Sunday, 31 July 2011

Progress Report: Jali Shelving and My Startling Impatience

So I'll just start this post by saying, yes the open shelving is up BUT (and it is a very large 'but' indeed), they are not finished yet.  We have lots more to do on these but I was so bloody excited to finally have it that I've already moved all my stuff into the units.  Even though it's totally not done.   

Impatient? Moi?

Despite my impatience and despite the fact they are no where near complete, I didn't think it'd be right to not at least share this stage with you so that you can see how we are planning to tweak them.

If you are new here (and if you are, why hello there you sexy thang! Thank you for joining me!), you can read about my kitchen design influences here, discovering the hidden ceiling here, tearing it down here, putting up the plasterboard and pendants here, plastering here, and putting in the cooker hood, the backsplash and the tiling here.) 

So as I mentioned in this post, I purchased the units from Jali and they were delivered once my order was placed in about a week and a half.

All the pieces come like flat pack furniture.

And it didn't take long to begin their build.

W attached them to the wall via some L brackets as you can see below.  We purchased the brackets separately as they weren't included with the shelves.

Disclaimer/Warning/Common Sense/Achtung etc:  The L brackets were recommended to us by a representative by Jali based upon our wall type and we'd done a bit of our own research as well to ensure they would be the best fix for us.  So if you are considering doing this kind of a build, please make sure you find out the best method of fixing based upon the gross weight of the shelves (that's your shelves PLUS the items that will go on them) and your wall type. 

We quickly realised that it was easier to erect the 'box' surround first and THEN the shelves because wow, these bitches are HEAVY.  You wouldn't think they would be, being MDF and all but yeah - really really sturdy and very heavy.  I was pretty pleased by the quality I have to admit.

Unfortunately, our shipment was short of a few of the locking discs that are used to keep the shelves in place.  A phone call on Monday meant that on Tuesday we had them in hand but you'll see from the pic below that we were only able to build one shelf and then built the other a few days later.

As you can see from this pic, the left one went up first 
because there are already things on it!

So anyway, like I said at the start, these aren't done.  In fact, they aren't even painted yet, just primed.  We'll be doing a bit more work on them this weekend and then I'll share Stage 2 with you.

However, I have to admit, I am LOVING all the extra storage.

Ya know when they first went up, my first thought was that I wouldn't have enough to fill them.  HA!!  Why in the world did I think that?  I had loads.

Unfortunately, I have during this exercise, realised that I don't have nearly enough pretty pieces and so I'm going to have to rectify that.  Pretty serving platters, gorgeous pitchers, lovely plates... these I envision are all in my future.

In the meantime, I've just put up what I had stuffed into the cupboards and stuck to a loose 'food' theme on the left hand unit...

...and a 'serving' theme on the right.

I have no idea if it will stay like this.  Knowing how often I am moving things around, it's likely to change by the time I hit 'submit' on my post.  But anyway, that's how it looks now.

So what's next?  Well, see that big gap above the units?  Originally, we were just going to add cornicing around the ceiling and cornicing at the top of the units but we've decided on something slightly different.

We are going to 'build up' the units so they go to the ceiling and then cornice around that.  I'm really excited by this slight change because I really think it'll add a more sophisticated look to our rather inexpensive MDF solution. 

This inspiration image probably best illustrates what I mean even though my kitchen won't be this gorgeous obviously but one can dream... and ours will obviously be a bit higher given the height of the ceiling.

See how the shelving units hit the ceiling and the cornicing has been installed around them?  That's what we want to do.

Funny that W was against the idea to start with until he saw this picture! ;)

Sally Wheat's kitchen.  Swoon.

We'll also be adding a bit of decorative beading around the edges to finish them off.   My next 'Progress Report' post will go into a bit more detail so stay tuned for that.  And even after this, there's still other work I want to do with them with a contrasting back (wallpaper?  paint?  blackboard paint?  beadboard? the mind boggles.)

But in the meantime, do you wanna see a before and after?  Of course ya do.

So this is what the wall looked like when we'd tweaked the kitchen the first time (just with a bit of paint and accessories).  Apologies for the dark pictures as they were taken at night!

And here's what it looks like with the shelving in place plus all the other bits and pieces we've done so far:

I love them but I keep looking in the old 'spots' where we used to store things, forgetting they are on display now!

Stay tuned for Stage 2 where the cupboards get zhushed up a bit and the cornicing goes up!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bloomin' Lovely: The Power of Flowers

Flowers make me giddy like a schoolgirl.  I just love them.  I remember when I was young, before I moved out of my parents' home, that I promised I would always have two things when I had a space to call my own; the first was fresh flowers and the second was good coffee.  Probably because it was rare that my parents' home contained either one.

Now living in England with their famous love of tea and instant coffee (I know, sound horrible but somehow I've gotten used to it) has pretty much negated the latter pledge (you can read a fellow American's view on England's coffee here.) But for the former, I still attempt to oblige to my 16 year old sensibilities as often as I can.

