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

The Candy Files: All hail the Housebrid

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

It's never been hotter to hybrid. I don't actually think you can call yourself modern if you're not a slick amalgamation of at least two wonderful commodities. 

Take today for example. I write to you wearing a shress with a coatigan ready to throw over when I head out for prinks.

A sassy Shresser if ever I saw one (sadly not me)

A sassy Shresser if ever I saw one (sadly not me)

Style-wise at least, I'm a mixed up multi-tasking machine and I've also noticed it happening in my house. With the extension plans steaming ahead, I've found myself tackling a bit of an interiors identity crisis at home and discovered that, happily, a good hybrid can help. 

House Candy = Modic

Classic modern.jpg

Is it modern? Is it classic? Don't be ridiculous, it's Modic. I'm referring of course to my interiors style which I've been struggling to identify as anything other than complete chaos until I embraced hybrid mode. Now I feel I can belong, happily categorised by my classic features and modern edge. It makes decor decision making so much easier now I've found a niche I can cling to. Design wise, trying to be too many things all at once is both exhausting and complicated. I suggest narrowing down your niche to your two favourite styles and growing your own personal hybrid to help you develop a more coherent kind of eclecticism at home. Here, let me help:

Vintage + industrial = Vindustrial

Dark + edgy = Dedgy

Rustic + Skandi = Randi (Ahhh, now I get what the Hygge hype is all about)

Fine and Candy = Greige

Greige kitchen.jpg

What do you do when grey is too obvious and beige is banned? You go greige, that's what. Far from being basic or boring, Greige has emerged as the sophisticated neutral. Not so fashionable that it will easily date, but well equipped to shirk off any "safe" accusations purely on account of it being a modern hybrid. Genius. See Farrow and Ball's eternally chic Elephants Breath for reference.

Candy Pandy = Kettaps

kettle taps.jpg

It doesn't work as a word (which is why no-one has ever come up with it) and I'm yet to be convinced it works as a concept. These newfangled kettle taps - the ones that produce instant boiling water - I'm concerned they are ruining the art of tea making. I mean, tea breaks are short enough without them being reduced by the amount of time it takes to boil a kettle. I rebelled at the very first mention of them and reverted to a stove top whistling kettle. It's added exactly three minutes onto elevenses which is just enough time for a bit of mid-morning mindfulness - that thing tea breaks were designed for, remember? So I'm refusing to believe my builder who says kettle taps are the future and that I'm mad not to include one in the new kitchen. "It's like the Shoe Boot" I explained, "unnecessary evolution." It's my only other hybrid hiatus. We're all allowed a couple, what are yours? 



from the sublime to the ridiculous - Maid marilyn and the merry men

If there's one thing you can't accuse my interior style of, it is boring. Confused? Yes. Boring? No.

It feels like now, more than ever, I am constantly on the look out for new ways to add interest; to perk up poky corners; to style up a sideboard. This might result in a more eclectic scheme than is absolutely advisable, but what the hell. At least it's not dull. 

It puzzles me when c'lebs big-up boring. When they boast about liking nothing more than box sets and bee keeping. Being boring is a novelty to superstars of course. When they're not being papped in their PJs buying custard creams, they are playing to sell out crowds at Wembley, or walking catwalks in Milan. Not so for the rest of us. For the rest of us, boring really is boring.

Marilyn Monroe was clearly not one of those pro-boring A listers. In fact here she is as my latest poster girl coveting my favourite style memo.

Marilyn Monroe framed poster £30  www.next.co.uk

Marilyn Monroe framed poster £30 www.next.co.uk

Ridiculous is how I'd describe some of my most favourite house purchases. In most cases, these are the pieces that have given my home a unique personality, for not a lot of cash.

This post-holiday week, burdened with the boringness of going back to the regular routine, I'm even more keen than usual to throw in a few house candy curve balls to keep us all on our toes. You know, stuff that makes the husband stop in his tracks half way up the stairs and go..."What the f**k? that's RIDICULOUS!"

Each day I will post some of my more ridiculous purchases. With any luck some of them might give you inspiration and make you go, "Oooh that's a good idea, I never thought of that..."

Others will just stop you in your tracks and make you go, "What the f**k?" 

Well it would be boring if we all liked the same thing wouldn't it? 

Anyway, here's today's offering. A set of vintage Toby Jugs purchased for £1 each from the charity shop and my current favourite hats in which to stuff a few Spring blooms.

We've got Robin Hood on the left and, although the other one's not marked, let's go with The Sheriff of Nottingham on the right. Ridiculous yes? Or at the very least, un-boring.

Want your own Merry Men? The Beatles oughta rock things up a notch. These actual pot heads aren't from the swinging sixties but still qualify as vintage and are currently on Ebay for a hefty £350. Oh but John Lennon with daisy in his hair.... Imagine....

Royal Doulton Beatles Toby Jug set £350 www.ebay.co.uk

Royal Doulton Beatles Toby Jug set £350 www.ebay.co.uk

Like the quirkiness, but can't bring yourself to own a Toby Jug? It's completely understandable. A more fashionable option is this crazy cool baby's head plant pot from Mia Fleur

Baby's Head plant pot £9.95 From  Mia Fleur

Baby's Head plant pot £9.95 From Mia Fleur

I would so love to hear about any of your more ridiculous purchases. In fact, how about I show you mine and you show me yours? Now there's a game one should never get bored of.

