The Lounge: finishing touches

What makes a home, “a home”? Well, in my eyes it’s all the finishing touches that are inside it that make it unique and individual to the homeowner. With this build, I kept my wall and floor colours fairly neutral to make the rooms feel spacious and easy to work with but now, it’s time to add some finishing touches to make it ‘pop’ and stand out from the crowd, making it unique to us.

I’ve already added some cushion colours to the lounge which have helped to distinguish my colour palette. I went for grey, navy and a gold/mustard colour which work really well with the colour Plummet on the walls and my mighty gold guilted mirror. The things I now need to source to finish off the room and to tie in all my colours are; curtains, a coffee table and an armchair.

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Coffee table wise, I’m thinking gold. I’ve got my eye on this coffee table from West Elm, it’s glass with a gold frame (perhaps not the most child friendly piece of furniture, but hey!). I think the gold will work well as it will bring out the gold/mustard cushions and tie in with the mirror nicely. One thing I have noticed about the room is that the grey walls can look quite cold so to inject some more gold will help to warm up the space. This coffee table is also lovely and practical with its underneath shelving – perfect for some of my home interiors books!

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Another option is an fabric ottoman in either navy or mustard. This would work well with the children – no sharp edges and a perfect climbing object (argh!)! The question is, will I find the right shade of navy or mustard to match my cushions…!?

I’m also contemplating on a side table for in front of the patio doors next to the sofa. Again, in gold which would match the main coffee table if I went with the West Elm one.

Images below: The side table top left is from Wayfair and would probably work best for the space that I am thinking about and the side tables to the right which have been styled as a combination coffee table are from Graham and Green.

For the curtains in this room, I have found these eyelet patterned curtains from John Lewis. I do feel that a bit of pattern in this room would work really well, in either tones of grey or navy. If anyone can recommend some, please PM me!

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Lastly, I would like to source an armchair for this room to break up the block seating that is currently all in the the far corner. I’m still toying with my style options but here are a few of my current selections…

Image 1: Timothy Oulton Bastille Chair, Image 2: Slub Velvet Edlyn Chair, Image 3: Linthwaite Velvet Club Chair Image 4: Bluebell Armchair, Image 5: Navy Velvet Chair

In terms of finishing touches for other rooms in the house, there is quite an extensive list! To name just a few… I am desperate to find a lovely big rug for my master bedroom, an L-shaped/corner sofa for my open plan living space, a gold statement mirror for my downstair toilet/cloakroom and a gorgeous yet practical sideboard for my hallway. Stay tuned for further posts on these areas!

Thanks for reading 🙂

On the hunt for wood flooring 

Last Friday, Riley and I decided to venture into London town on a quest to find the right type of wood flooring for the house. We visited the recently opened Havwoods showroom in Great Sutton Street which offered us the opportunity to view large samples of their products all in one space. We even managed to get daddy to join us and partake in a spot of lunch afterwards!

We were well looked after in the showroom and even offered a fresh cup of tea and piece of cake on the side.

We managed to whittle it down to a shortlist of 4 types of engineered word flooring (we have to go with engineered wood rather than solid wood as we are having underfloor heating). Our shortlist consisted of all oak woods but in varying finishes, grades and thicknesses.

We are swaying towards character grade (2nd best, Prime being the best), UV-oiled to give a natural look and feel and 13mm in depth rather than 20mm due to a slightly cheaper price and also the 13mm being more than adequate in a residential home.

The question we are circling around is whether to go with a natural finish (sample on the right) or a smoked finished (sample on the left). Matt is routing for the smoked due to it’s richer quality but I’m nervous that this may be too dark throughout the house…?

Below is an image of the smoked wood in situ at Harrods Jazz cafe in London.

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I think we need some more time to think and to do a little more research before we make our final decision but Friday was definitely a worth while trip. Some might say it was a little tiring though….

Thanks for reading!

