Monday 30 April 2012

It's My Birthday!

It's my birthday today. 
And I shall be mostly standing on spiral staircases in very long dresses, like so....

{I'm thinking that long trail could come in handy for a spot of cleaning. 
Those railings must get ever so dusty
...always practical, my friends, always practical.}

I LOVE birthdays!! 
I made up a family rule which says that on your birthday 
you're allowed to choose whatever you want to do. 
{An excellent idea, if I may say so!!}

I've had a wonderful morning 
opening the sweetest presents from my kiddiewinks...

And now I'm off for a special lunch with Guy...

Image  Unknown...

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Friday 27 April 2012

Children's Bedrooms: Flooring Inspiration

Flooring can make or break a room. 
It's such an easy aspect to overlook but leaving tatty old carpet down while you spruce up the rest of the room is a bit like leaving one of the walls undecorated. When we decorate a room, I always try to do the whole shabang and not leave bits and pieces of extra work trailing around for years. 

So, flooring-wise, here's what I narrowed our choices down to:



Painted floorboards:

Via Marie Claire

Wooden flooring:

Via Something Hiding In There

I bypassed natural flooring like sisal and jute because although they look gorrrrrgeous initially, they stain pretty easily and don't react well to the wet. 
{If I could have a pound for each time I've had to mop up what shall be vaguely termed 'spillages' in my children's bedrooms then I'd be a very rich lady...}

Which leads me onto my main point....

When decorating children's rooms, it's so easy to be sucked in by what looks great on the page of a catalogue...BUT BUT BUT what really counts is how good it'll look in YOUR home....a year or two down the line.....

Fancy-shmancy options will look fab for a little while but I want our rooms to look great when they're well-lived in.

Is that too much too ask?

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Wednesday 25 April 2012

Designing Our Fitted Cupboards Part 2

With our fifth baby on the way, we're always looking for ways to improve storage, particularly in our current phase of having to store what feels like a bazillion boxes of clothes between children using them.  When I was looking at the existing fitted cupboards in this bedroom, it suddenly occurred to me that there might be extra space above the lower cupboard that wasn't being used. A secret hole!! See what I mean?....

And it turned out I was right! Yeeeah! Free space! One of the things that bothered me about the existing cupboards is the way they were so mismatched. One way up high and the other mid-height. Odd. This extra secret space gave us some leeway to be able to even the whole space out.

We altered the cupboard plans to include another double cupboard above the existing lower space, and fiddled about with heights to bring both sets of doors to the same height.

The next step was working out how to bring in period details again. 
{These were NOT the original cupboard doors so no guilt about ripping them out.}

Four words: 
cupboard style,

{Okay, that's five but read on to see what I mean...}

We changed the architrave surrounding the cupboards to match the main door to the room.

I love Shaker style cupboard doors, and chose beading to compliment the beading on the main door (more on that to come!!). 

The handles are now chunky, matt-glazed wood. 
Perfect for little dimpled hands!

Rather than using kitchen-cupboard type hinges, which ends up with doors shutting onto the existing frame, I prefer to use hinges that ensure the doors fit within a frame for a more bespoke look. I love these brass hinges with silver detailing. Yum!

See how I've lopped off the bottom of the cupboards from these photos? That's to keep the floor hidden from your all-seeing eyes...
but not for long...

Yup, next up:

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Monday 23 April 2012

My Perfect Weekend Away...

I've just had one of the best weekends of my life.
Mr Modern Country surprised me with a pre-baby trip away.

He told me we were going to visit his parents
....which we were....
but it turned out that it was for the children 
to have a special holiday...

and for us to go on to here....

As we drove up the driveway, 
I had a hunch that this was somewhere lovely...
and, wooooah....
it was!

Rushton Hall.
An Elizabethan Country Spa Hotel.

I can't even begin to tell you how special a time it was.
So romantic.
It was an incredible place to stay.

We played cards and had drinks here...

Had long, lazy breakfasts here...

Then, on Saturday, Guy suggested that we might like to visit Barnsdale Gardens,
which was the base of BBC Gardener's World for 13 years. We had a lovely gentle walk round all 39 mini-plots before having a delicious lunch. 

