Hello Reader! I'm Melanie, and I'd like to welcome you to my interiors and home, DIY & decorating blog. Interior design blog to inspire how to re-create and copy on trend interior looks on a budget via clever sourcing, DIY and craft.
Last week on the blog I talked about my big garden plans and how I had given up on our rotten, raised timber deck area of our garden. Instead, it was all going to be ripped out and replaced by something called Trex Transcend - a strong and durable composite decking made from 95% recycled materials. Well, as you can tell from the header image to this post (!!) the exciting news is that the big garden overhaul has begun! Landscape company The Greenkeeper arrived to dismantle and and re-lay the deck just over a week ago. After some initial framework problems, the actual installation of the Trex Deck was pretty interesting to watch. So, here is the build progress so far.....
Once the rotting timber deck was removed it was obvious that the timber framework also was not up to scratch. As well as also being rotten in a lot of places, the framework was wonky and uneven and just not in good enough condition to lay down the new deck boards.
Using new treated timber boards and recycling the old timber where they could, The Greenkeeper guys created a perfectly level, strong and secure framework from scratch. This added on a few extra days to the build but it was really important that the framework was structurally sound and level. I actually really liked the look of this large geometric timber playground in the garden! It looked like a crazy piece of modern installation art!
Once the framework was complete the Trex Transcend deck was delivered. Seeing this lovely shiny new deck that I knew I would not have to sand and stain every year was a double feeling of not only excitement, yet also huge relief. With a small child, a house to run, a blog and a business, I just do not have time for the huge amount of maintenance every year the timber deck took. Also, comparing the old timber deck that had just been taken away off my drive to this new deck in the warm, auburn 'Lava Rock' colourway was a real treat. What I instantly really liked is the fact the Trex deck does not have the deep grooves of timber deck, meaning that it will be easier to sweep and clean.
The Greenkeeper guys, who are certified Professional Trex Installers, got to work laying the deck at quite a fast rate.
The black gaffa-style tape that you see on the surface of the timber framework is Trex Protect Joist Tape. This gives an extra layer of protection to the timber framework which will have screws in it from the Trex Fixing Systems (which is what attaches the Trex deck to the framework). When a screw is inserted into the timber through the tape, the tape acts like a silicone in the hole preventing any water or moisture from entering the timber.
So far, so clever, but this is the REALLY good part. Trex offers a Pro-Plug system for any parts of the deck that require screw holes in the actual deck rather than being secured by the Fixing Systems. These tiny nuggets have the same grain and colour of the Trex Transcend being laid, so you do not notice that there were any drill holes made in the first place. It took me ages to find one when The Greenkeeper guys challenged me to locate where a plug had been used!
Once the deck boards were down, the next step was the railings. As my deck is raised off the ground, railings were vital. My previous rotten deck meant that the wood railings wobbled at the slightest touch. Trex offer powder-coated aluminium railings with near-zero maintenance and this is what Mark from The Greenkeeper is installing below. This is Trex's Signature Railing and comes in black and bronze. I chose bronze to keep the colourway of the deck and railings all the same.
As the railings are being inserted around the front of the deck, The Greenkeeper guys cut away the excess Trex Deck boards to the shape of the framework. So this is where we are up too now:
All that is left is to add the rest of the railings and the frontal fascia boards and the deck will be ready for its BIG REVEAL! Sign up to the mailing list below to not miss out on my big garden deck makeover!
* This post is sponsored by Trex who are very kindly collaborating with me on the transformation of my garden deck space by providing all materials and labour in exchange for promotional activity.
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After the redecoration of my sitting room was completed in four short weeks with Revamp Restyle Reveal, in the time that followed one of the things that I wished I had changed in the room was getting in a new rug. What remained in the room was a plain, small piece of high-pile rug just in front of the fire which was only put there in the first place so the dog could lay in front of the log burner in comfort. It looked dull, a bit worn and out-of-place in the shiny new room. I decided it was time for an upgrade.
I never used to be an overly 'rug person.' Yes, stick one on the floor between the sofa and the TV, put something fluffy by the side of the bed if your bedroom has hard floors, but in the past couple of years I've realised that they are central and key to most successful room designs. I tell clients to place them over carpets as a budget way to transform a space, layer different rugs with others in a particularly large area to create interest, even stick outdoor rugs outside to define a cozy, relaxing exterior space. If a room feels empty or bare, it is textiles like rugs, cushions and throws and that will make it feel warm and like a home should feel.
By chance I was contacted by Woven, a rug company I had been reading about in this months Living Etc magazine (they are currently doing a fab range of outdoor rugs by Patricia Urquiola for GAN.) They posed the question: if you could pick a rug from our extensive range for your new room, what one would you choose? Not as easy a question to answer as it seems - Woven sell a range of rugs by brands and designers that I didn't even know sold rugs - Bluebellgray, Ted Baker and Wedgwood in particular. Prices range from as low as £59 and can go up to as much as £11k (yes, you read that right, 11k!!) The rugs are a mix of styles, yet have a basis in modern, Scandi & designer. I am so much into more modern-looking rugs right now. Beni rugs, as nice as they are, have been everywhere the past few years and I think they have had their day. The future of rugs can be found in geometric abstract shapes in block colours, splattered patterns, detail-heavy designs and anything that looks like it could be hanging in a gallery for modern art. Luckily, Woven carry all these styles so I had a real job on my hands picking the right one for my home! In the end, I filtered down the winning design using a few simple selection steps. Take a look at my 'key contenders' below and find out how you can get 20% off at Woven with an exclusive discount code!
