The Candy Files: Summer Black Out

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

This week:

House Candy = Black Ache

New noir love www.contemporist.com

New noir love www.contemporist.com

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

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

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

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

Black kitchen. Image from www.cocolapinedesign.com

Black kitchen. Image from www.cocolapinedesign.com

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fine and Candy = Black Brows

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

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

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

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

 

Candy Pandy = Black Sheep

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

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

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

 Claire x

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

 

My Top 100 Time Has Come

If I get run over by a bus tomorrow, please let it be known that I died happy. Today I, Claire Louise Price, aged forty two and one month made my first Top 100 list.

My shiny new badge and proof that I'm a bona fide member of a bona fide Top 100 Club

My shiny new badge and proof that I'm a bona fide member of a bona fide Top 100 Club

It's not the Sunday Times Top 100 Rich List 'cos as I keep telling you, I'm not about the dollar. It's not FHM's Top 100 Sexiest Women of the Year (no sweat, still time). No, today my friends, My House Candy has made it into the Top 100 list of Interior Design Bloggers for New House Builders - global I might add. Not bad for a 5ft 3 freckle face from West Yorkshire hey? This is huge news at House Candy HQ. HUGE NEWS. Here's why:

1) I am listed with the good and the great of the Interior Bloggersphere, sneaking in by a pointy toed, leopard print pump at Number 93. Check out all the big hitters here

2) Position 93 gives me a much greater chance of moving up, rather than down, this list next year. And by the way, there's way more than 100 of us in this game I'll have you know.

3) I'd begun to wonder if my base in the suburbs of the West Yorkshire suburbs (where not a lot gets launched besides the odd canal boat) may put me at a geographical disadvantage. Nope.

4) New House Builders are an audience I'd never really considered before and it turns out I have so much to offer - including a passion for show home styling as it happens:-) If you want to collaborate please DM me here: myhousecandy@gmail.com

5) It proves to my kids that it pays to be yourself - which is by far the biggest and best lesson blogging has taught me. 

I mean, just look at what they've said about me (all by themselves, no bribery or corruption required) .... 

"Writer, mother, and design enthusiast Claire Price is the voice behind "My House Candy", a unique style-heavy website that's all about delivering the most beautiful images and ideas across the web to a vast collection of readers. Unlike many other bloggers, Claire uses her website to help her tell a story of what she thinks design should be. Everything she shares, from pictures of flowers, to a look at a vintage vase is designed to give an insight into her own personal feelings when it comes to life and beauty." Vision One Homes' Top 100 Bloggers for New Home Builders

So what a bloody great start to the week today turned out to be. I've got myself a nice new blog badge to display, I came 4th in the mum's race at sports day despite a controversial false start and I'm buzzing with with a renewed commitment to keep on baring my soul to the world via the suspect medium of House Candy. Boys, this calls for mint Vienetta for pud. Extra cream.

Happy New Week all, get out there and do your 'ting,

Claire xx

Why I stopped giving a shit and started giving a shift

My recent attic clearout has had life changing consequences.

Good Vibes only in my vintage styled attic bedroom

Good Vibes only in my vintage styled attic bedroom

I guess it's been on the cards for a while. I've told you before about my constant battle with blogging goals and human conscience. I'm sure I've bored my friends to tears with the constant cycle of "Yay, I love this, it's what I was meant to do.... I'm going to learn how to be great.... then, "Oh wait I'm actually really shit at it and feel like a total fail... then.... you know what, I'm just going to do it for the love and see what happens."  Yeah, yeah. Yawn.

I'm not stopping blogging because I can't stop writing. It would be the equivalent of wiring Alan Carr's jaws up. But I can stop being consumed by social media and letting myself get sucked into a world of constant comparison and unhealthy self obsession ... I think. 

Well anyway I'm about to find out because I'm going on a bit of a digital detox. I want to swap the hours I currently spend scrolling on my phone and invest them into something more worthwhile. So I'm volunteering at the local Oxfam depot.

It was like a scene from Bruce Almighty as I dropped off a car load of stuff from my latest attic clearout whilst contemplating what the future held for a 42 year old mother of 2 with a potential hoarding problem.

