Monday, 22 September 2014

My new Dining Table and an unexpected change of rug...

You may remember me mentioning recently that I'd finally found a new table for the dining room. While the heavy T style table had served me well for many years, it felt too heavy and too wide for the room. I wanted something brighter and lighter for the space. And something I could easy get out from behind without having to do a small acrobatics routine.

After much anticipation, my new table from Joss & Main has arrived. And I love it.

However, when I had moved the chairs out to dismantle the old table and put the new one in it's place, I realised how battered my woven rug really was. Those little bits of cotton are fair game for kitties with claws who like to pull and pull and pull on it! And so it was looking a bit worse for wear. I couldn't put my new fresh table on such a crappy rug, could I? No, it would be a crime against lovely new tables everywhere.

And then I realised I had a perfectly good new rug, also from Joss & Main, wrapped up in the 2nd bedroom waiting for the office remodel... you know where this is going, right? Of course you do. I'm like an open book.

Okay now, before you say anything, I know it's a bit too small for the room. But goodness, the pattern play and the colours work so incredibly well that I'm going to ignore that slight faux pas in styling.

I may actually get a larger jute rug to sit beneath it to make it work. Or I may move this back into the guest bedroom when it's finally done and purchase a larger one for in here. I don't know. Don't rush me on these decisions. For now, it's staying, interior design rules be dammed. They can't hold me down, I'm a rebel.

The table however, works rather perfectly. I love the soft matt finish and curvy legs with the Chippendale chairs. The whole room just feels so much fresher and crisper. Who doesn't love the combination of navy blue and white? No one. That's who.

Speaking of new additions, how cute is my gold pineapple? The lovely Antonia at Rose & Grey sent it to me as a little gift which I thought was rather perfect (she knows me so well!). I love how it looks like a proper pineapple. I have no idea what it's made out of but I sort of want to cut it up and put it in a salad and eat it. I won't, mind you. But the urge is there.

You'll also see in the picture below, the framed Sarah & Bendrix print I talked about on Friday on the far wall next to the window. We added a simple wooden blind (it's been naked for a while and I raised it up to get as much light in here as possible whilst taking pictures but it's not always hiked up that high!) and I'm considering adding another pelmet in here (the DIY for the one in my dressing room coming soon, they are dead easy to make). You can also see I moved my black & white prints to the alcove. I never had anything hung there before but it seems to bring a balance to the room.

Those stunning gladiolis were actually bought for me by Wayne. I shared them on Instagram but they are just so gorgeous (and so inexpensive!) that I'm sharing them again.

I went a little mental with the picture taking...

But every time I walk into the room now, I have to smile. I don't even hate the grey/white pattern on the side chairs as much any more although I do want to replace them at some point!

If you need a reminder, here's what it looked like not too long ago...

And now...

Finally, my really shitty wide angle lens comes in to share much more of the room. It's weird seeing it like this but it gives you a good idea of the whole space - kind of like real estate pictures, no? And the room actually looks bigger here (It's just 3.45 metres x 4.15 metres or 11ft 4in x 13ft 7in so not huge). Maybe not pinnable but informative!

Anyway, what do you think of the new additions? Would a white table be your thing?

Don't miss a thing!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Custom Framing with

So when I shared the dressing room reveal, I told you I would be talking a little more about the beautiful bamboo frames for my Leigh Viner prints that I got so long ago.

You may remember that they were originally framed in some inexpensive John Lewis' numbers that I'd spray painted gold. I always felt the original frames really didn't do these stunning illustrations justice and they really warranted something a little more... I dunno. Special perhaps.

So when got in touch with me a couple of months ago to see if I would be open to reviewing their frames here on Swoon Worthy, I naturally agreed. In fact, they provided 3 frames to me but let's talk about these two first.

Now, let me start by saying the frames come in looking like this.

Which, being rather ignorant, I panicked thinking, 'Oh my god I didn't order blue mats!!', Kimberly, they are not blue, you div. They are covered with a transparent blue film.

Panic over.

Once the prints were all framed up, they looked rather lovely. We went from this...

To this...

So much better, no? I love the gold bamboo frame which works really well with the Chinoiserie-style wallpaper in here and I am absolutely in love with the option for a metallic gold bottom mat. I haven't seen this before on other framing sites and for me, it's a big reason I'd order again. It really lifts the look of the print so beautifully.

Now, ordering is very straight forward and your options truly are endless. You simply choose the 'custom frames' option and then you can either browse the options available or choose 'design your own' and 'frame and mount' which is what I did.

You can start by uploading a picture of your print. This is brilliant for allowing you to easily see whether the frame and mount you choose will work well with your artwork. You then enter the size of the aperture based upon how much of the print you want to see (so if you want to show the whole print, just take 10 mm off the finished height and width so you have a 5mm overlap on each side). You can then choose the thickness and style of the mount you want (either single mount or double mount) and the colours of each. There are literally a myriad of options available for frames at different price points and choosing each option will reflect the change in price at the top of your page. For this look, I chose the 'Ice White' top core mount with a 'Metallic Gold' bottom core mount.

Shipping was quick and painless and the finished quality is very good - the frames feel heavy and well made. They come with hanging hardware as well but there are all manner of extras available as well as different glazing options on the site so have a look around to see what suits your print best.

