My House Candy Luxe List

I like a bit of luxe. There, I've said it. I don't often like to admit to extravagant spending, preferring instead to tell you about the bargains I've picked up at the charity shop or flea market. It's the Yorkshire girl in me you see. We're not keen on show-offs.

Me, showing off my designer wallpaper blogger stylie.

Me, showing off my designer wallpaper blogger stylie.

But there's a different kind of luxury we do like (well I do anyway) and it's not ostentatious or showy at all. It's a level of luxury that's accessible to everyone IF - and this is the crucial factor - IF you know how to balance it. 

I think it's an age thing, but these days I'm keen on spending money wisely. I'm far more conscious of buying things I love that will last, rather than wasting money on throwaway fashion. I'm more passionate about ethically sourced products, I'm more conscious of the environmental effects of buying cheap/buying twice and I'm more respectful of artisanal production methods.

Don't get me wrong, I still love a bargain, who doesn't?  I am proud of the fact that I could furnish a very stylish home out of charity shop and flea market finds and would urge anyone who is strapped for cash to max up on this vital resource. My house is full of thrifty up cycles and if I suddenly won the lottery, would I take the opportunity to upgrade everything to designer brands? Definitely not. But I probably would add a few choice additions to luxe up in areas that I feel would enhance my home.

Here's where it helps to have a Luxe List. These are the items I'm prepared to spend big on in my home and indulge in the very best I can afford. Some of them I already own and now recognise that I could never be without. Others I am aiming for:

The House Candy Luxe List

1) Amazing bed linen

The simple luxury of beautiful bedlinen by  The White Company

The simple luxury of beautiful bedlinen by The White Company

That 5-star hotel feeling every time you slip between the sheets? Sweet dreams baby. 

2) A great candle

Diptyque candle £45 www.diptyque.co.uk

Diptyque candle £45 www.diptyque.co.uk

It might be five times the price of a cheap scented candle but it will be five times better. Do your candle maths because a house that smells luxe, feels luxe.

3) Stop-you-in-your-tracks art

Sequential Organisation by  Rowan Newton

Sequential Organisation by Rowan Newton

What other bonafide financial investment can you take daily pleasure in and then one day pass on to your grandchildren (who will be forever reminded of your incredible taste)?

4) Wowy wallpaper 

I'd like to think I'd always have at least one room in my house that is fully and decadently wallpapered, even if it's a teeny, weeny downstairs loo. There are lots of designer wallpaper brands I love and so many amazing patterns to try out. Above are just a few of my current faves. My decorating mantra? Life is short, make it pretty.

L to R Birdlands by Blackpop, Lioness & Palms by CommonRoom, Anemones by Kate Moss for DeGournay

5) A silk dressing gown

Gingerlily silk dressing gown £210  www.amara.com

Gingerlily silk dressing gown £210 www.amara.com

So this isn't exactly House Candy and it's a bit diva-ish I know, but since I discovered the difference this little luxury makes to an otherwise highly unglamorous existence, I now know my home will never be without one. 

6) A chair of my own

Upcycled Parker Knoll chair upholstered in  Faded Grandeur  from the Upperlands fabric collection by William Clark

Upcycled Parker Knoll chair upholstered in Faded Grandeur from the Upperlands fabric collection by William Clark

My sister and I used to scrap over sitting in the same arm chair in the living room. Neither of us would budge so we'd squeeze in there together, sacrificing comfort in favour of principles. Ever since then I've never underestimated the luxury of having your very own chair.

Find a style that you love and look at all the bespoke options that will make it unique to you. A vintage chair makeover is one of my greatest pleasures and in fact, some of the most luxurious looking furniture in my house actually cost peanuts. Pay attention to the craftsmanship and if it's a well-made piece, be willing to spend big on stunning fabric and a great upholsterer to transform it into something totally unique and therefore way more expensive looking than it actually cost.

