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Moving on and settling down with Debenhams

It’s been all change here at lls. I’ve said goodbye to our clifftop abode and moved onto pastures new. It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to our wonderful photographer and designer Darren, packed my delightful little retro trinkets into a van and headed to start a new life in London town.

I’m very lucky to have plenty of pals to help with such a big transition, and it was the lovely folks at Debenhams that were first to welcome me to our new home with a little box of goodies. I were delighted with the thoughtful gifts that arrived wrapped lovingly in pink and purple tissue paper with a simple note – “enjoy a relaxing night in with us”. So sweet!

Gifties!

Gifties!

All the perfect elements for a lovely night in!

All the perfect elements for a lovely night in!

Debenhams know my style very well, and managed to pick items that perfectly reflect my home and my tastes.

I took Debenham’s advice and took an evening to myself to contemplate my new life, wander around my cute new flat, think about the past and muse on what the future might bring.

New sofa, new cushion, new life!

New sofa, new cushion, new life!

All the perfect things for a night in!

All the perfect things for a night in!

Welcome home ...

Welcome home …

Finding a place for everything ...

Finding a place for everything …

Making a house a home

Making a house a home

So, it’s the London life for me for now … but who knows what might be next. Watch this space!

New Year, New Boudoir!

(in association with Argos)

Christmas is coming, and we’re all madly decorating our trees, hanging up baubles and spraying fake snow all over the place. But, whilst we spend all this time and effort putting up some temporary festivities, we often neglect the more permanent places in our home.

Cool-Ways-to-Decorate-Your-Christmas-Bedroom

Image courtesy of quakerrose.com

Earlier in the year we brought you a gorgeous bedroom makeover, but with the new year flashing at us on the horizon, we thought we’d offer a little bit of inspiration courtesy of the lovely folks at Argos in case you’re thinking of making some changes in the bedroom in 2014 (get your minds out of the gutter, you filthy lot – we’re talking about bedroom furniture!).

Now, we don’t know about you, but when we think about Argos, we tend to think of student-style canvas wardrobes and racing car beds. However, we’re thrilled to tell you that they’ve definitely upped their game, and we’ve found some rather delightful little pieces that will really jazz up your bedroom.

This dressing table is so cute, and perfect for a shabby chic bedroom, and ideal if you’re a little short of space.

White Argos dressing table, stool and mirror

Cute little Argos dressing table, stool and mirror

This chest of drawers reminds us a lot of some that are currently available in Heals for approximately a gazillion pounds … but Argos are offering these rather chic drawers for just £79.99. Bargain!

Wood-effect chest of drawers - Argos

Heals? Nope – Argos!

We all mourned the loss of Habitat a while back … but guess what? Habitat is BACK, and as sophisticated as ever. This lovely minimalist wardrobe may not come cheap, but it’s a real investment piece that you can build a modern, clean look around.

Habitat double wardrobe

Keeping it simple with Habitat

Want a quick fix? This bedroom set is so reasonably priced, you can transform your bedroom in one fell swoop – and all that storage means you can keep things neat and tidy all year round!

White bedroom set from Argos

All the storage!

Competition Corner: Win a Gorgeous MiaFleur.com Duck Decanter!

Here at live.love.space. we love something a little unusual. Sure, you can grab a run-of-the-mill item from any high street homestore, but with Christmas just THREE MONTHS from today (eek!), when it comes to buying something super-special for your best beloved friends and family, there’s nothing like a little bit of unique.

MiaFleur.com - unusual home accessories

MiaFleur.com – unusual home accessories

The lovely folks at MiaFleur are offering one lls reader the chance to win a beautiful, elegant, but ever-so quirky silver duck decanter worth £49! More than that, lls readers can also peruse the site and pick up some beautiful items with an exclusive 10% off. Simply enter the code LLS10 at the checkout!

MiaFleur - Silver Duck Decanter

MiaFleur – Silver Duck Decanter

Whether used to serve water or wine, this lovely silver plated duck decanter is the perfect way to liven up your dinner party. The duck’s head is hinged so that filling is easy, whilst the duck’s beak facilitates a smooth and accurate poor. Don’t just bring him out for dinner parties though, why not pop him on the mantle  as a permanent feature in your living room? Sweet!