There were lots of quiet spots for sitting down and resting
...good for pregnant legs....
...and kissing...

Spending prolonged time together alone 
feels like such a huge luxury at the moment.
I am so grateful for the snatches of solitary gorgeousness that we do get.

Thank you, Mr MC.
You totally wooed me.

Images via Rushton Hall and Barnsdale Gardens

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Friday 20 April 2012

Designing Our Fitted Cupboards Part 1

What are the areas worth investing in when renovating? Storage has to be up there somewhere on your list. Don't you agree? It's one of the areas that's totally worth paying for: beautiful, good quality storage will last you a lifetime....and beyond.  I always think that you could have the most beautiful things in the world but if they're covered in clutter then the effect is lost.

I love the skirting continued around the base...
Clutter is the enemy of gorgeous rooms....

Doors set into cupboards always spell quality to me. sorting out the fitted cupboards had to be a priority.
There's a lot of stuff to store!

After a good, long browse around, I decided that Shaker style cupboards, painted white, were the way I wanted to go with this room

Gorgeous panelling.
We were going to need a lot of cupboards!

I love the way this fits into an existing alcove. 
Our Edwardian house has had many of it's features removed over the years so it felt right to be putting something like this back into the house. Even though they won't be original, they will be in keeping. 

I'm loving the extra top row of cupboards for all those extra bits and bobs...
I found lots of inspiration pictures but it was actually pretty hard to find a picture of exactly what I wanted so I pieced together the bits I liked from a hotch-potch of different photos. Although this was more work, it did give me the chance to design our cupboards more or less from scratch, rather than trying to squeeze someone else's design into our space, which never looks great, does it?

And when I say that it was work, between you and me, that's not entirely accurate because it's this bit, the designing things just for us, that I love!

Which is your favourite?

Next time, I'll be posting up all the details, good and bad....

Images via: Peter Henderson, Kate Madison, Mark Wilkinson, Peter Henderson, Pics Digger

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Wednesday 18 April 2012

Splitting One Room Into Two

 Although I was completely seduced by the idea of turning this space into something akin to the room I showed you here, we decided to split the room into two smaller bedrooms using stud walls.

Yes, we went for 
option two: the practical choice.
More wall space, more sound-proofing.
{I haven't had four children without picking up 
a thing or two on that subject, let me tell you!}

This gave me not one but TWO rooms to decorate!! 

We made a small hallway using the area in front of where the main bedroom door used to be and arranged one new door to the left and one new door straight ahead.

This initial work was done when we were expecting our twins a few years ago 
and needed to get a lot done very quickly before they were born.
{Stressful? Why would you think that? ;-)}

Now we know that we're expecting a little baby girl, we're just about to redecorate these spaces in a more feminine fashion, but before we do that, would you like a little tour?

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Friday 13 April 2012

One room, three spaces....

There was no contest for the purpose of the second master bedroom had to be children-focussed.
But the big question was:
How Should That Be Done?

Option number one was to turn it into a large multi-functional room
...a little bit like this gorgeous children's bedroom....

via Apartment Therapy

I love the way this unisex room has used every bit of space to create private bedroom nooks for two children...and squeezed in a great play area too. Plus the colour-scheme is great - it somehow manages to look feminine AND boyish at the same time. No mean feat!!

But would this work for us as a family?
Next week, I'll be sharing what we've chosen...

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Wednesday 11 April 2012

Renovating The Second Master Bedroom....

I'm heavily pregnant now 
{and let's move swiftly past the word 'heavily, if you please...}, 
so it must be time for some crazy-nesting renovation, right?

Do you remember this? 
{The top floor bedroom before we moved in...}

When we first moved into our house, it was completely bizarrely laid out, with not one but two master bedrooms. One seemed plenty for us so we made the top floor our own mummy-and-daddy-private-haven...
{which I covered here...}

and were left with this large space downstairs...
{again, the picture is before we moved in.}

Where to begin?
What would you do?

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Saturday 7 April 2012

That's My King...

I LOVE this.
So full of incredible hope and wonder.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter.

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