How to Completely Renovate Your London Home in 6 Weeks

Flat-Renovation-Chiswick-After-Living-Room.jpg

I've now finished my Asian tour and now back home in London as I'm missed my dog Charlie, family and home. Talking of home, I recently saw a 3D property scan by my friend and guest editor Pete Brooker from 3D Property Scanning.

After a quick chat we agreed it would make for an interesting feature on the blog. Rather than regurgitate everything that Pete and I spoke about, I wanted Pete to tell his own story on how he managed to completely revamp his 2 bed apartment in Chiswick.

Hi all. The flat was primarily sold to us on ideal location, close to where my girlfriend works in Chiswick. You can see in the before 3D scan, that there was a lot of work to be done.

Flat-Renovation-Chiswick-Before-04252019_150912.jpg

KITCHEN

We had a great team of contractors in and they noticed immediately that the Gas Boiler was buried in a cupboard, barely accessible in the kitchen. We had to raise that out of the floor and rehouse it directly above.

The kitchen had some hideous blue tiling, fit for a bathroom not a kitchen. We completely retiled the kitchen, added a breakfast bar and installed a dimmable helicopter.

(If you’d like to purchase any of these products you can find the links in the 3D property scan. For transparency I’m not affiliated with any of the brands and all the products were paid for, not gifted).

Yes it was a bit of a crazy idea, but we wanted the kitchen to be a fun place to be. The faux brick wall wallpaper was added, a slight homage to the last act in Skyfall. 

TOP TIP

Don't throw anything out. We bought the wood for the breakfast bar and used the offcuts to make the shelfs above the sink. When we asked the builders if this was possible they had to go back to the skip and dig out the offcuts. Ask your builders and contractors to not throw any offcuts away without asking you first.

BEDROOM 

We got some bespoke mirrors made with concave framing to bring the illusion of space. The bed is an Ottoman from Dreams and I can't recommend these type of beds enough.

Perfect for storage and very accessible. We haven't had a chance to fit the blinds at the time of writing this, but have discovered that John Lewis are very competitively priced.

TOP TIP

If you're mounting a TV in your bedroom, always check the bracket compatibility. If in doubt contact the manufacturer, we did. Also plastic boxes from Muji are perfect for storage in cupboards. They do multiple sizes.

BATHROOM 

We completely gutted the bath and installed a bespoke fitted shower. We put a mirror on the back wall again to offer the illusion of space. Also if there are two of you, extra mirrors and dual sinks are a must.

We also installed under-tile heating which will be perfect in Winter and for any household pets to lounge on. A heated towel rail is also very convenient, no more arguments over damp towels.

TOP TIP

Get a shower douche. We didn't have no space for a bidet but a shower douche is the next best thing. The amount of time and toilet paper I now save is just unbelievable. Plus it's a nice feeling, down there.

STUDY

We got a corner desk and married the wood close (but not exact) to the shelfs. You'll notice throughout the flat there is a running theme of dark wood, walnut or black trims. Such as on the dining lights or myriad mirror.

The myriad mirror by the way is fantastic. A real wow factor for the room and I can't recommend the customer service at Habitat enough. Ask for Dawn at Habitat on Tottenham Court Rd, she is fantastic.

The sofa bed is also convenient for guests that come to stay.

TOP TIP

Don't be too precious in having all the wood matching. It was a big fear that the room would look naff with different wood themes. As long as they're closely matching in colour, it's not imperative to get matching wood.

ATTIC  

This was the biggest challenge in many respects. We have a lot of storage space in the eaves so wanted to house a chest of drawers and have them accessible from the outside. The contractors were indifferent at first.

We went and secured the drawers cheaply and had them framed and put some good handles on them. Rather than hide them discretely, we made a massive feature and it works really well I think.

The dining furniture we sourced from Barker and Stonehouse. We really mix and matched all the furniture. I recommend you visit their store in Guildford and spend an hour or so in there. Don't be afraid to rearrange the furniture in the showroom. We did.

MASSIVE TIP

When shopping for furniture ensure that the delivery men are insured to deliver to a second floor flat. (If you're no on the ground floor that is). We had great issues with this from another buyer and it got quite ugly at one point.

The couch we sourced from DFS. We do love the couch but have had some issues with the customer service team. That aside, be sure to put the L of the couch in the best possible position so it can add flow to the room, rather than corner of any space that will see a lot of traffic.

The fireplace also made for a great feature. Be sure to do your research and read all the terms and conditions before buying. Warranty, delivery, installation etc.

Lastly the TV, or as I call it 'the anti-gym' is a curved Samsung Tele 65" from Amazon. We shopped around for the best price versus quality and thought this the best. It does reflect quite a bit of light, but we only view in the evening with the blinds closed.

TOP TIP 

If you're having SKY TV installed, get friendly with the engineers and ask for what engineer discounts are currently on offer. We got the sports package the same day of installation much cheaper than if we paid for the package before or after.

