Monday, 30 May 2016

Mid Century Modern and A Pretty Office Design

Happy Monday Friends :D The bedroom redesign is running behind as the electrician was unable to do any work last week. I'll be showing you more of the bedroom design once we are back on track, but for now.....

I have already mentioned how much I love mid-century modern furniture and lighting in a previous post. Their simple, elegant, clean lines, that adhere to function and form are so easy on the eye and is why they work so well today in our modern homes. There is however, a typical image which springs to mind with Mid-Century Modern and I want to show you how you can create the perfect feminine and pretty office setting using this style.

1. Mid-Century Desk - West Elm2. STUA Gas Task Chair - Atomic Interiors3. Vitra Soft Shell Chair - Atomic Interiors4. Mid-Century Small Console - West Elm5. PH Artichoke Pendant - Aram6. Bespoke furniture - Me :D 7. LED Spots by Phillips 8. PH 3/2 Table Lamp - Aram 9. Bloomingvale Table Lamp - Amara


The PH Artichoke lamp by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen is a beautiful, beautiful decorative pendant light and is a design classic that offers great diffused lighting thats glare free lighting, which is ideal for an office setting. It was originally designed in 1958 in enamelled aluminium and steel, but today you will find it in different colours and finishes.

The PH3/2 table lamp in opaline glass and polished chrome compliments the PH Artchichoke light offering elegant, simple and comfortable lighting layer to the space.


The accessories I chose for the space compliment the elegant forms of the furniture and lighting and, of course, the beautiful contemporary Alexander McQueen "Poppy Days" wallhanging is a real feature of the office design. Adding great contrast of texture and pattern it injects colour that visually softens the look of the overall design to stop it from looking stark and clinical. It is an explosive dramatic art form that is mesmerisingly beautiful. Did you know that wall hangings were really popular amongst Parisians especially during the Art Deco period.

The "Here and There" cabernet rug has wool and silk accents which when layered against the Barefoot BirkHam carpet adds depth of colour to the room and grounds the design with its deep colour contrast.

One of my finds for the design was a Sylvia Stave pewter vase which epitomises the era with its linear lines engraved in the pewter material which mimics the Eltis Candy silk wall covering. The pretty art nouveau dish by Rostand was chosen for its pretty feminine quality which compliments the Poppy Days wallhanging by Alexander McQueen.

The silk peony roses and yoshino berries from John Lewis are feminine and a reminder of the outdoors and keeps us in touch with nature and our well being.

Window Treatments

Simple flexible slatted blinds remotely controlled offer the perfect solution to control the amount of light entering the room. They are made from a soft organic weave that is textured which creates interest to the room.

Wall coverings

Pattern and texture have been added to the design by using  Eltis Candy Silk Effect vinyl wall covering. With the subtle linear patter creating a visual calming backdrop to the office space. Its also great as its hardwearing and has a varnished top coat for increased UV and abrasion resistance. The silk effect to the wall covering ensures some reflection of light into the office.

Elevation drawing

So there you have one of my designs for a pretty feminine mid-century office design proving that it  doesn't have to be all dark wood and bright colours ;D

Have a good week Friends and enjoy the bank holiday today if your in the UK.

Maria xx

Friday, 27 May 2016

Houseplants That Help You Breathe Easier

Happy Friday Friends :D I can't believe another week has gone by and its half term for my children next week, yikes!!

A while ago, I posted here about houseplants and your wellbeing.

Today, I am talking about a few of the houseplants that are the best at cleaning your air within your home. So if you have any allergies, suffer from asthma or have other breathing related health issues, then these are some of the best houseplants you could have in your home environment.

Houseplants have amazing capabilities at cleaning and help fighting pollution in the air that we breath within our homes. Here are a few that I'd recommend and love.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace Lilies are one of my favourites. They add a touch of elegance to a room with their beautiful white spathes (flowers) against their dark green leaves. I think bedrooms are the perfect place for them. They are also easy to look after. If you should forget to water them, and, I must admit, I do occasionally, they let you know as they are inclined to droop whey they need watering. They actually fair better in darkened areas of our homes (they don't like direct sunlight), where you will find they will produce more flowers. This plant is great at absorbing toxins in your home environment and is one of the plants tested by NASA.

Spider Plants

Spider plants were big in the 60's and my mum actually had several of these hanging from macrame holders everywhere in our family home.  Little did she know, they are one of the most effective plants for cleaning up our air. Up to 96% of carbon monoxide can be removed  just by placing one of these in a smallish sized room. So if you live near a busy road, then this plant is ideal for you.  They are also extremely easy to look after and, a hard plant to kill! If your so inclined they are really easy to propagate too.