Here is the one in the dining room... I purchased this print recently from Sarah & Bendrix and the frame was the perfect finish for the gold foil lettering.

While I still have plenty of inexpensive frames in my home, I'm starting to see how ordering a custom frame for a print really does elevate the look and feel of your artwork.

I've already got my eye on a few more prints (you can never have enough art, can you?) and am happy to recommend to you if you have a special print that really deserves a beautifully crafted frame.

Don't miss a thing!

I received my frames free for my review of but all images, opinions and words are as always, my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Swoon Worthy.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dressing Room Mini-Makeover: DIY Vanity and Pleated Skirt

I hope you enjoyed my reveal of my newly improved dressing room! As I said in that post, one of my favourite additions to the room is the larger and prettier vanity. My previous skirted vanity was very small (only the width of the shelving units) and wasn't practical any more - I needed something I could spread out on whilst doing my face in the morning!

If you'd like to make one yourself, here's how we created mine. (Or you can pin the image below for future reference!)

I started off with this incredibly detailed drawing that would make most engineers blissful in it's accuracy. It's like AutoCad - you can practically reach out and TOUCH it, can't you?!

I know, I know. The pretty paper is just a bonus. Ahem.

Anyway, we started off with the same leftover doors that I used for the top of the chest of drawers, cut to the correct width. We then drew two quarter circles on each side using my large round photography reflector as a guide (any really large circular object will work fine), making sure they met at what would be the top of the vanity to create the curved shape.

Wayne then took his router and cut it to shape...

...and then used a belt sander to smooth out any uneven edges.

It was the turn of my newly most favourite stuff in the world. The marble patterned sticky back plastic. We essentially used the same method as the top for the chest of drawers with one change.

That rounded edge is a little more challenging to get a nice tight fit so we used a hair dryer to warm up the plastic making it more pliable. This allows it to be stretched around a curved edge and gives a much smoother finish. (This was my idea and I'm rather proud of that because it's usually Wayne who comes up with the genius ideas so I thought I'd blow my own horn..errr hair dryer with that one.)

The top was then just affixed to the original brackets (like these ones) that held the old vanity top. You can see the reason why that skirt is necessary - it hides all manner of cords and appliances. Oh and for the fire-safety conscious, no, that extension lead is no longer hung on the radiator, it was off at the time. 

The next step was the full pleated skirt. I purchased 2.5 meters of a lovely shimmery golden-brown fabric that looked a bit like pulled silk for £8/metre from Terry's Fabrics which is about 2 minutes from my home (convenient). It looks like a plain brown fabric in the photographs but you can really see how it shimmers in this picture taken right in front of a window where it really catches the light.

I ironed the fabric and then measured the distance between the bottom of the vanity and the floor for my height and then added on 4cm (1cm to fold under the cut edge, then another fold of 2cm for the bottom hem and 1cm allowed at the top where it would be stapled to the underside of the vanity table) to get the finished height. This left with me a 2.5 metre long piece of fabric just slightly taller than the height of my vanity.

Once cut for the height, I folded it in half length-wise and cut it to get two panels of equal length (so 1.25 metres long for each panel). I simply hemmed each panel on the 3 cut sides (I left the top unhemmed as this is where it would be stapled). The reason there are two panels is so that you have an opening in the middle to access whatever you are hiding underneath the skirt. I've overlapped them in the middle so that the gap isn't visible unless you open it (seen below, apologies for the dodgy grainy photo).

I then climbed underneath the table and staped like so... this looks horribly confusing but I'm going to explain it.

On each panel, you want to staple one end to where your skirt begins and one end to where the skirt ends (being sure to overlap the ends of the two panels in the middle). You then want to find the middle of each panel and staple that directly between your two end staples.

Each panel is much longer than the width of your table so in order to get that full pleated look, you need to continue doing this - I call it dividing and conquering.

You find the middle of the fabric between the staples and staple it directly between the two staples either side. The loose fabric will very quickly start to pucker and you just continue stapling, halving your excess fabric and stapling into the centre of your previous staples until the gaps between where you've stapled the fabric become so small you can't see them any more.

You don't need to be perfect with this - I very much eye-balled it and it came out fine. Witness my rather haphazard stapling style underneath...(in my defence, it was dark under there - this photo is with flash).

It sounds complicated but it couldn't be easier. I had a full skirt in less than an hour.

The length of the skirted part is around 1.2 metres and so I used 2.5 metres of fabric to get this fullness (so around double the length). If you want an even fuller skirt, you can go up to 3 times as long as the length you are 'skirting' (yep, totally a word in this context). If you want something less full, then obviously go to 1.5 times the length and so on.

I really love my new little vanity but really this is something you can fit in the corner in a bedroom too if you had a little bit of space - the footprint is quite small but you get quite a lot of space on top and room underneath for storage. And it was actually quite inexpensive (It cost just £34 in all and that gave me enough fabric for the pelmet too). I'm considering adding some hooks underneath for all the paraphernalia that hides below!

Is this a DIY you might try?

Don't miss a thing!

Oh and don't forget, there's still time to vote for my little splodge on the interwebs in Amara's Interior Blog Awards 2014 in the DIY category! Thank you to everyone who's already voted, it truly does mean so much to me!

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