So, first up, glorious gladiolis that I recently bought - wait for it - from my local Tesco Express.  Mmhmm.

Even better?  They were only £2 for a bunch!! I know, I know, you can't believe it.  Well, I couldn't either because, oh my god, aren't they gorgeous??

I keep walking into my living room just to 'visit' them.  I know, I'm weird.  It's fine, I've come to terms with it.

I just love the colour so much.  This is actually the second bunch I bought because sadly, the first bunch only last a little over a week as I wasn't home enough to look after them last week.  I am going to make sure I keep on top of clipping the stems on this bunch and hope they last me a little bit longer. 

To be fair, for £2, I don't really mind if they are short-lived.  The colour they add to the room is worth it!

I also decided to take advantage of some summer bargains at my local Homebase this weekend and picked up a pretty hanging basket which W hung up for me next to the back door.

This is what it looked like before, all sad and plain and unloved (save for my little yellow and white chrysanthemums peeking out from the kitchen)...

And now... ta da!

It makes me happy now that we've got a bit of cheerful colour by an area that was previously pretty neglected. 

We also had this planter that was left here by the previous owners that I just haven't gotten around to doing anything with.  I know, I know, it's embarrassing putting this stuff on my blog because dear god, how difficult is it to just chuck out the weeds and put some bedding plants in?

Apparently very difficult because it's been like this for a YEAR.

I'm cringing just showing you... please don't hate.

Now I didn't buy a new pot mostly because I'm a cheapskate and I thought with a few nails, it could be easily fixed.  Unfortunately, it took a bit of No Nails on just to hold it together because it was actually falling to bits.  So excuse the sorry state of it, I'll probably buy a new one at some point but in the meantime, these sweet dahlias needed somewhere to live!

I do love me some dahlias, though, aren't they just gorgeous?

I can't wait til the dahlias bed properly and I have a few more pretties that will hopefully distract from the sorry state of their container!  Bless 'em, they deserve so much better.

So there are my new blooms that are brightening up my days lately and I think gladioli and dahlias may just be on my list of current favourite flowers. 

Have you given in to Flower Power lately and bought yourself some lovelies?  Any favourites at the moment?  Any pledges that you made when you were young?  How about embarrassing stories of painful neglect of a pot plant?  Because that would most definitely make me feel better.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

(Lack of) Progress Report: Kitchen Shelving Units

I do apologise for the severe lack of posts here on Swoon Worthy the past couple of weeks.  My work has taken me here, there and everywhere recently and unfortunately, it's always the things we enjoy the most that suffer when we're so exhausted that people are mistaking you for an extra in Shaun of the Dead.  I can, however, reveal that I am indeed still alive despite my appearance.

No, that's not me.  That's a scene from Shaun of the Dead.  
Ok, I have no desire to eat human flesh but the half-closed eyes, 
dark circles, the drooling mouth, the frizzy hair?  Yeah I relate.

So anyway, I just wanted to give you a little update on the kitchen.  Or actually, the very ridiculous LACK of update on the kitchen.

See, we were looking at doing the shelving next.  We just never anticipated that it'd be such an incredible - forgive my French - BALL ACHE.  I mean, how hard can it be, right?  Some bits that go on the sides, some bits that go in the middle, and voila!  Shelving unit!

This is kind of what I was hoping for...


Yeah, except that it doesn't quite work that way as we found out.  Turns out you can't just buy hardwood cut to your requirements.  You can buy TIMBER cut to size.  Or MDF cut to size.  Or PARTICLEBOARD cut to size.  But not wood.  No, wood needs to be manufactured to a specific width and depth - they take strips of timber and basically glue it all up together to create planks.  I guess I sort of knew that but what I didn't realise is that you can't really buy it like that 'off the shelf'.

Which means, getting wood custom made to your requirements.  Which means big fat huge cost.  Which means that it's no longer in our budget.

So we started looking at other options, figuring out where we can stand to compromise.  Let me tell you, peeps, this has taken us WEEKS to figure out what we were going to do.  Every option we considered was met with either a huge obstacle (not available, doesn't come in the right width/length/depth for our requirements, etc.) or huge cost (everything, I suppose, is available if you have an unlimited budget.  Ours, unfortunately, is not).

Funnily enough, it was via email marketing that I realised we can get pretty close to what we wanted at a good price.  Jali sent me an email with their latest offerings and I realised I could get a custom design that worked within our budget. Bingo.

Nice thing about Jali is they have a very clever tool where you design the pieces yourself and the prices are reflected every time you make a change to your design.  It's very intuitive and very easy but when I still had a few questions, a simple contact form was filled out and a very nice man gave me a call the next day to answer my questions.  I can't fault the service so far.

