Six ways to work the Signature Stool

You know it already. House Candy can be anything from a beautiful vintage vase that cost peanuts in a charity shop, to a designer chandelier that swallowed a month's salary.

But can it really be something as simple as a stool?

The luxurious  Lune V stool  and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The luxurious Lune V stool and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The answer of course is hell YEAH.  But only if it's a Signature Stool like the stunning Lune V from Open Plan Living. Let my people in Paris explain...

"The signature item is a gift that a woman gives herself depending on her age, her taste and the size of her purse. It is a symbol of independence and freedom, which states, "I bought this for myself, I earned it and it makes me happy." P.31 How to be Parisian Wherever you Are.

The Lune V Stool by Portugese furniture brand Duistt and supplied by Open Plan Living makes me very happy. Nothing could qualify as a greater signature piece based on the above definition because (sorry boys) this one is ALL about me. I secretly saved up the pennies from my sideline copywriting job for this, my first bespoke piece of furniture that wasn't upcycled, and delighted in choosing the exact shade of luxury pink velvet and brushed brass finish. 

Now House Candy at either end of the price scale is likely to cause a stir, sparking such extreme reactions as:

When it's a junk shop find: "What do I want that piece of old crap in my house for?"

or equally...

When it's a designer gem such as this (and especially if one resides in Yorkshire): "Ow much?"

But if we fill our home only with items that avoid heated debate (or indeed a full on row), interior design wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it? 

Seriously though, even I had some soul searching to do for this one. A sofa maybe, the iconic Egg chair I've been yearning for my entire adult life or a set of vintage Wishbone chairs, these items of course I would happily save up all my wages for. But a stool? FFS.

Here's a close up of it in hot pink (the colour of my cheeks when I was forced to divulge the price to the House Candy husband).

The  Lune V stool  from Open Plan Living

The Lune V stool from Open Plan Living

There are lots of people who wouldn't flinch at spending big on something as small as a signature stool and plenty of interior designers reading this who will have no problem justifying its price tag to discerning clients who demand the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship.

Open Plan Living works with a wealth of clients for whom only the very best will do and prides itself on delivering supreme customer service. But the firm also works with the likes of you and I, who have a much more realistic budget to stick to and yet understand how one or two high end details can transform the whole look of a scheme. For me, this way more European attitude to interior design exemplifies the beauty of the signature stool. 

My house if FULL of junk shop finds that cost peanuts. I wasn't always forced to buy cheap (and in many cases my husband would prefer it if I didn't) but I love their unique-ness and the character they bring to my interior mix. 

However, I am careful not to overdo it. Overdone anything is a bad thing and - just as I love a vintage dress but wouldn't go head to toe vintage - I was conscious my home was becoming too much like a vintage stage set. It needed some added luxe to get the balance back. 

The wonderful buzz you get from buying a designer item comes from knowing you've worked hard for it and in my experience, the designer item is likely to work equally hard for you. This is because you are keen to ensure it is worth its price tag.

My designer stool is working 6 times as hard as a regular stool for exactly this reason. Here's how:

Six ways the signature stool can work wonders

1) Dressing table

Dressing table.JPG

2) Bedroom perch

3) Desk Dolly

4) Extra Dinner Guest

5) Lady in waiting

6) Foot stool

I've come to the conclusion that this pretty pink perch is actually the supermodel of stools. It has the power to make anything look good and can therefore justify its high wages.

In all of the images above, the Lune V stool is teamed with charity shop finds which, you have to agree, notch up a style level once they've acquired some designer luxe. This mix and match approach to decorating means that you can afford to splash out on a seemingly ridiculous signature pieces from time to time because you've saved money elsewhere in the budget by buying second hand. It's the eclectic way and the Parisian way. And whilst it might not be everyone's way, it's most definitely the House Candy way. 

Have you got any signature House Candy? Designer or charity shop? I'd love to know what you think to mine. Please drop me a line in the comments section.

Happy weekend all. Why not treat yourself to a little luxury just for you, even if it's a £5 coffee at a coffee shop instead of the mediocre instant brew you'll make at home. Like I've told you before, you're worth it.

Claire x

 

 

The Candy Files: Summer Black Out

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. 

This week:

House Candy = Black Ache

New noir love www.contemporist.com

New noir love www.contemporist.com

I'm currently suffering from Black Ache. Key symptoms include mild heart palpitations upon sight of achingly chic black interiors.