I'd recommend the Boston (Nephrolepis Exaltata) fern as it has the best rate of removing pollution from our homes at 20 micrograms per hour, compared to other houseplants that average around 10mg per hour. It is also one of the easiest ferns to look after. Bathrooms and kitchens are ideal rooms for these plants to thrive as they prefer humid conditions.  Spray misting is beneficial to this plant as it  helps prevent their fronds from drying out. They like indirect sunlight and are best positioned away from draughts. If you do go out and buy one and you find the fronds start to drop when you get it home, don't panic! It will need time to adjust to its new environment and should recover quickly.

So there you have it, just a few plants that can not only make your home look great, they will also clean the air in your homes and keep you healthy.

Thats all from me this week. Wishing you all a lovely weekend and for those in the UK hopefully you'll be enjoying the fact that its a bank holiday weekend and have an extra day to have some fun :D

Maria xx

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A Kitchen Makeover - Tips and Tricks

Hello dear blogging friends.
Today, I thought I'd just share with you a couple of the items that have made painting my kitchen cabinets a little easier, and as much as I would love to say coffee, coffee and more coffee, that's just a thing that makes everyday a little easier.

So first off, I'm tackling the preparation and with that, I mean sanding.

So once you've filled any holes etc., hubby used Polyfilla for Wood; we then used a sanding block attached to my hoover, its called Mirka Abranet Professional Starter kit. You can buy it off Amazon and it really was a life saver, and cut down the dust so much.

I used the 120 grade sanding sheets to rub down the filling etc., then moved onto 240 and finally the 320 for an in between coats.

Next came Tack Cloths. These are slightly harder to come by, I got a few packets in a paint trade centre, and I grabbed the last few packets, but if you can't get hold of them, a very lightly damp cloth does the job. Just make sure you've really wrung it out well.  Tack cloths are a godsend to get out an dust or particles left after sanding.  I also use these for in-between sanding of paint coats.
Next Paint, and I can't stress this enough.  I LOVE Farrow & Ball.  I used Estate Eggshell on the cupboards. Again, I did a lot of research on this, and everyone that painted kitchen cabinets recommend it.  Its coverage is amazing.  Although its only been on say a month or so, as you know, I have two very bouncy puppies, and muddy prints have just wiped off with a damp cloth.  What you might not know, is I have an extremely messy husband.  Even with him, all the mess, drips and handprints have just wiped off.  As I explained I used 2 coats on the inside of the doors, and 3 on the outside.

I really would suggest getting their tester pots.  Colours look so different in different rooms and light, what you may like in someone else's house, won't look the same in yours.
Lastly. Rollers!  I used these small mini foam rollers. Honestly, its hard to see an marks from them, the finish, I'm happy to say is lovely and smooth
So there you have it, just a few tools of the trade, that really helped me.

Monday, 23 May 2016

A Bedroom Redesign - It has Begun!

Happy Monday Friends, I hope you've had a fab weekend :D

Today, I am updating you on the progress we've made so far with the bedroom redesign.

The walls have started to see a lick of paint. As soon as the blue walls disappeared, the space automatically begun to take shape. Colour is such a powerful visual tool isn't it :D

Farrow & Ball All White & Purbeck Stone

The lighting has been ordered and is on its way. However,  the electrician is coming this week and I had to source different wall lights. The original wall lights I'd chosen weren't going to turn up in time. This isn't a bad thing, as I chose these lovelies, which to be honest are a much, much better lamp :D

Elephant Grey - ORIGINAL 1227 Brass Wall Light - Anglepoise
Elephant Grey - ORIGINAL 1227 Brass Wall Light - Anglepoise

Anglepoise is a British iconic lighting brand that has been producing practical, energy efficient task lamps since the 1930's and I absolutely love them!

If you ever get the opportunity, visit The Design Museum in London, you find a whole host of product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural designs, including Anglepoise. Its definitely worth a visit :D

I have also picked up a carpet sample.

TIP: Always, always get a carpet sample to see how it looks in the room that it is going to be fitted in. The lighting that the space receives, will be completely different to that in the shop, even if you step outside to view it in natural light. Like your paint sample, you really need to view it at different times of the day to ensure the colour and texture is exactly what you'd planned.