Wish list: May

Welcome to May’s wish list which centres around stand-out features within the home.may

High on my list this month is 1) Exposed brickwork. I love how incorporating exposed brick brings character and raw charm into an interior space. It mixes up the old and new and provides a real feature to any room. Here are a bunch of good examples that I have found on my trusted Pintrest site…

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Our plan is to incorporate a brick wall feature at the far end of the kitchen where the family sitting area is, see below illustration. It should provide a real twist to the what will be a modern space. I hope you like it?Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 19.17.58

Next on my list is 2) Cast Iron Radiators. As you all know, we had to to ditch our original plan of installing a ground source heat pump as our heating solution and have now opted for an LPG tank, which may I add (typing very excitingly…) has just been GRANTED by the council! Screenshot below…!

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 19.37.54So, the plan is to install radiators into the property and I have literally fallen in love with the traditional looking cast iron ones. This has stemmed after visiting my friends house just the other week and seeing hers! Here are a few examples of ones I like…

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And finally, 3) Bold Wall Colours. I have more recently found a real love for dark painted walls, especially in tonal shades of grey. Farrow and Ball’s colour Plummet No.272 has particularly taken my fancy. I’m thinking of introducing this colour in to our formal sitting room to give a touch of sophistication and define it as a ‘grown-up’ space.

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Hope you enjoyed reading and like my wishes!?

Images soured via Pintrest and Farrow and Ball

DIY wall mounted antlers

This has been on a wish list of mine for almost 9 years! It dates back to 2007 when Matt and I miraculously found a fully in tact stag’s skull with 11-point antlers on the Scottish mountains. It was such an incredible find and something we simply couldn’t leave behind so we ended up bringing it home with us.

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It has subsequently lived outside in the shed, moved house with us twice and been used for Riley’s 3rd birthday cowboy party!

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Not only is our story significant to us and makes this find all so special, where were live we have a local community of wild deer. Below is a photograph taken from the spare bedroom of our passing neighbours! The connection we have with deer is something I want to leverage in our home, so what better way than to bring a natural form (that we found) into our house.

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My plan is to mount my stag’s head and have it as a decorative piece in my new home. I would like to position it above the fireplace on the chimney breast in the living room. Not only will it provide a ‘wow factor’, it will allow us to always see it and remember where it came from. Similar to the below:

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So watch this space as our next DIY project will be to mount this stunning artefact!

Thanks for reading!

Image Credits: | rentfluff.com | abeautifulmess.com | theroomedit.com |

Natural stone vs porcelain

I have suddenly, albeit slightly unexpectedly, reached the stage where I need to choose my floor tiles for the kitchen/open plan living space. I must stress that this is an unexpected milestone right now, as in my mind this is something I should be finalising at the very end of the build as a finishing touch, not at the beginning.

However, to allow us to proceed with the sliding glass door order (baring in mind the doors have a 12 week production lead time), I need to sign off the glass door drawings ASAP. We can only do this once we have finalised the depth of the ground floor which is subject to a new screed, a new underfloor heating solution and new floor tiles. We know the measurements for the screed and water pipes but not for the tiles, and these can vary quite significantly depending on the material that we choose i.e. 10mm – 20mm.

So, what tiles do I go for…? Marble, travertine, limestone, granite, porcelain, ceramic, slate… which one is best for my kitchen tile design?!?

Some field research was in order so off we set for a day of tile hunting…!

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Not only do these materials differ in terms of colour, texture and size, they all have varying cleaning requirements and characteristics. It is quite simply a minefield of options to choose from!

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If I was to think about what tiles exude elegance, luxury and style, it would have to be marble, limestone and travertine. These are all natural stones and are calcite-based, thus have similar properties regarding care and cleaning. Typically, not as care-free as man-made tiles. But, they look so good!

Porcelain tiles appear to be a popular alternative to stone and ceramic. It is harder and more durable than ceramic… almost like stone. Porcelain also provides a better imitation of marble, travertine or other stone patterns, colours and textures with plenty of choices to match any design. Like ceramic, porcelain tile is nearly impossible to stain, scratch resistant and easy to maintain. My practical head is saying ‘go for porcelain’….

