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

Man-repelling vintage bathroom inspo by

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


Why nature is your best neutral

I know you love palm prints and pineapples, so do I. I'll never tire of leopard print and I'm still saving up for a giant cactus in the hall. But guys, I live in suburban West Yorkshire. The nearest I've been to the jungle is the tropical butterfly house at Roundhay Park... in fact I'm thinking of taking the kids there after school, just so we can get warm. 

When it comes to decorating, why is it that we're obsessed with exotic representations of the living world and not what's on our doorstep? I wonder if anyone reading this in Chile could tell me... are you into our English wood pigeons the way that we dig your flamingos?  

It comforts me that there's a new interiors trend emerging that feels a lot closer to home. Nature is always in fashion, obviously, but the new colours and prints of the season show a migration towards the Northern hemisphere, where a love affair with our temperate climate is finally blossoming. Subtle colours and gentle patterns have the ability to blend into an existing scheme without overpowering it. They are neutral, but not as we know it.

My "Trad meets Rad" Parker Knoll x  Upperlands  makeover.

My "Trad meets Rad" Parker Knoll x Upperlands makeover.

Dusky Florals, Spring Greens and Ocean Sprays are just three of Elle Decoration's 7 Big Decorating trends in its April issue out this week, proving that Nature is King where cool interiors are concerned. Prints are also big news, as is a renewed appreciation of artisanal products, hand made using traditional methods and created out of love.

Having taken note of all these tick boxes since the Spring/Summer 17 interior trends emerged, it struck me that Earthed Fabric's new Upperlands collection, ordered for a recent chair upcycle, was more than just a fab new range of pretty patterns.

Upperlands is a range of Irish linens inspired by the water that has served the William Clark fabric house for over three centuries and naturally evolved its landscape. The designs explore how early pioneers of technology at Clark’s harnessed water to drive their industry. The patterns, which include the industrial connotations of Revolution, turbulent Osmosis and the vibrant Torrent designs (see the full range below) are all available in colour palettes specially designed to evoke positive emotions, for what the company calls a contemporary twist on traditional Irish linen. 

There's a lot for me to love here. As you know I've been banging on about colour chakras for some time (Honestly, I'm actually writing this whilst fiddling with my magic blue and yellow crystals). I'm ALL about the power of positivity and will indulge in it in any form I can; be it food, art, literature and yes, even furniture.

"It was fine before she painted the bloody legs yellow."  Vintage Parker Knoll upholstered in Faded Grandeur from the Upperlands collection by Earthed. Legs in Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake.

"It was fine before she painted the bloody legs yellow."

Vintage Parker Knoll upholstered in Faded Grandeur from the Upperlands collection by Earthed. Legs in Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake.

I salvaged this old Parker Knoll from a house clearance with only a modest layer of 50+ year old foam covering its bones. It makes me so happy to see it now looking majestic in Faded Grandeur from the high quality Upperlands linen range and rocking those funky Farrow and Ball Yellow Cake legs like a proper little groover. It's a combo I named 'Trad meets Rad' over on Instagram - and one that certainly matches Earthed's vision for a contemporary twist on tradition.

So I love the feel good factor of this range and the holistic element to its beautiful colourways. I love the reference to nature and the artistic edge that sets these designs apart from more graphic prints on the market. The traditionalist in me loves that the William Clark artisans have been producing linen more or less the same way for 300 years; linen that has no doubt covered countless Parker Knolls... And the fashionable interior nut in me loves the fact that due to the random style of the print, my re-loved Parker Knoll is not only totally and utterly unique but bang on trend too. 

So yes to palm prints and flamingos, pineapples and parrots. Why the hell not I say. But I'm giddy as an English garden sparrow on the first day of Spring that nature as we know it is currently the coolest neutral known to man and beast. (Well at least for this season anyway). Click here to get the luck of the Irish waters flowing through your home so that you too can wallow in:

a) The incredible and highly infectious power of natural positivity


b) The knowledge that you are one hell of an on-trend home maker. 

So what do you think? Can you embrace nature in your curtains or will you be taking more of a scatter cushion approach? What do you think of my upcycle? It's not everyone's cup of tea but there's been a whole lot of love for it on the socials. I'd absolutely love for you to drop me a comment here if you can. I've got another couple of vintage chair transformations in the pipeline that are totally worth looking out for. Please do pop back for a nosey.

Have a great weekend all.



Julius Sieze Her - Grab the designer dining chair that nails ALL the trends

Whoever said money can't buy class hasn't seen the Julius dining chair, designed in Portugal and available exclusively from Open Plan Living 

I don't feature designer furniture much on My House Candy, mainly because I can't afford it. But I do recognise that there are some designer items, Iike a classic Chanel tweed jacket for example, that have a game changing air of luxury about them. And they throw common sense out of the window. 

Pink velvet, gold framed Julius chair from Open Plan Living

Pink velvet, gold framed Julius chair from Open Plan Living

Now this stunning gold framed dining chair, upholstered in finest blush pink velvet, costs twice as much as my dining table, so I can't just go waving an excitable Visa card at it can I?

Let's take a good hard look at the budget.

My fashion friends go by the cost per wear rule. Well, if I own this chair for the next 40 years and sit on it every evening, it costs me just 0.12p per day. *Note to enquire about instalments*

But there's extra value for money in this chair which you are forgiven for having overlooked. See, this chair nails five must have interior trends in one canny, pretty-in-pink package. That's FIVE for the price of one people, count 'em:

1) Pink - the perfect shade of sorbet pink to satisfy all of my cravings

2) Gold - the new brass and forever my favourite precious metal (See wedding ring for details) 

3) Velvet - Go on admit it, it's got its plush little paws into you too?

4) Glamorous Gatsby - He had me at hello. No, actually before then when I first encountered the dashing self made millionaire in the F Scott Fitzgerald novel and decided glamorous 1920s Long Island is where my heart belongs. These days high glamour art deco-dence is a major interiors crush that shows no signs of slowing.

5) Miami - The South Beach vibe that's predicted to be big for 2017; fun, retro, kitsch, Ken and Barbie.... I'm almost there, I just need a couple more flamingos. 

So there you go. Not only is she extremely beautiful, but the Julius chair is also a hard working little doll, who definitely deserves a seat at my table.

Julius chair looking lovely from all angles

Julius chair looking lovely from all angles

In all seriousness, I've been googling deco style metal framed dining chairs for a while now and vintage ones rarely come up for sale in Britain. If they do, they are likely to need a professional upholstery job, so this is not an item you are ever going to get on the super cheap. 

Beautiful Julius has given a thrift lover like me a taste of the finer things in life and that's the thing about designer goods isn't it?  You see, all these junk shop finds, painted up-cycles, high street copycats that I covet - they have all helped give my home its lovely, down to Earth personality. But this chair has made me realise it could do with an out and out star of the show too.

Open Plan Living is an innovative brand, bringing cutting edge Portugese design to the UK. Its unique portfolio of products can be made to order in bespoke size, colour and fabric preferences, making it a favourite with interior designers whose clients demand something a little more exclusive than you can find on the high street.

However, this is a name for the likes of you and I to keep in our little black books too. Within their range of furniture and accessories, there are some prize pieces that compare favourably in price with well known furniture brands and have the extra benefit of being handmade to exceptional quality standards.

Some people buy diamonds and pearls to feel like a Princess. Personally, I'd go all out for the throne.

Julius Chair £1,863.00 Open Plan Living

Julius Chair £1,863.00 Open Plan Living

What do you think? Have you got a piece of furniture that has lives up to its designer price tag? Let me know below, it will seriously help me justify this to the House Candy Benevolent Fund.

Claire x