The newly decorated room has soft grey walls, a statement velvet blue armchair and metallic gold accents through the lighting and the large circular mirror above the fireplace. The new rug needed to tie into this colour scheme, so I could go neutral, or choose a rug featuring any of these colours. First of all I filtered the rugs on the Woven website by 'grey' and spotted this beautiful geometric rug by Harlequin. Being a huge fan of Harlequin anyway (their wallpaper adorns the alcove shelving of the bookcase in the room) it was no surprise it was an instant favourite as soon as I saw it. I love the range of shapes on the rug, yet I was unsure of inserting a new colour into the room with the pink that features heavily in the design. The grey/blue/gold/white was already working well for the space and I didn't really want to throw another colour into the mix, so I decided to not stray away from the core colours already in use. I absolutely love this rug though and it would work perfectly in the TV snug area, so I'm bookmarking it for another day!
This Linie Design rug stopped me in my tracks as it is so damn cool. I love the pastel colours which feature a lot of grey and blue. The design is like some amazing pretty-coloured vortex (or dartboard). Yet at 90cm circumference it was too small for the room and would not work with the rooms rectangular shape. When measuring for a rug make sure that you don't purchase a rug that is too small. Get a rug that needs to be tucked under chairs or a sofa. Slightly bigger for the space is better than just too small. If you are buying a rug for under a table, make sure that it is large enough that the table and the chairs can fit on it comfortably and the chairs do not catch on the edge when tucking them in or out from the table. A circular rug is perfect if you have a table the same shape being placed centrally to it, or if your room is not a traditional rectangular shape.
This Oak Leaf rug by Morris & Co makes a beautiful traditional-style rug that would be perfect in a classic English home. I really considered it for the room, but with my lighting and wallpaper being more contemporary, I decided to go with something a bit edgier in pattern.
So, I was now concentrating on a rectangular rug and this Ted Baker number gave me all the feels as it has so many things I love in the design that I like to feature in my interiors, like birds, butterflies and flowers. This rug is made from a high-pile mix of wool and tencel and so it was here that I had to be practical and think about how the floor is used in my room. The sitting room is an entrance room that you walk through to get to the TV snug, so it is a high-traffic area. I thought that a much lower pile would suit the space as higher pile is more suited to areas where levels of comfort are important like the bedroom and by the sofa. I also did not want any accidents of people tripping up over the raised edges as they continuously walked through the room, so low pile was in-order for this space.
So what did I go for in the end? The answer is this GORGEOUS Louis De Poortere rug from the Mad Men collection. It ticked all the right boxes and I am completely in love with it. First of all, the small teal shimmers woven in the design complement my blue velvet armchair perfectly, while a more neutral base works with the room rather than overtake it.
The rectangular shape sits comfortably between the fireplace and the shelving the opposite side of the room, while the contemporary design suits the rooms decor scheme, working perfectly with the gold-flecked wallpaper on the back of the bookcase.
This Mad Men Griff rug is a cotton/polyester mix so sits low on the floor, making it perfect for the high-traffic area and easy to clean:
Prices start at £68 for this rug (60 x 90 cm) which I think is a steal for such a contemporary design. My rug in this room is 140cm x 200cm and is £354, which I actually think is great value as the rug is really good quality.
So what do you think? Did I make the right choice?? Let me know in the comments section below! Also, to get your hands on a fabulous Woven rug with 20% off, just enter the discount code MELANIE20 at checkout!
* This post is a paid collaboration with Woven. All thoughts, opinions and highlighted rugs in this post have been chosen by me. As usual, I would NEVER feature a product in my home that I did not like, nor try and convince you otherwise.
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Hello and welcome to my garden! I have not featured the garden on my blog in a long time and with good reason - it is a disaster that I just cannot keep on top of. Well, not the garden itself but actually the decking area. We have a really large area of the garden that is raised decking, but the truth is the past couple of years it hasn't even been used - in fact I've actively cornered it off as I feel it is unsafe for the family. This is it here:
Now you might look at this first picture and think 'oohh what a nice large area of deck to have to enjoy summer meals' etc, and you would be right, but take a closer look and you can see how problematic it is:
Every year I take a good two weeks out to fix and mend broken deck boards, clean, sand, paint the deck and the railings. It is tiresome and labour-intensive. It also means that if we have nice spring weather, the area cannot be used until I have managed to find those two weeks to do it all up beforehand. I think the main problem is the fact this huge tree looms over the space:
Birds sit in here and do their 'business' which sticks like glue, so when I try and power hose it off all the deck stain I've spent weeks applying shoots off the deck! Green slime and algae also just constantly grows all over the boards. As the deck is shaded it never really drys off after heavy rainfall so the basic deck boards just sit and soak up the water, leading to lots of it having to be replaced every year. This year the base structure of the area has become sodden and started to rot and because of this the side rails are loose - one strong push and they would all fall off!
If I do not do the DIY work myself then I have to pay someone to do it for me at a significant cost (which is why I've never got anyone to do it for me!) Yet even when I DIY, this area is 6m x 5m so I spend a lot on 5L tins of decking stain and exterior wood paint. To be honest, enough was enough, I'd had it with this deck area yet it pains me to lose it, which is why this year I am getting rid of these basic timber deck boards and replacing it with high performance composite decking by Trex.