The sign caught my eye as I fluffed up my cast-off cushions beside a disgruntled volunteer sifting through bin liners full of dirty tupperware. In BIG, DESPERATE, SHOUTY LETTERS the sign said: "URGENTLY WANTED. Volunteers with a passion for homewares." At first I returned to my car to pretend that I hadn't seen it. The last thing a disorganised procrastinator like me needs is a drain on my spare time, right? And anyway, I had a gym class to attend and a dog to walk. After a bit of soul searching and plenty more insta scrolling, I eventually turned off the phone, turned off the ignition and went back inside to ask the disgruntled volunteer for an application form. I think he wanted to hug me.

So here's where I'm at. I'm applying for a nice little Thursday shift, which hopefully will involve sifting through a lot of junk and uncovering one or two gems that I can then style up, make look pretty and get someone (ideally not me) to buy. That's the plan. My husband of course if fearful that our home will become an orphanage for unloved furniture which I've got to admit, will be my biggest challenge. But hey, If I can save just a little bit of vintage loveliness ending up as landfill, I'll be happy.

So this post was intended to be a kind of heads up to anyone that might be bothered to say that I might not be blogging as much if I get recruited. Or I might even be blogging more and excitedly telling you to get yourselves down to Oxfam, Mirfield for the most amazing 1950s sideboard. Who knows? 

All I know is that it's healthier for me to stop giving a shit about how many likes, shares and follows I get and start giving a shift that involves putting my skills to decent use on the planet. 

Here goes then. Wish me luck, I'm about to fill in an application form for the first time in 15 years! If you want to join me they're after tons more volunteers here.

Claire xx 

 

 

 

Boys Room Basics: The 4S formula that can't fail

We mothers of sons (MOS) are a formidable lot. We're allowed to be scathing about the mess and the mayhem we have to deal with on a daily basis, but just don't you diss our little Prince, okay? (insert Lioness emoji)

As mother of two Princes, I feel totally qualified to offer advice on interiors that bridge the sometimes cavernous style gap between mother and son. So imagine my delight when a couple of weeks ago I received a lovely email from a fellow MOS asking for my advice on this very subject. Well, specifically on the subject of bigger boy's rooms, since when they reach double figures they start having their own pesky interior design opinions don't they? And the problem is, they have a nasty habit of being different from ours.

I was therefore prompted to write a quick blog post to cover off everything I've learnt so far in my parenting/decorating journey. My aim is to give all my MOS sisters out there a quick reference guide for when they're dragging a reluctant tween or teenager round Ikea and could really do with keeping moaning down to a minimum. 

We're fresh from exam week here at House Candy HQ, which has inspired an unusually mathematical approach to this particular blog post, but I'm hoping you'll thank me for it's simplicity. I'm calling it the 4x(S) = Sorted technique. Don't panic it's not rocket science (it's not even interiors science) but it works and It goes like this:

Start a revolution from his bed. Oasis print £6 + shipping by JoeOliver Design from Etsy

Start a revolution from his bed. Oasis print £6 + shipping by JoeOliver Design from Etsy

S = STORAGE

The good news is, the clutter that comes with little boys reduces in adverse proportion to their height. The bad news is, the clutter gets uglier and smellier.

Where once there were train tracks to store, lego to contain, superheroes to control; now there are trainers to snapchat, caps to collect and school books to randomly scatter over bedroom floors. All of this needs managing and my go-to storage solutions are as follows:

1) Lockers

Lockers Image from Aundraskinner Interiors. 

Lockers Image from Aundraskinner Interiors. 

I like the industrial look for boy's rooms. Nothing too shiny or too white because it's guaranteed not to stay that way for very long. Danny Zuko may be to blame, but for me American high school style lockers are the perfect way to trick your son into keeping his school books tidy. This full height set from Maison Du Monde is perfect.

