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{I’ve asked 5 of my favourite, most-admired bloggers to fill in for me while I am away!  The task?  Tell me about a favourite space or place – either home or away – that you love.  I’m so excited to have some rather talented ladies here keeping Swoon Worthy ticking along while I’m gone and I know you’ll love them as well!

Next up is the always lovely Meera from First Sense, one of my blogging besties.  Now, it’s very important that I note that Meera’s blog is an absolute treasure-trove of inspiration and beautiful images.  However, she’s never actually shown off her OWN home.  Well, not until now.  I know, I know, I’m so dead excited and feel incredibly privileged to share this post with you because it certainly didn’t disappoint – it’s just as fabulous as she is…  So not to leave you in suspense any longer, here’s Meera!}

Hello Swoon Worthy fans! I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be here on Swoon Worthy, one of my favourite blogs, showing and telling you about my favourite space in the whole world. Yes, the whole world. That’s a big deal if you think about it. How is one supposed to narrow down ALL the spaces in the world into just ONE? But it was weirdly easy for me. As soon as Redlilocks said “Favourite space – home or away”, I instinctively thought about my dining room.

Then I chewed on a nail as I thought about what I had let myself in for – the room is still a work-in-progress and it is in no way a “designer” room or fancy-schmancy in any way (I am an interior designer who vetoes designer brands in my own home, oh dear). But – I’m hoping this is what it’s all about – this room has been a real labour of creativity, thrifting, learning new skills on the fly and plain old hard graft, the result of which makes me smile every time I walk into it. It is my favourite space and I absolutely love it, so **deep breath** here we go…

A ‘Before’ and ‘After’ is usually a good start, so here is the room before I got to work on it (I cringed when I found this photo, you might too):

 
It’s a small image, there is no need to look at it too closely.

This is what the room looks like now –

 

I wanted to get the whole room into the photo, but this is the best I could do with my limited photography skills and room dimensions. The first change was the floor. It was the mister’s first attempt at laying a floor and I am so proud of the smashing job he did. Then came the made-to-measure curtains – I love the shot of two-tone blue that they bring to the room. I love them even more because they only cost me £140. The trick is in fabric that looks more expensive than it is. That and the perks of trade prices for curtain making. 5 points for guessing where is rug is from! Good old IKEA! I love its pattern, colour and practicality. It is perfect for the room and gets compliments every time!

Our first piece of furniture was the sideboard to store our booze. It was an ex-display piece, on clearance from £1250 to £550 which I haggled down to £475, so I couldn’t resist, especially when both the mister and I loved it. It’s a fantastically heavy solid piece, with some knocks and dents which are fine because I won’t care if over the years it gets any more knocks. Character, yes? :-)

I bagged the candlesticks in Plumo’s sale last year. (I had loved them from afar for a long time but they were a tad too expensive for me. I whooped for joy when they finally went on a price-busting clearance sale and pounced.) The butterfly ‘plaques’ are from a set of handmade coasters gifted to me. The vintage bronze urn vase was a find from an Amsterdam market and the beautifully glazed ceramic jug was bought at a local craft fair. I bought some old frames from my local auction house for a song, painted one in a pale green-grey emulsion from spare sample paint pots and ‘framed’ the urn vase. The frame is a bit broken but I don’t mind, I tend to love things which have previously been left unloved.

This is my alternative floral art. The little velvet lavender heart against the photo frame was the result of my first attempt on my sewing machine. I have lots of samples of gorgeous fabrics from design projects so decided to make a few hearts stuffed with organic lavender to give as presents. I had never sewn before in my life, I’d never been taught, so I was terrified of sewing machines, but once I got to grips with it, it was a lot of fun and incredibly therapeutic! I was so chuffed with my first sewing project that I kept it for myself and made more for others.

I took an evening art class recently to see if I had any artistic capabilities. I chose a postcard sized print of Edward Hopper’s Capron House (1933) to replicate and the result was the painting on top of the bookcase – my first ever painting and I was thrilled with how it turned out! This isn’t quite my style of art, I’m not quite sure what my style is, actually. I’m hoping to have some time soon to explore and experiment, and perhaps produce some pieces that are more me. But I’ll always love the Capron House painting, it was my first dance with paints and brushes.

The two vases on the bookcase are vintage Dutch treasures from an Amsterdam market. Could you have resisted these, with their lovely curves and gorgeous colours, being in perfect condition apart from being a little grubby? Could you have resisted them when the market seller said “Û5 for both”? Here’s a tip for you if you buy a vintage item that has years of stubborn dirt on it: soak in CocaCola for a few hours then wash in warm soapy water. Worked a treat for these two.

The little mosaic birdie on the first shelf was created by Julie Vernon, a local artist who I had the pleasure of meeting recently. She created this adorable piece from pieces of vintage Italian ceramics. I fell in love with it so had to make it mine.

My biggest pride and joy in the room are the farmhouse table and chairs. We only had 17 pence or thereabouts to spend for a dining set. I had no idea what style we would both love, I only knew that I wanted a big solid wooden table and ideally something that wasn’t mass-produced. I had also secretly set my heart on Swedish Gustavian style dining chairs (like these) but had no idea how to afford them.

During a lucky weekend at our local antiques auction house, we realised what we wanted when we saw it: an extra-deep farmhouse table (these are rarer than you would think even though they make perfect sense. They feel almost as social as round tables, have lots of table space for big feasts, if we need to we can fit 8 around the table albeit at a squeeze, and it gives me lots of workspace for crafting on). The waxed finish on the pine had seen better days, it had all manner of scratches and dents from its history, and it came with chairs, so I didn’t need to worry about finding Gustavian chairs straight away, our bums could rest for the time being.

There was another young couple who also wanted it, but we wanted it more. At £210, the hammer went down and it was ours. While we were there, we also fancied the old wood-turned floor lamp (next to the sideboard) and got that for £10. It just needed rewiring which the mister did beautifully and I topped it with a linen lampshade. Imagine my delight when I sold the modern glass dining set (in the ‘Before’ photo) on ebay the very next day for £200! So we were only slightly above our 17p budget.

After reading dozens of tutorials on staining furniture, I got to work on the table to make it work for our style –

and then painted the chairs –

We have a very casual relaxed style, so we use scatter cushions on the chairs rather than shaped chair seat cushions. The cushion on the chair is another first for me – the first cushion I made. Riding on the success of my lavender hearts, and being an ambitious fool, I decided to make zippered cushions for the first time. Thank goodness for the tutorials on the internet. I messed up the zip a couple of times but unpicked my mistakes and kept trying until I was successful. I love this little cushion and can’t wait to make more from other pretty fabrics. Funnily enough, I love the chairs so much now that the Gustavian ones are (almost) forgotten!

So this is my favourite space, a humble little room done on a very small budget but brimming with creative energy which further fuels my own creative energy and makes me feel like I can do or make anything (almost!). The next thing I’m thinking of is filling the blank wall space above the sideboard with a large painting. Have you guessed I won’t be buying a painting? :-) Phew… that’s all for my show and tell. I hope you’ve enjoyed this rather long post! (I made it as short as I could, but there’s just so much to talk about!)

Thank you, Red, for having me on your fabulous blog, and thank you all you lovely Swoon Worthy fans for reading! xxx

{Thank you Meera for letting us have a little glimpse at your beautiful home!  Totally worth the wait, wasn’t it??  I am so enamoured by this beautiful room and love all the work that’s gone into it!  The hand-finished table, the chairs, all the gorgeous treasures collected in travels – this is a room that tells a story.  What’s your favourite part?  Do you feel your rooms tell a story?}


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