Trex Transcend Decking in Spiced Rum. Image Credit: Trex
I had never heard of composite decking, nor the brand Trex, but when I was contacted on behalf of the brand about working together this year to promote Trex it was a match made in heaven! This is exactly the sort of product that I was looking for to replace my timber deck boards! Trex Transcend decking is a low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional deck. Made from 95% recycled materials (recycled plastic, timber and sawdust) it guarantees to not fade or stain for 25 years, while resisting moss and algae. It won't splinter or rot, plus it comes in a wide range of colours from on-trend modern greys, to more traditional browns and reds.
I was sent some tester samples and the shell of the board is as solid as anything - no wonder it lasts! It also looks just like real deck on the outer shell, if not a bit sleeker. From the vast colour ranges available I chose Lava Rock, pictured below, as I just loved the warm tone that it had:
Trex Transcend Decking in Lava Rock. Image Credit: Trex
Trex boards are as easy to install as hardwood, but rather than have a go at it myself I'm getting in the Pro's and the team are laying it next week! I'm so excited as I cannot wait to style this space and actually use it properly this summer. As well as deck, Trex also do powder-coated aluminium railings which I am also having put in, getting rid of all rotting material completely.
My plan for the space is have a large table and chairs for family meals, festoon lights for atmospheric lighting and big pots of scented English patio roses dotted around the edges (with the knowledge that when I move the pots there won't be a ton of woodworm eating the deck underneath!)
My mood board for the finished deck space.
If you want to find out more about Trex Transcend Decking then pop by in a week to see how the building progress is going in my garden (if you sign up to my newsletter then I'll send the Trex deck build update to your inbox!)
* This post is sponsored by Trex who are collaborating with me on the transformation of my garden deck space by providing all materials and labour in exchange for promotional activity. Header Image credit: Trex
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As part of my Revamp Restyle Reveal Sitting Room plans, I wanted to get rid of an old display cabinet that was not making the most of the space and create what looked like bespoke bookcase shelving. I had long admired the many amazing Ikea Billy Bookcase hacks that are all over Pinterest, so being on a tiny budget and for the love of DIY, I set about making my own version!
Even though I have seen some amazing Billy Bookcase hacks online, I did not follow what anyone else had done in the past, deciding to work out how to build mine myself as I went along. The reason for this was that I only had a certain amount of wall space to work with and I already had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to look.
The wall width that I had to work with was 175cm and as the Billy Bookcase is 80cm wide, I knew I had space for two of the bookcases. I purchased two of the cheapest versions of the Billy available for £35 (in white, the wood-effect ones are more expensive) as I was going to prime and paint the bookcase in the same colour as the walls to make it look like it was built for the room, rather than the fact it was really two cheap flat-packs!
As the ceiling in this room is really high and I wanted to make the most of the wall space, I also purchased two of the 'Billy Height Extension Kits' to get in another level of shelving. The total cost at the Ikea checkout for what I required for this hack was £100.
At this point I knew the bookcase was definitely going to have two things - some wall lights down the centre of the bookcases and the back of the units wallpapered in a cracked-gold wallpaper design by Harlequin via Style Library. I set about building both of the Billy Bookcases (without height extensions at this point) up until the point where the shelving needed to be added in. So basically it was just the outer structure, middle strengthening shelf and the backing board.
When I placed one of the bookcase structures against my wall I could see that the base skirting on my wall was too high and the bookcase did not sit flush against it. To get over this I removed part of the skirting against the wall where the bookcase would meet, and cut out a bit of the back end of the Billy with a saw so the bookcase sat flush.
Once they sat against the wall nicely I needed to make sure they were in the perfect position to be secured into the wall with raw plugs and screws. I was going to be adding in these gorgeous plug-in wall lights by Spark & Bell so I secured in a piece of timber the width of the lights between the two bookcases going up to the position of where I wanted the bottom light to be placed. This timber would help secure the bookcases together, while also providing a base for the decorative moulding I was going to be adding on top. So, I now had my two basic Billy bookcase structures with the central timber, which I then secured to the wall for safety and as per the Billy Bookcase instructions. I then wallpapered the backing board of the shelving unit in Eglomise by Harlequin to give the bookcase a different look. Just a note here - I did try and wallpaper the boards before they were inserted into the bookcase but this was a disaster! The paper ripped when sliding in the board, so instead just paper once the back is on the bookcase.
I built the two height extensions units then papered them while they were on the floor for ease, then secured them on top of the Billy bookcases.
At this point I needed to make sure that the lights I was adding in the centre of the bookcase were threaded in before adding more timber in the centre going up to the top of the bookcase. The lights were made bespoke and I asked for a really long cable with the switch way down near the plug. Before screwing the bookcases to the wall I had threaded through an electrical extension bar so that the lights could be plugged in around the back of the bookcase. Where I had cut out the back of the Billy to sit against the skirting, I added in a piece of wood in an upright position to hide the cut marks and disguise the extension bar. I did this simply by using a mega-bond adhesive glue to hold the wood in place then caulking it:
The main structure of the bookcases were now built, wallpapered, and had a central timber bar down the middle with the lights threaded through. I added in the rest of the shelving and then it was time to 'pimp up' the bookcase to look detailed and bespoke. I did this by using a number of decorative mouldings and beading, all of which I purchased from Wickes DIY stores for about £2-£7 each. I used trim number one in the picture below at 2cm width for the edges of the bookcase at the front. I used the second 3cm ridged moulding down the central timber bar in the middle and along the bottom of the bookcases. The third, 1cm width-wide moulding I used to disguise multiple shelf holes down the inside of the Billy.