Metal locker storage £459 Maison Du Monde

Metal locker storage £459 Maison Du Monde

2) Shelves

I'm not sure boys ever grow out of their love of trophies do they? It's therefore worth investing in some cool shelves to put them on. Trophies are dust gatherers, for sure. They are also a b***ard when you accidentally knock one over and it falls on your big toe. My advice (if you can't keep them out of sight), is to keep them way out of reach on rustic style shelves. I haven't personally tried this old crate/shelf solution, but if I were a more able DIY-er, I totally would.  

Shelves made from vintage crates or drawers. Image from Interieur.fr

Shelves made from vintage crates or drawers. Image from Interieur.fr

3) Solid Drawers

I have a problem with flat pack furniture. No matter how well it's put together the force with which my boys pull on handles (no pun intended) means that the front of the drawer will eventually come off. That's why I'd much rather buy an old, solid set of vintage drawers than a cheap modern flat pack kit. 

That said, sometimes, old drawers can be hassle too. The drawers need to run smoothly otherwise they will forever be hanging out. They also need to be a modern size and shape to fit with most bedrooms and sometimes, to get exactly what you want, you have to splash the cash. I love Loaf's bedroom furniture for it's combo of vintage style and practicality that both mother and son can get on board with. 

Lumber Chest £645 Loaf

Lumber Chest £645 Loaf

This is the Lumber drawer unit which I teamed with Loaf's Lourdes wardrobe in my son George's room for a more relaxed, less super-styled look which suits him perfectly.

4) Under bed storage boxes

Vardo under bed storage £25 Ikea

Vardo under bed storage £25 Ikea

Their hot dogs do nothing for me, but I have yet to leave Ikea without that sense of fulfilment that comes with loading one of their many storage boxes into my boot. These zipp-able, boxes on wheels are perfect for the mates' sleepover bedding, spare shoes, winter woolies etc that can be kept nicely out of sight, through closed season.

  S = STUDIES

Trust me, adore him as you do, you'll want your little Prince out of the way when he is doing his homework. All that huffing and puffing is draining, and when you finally snap and spill your late afternoon vodka on his French written exam you'll hate yourself for it. (Don't judge okay, I've been a stay at home mum a LONG time)

A decent desk and chair is a must for a teen room. I picked up a vintage leather swivel chair for £8 at my first every auction and I still can't believe my luck. I  teamed it with the cheapest (and chicest) white Ikea trestle, proving that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a hip, eclectic vibe going on.

If you've got a reasonable budget however, Made.com is the place to go for modern, stylish desks that will suit pupil and pocket. Try these for size:

 

S = SLEEP

When it comes to bedding, go plain, go non-iron, go frequent wash friendly. I've got a grey cotton jersey set in both boy's rooms and they absolutely love it for the comfort factor, although I do get concerned about the sweat situation in summer. Another look I love and one which works brilliantly well in older boy's rooms is washed linen. Don't try ironing it, that dishelved look is what we're aiming for here  - and in fact what we're likely to be embracing for the forseeable future. 

Washed linen duvet set £79.99 H&M Home

Washed linen duvet set £79.99 H&M Home

A couple of cushions is still a nice way to dress the beds and here's a nice idea to make them personal to the child.

These two bad boys were made from my husband's vintage football jumpers, which is a super nifty way to ensure that:

a) You can acknowledge the football thing without totally compromising on taste

b) You can be sure your husband never, EVER wears a St George cross football jumper again.

S = SHIZZ

No, I haven't quite run out of S words, in fact this final one is probably the most important on my lad's room check list.  You see, Shizz (cap S) is what gives a room individuality and as our kids grow up with intense social media pressure to look and act a certain way, it's the MOS duty to totally celebrate their individuality.  

It was a special moment three weeks ago when my son came to me with his birthday money and a screen shot of an art print he'd sourced on Etsy. Whatever he'd have gone for, I would have tried to embrace, in the hope that his involvement with creating his personal space might eventually encourage him to keep it tidy.* Anyway, the fact that George chose a cartoon style image of the Gallagher brothers in their 90s heydey, well let's just say I may have shed a proud tear or two.

Liam and Noel print £6 + shipping Joe Oliver design on Etsy

Liam and Noel print £6 + shipping Joe Oliver design on Etsy

If you've seen my Instagram feed recently you'll know that I've also treated myself to an Oasis inspired artwork, this super cool Patti Robbin's Don't Look back in Anger print.  

