The family that bathes together, stays together (said nobody ever)

I'm literally bossing at bathroom design having smashed out three completely different schemes in the space of a week. House Candy Andy is back with bells on and he wants to know where I want my pipes putting, (which I must admit, isn't something I'd ever given much thought to).

I have now. In fact, if you'll excuse the pun, I've become quite anal about it.  

Take the downstairs loo for instance. It's now a corner of the new boot room entrance and will be used to wash muddy football studs almost as frequently as it will to wash hands. Glamour has therefore quite literally gone out of the window. I'm going for a rustic wash house look and hoping to utilise the old butlers sink that came out of the outbuilding before that got demolished.

A bit of utility chic here and there is a great way to stretch the budget and for once I'm pleased to say House Candy Andy is thoroughly on board with a make-do-and-mend approach. There has even been talk of him making taps out of copper pipes which I kid you not excited me more than anything else on the project so far. 

 Utility chic wins for the boot room bathroom 

Utility chic wins for the boot room bathroom 

Toilets, on the other hand, do not fill me with joy, but this week I did learn to give a crap about where they go. Different models need to be positioned in different places, see. You can't go buying bogs willy-nilly. It requires thought, which is why bathroom brochures are now the reading material of choice in our little boys and girls' room. 

Upstairs I've had my design wings clipped a little in the girly en-suite powder room I was blissfully creating. The black marble sink top I had made for my old downstairs loo was going to re-emerge in here, sat upon a new bespoke cabinet. Practically, this hasn't proved to be the best option since it will take up far more floor space than is necessary in a compact room. It saddens me to say it but my first ever attempt at bespoke design could be heading to Ebay to make way for a shop bought freestanding roll top sink instead. Meh! you say?... believe me, only the styling will save it.

My en-suite is my little pamper parlour so I'm going all out Man Repeller in here. I'm taking the opportunity to exercise diva-like design ideas with the basic principle based around keeping all the boys OUT. We're talking pretty wallpaper and vintage mirrors, candles and cut flowers. 

 Man-repelling vintage bathroom inspo by www.interiorsbycolour.com

Man-repelling vintage bathroom inspo by www.interiorsbycolour.com

The old family bathroom meanwhile will receive the equivalent of a hormone injection. 

This is soon to be both the little and big boy's room. All of them. See, a neighbour and friend of ours recently told me that separate bathrooms were the key to a happy marriage. With all of us currently sharing the one bathing space, it's fair to say modesty standards have slipped. There's not even a lock on the door FFS. This morning I was happily muti-tasking on the toilet whilst searching for regency style radiators when my husband walked in stark naked for a shower and proceeded to talk me through the Arsenal goals.

This cannot be allowed to continue. My sons cannot grow up thinking that this is acceptable adult behaviour. The boys are therefore receiving a dedicated "Hygiene Space" in which they can gather in force to talk balls to their heart's content. It will be less bohemian free for all, more boy/he/man common room. They can wash their own whiskers down the sink. They can wallow in their own wet towels. Okay, okay, so I'll make it look photo worthy for the interests of the blog, but after that they're on their own. What goes in the boys' room, stays in the boys' room. Unless it looks this cool, then it can be shared with 3 million Pinterest obsessives too.

 Shared boys bathroom image courtesy of The Swelle Life

Shared boys bathroom image courtesy of The Swelle Life

So you can see I've had my hands full designing bathrooms. But what a nice problem to have right? If the end result is a home in which we can interfere less with each other's personal space; where we can quite literally be responsible for our own shit, then I feel there's a much better chance of a happy ever after, don't you? 

The family that bathes together, may well stay together, but they'll carry around a little too much information about each other too. 

I'll let you know how we get on.

Claire x

 

Where's the Love In Da House?

Oh, hello. Remember me? Sorry for taking unauthorised leave of absence but I just needed a month off to chisel the dust off my laptop after the Christmas kitchen extension and have a good old pause for thought. 

