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

Share a shot of your home to win £1,000

Anglian Homes is giving you the chance to bag yourself £1,000 in an online interior styling competition, which in my book is the perfect excuse to faff around at home taking pictures.  

To enter, all you have to do is take a photo of somewhere in your home that you have styled yourself and post it to their website, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feed using the hashtag #STLEDBYME  

It could be a piece of up-cycled furniture that you particularly proud of, a whole new kitchen update that you have undertaken or just a cute vignette from your home that demonstrates your unique styling prowess.

Here's my first entry (and you can expect a lot more since there's no limit to entries right up until 18th June). This is a vintage display cabinet that is now home to my favourite shoe collection. I had some mirrored glass fixed onto the back to give it some extra glamour and used a couple of my tried and tested styling props to make it insta-worthy.

If you need a helping hand, try these top tips for styling up a sideboard or cabinet:

1) Use a colour pop to attract attention (this yellow bag is a winner)

2) Prop pictures or mirrors up against the wall rather than having a big space between the furniture and a wall hanging.

3) Get the right mix of old and new so it doesn't look too dated, twee or catalogue perfect.

4) If in doubt, add a plant.

5) Employ the old book stacking trick to get varying heights going on. 

Don't forget to addd your location to your post because there is also a regional prize of £500 up for grabs which would come in really handy for the ultimate weapon in your styling armour ...

 Leopard print sandals  Gianvito Rossi from Net-A-Porter

Leopard print sandals Gianvito Rossi from Net-A-Porter

Click here for more details of the competition.

Happy styling!

Claire

 

Can we please talk Parquet Porn?

I know your type, you're a Parquet Perv aren't you? You've got whole entire Pinterest boards devoted to the stuff. You want it so bad you catch yourself thinking about walking all over it in 6 inch stiletto heels, then you have to splash yourself with tap water and tell yourself it's okay, it was just a bad dream; in your house everyone will be made to wear slippers.

 Take me to bed Chevron parquet in Bedroom 16 Montagu Square, By D-Raw

Take me to bed Chevron parquet in Bedroom 16 Montagu Square, By D-Raw

I get you, because I'm a Parquet Perv too. I have been for over ten years, since I took possession of my house keys, raced over the threshold, heart pounding as I ripped back the flea ridden burgundy Axminster to find... some b***ards had ripped out a full Victorian dining room of the stuff and flogged the lot on Ebay. Cue heartbreak.

I won't settle in this house until parquet is back where it belongs and at last I have found the perfect opportunity, with some exciting new build plans in the offing at House Candy HQ. This all calls for extra Parquet Porn as I research the styles and options available. Want to see? Oh I bet you do, you filthy ....

Parquet Particulars

 Parquet Porn pinched from www.lovingit.pl 

Parquet Porn pinched from www.lovingit.pl 

Parquet is made of small, loose blocks of either solid or engineered wood and is characterised by a repeating, geometric laying pattern. This style of floor has been around for centuries and can be found anywhere; from country homes, to grand public buildings and retro school halls. Technically speaking, parquet has all the advantages of solid wood, but is designed to make a style statement.

The Herringbone pattern is highly en vogue right now and looks elegant and sophisticated in both light...

and dark colourways.

 More Parquet porn on  PInterest

More Parquet porn on PInterest

Most wood parquet is made from oak, pine, ash and walnut, but you can find exotic species available at equally exotic prices if you're looking for something a little different. 

Reclaimed or engineered?

Personally I like the idea of a true Victorian parquet to replicate what would have been in my dining room originally (of course I'd like it even better if the original hadn't been ripped up, but there we go... move on Claire).

Reclaimed parquet offers unbeatable authenticity and character, but before you go bid happy on Ebay and bag yourself a chunk of the old Town Hall, be sure to know what exactly you are buying and the work involved in the sale.

For example, a stunning ex-school parquet floor, up for a bargain quick sale, may actually involve you taking the blocks up yourself. Even if there is a tempting picture of the blocks all neatly stacked on a pallet, bear in mind that they may need sanding down (yes all 6 surfaces) and bitumen removing before they can be treated and re-laid. That's a lot of elbow grease and a LOT of mess. Totally worth the bragging rights if you've got the time and skills to do the job properly, but if not, look out for firms like aptly named Parquet Flooring who will supply required quantities of ready-to-lay reclaimed parquet blocks for a nominal extra charge.

