A dash of colour

I recently decided to paint this dresser.

dresser2

In many ways it’s nice as it is. But it’s soon going in another room where I think being painted a light colour will fit better. Plus it’s not in amazing shape (the wood on the front door for example has bowed) and my dad advised that a lick of paint would help keep it all together. And I always listen to my father!

So I chose Pavilion Grey by Farrow from Ball as base colour and then a highlight colour of India Yellow. I wanted to pick out some of the edges and this colour links with the yellow/oranges in the small pieces of glass in the top windows.

And this is how it turned out.

dresserupdate1

dresser8

I went a bit crazy and freehand painted some decoration on the drawers. I’m not sure it goes with the total look of the cabinet but I like it.

dressercu

drssercu2

dressercu4

I also spotted these pom poms on the Graham and Green site and bought them on a whim. They’ve gone in the bedroom.

pom pms4

pom poms4

pom poms5

A little ridiculous but they somehow seem to make the room more complete and they’re fun.  At least I think so.

Flower Power

I’ve been on been on the search for a large lamp to go in the flat for some months now. I couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted, super modern, a kind of Victorian fringed affair or a rather kitsch fellow like this. I decided on kitsch as you can see.

lamp 1

I’ve been stalking lamps like this on online antique/retro shops and ebay for awhile now. At first I couldn’t decide if I truly wanted something with quite this much of a sixties vibe (I assume sixties) in my home. However, once I had noticed them I started seeing them everywhere, in magazines, as props in TV shows etc and I thought they looked quite cool. This beast I finally found on ebay from a private seller outside (expensive) London. I think it was a total bargain and now that I have it in place and really pleased with how it looks. Much more interesting than anything I’d have bought in Habitat or John Lewis, and cheaper.

lamp 2

These lamps are from a era of West German pottery known as Fat Lava. While I was searching for my perfect lamp I became aware of the pots and vases also available from this era. I’m no expert but I do know that period extends from roughly the 50s-70s and includes a number of factories based in West Germany that produced a range of signature shapes and glazes. Some of them are truly wild, and apparently are becoming quite collectable. Although obviously not that collectable yet as I have acquired a few for very little cost.

pots 1

pots 6

shelf 1

shelf 6

They remind me of the kind of thing you might buy in Anthropologie.

If you’re interested there is a lot more information on the Pots and Pots website.

The collecting bug

Some time ago I inherited a thimble collection from my Grandma. For awhile I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. They are perhaps not the coolest thing to collect….

She had them displayed in a glass case but they were all stacked up and you couldn’t see them so clearly. So eventually I bought this printers drawer in a second-hand shop for a tenner and popped them in that.

thimbles 1Then I started adding to it firstly by  covering off all the things my Grandma had started (Royal Weddings and British seaside towns featuring quite heavily). Once you start looking out for them they really are everywhere. And my friends have kindly sent me the odd one as well.

thimbles2

thimbles3

Then I realised you could get all sorts if amusing ones, like these.

thimbles 4

And now I’ve started I guess I’ll carry on….

The flat – part two

This time it’s the bedroom / office area.

Here’s the before.

bedroom

And here with a few things added.

bedroom

I picked up this side table from John Lewis.

bedside table

I also have some work stuff in here. Dressmakers dummy for alterations and the like (heavily underused if I am honest). This had to be positioned carefully so you don’t wake up in the night and freak out thinking there is an intruder in the room.

dressmaker dummy

And a desk/work area by the window.

desk 1

This desk also doubles as dressing table, the centre section opens up to reveal a storage area and mirror inside the lid. It’s also from Made.

desk

sewing

laundry baskest

And general bits and bobs.

succulents

piggy bank

The flat – fixing it up part one

Rental properties can be a bit tough to make your own. You can’t choose the colour of the walls, flooring, tiles, kitchen cabinets etc. But you can do your best to make it a bit different with what you can add. That’s what I have been doing.

Here’s my flat before.

The lounge (taken on my phone, so really poor shots).

lounge window

lounge back

And here’s what I have been doing with it. Starting with the lounge. I’ve tried to divide it into a dinning and seating area

view into lounge

The sofa and coffee table are from Made (who I’d love to recommend as the furniture is great and inexpensive but the customer service is dire), the sideboard an Ebay special and rug from Ikea. I like this rug so much I actually have two now, the other is in the house we’ve been renovating.

sofa

The pictures are all held up with a product called Command Strips, a kind of velcro for walls which you can peel off later without damaging the plaster (at least I hope so, I have used a considerable number).

table

work bowl

uke

pots

I also acquired this useful side table. The top comes off and becomes a tray if you fancy it. I got mine at Jane Newbery in Dulwich.

coffee table

lamp

Then for the dining end. Same room, different angle.

table1

The table is from Crystal Palace Antiques and the chairs I have covered on here already in this post.

candle

window ledge

And here’s the bench still waiting for me to finish upholstering it, also covered here in an old post.

bench

Bedroom next.

