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

The boutique bedroom brief to brag about

"I'm picturing a hazy Ibiza sunrise when you haven't been to bed. Sex on the beach (cocktail form). A mediterranean breeze wafting through your Kenzo kaftan..."

  Eos  light shade by Vita  Chapelle Sunrise  wallpaper by Blackpop UK

Eos light shade by Vita Chapelle Sunrise wallpaper by Blackpop UK

I'd like to say this is how the scene setting went when I pitched a bedroom design to my very stylish friend. Truth be told, we were out on a run and she was tapping me up for ideas for wallpaper that was as nice (but not as pricey) as the one she'd just spent the weekend drooling over at a boutique health spa. 

"Blackpop" I said, without hesitation. Not to be mistaken for Blackpool of course, which is at the opposite end of this design brief spectrum.

I've been championing Blackpop UK since I set out blogging a couple of years ago. The brand was a bit of an inspiration in fact - possibly the first time I realised an artistic twist on classic design was what got my interior design heart a-ticking. I have rules when it comes to splashing the cash where interiors are concerned and Blackpop's luxury fabric and wallpaper passes my test for all the following reasons:

  • It's handmade by a small team of passionate artists.  
  • You won't find any trend led design cliche's amongst its pattern books, which means it will stand the test of time. 
  • Design wise, it rocks. Think Kate Moss kicking back in her Cotswolds country pile. Think Kate Middleton re-upholstering an antique chaise as a clever little anniversary gift for Wills. Think Kate Winslet taking a bit of Titanic inspired English grandeur to the Hollywood Hills. Think Katie Price.... um, no we're getting mixed up with Blackpool again. 

Blackpop is about faded grandeur, it's about art, heritage, elegance and quirk. It's about effervescent Britishness. Blackpop is sophistication, with a rock star edge and if you're one of those people who likes to namedrop, it's definitely one to know because this name has style kudos in celebrity circles (though I couldn't possibly reveal my sources).

So anyway, chatting Chatty Man wallpaper with my running pal turned into a trip to Redbrick Mill near Leeds, where the client (she'll love that) had her heart set on a beautiful Feather and Black bedroom set.

I'm a huge fan of rattan for all it's French-ness and boho beauty, so the Versailles bedstead and two matching bedside tables got a big thumbs up from me. Before you know it, this whole Chateaux Chic vibe begun to emerge and then we started adding all the fluffy stuff.

This is the Vita Eos shade which I also have above my bed. Not one the husband is likely to pick out though, hey?

To keep him happy we added extra edge with more masculine touches such as the Abigail Aherne Raven lamp for Debenhams. 

A freestanding vintage style record player for that rock star status and Loaf's laid back Lazy Linen bedding in boy-friendly grey.

With its classic bones and quirky touches, my friend's beautiful house perfectly suits the Blackpop aesthetic. In fact I'd go as far as to say, they need each other. 

 Limited Edition Oasis lyrics print £22 by  North6Graphic Design

Limited Edition Oasis lyrics print £22 by North6Graphic Design

If you also need wallpaper advice or help with a decor dilemma, I'd be happy to help and you don't even have to go on a run with me to get it. Just drop me a line at myhousecandy@gmail.com or get me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. 

In the meantime, I'd love your feedback on this little project. Please do get in touch with your comments.

Claire x

 

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

 

Common Interest - Artistic wallpaper strikes a chord

I try to be cool about it, but the fact is I am like a lioness over my cubs, especially on a Monday.

As I drop them off at school and watch their back packs wobble off into the distance, half of me is doing cartwheels at the prospect of a few hours with only myself to look after, and the other half is wondering ... Did he do enough spelling practice?... Did he remember his trainers? ... Did he even clean his teeth this morning?

So today I'm feeling all lioness (and let's face it I'm rarely not feeling palms) which made it particularly exciting to return to my layer and find this Lioness and Palms print wallpaper sample poking through my letterbox.

 Lioness and Palms wallpaper £140 per roll by  Common Room

Lioness and Palms wallpaper £140 per roll by Common Room

Common Room makes fine art accessible to the likes of me and you through its stunning range of artist designed wallpapers. The Lioness and Palms design is taken from the early 20th Century designer and architect C.F.A Voysey's original watercolour design, sourced from the V&A museum archives. 

Like choosing a painting, I look for something that connects with me when I pick a paper; something that matches how I'm feeling, rather than matches a particular interiors trend. This is the best advice I can give for creating a vibrant home that tells your own personal journey through its interior.

