Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Twins' Rainbow Nursery - Revealed

by Bex

This was written before the babies arrived but I wanted to save it until after I announced their birth and names as their initials are part of the design.  Some of the following photos are by me and some by the talented Laura Aziz.  Laura's are labelled where applicable.

So you've seen a few sneaky peeks of the nursery by now, including my initial plans and Instagram snaps as the design of the room progressed as well as a few tutorials of how I made the mobile, painted the drawer knobs and,made the cloud shelf, not to mention a wee sneaky peek when I published a few of Laura's maternity photos.  The walls were as they were when we moved in, I never would have gone for a blue wall but I absolutely love the particular shade that's in there and it works so well with the sunshine clock and cloud shelf as well as the brightly coloured rainbow accessories in there.  The rest of the walls were already a pale grey which would have been my choice with all the white furniture I wanted.

Here's a reminder of how the room looked the day we moved in... (unfortunately I didn't take a picture looking the other way towards the blue wall around the door)


I've tried to keep calm and not overfill/clutter the room (I found it difficult not having full walls to play with as the long slanted walls limited what I could do) and a few of my original ideas have since been relocated to the playroom which will now also be rainbow themed to fit in all of the brightly coloured bits I love.

So, here is the overall finished nursery complete with list of suppliers.  I hope you like it - I am utterly in LOVE with it!  :)


Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

Photo by Laura

In case you fancy any of the items you see, here is a list of suppliers/where we found everything.  I've included links and prices where possible:

Daybed - Ikea (Hemnes), £260 (we've owned ours for 8+ years)
Chest of Drawers - Ikea (Hemnes), £200
Box shelves - Ikea (Kallax), £45
Baby wardrobe - Ikea (Stuva), £104
Bookcase - Ikea (Billy), £20
Cots - Uber Kids (Saplings Kirsty White Cot), £100 each (I also found a 10% off code at the time and then one cot got damaged during transit due to poor packaging and after waiting quite a while for them to deal with it, we got a 50% refund on the damaged cot.)
Eames style white rocker - ebay, £41.99

Pretty things:

Gallery Wall:
Frames - Ikea (FrosakullSondrumNyttjaRibba), HomebaseHobbycraft, various sizes and prices
Geometric art cards - Ikea (Kort)
Pink fox art card - Ikea (Kort) (gift from Rachel)
Bunnies & squirrel art cards - Ikea (Kort)
Various gallery wall prints - This Modern Life
'Twice as Nice' biscuit card (from Roz), Nikki McWilliams
White initials - Posh Graffiti12cm - £6.25 and 23cm - £9.50
Colourful initials - This Modern Life, £7.45 each (displayed in box frames from Hobbycraft with the glass & backing removed)
Maternity photos by Louise MallanLauren McGlynn & Laura Aziz.  (All the Ls!)
'Smile' postcard (from Sharon)
'Hello Sunshine' postcard (from Aisling & Stella)

On the Daybed:
Snail Cushion - Wesco, £13.90
Jammy Dodger Biscuit cushion (gift from Roz), Nikki McWilliams
Dragonfly cushion (old gift from Julie)
Turquoise cushion - very old
Hand-painted knobs - homemade (see here for painted knobs tutorial or buy similar on Etsy)

On the Blue Wall:
Happy Day bunting print - Ingrid Petrie Design on Etsy (gift from Claire), £15
Clock - Ikea
Cloud shelf - homemade (See here for cloud shelf tutorial or buy similar on Etsy)
Rainbow stacking toy - Grimm Toys (gift from Mum & Dad but available on Amazon), £53.50
Bookworms - we got ours in Rocket Science, a wee shop in Brighton for £3.49 each but they are available on for £5.75.
Frames - Ikea (RibbaSondrum), various sizes and prices
Books - mostly my own from when I was a child
Elephant mobile - Gift from in-laws (from India)

On the Left Wall:
Globe lamp - Ikea (Fado), £12
Flexi Robot - Rocket Science, the same wee shop in Brighton, £3.50 but I've found these cheaper here and they're available on ebay.
Geometric art card - Ikea (Kort)
Yellow elephant art card - Ikea (Kort) (gift from Roz)
'Be Cheerful' postcard - gift from Aisling & Stella
Bunny teddy - Gift from Katie
Frames - Ikea (NyttjaSondrum), various sizes and prices
Dragonflies - Umbra (had these for years but they're still available on Amazon)

Mobile - homemade (see here for Hot Air Balloon Mobile tutorial)
Maternity photos by Louise MallanLauren McGlynn & Laura Aziz.  (All the Ls!)
Crocheted teddies - made by Mum's friend
Elmer the Elephant toys - (gifts from Mum & Dad) - £8.95 each in John Lewis
Curved changing mat - Wesco, £31
Storage Boxes - Ikea (Drona in various colours), £2.50
Organiser tray in wardrobe - Ikea (Kusiner), £6
Drawer organisers - Ikea (Skubb), £6
Star print lampshade - Asda, £8
Wooden mouse on windowsill - From my childhood (tail chewed off many years ago!)
Wooden rocking horse puzzle on windowsill - Present from my brother when he was born in 1984 ;)

(Still to come in the playroom - paper lanterns/poms, rainbow bunting, garlands.)

