Monday, 31 October 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from Swoon Worthy!

Will you be having a few tasty treats on All Hallow's Eve?

Buried Alive Muffins

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

 Or going for an unforgettable look tonight?




Wearing an amazing dark and sexy outfit?



Getting in touch with your dark side?




Or perhaps you're just dreaming of your own personal vampire?



(Hey I'm an equal opportunity blog here
and you can't tell me she's not seriously hot.)

Whatever you do...
from our resident black cat, Pablo and all of us here at 
Swoon Worthy, we hope you have a suitably spooky night!  
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Gold Rush: Beautiful Rooms with Gold Accents

It's official.  I'm obsessed with gold.  It's snuck up on me slowly but we are talking full takeover now.

I want it in every single room.  For now, the dressing room is the only place I've introduced it but by god, I will be putting it into more rooms.

If you need convincing, here's a little inspiration... Swoon at will.








Have you incorporated gold into any of your rooms?  Are you as obsessed as I am?  W is still not entirely sure of gold but I already know I'll win him around (love you baby!) ;)

If you want to see more, check out my Pinterest board Old Gold.

Also, I wanted to mention that the lovely Erin from Clementine and Olive has featured my living room on her blog this week!  I'm so flattered, especially when Erin's own living room looks like this!  Gorgeous, isn't it??

Notice the touches of gold everywhere here as well!  Beautiful!

Go over and check out her blog, it's really fabulous and her home is amazing!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Progress Report: Laying Slate Tiles with Underfloor Heating

Oooh get ready for a whinge-y post.  This project tested our patience to the nth degree.

Even just typing out the title of this post makes me feel tired.  Maybe because it just took so much longer and so much more money than we'd ever anticipated to finish the flooring in our kitchen remodel. And it was probably the hardest job we've undertaken in this house so far.

The finished floor.

I think the main issue was how many steps there were and how long a wait there was between each subsequent step.  So we would complete one task which would take an hour to complete and have to wait 3 days before we could move on to the next task.  But of course, that would take us into the working week and so it'd be the weekend again before we could move on.  And then another however-much-time of waiting which took us to the next weekend...and so on and so on.  Weeks, people, weeks.

Removing the existing laminate flooring and underlay

Goodbye ugly laminate!  Don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out!

So what I will not do is bore you with every single detail because honestly, it's just not really worth it.  I have 52 pictures of it (it's okay, I haven't included them all).  I really don't want to talk you through every individual step.  And I'll be brutally honest with you, I don't want to do a step by step because a lot of what we did was basically look things up, read a million different blogs, forums, manufacturer instructions... and then watch you tube videos, ask some friends... you get the picture.  We just did what seemed to work each individual step of the way.  This is another reason it took so long.  Because we weren't ENTIRELY sure what we were doing and, well, we sort of winged it a bit.

Very very old tile flooring which we didn't bother taking up.

Adhesive goes down and insulation boards that work with the underfloor heating are set.

The underfloor heating sits on top of the insulation boards.

As they say, there are a thousand ways to skin a cat (who came up with that saying anyway? It's seriously gruesome) and this is just the way we ended up doing it.  I don't know that given slightly different circumstances in everything from what we laid the flooring upon to the temperature outside, might give someone else a different result.

Another layer of adhesive goes on top of all that - looked a bit like concrete dry.

And even more to even the floors in preparation for the tiles.

We also had to dig out one of the walls to install the thermostat.  We thought we'd have to call in an electrician for this bit but a bit of research meant that we saved ourselves the cost by doing it ourselves.  Which was a very good thing because the flooring cost a lot more than we'd budgeted for so the savings were welcome!

One of the other difficult things about this job was that slate is a natural product.  If you want evenly coloured, perfectly matched tiles, get porcelain.  If you want tiles that are all the same thickness, get porcelain.  If you want tiles that have all the same texture, get porcelain.  If you want perfection, get porcelain.  See where I'm going with this?

Slate is imperfect.  And that is one thing I do like about it.  But holy heck, is it hard work.

Sorting the tiles into thicknesses.

Trying to lay tiles of varying thicknesses onto a floor that is uneven and then somehow get them to lay straight was an all weekend affair.

Tiles are laid out in the dining room in the order in which they will go down.

After a very long time going through every single individual tile to see where it best would sit and then laying them, they had to be sealed and protected or they will stain with water, oil, etc.

Two coats of sealer and two coats of protector before we were able to grout.  With a little brush because that's how it needs to go on.  And the waiting in between coats. We took turns with this one because it was so tiresome and boring!

We had a 'no shoes' policy going for a couple of weeks.

Finally, we were able to grout.  I have no pictures of the grouting process.  Try not to be too upset.  It was probably because I was so tired of this floor not being finished that I didn't bother.

And then we had to clean (multiple times, the grout is like soot that sits on top) and then seal on top of the grout.

Finally finally finally.... we were left with this.

I have to admit...

It was totally worth the hassle, the time, the backache from lifting these suckers and the sore knees.

We love it.

I even bought a new little chevron door mat from H&M for a mere £7.50.  Bargain.

It was too big to fit into that space so we just cut it to size.

Step one.

Step two.

Step three.

Cute no?

Ta da!