Be sure to check out the video of the before and after renovation and if you need any advice or wish to discuss anything 3D property related I’m available on peter@brookerpublishing.co.uk

How to Transform Your City Dwellings Into a Relaxing Country Abode

How to transform your city dwellings into a relaxing country abode? How can you be town mouse and country mouse, without even moving house? 

As some of you know my folks live on the outskirts of London in Surrey. It's always a wonderful retreat for me coming from Clapham to take Charlie and enjoy the idyllic trappings of the countryside. 

Especially whilst I'm out here in one of the most serene and tranquil of settings in Bali. I've began to really embrace my surroundings, often made from materials provided by the local jungles. 

When I get back I'm going to be looking to bring a part of the countryside with me and in this article I wanted to share some of my ideas on how to make your city home, into your country retreat. 

Install a Wood Burning Stove

A wood burning and multi-fuel stove can be quite a process to install if you live in the city. Like most things in London, home renovation can be an endless game of checks and measures. 

By the time winter rolls around in the UK and you finally take the plunge, you could be too late to the game. You need to take into consideration site visits, the potential of structural work, chimney surveys and sweeping etc the whole process from start to finish can be a lengthy process.

That said, like Dolly Parton would say, 'You can't have the rainbow without the rain'. I'd love to fast track 7 months from now and be curling up to a Wood Burning Stove with Charlie, fresh from a quick brisk run around Clapham Common.

So what are the restrictions of installing a Wood Burning Stove? 

I've been doing some digging. There are certain smoke-control restrictions that need to be considered before any stove installation.

Firstly you need a DEFRA approved stove. DEFRA, short for Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) need to put their seal of approval on all wood burning stoves to ensure they meet the criteria for emission levels.

A DEFRA approved stove provides the minimum level of combustion air so that wood burns efficiently without producing unnecessary smoke. 

I've taken a look at the Defra Approved stoves from Arada Stoves who are the sponsor of the article. I might need your help as I'm between getting a contemporary cassette installation with an integrated log system or a classic freestanding style. 

That's probably the most middle class I've ever sounded. But do check out the Arada Stoves, who are working to create the most eco-conscious and smoke-reduced appliances on the market. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 21.22.53.png

Repurposed Suitcase Dressers 

Old trunk or suitcase dressers just scream 'character' to me. I used to own a suitcase. It was a suitcase not a satchel and I'd take it to school with me when I was little. It had my Fathers initials on it. The rest of my mates would laugh, but I just loved that old leather suitcase. 

You can really improvise with old suitcases. I'm a dog owner, I'm thinking I could hollow one out for Charlie and his bed will now become a feature for the house. 

Alternatively you could make bunkbeds from the bottom draw of the suitcase. Perfect little nesting spots for cats. Introducing a pet into the home will really bring the countryside, inside! Pets are proven to reduce stress levels, a much needed device for city folk that need to decompress within their own four walls.

Replace the Digital with the Analogue

When you have something in your home that brings echoes of nostalgia with it, then it changes the timbre of the room. The ambiance has shifted. Vinyl players and typewriters are great retro instruments that transport you away from the tech-led world in which us city folk have become so dependent on. 

IMG_9039 copy.jpg

Analogue devices in place of digital and contemporary are more aligned with life outside of the city. That's not to say country folk aren't tech savvy, but typically the country life is catered around utility and space. Not design. We need digital in the city as we're not blessed with a tonne of square footage. 

Find a way of introducing an archaic element. Maybe a Citrus Hand press in place of that mutli-function blender? 

You can't forget the Hammock 

I'm putting together quite the list of creature comforts. 

  • I've got my wood burning stove as the main feature.

  • I've peppered the interiors with reclaimed wood furnishings, repurposed suitcases and tables.

  • I've added elements of analogue instruments. 

Now it's time to introduce the hammock. Can it work in such a small space? Sure check out the image below. You can introduce a hammock anywhere into the house as it's such a cool design feature. 

Spencer-Hart-01142019_100854 copy.jpg

Added extras 

These are just some of my initial ideas for reshaping those city walls and breathing some life into an ordinarily uniformed space. I've been to friends’ houses in the city that look so clinical. It's almost as if they're afraid to hang a painting on a wall. 

If you're really looking to have your room look more zen then please stretch further than those glib empty calorie signs that say 'Love Life, Laugh'. They do nothing to enliven a space. Have something unusual. Be creative. 

Buy an upright piano, remove the casing from the harp and thread fairy lights through the piano wires. No one’s done that yet right? Exactly. How many people do you know in the city that own a wood burning stove? Exactly. Think different, be different, act different. 

 

*This paid post was sponsored by Arada Stoves.

Ruark Audio R2 Streaming Music System Review | Tech & Interior Design

This month I've had my interior design hat on whilst transforming a few areas of my London flat but most importantly my front room/dining area. Currently the interior is black industrial with touches of copper on a backdrop of exposed brickwork. The first piece of furniture purchased was an all-in-one utility shoe rack and coat rail from IKEA which fit perfectly in-between my kitchen worktop and home working desk. Used as a storage area to remove some of the clutter thats just sat on the floor or piled up in the corners of the room.  