7) A vintage chandelier

Antique sprial drop chandelier £2,778  www.andythorntons.co.uk

Antique sprial drop chandelier £2,778 www.andythorntons.co.uk

I am a sucker for a chandelier and whilst I know there are some great copycat light fittings in beautiful vintage styles, nothing quite beats an antique one. Andy Thornton's is a treasure trove of reclaimed and antique finds and its lighting collection is top of my lust list.

8) China cups

Cat in a Hat china Mug £16.50  www.amara.com

Cat in a Hat china Mug £16.50 www.amara.com

I'm a tea snob and I don't mind admitting it. But simple pleasures should be savoured and a china cup or mug makes all the difference to my morning cuppa. A builders mug or a takeaway cup just doesn't cut it.

9) A delicious dinner service

The vintage Zambesi dinner service I'm still collecting on Ebay

The vintage Zambesi dinner service I'm still collecting on Ebay

There's something very decadent and a bit Great Granny about collecting a dinner service isn't there? I don't enjoy cooking and find the whole dinner party thing a stressful situation. I get around it by serving up something really simple on beautiful tableware and find that this way no-one really gives a crap about the food.

10) Fresh flowers

My fresh flower habit

My fresh flower habit

I have a quote on my wall that says "If you have two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other." Inflation aside, bread makes me bloated so I'd definitely buy the flowers. We could wither away together, smelling sweet, not mouldy.

So things change, but currently I'd say these are my top ten luxury purchases. Now when I say House Candy can be anything from a 50p tea cup to a £5,000 chandelier I hope you will have a better understanding of what this actually means to me.

It's not so much their price tag, but what they represent that I believe is important when designing a space that suits your personality. Luxury is a personal matter, but just as it's crass to brag about designer labels, it's also important to take pride in your purchases. Don't buy anything just because it's a bargain. And if you're going to push the boat out, make sure you buy for love, not lust. It's important to know the difference and making your luxe list will help you recognise this.

As luck would have it, I've been nominated for the Amara Interior Blog awards again and this year I am in a new category that is all about showing the love for those precious high-end house purchases. Getting all dressed up and going to a fancy schmancy awards ceremony is a luxury I can only dream about, but here's my chance to make it happen. If you would do me the honour of clicking the link below and voting for me I'll be one pointy leopard print toe closer to living the actual blogger dream. And if you could then share the love we might just be onto something.

PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK TO SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR HOUSE CANDY http://www.interiorblogawards.com/vote/my-house-candy/

Thank you SO much.

In the meantime, I'll keep tapping away on this here keyboard to bring you news of jaw dropping House Candy that we can all at least afford the luxury of lusting after. 

Claire xx

 

 

 

Six ways to work the Signature Stool

You know it already. House Candy can be anything from a beautiful vintage vase that cost peanuts in a charity shop, to a designer chandelier that swallowed a month's salary.

But can it really be something as simple as a stool?

The luxurious  Lune V stool  and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The luxurious Lune V stool and a charity shop upcycled bureau.

The answer of course is hell YEAH.  But only if it's a Signature Stool like the stunning Lune V from Open Plan Living. Let my people in Paris explain...

"The signature item is a gift that a woman gives herself depending on her age, her taste and the size of her purse. It is a symbol of independence and freedom, which states, "I bought this for myself, I earned it and it makes me happy." P.31 How to be Parisian Wherever you Are.

The Lune V Stool by Portugese furniture brand Duistt and supplied by Open Plan Living makes me very happy. Nothing could qualify as a greater signature piece based on the above definition because (sorry boys) this one is ALL about me. I secretly saved up the pennies from my sideline copywriting job for this, my first bespoke piece of furniture that wasn't upcycled, and delighted in choosing the exact shade of luxury pink velvet and brushed brass finish. 

Now House Candy at either end of the price scale is likely to cause a stir, sparking such extreme reactions as:

When it's a junk shop find: "What do I want that piece of old crap in my house for?"

or equally...