The Common Room Lioness and Palms print is available in two equally gorgeous colourways. I love the idea of this Midnight option teamed with rich emerald green subway tiles in a modern Victorian bathroom.

 Lioness and Palms wallpaper in Midnight by Common Room

Lioness and Palms wallpaper in Midnight by Common Room

But my personal preference is the lighter Midday colour option. It conjures up exotic Out of Africa adventures which, when it's up in my spare room, will be all kinds of hysterical for my guests. I live in the same town I grew up in FFS. Travel is not my strong point. 

But you see, it's not the plains of Africa I'm transported to when I sit here with my cup of Yorkshire tea, picturing C.F.A Voysey's child-like brushstrokes bringing some botanical artistry to my attic bedroom.

Sure, I see a jungle out there, and I see one proud/potentially vicious mamma protecting two golden heads, whilst keenly keeping a paw on the palm print fashion pulse. (And if she's anything like me, she's about to race to the rescue of her hungry cubs with an over laden lunch box any minute now.)

Art, imitating life and simultaneously decorating it.  Common Room, I salute you.

Happy new week all,

Claire x

 

 

Treble Rebel - 3 ways to rock the street art trend at home

No longer an outlet for angry teenagers to voice their beef, street art is one of the coolest and instagrammable art forms out there and its influence on the interiors scene is so loud it deserves an ASBO.

Graffiti inspired home furnishings dominated at Decorex International, with luxe home furnishings brands resplendently rebellious in their paint splattered prints and powerful papers. Here's 3 ways I'm looking to work more street into my semi.

1) Make a splash

 The new range of artistic abstract prints from Blackpop

The new range of artistic abstract prints from Blackpop

At Blackpop, it wasn't a stinking bad mood, but an obsession with artist Jackson Pollock that inspired designer Maxine Hall's latest range of edgy wallpapers and sumptuous velvets. Pair the two together and your room turns into one big, bad-ass work of art.

For a more colourful take on the trend I fancy the gorgeous Blue Note design for a feature chair and will add playful lighting or some cute neon - 'cos I'm girly like that. 

 Blue note velvet £144 per metre  www.blackpop.co.uk

Blue note velvet £144 per metre www.blackpop.co.uk

Blackpop's designs are now available at Curiousa & Curiousa. Visit their store on Amwell Street in Islington for more inspiration on luxuriously eclectic living, including bespoke lighting and furnishings.

Scottish art-meets-homefurnishings brand Timorous Beasties has been crawling all over the street art vibe for some time now and its trademark statement wallpanels have all the hallmarks of a boss boutique hotel.

 Graffiti stripe super wide wallpaper panel £300  Timorous Beasties

Graffiti stripe super wide wallpaper panel £300 Timorous Beasties

The luxe home furnishings brand also does paint splattered masterpieces as wall panels, wallpapers and seriously sexy velvets. 

 Kaleido Splat wallpaper panel from £120  Timorous Beasties

Kaleido Splat wallpaper panel from £120 Timorous Beasties

2) Get less cushty with the cushions

If you want to start with more of a scribble than a full on wall of art, head to Society 6 for the coolest range of cushions, pillows and framed prints at bargain prices. I'm looking to use some spray painted prints like the one below to brighten up my sons' room.

 B is for Bamm cushion £14  Society 6

B is for Bamm cushion £14 Society 6

3) Buy Actual Art 

For me, having a fabulous piece of abstract art in your home, is the equivalent of adding a studded leather jacket to a vintage tea dress. It takes away all the twee.

I can't say enough good things about London artist Rowan Newton, whose work has transformed my home and for whom I have a special savings pot where I'm excitedly collecting all my £2 pieces ready for my next purchase.

 Delphic Ambiguity by  Rowan Newton

Delphic Ambiguity by Rowan Newton

For more urban art originals and prints to suit a variety of budgets, visit new online urban art seller www.graffitistreet.com

 3F-XO (Red) Print £125  www.graffitistreet.com

3F-XO (Red) Print £125 www.graffitistreet.com

So what's your thoughts on street art? Drop me a line in the comments section, I would love to hear from you.

Also this week, I'll be looking at the new graphic prints that are big news for next season and filling you in on my delve into the design archives at Denby Pottery. 

Happy new week all,

Claire

 

 

 

Flamboyance rules at London Design Festival

Question) What do you call a group of flamingos?

Answer) A Flamboyance

It's hands down the coolest fact I know and one that may come in handy if my recent trip to London Design Festival is anything to go by.