If you are decorating like us, you need to leave at least 10 days for the paint to completely dry off (skirting boards). You don't want any paint transference to your new carpet.

Thats all on the bedroom design for this week.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!!

Maria xxx

Friday, 20 May 2016

Social Media .... Here we come

Now, I'm not the most technical minded person in the world, but I have to say, I love Social Media.

So, we wanted to tell you, you can now follow us in a few different places .

Firstly Pinterest

Next ... and one of my favourites is Instagram, and now we also have a Facebook page.  Both of these we're planning on growing, so please click the links at the side and come and say hello.

Wishing you all a lovely, lovely weekend.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Garden Makeover - The Before Photos

Yup, sorry folks, but a new series from me will be starting.  I did warn you, that I had lots and lots of plans and ideas for our home makeover.

Last year, we had some work done on our garden, in the shape of a new patio.  This was done to keep the bears off the grass during the wet, wet, wet winter. Goodness, I'm so glad we did this, especially with all the rain we've had, but trust me at the time the work was happening, and Maria will tell you, I was moaning my head off.

Still, its done and I'm pleased with it, and this is how its looking now.

So as you can see .... now it needs prettifying (is that a word).

Our garden too was neglected last year, and to be honest the year before that as well, so as you can guess, I have a lot of plans.  The overall design is there, and the trees, etc. but its all just fallen into neglect a little.
A few yeas ago, we had the trees cut and a couple of dead ones taken out, but on the whole the design works for us, it just needs filing with some all year round interest.

we also moved the greenhouse and had some new vegetable beds built, but I'll share all that in another post, otherwise, it will be photo overload for you all. 

So there's the first bit ... I'll be back in another post to share with you, my vegetable plot and ideas.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A Bedroom Redesign - Accessories

Happy Monday Friends, I hope you've had a good weekend :D

Following nicely on from last weeks Colour Choices, I'm showing you the accessories, I have sourced for the redesign of our daughters bedroom.

Accessories are the part of the design scheme that brings everything together. They really bring it to life. Its your chance to show your personality and style whilst bearing in mind your design brief.

In this instance, the accessories are going to add the pops of yellow colour to the greys and whites of the design scheme. They show the contemporary fun style that suits our daughters brief and not forgetting her personality.

Langesund Mirror  (Ikea), Artificial Tulips, (Amazon), Grey Basket Storage (Next), Scion Mr Fox Rug (John Lewis), Inspirational Typography Prints (,  Nanako Bedding, Sulphur (John Lewis), Geometric Wallpaper for bookcase backing (Amazon), Sigel Magnetic Memo Board (Amazon), Scion Mr Fox cushion (John Lewis), Chevron Zig Wave Linen Cushion (Amazon)

I have also included my lighting board for the bedroom so you can see how I have implemented the colour choices and the style of the fittings to create a cohesive scheme.

Nostralux Modern White Wall Light Sconce (Amazon),  Ariel Ceiling Pendant (Habitat),   Tommy Desk Lamp (Habitat), Tommy Floor Lamp (Habitat)

Things to bear in mind when choosing your accessories are:-


Texture is key to creating an interesting space. For example, if you were to decide to go for an all white bedroom, to stop it from looking mundane and flat visually, your accessories, should provide lots of interest by sourcing different types of texture.  An example of this could be a chunky knitted throw against a  linen bedspread. Another could be matte painted walls with gloss picture frames, if you have contrasting textures within a space, your mind can differentiate between them even if they are still the same colour. So remember texture lifts and creates interest. It is very important!!


Try out different pattern combinations. With my design scheme, I have included some accessories that have geometric patterns, but they are all slightly different and work with each other. This creates a visual cohesive look but also their difference creates interest.

TIP: Try not to source all your accessories from the same supplier or you will end up with a scheme that is too stylised and looking like it came out of a shops magazine/catalogue. Its tempting to look through a shops catalogue and  be inspired to recreate a space they have portrayed, just don't copy it piece by piece!  Mix it up and you will create an interesting look to your room that is unique to you!! For example, I could have chosen the Mr Fox Scion bedding that matches the rug and cushion, but by choosing a different bedding set, I have created a less stylised look and, again, makes it more visually interesting. 


Think about the form (shapes) of the pieces you are choosing. For example, the bedroom furniture I have chosen has a lot of straight lines apart from the chair and the bed. Adding different shapes, such as the round Langesdun Ikea mirror above the chest of drawers provides a contrast in form and, again, visual interest.

