How to add colour to your house

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We’ve been thinking recently about updating our house. We’ve done a couple of things since we moved in, but we want to make our house look more homely. We’ve been thinking a lot about our furniture and decor and whether it fits in with our end vision. There’s so much that we want to do to our home that some of the furniture we bought urgently and/or because we didn’t have a great deal of money no longer fit. Then there’s the walls. Magnolia EVERYWHERE. So I’m thinking about how to add colour to your house, because I really want to add colour in to my home.

 

Furniture

Instead of a mismatched jumbled house with bits of acquired and bought-because-we-have-no-other-option furniture I’d love our home furniture to match our personality and style. At the moment everything is a bit beige, grey or black and dull. We bought a lot of those things because we knew they’d fit in with pretty much any decor while renting. However, we love a bit of brightness and we want to update the way our house looks now that we are home owners. So we’ve been looking in to ways to brighten up our house without buying completely new furniture throughout. That said, a bright coloured arm chair in the living room is definitely top of my wishlist.

 

Bright Textiles

We always have throw blankets lying around because of my raynaud’s, and y’know, because they’re cosy and ‘hygge‘. Again, our blankets are all mainly beige so I’d love to throw some colour in to our house with some brighter contrasting coloured throws. I absolutely love yellow right now, which goes really well with the navy wall we are planning to have. I also want to update the curtains from black to bright! By looking at a colour wheel, or checking out colour palettes on pinterest you can find contrasting colours that work together.

Bed linen and towels are another huge way to throw in colour. You can have a plain bedroom and/or but add a flash of colour with some more exciting textiles. If you love a white bed, just like a hotel room, then adding a bed spread can really give a pop of colour, as can a neatly placed hand towel.

You can also never underestimate the power of a well placed rug in any room.

 

Feature Walls

A feature wall doesn’t always mean one wall of colour. There are so many different ways to add a bit of colour without going the whole hog of a full wall. You can throw some stripes in or a random geometric shape. You could even use stencilling. You don’t need to be an interior designer, but do be fully satisfied with it before you start painting!

You don’t always need to paint your wall. A feature wall could mean a wall of art work too. There are loads of ways to display art, whether it be one huge piece of art or some quirky storage. In the bedroom it could be a feature head board, which is one of the things I’d love to do in our room.

 

Bright Accessories

There are so many decorative accessories out there to add a bit of colour to your home, including light fittings. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which to pick. As one of the florists I saw when planning my wedding said, “you want a little bit of pinterest, not everything on pinterest”. The most important thing to remember is to choose what really suits your personality and to stick with one style per room. You can have areas of your house that aren’t fussy to break up any different styles that you like.

Our plans

We plan to have a very plain hallway and upstairs landing decorated only with photo frames. Oliver’s room will likely be bright and fun, just like him, nextdoor there will one day be a calm serene nursery. For our room, I love the luxury hotel feel with quirky accessories.

Downstairs we will have a dramatic front room, with a navy wall and pops of colour with a bright armchair and lots of fun contrasting textiles throughout. There’ll be plenty of quirky accessories thrown in too. In the middle, our kitchen will be bright and airy with the furthest room to the back being a ‘bringing the outside in’ kind of room. There will be lots of serene colours and plenty of nature indoors.

 

Do you have any tips on how to add colour to your house? Are you as in love with bright colours as I am? Or do you prefer things cleaner and crisper with lots of white? Or perhaps you love the soft neutral colours. I’d love to hear about your style below, it might give me some ideas.

 

*This post contains sponsored content, however all words and opinions are my own.*

 

 

When DIY takes too long

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When we were looking for our first house we knew we wanted one that we could put our own stamp on. We wanted something that we could live with but we weren’t happy with. We ended up buying the house we live in now. It’s an ex council house that had been rented out for quite a long time. It’s in a perfectly liveable condition; it had to be for the tenants that lived here. However it hasn’t been properly looked after for a long time. Renovation was on our minds as soon as we were looking around. R and his dad were knocking on walls and were tearing things down and rebuilding in their heads from the moment we stepped through the door. DIY is just a part of normal life in their family. And not just casual DIY, serious DIY!