As an all-white fanatic, unable to fully convert to the popular dark side, this situation has come as a curve ball. I'm even considering a black kitchen. *Feels faint and requires lie down*  

Black done the Parisian way in this chic apartment featured on French by Design Blog.

Black done the Parisian way in this chic apartment featured on French by Design Blog.

Black kitchen. Image from www.cocolapinedesign.com

Black kitchen. Image from www.cocolapinedesign.com

When did black become so, well, white? So French, so feminine, so darn summery? It's happened with fashion too. 

Black is officially summer appropriate as demonstrated this week by Natalie Portman who has clearly read the memo.

Natalie Portman pictured for Telegraph Fashion at the premiere of her latest film Planetarium in Japan.

Natalie Portman pictured for Telegraph Fashion at the premiere of her latest film Planetarium in Japan.

An all black dress, with long sleeves... in the height of summer? It shouldn't work, but it DOES. This frock would look equally appropriate in October and yet the parasol says hot. And that's the thing that black can do better than white, which convinces me to take the plunge and invest in a black kitchen. It's the colour that simply can't be last season, the colour that never dates, that is eternally chic, forever French and the easiest colour to seasonally accessorise. New Noir? I'm IN.

 

Fine and Candy = Black Brows

I've been Microbladed and my brows are BLACK. In fact they're actually going through the scabby phase over the black brows which is even more scary, should you be considering the same.

The good news is, this phase doesn't last long and once it's over, (just a couple of days I promise) I'll be left with the ideal brush stroke brows, faded to a match-perfect natural shade that I've wanted all my grown up life.

Microblading is described as a permanent make up treatment (it lasts 18 months) which means it is essential that you find an expert therapist who knows their Caras from their Kendals.

I went to The Beauty Works in Mirfield, West Yorkshire where Jo insists on a lengthy colour and shape consultation prior to the actual appointment.  If you've battled with non-descript brow shape all your life and require some sexy definition (but you too are scared of the word tattoo) Microblading is the way to go. Go google!

 

Candy Pandy = Black Sheep

Oh Instafam, I love you, I do. But sometimes I feel like the black sheep of the flock - the one following the wrong bloody hashtag!

I mean, by the time I've figured our who to tag, who to follow and what theme we're on this week, the kids have missed their tea and I've missed the deadline. I'm the saddo still stressing over enviable entrance halls when everyone has moved on to fab fireplaces. Any chance I can pay someone to tip me off? There must be a black market for this sort of thing? Please message me if you know someone, who knows someone in the know! #help #hastaghell #latetotheparty

Happy weekend all, thanks for bearing with me through shockingly bad wi-fi issues here at the seaside. Normal service is due to resume next week with some exciting deliveries at House Candy HQ. Watch this space!

 Claire x

A House Candy Hot Flush Happened

Throwback to when I was a 1920s flapper girl and I was perched on a stool at my dressing table whilst the maid adjusted the head dress around my chic jaw length bob.

Lune V Stool £1,179  Open Plan Living

Lune V Stool £1,179 Open Plan Living

It happened in a former life, I swear. Only the stool wasn't anywhere near as beautiful as the Lune V stool by Portugese furniture specialists Open Plan Living.

Let's just take a moment shall we? Can a stool of all things really evoke such feeling in an otherwise emotionally stable woman? And why?

It's pricey... So am I. In name and nature ;)

It's pink* and the more I think about it, the pinker I become.

It's brassy; I'm a Northern lass. Same.

It's all worked out. This stool was actually made for me and therefore something must be done to acquire it within this actual lifetime.

Work you say? Good point. I'll get back to it.

Enjoy the House Candy Hot Flush though, won't you? I'm confident there's more where this flash feature came from. Please get in touch if you've got some House Candy for me to ogle at. Any distractions from the day job always welcome. 

Claire x

*Other colours and finishes are also available

 

 

The hot pink chair you can't wait 'til its warm for

"Oh Henry isn't it horrid when you're hot and in a hurry and you have to hold your hat on with your hand."
Henry Holland's second interiors range for Habitat is pure bounce-on-the-bed happiness

Henry Holland's second interiors range for Habitat is pure bounce-on-the-bed happiness

You better get practicing your aitches because there's a hot new homewares range to get your hands on thanks to Henry Holland's latest hook up with Habitat.

