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Anyone else need to keep every gin (or other spirit) bottle as they are just far too beautiful to throw away & they’re way too easy to upcycle? I keep them all & sometimes keep wine bottles too if they’re a good shape. Bottles are such a versatile item to upcycle, they can easily be made into lamps, vases or my personal favourite…candlesticks!

You can imagine my excitement when I was gifted this beautiful ceramic bottle of gin from Norfolk Gin back in December. The bottle is handcrafted by the iconic pottery brand Wade and has a look & feel of a traditional ale bottle from the past (funnily enough I collect them too!). Norfolk gin challenged me to upcycle the bottle and style it into my home when I’d finished enjoying their fabulous tipple! I contemplated chopping the top off to create a cylinder vase but couldn’t bring myself to do it, so here is the latest addition to my bottle candle holder collection, oh and I couldn’t ignore that green colour pop cork stopper could I?

N.B – This post is written in collaboration with Norfolk Gin.

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Before Christmas Valspar paint challenged me to upcycle a piece of furniture using their standard wall emulsion and their primer. I was sceptical of the durability of using wall paint on a piece of furniture that was going to be getting a lot of wear and tear but went with it as if it worked (which it did, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post!) it means that we can use up all of those unfinished paint tubs lurking in the garage/under the utility room sink. I’ve put together this little upcycling guide to show you how easy it was to change up the look of a piece of furniture and 2 months on after a Christmas of plenty of use is still looks great!

  • Firstly you need to make sure the item is completely clean and smooth. I was lucky as we’d previously had the church pew stripped professionally, this is worth considering doing if you’ve a large item of furniture that has been varnished or painted many times over the years. For smaller items or items that haven’t been painted too heavily a light sand down should do the trick. Next wipe the piece of furniture down with a clean cloth and some soapy water. Make sure the wood is completely dry before moving on to step two. Paint a coat of primer or undercoat all over the item of furniture and leave to dry fully. If, like me you’re trying to get a cool, matt finish on a warm, orange toned item then it’s worth purchasing a primer in the colour tones specific to the end result you’re trying to create. I used a Valspar primer that was mixed specifically for the paint choice I’d gone for but I’ve also used Farrow and Ball primer on past projects and that works beautifully too.
  • Once the primer has dried you’re ready to get the colour on the piece of furniture. Paint in thin coats to get a professional finish and let each coat dry completely before adding the next. When painting on top of a primer you should generally only need two coats, a third maybe necessary for particularly bright, vibrant colours. As I wanted the pew to fit in with the calm, monochrome look of our dining area I chose a dramatic, almost black shade of grey, this was also by Valspar and the colour is named Downing Street.
  • Depending on the finish required there are a few different options for the final step. I wanted a solid, matt look so chose to leave the pew unvarnished or waxed and since it was painted at the end of November it hasn’t chipped or scuffed at all, despite being used lots over Christmas and being positioned right in front of a radiator which has been in full use. If you wanted an extra layer of protection a light varnish or wax would do the trick. Alternatively, for a more worn, rustic look you could rub down some areas with light sandpaper to look aged and finish with a wax over the top.

What upcycling projects have you been working on currently? I’d love to see!

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N.B: This post was a collaboration with Valspar paint. All words/opinions are my own.

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I think it would be fair to say that we have all been enjoying the British summer over the last few months, right? Dining outdoors is a huge part of outdoor living here at LMH, impromptu BBQs and drinks in the garden are one of the things I’ll always remember from summer 2018. In the hope that we still have another couple of months left to embrace alfresco dining I decided to give our outdoor dining area a little revamp, it was looking a little tired in comparison to the other areas of the garden that were given a makeover last year.

We already had the cable reel dining table (which I love!) but it was looking a little too rustic after the long winter so I decided to give it a freshen up with the leftover Cuprinol black paint that I’d used for the fence in our outdoor living area this has made the two spaces flow much better. To finish the table I fitted a reclaimed terracotta pot and a pair of glass tea light holders (recycled from the mini desserts sold at Aldi) into the holes in the centre of the table giving them a new purpose.

I wanted some stylish tableware to complete the look but didn’t want to go down the plastic route. The new Studio Blue collection from Denby was the perfect, laid back choice for both indoor and outdoor dining, it’s durable because what isn’t that Denby make and the design compliments the rest of my dinnerware so will mix in perfectly when we have guests. The handcrafted bowls and plates look striking against the newly upcycled dining table and match our Ferm Living napkins…bonus! How cute is the little cork stopper on our oil bottle?

For the table and my new tablewares first run I served up a casual summer lunch of  salads that looks so appetising in the Studio Blue serving bowls. I made a salmon, jersey royal and rocket salad & a med veg cous cous bowl with feta, the matching ramekins were perfect for olives and tomatoes (and they’ll be equally as perfect for individual chocolate puddings come winter!).

To complete the space I freshened up the pallet wood & tin wall planters with some new bedding plants that I’m really hoping I manage to look after through to autumn.

How have you livened up your alfresco dining over the last few weeks?

NB – This post was written in collaboration with Denby pottery, as always I would never work with a brand unless I loved the product! If you love Denby as much as I do then check out their sister company Burleigh who have launched some new colours of their famous Calico mug to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

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Just over a month ago we began decorating our downstairs WC, we wanted it to compliment the master bathroom which we revamped last year. The moodboard for the room, incase you didn’t catch the previous blog post was neutral with some copper, industrial touches.

The first thing we did was paint the previously dark walls in Dry Barley by Paint by Conran (the same colour as the family bathroom upstairs) and to paint the skirting boards a clean, fresh white. Once that was done we could get the room styled. I chose to buy the same mirror as the one in the master bathroom, mainly to add to the feeling of cohesion around the house but also as it is such a bargain!

To add a little more interest to the wall where the washbasin is I added a little hanging reclaimed wood shelf. The shelf is made by WhippetUp Design on Etsy & can be personalised with anything you can think up, I went for the feel good factor for both me and any guests that use the loo.

Upon the shelf sits this very cool upcycled Hendricks bottle soap dispenser by House of Funky Junk on Etsy and a little recycled wine bottle bud vase. I felt a little colour injection was needed in the space & this deep blue works perfectly with the copper and grey.

The copper pipe towel rail and toilet roll holder add a clean, industrial vibe to the room…I didn’t think I could love a loo roll holder more than my vintage, musical one but the talented people at QuirkHub have won me over completely. And it’s not just because they’re a Yorkshire based business…honest!

To finish the rail off I added a white hammam style hand towel from La Redoute.

The final touches to the room as some decoration on the walls. I added this grey Arne Jacobsen chair print as a playful addition above the loo & because the grey perfectly harmonised with the grey walls, framed in copper to match the other accessories. Finally I added a cheeky little copper cinema board that I picked up in Home Bargains to complete the room.

I’m really happy with the end result, it’s a much calmer space that fits in with the decor around the rest of the house perfectly. What do you think of the room? Prefer the dark before or light after?

I was kindly gifted some of the items used in this post & the companies who gifted them have offered readers some discounts codes to use across their stores

QuirkHub are giving LMH readers 15% discount when you follow the link here.

Whippet Up are offering 10% discount with code LMH10 until the end of July.

House of Funky Junk are offering free delivery storewide with code LITTLEMILLHOUSE.

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