My heart however, is still with natural…

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I am looking for a fairly light coloured floor (yes I may be mad considering I have animals and children!) and have fallen in love with the flooring featured in the Tom Howley showroom. This is a natural stone called Mazzano Tumbled marble. The question is, do I just opt for this one or should I be more practical and go for a porcelain look-a-like?

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Today I saw a number of similar products to the Mazzano marble, both natural and porcelain and I’ve got to admit, some of the porcelain tiles were very good imitations.

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Porcelain tile on top of the Limestone flooring and the visual difference is minimal

The issue I have with porcelain is that is it very ‘flat’ in colour and there is no variation between each tile. The feel is also slightly raw and I really want a smooth, soft surface that allows you to glide across it. The practicalities however are fantastic and the price is much much less than natural stone.

Natural stone on the other hand is smooth to touch and has great depth of colour and tile variation – not one tile will look the same.

I am now sat with an array of samples in front of me with further thought and contemplation ahead!

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Any recommendations would be gratefully received!

Thanks for reading x

Patterned tiles

Sometimes I get fixated on a detail and then I see it over and over and then I become obsessed with finding the perfect example, all the while dreaming about how I have to have it in my life somehow.

Right now, my fixation is on patterned floor tiles. I see them everywhere – in local cafes, restaurants and bars, and in varying sizes, shapes and designs. From florals to geometric patterns, the result is totally gorgeous. I think this trend is a part of the whole mix&match movement where contemporary interiors are matched with deep textured cement tiles. Either way, I am a fan and would love to incorporate this look into my house.

It seems to me that if you’re going to have a patterned tiled floor somewhere it should look like one of these…now, where shall I have mine..?!

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Image Credits:

Image 1: 100layercakelet.com | Image 2: erinwilliamsondesign.com | Image 3 & 4: My own | Image 5: beckiowens.com | Image 6: castelnautiles.co.uk | Image 7: frenchyfancy.com | Image 8: blog.jennasuedesign.com | Image 9: My own

 

 

Wish list: April

What have I seen this month and loved? What do I want in my new house once it’s complete? What do I not want to forget about? All very important questions and ones that I do not want to lose sight of! As such, I will be pulling together a once-a-month wish list of all the things I have seen and would like in my house.

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This month I’ve been finalising the kitchen order, searching for bathroom tiles and thinking about unique furnishings to add into my home. In doing so, I came across these great products and only thought it right to include them in this month’s post.
wish listI came across this spectacular 1) Timothy Oulton Saddle Chair on Instagram, a post by Barker and Stonehouse, and fell in love with it! Up until my late teens I was an avid horse rider, I lived and breathed the sport. I therefore have a strong connection to all things equestrian, so when I saw this leather chair in the style and shape of a saddle, it made me smile. What a unique piece of craftsmanship, not only is it different, quirky and original but it is practical and in essence, a classic piece of english furniture. Just fab!

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Worktops, worktops, worktops…. yes, there are a lot to choose from!! Whilst finalising my kitchen plans and appliance selections at the Tom Howley showroom, I had the mighty task of deciding on a kitchen worktop. Now, in my mind this is an extremely important element of the kitchen. It is such a tactile piece, one that you touch every signal day, whether it be while you sit around the breakfast bar drinking your morning coffee or whilst rustling up a (delicious!) meal for the family. It is also one of the most visual elements of the kitchen (perhaps after the unit doors). The colour, the density and the feel of it, must be right.

A worktop that has caught my eye and stands out above all the rest is a quartz worktop by 2) Silestone Worktops – Colour Yukon. It is clean, crisp, yet has a lovely depth of colour, and exudes quality. This has made the wish list.

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Shopping for tiles is another minefield. There are literally thousands upon thousands of styles, shapes, colours and patterns to choose from. The ones that I love at the moment (and I say at the moment, because once I start my proper search this will no doubt change!), are these 3) Brick Vintage Metro Tiles. They are unlike the neat geometric brick tiles that I have seen in many places, as they have a slightly bumpy edge and uneven surface which causes the light to fall differently on each tile. They are both modern and rustic. I like them!