I simply measured the moulding to size, cut it with a handsaw, then stuck them on and around the bookcase with heavy duty mega-bond adhesive interior glue. I also used the moulding to cover any gaps between the wall and the bookcase so the bookcase looked like it was built into the wall and was not freestanding.
On the sides of the bookcase to give it more interest I cut to size thin MDF tongue and groove panels which actually come with a double sided heavy duty tape which you use to affix to your surface. I then used A LOT of decorators caulk with a gun to fill in all the seams and the gaps between the moulding joins and the bookcase, smoothing away excess caulk with my finger.
Just a quick note about the central lights. They were secured into the central timber and I glued moulding around the tiny hole that was left to feed through the cable. As the lights have a disk-like feature this hides the cable and the hole when looking at the bookcase face-on.
The Billy Bookcase has all these ugly tiny holes on the inside which gives you the option to choose your own shelf height. However, once I was certain on where I wanted my shelving I did not want these little holes on show. To get rid of these I cut more moulding to size with a handsaw and glued it over the top of the holes, caulking the edges.
Plain Billy image courtesy of Ikea.co.uk.
Making sure the wallpaper at the back and the light fittings were completely covered with protective cling-film, I then gave the whole thing 2 coats of Earthborn Paint Multi-Purpose Primer and then 3 coats of durable eggshell paint (this is 'Cats Cradle' eggshell by Earthborn). I left the shelves about 3 days for the eggshell to really harden before styling them up.
I was supplied the primer, paint and wallpaper by the sponsors of Revamp Restyle Reveal, but the moulding came in at about £75. The lights were £130 for the two. All-in-all this hack cost me under £300, which for the amount of storage I now have is a pretty good deal!
If you have any questions about my hack, or want to leave your feedback, let me know in the comments section below!
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Bank holiday weekends for me, like a lot of people, are all about DIY! The three-day period just gives that extra amount of time to complete any projects both inside and outside of the home. With the bank holiday weekend just gone having been dry, warm and sunny, I used this time to spruce up my outdoor balcony. It had been a few years since I had painted the deck boards in this space and they were looking weathered and bare. The metal railings had also peeled and cracked in the sun from summers gone-by. This summer, I wanted to bring an old wooden bench that had been left at the bottom of the garden up on the balcony as a colourful seating area, so I set about transforming the deck, railings and the bench using exterior paints by Sandtex and Sadolin.
This is now my new balcony space just off my living room! Doesn't it look so nice? It has been given a completely new lease of life and just feels so fresh, colourful and inviting. I cannot believe how well the bench in particular turned out compared to what it looked like to start with. So, this is what everything looked like before, and this is how I achieved the new look.....
This old wooden garden bench had been sitting at the bottom of our garden for a few years and was in a bad state. The paint was worn and the wood was exposed. However, it was structurally sound and just needed a bit of love! As well as being freshened up this bench needed to be protected from the elements so I chose to paint it in Sandtex 10 Year Exterior Satin. I wanted the bench to be a pretty garden shade so chose 'Gentle Blue' from Sandtex's exterior wood and metal paint satin collection. Unlike other garden wood paints, Sandtex also gives a really tough, hard-wearing and waterproof finish, which means I will not have to re-coat the bench every year.
Following the instructions on the back of the tin, I set about revamping the bench from a mouldy-mess to balcony ready!
I was so happy with the Sandtex exterior paint as it gave a really thorough coverage, which you can see in the photo above. It coated the weathered bench so well, removing any signs of impurities in the wood. The wood did not 'suck-up' the paint (which I have found in the past with other exterior wood paints) which means you can sometimes see cracks and knots in the planks. Instead, I had a smooth, seamless finish:
You need to leave 16 hours between coats, but I found that one coat was enough to give my bench a really good coverage so the next day I just touched up a few areas and left it another day to dry fully before moving it up onto my balcony. In the meantime I got started on the weathered deck boards using Sadolin 2 in 1 Decking Stain Protector in Teak. As well as giving my deck boards a nice deep colour, this 2 in 1 also protects and preserves the boards against foot-fall, UV rays from the sun and resists algae and mould growth.
Using a wire brush I dislodged any moss, dirt and peeling paint before brushing it away. I then wiped the boards clean from any loose particles and left it to dry fully before applying two generous coats of the Decking Stain & Protector.
The third and final job was to update the railings which were suffering from cracked paint and were growing green algae. Using my wire brush I really scrubbed at the old peeling paint until anything loose was removed. I give the railings a quick wipe down then applied two coats of Sandtex 10 Year Exterior Wood & Metal paint in black gloss. The transformation was instant as the gloss gave the railings a lovely sheen, restoring that 'metal look'.
So here is my balcony now! It looks as good as new and I love the look of the blue against the darker backdrop of the teak deck boards and black metal railings:
What do you think to my fresh new balcony look? I'm really pleased with what I achieved over the bank holiday weekend. I now have a lovely place to come and relax in the sunshine for the rest of the summer.
* This post is a paid collaboration with Sandtex & Sadolin who provided me with my chosen paints from their collection to complete my balcony revamp. However, all thoughts and opinions on the paints I used are completely my own. All DIY work for this post was, as usual, carried out by me so I could give a fully honest product review.