If the ads for the latest House of Holland x Habitat collection are anything to go by, Henry is the burst of vibrant energy we all need in our lives on a wet and windy Monday. Thankfully he seems to have translated his sense of fun and adventure into a bright, summer homewares collection that has the power to instantly lift your interior mood, whatever the weather.

Funky florals fire up the tempo of kitsch black and white gingham in a banging range inspired by the colourful world of Romany travellers.  

Beautiful bedding will instantly update a room in the same way that a high street fashion splurge can have you feeling fresh and young again. There's a matching rug that can't fail to fire up any failing floor situation and who doesn't love a statement cushion for a cheap and cheery transformation? But there's one piece from the collection that I think is less of a seasonal pick-me-up and more of a future classic. 

Henry has waved his happy wand over Habitat's Misty armchair and it is now available in limited edition hot pink velvet with contrast navy blue piping.

Misty's splayed black legs and curvaceous seat give it mid century class, whilst the navy piping curbs just enough of the hot pink girliness to give it rock star edge.

As you will know from my Instagram feed (and click HERE if you don't) I'm a huge fan of bright neon colour pops however traditional the contrast may be. Brights are a basic for me. I need them to supercharge the atmosphere with fun and happiness and if I'm bored with how a room looks, the first thing I do is add a Splat or a Zing or a Let's-'Ave-It of bright banging colour. If I'm in need of a super quick fix, a bunch of neon pink roses usually does the trick, but for long term perkiness, this eye poppingly perfect statement chair is hard to beat.

You can try before you buy by visiting the ingenious Henry Holland x Habitat suite at The Hoxton which is decked out in full on triple H happy vibes. But HURRY, it's only on until the end of March, which means there really is only one word to finish off this post.

HELP!

Be free to roam the  Henry Holland x Habitat suite  at London's Hoxton Hotel

Be free to roam the Henry Holland x Habitat suite at London's Hoxton Hotel

What do you think of the Henry Holland x Habitat range? I'd be so happy to hear from you HERE ;-)

Claire x

Why nature is your best neutral

I know you love palm prints and pineapples, so do I. I'll never tire of leopard print and I'm still saving up for a giant cactus in the hall. But guys, I live in suburban West Yorkshire. The nearest I've been to the jungle is the tropical butterfly house at Roundhay Park... in fact I'm thinking of taking the kids there after school, just so we can get warm. 

When it comes to decorating, why is it that we're obsessed with exotic representations of the living world and not what's on our doorstep? I wonder if anyone reading this in Chile could tell me... are you into our English wood pigeons the way that we dig your flamingos?  

It comforts me that there's a new interiors trend emerging that feels a lot closer to home. Nature is always in fashion, obviously, but the new colours and prints of the season show a migration towards the Northern hemisphere, where a love affair with our temperate climate is finally blossoming. Subtle colours and gentle patterns have the ability to blend into an existing scheme without overpowering it. They are neutral, but not as we know it.

My "Trad meets Rad" Parker Knoll x  Upperlands  makeover.

My "Trad meets Rad" Parker Knoll x Upperlands makeover.

Dusky Florals, Spring Greens and Ocean Sprays are just three of Elle Decoration's 7 Big Decorating trends in its April issue out this week, proving that Nature is King where cool interiors are concerned. Prints are also big news, as is a renewed appreciation of artisanal products, hand made using traditional methods and created out of love.

Having taken note of all these tick boxes since the Spring/Summer 17 interior trends emerged, it struck me that Earthed Fabric's new Upperlands collection, ordered for a recent chair upcycle, was more than just a fab new range of pretty patterns.

Upperlands is a range of Irish linens inspired by the water that has served the William Clark fabric house for over three centuries and naturally evolved its landscape. The designs explore how early pioneers of technology at Clark’s harnessed water to drive their industry. The patterns, which include the industrial connotations of Revolution, turbulent Osmosis and the vibrant Torrent designs (see the full range below) are all available in colour palettes specially designed to evoke positive emotions, for what the company calls a contemporary twist on traditional Irish linen. 

There's a lot for me to love here. As you know I've been banging on about colour chakras for some time (Honestly, I'm actually writing this whilst fiddling with my magic blue and yellow crystals). I'm ALL about the power of positivity and will indulge in it in any form I can; be it food, art, literature and yes, even furniture.

"It was fine before she painted the bloody legs yellow."  Vintage Parker Knoll upholstered in Faded Grandeur from the Upperlands collection by Earthed. Legs in Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake.

