Category Archives: DIY

Home Love: My Favourite Space

I poked my head into blogland today and heard about the Home Love contest at Fashion for Home (thanks Kimberly!) where you show your favourite spot in your home and the prize of £500 to spend at their online store is very tantalizing indeed, so thought I’d enter (nothing to lose!).

For the contest, I am submitting my dining room, which has been a real labour of love in every sense of the phrase. Lots of labour and lots of love (and a teensy budget). Now that the labour part is over, there is just lots of love for the room.

My favourite room!

This room connects to the living room, the kitchen and the stairs, so it is pretty much the central hub of the home. For me, it is buzzing with creative energy while also perfectly fitting into the happy, relaxed and eclectic style that personifies my hubby and me. A mix of old and new, everything has been acquired over time from different places including an antiques saleroom, a local art and craft fair, even a flea market in Amsterdam, with a few items from retail stores.

The painting sitting behind the Dutch vases on the bookcase (below) is a reproduction of Edward Hopper’s Capron House (1933). I painted it just to see if I had any talent with a paintbrush. 🙂

My proudest creative endeavour is making over the vintage pine farmhouse table and chairs set which came from an auction house, complete with knocks and dents. I love how deep the table is – it makes it very social and we can fit up to 8 people around it at a squeeze. The original finish wasn’t quite our style though, so I got to work on it, staining the table dark and painting the chairs a lovely pale stone colour.

Yup, that’s me getting down and dirty.

When we put the room together, it was just for me and hubby. Now we have a little boy and he seems to be enjoying the room as much as the grownups do! And no childproofing required for the solid old furniture – any knocks he (inevitably) adds will simply add to the character and memories. 🙂


What is your favourite spot or room in your home?




Filed under Design, Dining rooms, DIY

Seeing potential

I hope you’ll forgive my lack of presence in blogland lately. I could list my excuses but they generally point to my big belly slowing me down (in the third trimester now!).

I have finally started thinking about the baby things I need to get and this weekend, amidst watching the Olympics and sniggering at Tory MP Aidan Burley for showing the nation what a complete tool he is*, I finished working on baby’s first piece of furniture. On hindsight, (electric) sanding, priming and painting are best not done when 6 months pregnant, but I really didn’t have the time before now plus I needed some decent weather to do the sanding outside. I got there in the end.

This is the eBay listing photo. I forgot to take a ‘Before’ photo myself.

I scored this solid pine chest of drawers for a bargain on eBay, in perfect condition, just the size I was looking for and the ‘tray’ around the top allows it to become a very useful changing station. But I wasn’t going to subject baby to the orangey-pine varnish… bleurgh!

You may have gleaned my love of sunshine yellow in kids' rooms from my nurseries post. Little Greene’s Mister David paint colour could not have been more perfect! It really is like sunshine in the room, even on a grey day.

Now I just need to get a changing mat… and all the other baby paraphernalia… and get busy with my sewing machine to craft a few special things for baby.

Anyway, back to the subject of seeing potential in an old piece of furniture. A few weeks ago, this vintage bedroom chair sold for just £10 at my local auction house.

Old bedroom chair seeking new life

Besides looking a bit tatty, its frame was in pretty decent condition. My hands were itching at that price, I almost bid for it, but I made myself stay still. As much as I would have loved to have given it new life, I don’t have the resources right now (time or money) to be running around fabric houses and upholsterers. But just think of what it could’ve been! One rather snazzy example below –

Bedroom chair potential! Image via House to Home


If you found a couple of bedraggled antique chairs, what would you do with them? I love the modern twist given to these chairs –

via 508 (click on image to enlarge)


This card-cabinet-turned-console-table below is my favourite makeover to date. I love that they had the vision to see so much potential in an old humdrum card cabinet and turn it into a rather fabulous and useful console.

via Design*Sponge (click on image to enlarge)


* That’s it for the subject of the post. But you may have noticed a little asterisk near the start. I don’t talk politics in this blog, because well, that’s not why you read it, but I feel compelled to say how utterly flabbergasted I am at the comments made about the Olympics opening ceremony by prize idiot MP Aidan Burley who called it “leftie multi-cultural crap”. Even after his comments caused a flurry of criticism, he continued to dig a deeper hole for himself.
  It would have been easy to produce a robotic bonanza of a show but Danny Boyle’s creative genius made the ceremony joyous and bonkers, charming, moving, humorous yet earnest, and human. It showcased revolutions that changed the way of life not just in this country, but the whole world. It rejoiced in what makes Britain great and in its people. It was a spectacle that evoked a heart-swelling pride at being British, certainly in myself and probably in most of the nation. And I wasn’t even born here. If anyone is interested, comedian Paul Sinha does a rather brilliant job of putting Burley out with the trash in his blog article “Aidan Burley MP. Hello, from a fellow Brit.”

Perhaps I should have titled this post “Seeing potential… and a touch of politics”. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to make politics a habit on this blog!


