Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Collecting Stuff

I love clusters of objects.  Exhibit A:

You can spend not all that much money to throw together a group of objects that make you smile.  Ours was only about £20 [plus that cost of the Rolling Stone mag... I think it was £6 or something], but you can do it with any old crap you find around your home. 

from HGTV, and Country Living, and Living, Etc.

Time to bring out those collections.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Living room update

I've decided that I'm just going to paint, then ask questions later.  I'm sure that my expert painting abilities will increase the value of the flat and thereby please our landlord [this is how I'm rationalizing it to myself anyway].  If they don't like it, I'll repaint it in the piss color that it is now before we go - which won't be any time soon.

Our living room is currently a bit blah.  I'm trying to jazz it up with some coral and turquoise [in our cushions, accessories, artworks, etc.].  I'll give you a little taster of the stuff I have so far:

The worst part are the walls, carpet and the sofa [affectionately referred to as 'the turd'].  To finish it off, I want to paint the walls and buy/make a slipcover for the sofa, since we can't do anything about the rug.  Since we don't plan on living here forever, we don't want to invest too much into any of our furnishings [hence the Ikea furniture], but I am handy enough to make most things myself.  The side tables are hand-me-downs from the in-laws, that I've repainted and covered in tiles [not bad for my first try... it looks better in the picture than it does in real life], total cost £30 for the set.  I got the blue spotted cushions at work for £10 a piece [50% off!], and the coral cushions I got at Debenhams for £12.50 each [SALE!].  I put up the shelf myself [v. easy] for about £20 at Homebase, and the fake plant on the left and A4 black frame and plant pot on the right [ignore the dead plant inside] from Homebase as well for about £15.  The turquoise frames on the left, fish bottle and wood block on the right are from TK Maxx [just like TJ Maxx stateside] for about £16, and all the candles were gifts [we love free stuff!].  I put together the frames on the wall of all of my favorite musicians [and The Boss for D] using some of my magazine cut-outs, printed black and white photos, and cheap-o Ikea frames.  We're getting there.

 This is what I would like it to look like:

from House of Design & StyleMarjorie Skouras Designs, Apartment Therapy, and House of Turquoise

Elements from each anyway.  I like the idea of painting one section in coral, with white and turquoise accents.  I LOVE clusters of artworks, and if I could afford that gorgeous chandelier, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Now I just need to find a good color for the walls, and slipcover for the sofa [or some fabric and a sewing machine].

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Child, your living's easy.

Summertime.  It's the first day that it has been gray here in a good long time, and it's much needed.  I never thought I'd say that about this place.  I think it's time to reflect on the amazing weather that we've had here.  Sunny and hot [too hot for work without AC, but nice for laying in the park].  That's the way summer should be.  Sun, sand, tan [but wear sunscreen!].

So here's a pretty little patio area to relax in on one of those lovely, hot summer days, mojito in hand, some classic rock on the radio...

from My Home Ideas

What an adorable little patio area.  Love the mix of color and pattern.  If I wasn't such a plant murderer [and we actually had some outdoor space], we could grow some little palms outside [our neighbors have some], and then I'd have somewhere to stick that gorgeous little parasol in.  See below for where to buy.

In the UK:

 1. Darla Picnic Damask Green Quilting Fabric by Tanya Whelan, £10.99 per meter at; 2. ALVINE FLORA Cushion, £19.99 at Ikea; 3.  Pink Square Slab Seat, £23.99 at Cargo; 4. Natura Rug, £52.99 at; 5. ÄPPLARÖ bench, £59.99 at Ikea; 6. CURCUMA Potted plant , £9.99 at ikea; 7.  Vintaged Rose Plant Pots, £39.50 at Graham&Green; 8.  Brightly Coloured Embroidered Cushions, £28.50 at Graham&Green; 9.  Embroidered Gypsy Caravan Cushions, £32 at Greaham&Green; 10. Traditional Chinese Floral Fancy Blue Paper Parasol, £9.99 at

In the US:

1. Home Decor Fabrics-Waverly Harmonics Essence Leaf, $17.99 at Jo-Ann's Fabrics; 2. Vintage Embroidered Bird Pillow, $22.95 at Pier1; 3. Floral Paper Parasol w/ Green Rings, $7.95 at; 4. Seventeen Flirt Bubbles Rug Collection - Pink, from $49.99 at Target; 5. International Caravan Acacia Patio Trinidad Bench, $139.99 at Walmart; 6.  Floral Relief Planters with Saucers, $9.95 at Crate&Barrel; 7. Potted Agave, $39.95 at Pier1; 8. Floral Cotton Pillow, $19.38 at Pier1; 9. Marrakech Decorative Pillow, $19.99 at Target; 10. Casabelle Ottoman Cushion, $44.95 at Pier1.

And the sun's trying to come out...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I'm a sucker for Country Living magazine.  My mom gets it, and I think that's why I still like it.  Anyway, since I can't get it over here [well, I can, but I don't think it's worth £7 a pop], I check it all out online.  Now these are a little old [like 2 years], but still amazing.  I really want to makeover my bedroom, so here's some inspiration!  All images are from Country Living.
I'm not usually a fan of the sun/moon/stars thing, but I love how understated this space is.  Vintage and eclectic.