When it's a designer gem such as this (and especially if one resides in Yorkshire): "Ow much?"

But if we fill our home only with items that avoid heated debate (or indeed a full on row), interior design wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it? 

Seriously though, even I had some soul searching to do for this one. A sofa maybe, the iconic Egg chair I've been yearning for my entire adult life or a set of vintage Wishbone chairs, these items of course I would happily save up all my wages for. But a stool? FFS.

Here's a close up of it in hot pink (the colour of my cheeks when I was forced to divulge the price to the House Candy husband).

The  Lune V stool  from Open Plan Living

The Lune V stool from Open Plan Living

There are lots of people who wouldn't flinch at spending big on something as small as a signature stool and plenty of interior designers reading this who will have no problem justifying its price tag to discerning clients who demand the highest levels of quality and craftsmanship.

Open Plan Living works with a wealth of clients for whom only the very best will do and prides itself on delivering supreme customer service. But the firm also works with the likes of you and I, who have a much more realistic budget to stick to and yet understand how one or two high end details can transform the whole look of a scheme. For me, this way more European attitude to interior design exemplifies the beauty of the signature stool. 

My house if FULL of junk shop finds that cost peanuts. I wasn't always forced to buy cheap (and in many cases my husband would prefer it if I didn't) but I love their unique-ness and the character they bring to my interior mix. 

However, I am careful not to overdo it. Overdone anything is a bad thing and - just as I love a vintage dress but wouldn't go head to toe vintage - I was conscious my home was becoming too much like a vintage stage set. It needed some added luxe to get the balance back. 

The wonderful buzz you get from buying a designer item comes from knowing you've worked hard for it and in my experience, the designer item is likely to work equally hard for you. This is because you are keen to ensure it is worth its price tag.

My designer stool is working 6 times as hard as a regular stool for exactly this reason. Here's how:

Six ways the signature stool can work wonders

1) Dressing table

Dressing table.JPG

2) Bedroom perch

3) Desk Dolly

4) Extra Dinner Guest

5) Lady in waiting

6) Foot stool

I've come to the conclusion that this pretty pink perch is actually the supermodel of stools. It has the power to make anything look good and can therefore justify its high wages.

In all of the images above, the Lune V stool is teamed with charity shop finds which, you have to agree, notch up a style level once they've acquired some designer luxe. This mix and match approach to decorating means that you can afford to splash out on a seemingly ridiculous signature pieces from time to time because you've saved money elsewhere in the budget by buying second hand. It's the eclectic way and the Parisian way. And whilst it might not be everyone's way, it's most definitely the House Candy way. 

Have you got any signature House Candy? Designer or charity shop? I'd love to know what you think to mine. Please drop me a line in the comments section.

Happy weekend all. Why not treat yourself to a little luxury just for you, even if it's a £5 coffee at a coffee shop instead of the mediocre instant brew you'll make at home. Like I've told you before, you're worth it.

Claire x

 

 

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

 

 

The Candy Files: Flea Market School Special

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

House Candy = Flea Market Wins

You may have noticed I've been bossing my flea market game of late? In actual fact it's been a few year's in the making, this finely tuned skill I have developed, whereby I can loot a second hand market in 15 minutes flat, returning with *mostly* covetable house candy.

Drawers, pink vase and mirrors are just a few of my "vintage" flea market trophies.

Drawers, pink vase and mirrors are just a few of my "vintage" flea market trophies.

I am in fact a self made Flea Market Pro and I don't mind sharing a few tips with you right here. 

1) Go with as much cash as you are willing to spend and nothing else. Do not be tempted to take a debit card and draw out more from the nearby cash machine. If you can't afford it, walk away. 