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It is no secret that grey has played a huge part in popular interior schemes for a good number of years now. Grey-painted walls have completely replaced cream or magnolia as the modern version of the go-to neutral in our homes. I for one am a huge grey fan (as you might have noticed, having recently painted my living room a very matt, clay-coloured grey). The most successful 'shades of grey' have ranged from very soft, grey-tinged whites, to deep, bold greys. The huge 'Downpipe-trend' peaked a couple of years ago, where everyone took the plunge to dark interiors using one of Farrow & Ball's now most popular shades.
This year we have seen a move towards using more colour in our homes. Bold jewel tones and a more 'maximalist' style have played a big part in key interior trends for 2018. While at Salone in Milan last month the key neutrals were very warm, beigey pink-tinged colours. So is grey over? Far from it, in fact. It is now all about using grey on the floor to compliment these new bolder colours or warmer neutrals.
Harlech Stormy Oak Engineered Flooring by Woodpecker Flooring. Image Credit: Woodpecker Flooring.
Grey or grey-tinged flooring provides the perfect base for a more vibrant decor scheme as it keeps that balance and tones down an eclectic interior from being too crazy. As a neutral, it compliments a range of colours rather than clashing with them. Grey flooring would keep a room light and fresh, rather than deep-coloured floors which become the main focus of a room and feel heavy. A deep walnut floor demands all attention and needs to be balanced out with bright white walls. Instead, a grey floor lets other parts of the room do the talking. Traditional Oak or 'oak-style' floors often have a slight tinge of yellow or orange in the base-colour, which would dictate choosing the rest of the room scheme carefully so nothing clashes. With a grey floor, you are much more open and free to build on the neutral base.
Woodpecker sell a vast range of grey flooring in solid wood, engineered wood (which is compatible with underfloor heating, unlike solid wood) and more budget-friendly laminate. If a completely grey floor does not appeal, then there are a number of shades with an underlying use of grey within more traditional wood colouring. Using some samples of Woodpecker's grey flooring, I have created three decor schemes that I think would work perfectly with a grey floor.
The trend of combining blush pinks and gold metallics can be executed in a very feminine way; while this colour combination is also very popular in the luxe, upmarket interiors seen in magazines such as Elle Decor. Grey flooring works with this scheme impeccably as pink/gold/grey are just the perfect colour combination. This mood board was created with York Grey Washed Oak from Woodpecker , which is a very light, ash-coloured solid wood featuring strips of grey going through the length of the floorboard. This scheme would work well if creating a pretty but modern bedroom or living area at home.
York Grey Washed Oak by Woodpecker Flooring. Image Credit: Woodpecker Flooring.
More and more I see people move away from traditional kitchens to something much more exciting (and more cost-effective). Kitchens made from ply-wood with melamine coatings in bright oranges and teals, kitchens with flat-pack units but 'pimped' with bespoke doors, kitchens with metal-sheet splashbacks or using bold tiles. The total antithesis to the 'English country-kitchen', these kitchens make a total statement with bold colours and a retro-edge. To keep this scheme cohesive and from being too 'in your face' or clashing, a neutral floor is required. Woodpecker's Salcombe Moonbeam Oak engineered flooring , as seen in the mood board above, is perfect to use with this new, modern kitchen style as it is a soft, washed grey that works perfectly with confident, bold shades.
Salcombe Moonbeam Oak Engineered Floor by Woodpecker Flooring. Image Credit: Woodpecker Flooring.
If you want a more natural decor scheme and want to use wood as a key feature in other parts of the room - such as for planter boxes filled with house plants erected on the wall, or even a 'wood wall' (did you see Katty from One Four Six's wood wall in her Revamp Restyle Reveal room??) then you do not want your room to be overloaded. Woodpecker's Berkeley Grey Oak is a genuine oak floor without the standard oak-orange tinge. Along with the engineered Goodrich Feather Oak, this shade is one of the lightest grey floor options available from Woodpecker. Team with grey-based whites and creams, plus natural, earthy features and textures to create a organic bathroom or kitchen/diner.
Goodrich Feather Oak Engineered Floor by Woodpecker Flooring. Image Credit: Woodpecker Flooring.
Woodpecker Flooring are currently running a fantastic competition giving you the chance to win up to 2k in Woodpecker Flooring (*note: it doesn't have to be in grey!). To enter all you need to do is head on over to your favourite social media channel and post a picture of a special memory that you have had either at home or in the glorious British countryside, tagging in @wearewoodpecker @woodpeckerfloors and using the hashtag #woodpeckermemories. The winner will be announced on the 31st July 2018. Head on over to Making Memories for more information.
This is my #woodpeckermemories entry - carrying my sleepy son on a warm evening in Epping Forest:
* This post is a paid collaboration with Woodpecker Flooring. However, all thoughts, opinions, mood board creations and design advice are completely my own. Thank you to Woodpecker Flooring for choosing collaborate with me.
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Sometimes there are interior and home products that I see that make me elated and go "YES! That is RIGHT UP MY STREET!!" A visit to the the Kohler Experience Centre today on my tour of Clerkenwell Design Week 2018 made me do just that. In the week where London celebrates the best of horticulture with the Chelsea Flower Show, alongside the best in architecture and design with CDW, it was the perfect time for Kohler to unveil in the UK their new collection of Dutchmaster sinks. Big, bold, dramatic florals on a dark and moody background cover the entire surface of the washbasins, with two separate designs that come as a circular or rectangular model.
