however it takes about a zillion years to dry, and the shiny finish can sometimes look a bit old fashioned. Matte paint, on the other hand, looks more modern but scratches easily. Satin is a happy medium – it gives you that matte look while being far more durable.

Happy painting!

PS: If you do decide to enhance your kerb appeal, I’d love to see a picture, so please message, email or tweet me at thetreasurehunteruk@gmail.com or @WoodyJen

A sticky subject

19 Sep

Taxi Finished taxi on wall

Wall stickers or ‘decals’ are everywhere. I’ve seen them in magazines, in shops, on Pinterest, on friends’ walls… they can look brilliant, and transform a room very cheaply, but I’ve always suspected they might be fairly tricky to apply. So, when it came to putting one on my little boy’s room wall, I thought I’d share the experience with you…

My son is OBSESSED with taxis, so I bought a new London cab design from a seller called rs201111 on Ebay.co.uk. It’s worth checking out Ebay for wall stickers/decals as you may be able to save tens of pounds compared to places such as Notonthehighstreet.com and bouf.com (who both have lovely designs too). Mine cost just £6.99 for a huge 58cm x 38cm sticker personalised with my son’s name. Not bad eh?

Now for sticking it to the wall…

1) Start by unrolling your decal (I recommend only buying flat decals – more on this later). The actual vinyl sticker part is sandwiched between a layer of thick white backing paper, and a layer of thinner application paper (which looks a bit like greaseproof paper you’d use for cooking with). Your first job is to place the decal on a flat surface, face down, and rub over the backing paper with a credit card to ‘activate’ the decal and make it stick to the application paper.

Taxi unrolled

2) Place your decal where you want it on the wall, and stick it down with masking tape on the top edge only. I used a spirit level to make sure it was completely straight, as I’m a bit anal about these things. It’s a bit time-consuming, but worth it to get it just right:

Taxi placing on wall

 

3) Now’s the first tricky part. Lift the decal up, using the tape as a hinge to keep the design in place. Starting from a corner, slowly begin peeling away the thick backing paper. The actual decal should still be stuck to the greaseproof-like application paper. If at any point any of the design is still stuck to the backing paper, you need to stop, rub the application paper onto the decal again, and slowly continue. It’s little areas – in this case, the lettering and the grill – that are most likely to cause problems, but if you’re careful and patient, it does work:

Taxi taking off backing paper

 

4) And the second tricky part. Lower the now-sticky decal back down, using the credit card or your hand to press the application paper onto the wall, starting in the middle and working your way outwards towers the edge of the design. Pay attention to any air bubbles or creases, smoothing them outwards to get rid of them. Finally, gently peel off the application paper. Your decal should now be firmly stuck to the wall!

Taxi smoothing onto wall

 

My verdict? It was indeed fairly time-consuming, so not something to be attempted in a rush. Also, despite my very, very careful application, I was left with a few tiny creases – the result of the decal having been rolled in the post. So, if you’re buying a wall sticker, my top tip is to ask the seller to post it flat, even if that adds a little extra to the cost.

Having said that, the end result (see pic at the very top of this post) looks great, and my little boy LOVES it. He’s now asking for a red bus on the opposite wall (“…and a fire engine, and a digger, and a car!”) so I have a feeling I’m going to become a bit of an expert at applying stickers by the time all his walls are covered…

Have you got any good wall decal tips? If so, I’d love to hear them!

Bathroom on a budget

9 Sep

photo 3 (2)

Showing my neighbours our new shower room the other day, one of them remarked, “Oooh, did you realise your handwash matched your bathroom cabinet?” as his girlfriend rolled her eyes heavenward. Erm, well, yes, that was kind of the point..!

