Attic Guest Room Reveal - The Housemaid's Tale

Once upon a time in the industrial north, there lived a young housemaid. She was grateful for lodgings in the servants quarters and kept out of sight of the household unless her presence was called upon. She kept the house clean and tidy. She made fires in grand fireplaces. She drew the heavy drapes, she lifted the expensive locally loomed carpets and swept the parquet floors. And after a hard day’s graft, having already tucked up Mi’Lady in her fancy four poster, she quietly climbed the steep steps to the dingy attic bedroom that wasn’t quite home. She dreamt of faraway places and grand houses with shit hot wallpaper…

 The new attic guest room with wallpaper by  Anna Hayman Designs

The new attic guest room with wallpaper by Anna Hayman Designs

I often wonder about the people who lived in our house before we did. I’ve done a bit of research and actually, it hasn’t had all that many owners considering it is over 150 years old. People tend to stay here and bring their brood up, then move to something more manageable when they start to rattle around.

It’s a big old chunk of a house. It was built in 1875 for a local brewing family who were by no means Lords of the land, but had enough money for a maid. It’s lofty to say the least and my London friends love to tell me how much it would be worth if it were situated somewhere with a more sought after postcode. They mean well.

There are a full four floors if you include the cellar and the house renovation has involved revamping all of them. NOW do you see why it’s taken so long?

The attic, where the maid would have slept is the last floor to get the House Candy treatment. It is our guest bedroom and sadly, has always been a bit of an after thought. Like the youngest child of the family it gets the hand me downs and the junk finds. I doubt the day will ever come when we lavish new furniture on this room because there are always bigger priorities. So what do we do if we need to up the ante of a space without buying new furniture? WE DO WALLPAPER, that’s what we do… So pleased to see you haven’t forgotten the basics whilst I’ve been away.

 Anna Hayman Designs  Wanderlust  wallpaper in Blush

Anna Hayman Designs Wanderlust wallpaper in Blush

Up on the top floor, I wanted to create an overall sense of tranquility. This is where we retreat if one of us can’t sleep. It also has a frequent visitor in one of my best friends, who combines her trips to see us with visits to see her mum in a nearby care home. I wanted this to be a space she could really unwind and forget about the bad stuff when she comes to stay.

I didn’t deliberate for long about the style of wallpaper. I knew I wanted to tap into that vintage vibe which suits this crooked space so well. I tried a few tile-like samples as a departure from the florals I usually go for and because I wanted to bring a sense of time travel to the space. This pattern, by my current design crush Anna Hayman Designs, feels both Victorian and a bit space age (and anyway, it’s called Wanderlust which is pretty much my favourite word in the dictionary, so that was that).

The attic room slopes into the eaves - a pretty useless cavity, but which makes it feel spacious. I chose Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath to match the background of the wallpaper and used this on the three walls and ceiling to create an enveloping effect that detracts from the awkward shape. The fireplace wall is the main event and papering the whole wall gave it a heightened sense of importance.

I went dark with the woodwork for the first time ever and I’m so pleased I took the plunge. Dark woodwork draws the eye downwards, which works when you’re dealing with different ceiling heights within the same room. Farrow and Ball’s famous Downpipe was the perfect match.

 Farrow and Ball’s  Elephant’s Breath  envelopes the room which is outlined by woodwork in  Downpipe.

Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath envelopes the room which is outlined by woodwork in Downpipe.

I’m actually excited for the next time my husband goes out, get’s hammered and comes back snoring his head off. Instead of banishing him to the servant’s quarters, I’ll be delighted to leave him tucked up in the master bedroom and tip toe up into the attic to carry on with my dreams.

Do you struggle with choosing wallpaper and paint? It occurred to me that I could be some sort of personal shopper for the interior challenged. There are people I know who LOATHE wallpaper shopping and yet I’d put it up there with drinking strawberry mojitos at sunset as something I am unlikely ever to tire of. Drop me a line if you need help!

I’ll be revealing more of the stories behind the House Candy revamp over the next few weeks so please do keep checking in. Oh and if you thought this one made for a good read, I’d be so grateful if you’d share the post.

Happy Wallpaper Wednesday everyone, my new favourite day of the week.

Claire x

Bridget, Beyonce and my Carbootilicious

It was somewhere between the booty shake and and the squad grind. That moment when I'd quietly been Beyonce'd. 

I went to Queen Bey's opening show of her Formation tour by accident. I was visiting a friend up in Newcastle and she'd happened upon a couple of tickets. We figured it was as good a place as any for our overdue catch up and went along to see what all the fuss was about. 

It was about this.

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See, you probably knew it already, but I had somehow missed the memo. You do not fuck with Beyonce. I like that about her. More, actually, than I like her music.

Bey is Queen of the dance moves, Queen of the butt cheeks, Queen of the good hair (Far better than Becky's, I don't know what she's worrying about). But most of all she is Queen of the No Fucks. She's worked hard and followed her dream and 'aint nobody getting in her way. For me - more of a Bridget Jones than a Beyonce - this was the message I took home. 

