Friday, 23 September 2011

Shop in the Spotlight: Culture Vulture

I haven't done a Shop in the Spotlight for a while but I recently came across Culture Vulture and thought I really must share it with you!

I love that the website looks a bit 'well travelled' and it's sections relate to the destinations it brings it's designs from.

Here's just a selection of some of my favourites...

This gorgeous floor cushion has great colours - I'm besotted by that purple bauble trim!

A little folk-y fun?  I thought this silhouetted deer cushion was quite striking.

I love these Moroccan styled fairy lights, I don't think I've ever seen anything like them before and they'd be gorgeous draped around a mirror or adorning a mantle all year long.

I had to show you this welcome mat as it's the same as the greeting on my Blogger profile.  For my overseas readers, this is a quote by the king of presenters, Bruce Forsyth who's basically a legend in British television.

I thought this little Parisian ticket trinket dish would look lovely on a bedside table or by the front door to throw your keys in.

Another Moroccan styled cushion - I love the colours and folk-y feel of this as well.

I seem to be picking up on a Moroccan theme here but these Souk tea glasses are gorgeous.

I'm trying to convince myself that this could work in my dining room because I love the colours.

How lovely are these water lily candle holders?

I actually like these calligraphy mugs better than the Anthro standby - the script is gorgeously imperfect.

The website is loaded with beautiful, unusual items including prints, books, stationary and more.  And the best thing about Culture Vulture? Their prices are ridiculously reasonable.  And, um, I just got paid.  Yeah, this could be seriously dangerous.

Go on and check them out here.

All images Culture Vulture.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Moodboard: Warm Bright Modern Eclectic Living Room

Now, as y'all know, I'm not an interior designer nor do I pretend to be.  But when a friend asked for some help in the design of her living room, I agreed to give her some ideas.

Natasha lives in a Victorian home that her handy hubby has tirelessly upgraded over the 6 years they've lived there.  But in terms of decorating the space, Tash is, by her own admission, so indecisive and so scared to make a step in the wrong direction, she ends up not doing anything at all.  The other fairly common issue is that she's on a tight budget and so ends up settling for what she doesn't really like because she can't afford what she does.

I'm hoping that with my help, we can finally take some decisive action and give her at least one room that she really likes, within her budget.

At the moment, Tash has a few key pieces that she'd like to keep - namely, her dark chocolate brown leather sofa and chair so these needed to be worked into the scheme. With two children under the age of 4, I wanted to look at saving even more money by reusing some of the other pieces she already had.

To give you an idea of what we are working with, the current room is very similar in size and layout to my own living room except she's got a fully brick fireplace.  Tash thought she could bring some brightness to the room with a red rug but because of the red brick fireplace, dark brown sofas and dark pine framed prints on the wall - well, you can see where this is going, right?  The room looked darker still.  Painting the walls a pale pink to coordinate with some of the colours in the artwork, unfortunately, didn't brighten the space despite her best efforts.

Natasha likes warm colours but the room faces East so doesn't get a lot of natural light during the best part of the day and she wanted something that was fairly modern.  She was ready to chuck out the pine bookshelves she currently had but I've incorporated them into the scheme by showing her how much they can lift the room by painting them white.

The moodboard I created needed to address the following:

  • East-facing Room
  • Warm Colours
  • Modern
  • Bright
  • A touch of eclecticism
  • Kid-friendly
  • TINY budget :)
  • Needed to work with existing furniture

It's amazing how difficult it is to find inspiration for a room that incorporates warm colours but still creates a light, bright environment.  I think we tend to relate warmer colours with a cozy environment, something that makes us feel enveloped so looking for these colours in a light bright environment was a bit of a challenge.

And then I saw this image in the latest issue of Lonny and fell a little in love with the colour scheme.

The bright touches of orange and pink looked gorgeous against a white backdrop with a large sprinkling of bright, sparkly and humorous accessories...

The one thing Tash thought she might like to try was wallpaper so the first step was finding a wallpaper that tied in the colour scheme.

Parrot Flower byAlbany is only £17.99 per roll so it was not only a total bargain but more importantly, it was light, bright and warm - fiery even!

By painting her existing pine bookshelves a bright white colour as well as painting the fireplace white,  it would lift the darkness of the current design.  It's amazing how hard it is to convince people that painting brick is not sacrilege!