Having just spent what seems like millions of pounds on a loft extension, we didn’t have a lot left to kit it out. So, when it came to doing the shower room, I was on a mission to save as much money as possible. The builders provided the basics (toilet, shower cubicle, sink and towel rail) but they were just that – basic. We managed to get much nicer designs – including a wall-hung sink which makes the space look bigger than one with a pedestal – for the same price as the cheap ones, from the very friendly staff at Bathroom Heaven (www.bathroomheaven.com), who, it turns out, are happy to match almost any other quote.

I knew I wanted grey metro tiles, but in such a small space, they couldn’t be too dark. Drawing a blank at all the usual places such as Topps Tiles, I eventually found the perfect mid grey ones at Tons of Tiles (www.tonsoftiles.co.uk). For an incredibly bargainous £14.50 per square metre, they come in all kinds of shades, and look amazing (in comparison, Topps’ ones start at £40.50 per sq m).

Colorcheck: Elin

As for accessories, I had a budget of £100 max. A good trick in a teensy room like this is to go for just one main pop of colour, to avoid overwhelming the space. My best buy was this metal Gunnern cabinet from Ikea, above. In a lovely teal blue, it has several adjustable shelves, and looks way more expensive than the staggeringly cheap £30 price tag. I found the perfect powder blue door hook to match for £3.50 from Theforestandco.com, below; a small white pedal bin for just £3 (!) at Wilko (www.wilko.com); and a little bamboo caddy for £6 in the sale at Sainsbury’s (John Lewis do something incredibly similar, here, for £20).

0327185_l

photo 4 (2)

Next, I took one of the cabinet shelves with me to John Lewis (johnlewis.com) to find the towel and bathmat (my husband thought I was a bit mad, but how else can you tell if you’ve got the right match?!). This lovely teal House Grid towel with steel grey trim was £8 and the ‘new steel’ grey bathmat was £10.

photo 1 (2)

Finally, as this is a guest bathrooom, I wanted to stock it with communal toiletries that not only did the job but looked nice too. Most aqua or teal-coloured bottles are for blokes, but the fab Method Waterfall handwash, £2.50 from Sainsbury’s is an exact match and does away with the need for a separate liquid soap pump; while these Aloe Vera ones from Marks & Spencer (marksandspencer.com), below, look suitably posh, yet cost just £3 each.

photo (52)

My camera isn’t the greatest, but here’s the finished room, below. Not bad eh?!

photo (53)

Like my neighbours, I can’t resist nosing around other people’s houses, so if you’ve redone your bathroom recently, send me some pix. I’d love to see ’em!

 

Come in! Your number’s up (plus get 20% off)

19 Aug

old door number

Anyone who’s ever watched TV programme The House Doctor (or anything presented by Phil and Kirstie, for that matter) will be familiar with the phrase ‘kerb appeal’.

I’m ashamed to say that until very recently, the front of my house had pretty much zero kerb appeal, as it was covered in ugly scaffolding, and the front garden was full of builder’s rubbish. Once that had gone, I realised  it needed some serious TLC.

And one of the easiest and quickest ways to give an entrance a facelift is by changing the house or door number. My house came with an old-fashioned (not to mention faded) oval plaque, above left. But, what should replace it?

The first thing I discovered is that stylish house numbers can cost an arm and a leg. But then I stumbled upon www.housenameplate.co.uk. It sells all kinds of house numbers and nameplates, in everything from natural-looking materials like slate and wood, to really modern acrylic and stainless steel:

acrylic cut out number

The great thing about the site is that you can ‘try before you buy’ thanks to their online tool that lets you see how your house number will look before you add it to your basket. And with a two-digit house number sign costing around £20-28 depending on the material you choose, it’s not bad value either, for something that’s going to stick around for years to come.

What’s more, the site also sells house name plaques, letterboxes and outside door furniture, so that you can smarten up the rest of your entranceway too.