"It was fine before she painted the bloody legs yellow."

Vintage Parker Knoll upholstered in Faded Grandeur from the Upperlands collection by Earthed. Legs in Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake.

I salvaged this old Parker Knoll from a house clearance with only a modest layer of 50+ year old foam covering its bones. It makes me so happy to see it now looking majestic in Faded Grandeur from the high quality Upperlands linen range and rocking those funky Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake legs like a proper little groover. It's a combo I named 'Trad meets Rad' over on Instagram - and one that certainly matches Earthed's vision for a contemporary twist on tradition.

So I love the feel good factor of this range and the holistic element to its beautiful colourways. I love the reference to nature and the artistic edge that sets these designs apart from more graphic prints on the market. The traditionalist in me loves that the William Clark artisans have been producing linen more or less the same way for 300 years; linen that has no doubt covered countless Parker Knolls... And the fashionable interior nut in me loves the fact that due to the random style of the print, my re-loved Parker Knoll is not only totally and utterly unique but bang on trend too. 

So yes to palm prints and flamingos, pineapples and parrots. Why the hell not I say. But I'm giddy as an English garden sparrow on the first day of Spring that nature as we know it is currently the coolest neutral known to man and beast. (Well at least for this season anyway). Click here to get the luck of the Irish waters flowing through your home so that you too can wallow in:

a) The incredible and highly infectious power of natural positivity

and

b) The knowledge that you are one hell of an on-trend home maker. 

So what do you think? Can you embrace nature in your curtains or will you be taking more of a scatter cushion approach? What do you think of my upcycle? It's not everyone's cup of tea but there's been a whole lot of love for it on the socials. I'd absolutely love for you to drop me a comment here if you can. I've got another couple of vintage chair transformations in the pipeline that are totally worth looking out for. Please do pop back for a nosey.

Have a great weekend all.

Claire

xx

Original WAG = Serious SWAG: My Tina and Bobby crush crescendos

I haven't experienced WAG envy on this scale since Victoria Beckham's Team Baden-Baden taught the world a lesson in girl squad manners back in 2006.

Michelle Keegan's portrayal of Tina Moore (wife of World Cup '66 hero Bobby) in the ITV series Tina and Bobby has stirred something inside. Not just Inside my heart, not even limited to inside my wardrobe, but inside my entire home. I want a bit of that late sixties/early seventies WAG (SWAG as it now needs to be known) at House Candy HQ and I'm turning to the celebrated retro-glam interior designer David Hicks for inspo. 

A classic David Hicks designed living space

A classic David Hicks designed living space

Contrasting textures define Hicks' style, with deep shag pile carpets balancing out the shiny surfaces and angular shapes of furniture typical of this era. Orangey browns and rusty red leathers that remind me (in a good way) of Starsky and Hutch are punctuated with pops of glossy turquoise. Leafy house plants, low hung, slightly random wall art and patterned curtains rock a retro vibe that my sources tell me is set to make a significant comeback this year. 

And it is this kind of SWAG - a retro & therefore infinitely cooler version of today's luxed up footballer's wife style, that we were invited to swoon over in Tina and Bobby.  In particular, it was their last marital home, the dream 70s open plan new build that made me long for life back when there were only 3 TV channels, telephones were attached to curly wires and it was the done thing to barbeque in 6 inch platform knee boots. 

Here's some ideas I'm considering to help me bring a bit of retro-glam SWAG to my pad:

1) Cladding

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

I'm thinking of putting the flooring up the wall when/if the kitchen extension ever happens (unlike Tina and Bobby, we're having to save up see). The ceilings will be lower there and the modern contrast will create a cool kind of cosiness in an otherwise featureless new-build area.

2) Contrast Piping

Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

Image from Elizabeth Horlemann

I've been hunting for the perfect low, boxy sofa for some time and having failed to find it, I've decided instead to get my 11 year old Habitat Sydney sofa recovered in velvet and add some contrast piping. Tina and Bobby had a similar look in the TV series, complete with fringing which I'm also absolutely mad for, but am saving for another project. See below.

3) Fringing

I fancy a day bed. Welllllll, it's the perfect place for a SWAG to get her pedicure done and with this fringing no one will ever know that I'm way too posh to hoover under the furniture.

3) Kitchen Hatch

OK so this probably won't happen, but I SO like the idea of decanting my M&S ready meals in the privacy of the kitchen then serving them to an adoring dinner party without them ever needing to know the secret behind my Chicken Chasseur.

