Monday, 18 June 2012

A New Home

Dream kitchen (image: Johanna Flyckt)

A big hello to everyone and apologies for having been away for so long. We have been through the exciting but very time and nerve consuming process of buying a house.

I don't know what buying a house is like in other countries, but here in the UK once your offer has been accepted, you will need to invest money in surveys and searches, which can cost you several hundred Pounds, while the house could still fall through any day and for any reason. So for about 3 months we were spending money on our potential future home and kept our fingers crossed that everything would work out fine and so it did!

And now here we are, in our new home. It's a wonderful feeling to finally own a place, but as I have learned over the last two weeks, it also requires a lot of patience.

Our house was built in the 1950s and needs quite a bit of updating. Let's say not much has been done to it since 1969. And as much as I love vintage, it really needs a faceover.

But where do you start? Upstairs, downstairs, bathroom, kitchen?

The oven in the kitchen is broken, so a new kitchen would be great. On the other hand, the shower in the bathroom is only dripping, which makes washing my long hair a nightmare. Therefore, a new bathroom is in order. Especially as the old one has fitted carpet on the floor. When was that ever a good idea?

Anyway, I think you need to live in a house for a while to get a feeling for it and to realise what you want to do to it and after a few weeks in the house, we decided that it's the electricity that needs doing so we'll be rewiring the whole house for a start. Boring, you think. I know. But also a great opportunity to finally use the skills I acquired during my interior design course, so I have drawn up a lighting plan for the whole house. Daunting at first but not that hard after all.

Lighting is such an important thing to get right. Inadequate or poorly planned lighting can not only be annoying when doing your day to day tasks in a house, it can also completely ruin a house's atmosphere.

Well thought through lighting on the other hand creates ambience and offers you adequate task lighting where you need it without creating any hot spots.

So let's get started. Again, I'm becoming impatient and I want to see this house change. Bring the electrician in, or like the English call him tenderly, the 'sparky'.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Enchanted with Ruche's lookbook

Hello everybody

Today, I came across Shop Ruche, an amazing US online shop. Below is a taster of their  latest collection Enchanted. I love all of their stuff but the pink dress below is my absolute favourite. Check it out here.

Shop Ruche

Check it out!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

DIY project: Chicken wire memo board

Today I want to share with you how to create a simple memo board with an old frame and some chicken wire. You will need:

  • a frame
  • chicken wire
  • primer
  • paint in the colour of your choice (I used Farrow & Ball Orangery)
  • felt
First you need to clean the frame with a damp cloth.

Then paint the primer straight onto the frame. Give it a couple of coatings.

Your frame should look like this now.

Use a staple gun to attach the wire onto the frame and cover the back with felt so the wire can't damage the wall.
Et voila:

Let me know how you're getting on.

This memo board will shortly be available on my Etsy shop.

Have a good start into the week.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

10 Things You Need To Know Before Installing Wooden Flooring

If you have never installed a wooden floor before, it can be a daunting undertaking. It would certainly be it for us, so I started doing some research and put together a summary of the main steps and decisions you have to take when installing a wooden floor over a concrete subfloor and thought that I should share it with you.
Please keep in mind that I'm not an expert at all and the below is simply based on my research and my preferences.

Image: Homes etc

1. Engineered flooring, solid hardwood or laminate

I personally am not a big fan of laminate flooring as it simply is a multilayer synthetic product with a photographic appliqué layer. So it's not real wood and I personally want the real thing.
Solid hardwood is made from one single plank of wood and while it is certainly the most durable option it is more more prone to warp, cup, swell or split apart under humidity and heat. It is therefore not advisable to be used in kitchens for example and I would want a wooden floor throughout (except the bathroom).
Engineered flooring seems to have it all (at least for me). Engineered flooring comprises several layers of wood stuck together under high pressure and therefore overcomes any heat and moisture related problems. The top layer is made of solid wood and therefore looks and feels like a real solid hardwood floor. The core, area made of plywood or softwood, keeps your flooring in shape, counteracting twisting and keeping the floor flat and intact. The supporting layer gives the board its strength and stability.
My first choice is therefore engineered flooring, but it comes in so many varieties, shapes and quality levels so what do you choose?

2. One strip, two strip or three strip

When buying engineered wooden flooring you have the choice of one strip, two strip and three strip. One strip means the whole flooring board is cut from one piece of wood. I find it the most attractive option but is is also the most expensive. Two and three strip means that you have two or three small segments in a line in each plank

3. Prime grade or rustic

Engineered wooden flooring comes in two different grades: Prime and Rustic. Prime means that the wood has as little knots as possible. This is the more pricey option but I find that it looks more modern. Rustic means that you can see the natural knots of the wood. It's simply a question of taste.

4. Lacquered or oiled

In contrast to solid hardwood, engineered wooden flooring is pre-finished, which means it's already sanded and sealed.
You can choose between different finishes such as lacquered and oiled. Lacquered finishes are available in matt and satin and they are very low maintenance and are easy too clean. Oiled floors are popular for their natural and rustic look but do need more attention as they need to be re-oiled twice a year.