What was once the theme tune to my student days, has since became the antidote anthem to the Manchester terror attack and 100% sales of this print, available from www.nickiekelly.com goes to support the victims. It's therefore the most supersonic artwork money can buy and - I'm biting my tongue but I just can't stop it - your son's love for you will surely Live Forever if you click here to order yours. Sorry Liam, I'm cooler than that, honest.

George's collection of baseball caps, most of which he doesn't wear but can't possibly part with causes me beef. But hey, I've decided to roll with it (really?) and have installed a long row of hooks for him to display them on, similar to the one below which is shown alongside another brilliant storage/artform solution for trainers. 

Of course your son/s will have their own particular Shizz and thinking of a tasteful way to control it, let alone a solution beginning with the letter S may be sending your stress levels soaring. If that's the case, drop me a line and I'll do my best to help. See, we may be neurotic and slightly aggressive, in a don't-mess-with-my-cubs kind of way, but we MOS sisters understand one another, right? That's why I'm totally here for you, to lend a compassionate ear and a supersized bottle of Fabreeze. 

Yours in sisterhood,

Claire X

*This theory has yet to be proven

 

When Beer Drinking Got Beautiful (& the only thing your fella really wants for Father's Day)

Go on, admit it. The Paul Smith socks, the All Saints t-shirt, the retro vinyl... they're the kind of Father's day gifts you'd like your other half to have on his Father's Day gift list. Truth is, a lie in, a pub lunch (preferably one with a kid friendly beer garden) and a stash of rare craft beers.... THAT is the way to Pappa's heart people. And I think secretly, you know it.

The Vintage Beer sign that's heading for the soon to be fully stocked House Candy Man Cave

The Vintage Beer sign that's heading for the soon to be fully stocked House Candy Man Cave

One thing you might not know however, is the new movement afoot in the beer scene. Beer drinking is cool again. Of course I'm not talking about supping a four pack of Heineken from the corner shop on cards night. I'm talking about the Craft Beer Revolution that has seen the birth of passionate independent breweries, lovingly producing speciality ales in cool cans worth collecting. The Dad's (all of them) are mad for it.    

The Canny packaging that has made beer drinking cool again. Image from Crafty Beer Cans

The Canny packaging that has made beer drinking cool again. Image from Crafty Beer Cans

Craft ale is about experimentation, exploration and education in that most basic of manly pleasures; beer drinking. It's not beer snobbery, oh no! These fellas enjoy an ice cold San Miguel with the best of 'em. But they've been there, done that and bought the stag do t-shirt. They're ready to broaden their beer drinking horizons and okay - they want to be able to hold their own in the current hot topic of barbecue season. 

If you're still finding it hard to understand, think of it this way; To most blokes, opening the fridge to a neatly stacked array of rare world beers, is akin to you browsing Sarah Jessica Parker's shoe cupboard. Choice is the ultimate luxury.

Father's Day #BeerGoals by Crafty Beer Cans

Father's Day #BeerGoals by Crafty Beer Cans

So where do we start in fulfilling the desires of a new age craft beer connoisseur? To get it bang on, I advise specialist help in the form of brand new online craft ale supplier, Crafty Beer Cans.

Cans are the future you see. Bottles are a bit passe, wheras cans allow for better flavour, colder beer and cooler packaging.

Crafty Beer Cans specialise in carefully selected mixed cases, put together by a small team of beer obsessives whose dream it is to fill finer fridges. Here you can be guaranteed of the latest launches and coolest cans to put a twinkle in daddy's eye come next Sunday (or any Sunday come to think of it). What's more they offer free, speedy delivery with each case, a special Father's Day 12 can selection pack and a £5 off offer code* until midnight on Wednesday 14th June. 

Father's Day 12 pack £34.95 Crafty Beer Cans

Father's Day 12 pack £34.95 Crafty Beer Cans

And if you really want to earn your perfect partner stripes, why not enrol the man in your life in Can Club, where he'll be among the first to learn about new beers, new breweries and inside recommendations.