DIY can only go so far

One of the changes we wanted to make was to put in a fireplace. There was a very obvious hole that had been badly covered in the chimney breast. .When it came to knocking out the hole for our fireplace, it was discovered that the chimney breast was actually non supporting. Down it came. The only thing was that although R and his Dad are great at DIY, there are a couple of things that they need tradespeople for. It started out as “two weeks start to finish”. However, for various reasons it has taken a lot longer. Part of that reason being time and the other cost. We’ve now reached the point where we can’t go any further without hiring a tradesperson. We’ve repaired all the bits that need fixing. We’ve put plasterboard up. We’ve created a mock fireplace and put our mantel in. Now we need a plasterer.

Finding a tradesperson

R’s parents have a few good tradespeople that they regularly use, however they can be quite expensive. We then have the option of paying their rates or seeing if we can find a tradesperson ourselves. As we’re new to the area we were looking at the different websites to find tradespeople like priceyourjob.co.uk. Once we post our job and get quotes we can then make a decision and weigh up options.

Looking forward to it being finished

It’s been a year now since we started ‘the fireplace’. I’m so looking forward to it being finished. Once it’s done we can really decide how we want our room to look long term. We are thinking about making it changing it from living room to dining room and from carpet to wood.

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Of course, once that’s finished, we have plenty of other rooms to get stuck in to…….

 

*This post contains sponsored content, however all words and experiences are my own*

 

Window sill – Review

When we moved in to our house in January 2015 we were so excited about everything we wanted to do to it. There’s so much potential. It’s an ex council house and very well built so we knew that we could do pretty much anything without uncovering anything *too* bad. We had grand plans, but we can’t afford to do much of it yet. However, since we have now lived in the house for over a year and a half there were smaller finishing touches to the house that bothered me more than the ‘big stuff’. One of them being the window sill.

Why window sills?

I know you probably think a window sill is a strange thing to be really bothered by. Technically, it’s not just 1 window sill, but 2. The sills in our living room and master bedroom to be precise. The two rooms I spend most of my time in. The two rooms I would quite like to be able to use the window sills. But they were awful. They were orange tiles. Yuck! They were also really old and covered in paint splodges and scratches and the grouting between them had crumbled to dust a long time ago.

crumbling grout between orange tiles on window sill with white paint splodges visible on window sill

When we started knocking down part of the living room wall we started to think about how we wanted our living room to look, the window sill tiles were definitely not part of the vision! We decided that in the grand scheme of things the living room would actually be changed to a dining room eventually. It’s a pretty cold room and for me with Raynaud’s it’s not a pleasant space as a living room. Our south facing rear is much more appealing. We just need to build an extension. With all of this in mind, we came up with a few ideas to make the room workable as both.

 

The colour scheme

Colours are so important to me. We wanted something that suited our house and our personalities. Absolutely no magnolia. One of the decisions was that we wanted a ‘fireplace’ with a light oak beam above as a mantel. We will eventually get a fake wood burner to fill the gap. The colour scheme will be navy blue, grey and finished with pops of colour. We may throw in some copper accessories too.

 

With light oak in mind, we were delighted when we got the chance to review a piece from The Skirting Board Shop. At first, thinking we were limited to skirting boards we looked at different designs of skirting board and found a few we liked. Then I discovered the window sills. And there was American White Oak. Perfect!

The window sill

R was really impressed with the quality, it cuts like real wood even though it is veneered MDF. The hardest part of replacing the window sill was removing the tiles and repairing the damage from removing them. Once we had taken the tiles off and levelled the ‘remains’ it was just a case of cutting and sticking. Although I’m sure R will tell me off for referring to it as that! We followed the guide on the website and added 50mm on each end for length and 25mm for depth. Then we got the trusty Festool circular saw, guide rails and vacuum out. Which meant R could cut the window sill in our kitchen and make no mess – woohoo for me!

window sill after tiles removed and damage to bricks underneath

 

R checking the damage having removed the window sill

The finished window sill

before and after tiled to wood windowsill

I think you’ll agree the difference is amazing. It’s really spurred me on to think about all of the little details in all of the rooms. I can’t wait to get the bedroom sill in and start thinking about all of the finishing touches in there too. What’s really great about the window sill is that the veneer is real wood, so you can stain or oil it. This is particularly great news for us as we can match it to the oak mantle. I’m really excited about seeing it all come together.