Filed under DIY

Furniture makeovers

If you’ve been reading my little blog for a while, you’ll know I am a fan of furniture makeovers.

Good looking storage is hard to come by without a hefty price tag so if you’re up for a bit of DIY, an old or humdrum piece of furniture can be made into something rather spectacular. If you don’t have a vintage piece that’s crying out for a makeover, have a look at IKEA’s untreated wood products which encourage you to get creative with the finish you want – paint, stain, wax, decoupage…

The RAST and TARVA chests of drawers are particularly popular as they are inexpensive and can be adapted to just about any setting. How cute would these two below be for kids?


Livet Hemma


Livet Hemma

Some more RAST and TARVA makeovers for ideas –

Images: Design*Sponge, Crafty Sisters, House to Home, Nothing but Bonfires


Images: Lucy Jane, Breadbox, Honey & Fitz

Have you seen or done any cool furniture makeovers lately?


Filed under DIY

Paint + patience = fabulous transformation

Can you imagine the creative vision, diligence and immeasurable patience shown by Patty who transformed this boring old chest of drawers…

into this!

via Design*Sponge

I’m so very impressed! Just blown away.

Is this sort of thing within your realms of patience??


Filed under DIY

Headboards with nailhead (stud) patterns

via Lonny

I am always on the lookout for creative design inspiration (in other words, ways to rival designer looks for comparatively very little money) and when I came across this bedroom image from Lonny, I had one of those “Hey, I could make that” moments about the headboard.

It looks very achievable for us creative DIY enthusiasts, yes? (Next week you will get a peek of just how much DIY goes on in my home!)

Here is a simpler pattern that looks lovely too –

via The Glass Factory

Look, the same design for a lovely girly-pink headboard!

via Simplified Bee

Would you attempt to make your own headboard?



Filed under Bedrooms, Design, DIY

The art of patience: wallpaper-effect painted walls

Have you ever been in a situation where you have an idea of what you’re looking for, but can’t find it in your colour/style preference or within your budget?

>>I see some nods.<<

In particular, wallpaper.

>>More nods. I am also nodding.<<

I recently came across an incredibly creative and fabulous blogger, Emily of Jones Design Company who faced such a predicament and so she decided she would paint a wallpaper-effect.

This is a case study of brilliant creative thinking and also PATIENCE.

She liked the pattern on this curtains image and drew out a template from it. (The template is downloadable as a pdf file, if you want to give this a go.)

Once the template was traced all over the walls, she painted over it using a brush of the desired width.

Love the pattern

Looking fabulous!

The finished result: WOW!

Are you also feeling massive admiration for Emily? Mmhmm.
For the full tutorial, click here.

Would you attempt this? Do you have the patience?

I came across someone who did!

Lovely Landee from Landee See, Landee Do blog used this method on her stair wall:

Close up of pattern

The pattern in metallic silver looks fabulous against the soft blue. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! For Landee’s full post, click here.


I’ll ask you again – would you do this? Do you have the patience?

I’ll be honest, I absolutely love what both these ladies have done but even if I had the time to do something like this (unlikely), I wouldn’t have the patience.

The template idea is still fabulous for small areas where you can customise the size of the template – think trays, cushions, art… but for walls, wouldn’t it be great to have a quicker solution?

For anyone else who is time-poor and/or lacks such patience, but would love to have such an effect on your walls, you are about to love me a whole lot because I have found the solution for you!

Cutting Edge Stencils have large stencils that will quickly give you a wallpaper-effect painted wall. The Casablanca stencil, found in the Damask/Allover category is similar to Emily’s pattern:

There are many other patterns to choose from too. They ship internationally so no worries there! Ok, so buying a stencil will add to the cost a tad, but it’ll still be heaps cheaper than wallpaper, save you lots of time, you get to choose your colours and it will beat the bother of hanging wallpaper! Win win win. 🙂



Filed under Design, DIY

IKEA Hack: Nailhead pattern cabinet

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to have your socks blown off! This is one of the most exciting and awe-inspiring IKEA hacks I have stumbled upon, and I bet you will think so too.

This is a Visconti cabinet.

Love the nailhead pattern, very chic, very cool, but few can afford the $2300-ish price tag. So what to do if you want a similar statement piece but haven’t got the cash to splash?

A very clever girl called Tina Sindahl, of Signed by Tina, was particularly inspired by this designer piece and set about meticulously recreating the style using a very affordable IKEA BESTA cabinet, upholstery nails, a hammer, some paper for drawing the pattern and tracing it onto the doors and a ruler to accurately measure the distance between each nail (yes, I know, meticulous!).

Et voilà!

Sublimely executed. I am in awe.

Tina also did this for her bathroom cabinets – just stunning.

Her instructions are here.

And finally, because we all love a good nosey around someone else’s home gorgeous home tour, you can check out the rest of the fabulous and glamorous home here.

Her blog is an absolute treat, full of breathtaking inspiration, ideas and tutorials for swanky decorating on a budget, so be sure to check it out!



Filed under DIY