4) Flos IC lighting

Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364  www.amara.com

Flos IC Ceiling light in Brass £364 www.amara.com

If Flos IC lighting were a celebrity, I'd be its stalker. Ball shaped pendant lights were big in the 70s but can somebody tell me in what era these simple, elegant yet not at all ostentatious beauties would look out of place, because I can't think of any. 

Here Flos look stunning in a period panelled setting, an image I've been staring at for far too long already today. These babies are earmarked for my hallway and that's a fact. 

So Tina, you can keep the diamond rings. I'm not fussed for the fancy cars and as for the wealthy, good looking football hero of a husband... pah! what a let down he turned out to be. But I do like your retro WAGishness lady. I love your bo-ho dresses and since adopting your beehive, my fine hair has a whole new lease of life. I love your SWAG Tina Moore (or at least I love Michelle Keegan's version of your SWAG) And I'd LOVE for you to bob round to my place for Babychams so we can talk the Dralon and tassles off each other.

Claire x

Unless stated, images are pinched from Pinterest where incidentally I'm collecting 70s interiors images like WAGS collect collagen. Follow me here for inspo.

 

 

 

The Candy Files: Gilty as charged

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week:

House Candy = Gilt Edge

It's not just a seasonal thing, I generally love a gold trim. But recently the obsession has hit new heights as stuff with gold edges has leapt out at me from market stalls, junk shops and charity stores, inevitably finding its way into my home. 

My very gorgeous friend is coming to stay for a week soon and sadly it's under not so happy circumstances. I wanted to give her a bedroom to sleep in that will be a lovely retreat to come back to after a tough day. Without oodles to spend on a full re-decoration, I found my growing collection of gilt edge picture frames and today's new junk shop find - the £5 gilt framed dome mirror above the bed - work a treat in giving this tired attic space a new girly and glamorous update. 

I'll detail the full makeover soon, but here's how it's shaping up so far, gilt edge dome mirror newly in place (like 1 minute ago as it happens).

Fine and Candy = Gilty Pleasures

And then there are those shiny, new purchases that you know are totally seasonal. That your head says: "Yawn, another metallic festive impulse buy... These are going to look crap post Christmas"... and your heart says: "Sod it, buy them now and wear them with everything. It's fairy season." 

Gold metallic ankle boots £75  Top Shop

Gold metallic ankle boots £75 Top Shop

Candy Pandy = Guilt Ridden

Please tell me you're doing it too? You're online Christmas shopping for everyone else and suddenly the offer of all offers pops up on the leather skirt you wanted in October, AND those tuxedo trousers you fancied yourself in (although on what occasion you'd wear them you're not quite sure) and you go... wwweeelllll, they're classics .... I'll order them both and see what fits/suits me and I'll send back the other. And then they arrive and oh they fit, in fact they looks amazing. It's butter soft leather, it's the perfect edgy cut and it will save the house candy husband ALL the stress if you keep them both and call them your very special Christmas presents. And then suddenly there's an extra £200 on the credit card and you're wondering if the kid really needs an ipad mini after all.

Victor leather skirt Now £115  Plumo

Victor leather skirt Now £115 Plumo

Black Friday is coming to get you people. Shop nice.

Have you got any gilty secrets you'd like to share? Drop me a line in the comments section. I promise I won't tell Santa.

Claire x

Welcome to Leeds, John Lewis

It's happening. John Lewis is set to officially open its doors to the lovely people of Leeds tomorrow, 20th October 2016 and we're all a little bit giddy about it.

Artist impression of John Lewis in the new  Victoria Gate  shopping complex, Leeds

Artist impression of John Lewis in the new Victoria Gate shopping complex, Leeds

So giddy in fact, that at 6pm last night, a few thousand of us formed a very sophisticated, middle class queue at the foot of the impressive new Victoria Gate shopping complex for an exclusive card holder preview evening.

At 6.05pm, we elbowed each other out of the way to get to the free fizz and canapes and, fuelled with bubbles and bitesize salmon en croute, we lapped up 4 floors of the kind of fabulousness John Lewis is famous for.

Regular readers might not have me down as a John Lewis girl. This is not the place to pick up a neon pink sideboard, I'll give you that. But there is a sensible side to me you know? With John Lewis, I know I'm going to get great quality and value for money. And I know I speak on behalf of my fellow Yorkshire folk when I say, we're bang up for that.

