Another post, another room. This time looking at the sitting room.
This room has a lot going on in terms of colour and pattern, but I think it works. It contains my favourite thing which is this black Mora Clock I bought a couple of years ago. It’s also one of the rooms where I have painted the walls, doors and ceiling all the same colour. I don’t think that’s something you immediately notice when you walk in and you’d assume it would make the room feel small or dark. However, the impression is (I think) of greater height because you don’t create a hard stop at the top of the walls with another colour. A bit like horizontal stripes making you look shorter and wider!
These yellow and red cushions are made from some fabric I bought down the road in Peckham.
These pictures are actually embroidered but me in front of the TV in the evening. They are the last eight Prime Ministers.
I love this chap. I bought him in the sale at Anthropologie.
And my growing collection of Fat Lava pots…..eBay is a dangerous thing.
The main bedroom has a major flaw. There’s just not enough storage.
It has an old brown wardrobe it in which seems massive but hardly fits anything in at all. It’s too narrow for most hangers to hang properly and so they have to go in at an angle. I can’t explain why it would be built that way, it remains a mystery to me. It also means that the bed and dressing table can only go in certain spots making it hard to find space for a chest of drawers without having furniture all lined up around the room.
There are two alcoves in the room which I intend to have fitted cupboards put into, but I decided as an interim fix to find a chest of drawers that could fit into them. And I found this fellow for around £40 on eBay (my usual haunt for inexpensive furniture).
It doesn’t look that exciting… .I think my mother described it as “a brown blob” or something along those lines.
I agreed but thought it had potential and I really liked the cupboard part at the top. I think it makes it quite versatile and something I could move to another room quite easily. It did need work though and I intended to paint it. I set about giving it an undercoat straight away. And then some months passed….
I came to a bit of a halt because I couldn’t decide what colour to paint it. Leaving all my stuff strewn around my room while the chest of drawers stood incomplete.
Then I saw this in a catalogue, John Lewis I think and took a snap on my iPhone.
I painted the exterior in Farrow and Ball Pigeon. This is a colour I have used elsewhere, particularly in the kitchen. If I did ultimately move this piece of furniture within the house that seems like it’s most likely new home. Plus I liked the idea of it matching the walls and not introducing another colour to the room.
The inside however I painted Farrow and Ball Rectory Red.
And I love it.
Totally fitted kitchens are (at least at the moment) not really my thing, to my eyes they can be too finished or not in keeping with the rest of the house. I like a mix of old and new with open shelving to display the more attractive items and cupboards to hide away the not so attractive…much the same as my approach to every room.
With that in mind I have been looking for something to hang on the wall over the kitchen sink. I did think of a large vintage mirror but I looked and looked and couldn’t find one I liked.
Then I got a bit more practical and decided to go for shelves, mainly to allow the glasses to reside in a more convenient location. Eventually I found these old pine shelves (I suspect they were previously to top of a dresser) on eBay and the search was over.
I love eBay. Living in London it can be hard to find furniture that doesn’t break the bank. It all seems to have been bought elsewhere, popped in a London lifestyle store, styled a bit and the priced doubled. eBay means that you can buy pieces from all over the country and either pick it up yourself or use the website anyvan. It works really well, all you do is post your job with the main details (description, rough size etc) and the picking up and dropping off points plus a timeframe it needs to happen within. Then a range of courier companies will bid on your job, they’re often combining your job with another so for them it works quite well. I’ve used it a number of times and it’s always gone smoothly and been quite cost-effective. I’m sure there must be something similar in the US and Canada – if not consider that a free business idea!
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).
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
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.
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).
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.
Then for the dining end. Same room, different angle.
The table is from Crystal Palace Antiques and the chairs I have covered on here already in this post.
And here’s the bench still waiting for me to finish upholstering it, also covered here in an old post.
Antiques are often a far more affordable way to buy furniture than buying new. That and you’re much more likely to find something unusual that you won’t see all over the place.
However living in London it can sometimes seem hard to find these bargains. Obviously there is Ebay but that can mean a bit of travel plus you don’t get to try before you buy. Antiques shops tend to either be over priced, full of uninspiring pieces painted a tasteful colour and presented as something special; or stacked so high with everything on top of each other it can be hard to make anything out.