If you spend most of the week working from home like myself you'll need a workspace that is clutter-free, comfortable and inspiring. I've accomplished this in various ways such as indoor plants that brighten up the room, a KRUPS coffee machine to keep me focused and music in the background rather than the TV because I find I'm much more productive with music playing. 

Usually I play Spotify Premium from my iMac through my TV, although I've found that the sound quality ins't quite up to scratch, so I wanted a new streaming music audio system that not only plays Spotify out of the box but also sounds crisp and looks the part. After shopping around I settled for the Ruark Audio R2 mk3

Ruark Audio is a British acoustics brand, producing some of the most incredible music systems. Compact yet powerful, the beautifully discrete R2 is the perfect ‘all in one’ music system with award winning sound. It incorporates Bluetooth, Spotify Connect and Wi-Fi technologies which allow you to stream your music wirelessly and with a Spotify Premium account you can explore a huge library of amazing music without interruption.

Featuring DAB, DAB+, FM and Internet tuners, high quality aptX Bluetooth receiver, USB playback/power port, wireless music streaming and multi-room capabilities R2 Mk3 is a technological tour-de-force, but what makes R2 really special is its sound. With their experience in high-fidelity sound they’ve created a modern day music system which will bring new enjoyment to your listening experience.

Price £419.99 lick on the images above to be redirected to purchase, otherwise click here to find your local stockist.

Mercure London Hyde Park Hotel Review | Exceptional Location

London is full of amazing hotels and now I can add the Mercure London Hyde Park Hotel to the list of my favourites. If you are after a hotel that has Instagram worthy interior design, friendly staff, amazing amenities, unique rooms, great facilities in the middle of the busy London Paddington district yet situated in a quiet square, then this is the hotel for you. Combine that with being in an exceptional location at a mid-range price, then you've found the best hotel in London for it's price range and I genuinely believe that to be the case.

This boutique style hotel which has recently undergone a complete refurbishment boasts 78 well designed guest bedrooms with Victorian style windows, high ceilings and a warm town house feel through-out. This iconic London hotel is located just a 3 min walk from Paddington train and tube stations, with Heathrow airport being 15 minutes away via Paddington Express. You can take a short walk to Hyde Park or Oxford Street for a bit of high-street shopping. 

I felt at complete ease during my whole stay in this hotel and that is partially down to the relaxed, professional atmosphere given off by the management team which filters down to the other members of staff and it felt like a great place to work. The interior also contributed to this relaxed feel due to the bright areas which let in lots of light from the large windows, then cozy darker areas to cocoon yourself in when wanting time out or privacy reading the morning newspaper.

The rooms and suites are possibly the most impressive aspect of this hotel, no expense has been sparred on their designs, just look at the photos which are completely non-edited and taken exactly as the room was presented. The first thing I noticed was the Tom Dixon lighting as I'm a massive fan of his interiors and have some of those light-shades at home also, so it's safe to say that we both have exceptional taste! 

The rooms include a full array of facilities including air conditioning, safety deposit boxes, WIFI, telephone, iron, free in-room mineral water, work desk, minibar and coffee/tea making facilities. For a full list of room ammenities, check out their website directly, here.

If you require a larger room, speak to the hotel and ask for one of their individual suites which have a massive living area, more storage space, a huge bathroom with a double sized shower and a massive bed with an excess of cushions. 

Finally this hotel has more than just a great interior designer and an exceptional location. It also houses a gym complete with cardiovascular fitness machines, weight machines and free weights. There's also a bar, restaurant and meeting facilities so if you are a business traveler, on holiday or someone who wants to enjoy a staycation to London, before you book your hotel, I urge you to consider the Mercure London Hyde Park Hotel. 

 

MERCURE LONDON HYDE PARK HOTEL

Unique, Handcrafted Furniture & Interiors by Timothy Oulton

I’ve loved interior design for a long time now, I guess for a 37-year-old man who has his life in order it’s hard not to. For me home interiors are in the top 3 things I spend my money on, alongside holidays and fashion – so I’m forever looking for design inspiration and quality products to improve the comfort of my home. 7 Years ago I moved from Gravesend in Kent to Clapham in London, quite a difference in size, from a large 3 bedroom house into a small 2 bedroom flat. So I had to quickly learn how to reduce clutter, how to make the most of your interior space as well as investing in quality furnishings rather than quantity.

A couple of years ago I went through a breakup that shook me into making changes in not only my life but also changes to my home – a fresh start. A total renovation was needed. I started by removing all the old, dated furniture, keeping things to a minimum- holding on to only the necessities: a bed, clothes rail, work desk, sofa etc. Gradually (and only when I found perfect pieces), I would purchase them to improve the homeliness of my home. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve been looking to renovate an area of my flat that I can call a relaxation area. I was thinking low lighting, candles, books and most importantly a relaxing lounge chair. Running a full-time business as well as being an editor for my own blog and the odd consultant day here and there, it can get quite stressful and overwhelming when juggling so many different skillsets. I wanted the space to be a cosy sanctuary where I could indulge in reading my magazines, newspapers and books. Somewhere where I could truly just lay down with empty thoughts if I wish and maybe the odd afternoon nap! 