I’m also really looking forward to making little window displays. We’ve already started on our halloween display!

halloween window sill display with halloween toy, cobwebs and spiders

 

I’ll be doing a big reveal on our finished living room once it’s all done. We have a bit of work to do but I am hoping it might be at least on the way to being finished by Christmas. (Especially as I’m not entirely sure how to dress that huge crack for a Christmas display!)

 

We were gifted two window sills for the purpose of this review, however all words and DIY’ing fiance’s are my own.

 

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Life With Munchers

Room Challenge: Spare Room-Office

Pretty much the only room in our house that doesn’t require a lot of effort (for the moment at least) is our spare room-office.  It’s a room that can be ‘made do with’ for the next year or two, when it will be re-purposed (oooh cryptic!).  It’s remained almost untouched since we moved in.  In fact it has only been used as a dumping ground and occasional space for my mother-in-law to sleep when she looks after Oliver until late at night or when she dropped us at the airport at silly-o-clock.  So this week, although it wasn’t on our Home Improvement for 2016 list our challenge is to sort through it!

 

I felt the need to blog about it so that it really forces me to get started.  R is working on Monday and Tuesday so I want to get started and clear it a bit so that he can get in on Wednesday to do a few bits and bobs.

Our To Do list includes

  • A lot of shredding
  • Throwing out junk
  • Put up a curtain rail and finally put up curtains so that we can take down the hideous broken blind
  • Put up a shelf/shelves
  • Set up our computer and printer
  • Organise paperwork
  • Utilise the space as efficiently as possible

I won’t lie, the finished product won’t be something you coo over on Pinterest or Instagram, but it will be good enough to work from which is somewhat of an improvement on it’s current state…

room challenge-spare room-office

 

We do have grand plans for the room, but that involves a lot of plumbing, electrical work a lot of DIY and a reasonable amount of money spent.  It’s not something we need to do right now, but we do need it to be functional and there is no shame in that.

 

I’ll be sure to post a photo when we are finished, I’m sure that myself and R will be fighting over it!

 

Do you have a spare room-office combo?  Do you have any tips on how to make the most of the small amount of space available?

Home Improvement : Our Plans for 2016

2015 was a huge year for us, partly because on 15th January 2015 we got the keys to our first family home.  Since then we have been thinking about all of the ways we want to improve our home – for some reason we started on the garden, but that’s all set to change this year with our home improvement plans for 2016.

Home Improvement for 2016

1. The Fireplace

Ever since we saw the house I have wanted to break open the fireplace and get a really lovely working fire with a beautiful surround and hearth.  There’s something about a fireplace that makes a house feel more homely.  And the warmth is much appreciated too!  Most of this we can do ourselves, although we aren’t sure exactly what is behind the boarded up hole at the moment.

2. Utility Room

The utility room doesn’t actually exist yet!  We have a portion of our kitchen that we are going to convert in to a utility room and also a downstairs loo!  We are going to put up a wall and the space under the stairs will be cordoned off with another doorway to the toilet.  The planning regulations of two doors between the kitchen and loo was apparently got rid of a while ago, but we feel it is just a bit nicer to have two doors.  I will then have a space for the washing machine and a tumble dryer in the utility area plus a little work surface for baskets and folding/sorting clothes etc.  The biggest cost here will be the plumbing work.

3. Master Bedroom

Not much really needs doing in our bedroom so it’s going to be a case of lots of painting – we just need to decide on a colour scheme!  Our wardrobe is the biggest job!  Having seen an article about the perfect wardrobe layout a while ago we realised that the space in our wardrobe was not at all efficient so we are going to embark on a rejig.  Ikea have lots of wardrobe solutions and even have a planner  for their ‘pax’ range to help you figure out the best options for your room – if you’re handy or know someone that is you can do a lot of it easily yourself.  I’m obsessed with organisation, I even have a pinterest board dedicated to it and have just read about the KonMari method in ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’.

4. Bathroom

This is a huge cost, and probably more of a dream for 2017 rather than 2016; our house is an ex council house with a very old bathroom.  There’s a lot of work that needs doing here.  We need to move our waste pipe to the outside of our house to free up space, a completely new bathroom suite, stripping the walls and tiling the whole room and we are also looking at the option of changing the window to a smaller one as it currently takes up the entire wall along the side of the bath – meaning you’re naked splodge is visible from outside through the frosted windows.

