Monday 31 May 2010

Master Bedroom before..

Time for another 'before' entry! This time it's the top floor's turn. Here's the first shot (this is before we moved in so ignore the possessions - or have a good nose!!):

It was a really strange use of space for us as there was a huge master bedroom downstairs and we didn't want two master-size bedrooms. This room was neither one thing nor another.

Neighbours in the house two up from us said the space worked incredibly well for them as a master room (they have the same layout as us) as the whole of the top floor is an adult space. They had turned the downstairs master bedroom into two rooms. I needed time to think so, for a while, we used it as a hobby room.

My change of mind happened when we had guests to stay. They slept in our room downstairs and we spent the night up here and... I LOVED it! Not as it was, obviously, but I suddenly began to see its potential.

I had always found the room downstairs a bit big. I like feeling slightly more cocooned in my bedroom. This felt spacious but more cosy than our downstairs bedroom.

Things I liked:
the space;
the lovely old beams;
the sloping roof;
the slight separation from the rest of the house - potential for a real haven!

What I didn't like:
small windows;
complete lack of proper storage (open built in shelving and an open wardrobe rail in an alcove plus a massive cupboard with no doors);
the decor (TWO borders and very flimsy tongue and groove);
the door opened where the bed fitted best;
the radiator was where the bed fitted best;
plugs on the beams;
the attic hatch in the bedroom;
Quite a list!

This was was going to be quite a big job.....oh yes, and I discovered I was pregnant... with twins. All in a days work for Mrs Modern Country.... NOT! Aaaaarghhh.....

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Friday 28 May 2010

Paint chart crazy

I'm mad about colour. One of my favourite things in the world to do is sit on my own and look at paint colour charts and sample pots, of which I have quite a collection. Even as I write this, I know this is not a normal thing to do! I find it so restful and restorative looking at colours that I like, which I why I spend aaaaaggges choosing colours for each room. It means that every time I go into a room, where I have got the colour choice just exactly right, I glow inside. That's the best way of describing how I feel. As I said, I am crazy about colour!

Here are my paint charts.....

There are lots of colours that I like but quite a narrow band of colour that I love. My favourite colour is 'Is it grey? Is it blue? Is it green?' That's the best name for it!

There are some hues, which are called cusp colours. Apparently, our brains store colours under definite groupings. These shades are on the cusp of two (or three...) different groups. You can't, therefore, store them as an exact memory and have to keep looking at them to know what colour they are precisely. That's the theory but I find it true in practice too. That's exactly why I like them so much. Each time I catch a glimpse of the colour, I feel as though I am capturing it again for the first time. Lovely.

Here are my sample books:

I adore colours that need gazing into to see them fully. I find not all paint ranges do this. They just don't have the right intensity of pigment. That's nothing to do with brightness of colour but of the quality of the paint. I am a Farrow and Ball girl through and through, with the occasional foray into Earthborn, Paint and Paper Library or Fired Earth.

When I look at the paint charts or the samplebooks (which have substantially larger blocks of each colour), I find some colours seem to jump out at me. These are usually the colours that I then order sample pots for, which I paint on large pieces of A3 stiff paper.

This is the best way to see if you truly like a colour. Good quality colours seem to change beyond belief from room to room and, even, from wall to wall. An excellent way to understand how the colour will build up intensity in a room is to hold the paper up to a corner and bend it so that half is on one wall and the other half on the adjacent wall. That way, it gets a chance to reflect back on itself, as it would if it were all over the walls, like so:

When this has narrowed down my choice, I then give the final test. I paint a large section of one of the walls to be decorated. And then....... I deliberate and contemplate and hesitate and consider and ponder and cogitate and ruminate and study and mull over and over and over....and then, hopefully, decide!!

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Thursday 27 May 2010

Old House New Home

I love, love, love books. Craft books, gardening books, modern fiction, and interior design top my wish list. However, there is something especially special about Interior Design books that just calls to me (hear them calling now from Amazon "Buy me, buy me"...).

I feel I have a certain mission to track down the very best Modern Country book in the world....EVER. My own, personal Holy Grail! My mission, should I choose to accept it (Yes, please!!), is to find a book with the most gorgeous pictures, readable, informative text, good Source book at the back, and, of course, perfect Modern Country style.

I thought I'd share some of the contenders for the Holy Grail position here.

First up is Old House New Home: Stylish Modern Living in a Period Setting by Ros Byam Shaw.

I love Ros Byam Shaw. Her writing is always readable, relevant and inspiring. This particular book claims to help you 'show off the best features of a home built for another age, while adapting it for modern living'.

This book is for the coffee table so consequently has lovely large pictures. Perfect for showing up details in the many gorgeous homes featured.

It is divided into five sections: Period Piece, Urban Chic, Rustic, Recycled Spaces and Country House. Each of these has between four and six houses featured, as well as features on 'Furniture and Lighting' and 'Fabric and Finishing Touches'.