 New year, New House Candy Goals

New year, New House Candy Goals

There's a lot of us doing this interior blogging thing and I'm not sure the world needs us all shouting about the same stuff, do you? I wanted to step back and assess what noise I am contributing and the truth is, it's taken me a month of drying out over January to think straight and gain a bit of perspective. Anyway, here's what I found:

I've realised that I can only talk with absolute authority about the stuff going on in my own home and life, so that's what I'm sticking to and what you'll find here is more on the designs and interior choices that are helping me towards MY dream house scenario (which I'm kind of hoping you'll like too). This could take a while since what started out as a kitchen extension has somehow turned into a four storey overhaul. I know, right? *crowd funding ideas welcome*

I've got a lot of work to do and of course a budget to work to, so I'll be looking at ways to stretch it as far as it will go. My main objective for the house is to restore it to its former Victorian glory. It has been stripped of many of its original features over the years and because every job here turns into a big operation, there's been plenty of bodge jobs, make-dos and cover ups. It makes no sense to keep throwing good money after bad so the main bulk of our budget is to be spent on getting the basics back to their best.

We've only ever had one main bathroom and a downstairs loo and the structural changes have allowed us the luxury of incorporating two more shower rooms into the house, which I'm sure will become necessary with two growing boys! All the bathrooms are having to be re-done which of course is a lot of money and I've got a few ideas to try and get the high end look I'm after at a fraction of the cost. Keep following to see how that pans out and if House Candy Andy can cope with any more of my unconventional up-cycle ideas. The word Pinterest is enough to send him into meltdown as followers of the story so far will be all too familiar with!

 Do not adjust your sets, this is modern up-cycling at it's bright and beautiful best!

Do not adjust your sets, this is modern up-cycling at it's bright and beautiful best!

As you know, I love vintage style more than modern but that's not a passion shared by the rest of my household. Still, I believe vintage style is timelessly chic and doesn't have to be all about pastel pinks, frills and florals (though all of the above are fine with me).

Hopefully in creating a home that blends vintage with modern I can inspire a few more people to re-love old furniture that doesn't deserve to be scrapped, support more amazing charity shops and also bring ideas that may help you achieve the interior look you want, for less. 

 Masculine vintage is how I'm pitching many of my new room designs!

Masculine vintage is how I'm pitching many of my new room designs!

There are some items that I believe you should invest in the best you can afford. I'll only splash the cash on luxury items if I believe they are keepers and that's why I always prefer to go for classic styles rather than trend led furniture. I was recently asked to curate a page for a wonderful online interiors store called Oh What's This. If you haven't already checked out what I chose, have a look here. I keep referring to this list when I'm designing rooms and adding furniture and accessories because it's easy to get distracted by gorgeous new trends, but really important to nail down your own unique style. This is totally mine and if you like this Classic-with-a-twist style too, bag yourselves 10% off with the code HouseCandy at checkout. I'm going to spend some time explaining why each piece is a keeper in my next post.

I've got ongoing beef with social media and for the sake of my sanity, this year I need to buy back some of the time I am prone to wasting on there to do more things that make me happy. Making this discovery of extra creative time has already led to an exciting new venture which I don't want to jinx by blabbing about yet, but rest assured I will BLAB MY MOUTH OFF about across ALL of the medias if it actually comes off in the future.  

So that's what the future holds and a few things I needed to get off my chest before we began. Unfortunately I've been further stalled because House Candy Andy has had a wobbly start to the year health-wise (nothing to do with me) With any luck he'll be back to his bolshy best by Monday and we can get cracking.

In and amongst house do-er-upping, there's a family to look after and style goals to maintain; the life of a Real Housewife of Suburbia is multi-facetted as you may already be aware. If you're in agreement I thought it might be cool to share any life-wins I discover along the way, be that the get-me-anywhere outfit of dreams or a £5 gravity defying face cream that you need to drop whatever you're doing and head out for RIGHT NOW.  But look, I'm as much work in progress as my house is and I'm still reading the manuals. I've recently discovered a couple of good ones including Self Care for the Real World by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. In it they have turned the essence of what I've been banging on about for three years into an international best seller that Kate Moss herself proclaims is her bible. Nadia and Kate say: "Your home is your identity and it tells a story about how you want to feel in it: make that story comfortable, calm and beautiful." That's House Candy goals 2018 right there.