John Lewis is somewhere I head to for products I know are going to live up to their hype. And thanks to its unbeatable list of design collaborators, it is now, more than ever, on my go-to list for affordable, on trend house candy.

Here's a few of my favourite John Lewis homewares available on line and at the shiny new Victoria Gate store in Leeds:

1. Content by Conran coffee and side table set

Black enamel coffee table and 2 side tables £599  John Lewis

Black enamel coffee table and 2 side tables £599 John Lewis

2. Brushed Brass Flos IC Lights

Flos IC wall lights £260  John Lewis

Flos IC wall lights £260 John Lewis

3. West Elm Bar Cart

Brass bar cart £339  John Lewis

Brass bar cart £339 John Lewis

3. Joules Tableware

Joules dog plates and mugs from £9.95  John Lewis

Joules dog plates and mugs from £9.95 John Lewis

On Air light box £75  John Lewis

On Air light box £75 John Lewis

So I know you're all desperate to know what classic homeware items made it back to House Candy HQ?

Flamingo snow globe £15  John Lewis

Flamingo snow globe £15 John Lewis

Never knowingly Undersold, that's me. 

Welcome to West Yorkshire John Lewis, it's about time too. Doors open Thursday 20th October. Happy shopping all,

Claire x

 

 

 

  

Julius Sieze Her - Grab the designer dining chair that nails ALL the trends

Whoever said money can't buy class hasn't seen the Julius dining chair, designed in Portugal and available exclusively from Open Plan Living 

I don't feature designer furniture much on My House Candy, mainly because I can't afford it. But I do recognise that there are some designer items, Iike a classic Chanel tweed jacket for example, that have a game changing air of luxury about them. And they throw common sense out of the window. 

Pink velvet, gold framed Julius chair from Open Plan Living

Pink velvet, gold framed Julius chair from Open Plan Living

Now this stunning gold framed dining chair, upholstered in finest blush pink velvet, costs twice as much as my dining table, so I can't just go waving an excitable Visa card at it can I?

Let's take a good hard look at the budget.

My fashion friends go by the cost per wear rule. Well, if I own this chair for the next 40 years and sit on it every evening, it costs me just 0.12p per day. *Note to enquire about instalments*

But there's extra value for money in this chair which you are forgiven for having overlooked. See, this chair nails five must have interior trends in one canny, pretty-in-pink package. That's FIVE for the price of one people, count 'em:

1) Pink - the perfect shade of sorbet pink to satisfy all of my cravings

2) Gold - the new brass and forever my favourite precious metal (See wedding ring for details) 

3) Velvet - Go on admit it, it's got its plush little paws into you too?

4) Glamorous Gatsby - He had me at hello. No, actually before then when I first encountered the dashing self made millionaire in the F Scott Fitzgerald novel and decided glamorous 1920s Long Island is where my heart belongs. These days high glamour art deco-dence is a major interiors crush that shows no signs of slowing.

5) Miami - The South Beach vibe that's predicted to be big for 2017; fun, retro, kitsch, Ken and Barbie.... I'm almost there, I just need a couple more flamingos. 

So there you go. Not only is she extremely beautiful, but the Julius chair is also a hard working little doll, who definitely deserves a seat at my table.

Julius chair looking lovely from all angles

Julius chair looking lovely from all angles

In all seriousness, I've been googling deco style metal framed dining chairs for a while now and vintage ones rarely come up for sale in Britain. If they do, they are likely to need a professional upholstery job, so this is not an item you are ever going to get on the super cheap. 

Beautiful Julius has given a thrift lover like me a taste of the finer things in life and that's the thing about designer goods isn't it?  You see, all these junk shop finds, painted up-cycles, high street copycats that I covet - they have all helped give my home its lovely, down to Earth personality. But this chair has made me realise it could do with an out and out star of the show too.

Open Plan Living is an innovative brand, bringing cutting edge Portugese design to the UK. Its unique portfolio of products can be made to order in bespoke size, colour and fabric preferences, making it a favourite with interior designers whose clients demand something a little more exclusive than you can find on the high street.

However, this is a name for the likes of you and I to keep in our little black books too. Within their range of furniture and accessories, there are some prize pieces that compare favourably in price with well known furniture brands and have the extra benefit of being handmade to exceptional quality standards.

Some people buy diamonds and pearls to feel like a Princess. Personally, I'd go all out for the throne.