Top: Midnight Floral Dutchmaster, bottom: Blush Floral Dutchmaster, both Kohler for West One Bathrooms. Image credit: Kohler for West One Bathrooms
Reminding me of the beloved Ellie Cashman wallpaper that I have lusted after for years (but could never afford!) Dutchmaster is named after the painterly style that inspired the sinks pattern. 'Blush Floral', my personal favourite out of the two designs available, features popular English country garden flowers such as Peonies, Dahlias, Ranunculus and hydrangeas with a Painted Lady butterfly delicately perched on a stem.
Image credit: Kohler for West One Bathrooms
'Midnight Floral' has purple hues and is decorated with Helleborus, Fritillaries, Ranunculus and sweet-peas, topped with a blue butterfly. You can see both designs in an exclusive, fantastic display in the Kohler for West One Bathrooms showroom in Clerkenwell where they are mounted upon a huge bed of faux flowers, celebrating the design itself as part of Clerkenwell Design Week, as well as a nod to Chelsea the other side of the city.
The Dutchmaster vessel basin is part of a year long design theme for Kohler where they are exploring and celebrating the spectrum of modernist, from minimalism to maximalism (simple and clean to complex and dramatic). Of course Dutchmaster falls into the maximalist category, which is why I love it so. When using such key statement pieces in your home, keep that piece the focus by making sure everything else a lot more simple. I would host a Dutchmaster basin on a contrasting coloured countertop, so the dark really stood out and it did not blend into what it was being hosted on. I would also pick one or two of the colourways found in the Dutchmaster to use on the walls. For 'Blush Floral' I would use a soft sage or a pale pink which can be found in the flowers, as per the mood board below.
'Blush Floral' Dutchmaster sink and Purist Wall Mount Bridge Tap, both Kohler for West One Bathrooms.
So while the huge floral display and Dutchmaster sinks lured me into Kohler at West One Bathrooms on the Clerkenwell Design Week trail, there were plenty other new product launches inside that had me lusting after more/bigger bathrooms at home so I could fill them with delights such as....the Ombre tap!! Yep that's right, we all know the struggle between choosing gold/rose gold/copper/chrome is real, so how about an ombre-effect that goes from rose gold to polished nickel (or vice-versa - Kohler can do both!)
Ombre has been huge in interiors from dinnerware to wallpaper, but to have it on taps is genius. The Ombre Finish range is part of a new 'Components' collection and has only been viewed at Milan Design week before. Ombre Finish is being officially launched at the end of the year, so make sure you visit the Kohler Experience Centre this week as part of CDW to see the design on display in the showroom.
However, if you love the look of the new Components collection then it is available now to purchase in chrome and very on-trend and sleek black. Minimal but chic, Components is very industrial in style with cog-like hot and cold levers.
Top & bottom image credit: Kohler for West One Bathrooms
My preference within the Components collection were the tap levers that resembled the sort of knobs you'd find on guitar amps and other musical equipment. I found it a very masculine range, one that would ooze 'cool' within a contemporary kitchen or bathroom.
Top image credit: Kohler for West One Bathrooms
What I find makes Kohler so special is that all the products are just 'that bit different'. Take the new 'Veil Lighted Suite' basin below as an example - it is a beautiful clean, white, no-frills basin, yet the shape with one side slightly arching over the other, and the base rim lit up with soft lighting, just sets it apart from a classic white sink.
The Veil Lighted Suite is made up of a sink, cabinet, base unit, mirror, wall-hung toilet and bath which all feature rimmed lighting that comes on with a single touch. Choose from ambient lighting to warm or cool shades to match your mood.
Veil Lighted Suite is not available for purchase until the end of the year, although you can purchase this design now with no lighting (but why would you want to do that when you can get LIGHTS!)
The Dutchmaster, Components and Veil Lighted Suite ranges are all exclusive to Kohler for West One Bathrooms and are on display in the showroom, 44-48 Clerkenwell Road, London, all week as part of Clerkenwell Design Week. As well the new ranges, Kohler has a focus on sustainability this CDW and is looking at the every day waste from its product manufacturing streams and turning it into something beautiful as part of its WasteLab initiative. Visitors to the showroom from the 24th May can see early prototypes from this project – a line of ceramic tiles for Kohler’s Ann Sacks brand which use pottery cull, iron slag and leftover glazes.
If you are not able to visit Kohler during Clerkenwell Design Week, then be sure to get a heavy dose of kitchen and bathroom inspiration from its Instagram and Pinterest pages. Theme and trend-led, Kohler is currently looking at 'moody kitchen design' on Insta.
* This post is a paid collaboration with Kohler as part of raising awareness for CDW. However, as usual all thoughts, opinions and a deep love of floral sinks are my own.
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Lately I have really noticed a shift towards people wanting to live much more ethically within their own home. Showers and white goods that save water have been around for a good while now, while the introduction of new technology has meant that we can get much more of a grip on how much energy we are using (and money we are spending). However, things seem to be taking a bigger step towards purchasing homeware products that are re-usable, recyclable and cruelty-free. Last month at the Ideal Home Exhibition interior designer extraordinaires 2LG created a 'love/work' space that encompassed the use of vegan leather and worktops made of recycled yogurt pots. The result was impeccably sexy and stylish, a million miles away from what could be considered by some as a 'hippy-chic home'.