 Premium oak parquet by  Parquet Flooring

Premium oak parquet by Parquet Flooring

If it's a super slick finish you're after and something a lot less labour intensive, you're probably better opting for engineered wood.

This large scale light oak is £47 per square metre and the increasingly popular Chevron laying pattern offers a clean, modern take on the traditional parquet floor.

 Luxury Engineered Prime Chevron parquet Oak £47  Timber Trade Direct

Luxury Engineered Prime Chevron parquet Oak £47 Timber Trade Direct

 Perfect Chevron Parquet in dreamy dark stain. See my  Parquet Pinterest board  for more where this came from

Perfect Chevron Parquet in dreamy dark stain. See my Parquet Pinterest board for more where this came from

What if you move in a house and discover you have got parquet under the old carpet (yay) but it's in the more old fashioned pattern of basketweave (boo). 

Imagination is required, and maybe a bit of professional help, but with luck on your side it can still look amazing, in a retro kind of way.

basketweave lounge.jpg

Cheat or Chic?

Now if I say the word laminate you're going to go all funny on me aren't you? Don't panic, I won't go there. But I will talk about click together parquet planks that no one would ever know was not the real thing. Richmond Engineered Herringbone Click Parquet Oak may sound like a bit of a mouthful, but is so simple to lay it means you can have a roomful down in a day. 

 Click together herringbone parquet £45 per sqm  Timber Trade Direct

Click together herringbone parquet £45 per sqm Timber Trade Direct

And finally, there's this. Waterproof parquet (aka posh vinyl floor tiles).

 Blonde Oak parquet floor, £45.50 per sqm  Karndean

Blonde Oak parquet floor, £45.50 per sqm Karndean

I  know, I know, it's not wood....it costs the same as the real stuff... why would you? Because you're a Parquet Perv, that's why. And it's a practical option for a lavish bathroom or a chic kitchen and if you/I can't have 50 SqM of stunning real wood reclaimed parquet anywhere else in the house, then for God's sakes let us have a few square metres of looky-likely parquet to enjoy whilst we're on the loo. Deal?

So that's where I'm at. Still perving, still pinning, still pining for a parquet floor to grace my new entrance hall and kitchen/diner.  Where are you on the parquet porn scale? Fancy it too, or does it bring back too many memories of school dinners? I'd love to know your thoughts on the subject. Please do drop me a line in the comments section or connect via any of the social media links below. 

Oh and if anyone is completely turned OFF by their original parquet and will be glad to see the back of it, please drop me a message, like NOW!

Claire x

Why I'm checking in at Hotel House Candy

If the girl can't go to the swanky hotel, the swanky hotel must go to the girl. 

I love a hotel break. I love the whole checking in bit and counting down the door numbers to find my room. I love cocktails in the hotel bar and night caps from the mini bar. I love the free shampoos and the pillow menus (yes, I'm that posh). I love room service and breakfast on a tray with a side order of crisp newspaper. I love the fresh sheets, the fluffy towels and the manly robes. I love people watching and guessing whose having an affair with the hunky night porter. No way does that only happen on telly.

I totally get why Marilyn Monroe took a suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel instead of fending for herself and reckon if I was a millionaire spinster I'd do the same.

Thing is, I'm not.

In fact, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that most days it feels like I'm the one running the B&B. More of a Fawlty Towers experience I admit, but with evening meal, laundry service and personal chauffeur thrown into the FREE room rate, I've yet to receive a formal complaint.

So I'm not quite sure whether it was the wannabe hollywood movie star in me, or the frustrated housekeeper that could not resist these burnished gold, mirrored letters at the flea market this week. They still have some LED strip lighting in them and I'm hoping to resurrect them to make a full on light-up sign. The question is for where?... The penthouse suite? The Lobby? The private members bar? A swish new bathroom complete with chandelier over the bath? 

I'm open to suggestions. Please do let me know what you think in the comments section. Meanwhile, there's the toilet paper corners to fold so I must dash.  

Claire xx

PS If you enjoyed your visit please help spread the love by giving this post a quick share on any of the socials whilst I get happy hour started in the bar. Nuts are complimentary :)

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.