So this is what we were originally after:

2 units
25mm thickness
No 'middle' dividers (ie., each large unit had a continuous shelf)
33mm depth

And this is what we've ended up with:

2 units
18mm thickness
Both units had limits in terms of widths before sagging would occur so we had to use middle dividers
33mm width

So, it's not EXACTLY what we wanted.  But I suppose sometimes you have to learn to make compromises.  MDF was not our material of choice but it's easy to paint (which was our intention all along) and we were able to get it to the depth we required.  It was also SUBSTANTIALLY less money.  We'll have to see once they are up whether the 18mm thickness is a bit too 'weedy' or if they'll need beefing up at all with some nice strip moulding.

The units will arrive tomorrow and so we'll see what they look like when they get here.  They cost us around £250 and when you consider that custom units out of oak would have easily cost us 4 times that amount, I suppose that's a pretty good deal.  Plus, that includes the option of including a white primer as well which will save us a bit of time on the painting front.

Speaking of, as much as I can't wait to get them up, I know our work won't quite be done just yet.  There will still be the extra bits like the moulding for the shelf edges and cornicing for the top.  I also want to use thin pieces of MDF to 'line' the back of the shelves to allow me to either use paint or wallpaper for interest and easily change it when I get bored of it (woman's prerogative and all that).  The whole thing will then need to be painted.

But hey, at least we got somewhere, right?  At least we've found a solution that I hope will meet our needs.

So tell me... have you had to compromise on anything in your home lately?

And if you haven't seen Shaun of the Dead yet, for goodness sake, what the hell are you waiting for?  It's brilliant.  Go, quickly and see it.  Tell Simon Pegg I sent you.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Take Me Away: Corinthian Club, Glasgow

I went to Glasgow last year for the first time.  It was the day after we'd moved everything out of W's house and into storage and moved our necessities to W's mum's house for 6 weeks whilst we waited to close on our house.  Needless to say, we'd been packing for 5 days straight, lifting heavy things and playing what felt like a giant game of Jenga, in order to fit almost everything we owned into a 8ft cube.  Add to that the stress of buying a new house, what with mortgage deals and solicitors and timing and I can say pretty securely, it wasn't the easiest of times.

We'd made the plans with a group of friends months before, however, so when the day came, despite our exhaustion, we drove the 3 1/2 hours north to enjoy the Scottish city.  The thing I remember most about that weekend is how exhausted I was the entire time.  I had no idea that moving a few things would really take it out of me.

Therefore, I'd love to go again.  And when we do venture those few hours up the M6 and the M74, I would love to pay a visit to the Corinthian Club.

The 5 floors which houses private bars, dining rooms and function rooms for most any occasion is just astonishingly beautiful.

Who needs a stamp rug when you can have something like this?

Among it's many offerings is this amazing casino.  Now I'm not much of a gambler but in these surroundings, I don't think I would really mind losing a few quid.

The building has an interesting history, having started life in 1852 as the Glasgow Ship Bank.  In 1929, the addition of many false walls and ceilings hid it's beauty from the public eye when it was converted to justiciary courts.

From the website...

"In 1999, G1 Group painstakingly restored the 'Grade A Listed' building to its former splendour. This work included the reconstruction of the Roman Doric pilastrade and the restoration of the elaborate cornicing, superb sculptural plasterwork, free-standing classical figures and extensive gold-leaf work."

Splendour indeed.

The ceiling here is breath-takingly out of this world.

How fabulous is the lighting?  Perfect for this space.  It's all about scale, isn't it?

The Boutique is perfectly feminine.

Stunning isn't it?  I think the things about the Corinthian Club that I like the most is the combination of classic shapes with modern and that every single room has a bit of sparkle.  What do you like the most? 

I must also apologise for the lack of posts lately.  The combination of not much going on in the way of our own home renovation and the ridiculous increase in my workload has meant I haven't had as much time as I like to blog and to visit everyone else's blogs!  Promise to see you all really soon and hope you have a fantastic week!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Colour Crush: Coral and Turquoise

I've been crushing on coral for a while now.  At first, I thought it was just lust.  A fleeting flirtation, a bit of a roll in the hay (accessories, clothing) and that'd be that.  A seasonal fling.  Nothing permanent, of course.


But no.  Coral is getting to me.  Coral is weaving it's way into my heart and I know it.  I can no longer stop myself longingly staring at it with every photo that passes my monitor.  I can't stop myself imagining the future we could have together.  And oh how happy we'd be!


I reminded myself of how I used to like Peach.  I loved Peach when I was very young.  My bedroom at age 14 was decked out in Peach and Sage Green.  But I'd outgrown Peach.  I left it behind with my youthful indecisiveness when I decided everything had to be Cream and Burgundy when the 90's hit.  And I knew, Peach was not so far from Coral.  I knew, some day the love affair would be over.  That some day I may not love it like I did now.



But no.  It didn't matter how much I reminded myself that the 80's were best forgotten in terms of style.  Coral can't seem to leave me alone.  It keeps calling me and I can't ignore it for much longer.  It's getting to me, winking at me, a flirtation bordering on intrusion, ala Fiona Apple.  I can't help it, I want to give in.


I may have to give in. 


I'm imagining my dressing room decked out in turquoise, coral, white and gold.

You'd still respect me in the morning, wouldn't you?

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