Wednesday, December 29

The Far Land of Spare Oom


A little over a year and a half ago, when we moved into this house, the box room at the back was exactly that - filled with the boxes and furniture that we didn't immediately need (and given how much work was required to make the house habitable there was an awful lot of stuff we didn't immediately need.) The rewiring had left the walls in a pretty horrible state - the old plaster held together with the backing-layer of the (mostly stripped off) hideous vinyl wallpaper, and badly-applied daubs of new plaster over the new cable conduits.

Even with regular doses of design blogs & interiors magazines I struggled for inspiration - until one weekend in September the whole room came to me in a flash, from colour scheme & furniture to window treatments & accessories!

A quick sketch after my flash of inspiration

The plan - to create a grown-up boudoir, using, as far as possible, furniture and accessories we already owned. The inspiration - a room I'd read about months earlier, probably in LivingEtc. I can't remember if it was a dining room, a bedroom, or even a hall - just that it was painted aubergine-purple & the whole ceiling was covered with gold leaf, and it was utterly beautiful. I didn't feel that our little room (and little budget) could handle quite that level of bold, deep colour, so I settled on one wall of aubergine set off by plenty of cream, our walnut furniture and splashes of gold.

Choosing the perfect purple

Having had that blinding flash of inspiration, life yet again got in the way of progress, and it wasn't until a friend asked, in mid-November, if he & his girlfriend could visit in December that we finally began shifting boxes & making preparations.

Yes, we have hardwood-framed double-glazing, but by God the frames are a particularly nasty shade of fake mahogany!

Tatty as the floorboards were, staining them such a dark colour was nerve-wracking. I needn't have worried though, as soon as I started I knew it would work - in fact, I did the whole floor with a big silly grin on my face, feeling certain that the result would be even better than I had imagined!

I think I was right - the dark floor pulls the rest of the room together so well - not to mention making an asset out of the battered, stained boards, which now look aged rather than scruffy.

Furniture-wise, the only thing we were lacking was a bed. Now, this isn't a large room - about 12ft x 9ft, at a guess, so a double was out of the question, yet most of the people likely to stay with us are couples, so a double was essential! Ikea to the rescue with the really rather nice Hemnes daybed - a couch or single bed by day, it rolls out quickly & simply into a double by night.

Our trusty old desk & glass-fronted bookcase combine to make a nicely functional dressing table & display unit

A sheepskin rug, a standard lamp & a curtain warm up the space

Several items remain on the to-do list for the room, but they could all be classed as "dressing" - there's a stack of pictures to be framed & hung, the lamp needs a new shade, the window treatment needs more work and we need to buy a new mattress topper & a set of sheets as, being Ikea, the bed is a non-standard size(grr!) Luckily, dressing a room is my favourite part of the process!

  • walls, ceiling, woodwork, radiator: Homebase matt emulsion & satinwood in Classic Cream
  • feature wall: Dulux matt emulsion in Mulberry Burst
  • floor: Ronseal Quick-drying Woodstain in Dark Oak
  • curtain: Ikea Bomull unbleached cotton

Getting off on the good foot

It's nearly new year's eve, I've worked my last shift of 2010 but at home the Christmas celebrations have left many things undone... It's a whopper of a to-do list, but the plan is to have it all ticked off by the end of January.

  • schedule some bike time - I've not ridden nearly enough over the last few weeks, as a result of which both my body & my mind are getting sluggish.
  • catch up on the laundry, take inventory of my wardrobe & look to fill any gaps in the sales
  • write a workable chores schedule - and actually use it!
  • finish up the final bits of the guest room - frame & hang pictures, make the sheer curtains & swag, buy some new bedlinen - & share the results here.
  • sort out & tidy our bedroom, which became the dumping-ground for all the stuff that was in the spare room
  • wallpaper the stair risers, make curtains for the hall, hang pictures & buy lampshades. Again, a project to be photographed & shared!
  • make the second curtain for the bedroom (I'm ashamed to say that we've had one curtain & a blanket clothes-pegged to the rail for over a year now!)
  • tidy away all the Christmas decorations, wrapping paper etc; find homes for the presents we received & dispose of anything that a new item is replacing
  • count the small change in the "penny jar" & bank it
  • take inventory of the pantry & freezer, write a shopping list to fill any gaps and plan meals for as far ahead as possible - can I do a month's worth of menus in one go?
  • prep for a work project & contact the people I need to speak to about it.
There, easy!

Christmas on the Moors

Feeding the birds is a full-time job

Had a sunset yomp across the snowy moors - knee-deep in places.

The nicest thing about going home for Christmas - my old lady cat (she'll be 20 in May!) snuggling up on my feet at bedtime