As someone who wholly supports this move to better sustainability, yet still demands that products remain of great quality and style, I was intrigued when Debenhams asked me if I wanted to review one of the new products that they are selling - the Eco Duvet produced by The Fine Bedding Company. I was informed that the duvet was made from 100% recycled materials (there was to be around 120 plastic bottles making up the micro fine filling of my 10.5 tog duvet.) The packaging is also made from completely 100% recycled materials, which pleased me no end as I take delivery of multiple furniture and homeware products all the time that come wrapped in a ton of bubble-wrap and polystyrene and it makes me feel extremely guilty.
True to their word the duvet arrived in a cardboard box, then was protected with a recyclable bag which was also made from recycled materials. This was great, but I have to admit I was sceptical on the duvet. How on earth can you have a nice warm, soft, breathable duvet that is made from plastic bottles? It made no sense. You wouldn't believe it, but the Eco Duvet in reality did not stand out as different at all. In fact, it felt rather luxurious. I expected it to feel a bit rough, a bit woolly, lumpy in places perhaps? The word 'eco-duvet' bringing to mind ideas of rough synthetic grey coloured fibres heavily compressed together in a scratchy outer lining. This couldn't be further from the light, soft-to-touch duvet that I dressed my bed in. I have no idea how they do it at all, but according to the side of the box the very tiny recycled fibres are layered on top of each other to create the 'weightless warmth'.
The creators of this Eco Duvet are not new on the scene to making duvets, which is probably why this design works so well. The Fine Bedding Company, a fourth-generation British business who wholly admit to investing millions into the technology side, would be well aware of what makes a great duvet. I would also imagine that they would not make a product that would damage the rest of their brand. It's no wonder that Debenhams, one of the UK's high street leaders, are stocking the Eco Duvet which meets peoples requirements for more sustainable living, while not lacking on quality and durability.
The Eco Duvet comes as a single, double, king and super king and is hypoallergenic. If the fact the duvet is made from 100% recycled materials with 100% recyclable packaging isn't enough, then how about learning that the duvet is even made in a Eco factory using renewable energy, and you can wash it at 30 degrees?
I've used the Eco-Duvet now for a good few weeks and it is lovely to sleep in. It's light without feeling 'thin'. It is amazing to think I am actually sleeping under 120 plastic bottles!!
* This post is a paid collaboration with Debenhams who asked if I would like to try out the Eco-Duvet in exchange for an honest review. I would never put products in my home (let alone sleep in them!) if I did not think they were of good quality, nor try and convince you otherwise. This post also contains affiliate links.
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I am so excited to reveal today a HUGE project that I have been working on for the past 4 weeks - my living room transformation! I was delighted to be asked to take part in Revamp Restyle Reveal again for the second year, where 10 UK interior bloggers undertake the 4 week challenge of re-doing a room in their home with the help of some fantastic brand sponsors. The challenge of course is not an easy one - Revamp Reveal Reveal has a very DIY ethos, so hiring in tradesmen to do the hard work is not an option! This year I chose to revamp my living room. I have never decorated this room as I have really struggled with just how it should look. It was still painted in the same colour chosen by the previous owners (magnolia, which I hated) and it was filled with furniture from our old house that was never purchased for this space:
As you can see the wall colour was quite bland and the walls just felt 'boring'. I had added in some wallpaper on the arch wall which I loved, but felt wallpaper on all walls would be a bit overkill. The furniture mostly came from our old house and the key piece - the armchair by the window - was bought second hand when we moved in just because we needed an extra chair. I never really liked the colour and against the magnolia everything appeared so washed out. The light fitting and mirror felt dated and didn't match the more contemporary style that I had decorated the adjoining TV snug room in. An old display cabinet was placed by the back wall, but there was dead space all around it and the room desperately required more storage.
This room is probably the best room in the house with the log burner and large window, but it was just not living up to its potential. Instead, I wanted to create a grown-up, boutique hotel lounge space - somewhere I could relax, read and listen to music in front of the fire. The room needed to complement the adjoining space, and I needed to make everything more visually appealing. Storage was an issue so this needed to be addressed inexpensively.
So, if you haven't scrolled down already....here is the BIG REVEAL!
The first big DIY project that I undertook was to add panelling on all walls. I was only going to do it above the fireplace and in the alcove where there were no shelves, but once I started and saw just how good it looked I ended up putting it everywhere! I cut decorative moulding to size using a saw and a mitre box and glued it to the wall. I then painted the walls, fireplace and the skirting in 'Cats Cradle' Claypaint by Earthborn Paints, which is a very clean, very matt soft grey.
The grey compliments the blue of the adjoining room, while working perfectly with the blue and gold accents that I wanted to add in via the furniture and accessories.
I swapped out the old second-hand armchair in the washed out fabric for this snazzy new blue velvet number from RRR sponsor Maisons Du Monde. This is the Sao Paulo armchair in the blue colourway. I love the shape of this cocktail chair, while the colour draws your eye as soon as you enter the room. I also replaced the DIY birdcage light for this modern white, gold and marble floor lamp , also from Maisons Du Monde, which works perfectly alongside the blue armchair.