Ready, Steady, GO.

Happy weekend all,

Claire xx

Happy House Candy Christmas

Day Twenty Four

 All ready for Christmas dinner... if I could only find the knives and forks!

All ready for Christmas dinner... if I could only find the knives and forks!

We're off. I'm on my third glass of champagne already so it's in everyone's best interests if we keep this one short and sweet.

Forget the House Candy anyway, it's all about these two now.

 George and Charlie icing the edible place settings

George and Charlie icing the edible place settings

The boys are getting big and this could be the last one where we need Santa's help so I'm determined to soak up every magical moment. 

We had a plan B if the kitchen wasn't ready for our Christmas dinner but I'm so pleased we didn't need it. I can't think of a better way to christen this space than with a big old family Christmas. 

Have a fab time celebrating everyone. I'm clocking off to spend time with the fam. Hope you do too. Thanks for all your well wishes support and advice about the extension. I love it, of course I do, but it's only a house. It's what we fill it with that counts ;-)

Happy Christmas, 

Claire x

 

 

Adding the aaaahhhs, the Ooh La Las and the Ay Ups

Day Twenty Three

 The finished kitchen (again)

The finished kitchen (again)

It's Christmas Eve Eve for goodness sake, how did that happen?

Today behind the advent door ('cos just to remind you that was the point of this daily blog throughout December thing) it's been a hive of activity much like at your place I suspect.

Wrapping, food shopping, sending the husband out last minute gift shopping because one pile is bigger than the other, more wrapping, more food shopping, because can you even call it Christmas dinner if you haven't got After Eights? It's all go in the hope that tomorrow we can actually start enjoying this thing that we laughably call a holiday.

Admittedly the usual Christmas Eve Eve frenzy has taken longer than normal because:

a) I have a bit of a panto hangover which I didn't know was a thing until my friend taught me a lesson in panto-ing involving handbag sized bottles of prosecco and straws.

b) I keep having to pause to look at my bloody gorgeous new kitchen.

Am I showing off too much? Sorry. Well actually no, I'm not sorry. It's been blood sweat and tears in the making has this kitchen of ours and if I sound a bit smug then that's because I am. I LOVE it and all the dreaming, mood boarding, planning, saving, splurging, sourcing, scouring and scrubbing has been totally worth it. 

Yesterday I was excited to show you my new Distinctive Chesterfields Northbank sofa:

 The fully accesorised Northbank Sofa by  www.distinctivechesterfields.com

The fully accesorised Northbank Sofa by www.distinctivechesterfields.com

...But as I was rushing to get out for the panto, I didn't have time to tell you about the accessories. The patterned cushions and yellow throw are all from B&Q whose home accessories range was full of gorgeous surprises when I popped in for lightbulbs the other day. The large star-shaped metallic silver cushion is by Suburban Salon from Hilary and Flo. It's one of those show stoppers that just makes everything look cooler.

There's one more surprise I can't show you yet because I'm afraid to unwrap it until I get a proper floor down. It's a navy blue velvet version of this, The Paris chair, with a matching footstool, also from Distinctive Chesterfields.

It's these finishing touches that are adding all the oohs and the ahhs and in this case the ooh la las to my new living kitchen. And that's all very well, but undoubtedly it's the "Ay-Up"s I'm looking forward to most. I'm hosting two family gatherings in the space of three days and this party kitchen is about to find out what a Big Fat Yorkshire Christmas looks like.  

Let the fun begin!

 Panto dames finding everything bloody hilarious (including Snapchat filters) with the help of handbag prosecco. Henceforth the only way to panto.

Panto dames finding everything bloody hilarious (including Snapchat filters) with the help of handbag prosecco. Henceforth the only way to panto.