What should you go for? A really good-looking house number should mirror the style of your house – from the type of windows to the colour of the front door. My house is a Victorian terrace, so while I wanted something modern, I didn’t want to go overboard. So, when the nice people at the Housenameplate company offered to make the number of my choice for this blog, I went for their acrylic design. You can choose from a variety of coloured backgrounds, but I went for dark grey – top, right – to mirror the slate chippings in my front garden, and the fact my door is soon to be painted purple. A number like this would cost £20, and if you want sliver-coloured fixings (to hide the screws), they’re an extra fiver on top.

The whole thing was very easy to fit – you just need to drill two holes in your outside wall with a drill, using the holes in the plaque as a guide – and that’s it. Looks so much better, doesn’t it?!

GET 20% OFF AT HOUSENAMEPLATE.CO.UK

To help you improve your kerb appeal, http://www.housenameplate.co.uk is offering Treasure Hunter readers 20% off any acrylic house number plate (available in a square, round or rectangular shape, and with a variety of coloured backgrounds and numerals) until 30th September 2014. Simply enter code TTH201401 at the online checkout. Happy shopping!

round acrylic number

 

Cabin fever

29 Jan

LIFESTYLE SHOT Cosy Contemporary NB PIX - ALSO AVAILABLE AS A 43MB TIFF

It’s cold, wet and frankly disgusting weather outside at the moment, so when it comes to decorating your living room, you need a cosy, comfy warm-feeling space you can curl up in and hibernate (but that will still look fresh and stylish in the summertime too).

This was the brief I stuck to when I created the above living room scheme which appeared in Notebook magazine (the very excellent supplement that comes with the Sunday Mirror) last  weekend.

It’s themed around the stunning Nasturtium fabric from designer Julia at Winter’s Moon (visit her website here)…

Made in Britain-Cameo-05_RT cushion close up

Purple, blue and bright orange might seem odd colours to throw together, but they work brilliantly well, adding zing and life to neutral walls and furniture. Using the lovely cushions and lampshade from Julia’s range as a starting point, I used other accessories to pick up the colour theme, including purple curtains, accent cushions and a radio; and orange flowers, accent cushions and a throw to transform the armchair:

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain ARMCHAIRI also can’t resist a feature wall, so I faked a log cabin look with wood panel effect wallpaper. And as this look is all about bringing the outside in, I added some nods to nature with a fun foxy cushion, a basket of real logs, a stag’s head wall hanging, and a ‘nest’ print from one of my favourite design teams, Bold & Noble:

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain CUSHIONS

Cosy Contemporary Made in Britain SIDEBOARD SCENE

I’m really pleased with the way it all turned out, and what’s more, everything used in the shoot, from the furniture, wallpaper and curtains to the log basket, rug and teapot on the table was made in the UK.

GET THE LOOK!

Want to recreate this look? Here’s where to buy everything you see in the room (plus, if you scroll down, I’ve got some suggestions for cheaper versions of some products for those of you on a tight budget!):

Cocktail 4-seater sofa, £1598, Cocktail accent chair, £898, and Cavendish furniture, from £149, all DFS (dfs.co.uk). Polycotton rib pencil pleat Curtains in cassis, from £50, Roberts Revival radio in ‘cassis’, £159.95 and Scion Mr Fox cushion £40, all John Lewis (johnlewis.co.uk). Windowpane check pure new wool throw in tangy orange, £40, woolblanketonline.comLarge square Nasturtium floral cushion, £56, Rectangular Nasturtium cushion, £48 and Bell bottom table lamp in orange with Nasturtium shade, £134, all Winter’s Moon (wintersmoon.co.uk). Large vase, Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, £41.60, Portmeirion (portmeirion.co.uk). Purple and orange ‘Soho’ cushions, £26 each, Heal’s (heals.co.uk). Handknitted teal throw, £160 and Oval basket shopper, £52 both Make The Most Of (makethemostof.co.uk). Sisal rug, £385.70 Crucial Trading (crucialtrading.co.uk). Heather teapot, £58 and mugs, £10.50 each, Denby (denby.co.uk). Circular slate cheeseboard (used as tray), £16, Grey and Echo (folksy.com/shops/greyandecho). Round slate coasters, £22 for four, Just Slate (justslate.co.uk). ‘Nest’ print, £43, Bold & Noble (boldandnoble.co.uk). Cardboard stag’s head, £15, Oh Bother Design (etsy.com/uk/shop/OhBotherDesign). Artichoke candle holders (used as bookends), £24 each and Cream serving dish with yellow rim, £18, all Velvet Dash (velvet-dash.com). Timber wallpaper in ‘limed’, £69.90 per wide roll, Andrew Martin (andrewmartin.co.uk)

