New Sink Splashback Tiles from Bert and May

Four grey and white tiles

Our new tiles have arrived!  I’ve been in search of some small tiles for the sink in our utility room for ages, but strugged to find any interesting tiles that are smaller than the standard 20 x 20cm.

Luckily I came across Bert and May, a London supplier of handmade and reclaimed tiles, who have a fantastic selection of glazed tiles in 13 x 13cm size.  These are the grey and white ‘Churriana’ Tile, which also come in black, pink, blue and green.

We’ve just bought a handful to form an interesting splashback feature for our sink, but they also look stunning as a feature wall (if you have the budget!).

They’re not up yet, but we’ll keep you posted on the final result, as well as the progress on my (miniscule) kitchen tart-up.

glazed-churriana-tiles

 

 

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Lost in a Scandinavian Forest

At this moment, if I could be anywhere I’d ask to be transported to the Swedish countryside. Perhaps Småland or Södermanland but I’d definitely be staying in a little red cabin (faluröda hus) positioned by a lake and surrounded by trees. Right now the forests are a lush green colour, so green they’re almost blue and the trees tower above you, giant and cartoon-like, shooting upwards like a fletching at the tail of an arrow…

…I’m not sure I can delve any further into this fantasy without risking severe ‘iwantaholiday-itus’. Instead I will share with you my favourite Scandinavian forest inspired accessories which will help to bring a touch of this picture perfect scene into your home.

Scandinavian Forest Accessories

 

1. Hansel and Gretel nursery print £25.00 , 2. Moomin Green Garden Mug £14.95, 3. Green Finnish Tree Fabric  £24.95/m, 4. Green Moorland Cushion £28.00, 5. Talking tree hexagon pot stand $31, 6. Gran Tray €43, 7. Big Matches $8, 8. The Fir Tree £8.99, 9. House in the Forest $219, 1o. Bear of Few Words Print, £10

 

 

 

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My New Front Door: The Sun is Shining in Manchester!

Liz's new front door

At the time of writing this post our front door has been living with us for less than a week and I feel like a new Mother. I’m currently sat on the steps as I type, and every so often I keep glancing beyond the laptop to have a look at the beautiful new addition to our home. I mean look at my face – could I be any happier?

The yellow may be considered a brave choice but coupled with a classic door, it’s a simple but tasteful way of bringing a Victorian Terrace bang up to date. A contemporary twist on a Victorian original. Think Charles Dickens styled by Anna Piagi…

 

Lizs-door-before-and-after

Light now pours through the etched panes, brightening up our narrow hallway. The door is yellow on the inside too. Think of it as a feature wall – not as a necessity that needs to be hidden.

The door itself was lovingly crafted by Chris Waldron from The Grand Victorian Door Company. He’s a real nice guy and has this front door lark down to a fine artform. He even put up with my pernickety Graphic Designer requests when it came to selecting a typeface for the fanlight.

As for door furniture, I delight in telling people that we opted for a doctors knocker and a mushroom knob (*snicker*). I guess the colour is loud enough, so we wanted to keep the accessories as simple. Who knew that brass and yellow could be such good friends?

Liz-door-detail

 

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A Snoop Around Our Favourite Rooms

Have you seen the Habitat Voyeur ad?  It’s a touch racy, but we’re loving all the sumptuous red and copper 70’s style, and envying the very hip pads of the creative folk featured on the site (and coveting their outfits).

Peeking into our houses isn’t quite as thrill inducing, but everyone enjoys a nosey now and then (and some people make a full time hobby of it), so here’s a little tour of our own habitats, and our respective picks from the Habitat collection…

Kath's-place

Kath's-house-dining

My art wall is mainly sourced from Etsy, but I found these two little weird creatures in a wall in Barcelona (they have friends in Liz’s house). The milk bottle is from my grandad’s farm and makes a perfect specimin vase for the flowers I accidentally break in my garden (I’m more clumsy-fingered than green-fingered).

Kath's-house-mantle

Now that my garden is taking shape, I try to make use of the free outisde flower supply when I can – this blossom on the living room mantle is from our quince tree.

Kath's-house-dresser

I love ceramics and vintage curios, so I’m forever rearranging the bits and pieces on this dresser. I was going to replace the images in the photoframes, but I’ve become rather attached to the stern looking chap and the winsome ladies.