I love open brickwork.  D knows this, and I'm really hankering for an apartment with this feature, though it's easier to find in old renovated warehouses... we'll keep looking...

Beautiful for a little girls room, or a spare bedroom.  If only I could remember how to knit/crochet... at least I still have the afghan that my grandmother made me.

Yellow!  Love the mix of color and pattern here.  The only problem with this style is that D won't think that anything matches and reject it right away.  He already doesn't like the fact that we have dark sheets and a white duvet cover...

This one is so minimal, but rustic and cozy.  If we were back in Maine, this would be the one to go for... it would fit the hubby's matching criteria [although he may not like the dark walls...].

It's almost like a fancy hotel suite.  I love mixing white with a small dose of color.  A bit too white for us, but it's beautiful nonetheless.

So D's a giant and doesn't like sloping roofs.  I don't blame him.  but I love the open beams and mix of vintage and rustic with bold color.  And it's yellow!  Yippee!  This is the one to go for I think... see below for where to buy.

In the UK:

1. Sanderson Wallpaper, Etchings and Roses DPFWER104, Yellow, £39/meter at John Lewis; 2. Union Jack Embroidered Cushion, £29.50 at M&S; 3. PiP Studio Chinese Rose Bed Set, Red, from £60 at John Lewis; 4. LEIRVIK Bed, £109 at Ikea; 5. Annabella Chandelier, 3 Arm, £80 by John Lewis; 6.  French Chest of Drawers, £399 at Graham&Green; 7. John Lewis Alicia Table Lamp, £45 at John Lewis; 8. Autograph Pemberley Chair, £599 at M&S.

In the US:

1. 1891 by Sferra Mai Thai Bedding Set, from $89.97 at Macy's; 2. Owl Lamp, $34.99 at Target; 3. 4-Bulb Flower Chandelier - White, $89.99 at Target;  4. Norwall  Document Damask Wallpaper, $39.20 per roll at Lowe's; 5. Avenue Six Trition Club Chair, Woven Wheat, $299 at Walmart; 6. Naples Four Drawer Chest - White, $299 at Target; 7. Maddie Headboard Set-Queen, $379.99 at Target; 8. Embroidered Bird Pillow - Sand, $34.95 at Pier1.

Time to go shopping!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Swede Escape

As you've probably gathered, I'm not a huge fan of the 'show home' look.  I like places to feel more lived in, and I do like for my furniture to have a bit of character.  I would personally rather scour the flea markets and antiques shops to acquire my furniture than head to Ikea, but at the moment Ikea is what we can afford, and mixing it up with individual pieces and funky accessories can be interesting and fun, as well as budget friendly.

Almost every bit of furniture in our little apartment is from Ikea.  Although it was a bit of a nightmare to pick out all of our furniture at once [and actually find it in the warehouse], we spent a very hot Sunday there.  Five hours of Ikea mania.  And because I'm not a fan of the matchy-matchy scene, I've gone out and bought other random stuff to mix it up and give our rented abode a bit more charisma.  Most of our accessories come from random places, trips that we've taken, or things that I've made myself.  D's even getting excited to make his own wall art out of all of the stuff he's been collecting over the years.

The truth is, I think that the Swede's have the right idea: mix and match, clean lines, fun accessories.  I've recently stumbled upon Skona Hem, a lifestyle magazine from Sweden.  Although I don't understand a damn thing that's written on there, I know what I like, and I like the mix of color and pattern, modern and vintage styles.

all from Skona Hem

Mixing woods, modern with vintage, crazy colors and random accessories.  I think I'm going to tackle the top left photo in the finds for this post [mostly because I want to find something similar to that blue lamp].  See below for where to buy.

In the UK:

1.  Vega-Nor by Victor Vasarely, £14.99 at; 2. Caress Paperweight, Emerald, £29.95 at John Lewis; 3. Antique Fruitwood French Lowboy Desk Sideboard Dresser, £300 at; 4. Pangden Rugs, Catkin, £115 - £525 at John Lewis; 5. Imperial blue large jug, £17.95 at Debenhams; 6.  Glass stem table lamp blue, £79 at Dwell; 7. Zach, £127.20 at Habitat; 8. Paisley Jug, $12.99 at Zara Home.

 In the US:

1. Squares by Victor Vasarely,$179.99 at; 2. Stray Dog Glass Lamp, Clare, $299.99 at Macy's; 3. Rustic White Vase, $49 at Pottery Barn; 4. Mohawk Home Undercurrent Rug Collection - Neutral, from $175.99 at Target; 5. Kon-Tiki Collection Gravy Boat - Blue, $29.99 at Target; 6. Tasman Collection Console Table - Walnut, $179.99 at Target; 7.  Vienna Side Chair, $119 at Crate&Barrel; 8. Glass Sculptures, from $35 at Pier1.

No luck on the lamp then... better luck next time, I guess.