BUDGET ALTERNATIVES:

cosy cabin get the look for cheaper

[Above, left to right, top to bottom] Tuscany sideboard £149 Very.co.uk. Spectrum DABFM Digital Radio £29.95 John Lewis (johnlewis.co.uk). Fox cushion £28, Howkapow.comThe Hamptons chunky knit throw  £18.39 Dunelm Mill (dunelm-mill.com). Chenille cushion £8 BHS (bhs.co.uk). Jute natural rug from £35 Next (next.co.uk). Retro ceramic lamp £14 Wilko (wilko.com). Oslo nest of two tables £49 Isme.comPurple teapot £6.48 kitchenhomeware.co.uk. You’ll also find great wood panel wallpaper for around £20 a roll at B&Q (diy.com) and Wallpaperdirect.co.uk.

A little bit of Glamour

7 Dec

Glamour magazine UK January issue

Do you have a small room or flat you want to spruce up? Got a little space but big ideas?

Then buy a copy of this month’s Glamour magazine (January issue – Rihanna on the cover). It’s got a really useful three-page feature full of tips about how to make the most of your home, no matter how tiny.

Of course, I’m a bit biased, as I wrote it (!), but still… it’s very handy, it’s just £2, and it’s on sale now!

Do you remember the first time?

29 Nov

Main mood wall cropped

Buying your very own home for the first time is nerve-wracking but brilliant. Once you’ve got the keys, you can do whatever you like – knock down walls, put psychedelic wallpaper everywhere or paint the whole place pink if the whim takes you – without worrying about losing your deposit because you’ve put a picture up, or didn’t stick to a magnolia colour scheme.

The only problem is, with such a huge blank canvas to put your stamp on, where on earth do you start? Particularly if, like most first timers, you’ve sunk every penny  you own on the deposit.

That was the conundrum given to me and two other interiors bloggers (Caroline from Patchwork Harmony and Carol from Dear Designer) by uber friendly online bank First Direct.  They challenged us to create a 3D moodboard wall to inspire people buying their first ever house or flat. I had a whale of a time sourcing, buying and borrowing props in a rainbow of bright colours; and then spent a fun afternoon creating the wall in an East London warehouse, with the help of the super lovely First Direct team. You can see the results above and below…

Jenny Wood Gallery (2)

The idea behind my mood wall was show that decorating your first home should be fun – and shouldn’t cost a fortune. So, everything I used is available on the high street or online, and has an affordable price tag (it’s all listed below – be warned, it’s a looooong list!). I also wanted to show that you don’t have to play it safe. Even if you go for a background of plain or neutral walls, you can still inject some personality into your scheme with pops of bright colour or by experimenting with an eyecatching feature wallpaper.

Styling the shoot for First Direct

Want to see more? You can see the other bloggers’ efforts on the First Direct Facebook page, and view a video full of tips (including an interview with me – eek) here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuLYON3kasA. And if you’re thinking of investing in bricks and mortar for the first time, you’ll find loads of useful advice from First Direct here.

Good luck!