5. Thickness

The thickness of engineered wooden flooring differs quite a bit depending on what you are
willing to spend. As a general rule, the thicker the top layer, the more often you can sand down the floor to get rid of any marks of wear and tear and the longer your floor will last. Sanding down should be done professionally and can be done up to 5 times depending on the thickness of the wood.

6. How to prepare your subfloor

The preparation of your subfloor depends on what kind of subfloor you have, wooden or concrete. In our case, we have a concrete subfloor.
Concrete subfloors need to be thoroughly cleaned before the planks are laid. It is also recommended that you measure the moisture level of your concrete subfloor. This sounds more complicated than it is. All you need is some polyfilm and duct tape. Place several small pieces of polyfilm on your subfloor, seal the edges with the duct tape. If after one to two days you can see condensation, the moisture level of your floor is too high and you have to seek further advice.

7. Allow for wastage

When measuring your floor it is important that a) it is done correctly and you are not missing out any odd corners, b) allow for natural wastage. Do this by adding 10% to your sqm. This is important as you will sometimes find that you don't want to use some of the boards as they differ in colour or you find that some need to be cut shorter to fit into your odd corners which then doesn't leave you with enough complete boards.
Adding 10% prevents you from running out of floorboards before you are finished and buying more floorboards when your floor is almost done is often not easy as your stockist might have to order them in first.

8. Acclimatisation

The trick to having a faultless and even wooden floor is acclimatisation. Wood reacts to differences in temperature and moisture. It contracts and expends like a living organism. This is very normal and engineered flooring is designed to overcome these problems. Nevertheless, to prepare you wooden floor as best as possible it is advised that you leave the planks in the house for two weeks prior to installation. Keep the temperature at normal level so the wood can acclimatise to its surroundings. This way it won't expand or contract due to any differences in temperature once it has been laid.

9. Laying an underlay

Again, laying an underlay is only necessary when you have a concrete subfloor. You are best off using an underlay with in-built Damp Proof Membrane (DPM). This will prevent any moisture damage to your floor.

10. Installation:

There are several different ways to install an engineered wooden floor depending on your subfloor and your preferences.
Option1: Glue down installation
The wooden boards are being applied with an adhesive directly onto the subfloor. If you are inexperienced this can be messy so be warned.

Option2: Floating Installation
This is the preferred method for concrete floors. It is the easiest and fastest method and does not require any prior experience in installing floors. There are hundreds of articles and videos on the web to guide you through the process.

Option 3: Nail down installations
This is the traditional method for installing hardwood floors and is not really recommended for engineered flooring.

To make your new wooden floor last as long as possible, make sure you follow a few guidelines: clean spills as soon as they occur, move rugs from time to time to prevent discolouration caused by sunlight, vacuum once a week with a soft brush vacuum cleaner, sweep regularly and mop with a damp mop and a small amount of cleaner from time to time. Make sure the mop is not soaking wet.

I hope you found this useful.

Best of luck

Monday, 6 February 2012

Beat the Monday Blues No4

Hello lovelies,

how has your weekend been? We have been very busy so I don't have any new DIY projects to share with you at the moment.

We went on our second round of house hunting and we actually found two houses we really liked. We went back for a second viewing and have now decided to put an offer in for one of them.

I'm not sure how good our chances are to get the house and I'm trying not to get my hopes up to much but still I'm very excited. A quote that Steffi from OhhMhh mentioned the other day springs to mind: Every beginning is magical.

Please feel free to share some special moment from your weekend here with me... I'm looking forward to hearing from you.


Image: Nordic Bliss

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Design Notebook styled by Selina Lake for Prima Magazine

I can't describe how excited I was when back in November last year Selina Lake used two of my handmade items for a photo shoot for Prima Magazine. Now, three months later, the March issue of Prima Mag is finally out including my LOVE tote bag and LEAVE ME A NOTE memo board. Ohh, how exciting!!! 

As always, Selina did a great job and the pics look brilliant. I can't wait for her new book Homespun Style to come out! Publication date is 8th March 2012, so not long now...

Images: Selina Lake, Prima Magazine

Saturday, 4 February 2012

91 Magazine - 2nd issue out now!

We are living in such an exciting time where technology seems to develop further and further day by day and the most beautiful content is provided not only by the traditional print industry but online and for free.

While, in the old days, free online content often had to fight the assumption that it was of lesser quality than paid content, those days are long gone and online magazines are in the midst of conquering the world of interior design publishing by storm.

Caroline from Patchwork Harmony, as well as other like-minded people, are the creative minds and hands behind one of the (in my humble opinion) very best e-mags that are at the forefront of online publishing.

Boosting with the beautiful shoots of interiors, inspiring articles on how to turn your hobby into cash with the help of Etsy and lots of tips for lovers of everything vintage, 91 Magazine makes my little stylist heart skip a beat! Caroline was so kind to send me some pics from the latest edition to get your taste buts going. To view the full magazine, just follow this link.

Images: 91 Magazine