Wednesday 30 October 2013

Book Review: Farrow and Ball Decorating With Colour

I've been invited to join the expert panel of judges for B and Q's Unloved Rooms competition; I've loved looking through the entries, searching for potential, reading the background stories and generally getting to be very nosey indeed! But look at what we have here....

Oh me, oh my! Farrow and Ball have released a new book!

Farrow and Ball Decorating With Colour by Ros Byam Shaw is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available from

Ros Byam Shaw is back with another belter of a book. 
A real cracker if I may say.

Split into three sections, Classic, Contemporary and Country, Decorating with Colourwalks a very pleasing Modern Country line between the three. Ros has chosen a beautiful mix of effortlessly stylish homes, which are an absolute feast for the eyes.

As well as Ros' lovely text, there are gazillions of gorgeous photos to drool over.

Beautiful chalky shades, as well as warm jewelled hues, will have you reaching for your paint brush faster than you can say "I could literally eat every one of Farrow and Ball's hundred-and-twenty colours".

One of my favourite features of Decorating with Colour is the index at the back. It means that you can look up every single reference to the colour you're currently obsessing over. A colour-perfectionist's dream...

Being a proud owner of their previous book, I one hundred per cent believe that this, too, will be a book you dip into over and over again.

Worth its weight in sample pots!

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Monday 28 October 2013

How To Completely Transform Old Picture Frames

 I have a thing about picture frames. I find them peculiarly difficult to resist when I see them lying, unloved, in thrift stores or charity shops. 

They're spectacularly easy to transform into show-stopping pieces with a little know-how.

Step this way, please....

One tatty old frame....

However, underneath the scritches and scratches and knocks and bumps, this has good bones. Solid wood. Chunky and sturdy. Definite transformation potential.

I turned to my trusty can of Autentico Nearly Black Chalk Paint for a speedy lick of lusciousness. No sanding, priming or preparation necessary. I've painted tonnes of little bits and pieces like this, plus the desk in the study and the tin is still pleasingly full-looking. A little goes a long, long way.

With this particular piece, I wanted the gently matte sheen that comes from Autentico's Clear Wax. This is so easy to apply.

Following the clear instructions, brush the wax sparingly onto the surface of the frame, wait for the fifteen minutes it takes to dry and then buff with a brush, or cloth.

And, ta-daaaaa, this easy-peasy, cheap as chips way to utterly transform a frame from past-it to pizzazz!

The British Isles Typography print is from Rose and Grey.
Isn't it gorgeous? 
I love the detail of all the different names...
take a close-up look....

Rose and Grey stock loads of must-have quirky finds and, as quoted by The Sunday Times, 'upbeat, colourful home wares with a whiff of salvage." Yum!

This British Isles Typography poster caught my eye in an instant.

I love the sheer slate colourway but it's also available in Duck Egg.

A craft project that's good for the Modern Country soul, and for your bank balance...everyone's a winner!

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Wednesday 23 October 2013

Make It Yours: Romantic Getaway

Who doesn't fancy a romantic getaway? A secret bolthole to find rest and serenity. Next many of us have one?
Mmmmmm, not so many, eh?!

The secret is to create your very own space in the home you already have. Particularly with littlies around, a special place for Mr MC and me to escape to, has been, not just a luxury, but a real necessity.

Simple, uncluttered and calm are the keywords....
and here's how I suggest you do it...

Clockwise from top: take time to pick out small luxuries, you want to be able to feel like a princess in an instant; choose a palette of soft, washed-out putty shades, such as the new greys from Little Greene: try Limestone, Fescue, Cool Arbour, and Serpentine, which are designed to work together as a palette; be ruthlessly sparing with clutter...accessories YES but clutter NO!; I love the ambiance that choosing natural materials gives: here, linens, then rattan baskets and wooden floors help to impart softness to the scheme.

These mood boards take inspiration from Unique Home Stays' Turtledove Cottage (see here and here for more information).

This time I've focused on slightly more masculine greys. Clockwise from top: as there's only two of you to buy necessities for, you might want to splash out a bit so that even the everyday feels special; warm and snuggly are romantic essentials.....I shall say no more!; throws and cushions always in natural materials....utterly inviting; nothing should feel so perfect that it isn't practical; try Farrow and Ball Great White, Farrow and Ball Cornforth White and Farrow and Ball Lamp Room Gray for grays with depth.

Enjoy your own Romantic Getaway!

 (via unknown, Liesbet Goetschalckx, unknown, Finders Keepers Market Inc)

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Monday 21 October 2013

Cottage Tour Part 2: Modern Country Hideaway

Guess what? I've managed to track down some extra-gorgeous images of Turtledove Cottage aka Lovers' Paradise just for you

I'm listening to The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face as I type this so something romantic must be hanging in the air today.

My favourite kind of day!

Isn't it lovely?
The big question is, though:

How do you get this look in your own home?

Guess what's coming up on Wednesday!?

Images via Unique Home Stays

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Friday 18 October 2013

The Best Shower In The World?

Showering in our house was an absolute nightmare before The Build. Just look at what we inherited from the previous owners!

The shower was cramped, cold, leaky and dribbly.
Enough to put you off showers for life, right?
Wrong! Here's what we ended up with after the extension was completed....

Enter Project: Shower Heaven! 
{Cue angels singing!}

My goal for this room was to create the Perfect Shower that could lure me out of my warm, cosy bed in the morning! I've always been a Bath Girl through and through so this was a celestial aim!

After looking through a million different shower catalogues and trawling the net for reams of shower-related information, we chose the Mira Realm With Diverter (for more information or to find your nearest stockist, visit Mira Showers or call 0844 5715000), as we wanted a shower with an old-fashioned feel to add character to the new extension

I wanted this room to feel it had always been part of the house, and the traditional looks of Mira Realm contribute hugely to that feel, and was fantastic value too.

However, while I wanted an old-fashioned Country look, I wanted a Modern shower experience. No coldness. No slow dribbles. No water temperature up and down like a yo-yo! 

The solution was to choose a thermostatic shower, which gives temperature stability. 

Once the dial is set at your desired temperature, it stays that way, even with five children in the house having a bath downstairs!

The enormous 21cm deluge head is LUSH. I feel like I'm standing in a warm summer storm, or a distant tropical waterfall. 

However, for total flexibility, I wouldn't be without the diverter option. 

One turn of this wonder-dial ensures that I can easily wash my hair properly or, more practically, clean the shower tray.

And the water absolutely blasts out, compared to the all-over soak experience of the main head.

I can have all deluge, all diverter or both options at once...aaaaah! Bliss!

I wasn't sure that I could ever be converted to showers but, do you know what? I've done it!

I've managed to turn showertime from nightmare to an ultimate, and hugely-looked-forward to, daily luxury!

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