Timothy Oulton was THE perfect place to shop as they have a complete uniqueness about their design and style, something that was very important to me. Timothy Oulton is a British furniture and interiors company that is known for its creative collections of handcrafted furniture, distinctive leather upholstery, unique lighting and home accessories. Their history dates back to 1976 with a small antiques shop owned by Tim’s father and with a deep love for antiques and an affection for British heritage Tim has created this authentic, visionary brand that I absolutely love.

I try to bring history and artistry to classic pieces, giving them a contemporary and modern feel. We have a point of view. There is character and soul to what we do. The materials we use, the link to heritage, the designs – that combination is unique.
— Tim Oulton

My home is very much the upside-down of my Instagram aesthetics, quite dark in interiors but with as much natural light as possible. Think exposed brickwork with tonal greys throughout and styled with copper finishing’s.

The first product that I needed for my ‘relaxation area’ was a side-table. I chose the Timothy Oulton TRAPT side table because of the phenomenal table top, which is a mix of see-through acrylic and wood. When projecting low light from a copper lamp onto the surface of this stunning table it really brings out the colours of the wood. The Trapt collection features hearty beams of exotic African balsam wood in a stunning natural palette of honey and chestnut browns, juxtaposed against a stark metal frame. During the craftsmanship process, the timber planks bond with the resin as it hardens, making it incredibly durable, perfect for the rigors of daily use. The resin seeps into every crevice in the wood, and the surface is then polished to a silky and almost aqueous finish, like rainwater running over branches.

I’ve actually left the hero piece until last, my relaxation chair and I’m going to spend a lot of time on it. As it perfectly complimented the dark and amber wood tones of the side table, this post-industrial chaise longue was the one. It’s the Timothy Oulton BILBAO chair, which has been made by hand using time-honoured techniques and the leather which the company is renowned for undergoes several stages of complex hand-finishing to achieve their distinctive look and feel.

I’m extremely pleased with the result that I’ve achieved with this simple transformation and it just shows that if you invest in unique, quality furnishings you can really create something beautiful for the home. It would be great to hear your interior design plans and if you would like any design tips, just comment below it will be good to hear from you.

You can view the Timothy Oulton furniture collection online or head over to one of their London stores at Harrods or Heals.

*This sponsored post has been created in collaboration with Timothy Oulton.

Creating the Perfect Working From Home Environment

Working From Home is great. Firstly you get to avoid the horrible commute into work everyday and for anyone living on the Northern Line between Clapham South and Clapham North will be as grateful as I am to be WFH. As much as I miss waiting for 6 trains to pass by every morning at 08:15 until there is finally space for me to board - only to be squished up against the tube door or even worse, some girls soaking wet hair slapping me in the face as the tube rumbles along it's tracks (true story, not pleasant). Secondly, you don't even have to shower, get changed or presentable if you really don't want to...whose there to judge, no-one! And don't get be started on all the procrastination and life admin that you can get done in-between work of course.

Saying that, there are some very major drawbacks for a freelancer working from home. The first would have to be the loneliness. I used to work in an 9-6 office environment which was very fast paced and social so working from home is a major difference to this. In an office environment you have everything you need such as stationary, stocked up magically for you to use for work (*and personal) reasons. Not only that, the coffee machine is free (if it isn't it should be) and the amount you save on this is ridiculous. It can also be quite annoying when the postmen knows that you are always home, so you end up being the receiver to all of your neighbours parcels. Finally when working in an office and you have no toilet roll at home - come on who's going to admit to sneaking a roll or two into their bag?!

It is so important to stay motivated, strict and busy when working from your home because it is very easy to slip into doing household chores or even a lunchtime nap. I've found the best way to do this is to create the perfect working environment, which has to be functional, comfortable and have easy access to the coffee machine.

I've recently purchased a new desk, which is much bigger than my last one making it much easier to work as the small desk was so crammed I was forever getting stressed because it was so untidy. It is also very important to have good lighting. The photos above were taken last night which is why there is no natural light. However it is important to situate your working from home desk in a well, naturally lit room as well as having enough light via lamps in the evening when working long hours. Personally I have my desk setup in the front room, dining and kitchen open planned area, as my spare room is too small and doesn't get the best light during the day, plus it would just feel very dull and uninspiring to work in a bedroom. Of course you need a comfortable chair. I have a pair of chairs one for myself and one if Im having a meeting at home. Mine are more dining room table chairs as I wanted them to be easily tucked in tight to the desk to save space. For comfort I've got a couple of cushions that I use. 