Choose pieces that are fit for purpose and are functional for the space your creating.


Artwork is a very personal choice, but hopefully, these typography prints whilst looking great will also inspire and motivate my daughter whilst studying :D  The fluid writing adds some softness to the walls, but also stand out.

I hope that you can see that by sourcing accessories beforehand, you can really build a picture of the end result and ensures your on the right track to a great design scheme. You can, of course, add more pieces later on.

Thats all for now.

Have a great week Friends!!

Maria xxx

Friday, 13 May 2016

A Tip for Lilies

Happy Friday Friends :D Yay its nearly the weekend!!

A little while ago, Sandra bought me these beautiful oriental white lilies.

I like their simplicity and their fragrance and, for me, they are best displayed on their own to enjoy the full beauty of them. Lilies in ancient mythology were thought to have come from the heavens as it was thought they were too beautiful to have come from the earth.

So I thought I'd offer some friendly florist advice for caring for these lovelies.

Firstly, always cut the stems at 45 degree angle (this goes for all flowers) as it helps them draw up water to the flower head. If you cut straight across,  the stems sit flat against the vase and struggle for water intake. Lilies are a thirsty cut flower, so check the water levels daily. Remove any fading flower heads by cutting them off so you can enjoy the beauty of each flower as they open.

One the reasons some people are put off by lilies is because of their pollen and the fact that it can stain. If you follow my instructions below, you won't have any problems :D

The trick is to pull out the stamens as soon as the flower starts to open

By picking them out at this stage, you will notice that they feel quite plastically and, guess what, they don't crumble and stain your fingers!! :D

Lilies produce a lot of pollen, but by removing them straight away, the petals of the flowers, you and your home will stay free of any staining. I was also told whilst training, that by removing the stamens, the flower head lasts longer.

TIP: If you do happen to brush past lilly pollen, you can easily remove it by getting sticky tape and dabbing to remove it.

Have a lovely weekend Friends and see you next week :D 

Maria xxx

 'If you have two pennies, 
with one you should buy bread 
which will give you life 
and a flower with the other, 
which will give you a reason to live'

(Chinese Proverb)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A Kitchen Makeover - Cabinet Painting

Happy Wednesday friends.

I'm pleased to say, that its still all systems go with regards to the kitchen cabinet painting, and I'm still loving it. Although my home resembles a production line, I know it won't be for long and I'll soon have my dining room back, which has turned into my work room.

Lets get down to the facts about how you paint Kitchen cabinets.  I've been putting lots of photos up on my Instagram feed, and the feed back has been amazing.  So many people have asked me questions, it shows just how many people want to paint they're units but not quite sure where to start.

Once the doors were removed, I set them up on a paste table with blocks of wood underneath them, so that when I painted the edges, they stayed off the table and gave me a better finish and an easier access too.

I used a brush to get into the corners

And a small roller for the main body and doors. I used a foam roller designed for use with gloss paint.

As I stated before, I gave 2 coats on the inside of the door and draws and 3 coats on the outside.  Each coat required 4 hours of drying time. 

I'll leave it there for now, and be back next week with a little bit more of our kitchen renovation,  If you have any questions, please just shout, and I'll do my best to answer them.  I've really enjoyed the process, and I want to take the fear out of it. 

Monday, 9 May 2016

A Bedroom Redesign - Colour Choices

Happy Monday Friends!!

I hope you've had a good weekend. Summer has finally arrived here in the UK and we've been making the most of the sunshine and even managed a trip to the seaside Yay :D

This week, its all about colour, which I hope you'll find useful for any projects you might be undertaking.

As you know, from my post 'A Bedroom Redesign - The Brief', our daughter provided me with a mood board and this had a strong colour choice of grey, yellow and white which actually fits really well with the use of the multipurpose bedroom space and her personality. These colours lend themselves really well to the simple contemporary redesign of this space.

Its always a good idea to collect swatches of your chosen colour scheme together like I have in my notebook as a guide for choosing accessories, lighting fixtures and furnishings. There are so many different shades, tones and variances that by doing this you have a gentle reminder when out shopping of what works.

Although this room will have many purposes, it is predominately a space for sleeping and relaxing so I decided to go with a soft grey as the predominant colour, which will act as a backdrop for the yellow and white to.  The proposed furniture pieces are mainly white, which will visually break up the grey walls. I am also using the yellow element of this colour scheme as the accent colour as it will visually pop and stand out against the grey and white of the space without dominating it.  Yellow is a great colour as it is so uplifting and cheerful.