Where to buy everything…
Kaleidoscope wallpaper by Harlequin, £30 per roll, Wallpaper Direct (wallpaperdirect.com)
Clock, £10, TK Maxx (tkmaxx.com)
Owl cushion, £14.99 Dunelm Mill (dunelm-mill.com)
Purple, green, orange and yellow cushions, £6 each, Matalan (matalan.co.uk)
Grey pouffe, £47, Very (very.co.uk)
Micro loop bath mats (on floor), £8 each, Matalan (matalan.co.uk)
Large industrial wirework shelf, £49.95 Live Laugh Love (livelaughlove.co.uk)
[ON SHELF]
Picture frame, £1, Poundland
Hello Sunshine postcard, 60p, Paperchase (paperchase.co.uk)
Origami crane light, £8 Cubic (cubicuk.com)
Owl candle, £3, Matalan (matalan.co.uk)
Teal canister £2, Tiger Stores (tigerstores.co.uk)
Pencil sharpener desk tidy, £15, Suck UK (suck.uk.com)
Sharpie markers from a selection, Amazon.co.uk
Solar Queen, £16.99 Play.com
Melamine bowls find similar at Nettle Green (nettlegreen.co.uk)
Mug from a selection, Achica (achica.com)
Chinese man pot junk shop find
Russian doll measuring cups, £6.24, Tesco Direct (tesco.com/direct)
Gibraltar highball glasses £2.50 each, HOUSE by John Lewis (johnlewis.co.uk)
Plastic boxes, from a selection at Paperchase (paperchase.co.uk)
Ceramic owl decoration, find similar, £5, from Red Berry Red at Notonthehighstreet.com
Tea towels, £3 for three, Wilkinson (wilko.com)
Star cookie cutters, £4 for pack of five, Sainsbury’s (sainsburys.co.uk)
Set of measuring spoons, £2, Tiger Stores (tigerstores.co.uk)
[ON WALLS]
H.O.M.E perspex letters, £6 each, Oh Bother Design at Etsy (etsy.com/uk/shop/OhBotherDesign)
Large picture frame junk shop find, sprayed in Plastikote yellow gloss spray paint £6.99Amazon.co.uk
Bunting, £1 for 10m, Tiger Stores (tigerstores.co.uk)
Lanterns, £3 each, Tiger Stores (tigerstores.co.uk)
[ON WHITE BOX]
Trimphone telephone, £42, I Love Retro (iloveretro.co.uk)
Orla Kiely ‘Stem’ salad bowl, £25, Unique & Unity (uniqueandunity.co.uk)
Elephant watering can, £8.50 Ebay.co.uk
Silicone trivets, £2 each, Matalan (matalan.co.uk)
Soda siphon junk shop find
Queen Duck, £7.99, Just Ducks (justducks.co.uk)
Street sign, made to order, Oh Bother Design at Etsy (etsy.com/uk/shop/OhBotherDesign)
[ON STOOL]
Bekvam step stool, £11, Ikea (ikea.co.uk), sprayed in Plastikote yellow gloss spray paint £6.99Amazon.co.uk
Morphy Richards toaster, £34.99, Dunelm Mill (dunelm-mill.com)
Happy Girl yellow Kokeshi doll, £20, The Japanese Shop (thejapaneseshop.co.uk)
Giant pegs, £3 each, Tiger Stores (tigerstores.co.uk)
Metal hut tealight holder, £2.50, Matalan (matalan.co.uk)
Plant and pot, from a selection at Homebase (homebase.co.uk)
Elephant creamer jug, £3.25, Rigby & Mac (rigbyandmac.com)
[ON FLOOR]
Books, from a selection at Amazon.co.uk
Sabichi zigzag throw, £12, Very (very.co.uk)
Tenshi Tetsubin cast iron teapot, £30, Exotic Teapot (exoticteapot.co.uk)
Musca table lamp, £19.98, B&Q (diy.com)

My headshot cropped

One room, two new looks!

18 Sep

While I regularly write about homes for various magazines and love trying out new looks in my own home, I don’t usually get to actually style rooms professionally… until now.