Ooooh this week's feeling better already. Happy Monday y'all 

Claire x

PS Did you know you can follow me on Instagram by clicking here and on Facebook by clicking here or follow any of the links on the right for more inspiration and shed loads of house candy. I hope to hear from you soon :)


Only the brave

My Interior Ups and Downs. This week...

House Candy = Brave Decisions

The rugby world cup is on and pass me the muscle rub 'cos I’m feeling fierce.

I’m blaming a sudden surge of testosterone in the atmosphere for my recent bout of brave decision making. Take my house renovations for example. I’ve been dilly dallying over what to do with my dark and dingy hallway for five years. This week I gave the builder the go ahead to cause some serious damage.

Walls are coming down and full height crittall windows are going in. It’s bold, it’s brave but it will be worth the pain. Stick with me for one very messy makeover.

Fine and Candy = Brave patterns

Delicate florals and whimsical prints have been sent for an early shower. I’m making some manly textile substitutions, starting with this slightly spooky velvet from my fave pattern house, Blackpop. Their unique Reader fabric is soon to transform this old cane chair.

The Reader velvet fabric £120 per m  www.blackpop.co .uk

The Reader velvet fabric £120 per m www.blackpop.co.uk

Awarded best new product at Decorex International for Elizabeth - part of their amazing Tudor range currently featuring in a fab window display at Liberty of London - this cookily individual wallpaper and fabric brand knows it’s good to be oval in a round shaped world. 

Candy Pandy = Brave Face

I didn’t make the shortlist in the Interior Blog Awads Best Newcomer Category and I have this to say about it:

Whilst I’m nursing a badly bruised ego, I’m not ready to bow out of the blogging world yet.  Why not tell me how to improve my game below and I promise to take it like a man. 

Have a great weekend all, Claire xx


The Box That Bert Built

The urge to sell up and live in a pre-fab mobile home at the bottom of the garden is huge right now. Why? because I’ve been inside The Box.

Bert’s Big Box measures 4.2 m wide x 20m long x 3m high (including terrace)

Bert’s Big Box measures 4.2 m wide x 20m long x 3m high (including terrace)

Make no mistake, The 2 Bedroom Big Box by material maestros Bert & May is no ordinary pre-fab. It’s just fab.

I need Kevin McCloud to voice over here, because describing this place requires phrases like "seamlessly slips into the environment" and “sustainable living at its finest”. In fact, come to think of it, Kevin might find himself looking for a new job pretty soon. It’s only a matter of time before the next batch of Grand Designers wake up and smell the reclaimed weathered barn oak cladding. I mean, why would you go through the pain and bankruptcy involved in designing and building your own luxury home when in just 14 weeks you could have one of these? - and the chances are it will look way cooler anyway.

Steel windows and doors by Mat Therm 

Steel windows and doors by Mat Therm 

Open plan living, light filled spaces, crittall windows, encaustic tiled floors, brass fittings, wood burning stoves, state of the art technology; Bert’s Box - which was officially launched at Decorex International at London’s Syon Park this week - is a Pandora’s Box of interior and exterior loveliness. 

Exclusive to Bert and May Spaces: Water monopoly sanitary ware and Watermark collection Brooklyn Gunmetal or aged brassware fittings.

Exclusive to Bert and May Spaces: Water monopoly sanitary ware and Watermark collection Brooklyn Gunmetal or aged brassware fittings.

Created in collaboration with award winning architects Box9, the 1 and 2 bedroomed living spaces are technically mobile homes, which means they do not require planning permission and can be designed and created to your bespoke requirements in just 14 weeks. Theoretically that means you could order one today and be in it in time to welcome in the New Year.

I know what you’re thinking, how much? Price wise they start from £150,000 and the premium option notches that bill up to £225,000 to include such luxuries as 49” Sony TV, Mirage music system, Amina invisible ceiling speakers, Nest learning thermostat.. I could go on.

Whilst wondering wide-eyed through the high end exhibition stands at Decorex International, I realised how easy it would be to spend £225,000.

I could have blown it on a handmade, bespoke fitted carpet designed to my exact colour and size requirements. I could have designed my own 12 foot decorative hand blown glass chandelier. I could have ticked every single box on my things-I-won’t-ever-need-but-might-be-nice-to-have-anyway designer kitchen.

Or I could have bought an eco-friendly, drop dead gorgeous, architect designed family home, full of all my favourite house candy. 

Underfloor heating keeps the rooms cosy

Underfloor heating keeps the rooms cosy

Click here to be wowed and amazed at just how good the good life could be www.bertandmayspaces.com 

If property porn is your thing then I’ve included this next sentence just for your personal pleasure. Bert’s box is the ultimate turn-key, stress-free solution for anyone wishing to increase their living space, add value to their property or increase their yield on their land. Turned on? OMG I can’t help myself. Bert’s Box is a fusion of functionality and aesthetics … a thoughtfully designed eco space… a marriage of simplicity and luxury. Ladies and Gentlemen, Bert’s Box is fit.