By using the wallpaper in the alcoves of the fireplace and behind the sofa and a simple warm white in the rest of the room, you can't help but feel the energy that would be created.

Adding a few carefully selected accessories always helps to set a mood and tie into the scheme. With a few different light sources, you can choose to highlight a vignette, brighten the whole room or create a cozy reading area.

I thought this DIY painted chandelier might be a great place to start...


As well as this simple floor lamp from Tescos on sale for just £60.

Adding to the practical, this funky retro telephone from Graham and Green would sit rather nicely on the white painted bookshelves.

Adding bright cushions to the dark sofas would help lift the room as well.  The 'kissing rabbits' from Urban Outfitters is a favourite.

And I have always loved Marimekko's fabrics as well.  The colours in this cushion tie in nicely with the theme.

Because the windows are so tall (and it's expensive buying curtains for large Victorian windows), I thought maybe she could try something inexpensive like these white ones from Ikea which come in longer lengths but add a bit of whimsy with orange bauble trim.

For an additional element of fun, I thought using white Ikea Ribba frames in a grid pattern behind the sofa filled with pictures of the kids and their colourful artwork might be a great inexpensive option.

Really sorry I don't know where this is from
but happy to credit if anyone else does?

Adding to the eclectic element was this fabulous owl lamp from An Angel At My Table.  As Tash's daughter always likes playing with my little white owls in my living room when she comes over, I thought she might like a big one of her own!

I am, of course, not advocating that this is a toy.  Common sense, people.

I also thought that she can add some bright red or orange baskets to the bottom shelves of the bookcases to hold the kids' toys and games and swap out the knobs on her pine TV shelf with some lovely red and white stripey ones.

Well, those were the main elements but you can see the whole moodboard here.

If you click on it, you can see it much better!

We are waiting for a sample of the wallpaper for now and of course as always, this is a bit of a work in progress so there will always be a few changes but once we start the process, I'm hoping she'll allow me to share some progress photos for you as we go.

So what do you think of the moodboard?  Do you think I kept to the brief?  Anything major I've missed?  What would you have done?  Any ideas you'd like to pipe in with?

I shared my moodboard here...

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

WTF Moment: Face Mug

Ok, I have to admit, this actually made me laugh.

Open wide!!

I just don't think I could drink my tea out of it.

Your WTF Moment brought to you from here...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Happy Birthday Lonny!

The latest issue celebrates two years of Lonny (Goodness, has it really been two years??).  While many will argue that it'll never replace Domino, for me it's wonderful because there really is no magazine equivalent here in the UK with this kind of eclectic, glamorous style.

Here's some of my favourite images from the most recent issue.  Enjoy.

The gorgeous wallpaper paired with the chevron rug is so simple and pretty.

The mirrored wall is fabulous - I love it paired with black walls.

My office desk looks nothing like this.  I need some glamorous accessories!

The rug and artwork and black trim is just plain sexy.

How fun is this map wallpaper?  Love it!

I never thought I would love a pink sofa but this is simply wonderful.

The zebra footstool in a mostly neutral room is making my heart beat faster.

More zebra love.
If you haven't read it yet, what the hell are you waiting for??  You can find it all here.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tales from the Darkside: Black Walled Bedroom

So as I hinted at in this post about black and dark grey rooms, I decided to take the plunge in one of the rooms in my home. That room, as you may have already guessed from the title of my post, is the bedroom. Now what I really want to emphasise is that I have a vision of how I want the bedroom to eventually look and this forms just a small part of it.

So I do hope you bear that in mind when you see the pics that the bed will be replaced in the next few months along with the bedside tables.  With a new bed, will come new linens along with a few new accessories.  In time, almost all of the furniture in the room will be replaced so what you are seeing is by no means a finished article.

But hey, I'm all about sharing here so even though it's just a baby step in terms of the final look of the room, I want to share every step of the way here at Swoon Worthy.

So, how about a reminder of what the bedroom used to look like?  It was painted in a soft grey on all four walls which I didn't dislike but I knew it lacked a bit of punch.

So with the addition of the black wall using Dulux Night Jewels 1, I think the room has just budged it up a notch.  The colour is similar to chalkboard paint - a very very dark grey but not quite black.  I got it in a matt finish which I really like.