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Back to the kitchen, and high on my wish list is a 4) Quooker Boiling Tap. I just have to have one! Get rid of the ever accruing limescale kettle and give me a tap which provides immediate boiling water for making tea/coffee or cooking with. Fewer appliances which means less kitchen clutter and a quicker cup of tea!

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Next on my wish list is a project; 5) DIY Coffee Table made from a tree stump. Whilst at my parents house, I was outside in one of their fields and spotted a collection of large rustic logs from trees which had recently been chopped down. Immediately I asked my dad what he is planning to do with them and whether I could nab one. He said yes! My plan is to convert it into a coffee table with a little neatening up (tidy up the rough edges) and applying some wax to bring out the grain. Watch this space for the finished product…!

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Tree Stump Coffee Table Example

Whilst on the topic of wood and trees, I love 6) Cole and Son – Woods Wallpaper. I had it in my previous home (in the cloakroom) and I have it currently in the office. This is definitely here to stay and will be making an appearance in the house once it’s complete!

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I hope you have enjoyed taking a glimpse into the things I love this month!

 

A glass extension

When my husband and I talked about the key “wants” and “musts” for our house, one of the stand-out aspects (in addition to the obligatory key elements such as a heating solution, new kitchen etc.), was that we wanted to create an element of “wow”. We wanted to ‘notch the house up a gear’. Not only should it provide us with what we want, physically, but emotionally, we want it to make us feel good, proud and happy to live in a such a fantastic space. This could be through various methods, whether it be via innovative design, the latest technology or through the use of creative building materials and concepts.

I have a love for mixing old and new, rustic and modern, shabby and chic, and a particular favourite of mine is exposed brickwork alongside white, clean, unblemished walls. As such, we came up with the idea to incorporate a modern, slick, seamless glass expanse across the whole back of the new extension (roughly 10 metres worth). This would open up the room to the outside, draw your eye out to the garden, and stream light all the way inside to the kitchen and living space. Against the existing red brick structure of the house, this addition could provide a great design contrast.

For inspiration and a guide on price, we visited IQ Glass in Buckinghamshire, one of the UK leaders in Architectural Glazing Solutions. We were blown away by one of their products; Slim Framed Sliding Glass doors, they were slick, minimal and would certainly provide us with our “wow” factor!

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IQ Glass Showroom

The challenge we had was to ensure our extension would be structurally sound in order it could support the bedroom above. With such a large opening and with no structural elements to it, this was going to be tough.

To make this easier for ourselves we decided to add brickwork cornering to the extension which would support the structure better and prevent a sideways movement. This inevitably reduced the width of the glass opening but still gave us a total of 8 metres.

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Rear Elevation Drawings to Illustrate the Sliding Glass Doors

The second measure we decided to adopt was to include two 70mm support pillars to the internal space. Now, there was a lot of debate over where these pillars should go (both from a structural and design perspective), but in the end we opted for two pillars on both ends of the steals which support the bedroom above and close enough to the glass so the room interference is minimal. Similar to the below:

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Example of the support pillars

After multiple conversations between our architect and structural engineer, we have developed some final drawings that provide us with what we need (and want), whilst remaining within our budget. Believe me, the more you try and conjure up a radical structural design, the larger the steals required and the bigger the spend!

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Side Elevation of the Extension

It all starts with some inspiration…

Now, I do love to a homes and interiors magazine, so much so, I receive the latest release of my favourite mag straight to my door each month! (this was in fact a Mother’s day gift, courtesy of my husband!). So when it came to starting some research into ideas for what improvements we could make on our home, I had no issue with reaching for a cup of coffee and delving into my endless supply of accrued magazines!

I am also an avid Pintrest user. I love the ease of this site and the ability to freely create my own mood boards and project concepts. I actually use this site for many other interests and planning projects in my life, such as my children’s birthday party, garden concepts, food ideas and clothing trends. I like being able to find the looks I am after and then go on to further my search and find the actual products, or similar products on the web or on the high street.

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Pintrest, my online go-to