Making your home office aesthetically pleasing is a major part of being more productive, I actually wrote a piece a while back about how plants can transform your wellbeing at home and bring your home to life. So decorate your home office with plants, posters, pictures of family - basically whatever makes you feel relaxed and inspired. I've opted for some inspirational posters which reminds me of holidays and therefore pushes me to work hard to be able to go on my next one. Of course it wouldn't be an office without a coffee machine and I have the ultimate, self cleaning, bean-to-cup automatic machine from KRUPS (reviewed here). 

Working from home or flexible working is a major trend in the UK and growing. Companies are realising that if managed correctly, they can actually get a better output, results and a longer-term relationship from their employees by offering flexible hours, working from home or both. Personally when working from home, my productivity is much higher and the hours of work are longer too and that is mainly down to creating the perfect working environment in the home.

 

SHOP MY WORKING FROM HOME INTERIOR

Renovate your home with Homesense

A home is not a home without adding your personality into it and I feel that mine was very much a boring show home with no personality at all and I wanted to change that. Although Charlie my French bulldog uses the sofa more than myself, I still wanted to give it some TLC. Right now, the sofa is plain and bare but not only that but I have nowhere to put a cup of tea, except on the floor if I’m having a Netflix Sunday afternoon of relaxation. My goal when shopping at Homesense was to find a one off quirky side or coffee table and also some cushions for the sofa, lets see how I get on.

Soon after arriving at Homesense, I managed to find this unique side table, small enough to fit into the corner of my front room and quirky enough to be a talking point of the room. The copper and brass hues in the design match everything else in my room perfectly and the craftsmanship that has gone into this star shaped table is stunning.  Match the quality against the £39.99 price tag and it offered exceptional value. As it was a one-off piece of furniture in the store, I had to have it. In true Homesense style, after basketing this table, I decorated it with a couple of everyday essentials including a Cognac & Amber scented candle and a new set of whiskey glasses.

Not only am I looking for great design features but I’m also after true value in the products I buy…doesn’t everyone? You’ll never see a sale at Homesense because their retail model is to always offer great value with savings of up to 60% compared to the RRP. So you are safe in the knowledge that Homesense products are real genuine value rather than a sales push.

If you read my recent blog on how to interior decorate your dog’s area of the home, you would have noticed this 100% soft wool throw has already been used for that. However much Charlie thinks the throw is his, it isn’t as it is such a versatile piece of textile - use it as warmth in the winter or how about using it as a picnic blanket in the summer? Looking back at all of the products that I have brought from Homesense over the last few weeks, it makes me realise 1. How diverse they all are .2. What great value it been shopping there and .3. Not one of my friends or family has the same unique furniture in their houses as I now have and I cannot wait to go back next month to see what new items they have for sale.

I loved adding a little bit of colour to my sofa with a few cushions selected from a massive range of different colours, sizes and materials – so there is something for every taste. But would you have done it differently?  If so, it would be great for you to also share you own Homesense finds and join the Homesense sharers by posting your unique finds or interior design using the hashtag #HomesenseFinds.

Homesense are part of the TK Maxx family so if you have already shopped at TK Maxx Home you’ll absolutely love Homesense and you can find the nearest store to you here.

*This post was created in collaboration with Homesense, part of the TK Maxx family.

Quirky One Off finds to Everyday Essentials at Homesense

I’ve been one busy interior designer this week. After completing a new, improved area of the front room for my French bulldog Charlie (which you can view the results here), I’ve moved on to improving the general wow factor of my home with a couple of quirky one-off finds purchased at Homesense. I absolutely love traditional, historic features of houses mixed with modern interior design, however, unfortunately my London flat doesn’t have many original features. If you are in the same situation as me, you might want to invest in a couple of quirky eye-catching pieces of interior decoration. Something that draws your attention to whenever you walk into the home. For example a piece of incredible design or artwork.

What I love most about shopping at Homesense is that you could be shopping for quirky one off finds then also leave with some everyday essentials and vice-versa. Therefore when I just have a basic idea of what I want to buy but I’m also in serious need of some inspiration, I shop at Homesense. It is the not knowing what you’ll find that is exciting. We can thank the Homesense buyers for that as they are forever searching the globe for new exciting products rather than shopping in bulk for each season, it makes for quite a unique retail experience.

During my visit to the Greenwich Homesense store I grabbed a trolley and did a lap of the place, in and out of every aisle, browsing for inspiration but not making buying decisions *yet. What I found after picking up everything with a ‘wow, love that’ expression was that the quality of all the products was incredibly high. I recall the cushion, bedding and throw section was all neatly aligned based on colours, making it easy to pick the right products for your home interior. Everything had that quality feel to it and I feel in love with a super soft 100% wool throw. It wasn’t just the high quality materials used in the products on sale but also the expert level of craftsmanship. Dotted around the store were single one of a kind items, from a majestic hand-crafted wardrobe to beautiful foot stools. Even the gourmet food was out of this world, but I had to wait until I was home to figure that one out.