It was ready to tip it down with rain when I took these shots and despite the lack of any kind of sunshine in which to speak, you'll see the room doesn't look too dark.

For the record, the other walls are painted in Dulux Dusted Moss 2 which is the same colour as my living room.   I know everyone goes crazy for Farrow and Ball but I love the fact that Dulux will colour match and it's great quality paint.  I always seem to go back to it.

I'll be honest, I wanted to paint the whole room black.  With two large windows, the bedroom gets plenty of light and considering the average sizes of bedrooms in England, it's a very good sized room so I knew it could take it.  Unfortunately, W thought it was a step too far and so I've not been able to completely embrace my dark side!  Alas, when you live with someone else, you do have to make some compromises.

Not sure if it's easy to tell in these pictures but I only painted below the picture rail.  Above the picture rail is white.  I'm not sure if I should extend the colour above the picture rail because I'd have to do the same on the other walls with the soft grey colour as well.  What do you reckon?  I have a feeling it would make the ceilings look taller but I'm not totally sure!

As I said, we are looking at replacing the bed soon.  I would love something upholstered, possibly in a linen-like fabric.  Possibly velvet.  Maybe silk.  Tufted.  Preferrably with a matching base.  Ooh and some nailhead trim.  (What do you mean, I'm too picky?) I continue to search for the covetable combination of high style on a tight budget.  I know I could consider DIYing the headboard but I'm my own worst critic and I fear I would make a bit of a mess with it and then hate myself for it and hate the headboard but feel too bad to scrap it all if it didn't come out the way I planned.

Unfortunately, all the beds I really love are far out of my budget.  None of these prices include the mattress either.  Ouch.

Sweet Amberley Sleigh Bed from Sweetpea and Willow.  This just makes me weep.  
The price does too at £2395.

Raines and Willow Silk Bed £1600.  Yeah, I can't afford this but I can dream..

Graham and Green's tufted nailhead headboard in natural linen. £750.  Still can't afford this.

So I continue in my search.

Back to my own bedroom... You'll see the bedlinens have been reversed (it's a reversable set) because I like the way the lighter colour looks against the darker wall.

I also like the way the yellow lamps illuminate the black.
The white of the door and trim really pops against the dark wall too.

I know it's not a massive 'reveal' or anything but I am happy with how it came out.  I want to get some pictures for the wall, something to really pop against the black but we need to buy the bed first so I can get a feel for the direction I want to go.  I also want to get rid of the silver metallics in the room and replace them with antique gold.  But until then, this will do.

I have to say, I was surprised that the poll I did on my post about black walls showed the majority of people either happy to paint a wall black or go the whole hog and do an entire room.  I'm well impressed with my readers, you crazy risk-takers you!

So what do you think of the change in my bedroom?  Do you think it's too dark?  Would you find it hard to live with?  Do you think I should extend the paint colour above the picture rail?  Do you know of great places to buy inexpensive beds that you can clue me into?  Or do you just want to share your own story of style compromises you've had to make?  Do tell in the comments...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Before and After: Wallpapered Chest of Drawers

So I did a little refresh over the weekend involving some new hardware, a bit of paint and some wallpaper that I already had.

A closeup of the handles

Here's the chest of drawers that got the treatment.  You might remember it previously from my dressing room.

I decided quite some time ago, however, that I really needed something larger in the dressing room.  Plus, we desperately needed something to hold DVDs in the living room and this little pine dresser which I'd bought and painted way back in 2006 fit the alcove rather nicely.  I've mentioned before how I hate the types of DVD storage units available on the British High Street.

As you can see, however, the corner has been crying out for SOMETHING for the last year...

So it was always in the works that I would buy a piece of furniture from eBay or thrift to refinish for the dressing room and this chest of drawers - in some way reimagined - would find a new home in our living room.

It's a very inexpensive chest of drawers, really. I think I bought it from a big chain store unfinished for about £65, slapped on some white paint, put new pulls on it and called it a day.

I thought it was time it was given a bit of prettification before it was moved to the living room.  I played with the idea of doing a harlequin pattern on it but firstly, it was going to be too difficult (let's face it, I don't like math and math was required) and secondly, W poo-poo'd the idea.  So I had to consider something a little less mental.