All features are excellent.

The areas picked out cover all aspects of Modern Country excellently - from the traditional cottage through to converted warehouses and penthouse luxury.

Now to the question on everyone's lips...Is it the Holy Grail?

*drum roll*! It is reeeeeally lovely but doesn't quite reach the exalted spot for me. Some of the houses featured are too grand to get any real inspiration from (antique kitchen, anybody?). Drooling, though?.....Oh yes!

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Tuesday 25 May 2010

Hello, Mr Postman....

There's nothing quite like getting a parcel in the post. The fact it's something I've bought myself is neither here nor there. A parcel is a parcel is parcel. (Who am I kidding?!)
I just love seeing this view when I open our inner doors:

I love to savour every moment of the opening....

Here's what arrived in the post for my collection today....

Two lovely books! Comfortable Country and French General Home Sewn. Aaaaah!

I'll pick one to show you today....

Home Sewn is a craft book but has lovely interiors too. It's by a shop of the same name (French General) in America who sell French-inspired interior fabulousness. The book has lots of great and quite original ideas. Original, not necessarily in terms of the basic premise, but in the choice of material, the intended use, or a twist in its make-up. For example, in the picture above, the roman blind (the standard part) is made from coarse hessian, designed to look like an antique flour-sack (the twist).

Here's another example of a project:

I've not yet made anything from the book so can't comment on the efficiency, or otherwise, of the patterns. They do come in a sweet little envelope in the book to save cutting them out laboriously.

The book is superbly presented and pure joy to look through. Plenty to keep me busy!

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Monday 24 May 2010

Bathroom specifics....

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty.....

When deciding how to do the bathroom, I decided that I wanted to keep the main bits (bathroom, loo and sink, taps, tiles, floor) how they were, as they tied into the colour palette that I like for the house (more on that later...). They are all in excellent condition and I like them, even if they might not have been my choice. More to the point, the bath is enormous and perfect for bathing four children at once!

Here are the tiles...

...which are pale greeny-blue mosaics. Here is the floor.....

...which is grey-green lino. I went for white walls and ceiling, dark taupey-brown for accessories, along side this grey/blue/green.

I think the doors are a great success. I had to be quite firm with the carpenter to get a good fit. I hate doing that but I knew if I didn't then it'll annoy me forever. I love the simple Shaker style - no fuss, just clean lines. And white. Sooooo much better than what was there before.

Next up, lighting..... I searched and I searched and I searched for bathroom lights that I like. Probably for about two and a half years. I'm so happy I waited and didn't just settle for second best. I lurrrrrve these.....

They are chrome, 5-arm chandeliers. Aren't they gorgeous? I have put them on a dimmer so that the room can be super-bright or lovely and gentle. I bought an extra light too for the spare glass shades (not that I'm expecting another football accident....honest....).
Two lights in a bathroom feels very extravagant but that's the feel I wanted. Clean,white, bright by day and calm, luxurious and romantic by night.

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Friday 21 May 2010

Family bathroom (after)

I didn't take any before photos of the bathroom before it was done.

It used to be aqua with hideous domed ceiling lights (one of which was broken after a football accident...). The cupboard doors were varnished wood, plain-fronted, with matching varnished doorknobs.

Here are some of the after photos:

The floor and tiles haven't changed as they are grey-green, which works well with the palette in the rest of the house.

We kept this radiator too. It's a large room and this sized radiator keeps it lovely and toasty in the winter.....there are few things worse than a too-cold bathroom.

The colour is Dulux white eggshell (not brilliant white). This is the first room I've ever painted white all over and it took me a couple of days to get used to it. Now, though, I love it. It feels serene and calm, whether I'm bathing four noisy children or relaxing by candlelight.

I'm extremely pleased with the cupboard doors and door knobs. The handles are smaller versions of the main doorknob. I really like small details tying in like that - even if no one else ever notices....

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Thursday 20 May 2010

I Love the World video

I love this video. I found it on Mrs Limestone's blog

Things that bring people together like this make me want to happy-cry. Is that a strange reaction? My children think so!

Feel the love, people.

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Monday 17 May 2010

Craft and interior books.....

I LOVE craft books and interior design books. They are my Achilles' heel. They call to me from Amazon and before I know it, the One-Cick button has been pressed....
Here is where I store my stash.....

Here are the bookends that I use - otherwise the books flop around all over the place. One end is a vintage hot-water bottle:

The other end is an old-fashioned iron:

It's one of my favourite nooks in the house, making me smile every time I look there.

I will share someof my favourites....

To be continued.....

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Tuesday 11 May 2010


I love this photo. I took it today. It's of our cat (on the right) with her 'friend'......
They look to me as though they are up to no good...

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Thursday 6 May 2010


I know I'm being slooooow getting going. I got a camera for my birthday and am still getting to grips with it so no photos so far, which I know are a must for every blog.

I can't wait to get going.....

Watch this space....

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