To be in with your chance to win simply follow us on Twitter (if you don’t already!) AND also follow @MiaFleur_home – then simply tweet us together to say hello! You have until midnight on Friday 11th October 2013 to enter.

That’s really all there is to it! Good luck or, should we say, Good DUCK!

Ts and Cs (via MiaFleur): 

Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Discount code excludes P&P and any items in the sale.  Code expires 07.10.13. Open to UK entrants only.

Guest Post: Through the Looking Glass

The fabulous Aimee Claire is back again to guest blog for us – this time she’s talking us through some wonderful ways to use recycled glass in your home …

Forget spending lots of money on crystal vases to show off your blooms. Instead, be kind to the planet and re-use ordinary household glass bottles and jars.

Recycle, reuse, re-imagine ...

Recycle, reuse, re-imagine …

How I became glass-conscious

Browsing through the internet one day, I stumbled across an article that was advocating the recycling of household objects and ‘re-purposing’ them to give them another function in life. The part about vases I found particularly interesting. As a person who loves to have fresh flowers in practically every room of the house, I am constantly running out of vases to put them in. The idea of using bottles or even jars appealed to me, especially as we are always being told to recycle, recycle, recycle. Anyway, that article changed my life, well, a little bit of it anyway and now my house is filled with flowers sitting in glass bottles and jars that look just great.

Look again ...

Look again …

How I use glass around my home

I drink a lot of fancy water, sparkling, flavoured and volcanic. You know the ones, the types that come in those curved and coloured glass bottles. My husband, on the other hand, drinks a lot of wine, the sot, so his empty bottles used to fill up my green recycling bin like nobody’s business.

Now, bottles are more likely to be found on my dining and coffee tables, playing host to a pretty long-stemmed flower or holding candles on my mantelpiece. I mostly use a wider-necked bottle as a large vase and some of the taller jars for small bunches of flowers. I have even learned how to paint glass and my creations, though I do say so myself, look pretty good.

A fantastic idea for pictures, I picked up, is to place a photograph around the inside of a circular jam jar and then place it upside down; a truly original way to display family photos.

Look inside ...

Look inside …

Think differently ...

Think differently …

What I want to try some day

My uses of glass around the home seems tame in comparison to some of the pictures I have seen when trawling the web (note to self – I spend far too much time on the internet). It’s hard to believe, considering the fragile nature of glass, but plenty of people are actually making light fittings out of bottles. I’ve seen ones that are hung from a circular framework to light a dining table; a vertical light fitting for the outside of the house and just the tops of the bottles hung from a rustic wooden framework with a bulb threaded through. I’ve also seen lots of pictures of bottles being used as tea light holders for the garden, which is something I really must try.

Make a statement!

Make a statement!

Bottles and jars can also make great liquid soap dispensers, all I need to do is find some pumps and I’ll be making some of these. A bottle can also make a good birdseed dispenser, turned upside down and filling the seed into a small bowl. However, the thing I really want to make next is a suspended bottle display for my kitchen window, which will act as a hanging planter. Watch this space!

Monday’s Modernist Makeover

You may or may not be interested to know that the UK is currently going through the biggest baby boom it’s seen in 40 years. A combination of the current financial climate and inclement weather over recent years (with this summer proving very much the exception that proves the rule) is said to be keeping people at home – and spending more time than usual in the bedroom!

With this in mind, we thought it apt for our first makeover photo shoot to take place in the heart of the home – the boudoir!

The inspiration behind this room are the cool, classic lines and colours of a 1960s Hollywood motel room. We wanted to bring together elements that incorporated both retro and modern elements  to create a cool, contemporary space that still had warmth and just a hint of sex appeal.

The inspiration (image: flickriver.com)

The inspiration (image: flickriver.com)

What we had to work with - a dull 90s disaster!

What we had to work with – a dull 90s disaster!