Julius Chair £1,863.00 Open Plan Living

Julius Chair £1,863.00 Open Plan Living

What do you think? Have you got a piece of furniture that has lives up to its designer price tag? Let me know below, it will seriously help me justify this to the House Candy Benevolent Fund.

Claire x

 

Why my Bake Off dresser is the icing on the cake

There are three things that the latest series of The Great British Bake Off has influenced:

1) My choice in lipstick

2) My view on men wearing aprons

3) My latest upcycle

It was a subconscious decision to paint a knackered old pine dresser bright sky blue, but when it stood in place - like a giant, fondant covered cupcake ready for a baby shower - I knew there was more than a bit of the Bake-Offs about it. 

It was inevitable for a weak willed interior junkie such as me, that all this BBC candy coloured cabinetry would get me in the end. (It was either going to be that or the predictable Paul Hollywood crush and frankly it's just better this way).

Now as we are all well aware, baking is sexy again. Everyone's at it. Bun wars are rife, flaky pastry envy is a Thing and bread consumption is very much back in vogue. But all this comes at a cost and, to my husband's dismay, in our case, it came at the expense of a clean white minimalist kitchen.

You see, there comes a point in your baking journey when packets of chia seeds and fat juicy dates start hogging your cupboard space and you realise that a kitchen dresser could come in very handy. 

Now, the kitchen dresser situation can go two ways and I was keen for mine to be more of a Candice than a Mary Berry if you know what I mean?

The difference is ALL in the styling. 

My bright blue painted dresser

My bright blue painted dresser

Here's my recipe for creating a show-stopping piece of kitchen house candy, whilst avoiding all notions of middle aged twinset and pearls.

1) Be brash about your colour choice

Go as bold as you dare. Remember last week when Candice went all 'nude' on us? Oh the disappointment. Followed by the stark realisation that; if this is what a colour pop of lipstick can do to a face, what can an in-yer-face piece of painted furniture do to a room?

Sky blue has always been on my fave colour spectrum. In fact, this old stoneware tea pot kicked off my first ever vintage collection of Poole Pottery, also in this sweet 'n' tasty shade.

Vintage teapot from my collection of all things sky blue (Did someone say hoarder?)

Vintage teapot from my collection of all things sky blue (Did someone say hoarder?)

So, when the spray paint guy, desperate to get the damn dresser out of his workshop, pushed me to make a colour choice, I finally ripped off a sky blue corner of a copy of the Evening Standard magazine and waved it in his face.

"This will go with everything", I said... Well think of it this way, when has a bright blue sky ever looked out of place?

2) Use the top of the dresser to prop up pictures. 

If room height allows, go up a bit to knock out the safe proportions of the unit. A propped up picture is an easy way to achieve this and also an opportunity for you to display your favourite pieces of art. Better still, add a few framed prints and overlap them slightly... I don't know why, but it works.

3) Add greenery.

I know you know about shelfies and Ivy plants etc. but me not mentioning the importance of greens here would be like forgetting to prove during bread week. Doh!

4) Jars

Get de-cant happy and enjoy the added texture and subtle interest brought to your newly geeked up kitchen by nuts, seeds, grains etc all in different shaped jars.

Try Wilko, for airtight Kilner jars with clip lids and be sure to raid the charity shops for some retro styles as well.

5) Vintage vinyl

Eh?

OK so it's confession time. The real reason I HAD to have a kitchen dresser was because I needed somewhere to put a Crosleys record player.

Crosleys record player £160  Urban Outfitters

Crosleys record player £160 Urban Outfitters

Oh, but have you seen the selection on offer from Urban Outfitters? A million swoons and then some. 

I went for the cream leather gold trimmed carry case and it works a treat with the bright blue backdrop. But imagine it sat on top of a blush pink sideboard too... I mean, pass me the cupcakes, it deserves a baby shower all of its own.  

Don't tell him, but I'm treating the House Candy Husband to 16 vinyl records (one from every year of marriage) to mark our wedding anniversary this month. Too cute, I know.

Here's what romantic gesture he's bought me in return...

Wilko  alphabet letter mugs £1 ... Because everyone loves a geek, right?

Wilko alphabet letter mugs £1 ... Because everyone loves a geek, right?

Happy Monday all (Now there's a vinyl I need to buy) Pucker up and let me know how you have been inspired this week, Bake Off or otherwise. I'd love to know your news.

Claire x