 

 

 

Hello... Buy, Buy - My New Year/All year Shopping List Sorted

It's the dregs of the sales. All that's left is stuff no-one loved enough to buy full price, no one really wanted (or fitted in) at half price and whose only hope of a nice home is a weak willed shopaholic hoarder... such as myself.

 Me, choosing love over literally every sensible notion

Me, choosing love over literally every sensible notion

I have, in fact, been known to make some of my greatest ever purchases mid January. I can't bear the Boxing Day bun fight, I may have a quick scan through the rails in New Year, but mid Jan, when everything has been returned, bought and returned again, THAT is the time to bag the big win my friends. Last year's All Saints leather jacket being an excellent example. 

Anyway, this year I'm steering clear. Not of shops per se, because that would make me sad, but I am avoiding the usual shopping destinations in a bid to save my soul and quite possibly my marriage.

Instead I've drawn up a shopping list of things I am allowed to buy in January next to the list of things I'm not.  It goes like this:

I won't buy:

Wine

I will buy:

Flowers

They're prettier, they smell better, they are massively less fattening. They don't make you shout at your kids so much in the morning. Invest in a new vase to celebrate this lovelier new you. I like vintage ones. This ceramic patterned 80s number is a cheap imitation of my favourite retro Zambesi pottery design, but I will never hold that against it. Alternatively try Marks and Spencer's new vintage inspired glass vases in fresh Spring Summer 17 colours that can't fail to banish winter blues. 

I won't buy 

Cook Books

I will buy

Reading books

It's tempting to chuck a new healthy eating cook book in the trolley along with ridiculously green groceries, but this year I will not succumb. I already have a full set of Joe Wicks and still not progressed further than smashed avo on toast - it does the job and I see little point in attempting something substantially less rewarding. Meanwhile, this book idea has got me salivating: 

 Library goals from Suzyhoodles.com on Pinterest

Library goals from Suzyhoodles.com on Pinterest

I got one book for Christmas. ONE BOOK!!! Of all the people that bought me presents, one person thought I would enjoy reading. This must be addressed. I love reading. I don't have much time to read, but when I do, I love it. I also love to flick. Book flicking is one of my all time favourite things to do, in fact I actually don't think there's a better way to spend a spare five minutes.

So I'm buying myself books this month and next month and every month for the rest of the year. By the end of the year I will have enough books to create a really cool library. Next year, EVERYONE will want to buy me books for Christmas and I will feel both cleansed and clever.

I won't buy:

Shoes

I will buy:

Slippers.

Like all sports, reading requires the right footwear. I like the idea that these Mahabis are billed as slippers for non slipper wearers because *whispers* I'm still trying to be more Parisian thanks to my favourite all time reference book and I'm not sure slippers go at all well with the vibe. This is possibly as close as it comes: 

 Dual purpose  Mahabis

Dual purpose Mahabis

I also like the fact that Mahabis come with removable outdoor soles so that when you're pottering about indoors and suddenly have to dash out to the library to reserve that French first edition (see how seriously I'm taking this), well then it's just a case of slipping on some rubber um, sole thingys.

Sexy, no? Well sexier than fluffy pom pom boots anyway and that's progress.

I won't buy

paint

I will buy

Art

So here's where I lay my soul bare and tell you, I'm crap at decorating. I'm messy, I'm impatient, I'm far too indecisive. I find it much more fun to play about with accessories rather than change the actual walls themselves. Art is just the best way to dress a house and I actually cannot stop buying it. My latest purchases are prints by www.evermade.com and whilst I'm saving up to complete the full set of family portraits, for now it's just me and the Fox. 

I won't buy

The hype

I will buy

Time

I did what every successful blogger tells you not to do and switched off a bit at Christmas. I resisted the nagging urge to blog, I paid less attention to social media and I just had a really lovely time with my family and friends. It was the most fun I've had all year. It also helped me get my priorities in order for this year and assess where I'm at in this whole blogging malarkay.

I don't want to be a super blogger. There I've said it. I don't need millions of followers because, well, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going and I'd hate for you to blame me if we took a wrong turn. I'm a life long wanderer and this blog is no more than a collection of my wonderings in the field of homemaking. It allows me to exercise my inherent need to write, to be creative, meet new, inspiring people and share amazing new ideas and fresh designs. And that's cool with me.