5. The Loft

We have a loft space that is carpeted with VELUX roof windows and so useful for when people stay over, except for the fact that we don’t have any blinds for it – for the moment we are using a gro anywhere blackout blind, but it’s not very practical especially as it often falls down and there’s way too much material.  What we really need are proper VELUX blinds – the blackout ones that fit perfectly in the windows, especially as the room faces South!  Some of them have the thermal type coating too, which would be good for our loft as we don’t have proper insulation, so in winter it’s really cold and in summer it’s blisteringly hot.  The roof height isn’t great, but it’s a fab space.  We can fit a king airbed and 2 camp beds in there for Uncle T & Aunty L and Cousins T&H.  I just need to do a bit more tidying to make it a little nicer!  We also need to fill some holes and probably sort out that insulation issue…

loft space with VELUX windows

I’m really looking forward to getting started on the house and putting our own stamp on it.  But mostly I’m looking forward to taking a hammer to the fire place.

 

Do you have any home improvement plans this year?  Have you already done anything like the plans we have made, if so how did it go and do you have any advice for us?

 

Follow me on Pinterest to see more of my dreams!

 

This is a collaborated post, but all unrealistic home improvement plans are my own.  I’m already writing my other half’s to do list for the year.

 

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Life With Munchers

My Dream Kitchen

Since moving house in January I’ve been thinking non-stop about all the different things I want from my house.  We were lucky in that cosmetically the house is OK, very livable for now.  But with Christmas coming up I am starting to dream again, mainly because we are hosting, so we are going to have 18 people around our Christmas table(s) in our 3 bed semi detached house.  We have a reasonable sized kitchen and it’s in good enough condition, but that doesn’t stop me thinking about my dream kitchen.

kitchen is the heart of the home

 

So my dream kitchen would have a little bit of a country, cottagey feel to it – light and airy with a huge range cooker, I would choose an Aga but I’ve heard that it takes a bit of patience to learn to cook with them and I like pretty instant results.  They do however keep your kitchen beautifully toasty and warm, which is perfect for me as I recently started suffering from Reynauds so I like warm toes!  The most important thing is plenty of oven space though – I need to cook a turkey and all the trimmings on Christmas Day!

Speaking of warm toes, I’d love underfloor heating with tiles on top – to add to the country effect without having that chill that tiles bring.  The other things I’d have are a granite worktop – apparently it’s the best for baking and cooking, which we do a lot of.  At the moment I am a little paranoid about leaving marks when I take trays of cakes or cookies or whatever we have had for dinner out of the oven.  On the work top of course would be my K-Mix, which R bought me for Christmas last year and a bean-to-cup coffee machine – with two separate reservoirs for decaf and full caffeine coffee to suit both R and I.

We’d have a nice white sink too, perhaps a butler sink to go with the country theme, and all the appliances would be hidden away in a separate utility room, including of course the beautiful dishwasher that revolutionised my life!  And while we are thinking about the washing up – lights!!  The lighting in our kitchen is better than most places we have lived but when you’re standing at the sink you just create a huge shadow and can’t see what you’re doing, so I’d love some recessed lighting all over the kitchen so I can actually see wherever I am!

our kitchen edited

 

Apparently, I am not alone in a lot of my thoughts on dream kitchens, because a survey of 1,000 UK homeowners showed that 39% wanted granite worktops, 32% wanted tiled floors, 29% wanted a range oven and 33% wanted recessed lights – all the top results in their categories.  My choice of a country cottage style kitchen came in third at 20%.  Also, within the appliance section a further 18% wanted a kitchen aid (which is pretty much the same as the K-Mix) and 13% wanted a coffee machine.

 

Obviously, when I saw the results of the survey I got pinning on my Kitchen Pinterest board and had a little look around; I really love the Royal Gold granite worktop from Mayfair Granite, and think it goes quite well with the country theme, it almost looks like the grain of wood, but with a very elegant gold colouring.

Dream Kitchen Mayfair Granite Royal Gold Worktop

 

Of course, if we are dreaming, what I really really want is a kitchen free from this:

dream kitchen no toys on floor

 

What would be in your dream kitchen?  Are you as predictable as me?

Disclaimer:  This post is in collaboration with Mayfair Granite, but more importantly, my kitchen is never this clean and tidy and there are usually way more toys on the floor – and I definitely may have just stuffed all the dishes in the dishwasher.