Girls, we need to embrace this movement. The boys have taken off their beer goggles, and got themselves #BeerGoals. This is progress for their species  - and about as much sophistication as I can hope for since my other half announced he was turning the cellar into a man cave. Sigh.

So put your glamorous Gin drinking on hold (at least until next Sunday) It's time to get the beers in.

Cheers! 

Claire x

Roll out the Barrel

Click these links to join the craft beer revolution and follow the the Crafty Beer Cans journey on Instagram Twitter and Facebook

*Enter the code FATHERSDAY5 at checkout to receive £5 off before this Wednesday 14th June.

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

One chic coffee table, three canny style tools

A well styled coffee table can be a game changer. I recently took delivery of the Athena* coffee table from Swoon Editions which, let's face it, doesn't need much help to look its best. What with its white circular marble top and modernist black metal legs, Athena has got all its beauty bases covered. 

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But not all coffee tables are this blessed. In fact, until now I've mostly got mine from charity shops and flea markets and they have required a little more help in the looks department.  

Over the years I've learnt to employ a couple of basic styling techniques which can really up the ante of a coffee table. With these inexpensive style tools in your accessories arsenal, you'll have everything you need to take a coffee table from functional to fabulous - whether its a Swoon Editions stunner, or a junk store gem.

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1) Vintage vases

Today I noticed the flowers were on their way out. I always spare a few quid for supermarket flowers with each weekly shop, but they have to work hard for their dollar. They may start off as a lush full bunch in a nice vase (you know my faves if you follow my Instagram account; the pink bubble glass one, the fake Zambesi one)... but as the week wears on and things start to droop a little, the flowers get split up and chopped down.

Here's where having a couple of smaller vintage vases comes in useful. You can cut the stems short and let whatever is left of the blooms have one last hurrah. You get at least another couple of days out of your flowers and a fresh new look for your coffee table.

I also have a ton of cheap-as-chips stem vases in my flower vessel armoury. Many are old glass bottles with pretty decorative patterns, which I often team with a smaller vase, but can be simply lovely all on their own.

2) Book club

We know books aren't just for reading don't we? I mean, enjoy them by all means, but just promise not to let the fun end with the afterword. After they've enriched your soul, it's time for them to enrich your coffee table.

Even just a couple of books to stack on top of one another is a way cooler way of displaying flowers, an ornament, or a candle even, than just plonking that item on the table itself. Honestly, once you're into this vibe, stuff placed directly onto a table top will really start to bug you. 

You'll need all shapes and sizes of books to fulfil your different stacking and styling needs. Strip them of their paper cover if it's a bit naff and get down to the naked spine. Battered vintage books are a great look of course, but I tend to use whatever is lying around. Too many times we've lost a school library book, only for it to be found under a vase of freesias a week and a book fine later. 

Your coffee table will thank you for this small book of photographs by Martin Parr, which is just brilliant with our without the addition of flowers. 

Martin Parr photography book £8.95 Amazon

Martin Parr photography book £8.95 Amazon

3) Kudos Coasters

The one thing you DON'T want on your coffee table is a mug stain. But truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of coasters either. In fact I'm a bit of a coaster snob. I have vintage silver ones that come in their own little stacking holder. They're always knocking about in charity shops and flea markets and they do the practical/ pretty job really quite well.

That said, if I was getting married again and putting a gift list together... or just feeling flush, there are some pretty lush coasters around that make serious coffee table eye candy.  Amara has this game covered of course. Head straight to their website for coasters with a ton of extra style kudos. There's a few of my faves from their collection below. All www.amaraliving.com

So what's on your coffee table? A half eaten Snickers, last season's Next catalogue and a broken phone charger? Maybe it's time you got your kit together? Let me know your thoughts.

Claire x

*Sadly the circular Athena table is no longer available. Click here for the rectangular version or visit www.swooneditions.com to shop more marble top lovelies

 

 

A House Candy Hot Flush Happened

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

Lune V Stool £1,179 Open Plan Living

Lune V Stool £1,179 Open Plan Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claire x

*Other colours and finishes are also available