So I'm refocusing a bit. I won't be burning the midnight oil to be the first to bring you the latest interior trends from Milan. Are you bothered?... I suspected as much. I won't be seeking out a multi million pound sponsorship collaboration 'cos I could never be trusted with that amount of cash anyway.

Instead I will be having the best time rummaging around market stalls and charity shops, finding furniture to reinvent with dreamy new fabrics and delicious new wallpapers. I will just adore finding quirky home accessories that I may be forced to part with on the all new House Candy Store.  I will be stoked to tell you about some high street scoops that look way more expensive than they are, and, most exciting of all, I will be seeking out new creative talent and telling the stories of people who really do deserve to make mega bucks for the House Candy they bring to the world in a brand new page I'm calling Candy Floss!

So, sorry it's taken me a while to bring you my first post of 2017, but it feels like it was totally the right time to pause, refocus and write myself a mental shopping list.

I am so excited to see what this year brings and what interior gems we will uncover along the way. Please do let me know about what you're up to housey-wise (or other wise) and if you're an actual creator of actual House Candy ... well then we really should talk.

Hope your New Year has got off to a flier but if not, stick your slippers on, look at some art, buy some flowers and read a book. After that you will be SO ready to rock and roll, of this I can promise you.

Come back soon,

Claire xx

 

Wear your heart on your house

Twelve years ago I found a big old house to renovate. I fell in love with its high ceilings and Victorian features. I was wowed by its whopping great windows and seduced by its secret staircase. It stunk of wet dogs and dirty laundry and was a three storey hotch-potch of DIY disasters. Decorating wise it made me want to vomit.

This week that house is pages 86 - 88 of 25 Beautiful Homes Magazine and I feel like a lottery winner. 

 25 Beautiful Homes Feb issue out 3rd Jan

25 Beautiful Homes Feb issue out 3rd Jan

The magazine goes on sale on 3rd January so I won't spoil it by sharing all the pics here. Once my three pages of fame is over (it won't take long) I'll milk it for all it's worth. 'Til then I just wanted to end the year on a high note and say a HUGE thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read the blog, like and share my ramblings and been inspired to get in touch. Without you I could never sit here on New Year's Eve with a glass of champagne and stick one finger up at my brother-in-law, who laughed his arse off exactly 3 years ago, when I announced over a Chinese banquet that I was starting an interiors blog. Cheers bro :)

Whatever your dreams are for 2017, I wish you all the luck and determination in the world. 

Love to you all and a Happy New Year.  Let's rock it.

Claire xxx

The spare room glam-over with no spare cash

One thing I love about my house is the enormous attic space. It was where the maids slept in the 1880s, the soldiers hid in the 1940s and the politician's *insert imagination* in the swinging sixties. In this millennium it has mostly been a dumping ground.

But not any more.

IMG_3663.JPG

This week I needed the spare room to look special because my friend was coming to stay.  Not that I need to impress my friend. Xena stays regularly and takes me as she finds me. On this occasion she found me stressy and a bit shrivelled, but that's another story.

No, I wanted the attic guest space to look swish, because apart from having somewhere nice to sleep and a mate to laugh with, this was otherwise going to be a shit week for Xena.

Xena's mum, the one that used to let us have parties in the cellar, the one who'd let us scribble the names of boys we fancied on the bedroom walls, the one who always had long, blonde hippy hair when the other mums had short tight perms.... Xena's mum has Alzheimers. This week we've had the heartbreaking task of finding her a specialist care home at only 66.  

In the grand scheme of things, interior design doesn't matter. But when life sucks, I like to think it can at least be a tonic. I figured that if making my attic guest room all pretty and glamorous could, in some small way, lift the pain for Xena this week then it was totally worth a try.

Now I have lots of plans for this room, involving beautiful new wallpaper by Common Room and a stack of new bedding by The White Company. But I had neither the time, nor the funds to employ a full on makeover in time for my guest's arrival. Instead I needed to get creative with a vintage glam update that is pretty and cosy enough to detract from any crumby decorating choices that I'm stuck with for now.