2) Go with an open mind. If you are looking for an old butler's sink, I can promise you that you will find everything BUT the kitchen sink come market day. Three week's later when you've sourced one near enough to the one you want on Ebay and travelled to Berwick on Tweed for it, that's when the exact mother f**ker - the sink of your freakin' vintage dreams will turn up at the local market.  So to avoid this disappointment and the associated expletives, be open to whatever treasures fate has put in your way that particular day. This week it was peacocks.

That day Peacocks were trending at the flea market

That day Peacocks were trending at the flea market

3) Don't lose out over a quid. Ok so this kind of contradicts point one above, but I have seen it happen where a trader wants £6 for a lovely old vase that has quite clearly delighted a punter. The potential buyer caresses it, they turn it upside down, frown a bit for effect and offer £4 because, of course, most market shoppers come to barter.

"Best I can do is £5", says the trader who incidentally has been there since 6am and is just trying to make a living by way of a dirty, smelly house clearance.

"Pah! says the punter, you're having a laugh!" And walks away.

And yet no one is laughing, least of all me, who has mild anxiety and promptly offers full price for the beautiful vintage vase, which SURELY will bring six quids worth of joy?

On the other hand, traders aren't dumb. When they look you up and down before giving you a price that's above what's worth arguing over, barter the hell out of 'em. That's not playing nice. See point 4) below.

4) Go in your scruffs. Look poor as a beggar boy/girl if you can and drop the posh accent. Mind your ps and qs tho. There's no excuse for bad manners is there? 

5) Pack your bags. There is no worse feeling than skipping home with the 1950s coffee jug you've been watching on Ebay and getting it home to find the lid got cracked in transit. A good market trader will wrap valuable breakables in newspaper but those sturdy supermarket shopping bags with a flat bottom?... they are arm candy for the savvy salvage hunter.

Above all, when it comes to vintage/flea market shopping, remember what my mentor Sarah Moore off of Money For Nothing just tweeted after congratulating me on the sofa scoop below. Sarah says (and Sarah knows); "You only get one chance with a one off vintage find. Don't let it get away."

Find a brief rundown of some great places for a rummage at the end of this post.

Fine and Candy = Flea Market Snobbery

The room flea market snobs love to hate

The room flea market snobs love to hate

Some people wouldn't be seen dead at a flea market; like my husband for example. I get that. My advice? stay well away. You won't like it any more than you thought you would. If you haven't got the bug already it's unlikely you'll catch it, but you may well catch something a lot more unpleasant while you're there. That said, you can always go and get a good steaming hot cuppa and watch everyone else buy someone else's dirty rotten cast offs. Some days I think it could turn into a sport.

Candy Pandy = Flea Market Fleas

It's always a concern that you get more than you bargain for with a flea market scoop. I prefer my loot to be free of any life forms and whole heartedly recommend the Bissell product range for removing stains and odours from soft furnishings. This bad boy is fast becoming my best friend.

Bought any absolute beauties at the flea market recently? I'm still plugging away with the #myhousecandy hashtag on Instagram because it would be so cool to share each other's vintage wins don't you think? Please, follow me over there, where I promise I will show you mine, if you will show me yours. Which b.t.w is generally how the vintage community jams ;-)

Happy house candy hunting all. What do you think of my scoops? I'd love to know your thoughts. Please drop me a comment here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Thank you to one lovely reader who asked for some recommendations on flea markets in our local area of West Yorkshire.

In Huddersfield we have a second hand market twice a week on Tuesday's and Thursdays. It's a mixed bag of house clearances and more specialist vintage-ish stalls but always very fairly priced. Check out the outdoor market in your own area for similar and don't forget to give the local car boot sales and charity shops a once over too.

Our local household recycling site has initiated a genius outlet for salvageable homewares where all proceeds are donated to charity. They basically loot the skips so you don't have to. Even I have my limits and aside from saving me the humiliation of diving in the tip after a wonky lampshade, it feels doubly good to know you are reducing land fill and at the same time donating cash to a good cause.  