On a side note, W really just wanted to keep it white.  I didn't, not only because that's no fun, but because the television is black and I felt the room was too 'heavy' on the right hand side of the room so we needed something to balance the left hand side.  I decided to go ahead and start the project without him knowing what I was going to do but hey, he needs to trust me, right? ;)

I decided to use wallpaper to the drawer fronts so only the 'frame' received a coat of primer.  I didn't even sand it.  Maybe if you are following my lead and are going to try it yourself, you should consider sanding but it was raining out and I didn't want to cart the thing down the cellar stairs so I just was being lazy and skipped that step.  I slapped on a coat of oil-based primer (this, however, is VITALLY important - do not use water based primer on glossy paint or else you'll be there all day trying to get it to stick) and left it overnight to dry.

The next day, I gave it two coats of flat emulsion in Dulux Night Jewels 1 (hint: it was leftover from the project I alluded to last week).  It's pretty much as dark as you can get without going completely black.  And yes, you can go over oil-based primer with a water-based emulsion.  Honestly.  First coat looked a bit dodgy, to be fair, but the second coat went on like a dream.

Another little side note:  I used Dulux Night Jewels 3 for my dining room walls which you can see in the image below.  It's a great range of greys with just enough warmth to not make it look too blue or too red.  The Perfect Grey in my book, for whatever it's worth.

For the drawer fronts, I first laid out the wallpaper pattern side down, making note of where I wanted the pattern to start on the front of the drawers.  I then traced around each drawer in succession to ensure continuation of the pattern and then, cut the wallpaper to size.  I initially tried to use an exactoknife around the drawers to start with but I couldn't get a clean enough cut, so tracing it with a felt tip pen and cutting it out worked a bit better for me.  Then, I used a foam brush to put a thin coat of Mod Podge on the drawer fronts and glued the wallpaper in place, ensuring there were no bubbles.  I left them overnight to dry as well.  The next day, once the paper was completely dry, I trimmed any excess from the edges just to neaten the lines.

Want to see the end result?  Well of course you do.

Here again, is the before...

And here's the finished piece in place.

It makes such a difference to the room.

And I think the 'balance' of the room has been restored.  Happily, W agrees.

It was a very simple project really and the best part was that almost everything I used I actually had on hand. The only thing I purchased for it was the pull handles.

So I decided that the room needed a little refresh.  Nothing major, mind you, I just felt like I had too many surfaces covered in STUFF so I've majorly pared back what is on show and swapped things around a bit.  It's hard for me to do this, being the total maximalist that I am, but I think restraint is probably a good thing.  I'll never ever be a minimalist mind you but I do need to reign myself in sometimes.

So I changed up the 'hole' where the fireplace will hopefully eventually go...

And the side table under the bay window...

Really should have tidied up the drawers before this picture was taken...

And I pretty much cleared the coffee table completely...

So, while you probably can't tell it's much different, it just feels a bit cleaner to me.

I do love the way the wallpaper matches on both sides of the room now.  I know, matchy-matchy is normally a very bad thing, but in this case, I don't care.

Here's a gratuitous shot of my sofa, just because after W, it's my one true love.

How I feel about my sofa.

Oh, wait, this is about the chest of drawers isn't it?  Oh yeah.  Here it is again but with the light switched on.  I would love to get a new lamp but I was using what I already had and just purchased a new black lampshade for it.  I'm kind of obsessed with black lampshades at the minute so might share my new obsession in a future post.

The only problem with the drawers is that I realised once I started that the paint is completely matt which looks fantastic but probably won't be very durable.  So I may need to give it a coat of clear varnish if I want to keep the top looking scratch free.  I don't expect this piece will get a lot of abuse being that it just holds our DVDs but if you were to do this in a bedroom, for instance, where the drawers would be open and shut on a daily basis, I would recommend putting a coat of Mod Podge over the wallpaper fronts as well.  I may still do this myself.

Total cost?  £3.28 x 8 pull handles = £26.24. Everything else I already had.

The whole project only took me a few hours over the course of a weekend.  It was the first time I tried wallpapering furniture but I might have to find something else to wallpaper as it was so easy to get an instant result. Have you ever used wallpaper to transform a piece of furniture?  Or maybe you started a project without your other half's consent?  Perhaps you went a bit mad using Photoshop on one of your posts? Go on, do share in the comments!

I've shared this project here...
The DIY Show Off

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