Cushions

I’ve been using up some bits of fabric I have to make cushions. There’s probably a better technique for making these but I have a very basic approach.

Fabric from Ikea – they actually have quite a good selection you can buy by the metre.

I then cut two squares slightly larger than my cushion filler.

Lay them back to back and pin together. Sew around three sides and a bit at each end of the fourth. Turn it back round the other way, push in the filler and then sew up the gap by hand.

All done.

Mine was immediately road tested by a willing volunteer.

I made a couple more with some fabric I bought in Peckham a few of years ago. A little on the lurid side perhaps.

I have another one on the go which is much more involved. This will be a decorative embroidered one. So far it’s slow progress, but I can’t claim to have been working hard at it…

In the frame

Some time ago I had a set of eight napkins that seemed a bit dull so for a reason I can’t quite remember I embroidered the face of each of the last eight Prime Ministers on them.

Here’s a post I did about them at the time.

Since then I haven’t used them, they are a bit too big and I never seem to have the right occasion to get them out. So instead I decided to have them framed and hang them in a row a bit like they do on the stairs at Downing Street.

Although on a considerably more modest scale.

So that’s what I have done.

The only bit of wall I had suitable was in my bedroom, which is probably a bit odd. However, I think they work and I am pleased with the results.

Simple chair update

Recently I was lucky enough to be given a set of dining chairs by generous friends. I also found and bought a new dining table from an antiques shop and together I felt I had a bit too much dark wood going on.

So I decided to update the chairs by painting and recovering them. Painting the chairs is obviously the bigger, more permanent change than recovering so needed a bit more thought. Although it’s not for ever, you can of course strip them back or change the colour even if doing so can be very time consuming.

I started by sanding down the chairs and giving them an undercoat.

I then chose a new colour for them. After much agonising I went for Chalk Violet from Fired Earth.

I also had to choose some fabric for the seats. I wanted something with a strong pattern and considered doing each seat in a  different fabric but in the end I found this simple design in John Lewis . I thought this had a bit of interest but would also work with other fabrics and patterns in the same room.

This is where my slightly basic approach comes in but I kept the process of recovering the seats really simple and quick.

I removed the old leather cover and retained all the stuffing and the black piece of fabric used to hide all the workings.

Then using the frame as a guide I cut out an section of frabric with enough give around the edge to allow me to fold it up and staple the sections to the frame, but not so much that it would be bulky and hard to manage.

I have a staple gun for stretching canvas when I am painting and I used this to fix the fabric  and stuffing in place. Mine in reality isn’t strong enough so I had to help some of the staples in a bit. It can be tempting to add in loads and loads of staples but having spent hours removing them and knowing I might want to change this fabric one day meant I was fairly restrained.

I added staples bit by bit, first on one side, then the opposite and working round like this to create and even look.

When folding in the corners you have to make sure you get it pretty tight as this will need to drop back into the chair frame.

Then I fished out the bit of black fabric to cover this slightly erratic stapling and neaten things up.

And you have a finished base.

Then you simply drop this back into your painted frame and you’re done.

Pinterest

Some distance behind the trend curve Klaus and Heidi is now also on Pinterest. Somewhere to collect design images that are not specifically related to a current project or just thoughts for the future.

If you’re interested the link is here

Follow Me on Pinterest
Here’s a taste of some things that have been pinned.

Green fingers

The garden wasn’t the first priority but some plants did go in last year and some more have been added bit by bit. They have started to grow and spread and fill in the gaps. The result being that the garden is starting to look less like a grassy bowling alley and more like… well… a garden.

The lavender in particular has flourished and is just about to bloom.

I planted some herbs in an old sink.

And some sweet peas against a security grill which used to be fitted over one the windows.

The area at the back of the garden by the studio had been the most neglected. We just didn’t have enough plants to cover this area straight away. It’s also terrible soil as it is full of bricks and broken glass, the result of the bottom of the garden being used as an informal tip for many decades.

However a large central bed has now gone in, although it still looks rather barren.

Just a few of the bricks you have to dig out every time you put a plant in.

The side beds at the back have vegetables in them. Onions, beans, parsnips and some very vigorous looking potatoes.

Again rubble had to be removed.

Potatoes looking healthy on the right hand side of shot.

There’s also now an enormous compost heap next to the studio with a neat little fence made from off-cuts.

I think the studio is looking really pretty now as plants start to grow up around it. I love working out here.

Lastly something that is more a work in progress. There’s a patch of grey concrete halfway down the lawn which is probably the base from an old shed or greenhouse. Removing it would be a be a bigger job than you might think.

The solution has been to paint it white and surround it with some more lavender. The plants need time to grow and the white needs to wear a little plus that shovel needs to find a new home, but overall I think it’s an improvement.

There are quite a few more plants about to come into bloom and I am still slowly adding more so hopefully by the end of the summer it should be starting to look quite complete.