Whilst in-store and after doing my reconnaissance laps, I gravitated towards this large antique style clock with a black bezel, white numbering and rope detail that gave it a very rustic feel to it. This item would work perfectly either hanging on my brick wall in the dining room which will be one of the first things you’ll see when entering my home or on the floor, propped up against my existing furniture. How on earth was this only £39.99?

One quirky find down, one to go!

In typical Homesense style, I wasn’t after anything for my bedroom until I breezed past this mounted imitation rams skull. I like my bedroom to have a very dark, moody, masculine feel to it – a bit like a cool menswear store. So this small decorative item was a perfect fit.

Whilst shopping, I couldn’t resist purchasing a few everyday essentials to upgrade my existing (cracked) bowls and depleting collection of glasses, whilst also stumbling across this mirrored, copper serving tray.

So there you have another idea of how a few small pieces can transform the look and feel of your home, please find below the cost of everything that I’ve featured in this blog post and for under £100, I’m extremely happy with this result.

1 x Large Antique Clock £39.99
1 x Mounted Imitation Rams Skull £14.99
2 x Whiskey/Vodka Glasses £2.99 each
1 x Mirrored Copper Tray £24.99
3 x Patterned Bowls£2.99 each
Total £94.92

It would be great for you to also share you own Homesense finds and join the Homesense sharers by posting your unique finds or interior design using the hashtag #HomesenseFinds. To find the nearest Homesense store to you, use the store locator here.

*This post was created in collaboration with Homesense, part of the TK Maxx family.

Home Interiors for Dogs!

Before Homesense Dog Corner.jpg

We all love to treat ourselves but if you have a dog you’ll be the same as myself and get just as excited about treating your dog. Whether it’s seeing their eyes bulge when you give them a leftover roast dinner bone, treating them with a new toy or even a new comfortable bed. So for my first interior design project out of three that I’m going to complete over the next couple of weeks, is going to be a renovation of ‘Pet’s Corner’ which is an area of my front room that is space for Charlie, my Frenchie. Basically as you can see from the images above, it has just got his tatty bed and a couple of old toys in and what I’m looking to do by shopping at Homesense is renovate this area to make it a little more easy on the eyes.

I’ve been shopping at Homesense to improve three areas of my home that represents very good value, so make sure you head back over the next couple of weeks as I’ll be sprucing up my sofa as well as other small touches around the house to give you some inspiration to do the same. It’s amazing how you can transform an area of your home simply with one or two little items such as candles, cushions or even a throw, you do not have to spent a fortune and in fact Homesense offers savings of up to 60% compared to the RRP. Homesense are part of the TK Maxx family so if you have already shopped at TK Maxx Home you’ll absolutely love Homesense and you can find the nearest store to you here.

During my first trip to Homesense, I grabbed a trolley and was overwhelmed at the large variety of products that they stock, from everyday essentials to one off unique finds. The thrill of not knowing what I’m there to buy was great, it was a totally different shopping experience as I usually shop for something specific whereas at Homesense you could go in to buy a new kitchen set and leave with some dogs treats, candles, a wardrobe…my point is ‘anything’!

Dog Area after Homesense renovation.jpg

Okay so, as hopefully you’ll agree I’ve managed to transform a boring corner of my front room into something that is actually quite eye catching and homely – Charlie certainly approves! The area has been converted simply with a new dog bed, which because of its tonal grey colouring blends in better with my current interior design. I’ve also added a grey check throw, a wicker box for Charlie’s new dog toys and some scented candles to keep the area fresh.

All of which came to a total of:

3 x Dog Toys = £12.97
1 x Wicker Box = £9.99
1 x Dog Bed = £29.99
1 x 100% Wool Throw = £39.99
2 x Scented Candles = £8.98
Total £101.92

Well that is the dog sorted and I’ve got loads of other Homesense homewares to start creating something special with. It would be great for you to also share you own Homesense finds and join the Homesense sharers by posting your unique finds or interior design using the hashtag #HomesenseFinds.

 

*This post was created in collaboration with Homesense, part of the TK Maxx family.

Transform your living spaces with a feature wall

I'm presuming most of us if not all of us have been given some new personal belongings for Christmas recently and if you are anything like myself - I don't like clutter. If I bring anything new into my small Clapham, London flat it means I'll have to get rid of some older stuff to make space. This morning I did just that. A total declutter, tidy up of my bedroom and in doing so I felt much more in control and stress free...however in turn it exposed how bare my room was. I decided today was the perfect day to construct a feature wall, hopefully transforming my bedroom into somewhere a little more comfortable. So here is what I created...

BEFORE

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

1. Go online to desenio.co.uk and check out all of the sizes of frames possible for when you are designing your feature wall.

2. Measure the usable space for your feature wall and note down the height and width of the area.

3. Get a piece of plain A4 paper and design your feature wall. What I did was printed out the posters to scale from images the Desenio's website and moved them around the paper to create my perfect feature wall design.

4. Commit to your design and buy to posters & frames. I would recommend getting an extra couple of smaller sizes, as they may come in handy to fill in any gaps if your measurements weren't spot on!