Friday, 12 December 2014

House update - furniture

by Bex

We've made some excellent progress in the house with all major work now done.  I'm so glad we organised that as soon as we moved in!  It's meant we could get on with the more fun side of moving - decorating!

I had some great ideas for certain rooms thanks to my brilliant evening at Hege's Pinbassador event and I have definitely utilised the colour scheme from the left of my mood board for the living room.  I'd also planned on a 'seafoam green', champagne and gold scheme for the master bedroom but this has been adapted somewhat to include more grey and less gold although we still have some metallics in there, they're more of a cool gold and pewter idea than full on gold.

The rooms we were most desperate to change before babies (luckily their room was left untouched paint-wise as it was perfect as was) were the living room and master bedroom (not counting the more drastic changes in the kitchen/dining room).  There are still quite a few finishing touches to make to these rooms so the proper before & after pics will have to wait a while (I'm afraid I have no idea how long what with imminent twin arrival as I write this!) but for now, here are a few of the little projects we've been up to in some of the rooms...

First of all, none of this would have been possible without Mum's help!  She has not only been amazing at helping out with general chores, cooking, washing, ironing while I've been beached on the sofa growing these hefty twins, but she's also been working on a few projects for us using skills we don't have and saving us loads of money!

Unfortunately I've been a bit rubbish with the before photos here but we had a storage footstool/seat in our old living room from TK Maxx (I think it was about £50) which was covered in a lush olive green raw silk.  As I used this almost daily to put my feet up while watching TV/blogging, the cover had become very worn and torn over the years and looked horrendous (one of our removal men thought a cat had been at it!)  I always planned to get it recovered but it was never a priority with everything else going on.  As the living room colour scheme has changed though and we bought some fabric to make roman blinds for this room, we bought some extra and Mum has transformed the footstool!  It looks fab and the dark plum ties in perfectly with the subdued heather and grey tones in the room.  She also had enough left over to make two new cushion covers for our new sofa (replacing green ones which I have now stored as I still love them!).

Not content with just covering this little stool, Mum has also managed to breathe new life into our old brown leather ottoman.  I bought this about 8 years ago with my old brown leather bed for my flat in Edinburgh and we've had it either in the living room or hall in Glasgow since (as it would no longer fit the end of the bed due to the shape of our bedroom in Glasgow).  The bed has since departed our world and I had intended the ottoman to be sold with our similarly aged brown leather sofas once we had new furniture down here.  They're all still in great condition, just not our taste any more and we fancied a change.  Mum had suggested that the ottoman could now go back at the foot of the new bed as there is plenty of room there but the brown leather just wouldn't go at all.  I didn't even think of covering it until the stool was done!

Only just remembered a before pic.
(After the lid and feet were removed and Mum was just about to start stapling!)

After another trip to our new favourite fabric store, C&H Fabrics, and approval from Nik on the fabric I fell in love with (which quite surprised me, I was ready for a debate!), some more sewing/stapling magic from Mum and the end result is this fantastic piece of furniture...

The butterflies are the most prominent but there are some 
huge dragonflies amongst all the other bugs too!  :)

We love it!!

With some help and extra bits n pieces from our lovely new neighbour who makes blinds for a living, Mum is also making the blinds for our bedroom (we're leaving the living room until last as the bedroom ones are clearly more urgent) using a different fabric from C&H but they're not quite done yet so watch this space!

Another fab bit of furniture I'd planned to get was a settle or monk's bench for the hall.  I know Sarah has one and I've always loved her little pew inside her door.  It seemed like the perfect solution for us as a place to sit to take off shoes (or kiddies wellies!) as well as storage for all of the twins' inevitable collection of scarves, hats, gloves, etc. as they get older.  We very nearly got an amazing bargain in the Friday ads down here of a beautifully carved oak version for just £135!  Unfortunately someone else had beaten us to it.  It might have been a little out of place with our modern grey hall now anyway though so when we spotted this more simple pine design in a second hand furniture shop in Haywards Heath, we snapped it up!

It fits the space perfectly and is a great size for the twins to sit on together :)  Although it does go with the doors and oak floor pretty well, I think it would look nicer painted in a dark grey just to really modernise it.  Plus I am just not a fan of pine furniture at all.  Again, watch this space as we have now got a few projects which will certainly be longer term before they are done.

Another one being this AWESOME chair we picked up at a different second hand furniture shop (we've been hunting for a bookcase for the living room but finding other fab things instead!!) in Crowborough.

It's in pretty good condition, the man in the shop thinks it's walnut and from around 1900.  The fabric is a bit worn and the trim coming away a bit at the front but the cushion pad is perfectly fine and the only repair needed is the left arm is slightly wobbly.  All we plan to do with this is clean it up a bit and recover with the same fabric as the ottoman above.  We could paint the wood but I think that would be a shame with this piece as the wood is quite lovely.  It will either end up living in the corner of our bedroom or in a corner of the living room, we've yet to decide.  After some haggling (as we also bought a few other bits there so drove a hard bargain), we paid £65 for the chair.  We just need to get a reasonable quote for the upholstering now as this is a little beyond Mum's skill/comfort zone.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Kitchen & Dining becomes One

by Bex

(This was written pre-babies so might sound confusing but I've only just managed to put all the pictures in ready to publish!)