If you've got a spare room to get guest ready, but no spare cash for a modern makeover, piling on the vintage glamour is a great way to get that boutique hotel feel on a budget.

I raided the rest of the house of accessories to glam-up the attic bedroom for the week and employed some simple vintage styling tricks:  

1) Layering

Layering is the key to cool vintage styling. I decided on a blush pink and gold theme and threw together all the rugs, throws and cushions I had around the house that fell within this colour palette. if you like this look try and mix different textures for maximum impact. Silk and faux fur are a match made in vintage style heaven.

The shaggy pink rug was a second hand market find for about £8 but the Rug Seller has a similar one here.

As I live in a lofty Victorian house we have a lot of throws about the place to snuggle up in on the sofa. I borrowed a few of them for this room including two from TK Maxx - One of the best places (apart from second hand shops) to pick up low cost luxe accessories. This grey bobble knit throw for example has £70 off the RRP.

 Grey bobble Paoletti throw £39.99  TK Maxx

Grey bobble Paoletti throw £39.99 TK Maxx

Whilst this cheap and cheerful yellow throw can't fail to brighten up a boring spare room:

 Yellow and white throw £16.99  TK Maxx

Yellow and white throw £16.99 TK Maxx

2) Frames

I have a ridiculous collection of redundant gilt edge picture frames lying about the house but I can't tell you how many times they've come in handy. Propped up on a bare wall they are great for "framing" focal points, such as the pink anglepoise lamp from Marks and Spencer.

busblind

I've also used one to hang a sparkly vintage cape on, just because it's got all that shizz going on and these magnolia walls needed all the help they could get. 

3) Fairy lights

So the rest of your house is painted all edgy and dark and the guest bedroom is a nondescript neutral with patches of match pot samples in the corner behind the door. Same. Too late to do anything about it now, the Christmas guests are on their way, so my advice is dim the lights.  

 Fairy lights set a magical tone

Fairy lights set a magical tone

I suggest borrowing lamps from other rooms if it's just for a short stay/ short term fix, but if you need extras just use Christmas tree lights around a large house plant or display them in a big vase, glass bowl or bird cage. I also wrapped a set of Christmas ivy lights round the bed and the touch of green really lifted things, don't you think?

4) Storage

When it's not hosting house guests, this room is hosting boxes. I'm a loving collector more than a ruthless de-clutterer, which (roughly translated) means I keep too much shit. This shit can be beautifully disguised in gorgeous vintage trunks. Buy 'em, fill 'em stack 'em. In my opinion they are the cheapest, chicest storage solution out there.

 Vintage trunks make great guest room storage

Vintage trunks make great guest room storage

5) Mirrors

I've said it before, but it's worth repeating... I love using mirrors to dress a room. Not because I like looking at myself. Quite the opposite in fact. I love they way they bounce light about and the instant glam that comes from that shiny mirrored surface. Mix old and new mirrors for full effect. I'll be looking out for more vintage dome mirrors at second hand fairs, great for a cool porthole effect above a bed.

This star mirror from Cox and Cox is a stylists dream. It's been rocking up my lounge wall above the sofa but I moved it up into the attic for my friend's visit just to give the room a little touch of luxury. You can literally put it anywhere and it looks super cool.

 Brass star mirror £80 by  Cox and Cox

Brass star mirror £80 by Cox and Cox

Also, you know how I'm into subliminal messages right? Well my mate can't deal with kindness at the best of times and at this point it might just break her. This little star was my way of telling her how I felt about the way she is dealing with this situation.

So what do you think of my vintage glam attic guest room? I'd love to know your thoughts, please get in touch in the comments section, or find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Xena has returned home now and I'm supposed to be putting a lot of this stuff back in the rooms they came from but you know what... I might just have a night up her on my own first. Here's the bath that I had installed in my attic 10 years ago when I first converted it and I have never so much as dipped a toe in! A quiet soak in here is literally all I want for Christmas.

 My totally impractical, secret attic bathroom

My totally impractical, secret attic bathroom

Finally, I'm sorry this post has been late in coming. I've kind of been a bit pre-occupied this week... and just so you know, next week is not looking good either. Hope you are all way more organised than me and enjoying getting into the Christmas spirit. I'm going for the winging it all the way approach. Prossecco time yet?

Claire xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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