See, flamboyance is big news. Huge in fact. Flamboyance - whether it be a group of flamingos hiding in the foliage...

 Flamingos a go-go at  Hoxton Grill

Flamingos a go-go at Hoxton Grill

... A bunch of cheeky monkeys busting out of banana leaves...

 New monkey print wallpaper by Clarke and Clarke at Decorex

New monkey print wallpaper by Clarke and Clarke at Decorex

... Or an over indulgent, brightly coloured, Liberty print carpet...

  Alternative Flooring Co 's Liberty print carpets at Decorex 

Alternative Flooring Co's Liberty print carpets at Decorex 

Flamboyance is where it's at.

Shrinking violets take note. This is not a look you can pull off easily. Kindly stick to geometrics and/or graffiti inspired fashion statements if you will - another equally hip (but possibly longer term) design trend which I will cover to in a later post.

Today however, I'm still going OTT about the over the top vibe currently dominating the interiors scene. My head is actually hurting with the volume of extravagant patterns that I crammed into it my small brain on my whistle stop tour of London this week. It's either that or the naughty school night out at the Hoxton Grill on Tuesday to see the Rockett St George pop up tropical paradise. You can see how it inspires a bit of excess though can't you?

 Neon pink flamingo £195  Rockett St George

Neon pink flamingo £195 Rockett St George

It's been a crazy week here as I've tried to cram in three away days on top of my normal workload and the usual stresses of family life. Amazing though, isn't it, how you think it's going to be impossible and then ta-da you get to Friday and it's done. (It's a big Fri-yay from me)

I'm looking forward to documenting all the exciting stuff I've been up to here on the blog, so please stay tuned and drop me a line if you see anything that floats your boat design wise. Remember to use the #myhousecandy on twitter or instagram if you've also got some fabulous decor wins to share. I'd love you to get in touch!

Meanwhile, I've got tired children, a neglected hound and two overworked grandparents to appease so I must keep this post short and tend to my flock. Which reminds me... I picked up this pinny at the Denby Pottery factory shop yesterday on my so very exciting bloggers trip to learn all about their impressive design credentials (details coming soon).

 Flamingo pinny £8.99 from  Denby Pottery Factory shop

Flamingo pinny £8.99 from Denby Pottery Factory shop

It's exactly what I need for my Macmillan Coffee Morning next Friday. If you are in the area, you must pop by, but do be prepared for a bit of flamboyance with your fondant fancies, won't you?

coffe morning 2.jpg

Happy weekend all,

Claire x

Why I'm still in a flap over exotic bird wallpaper

What is it with me and brightly coloured birds with big beaks? I somehow find myself gravitating towards them. Like, there I was on my first night on holiday here in Portugal. I'm just finding my way around, when suddenly a wrong turn has me treading a path paved with a giant flamingo. What are the chances?

And then when I tried out the gym over here and, on my first sit up, noticed the ceiling was one huge mural depicting a sky of exotic flying birds, swooping at my imagination. An intense set of cloud gazing was all I could manage thereafter. (Okay, so it doesn't take much).

Regular readers will know I have this thing with flamingos and I was alarmed when recently, somebody asked me if they were passe? I laughed, obviously.

Sure, they've been a round a while, but I still don't think I'm late to the party. More like I refuse to leave the party. Especially the one hosted by King of maximalism Matthew Williamson whose wallpapers, lamps and side tables all err on the side of exotic.

 Matthew Williamson Flamingo Club wallpaper from  Amara.com

Matthew Williamson Flamingo Club wallpaper from Amara.com

Exotic birds are great for adding a bit of unexpected interest. I particularly like to find them in downstairs loos, dressing rooms, utilities.... anywhere in fact that's not an obvious place for showing off.

But if you are concerned that flamingos are too, um, 5 years ago, here's a few other birds of wallpaper paradise that might still fit the bill.*

 Hummingbird Wallpaper by  Cole and Son

Hummingbird Wallpaper by Cole and Son

 Swans wallpaper by Nina Campbell available from  Rockett St George

Swans wallpaper by Nina Campbell available from Rockett St George

 Bird print wallpaper by  Julia Rothman

Bird print wallpaper by Julia Rothman

Happy bank holiday all. Hope your feet help you seek out some inspiration too!

Love Claire xx

*It's 30 degrees in the shade and I got off my blow up pool flamingo to bring you this post. Allow me one little holiday pun won't you?