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Upcycling furniture with Farrow & Ball...

Two things that I love... 1. natural objects (nature in the home) & 2. Interiors.  And so when I get to play with these two things, my heart skips a beat.

A few weeks ago Farrow & Ball contacted me with a little project.  They challenged me to choose a paint colour (how could I choose?) and upcycle a piece of furniture with it.  The project: to upcycle the curios cabinet in the lounge.

The cabinet was bought last Spring from a local junk shop. I loved the mid-century shape, the glass doors and the fact it was a very slim unit, it could be placed quite happily anywhere in our home.  We chose it to display all of our nature 'treasures' that the boys and I seem to gather weekly.  You can see Charlie's prized sheeps skulls is on the top shelf!

I was never happy with the colour.  The brown just drained the room, and as the nights were becoming darker, the room seemed to drown in the brownness of it.  I couldn't wait to change it.

In the end I chose Farrow & Balls Stiff Key Eggshell Estate and their Dark Tones Undercoat.  Now I've painted many pieces of furniture before and have not used their own brand of undercoat.  Let me tell you, what a difference it made. Easy and stress free.

So one undercoat and two coats of Stiff Key later (using a foam roller for a smooth finish) here is the finished cabinet.....

I couldn't be happier with the results.  It lifts the room.  The navy blue colour really shows off our treasure really well. 

You will notice I've also had a little change around.  Moved the books into the cabinet and ditched the 3rd shelf.  The curios cabinet now has space to 'breathe'. I still need to remove the brackets at some point, but they are bothering me at the moment. On the shelves above I have placed some newly acquired 'vintage' finds, preferring the muted shades at the moment.

On the whole I am delighted with how the room now looks.  I'm just waiting on a new rug to tie it all together...

The other side of the room - well, there is a tired old sofa in need of a recover, but that's a whole other post!  One day...

Thank you Farrow & Ball for challenging me to upcycle with such lovely paint. For more inspiration on upcycling furniture please have a look at the Farrow & Ball inspiration page.


Image via Pinterest
The month of colour - ochre, russet and red, the smell of the earth is all around us.  I always feel that these beautiful October days is the perfect time for preparing for the Winter.  Cosying up the home, layering of rugs and bringing out your thick duvet.  If you have an open fire or log burner, sourcing a supply of logs.

It's also harvest time - storing food, making jams. Go apple picking in a local orchard, many have open days at this time of year. But for me nothing says Autumn like the Squash/Pumpkin does.  I love to buy from our local green grocers at this time of year.  They have many great varieties on sale and can be stored in a cool, dry place for up 5 months!  Guaranteeing gorgeous winter stews and soups right up until Spring. (remember to check them over regularly, as they can begin to rot, use these first!).

This month Dan and I celebrate 12 years together ... has it really been this long? It seems like only last year we met, of course it isn't, we have a nearly 9 year old son.  I still feel like that girl who met that boy, all those years ago.... I suppose we always shall be, just a boy and girl, together in this life of ours.

This October there is so much to do...
* Celebrating us 
* Planting these and these in preparation for Spring
* Making this cake
* Choosing pumpkins for Halloween - and the annual carve will commence
* Wood gathering for the store
* Foraging for Mushrooms - I must go on a proper course, I'm scared to eat them afters!
* Bringing out my Winter Woollys 

I've been collecting a little inspiration mood board for October over on Pinterest....

Preparing the home for Winter...

image via pinterest
We all know the tradition of a good 'spring clean'.  Clearing the decks, throwing open the windows and blowing away the dust and cobwebs of Winter.

I feel like in need to do this every 6 months.  Have a good deep clean, remove clutter and re-assess our living spaces.  Perhaps repaint walls or furniture, cull books, change furnishings and have a good old tidy.

Autumn is a great time to do this.  I love to prep the home for the Winter months.  Today I have started with the lounge.  A deep vacuum, the floors, rugs and sofa. Wiping down of the surfaces, skirting boards and window using a natural solution of vinegar and water, preferring to use this instead of highly perfumed shop bought cleaning products.

I have decided to follow the lead of Sara Emslie, and have only a few favourite things on display and keeping the colours to a simple muted palette.  Our curios cabinet is being spruced up with a lick of paint (more on that later).  I have placed on the shelves a few of our recently vintage finds, and of course some of my beloved natural objects (nature in the home, always!).  

Piles of logs have been stacked in the basket close the the wood burner, I feel that the cold days are just around the corner.  Books are being sorted and only our most loved are being kept, the rest sent to charity.  It feels good to let go.

Our sofa is old, and sadly we are unable to replace it at the moment, so I shall cover it with throws and sheepskins to cosy the space up for the colder months.

Good lighting during the Winter gloom is a necessity.  I have a box of candles placed on the shelf in an easy to reach spot.  I also have my eye on this lamp for the corner of the lounge over our arm chair.  Plus, when it get's closer to Christmas, my fairy lights will come out, and probably stay until March.

How do you prepare for Winter?  I'd love to know.
Winter home style


My baby boy is 7?!  Seven years!
Seven years ago.... he came along and lit up my world.
I love you little man.

This morning he bounced down the stairs and in a flurry of present opening, declared it was the 'best day ever'!
As requested, blueberry pancakes for breakfast.
Tomorrow we are having an Indiana Jones party in the woods.
I've spent the day making snakes out of tights and newspaper, and painting shoe boxes brown (treasure chests).
It's gonna be so much fun!

Previous years woods parties 6 and 5.

Happy birthday Ru!

Home Inspiration - Sara Emslie's Home

As an owner of a small terraced Victorian home, I love to see how others deal with limited space.  Sara Emslie, author of Beautifully Small: Clever Ideas for Compact Spaces, by Rylands Peters & Small Books, knows a thing or two about tiny spaces.  Her own home is perfectly petite, yet oh so delicious!

Instantly I was drawn to the mantelpiece, yes we all know I love a beautifully dressed fireplace.  Look at that hand carved spoon!  Obsessed me? I think so! Perhaps Dan and I need to display our handmade beauties a little better.  

Sara uses her dining room as an extension of the kitchen, space being at a premium.  I love how utilitarian it looks yet homely.  Simple colour schemes, paired with pretty florals make the space welcoming and uncluttered.  

Upstairs Sara's bedroom is serene. White on white, with natural accents.  Clever large baskets under the bed hide a multitude of clutter and wooden shutters are a great way to shut out light with out the fussiness of curtains.

This house is my kind of place.  What do you think?

Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small