Claire x

The sofa's arrived and all I'm missing is a Magic Carpet

Day 22

It's panto time and I'm well up for it because like the good Fairy Godmother he is, House Candy Andy has finished the kitchen in time for Christmas. Not only that but I waved my own magic wand and got my new sofa delivered in time for the grand finale too. Check out my Instagram stories for a view of the furnished room, all ready except for the floor.

sofa.JPG

This is The Northbank sofa in herringbone grey from a local store called Distinctive Chesterfields  and of course I fell for the whole fairy story that came with it. Distinctive Chesterfields is a family firm who hand make beautiful sofas, armchairs and footstools just up the road from me in Honley, near Huddersfield.

You choose the sofa style and fabric, pay your deposit and hey presto, a team of tiny elves work day and night to hand stitch your individual piece of upholstery using finest cloth spun by Rumplestiltskin himself in a faraway chamber of the giant's castle... 

Well Okay so I'm a bit sketchy on the details, but suffice to say, it's handmade near home and it will live happily ever after in my new kitchen extension.

Part two coming up after the interval!

Claire xx

All of the kitchen feels

Day 21

I've been a bad, bad, blogger. Tonight I had a bit of a kitchen warming party for a few of my closest friends who were eager to see the new space I've been banging on about and.... oops! I didn't take pictures.

charlie.JPG

Here's my youngest son Charlie, putting some mince pies out and, other than a panoramic view on my Instagram stories, I'm afraid that's your lot. But look, all is not lost because I hadn't had chance to dress it properly so the pretty photos can wait. Instead, I'd really like to tell you in words, not pictures (which I promise will come over Christmas) how the new kitchen feels.

Weeeelllllll......   It's brand spanking new and somehow it feels like it's always been here. I've dreamt out this space so often, it feels weirdly familiar. It's definitely a space for laughing, chatting, eating, drinking and dancing like nobody is watching. (Although they probably are watching because those glass doors are flipping massive and it's lit up like Las Vegas, inside and out). It feels vast, yet toasty warm with this great big island pulling everyone together. It feels luxurious, but not precious and - fittingly since the kitchen itself is from Magnet - it feels like this is the rightful hub of the home where we are all instinctively drawn. A welcoming place where my little family and our increasingly bigger lives all meet in the middle. 

And when your kitchen feels like that, it really doesn't matter what it looks like, does it? Sorry if you were looking forward to photos but the sofa arrives tomorrow and then you'll be sick of my snaps, I promise!

Claire x

 

Let there be light

Apologies if your electrics have been down in the last 24 hours. I'm concerned the power surge caused by the big lights switch on in the new extension may have blown the National Grid. 

The electrician came today (at 6.30am btw) and as a result, we now have light and power. It's cost me a small fortune in lightbulbs, let me tell you. There are ceiling lights, wall lights, external wall lights, Christmas lights. And after 10 weeks of darkness on that side of the house, I can't pretend that I'm not enjoying switching them all on.

In a less frivolous/more carbon neutral move, I've utilised some more vintage lights that I picked up from the flea market. These pretty twinkly brass wall chandeliers are really a bit small for the massive dark panelled wall in the living area of the new kitchen extension. But they looked so pretty against the dark paint that I had to ignore the builder's advice and use them anyway. If I come across bigger ones someday then they may move, but for now, I just love the vintage glamour they bring to the room. 

 Re-wired vintage glass wall lights

Re-wired vintage glass wall lights

I have to keep reminding myself that only a few months ago, this room was just a dead outdoor space between the house and the crumbling old outbuilding. So I think it deserves a bit of Christmas bling, don't you?

Thank you so much for your input in the dark/light kitchen shelves debate. It's all cool, we have Christmas to mull it over, because Des the dancing decorator has declared (no more d's, promise) that he hasn't time to paint it dark now anyway... BUT ... if I do decide it has to change, he will oblige in the New Year when he's back to sort out the entrance hall. So please do keep your votes coming. I'll let you know the consensus at the end of the week.

In the meantime, I have a houseful coming tomorrow night and now that there are light bulbs in this here extension, you can't half see the muck :(

NOW I get why you need dimmer switches. 

Claire x

I need your help with an alcove altercation

Day Nineteen

The worktop arrived today and although the lovely grained white granite received a unanimous thumbs-up, it also split the camp on the issue of what colour to pain the newly shelved alcoves.