I recently completed my first ever styling challenge for Closer magazine (www.closeronline.co.uk). The brief? To style one plain room in two completely different ways in one afternoon, using only bargainous high street accessories.

it was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, and the results were published in last week’s issue. Now it’s no longer on sale, I thought I’d share the pictures with you, along with the details of where you can buy everything in each shot.

Which is your favourite? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

THE ORIGINAL, PLAIN ROOM…

Bare room before

TRANSFORMATION ONE: BRIGHT BLOOMS…
Fun florals mixed with eye-popping shades = a happy home!

Bright florals makeover

Bright blooms room scheme products

Where to buy everything:
Watercolour floral triptych canvas £39.99, Chrome Curva lamp £29.99, both Argos (www.argos.co.uk). Floripop prints £16.54 each Visual Philosophy (etsy.com/uk/shop/visualphilosophy). Rug £49.99 Dunelm Mill (dunelm-mill.com). Blue pod pouffe £75 Next (www.next.co.uk). Kilo white side table £25, Oken yellow side table £35 both Habitat (www.habitat.co.uk). Sapporo round side table £49 M&S (www.marksandspencer.com). ON TABLES: Lamp £29 Wilkinsons (www.wilko.com). Photo frame £19, Trinket box £25, pink flower candle £8 all Matthew Williamson at Debenhams (www.debenhams.com). Tealights £1.50 each Cargo (www.cargohomeshop.com). Matilda yellow bowl £12, Hugo blue vase £15 both Habitat. Green tumbler £1 Wilko. Hamilton teapot £22.50 M&S. Tin mug £7.50 Jasmine White (www.jasminewhitelondon.com). ON CHAIRS & SOFA: Chenille throw £20, Green, Red, Yellow and Purple cushions £8 each, all BHS (www.bhs.co.uk). Embroidered floral cushion £19.50, Saffy embroidered cushion £25 both M&S. FIREPLACE: Tea glasses £17.95 for six The Handpicked Collection (www.handpickedcollection.com). Floral jug £15 BHS. Pom poms from £3.10 each The North Pom (www.thenorthpom.co.uk). Russian Doll cushion £12 M&S. Satin cushion £22 Debenhams. Purple cushion £8 BHS.

 

TRANSFORMATION TWO: WOODLAND RETREAT…
Snuggle up in style with foxes, fur, chunky knits and cosy colours

Cosy Woodland Retreat makeoverWoodland theme living room favourite products

 

Where to buy everything:

Autumn Path canvas £29.99 Art.co.uk. Fox and Stag prints £29.95 each RawXclusive (www.rawxclusive.com). Tripod lamp £29.99, Bookcase £14.99, Coffee table £14.99, Side table £9.99, Curtains from £21.99 all Argos. Natural pouffe £57 Isme (www.isme.co.uk). Pod pouffe from £75, Jute rug from £35 both Next. ON BOOKCASE: Candelabra £20 Sainsbury’s. Fox sculpture £18 Littlewoods. Dominoes £18 Next. ON SOFA: Cream check throw £18 Sainsbury’s (www.sainsburys.co.uk). Darcy fur throw £59 Isme. Bird & leaf cushions £12 Isme. Tweed cushion £12.99 Dunelm Mill. Acorn cushion £12 M&S. Fox face cushion £17.99 The Oak Room. Check cushion £10 Sainsburys. Knit cushion £25 Debenhams. ON CHAIR: Knit throw £30 Matalan (www.matalan.co.uk). Fur cushion £19.50 M&S. Fox cushion £15 Littlewoods (www.littlewoods.com). Check throw £15 Sainsbury’s. ON COFFEE TABLE: Mug £9 RawXclusive. Bowl £8.39 Nisbets. ON SIDE TABLE: Book-shaped boxes £18 for three Next. Owl £6 Wilko. FIREPLACE: Photoframe and Owl candle both Debenhams. Candlestick £10, Vase £12, “&” ornament £8 all Wilko. Star £3.95 Dotcomgiftshop.com. Lantern £28 Cargo. Lamp £28 Next. Basket £8.80 Wilko. Fair Isle cushion £12, Zig zag throw £35 both M&S. Brown throw £12 Very.co.uk. Knit cushion £12 Matalan.