5. Once you have received everything through the post, put the posters into the frames you picked. Then place each picture on your bed in the exact placement according to your design. Here is where you can move things around if it doesn't quite work.

6. Go grab some nails, a hammer and a spirit-level and put some basic DIY skills to the test. Time to assemble your feature wall to transform your living space.

7. Stand back and admire your creation!

SHOP MY FEATURE WALL

SHOP MY OTHER DESENIO TOP PICKS

My London Flat Renovation | Including Home Tour

Finally it is finished, my London flat is at last fully renovated to my own individual taste and style. For 6 years I have lived in this 2 bedroom flat in Clapham South without doing a single thing to it and it looked tired, dated and in dire need of an interior design make-over. Working on a budget, I couldn't change everything - so I had to pick and choose what changes would make the biggest impact and what I could get away with keeping. The last few rooms to get some love were my open-planned front room, dining room and kitchen and as you can see from the below it was a 'tad' cluttered, dark and the walls looked tired.

Unfortunately I didn't get many photos of the actual work however as you can see, I repainted throughout in white and with a teal feature wall replacing the dated brown hues. The floor stayed and I tidied up all the electric speaker wiring that was all over the place before. Once all of the major work was complete, I pretty much replaced all of the furniture other than my dinner table and my office desk. 

I replaced the dark brown blind with a typical white plantation shutter which gives the room a much lighter appearance and the large slats allow so much more light in than the previous blind did. The hideous radiators have been covered up with some made-to-measure white radiator covers, taking up a tiny bit more space than just having radiators but allowing you to decorate the room better by putting 'stuff' on top. I was going to buy a new coffee table, however decided against it in favour of keeping the room as open and uncluttered as possible. So instead I brought a vintage side table. 

I'm pleased with all of my buys but especially this light grey sofa from Loaf...I opted to change my old L-shape one with a single 3-seater, again opening up the room much more. With Charlie dog banished from the the entire back of the house due to new carpet going down - I wanted to keep 'his' space open! I then got a single reading chair from Swoon Editions for the corner of the room then a new media unit for all my audio visual equipment. 

The final touches to the living room were a antiqued brass mirror from John Lewis, a copper Etch ceiling light and floor lamp by Tom Dixon adding some amazing mood lighting at night when I'm just chilling out watching another box-set.

Only a few changes were done in the kitchen, mainly because I ran out of money! Other than the radiator cover, I've changed the tap to a French style brushed copper design which works well with the other copper touches around the flat. I then changed all of the crappy broken bar stools with these epic antique looking adjustable stools. I was not going to do any more changes but I then got given a new kettle and toaster from Morphy Richards and I couldn't be happier as the unique design is perfect for what I want and fits in with the rest of the kitchen.

 

SHOP SOME OF THE PRODUCTS

MY HOME RENOVATION PROJECT PART 2

Clapham in Summer is great, single in Clapham in Summer is even better! So the rush is on to get the flat ready for the inevitable Giggerlum after parties, although shoes off please! If you haven't already read the first part of the renovation, which was my bedroom and the hallway, you can view it here. During the last month, I have been decorating the spare bedroom and the bathroom. The spare room was quite easy, as it just required a bit of paint and new interiors however the bathroom was a major project - ripping our old tiling, flooring and starting from pretty much scratch.

THE SPARE BEDROOM

Since I moved to my Clapham flat about 6 years ago, I have always rented out the second bedroom...so I haven't had time to decorate it at all but now it has been empty for a while so finally its time to spruce it up a little. I started off by removing all of the furniture, put some carpet down and painted the walls.

The theme that I have gone for in this room is modern copper and grey tonal colours with geometric prints. The only thing I've reused was the silver framed mirror (left hand mirror in the below picture) this was from Ikea, but now discontinued. After lot of searching, I managed to find this copper bed frame from Dreams which was reasonably priced at £299. The copper geometric bed covers are handmade from America via Etsy by a brand called Saudade Prints. Pillows are from John Lewis as well as the grey herringbone throw.

I've used the same style blind as I did in my bedroom, which are made-to-measure from Next. One of the hardest items to source was a vintage wooden side table, but I wanted it to have copper and grey hints to it...luckily I stumbled on this antique reclaimed table from Little Tree Furniture, they create one off pieces of up-claimed furniture. The lamp shade was again from John Lewis. Finishing off the copper theme, I found an amazing copper round mirror from a local shop in Clapham Old Town called Places & Spaces. My favourite piece is the Tom Dixon Bell Copper Lamp, perfect design and highly polished copper so reflects the light in the bedroom perfectly - giving the illusion of making the bedroom larger.

SHOP THIS INTERIOR DESIGN

 

THE BATHROOM

Prior to this decorating of the bathroom, I actually thought it wasn't that bad. But now comparing the old to the new photos...it was awful. Brown plastic flooring, cream walls that are only at home in a 40-a-day smokers living room and grotty peeling paint work - how did I live in this squaller! 