Kath's-house-shoes

I have a soft spot for antique mahogany furniture – I love the warm tones of the wood, and the shoe ladder was my inspired idea to make efficient use of space in my bedroom (I’ve colonised 80% of it so far…)

Kath's-house-globe

The globe lives in our spare room, so our visitors can plot their travels. Our desk is framed by washing lines of art postcards – I pick them up every time I visit a gallery. I affixed them with some twine and mini pegs so I can switch them out whenever I want to change the view.

Kath's-habitat-picks

1. Mickey Natural – Rattan dining chair £60   2. Peeta – white metal and wood desk lamp £28   3. Hop – grey hare patterend cushion £12   4. Trunk – small grey metal storage trunk £35   5. Flap – small analogue wall clock £60   6. Marne – small yellow jug £5  7. Marteau – copper coated brass ceiling light £150

Liz's-pad

Liz's-house-study

My room. My stuff. I love my office. The shelving and wireframe storage mean everything is lifted off the desk, giving me more space to work – or to make a mess…

Liz's-house-sweden

I’m obsessed with Sweden and here lies my shrine. Dalahest (Dala Horse) is my fave, rescued from Stockholms Stadsmission. Clearly he’s had a tough life but it was his broken nose that appealed to me.

Liz's-house-objetcs

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’ — William Morris.

I have a lot of random objects in my house, and quite a few are animal themed. They’re not in any way useful but I, at least, believe them to be beautiful.

Liz's-house-bathroom

The smallest room in the house – my bathroom. Note the animal detail continues…

Liz's-habitat-picks

1. Ginnie – orange office chair £70  2. Tommy – yellow metal desk lamp £18  3. Sushi – cat patterned cushion £12  4. Pollo – grey metal wire chicken object £25  5. Durrie – red/white patterned floor cushion £95  6. Durdle – blue patterned small vase £18  7. Hatch Yellow – metal yellow bin £20

 

This post was created in collaboration with Habitat

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Apple Crate Side Table

Say hello to the newest addition to our dining room!

In its previous life it was a pre-war apple crate, but with a bit of TLC it’s been re-purposed into a  2-4-1 piece of furniture, providing us with a new side table for our settle as well as some overflow storage for my (allegedly excessive) recipe book collection.

I picked it up on eBay for a bargainous £16.95  including UK postage.  They are sold pretty rough and ready, so they aren’t washed or sanded and they show a bit of wear and tear, but it doesn’t take much effort to get them looking pretty.

I gave this one a light sand down  – enough to knock off the roughest edges, but not so much that it sanded away the original branding, or the rustic look and feel.  Originally I was going to wax it, and I did use a clear Briwax on the inside (worked in with some wire wool), but I switched up to a couple of coats of clear varnish on the outside to give more protection from water marks and to seal some of the remaining rough, splintery bits.

All in all it was about £20 and an hour or so’s labour to give this crate a second lease of life (and in a cider lover’s home – very fitting!)

 

p.s. if you don’t fancy the hassle of prepping them yourself, you can also pick some up here from Baileys Store where they pre-scrub them for you.

 

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Art Purchase: A Fantastical Street Scene by Stuart Hirst

When it comes to interior accessories I have a definite preference for bold colour, geometric patterns and I’m always attracted to furniture with clean, simple lines. My choice of rug for the hallway and my bathroom tiles are just two examples of this, it probably also explains my obsession with Scandinavian design too.

However, my taste in art doesn’t abide by the same rules. And my favourite piece, a print by Bradford artist Stuart Hirst, is a good example of this.

stuart hirst upper fanny street

It’s belongs to Hirst’s ‘Street Life’ collection, a series of fantastical depictions of life above ground level and behind lace curtains. I absolutely adore it – everytime you glance something different pops out. A couple getting amorous behind a half closed curtain, a family of Sikhs, a rabbit in the window or the claret and amber colour of the awning belonging to the shop below (one for you Bradford City fans). I know the exact reason of it’s appeal too – it satisfies my nosy neighbour tendencies….

This partcicular piece is titled ‘Upper Fanny Street’ which, come on admit it, is a name that makes even the most grown-up of us snigger. But for those of us who are familiar with Saltaire (the place I’d guess this is loosely set) it will perhaps resonate a little more. My Grandma (Holland) used to live in Saltaire, number 44 Mary Street to be precise and further along there is an Upper Mary Street. There is also a Fanny Street, but whether it was foresight or luck there is no Upper Fanny Street. Until now that is.

Now it hangs comfortably above my armchair in the living room. And all the better for not conforming to my typically graphic tastes.