[ Photographs by the talented, patient (and very lovely) Liz Gregg http://www.lizgregg.com ]

Gorgeous geometrics

3 Sep

Flat Shots

This AMAZING – and very on-trend – geometric wallpaper is supposedly meant for children’ rooms, but I think it’s far too cool for that. Obviously if you papered your whole bedroom with it, it might give you headaches, but used sparingly – on a chimneybreast or in an alcove, or as a statement wall in a hallway or dining room – it would be a real showstopper.

If you’re crafty, you could even use it to paper the panels of a door or a chest of drawers; to cover books with; or as (albeit very expensive) wrapping paper.

It’s called Kaleidoscope, and it’s part of the new ‘All About Me’ range of wallpapers from Harlequin (www.harlequin.uk.com). It comes in four brilliant bright colourways – my favourite is the one at the start of this post – and costs a reasonable £30 a roll from Wallpaper Direct http://www.wallpaperdirect.com

Studio Product Shots

Also worth taking a look is the ‘Boutique Boulevard’ design from the same collection. In either a primary or a fab neon colourway, it’s far too fab to be wasted on the kids…!

Flat Shots

Stick ’em up!

3 Oct

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Top Drawer, a trade show for people who own gift shops and homeware stores, where I met some brilliant designers including the lovely Adele from Nutmeg Wall Art (www.nutmegwallartstickers.co.uk) who makes removable wall stickers/decals.

I’d first stumbled upon her website when I was looking for a way to brighten up my son Sam’s nursery. I emailed her a picture of his room, which has very tasteful, but not very kid-friendly tree wallpaper on the walls. She came up with the idea of making brightly coloured parrot wall stickers to perch in and fly around the trees. Cute! She even superimposed the parrots on the picture I’d emailed her (above), so that I could see what the stickers would look like before I commited to buy them.

So, I thought I’d share her site with you. She sells ‘normal’ wall stickers like these:

But what is particularly fab – and what sets her apart from many of the other wall decal companies out there – is her bespoke service.

If you drop her a line at sales@nutmegwallart.co.uk, Adele will make you a personalised sticker for a very reasonable price. For example, a personalised London street sign sticker (immediately below – you can make up your own street name and postcode) is £30; a bespoke kitchen sticker (below, middle) is £26; and a personalised script sticker (below, bottom) is £19. But of course you don’t have to, erm, ‘stick’ to words and text – you can copy me and pick anything you like, as apparently Adele likes a challenge!

Just another brick in the wall

10 Aug

If you live with anyone else – whether that’s a partner, friend or even your mum, you’ll know how hard it can be to choose stuff for the home that you all agree on. My husband and I are like that about wallpapering our bedroom. We had it replastered over a year ago, and the wall behind our bed stays stubbornly blank, while a small tower of paper samples builds up on the chest of drawers next to it.

Then I had a breakthrough. I spotted the new Colours Woodland wallpaper from B&Q, above. Paste it up and it looks like your wall is clad in hip, weathered , Scandi-style timber. It’s a bold look – best suited to just one feature wall – but surprisingly, we both love it!

What’s more, this designer effect costs just £14 a roll! It’s an absolute bargain considering most fancy wallpapers cost at least £50 per roll these days.

And looking around, optical illusion papers like this are everywhere this Autumn/Winter. B&Q also have a cool “instant library” wallpaper (below, with red/black chair) depicting shelves of books (which would work well in a living room or study) for £19.98 per roll; Next sell wood panels too, as well as a brick effect (great for a kitchen or dining room) and bookshelves, all for 15 per roll (panels and bricks below);  while www.wallpaperdirect.co.uk have a plethora of designs (check out the new ‘Serendipity’ collection, bottom two pix), panels, multicoloured bookshelves and even a pebbledash print, all at £28-£34.95 per roll.