 My new white worktops and the dark or light alcove dilemma

My new white worktops and the dark or light alcove dilemma

House Candy Andy (HCA) is stamping his feet demanding they be painted the dark shade of the cabinets and the feature panelled wall. He thinks this will complete the welsh dresser look.

Des the Decorator (DTD) thinks dark would be overkill and the contrasting light paint colour of the walls, doors and woodwork would be a more sophisticated option.

I know, I know, it's MY kitchen, I'm supposed to be the interior expert around here, what do I think? The trouble is my brain has turned to mush. I mean, seriously, I stood still in Sainsbury's for a full 5 minutes yesterday, a box of Cadburys Heros in one hand and a box of Lindor truffles in the other. Sophisticated or popular, sophisticated or popular? I just couldn't find it in me to make the call and had to put them both down. I kid you not. I couldn't choose a bloody box of chocolates, can I be trusted with paint? 

So, HCA and DTD had the brilliant idea of asking you guys.

"Get it on the blog!" they hollered, nearly wetting their overalls at the preposterous idea that My House Candy may offer a serious solution to an actual workman's quibble. 

"Brilliant idea." I agreed. I mean, you guys have never let me down before, have you?

So PLEASE let me know what you think, either here or on my Instagram or Facebook pages. I would love to see a #Andy for dark shelves and a #Des for light. Here's another look at the room from head on. 

shelves x2.JPG

Any other pearls of decorating wisdom here would also be gratefully received.

Over to you!

Claire xx

 

The No-brainer BOGOF Bar Stools

Day Eighteen

Jeez, bar stools are expensive aren't they? I need four and hadn't planned on this being a big budget allocation. Doh! I trawled the internet but every modern rustic style I liked cost upwards of £100. Then I stumbled upon these from Next that also cost £100, but for a PAIR.

 Hudson Bar stools £99, per pair  www.next.co.uk

Hudson Bar stools £99, per pair www.next.co.uk

In House Candy Maths that means they are buy one get one free or BOGOF - always a welcome turn of phrase at this time of year. 

I'll let you know if they are actually a bargain, or whether I should have saved harder when they arrive on Friday. It will be House Candy Andy's last day at work and I'm anticipating me and him perching on a pair of these for a well-earned beer before he clocks off for Christmas. That's if he hasn't told me to BOGOF of course. Also a strong possibility.

Claire x

The annual Christmas Card Conundrum, solved

Day Seventeen

Is anyone bothering with cards this year? There seems to be a general loathing of them. The joy of spreading Christmas cheer via the post box appears to have turned into a chore we could do without. I bought mine in November with the aim of being super organised. Needless to say they are still in the box. At this stage of the game I thought it wise to invest in Nickie Kelly's festive poster instead. Does it still count as a greeting if I send you a screenshot?

 A bit of friendly festive filth £7.50 by  www.nickiekelly.com

A bit of friendly festive filth £7.50 by www.nickiekelly.com

Displaying Christmas cards is always a bit of a pain tho isn't it? I do love getting them and if there's a letter or photo inside then that's extra nice, but please don't be offended if I don't blue-tack them to my new walls. Poor Des the singing/dancing decorator would never forgive me. Here he is tending to his covings again. What do you think to the dark panelled wall that happened yesterday? I can't get a lot done because I keep having to break off to go and look at it in a different light.

 Panelled wall colour matched to Magnet's Newbury Midnight kitchen. Railings by Farrow and Ball is similar.  

Panelled wall colour matched to Magnet's Newbury Midnight kitchen. Railings by Farrow and Ball is similar.  

Hope all your final prep is in place. There's still a whopping great to-do list here but I'm looking forward to opening the doors of The Love Cafe for the first time on Thursday when my mates are coming round for mulled wine. I'm sure the kitchen will look great, but there's a good chance I'll be looking something like this:

 Bad Santa print now £6.99  www.nickiekelly.com

Bad Santa print now £6.99 www.nickiekelly.com

Thank you for all your comments and messages throughout the advent posts. Here goes for the final push.

Claire x