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Hello Sailor! Nautical Bathroom Style On The High Street

Buying your first home is an expensive business.  And by the time you’ve done the essential DIY stuff, there’s not usually much left in the piggy bank for splurging on accessories.

That’s where the high street comes in:  Liz and I are thrifty Yorkshire lasses at heart so we regularly hit up high street stores for home decor stylings.   There are some real finds out there if you stick to clean, simple, classic design, and when Homebase asked us to take a look at their bathroom accessories, we found some bargainous items that happen to look right at home in Liz’s recent blue and white bathroom makeover.

Check out our picks below, or head over to their site to have a gander at the other bathroom accessories in their range.A selection of items from Homebase's bathroom accessory range.

1. Living Extendable Shaving Mirror – Chrome £7.99 2. Nautical Accessories – Dispenser £7.99 3.Ombre Ceramic Tumbler £7.99  4. Fisherman Metal Pendant Light £60  5. Eden Soap Dish £6.99 6. White Decorative Fish £2.99 7. Sesamee 5L Metal Bathroom Bin £10 8. Blue and White Laundry Box £19.99  9. Heart of House 6 Piece Towel Bale Set – Blue and White £29.99 10. Eden Toilet Brush £15.99 11. Mesh Wooden Bath Mat £30

This post was created in collaboration with Homebase

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Can’t Find A Low Bedside Table?

milking stool bedside table

I’ve recently redecorated my spare room. And although it’s not quite ready for ‘before and after’ pictures just yet (it’s still lacking in furniture), I thought I’d share my ingenious bedside table discovery.

It’s tricky to find a bedside table to go alongside a futon bed. It’s so low; you don’t want your guests having to awkwardly reach up from bed to set down their book or glasses.

I originally had the idea of a tree trunk table, similar to this from French Connection, but about half the height. I scoured the web to no avail, and didn’t feel brave enough to grab an axe and hack down one of my own. Then I had a brainwave, and started search for a small wooden stool instead.

As usual, eBay was my first port of call, and it didn’t fail me.  I managed to pick up this lovely little antique milking stool for the princely sum of £15. It’s just the right height, with enough space for my new little Habitat lamp (£28) and a glass of water (or a cluster of snowdrops in this case).

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Before & After: My Living Room. My haven.

Liz's living room after

The living room has perhaps been the most involved of our renovations so far. Thankfully we chose this as our first project when we were still very much in the honeymoon period of home-ownership (a brief period in which you have a relentless amount of enthusiasm for decorating and you don’t mind rolling your sleeves up after work and getting stuck in to a bit of stripping, plastering or painting and everything seems to progress so quickly – it’s just like the happy-couple, first-home, trying-to-flog-you-paint adverts. Honest.)

I had definite ideas for this room, and it meant starting from scratch, which in turn meant parting with a lot of cash.  So perhaps the biggest requirement of the revamp, was that whatever we created had to be timeless, it had to be something we’d never get tired of – we only wanted to be spending that sort of money once so it had to be right.

Here’s the results. If it were a painting I’d title it ‘A Victorian, with a Sage-Coloured Bonnet, Lost in Mid-Century Copenhagen.’

And it would sell for millions obviously.

 

Before:

Liz's living room before and after

 

After:

Liz's living room before and after

 

Under the cut:
In detail how and what we managed to achieve, whilst still in the hazy throes of first home bliss…

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Before & After: Floor To Ceiling Bookshelves

Bookshelves in home office

Once upon a time (like many little girls), I had a brief ambition to be a Disney princess.  It wasn’t the frocks or the (interchangeable) princes I was after though, it was Belle’s library.  Books as high as the eye can see, floor to ceiling windows, spiral staircases to balcony walkways, an open fireplace and period furniture.  It’s basically an interior designer’s dream, and as a book lover it caught my imagination – definitely a better romancing strategy than the usual ‘saving from an evil witch’ schtick.

Skip forward 20 years or so to buying our first house, and though our budget didn’t quite stretch to a palatial library wing, it was my ambition to have a room I could make into a small office with my very own (modest) wall of books.

Books Make a Home Book

It was one of our first home projects, and our talented carpenter friend John did the tricky bit of actually building them for us. I found inspiration in Damien Thompson’s ‘Books Make A Home‘. I sent John away with post-it notes in the pages of the book marking the style of bookshelves I liked, and John ingeniously managed to work out how to recreate them using materials within our budget.

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