A Garden fit for a Toddler

Since cutting down the hedge and tree we have been discussing what we want to do with our garden now that there’s more light – actually, we have been discussing it since we moved in, but now it’s getting a little more serious!  We want a garden fit for a toddler, for it to be suitable for Oliver to play and grow as well as for us to be able to entertain and grow some of our own food, but we are a long way off yet.

Process of cutting down a tree
A trampoline surrounded by branches and leaves

There were a few things that we decided that we need:

 

  • A vegetable patch – to teach Oliver where food comes from and how to grow and look after vegetables – not to mention saving money because we buy so many vegetables from the supermarket.
  • Fruit trees – Oliver absolutely loves fruit, I can’t wait for him to be able to pick his own from his own trees.
  • Wild Flowers – because they’re pretty, and to teach Oliver about bees and why they’re important (and not scary).
  • Garden Seating – to have a sociable garden, our current (inherited) bench is rotting and splintering, so we need seating that’s suitable for adults and children and an outdoor dining area for barbecues.  We need plenty of seats for our large extended family and varied friendship groups.
  • A BBQ area – a set area to BBQ where Oliver knows that he shouldn’t go because of the heat, with space for a prep area too.
  • A playhouse/tree house – we haven’t yet cut down the main trunk of the tree, we can’t decide whether to build a tree house from it or get/build a playhouse for Oliver.
  • Habitat for wildlife – Bird boxes, bee hotels etc, giving wildlife a secure place and teaching Oliver about it.
Providing habitat suitable for wildlife
Oliver really enjoyed seeing this frog amongst the branches
I’ve no doubt it will take a few years for us to get a garden that we are completely happy with, but having a clear idea of what we want helps us to focus on the end product.
Oliver enjoying bubbles
I can’t wait for Oliver to be able to enjoy the garden once again without falling over branches and rubble
 Now that summer is over, we are focusing on ways to get it ready for next year!
For more ideas check out my Garden Plans Pinterest Board
What do you have in your dream garden?  Do you have any tips on how to get the right balance between a garden for play and a garden for grown ups?
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Monkey and Mouse

 

The One Where We Cut Down a Tree

When you have a big job to do before you have kids you just go right ahead and do it, but once you’re a parent you have to think about how what you’re doing can be incorporated in to your toddler’s day because there’s too much to do in just your toddler/child’s nap time, or after they’ve gone to bed.  For us, this came when we decided to take down the hedge and cut down a tree at the bottom of our garden – the hedge was half dead and half overgrown and the tree was diseased and blocking out a ridiculous amount of light from our garden as well as neighbouring gardens.

We took down the hedge first – it was something I could easily do without R, giving R the chance to cut down the tree later.  I just had to figure out what to do with Oliver while I wielded a huge pair of secateurs that were far too dangerous for Oliver to have his hands near.

We got Oliver a little trowel and fork so he could happily dig around the soil at the bottom of the hedge, then he used his rake to collect all the leaves that had fallen off the hedge as I attacked it.  He also helped to pick up the branches and put them in a pile, obviously playing with them at the same time too!  He made a few ‘magic wands’ with thin twiggy branches that he could snap in to smaller sections and walked around shouting “zabbbaa dooooooo” and turning me in to a frog (thanks for that, Nanny Plum)

Child's Trowel and Fork
Oliver’s trowel and fork bought from Tesco

Moving earth is something else we’ve involved Oliver in, he’s helped us fill buckets and we’ve also encouraged him to use his tractor and trailer to move earth, which he really enjoyed.

Claas Ride of Tractor
Oliver’s Tractor and Trailer that he used to help us move earth around the garden

 

Obviously, while we were destroying the tree and hedge we were also destroying the habitat of lots of lovely little minibeasts – so this has kept Oliver entertained too.  We’ve rescued a lot of slimy snails and wiggly worms over the past month or so.  The below snail was lucky and got given a lettuce leaf to munch on – although it was more interested in escaping his cage.

Snail Rescue
A rescued snail in a mushroom punnet

What seemed like a daunting task at the beginning turned out to not be so bad and we found some interesting things to do to keep Oliver entertained and we were able to teach him a little bit about nature too.  It’s also given us ideas about things we want to include in our garden when we eventually manage to finish it.

 

What do you do to keep your little one(s) entertained while you are in the garden, do you get them involved?