I think they’re wonderwall – sorry – wonderful. And for once, my other half agrees. Maybe yours will too?

Word up!

1 Aug

Do I need to spell it out? I’ve just discovered www.theletteroom.com and I think it’s font-tastic!

The site sells 3D letters in every size, colour, typeface and material imaginable (from wood and plastic to metal and even light-up neon); plus cute accessories decorated with initials, and personalised word-y prints.

The letters cost from just £3.75 each (for the bright wooden versions), meaning you can go minimalist with your favourite initial on a mantlepiece or shelf; or buy several and get creative on a bigger scale. How about a row of Zs above a bed; a colourful “Splash” in the bathroom; or even a whole alphabet of different fonts on a plain wall?

PS: I’ve written a piece for Look magazine this week all about using letters as wall art. And you can get 15% off at http://www.theletteroom.com too! Simply enter code LOOK at the online checkout between now and 7th August.

 

I wishi for washi

27 Jul

My new obsession is for washi tape (“what-y tape?” asked my other half). It’s Japanese masking tape, which comes in different widths and is printed with pretty patterns.

You can use it in so many different ways and you don’t have to be particularly crafty to get good results. The most obvious is to wrap presents with. It’ll stand out more if you use brown paper, white paper or a single plain coloured paper or tissue. Don’t just use the washi tape on the ends – stick little strips randomly all over for a really pretty effect.

Another great use for washi tape is to decorate stuff – wrap it around glass jars for candles, trinket boxes, pens/pencils, travelcard wallets, kitchen storage containers… or put strips on picture frames, mirrors, or notebooks/diaries to jazz them up.

There are loads of great ideas on the web. Check these out for starters:

Jars and clothes pegs:
http://www.adasinteriordesign.com/mondays-make-it-japanese-washi-tape/

Pretty clothes hangers:
http://thepapercutouts.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-max=2012-06-29T12:00:00-07:00&max-results=5&m=0

Washi tape magnets:
http://twirlingbetty.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/japanese-masking-tape-washi-tape-magnets-a-tutorial/
and
http://howaboutorange.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/diy-washi-tape-magnets.html?m=1

Storage jars:
http://www.shelterness.com/10-ideas-to-refresh-your-interior-using-japanese-masking-tape/pictures/5710/

Gift bags:
http://www.simplymodernmom.com/2011/10/washi-tape-gift-bag-tutorial-from-how-about-orange/

Notebooks:
http://www.adoreweddingblog.com/2012/06/28/diy-washi-tape-notebook/

Chairs decorated with washi:
http://www.shelterness.com/10-ideas-to-refresh-your-interior-using-japanese-masking-tape/pictures/5703/

A Pinterest board with other washi tape ideas such as cards, penpots and boxes:
http://m.pinterest.com/ikbennele/washi-tape/

Feeling inspired? All you need now is some tape! The best place to start is www.washitapes.co.uk – they have the biggest selection in the UK.
You can also get your mitts on tapes at www.dotcomgiftshop.com, http://www.papermash.co.uk, http://www.lovelytape.co.uk and on Ebay (search for “washi tape” or “Japanese masking tape” or “craft masking tape”).

Feathered friends

6 Jul


I love feature wallpaper, but I don’t love the price. These days, you’re looking at an average of £50 a roll for anything even vaguely stylish. And if you’re papering anything other than a chimney breast or box room wall, you’re going to need two or three rolls. Daylight robbery, I tell you.

So when I saw this lovely Opera Aviary wallpaper was just £8.98 a roll, I did a double-take.  Three rolls would cost under £30 – can you believe it? – which is an absolute steal for something so classy. It comes in a very of-the-moment charcoal grey and yellow colourway, and would look great alongside white, grey or if you’re brave, black walls.

Get yours at B&Q or http://www.diy.com pronto!

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