I have added in LOADS of storage to this room. I replaced the ineffective display cabinet with a DIY bookcase that is actually two cheap flat-pack bookcases hacked to look a lot more bespoke. I used the basic bookcase structures, then built on and around them with decorative moulding and MDF tongue & groove. I added in lighting between the bookcases and primed them with Earthborn Paints Multi-Purpose Primer , then gave them a few coats of eggshell in the same colour as the walls so the bookcase 'washed in' to the room and didn't overly feel imposing, even though it is so large. The best thing I did to this bookcase was to line the back of the shelves with some beautiful Harlequin wallpaper from Style Library. This wallpaper - 'Eglomise' in a metallic gold colourway - adds another dimension to the room. It creates a lot more visual interest than if I just left the whole shelf unit one colour. The gold in the paper is reminiscent of gold leaf and it has a very delicate 'antique-like' effect.
The bookcase now contains all my vinyl, which is lucky as RRR headline sponsor AO.com gifted me this Crosley portable record player for the room! I love this portable player as it is compact and I can use it all around the house, whatever room I am in.
For unsightly items to be stored on this bookcase, I chose some navy storage boxes with leather handles from Sainsburys Home to keep safe items and trinkets. I'm going to be doing a dedicated blog post on this bookcase hack and the styling of it in a couple of weeks so if you are interested in just how I did it, stay tuned for that one!
The second piece of storage I added was this slimline wall-mounted cabinet from sponsor Soak.com. Again, this area behind the door was another dead space area. I had looked into slim line bookcases for it before, but due to the placement of the thermostat and alarm monitor the standard 60cm bookcases had been too wide. This cabinet from Soak.com (generally intended to be a bathroom cabinet) has a perfect 40cm width, and now there is a dedicated space to store general everyday items that used to be just left around the room such as letters, packets of wet-wipes and take-away menus!
I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am with the David Hunt Lighting Hyde 12 Light Pendant that has gone up in this room. As soon as this went up everything in the room just pulled together to give me that boutique hotel look I was after. Made from real brass, the light just oozes luxury. I also love how it is reflected in the new, more contemporary circular mirror over the fireplace:
As well as the new lighting and furniture I chose some simply stunning accessories from some of the very generous sponsors for Revamp Restyle Reveal. Christy Home supplied me with two of these very gorgeous Penzance Ink cushions. I put one on each chair either side of the fireplace so even though the chairs are different, they are more cohesive featuring the same cushion. I also go this very soft yet chunky Oslo Charcoal Throw which drapes perfectly on the edge of armchairs, adding some much-required layering to the room.
Once upon a time in a relaxing period called BC (that's 'Before Children') myself and my husband used to take one luxury holiday a year, and we always chose to go somewhere in Asia. We absolutely loved the culture, food and the design, with it being so different to what we were familiar with in the West. Everything were more delicate, more detailed, playful and so well thought-out. Therefore, when modern Asian lifestyle brand Zens contacted me to see if I wanted to pick out a couple of their products to review, I jumped at the chance to style a couple of their contemporary, yet oh-so pretty vases within their Home Decor range.
Zens was first set up in 2009 as an interior lifestyle brand with the aim to create simple yet innovative, quality products for everyday use. They currently have a small number of designers creating tea and dinnerware, home decor, furniture and lighting for the brand, including UK designer Michael Young, founder of the Michael Young Studio. However, the product that I was instantly drawn to from the Zens website was the Chirp Series, a selection of tiny single bud vases in pretty pastel colours that stand on a simple metal cross stand, designed by Oki Sato, founder of the world-renowned design studio Nendo.
The inspiration behind the Chirp Series are birds sitting on a telephone line, which you can instantly recognise within the design, although it is far removed enough to not be obvious. There is a choice of four flower stands and two vase shapes in a range of matt colours. I chose the single flower stand with the short single flower vase (as opposed to the tall, which is a longer thinner version).
If you choose one of the larger flower stands you can mix and match the two vase shapes in a range of the colours. You simply choose where to slip the vase onto the stand crossbar, then you can fill the vases with flowers, trinkets, jewellery or stationary items. The base is heavy and sturdy for its small frame, a nod to astute design of the product; while the vases are pretty but retain interest due to their compelling, voguish shape. The product is just so different to anything you'd see on the UK high street. Even in the popular Scandi design stores, which offer a swathe of howeware items in desirable colours and shapes, you would not find something like the Chirp Series which has all the markings of Eastern influence.
The second product that I selected from Zens is the strikingly individual Rock Blossom Vase. This moon-like porcelain vase is super slimline, making it perfect to have a casual display of flowers on a small surface area such as a bedside table.
I love how the porcelain is smoothed to a stone-like effect, with tiny little black dots added in for detail. The flowers seemly appear to grow out of the circular stone as you cannot see the stems, water nor the neck of the vase. The design has a small compact hidden opening at the back which makes the flowers stand to attention as the stems are supported by the opening being tall yet compressed.
Like the Chrip Series, the design is skillful as the weighted bottom means that the slimline design does not topple, even when filled with top-heavy flowers such as these Alliums and English Roses . The Rock Blossom Vase comes in three sizes, with this vase being the smallest at 26cm wide.
I absolutely love this vase and have moved it to multiple areas of my home since owning it. It is perfect on a very small shelf and works especially well on a picture ledge. I love how I can push it right against a wall and it completely saves on space, yet the round moon-like appearance when looking at the vase face-on means that it does not fade into the background.
What do think to my two selections from interior lifestyle brand Zens? Aren't they just so original and alluring? I am delighted with them. Zens ship to the UK in 3-5 business days at standard postage rate. To see more of what they have to offer then head on over to the Zens website.
* This post is a paid collaboration with Zens. However, I hand-picked the products featured in this post and all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. I would thank to thank Zens for working with me and sending me two pieces from their amazing collection to review.
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