Unfortunately my before pictures of the house don't really show the wall we wanted to remove between the kitchen and dining room!  I took them in a massive hurry as we were under pressure from our removals to get going so I'd rushed round taking the pictures as soon as we'd got the keys while waiting for them to come back from fetching lunch.

Basically, the door you see facing you in the hall below is the one to the dining room and we decided to have this door blocked up at the same time (despite worrying about the loss of light coming through from the patio doors at the back of the house).  Having a door there as well as the door on the left (to the kitchen) and the wall opening would just leave a post between the 3 and all those openings weren't necessary.  It also meant we'd have a full wall in the dining room to be able to put up pictures or have furniture against.

The wall we wanted to remove was the majority of the left hand wall that you can't really see here in the dining room.  The Kitchen sticks out more than the dining room (to the end of the patio) and so all of the kitchen units are just behind the end of this dining room wall.

Again, the wall we wanted to get rid of is just out of sight on the left, beyond the cupboards.

This colour is 'Churlish Green' by Farrow & Ball, nice but I really wanted a slightly bolder olive colour.
It is probably easier to see on the floor plan

From this (not to scale) plan, it looks like most of the dining room wall will be gone but in reality it's just over half.

Anyway, I had been googling for builders who might be able to do the work before we moved in.  Although it's not a huge job, we wanted to get it done asap as if we didn't, especially with the deadline of the twins' arrival, we would probably never do it!  Also, Roz warned me that it could take weeks to sort out if it ended up being a supporting wall (and OF COURSE it did!) as we'd need to go through the council and sort out plans and forms etc.

Luckily, the first builder I happened to contact, Andy Parish, ended up being our favourite and knew all the people we needed to get sorted.  It wasn't long before the plans were done and we sent off the forms asap.  We needed to insert a steel beam and the council were happy for us to go ahead and just contact them once the work got to certain stages to be checked.

Andy and his team turned out not just to be fantastic at their jobs (seriously impressed with the plasterer in particular, it felt like glass when it was dry!) but they were all absolutely lovely!  Even though he was currently working on a big job nearby, Andy managed to fit our work in round about, often coming on weekends (or any very rainy days as the other job was outdoors) to help us get the work finished in time for babies.  He also had lots of great tips for us on local places to eat or see.  It's lovely having genuinely friendly workmen and makes such a difference when they're in your house for hours each day.  We quite enjoyed our chats :)

So, here are some progress photos where you can see the part of the wall better.  They had to leave an area around the top and edges to avoid wrecking the wall too close to the coving and/or units.

View from the kitchen side after removing the old plasterboard

And from the dining room after plasterboard removed.

Initially we thought the space was quite small (it looked the size of a double door) and we might be spending a not insignificant amount of money for very little benefit.  However, once the wall actually came down, we could already tell that it would make a huge difference to the kitchen!  I can't imagine us having used the dining room anywhere near as often as we now will had it still been separate and through another door from the hall.

 Who knew you could just saw through breeze blocks?!

End of day one and we were left with a very clean & tidy kitchen!

Obviously we had to remove one of the three wall lights which was on the bit of wall we took away but we also wanted the two on the opposite wall moved apart to make space for the large dresser we wanted in the space.  We actually changed them for a couple of smaller versions (£8 from B&Q) which were painted the same colour as the wall (Dulux 'White Cotton').

Andy blocking up the door

We also had to finish the space in the floor where the wall used to be too.

Andy filled it with screed and we found a tiler to finish off the space between the rooms with some matching (almost perfect) travertine tiles from Topps Tiles.  We didn't want a raised join between the tiles and the wooden floor so we're really pleased with the tiled result giving a flush finish between the two rooms.  (And we hardly notice the little rectangle of grey grout where their old pipe for their fridge freezer used to be against the wall.)

Since it's all been painted (by another fantastic tradesman, Matt of MRJ Services) and the skirting is back on, it looks even better and we are delighted with the final result!  The 'Churlish Green' looked very washed out next to my chosen olive colour (Valspar 'Manzanilla Olive') in the dining room so we had that wall in the kitchen painted over too.  There will be a proper before and after post in the future as we don't have the dresser yet and we have more plans for adding to our kitchen storage too as well as lots of pictures to put up of course!

As for the hall, it has definitely made a difference to the light coming in, as we knew it would, but we do still have light coming in from the glazed double living room doors as well as the half-glazed kitchen door.  When we do replace our front door we will make sure to have a decent amount of glazing there too.  Certainly putting a mirror up in the hall where we have and our little lamp in that corner has made all the difference and we're pretty happy with the result.

It's weird because we just feel like it's always been this way now.  It will certainly get a LOT more use as it is now, the kitchen definitely feels much bigger.  It is much more sociable and I'm sure will be handy when the twins are here and growing up!

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