So it was great to visit Crystal Palace Antiques. It has been recommended before but this was the first time I had visited. Spread over four floors it’s a great mix of pieces with enough variety to happily browse through yet edited so it’s not just a great pile of furniture stacked to the ceiling. Plus the prices seems fair (and much cheaper than the quality new alternatives).
Here are some of the things that caught my eye (which seem to be mainly mid century stuff – my taste must be changing!).
I thought this might work for our kitchen
Looking inside this dressing table,
We found some rather interesting books…
And this is what the shop looks like.
Some colour, some hardware.
The front door has been given a coat of paint, same kind inside and out. It’s Blue Ground from Farrow and Ball.
The surround still needs a final coat and the wall painted where the render has been fixed. Plus there’s a weird bit of cable hanging down that needs to go. So this is only halfway through. We had to add some bars on the door as well, the glass area as slightly bigger than we’d anticipated and given that this door is hidden from sight it needed some additional security.
On the back of this door is a new brass handle, an eBay purchase. The door had been sticking a bit and this made it easier to close, although that doesn’t seem to be much of a problem anymore. Nevermind, I like the handle anyway.
On the same theme I also bought a door knocker for the new flat front door, also from eBay.
All ready to be fitted.
The bathroom doors also have new additions. On the bedroom side they are from Anthropologie.
And on the bathroom side they were bought by my parents on a holiday.
Final new purchase is this sewing box, it’s supposed to be a mid-century and Danish made, I bought it from Germany.
Quite stylish for a sewing box.
The bedroom in the basement flat is finally ready (well nearly).
Here’s a before.
And here’s an after.
I am pretty sure this room has not been used since the sixties (judging by the decor) so this feels quite big as it’s now ready to be lived in.
I have a new bed, bought at low expense from ebay.
It’ a little over the top maybe, but I like it.
Colourwise this paint is Fired Earth Verd Antique. The door and ceiling are all painted the same colour. Painting the door the same colour is just me copying from various nice restaurants I have been in and liked and painting the ceiling I think makes the room feel bigger as there is no strong colour dividing line.
The decision now is whether to also paint the bathroom doors and windows the same. I think yes.
The bathroom is all done as well, boiler installed and working (in the front room) so it’s all go. The doors from this side will be simple white.
All the bathroom and bedroom windows are partly painted with an undercoat. The plan is to use Farrow and Ball Downpipe on the exterior to match with the front windows.
The bathroom doors need some doorknobs, fortunately I have a collection to choose from. These are my finalists.
Other new items include this chest of drawers picked up a local second-hand / junk shop.
And some lights from John Lewis. They are wall lights because the ceilings are quite low.
There’s nowhere to hang any clothes just yet, but there will be in here.
So nearly there.
The shower in the basement flat is almost there. Tiles on, sink in, loo in and shower working. All that’s needed now is for the boiler to be linked up and it’s all sorted.
Everything is from somewhere different. I actually can’t remember where the loo is from – just somewhere online. The shower is from bathstore.
There will be folding doors to separate this room from the bedroom.
The sink is from Ikea, that I do remember since it was a late night purchase in Croydon – ah the glamour! It took a while to find one that didn’t come out too far from the wall as the room is thin and therefore every centimeter counts.
These windows still need some thought to privacy (for the shy).
The bedroom itself is now basically ready to be decorated. The walls have all had extensive treatment for damp which was pretty bad in this and the front room (being a basement and an unused one for some time). Although there is still some damp on the chimney breast. The thinking is some water still needs to dry out, or that water is coming in down the chimney. To stop this we’ve capped the chimneys temporarily – photos to follow.
Hopefully that will fix it.
I’ve even bought a new bed, from Ebay. Doesn’t look much here but I am hoping it will look good in this room. It’s a bit elaborate so its meant a change of plan in terms of decoration, much simpler than I had previously imagined or it will all be too much.
The garden is also starting to come together. More and more plants are slowly added and on a sunny day there are some patches that I am starting to really like.
I have even planted some herbs in an old sink and a terracotta trough, I think they’ll look nice on the steps coming up from the flat bedroom.