Things are taking shape. The three major purchases for the bathroom were 1. The builders costs .2. The Tiles and .3. The under floor heating. So spending all of my budget on these items, I decided to utilise the bathroom suite that I already had. My favourite purchase by a mile were the Silver Antiqued Natural Stone Floor Tiles from Topps Tiles. Because the rest of my house has been quite tonal, I wanted a big contrast in the bathroom, so I opted for dark grey/black wood effect tiles for the walls.

Underfloor heating going down...things are starting to take shape!

Finished! What I tried to do is make the bathroom seem as large as it could, so I removed all bulky cupboards and have opted for baskets to store my bathroom things. The towels, floor mat, bin and baskets are from Ikea and the mirror is from Loaf.

 

SHOP THIS INTERIOR DESIGN

HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR HOME FOR SPRING

After some pub conversations, spring seems to be the season of change, wardrobes, relationships, jobs and careers - everyone seems to at it. I moved to Clapham South from Northfleet, Kent in 2010 when I needed change in my life, I guess I was running away from a failed relationship, as it was easier for me to deal with. Little has changed in 2016 and after another failed relationship, this time rather than running away to a different part of London - I've decided to renovate my home, a fresh start, a project to focus my mind on rather than focusing on self pity and the inevitable hurt and pain that comes with a break-up.

THE MAIN BEDROOM

This room had a huge built in wardrobe that took up the whole one side, it was massive and made the room look small. So the first thing I did was remove this wardrobe to make the room more roomy. This exposed a pretty horrendous looking wall which I planned to get bricked up to make a feature wall, New York loft apartment style.

Because my room is not the biggest, I wanted to save every inch of space, so rather than using normal bricks to make the wall, I found these slim bricks. Slim bricks are about 2cm's thick and they are the front of normal bricks wire cut off to make them slim. You can then just use adhesive to stick them to plaster board then grout them as you would tiles or normal brickwork. For my feature wall I brought the reclaimed vintage bricks.

I then got the walls patched up and freshly painted using Johnstones Manhattan Grey, sticking to the New York theme! Carpet laid. The light was changed from a silver 3 pronged light to a brass one with 5 light bulbs. The blinds have been changed from dark brown wood to white gloss with grey fabric details. The dark brown was making the room dark and small but with the new Next Made to Measure white blinds they reflect the light better.

Now the fun begins with the furnishing of the room. I wanted a space that wasn't cluttered so I brought these gas pipe clothes rails from Ziito, the key is to keep them spacious and don't over clutter them with clothes, so I went through all my clothes and sent about 10 black sacks worth to charity. A London flat wouldn't be complete without some radiator covers! These are great because they hide my crappy looking radiators plus they give you extra space for photos etc to put on top. There are lots of companies out there offering made-to-measure radiator covers, although they are expensive, so I shopped around and found these from screwfix. They look great, they offer various sizes so you should find one that fits perfectly and they are also very easy to put together and install.

My chest of drawers is from Swoon Editions and reclaimed pine/elm with brass handles, it took quite a long time for delivery as they are all made to order, but was totally worth the wait. I then swapped my tiny Samsung TV with a new Samsung curved TV, ready to have a Netflix box set session on chilled out Sundays.

All good interior design is down to the finer details, the small touches that give the interior character. A friend of mine introduced me to Tom Dixon and I have become completely obsessed with their amazing designs ever since. Established in 2002, Tom Dixon is a British product design brand. With a commitment to innovation and a mission to revive the British furniture industry, the brand is inspired by the nation’s unique heritage and produces extraordinary objects for everyday use.

My first Tom Dixon purchase for this room was this copper vase (shown below), from their Tank range, mouth-blown glass with precious copper bowl detailing, perfect for single stem flowers. I've had quite a few mandles in my time but this Oil Candle is perfect in design and smell. 

My final two purchases to complete the renovation of my first bedroom was a copper vase by Tom Dixon (again!) which I potted some miniature cacti and this industrial table lamp by Cargo Home Shop

SHOP THIS INTERIOR DESIGN

HALLWAY

The second room to renovate is the hallway. It already had a lovely brick wall but the paint work and carpet had seen much better days, so a quick inexpensive face-lift is all that was needed here. 

I wanted ceiling lighting that would project an awe-inspiring pattern of light onto my natural brickwork and sticking to my Tom Dixon copper theme, I decided to get these geodesic etch shades. This pendant light has a detailed pattern which casts a mass of intricate shadows when lit. A quick paint with the same light grey tonal colour as I used in my bedroom and carpet laid, now all that is left is to move in some furniture.

The signature piece of furniture for my hallway was this reclaimed wine rack by Little Tree Furniture. I used another one of the Tom Dixon vases and a Tom Dixon copper table lamp to showcase on top of the wine rack. My final touches for the hallway are copper polished light switches and again another white radiator cover from screwfix. A mirror placed on the wall above the radiator gives the narrow hallway a larger feel.

SHOP THIS INTERIOR DESIGN

Special thanks to Tom Dixon.