Now, it's obvious from these pics we are missing something rather important.  And that would be the kickboards (or plinths I think they are called... ya know, the bits of wood that sit between the bottom of the cupboard and the floor).  But we're going to be matching the kickboards to the butcherblock counter tops - darkly stained wood.  Mmm-mmm.

They will hopefully look rather lush once they go in but I couldn't resist showing you the floors even though we've got big gaping holes under the cupboards.

I like the way that the pattern of the tile (bricked) matches the pattern of the wall tiles.  And I just think they look lovely.  Lovely and uneven and imperfect, like nature should be.

Also, the underfloor heating works a treat!  It's nice and toasty underfoot which will be welcome over the cold winter.  We don't have a radiator in the kitchen at all so something to take that edge off was a very necessary indulgence.

Still needs a couple coats of paint so apologies for an 'in-progress' picture!

So far, we've spent in total £1383 (and we are talking EVERYTHING from tile spacers to mixing buckets and everything in between) but £500 of that was the flooring.  Yeah.  Worth.  It.

That's to go from this...

To this...

It's amazing how much you save by doing it yourself.  We could have easily spent ten times that amount if we'd called in people to do it.  Of course, it'd probably have been finished by now but it's a satisfying journey so I've surprised myself with my patience.

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, putting in the cooker hood, the backsplash and tiling here and putting up the open shelving here, installing the crown molding and the risers here and finally painting the cupboards and replacing the hardware here.)   

We are very close now with completing this project.  I can't wait to get the butcher block counter tops in as they will really warm up the space again - with every scrap of wood/laminate gone now, the kitchen looks a bit cold.  With the wood counter tops stained a nice deep colour in combination with matching kickboards, the warmth will be restored.  Well, that's the plan anyway.

In the meantime, I think our backs and our bank balance need a little bit of a break!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Room Lust: Hollywood Regency in Blush Pink

Hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!  I'm hoping to finally share our new slate kitchen floors with you this week which has taken a lot longer and a lot more work than we'd initially anticipated!

I came across this beautiful living room on Inspire My House Pretty and just had to share. Careen is a fellow UK blogger with impeccable taste and she's just had the most gorgeous baby boy so do pop by and say hello!

Now this gorgeous space is undeniably feminine with the blush pink sofa and fluffy white cushions but the contrast with black in the cushions, picture frames, mirror and trim give it a bit of a rock n' roll edge, don't you think?

I do love me a bit of Hollywood Regency and this is a great example of how it can be done well.  From the bamboo chairs to the lucite coffee table, the whole place screams glamour but I don't think it'd be too difficult or too astronomically expensive to replicate.

Would you use pink in your own interiors?  Or are you more like me, happy to admire from afar but your other half would never in a million years go for it?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Another Guest Bedroom Tweak: New Bed Linens and Fluffy Paper Flowers

I have been looking for a new, inexpensive duvet and pillowcases for the guest bedroom for what feels like forever.

A closeup of the pattern in my new duvet

The issue has always been that despite the fact I was easily able to find sets that incorporated some red within their patterns, everything I found that I liked within my meager budget seemed to have a cream background. I couldn't find one for the life of me anywhere that had red in combination with pure white.  Mad, isn't it?  And I'm telling you, I was looking EVERYWHERE.  I just didn't want to spend upwards of £70 for something that will only get occasional use.  Not saying that my lovely guests wouldn't be WORTH that.  I just didn't have it.

The set of linens that had been on the bed since my intial go at zhushing up the guest bedroom was from Sainsbury's.  I'd picked them up on clearance for a mere £7 one day out of desperation as I was due for company that evening. And despite the fact there was absolutely no red in the stripey pattern whatsoever, it still kind of worked. And, let's be honest, it was a lot better than what was there previously... but I knew that this particular set was never going to be a permanent fixture.

The previous stripey duvet set.

Enter the saviour of inexpensive delights, good old Ikea. I found this duvet cover in a lovely thick cotton fabric (it really is lovely and heavy to the touch, the quality is suprisingly excellent) with 4 pillowcases for a mere £16. Oh I do sometimes love you Ikea.

The colour is slightly darker - more of a scarlet than the cherry red in the rest of the room but I like the look of layered shades in here.  And we've had guests to stay since I purchased these and they commented how nice the bed linens were.  I know I should have just said, 'Oh yes, darling, only the best for you!' but like a total mug said, 'Oh I got them from Ikea!'  Way to make your guests feel important, Red.

I've added the red and white paper flower pom poms that were leftover from my Anglo-American party because they just looked cute there.  I may hang them over the bed but wasn't sure if it would distract from the chandelier?  Hmm.

Just a small change sometimes makes a big difference, doesn't it?  And there is still more to come for this room in the way of this cute wallpaper...


The room still needs a mirror and I need to find SOMETHING for the wall above the bed.  And we're looking at moving the ugly desk and chair that's currently in residence in this room that I hate (they are W's and they have never appeared on this blog!) down to what will eventually be 'the man cave', aka, the cellar.  So that will leave a bit more room for me to put something rather pretty there in it's place.

But for now, I like the simple change.

So have you scored any bargains at Ikea lately? What do you think of my bargain buy? Maybe you prefer the old duvet? Do share in the comments...

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