Of course, if you'd prefer to get your vintage scoops pre-sourced and also all shiny and cleaned up by someone who actually knows what they're doing, specialist vintage markets are the place to go.

Check out these sites for some hot beds of pre-loved, swoon worthy house candy near you. 

http://www.vintagehomeshow.co.uk/buy-tickets

http://www.judysvintagefair.co.uk/

http://www.ukvintagefairs.com/

Claire xx

Get your glasses ON! How to train your eye to hunt out House Candy

They call me Hawk Eye. Be it a market stall, a charity shop or someone's kitchen, I can home in on House Candy at 20 paces. Why? because I'm programmed that way.

Recent vintage House Candy hoard

Recent vintage House Candy hoard

I devour interior magazines, drink up the free catalogues that clog up my letter box and snort Pinterest or Instagram images like they are crack cocaine.

Like my all time favourite vintage pop record, I Just Can't Get Enough. So much so, that I have become a professional House Candy Hunter (HCH). Stuff jumps out at me from a crowded market stall. I get a kind of tingly sensation when I sense House Candy is on my radar. Seriously, I'm weird.

If you like the vintage vibe and also like a bargain, but have not yet had the tingly feels, maybe you need to channel your vision? 

Here's my top 3 tips on what to look out for and the gorgeous, vintage style brands providing the current inspos for all you HCH's out there:

1) Coloured glass

Emerald green decanter and pretty coloured shot glasses proved an insta-hit this week

Emerald green decanter and pretty coloured shot glasses proved an insta-hit this week

I spotted this retro glass decanter peeking out from a market stall full of meh! and quickly realised, this is the power of coloured glass. Look out for jewel hues to add a gem-like beauty to the place and don't let no-stoppers be show-stoppers (see what I did there?). Even without their lids they can make a super cool stem vase. 

Bottles grouped together make a bit of a statement and give you that extra height too (the extra half inch we all aspire to).

Graham and Green know the score when it comes to vintage style accessorising and their new range is bursting with lush greens, emeralds and turquoises. They also have some cool decanter type bottles in their Autumn/Winter offering so if you don't take my word for it, take theirs.

Vintage style green bottle with stopper  www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Vintage style green bottle with stopper www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

2) Candlesticks

Officially obsessed. Glass ones, wood ones and currently brass whimsical ones. They just DO something to a mantlepiece; y'know? I'm not massively romantic, which may surprise you, but I do love candlelight at dinner parties and Christmases. Oh and Wednesdays actually.

Brass candlesticks to light up my life 

Brass candlesticks to light up my life 

Brass accessories are enjoying a comeback so if you spot one of these cherubs looking for a new mummy, or a lovely leafy number (anything palm inspired is HOT) just hand over the cash, you could have the new Pineapple on your hands, you hear me?

Alternatively, purchase Plumo's fabulous monkey candlestick and swing from actual trees at the beauty of them.

Not so much cool as Brass monkeys inside thanks to  www.plumo.com

Not so much cool as Brass monkeys inside thanks to www.plumo.com

3) Mirrors

My fave vintage mirror and a stash of second hand market House Candy

My fave vintage mirror and a stash of second hand market House Candy

I've always collected vintage mirrors and can never pass up a bevel edged beauty to add to my collection. Some people are put off by imperfect patina. Not me. These are not for applying make-up, they ARE the make up, if you see what I mean. They use daylight to their advantage and make everything look prettier.

Everything Rockett St George sells is nailed on House Candy so take inspiration from their lovely mirror range, featuring antique styles or metallic details. Just LUSH.

Gold leaf effect mirror  www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Gold leaf effect mirror www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Hey, now I've given you all my secrets, maybe you could do me a favour too? If you are on Instagram please tag me in on any junk shop treasures you find and if you're posting a pic of your own eclectic home style please use #myhousecandy so we can all share in your smug HCH glory!

Happy House Candy Hunting, team.

Claire