DID YOU KNOW ....... Yellow is associated with happiness, joy intellect and energy. It is known to stimulate mental activity, is visually warming, arouses cheerfulness and generates energy. 

I decided to go with Purbeck Stone, Farrow & Ball paint for the walls as its a lovey neutral soft grey which will add a relaxed feel to the space. It has mid tones so will work well with the use of pops of yellow that will be added through the accessories and lighting choices I have made for the redesign.

Grey is perceived as a neutral, cool, but balanced colour. It is a timeless and practical colour but can appear emotionless and/or even moody depending on the shade/tones you use. 

Colour appears differently under different lights so be careful when choosing a colour as its appearance for example in a shop will be completely different in the space you are going to decorate. Natural sunlight and artificial lighting can create a completely different colour appearance.

Wall swatch painted and viewed early morning.

Wall swatch viewed late evening.

TIP: Paint on at least A4 sized paper and attach it the wall of the space your going to redecorate. Then look at how how the colour changes at different times of day to ensure, your colour choice is going to be the correct one.

Colour is a powerful element of any design scheme as it is the first thing we notice when we enter a room. It can have a real effect on how we perceive a space and should be given as much attention as possible when designing any space. It really is an exciting tool as it is has such an instantaneous impact. It's great for communicating the style, atmosphere and mood of a room so bear this in mind when deciding on what colours to go for.

DID YOU KNOW....... Men and women see colours in different ways? This is due to the distance between individuals eyes which can affect the way we perceive colour.

TIP: Choose a colour scheme which is representative of the style of the room and really think about what type of atmosphere/mood you want to create. For example, using delicate pastel colours creates a soothing, pretty setting which would be perfect for a feminine relaxed feel to a room. Whereas, reds and oranges are great for dining areas as these colours encourage us to communicate (have a look around next time your eating out and you'll see these colours used a lot. Although, I'd recommend deeper shades of red for dining rooms as they are easier on the eye.

So there you have this weeks update on the bedroom redesign. I hope your enjoying following along as I will be continuing next week with more of the design scheme and hopefully providing you with useful tips for your own homes.

Have a good week Friends!! :D

Maria xxx

Thursday, 5 May 2016

April Empties ... Loves and Not so much

Can you believe that April has already come and gone! How is that possible.

Still, here are a couple of the thing I've used this past month, some I've liked, so not so much.
My hair is highlighted but over the past year, with all the processing (and bad hairdressers) it had got into a very dry and damaged state.  So I thought, I'd give it a little break and try a home colour.  Now standing in front of a counter full of different boxes and not having a clue which to pick, this one called out to me.  I saw the words "No Amonia", plus as you'll find out over time, I'm a big L'Oreal fan.  

So fresh the next Sunday (with unwashed hair, like they suggested) I set about with the gloves provided and into the bathroom I went.  First glance, there are more than a few bottles inside, but you only need to follow the instructions, which are really clear, and mix two of the bottles, into the largest one.  Half an hour later I was cooked.  Now that really appealed to me, as in previous ones, I've had to do my roots, then leave that for a while, then go back and do the rest, and leave that a while, then mix together ... blah, blah, blah.  Not this though, then wash out and use the conditioner they provide, and you're done. 

Now its been probably about 2 weeks since I did it, the colour is still really good and lasting (haven't seen a grey hair yet).  Its not maybe the colour I really like. I only say that too as I do miss my blonde hair, so I probably will take a trip to the hairdressers next time, or try another shade of this. I will say though its left my hair in really good condition, so all in all, I would use this again, without any hesitation. 

 Now this one, is my exception to the, I love L'Oreal rule.  I had run out of my usual moisutriser, so decided to give this a try.  For me, and again, this is just my opinion. I'll pass in the future. In fact, I've only used about a quarter of the pot.  It may be that it's just not for someone that wears makeup as I found it left a powdery residue. I used my primer on top of this, but it didn't feel right at first, so I tried my makeup without the primer. Again not a good feel and left my make up looking blotchy. 

I tried it on my neck too, as I thought that might help without makeup, but during the day, it left what looked like flakiness on my hands, when I rubbed my neck.  

As I say, please know these are just my thoughts on the product and it might very well work for you, in fact if you're not a makeup fan, it does leave the skin feeling lovely and soft. 

I'll leave it there for now.  Thanks for listening to the ramblings of a woman who loves experimenting with all the gorgeous new products out there.