Time to shake my bootique

So it's with this high kicking attitude that I'm launching a new element to the blog over the coming weeks. There will soon be a retail page on this site, where you can buy My Actual House Candy.

The booty on here will be re-loved treasures, all cleaned up and beautifully wrapped and tagged. So it's kind of like me doing a very posh car boot without having to get up at the crack of dawn in February... Hold up, if I call it a Car-Bootilicious will I get sued?

Here's a sample of the kind of House Candy on offer. 

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I look forward to telling you more about it very soon (once I've checked out the copyright). In the meantime, I've got an extra set of squats to do and you are NOT getting in my way. Got that Jones?

Claire x

How Jungalow living is Made.com

I'm feeling this dining alfresco vibe, big time. Yesterday the sun was out for long enough to much my avocado and tomato topped rice cakes right there on the patio (but not quite long enough for me to finish my lemon tea). 

I'm now on high alert for the next outdoor dining opportunity and I need to be ready.

Thank goodness then for Made.com and their boho inspired Lyra range that is currently available for Express Delivery.

This six seater glass topped dining table is perfect for creating the Jungalow style I'm seeking for outside my kitchen window and, at only £299, it leaves me enough cash to splash on extra potted palms. 

 Lyra 6 seater dining table in Green by  Made.com

Lyra 6 seater dining table in Green by Made.com

A pair of matching chairs will set me back £179 and with their painted metal legs bringing this classic vintage look so very up to date, I am hugely tempted to add them to my Choose Day shopping cart. (I know, it's Wednesday but the Bank Hol threw me okay?)

Alternatively, the mix and match option works just as well. A quick lush green spray paint on that dated rattan here, a palm print cushion there...

(I'm crazy about this Botanist scatter cushion £12 from Sainsburys) and you're good to go.

Dispatch for The Made.com Lyra range is minimum 2-3 working days, so if you're planning on being alfresco ready for the forecast mini heatwave, I suggest you click here and proceed immediately to checkout.

Have you had your first taste of summer dining yet? Let me know about your outdoor furniture finds and your thoughts on mine below.

Happy heatwave all. 

Claire

 

Spring Garden Shelfie: How to not waste time on planting

I didn't start the day all that bright and cheerful but two things happened that changed my mood.

1) My favourite girl popped in for a cuppa.

2) I put some pretty coloured Daisy's outside my kitchen window. 

Boom. Happy bomb landed, right there.

This old plate rack (the top of a dresser actually) was sat doing nothing in my garage when I went in looking for garden tools. At the weekend I will get round to painting them in Farrow and Ball's new Vardo no 288 for a bit of that mood enhancing gypsy vibe it does so well. A sample pot or two will be enough for this job.

 Farrow and Ball's gypsy caravan inspired Vardo paint 

Farrow and Ball's gypsy caravan inspired Vardo paint 

Exterior paint will also make wooden shelves stand up to the elements whereas left outside, untreated like this will just result in warping. If you do want an au naturel look, seal them with a waterproof coating such as yacht wax.

Try the local fruit and veg market for bedding plants like these Bellis Daisy's that can be picked up in trays for under £10. I got 15 for £7.50 - That's cheaper than a nice bunch of flowers!

The idea wasn't to stand them all on the shelves at all. There was a plan involving top soil and digging, but you know what, I didn't have time. So I stood them on the shelves, plonked the shelves outside my kitchen window, did the washing up and inhaled a great big breath of happy.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section, I'd love to hear from you.

Enjoy the sunshine all.

Claire

Pod Goals

Hello weekend, wanna hang out?

 Bonsai Cocoon £155  www.amara.com

Bonsai Cocoon £155 www.amara.com

I haven't imagined those long, hazy days of summer have I? Those days where the only decision that really matters is whether it should be a Magnum or a lower calorie Solero before the afternoon snooze?

But here's another dilemma to contemplate whilst we're waiting for the mercury to rise. Should our new hanging garden pod be in accent colour OTM turquoise (above), or would it be better to blend in with the foliage i.e this lush leaf green version below?

Tough one isn't it? I won't even confuse you with the other two colour options available from luxury lifestyle brand Amara, but if you're curious, click here for details.

What is without doubt however, is that being suspended from the trees, cocooned amongst a bed of faux fur cushions, legs dangling languidly in the summer breeze, THIS is how I see myself whiling away weekends as soon as weather permits. I mean isn't that peep hole just the perfect place to watch the kids exhaust themselves with water fights and swing ball, whilst you sip Strawberry Daiquiri from the safety of your tree pod? I guess there's still the worry of a badly aimed Nerf Gun, but I'm prepared to take my chance.

I know I've already spoken of open toes this week and now I'm onto outdoor capers ... and I'm yet to clap eyes on a new born lamb. I'm rushing things right? It's just that now's the time to do the garden prep so that when the sunshine actually does make an appearance, lounging time is ON. 

What do you think? Are you tackling the garden situation yet? Why not drop me a line with your thoughts on summer weekend wasting below?

Happy weekend all,

Claire x