We always like to start with a blank canvas, so our first task was to prep the walls and get everything painted PBW (that’s pure brilliant white to the uninitiated). White certainly isn’t to everyone’s taste, but here at lls we believe it’s the perfect beginning to any room. From this neutral but bright and light beginning, you can start to shape and mould the space using texture, light and, of course, furniture!

To add warmth and texture we decided to do away with the stripped wood floors and instead add a rich, thick-pile carpet in lime green. This bold statement carpet works really well with the cool crispness of the walls, and lends an overall 60s feel to the room.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

With the walls looking crisp, it was time to turn our attention to the most crucial piece of furniture in the room – the bed. We wanted to achieve a retro feel without going overboard – comfort is paramount, and whilst bold patterns or prints  may make a  statement,  when it comes to the morning after the night before it’s muted, respectful tones you want to wake up to, rather than a assault to the eyes!

We chose a simple fabric-covered bedframe from IKEA (£270) featuring a statement padded headboard with button details in light grey (£160). We wanted to develop the notion of a cool, understated 60s Hollywood motel room, as well as allow the room versatility, so we chose white bedding, but to stay true to our retro brief we chose a white microfibre duvet cover and pillowcases. The microfibre feels a little like retro terry-cloth, and gives off a subtle, matt softness that crisp cotton does not.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

The duvet and pillows themselves are from Snuggledown’s Ultimate Hungarian Goose Down range. The duvet (kingsize, 13.5 tog) retails at £510 and the pillows are £165 each.  The duvet and pillows really are “the ultimate” – they’re incredibly soft, warm and inviting without being heavy or lumpy – they’re light and fluffy but still really cosy – perfect!

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

What’s fantastic about a bedroom is the ability to quickly and easily create a dynamic, strong impression that’s instantly interchangeable – with the simple addition of cushions. We wanted to choose a blend of colours, textures and prints to develop depth and really help to set the tone of the whole room. By combining plain colours with textured fabrics and bold, statement cushions we built up a fun, eclectic blend that picked out colours from the artwork on the walls and draws the eye to the bed.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

We love Parris Wakefield Additions’ statement cushions – we chose Field 3 (30cmx60cm £66.40) and Destiny 2 (60cmx60cm £75.60) – the retro-inspired colours and geometric shapes make them the perfect combination of modern and retro – we couldn’t have designed them better ourselves!

We thought the pin-up girl cushion from LS Prints (£16.99) was fun and frivolous, and the fabric mirrors the duvet cover – a subtle soft-touch textile in delightfully bold blue and gentle, sweeping cream – hand-made in Yorkshire to an incredibly high standard. And, after all, how could you makeover a seaside house without a little nod to the nautical?!

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

No bed would be complete without a gorgeous throw or two to add warmth and depth. We chose a lovely grey knitted cotton blanket from Laura Ashley (currently £56.25) layered with a gorgeous bold retro-coloured tartan cashmere and merino blanket from Humphreys of Henley (£115). The green of the throw compliments the carpet, and the brighter colours brings a little bit of fun to the room, whilst still being a classic design that’s practical too for those cold winter nights.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

We spent a long time sourcing the perfect retro furniture and accessories to complement to room – sticking to blonde woods to keep things light and bright, and some kitsch, fun items alongside more classic pieces. We used vintage mirrors to reflect light and for practical considerations too – both mirrors are placed on the wall at a level that allows a full-length view, and the one on the feature wall adds another dimension.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

One bug-bear of ours is big, beastly televisions dominating rooms in all their ugliness – slapped on the wall with wires trailing down and not a thought for how they ruin the lines of the space. For this project we decided to use an Apple iMac (21.5 inch, £1099) instead of a television; they’re smaller,  a less offensive colour, and you can use them much like a TV simply using playback features, Netflix and other subscription services, as well as watching DVDs and download films from iTunes. More than that, the screensaver feature means that we could further disguise the computer amongst the other pictures by choosing a selection of Tretchikoff images to change every few minutes – far better than a big dark screen controlling the space.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

We used a combination of genuine vintage pictures, original artwork and fun, cheeky prints to add a little bit of fun to the room. We made sure there was a combination of sizes and shapes, and plenty to keep the eye busy (we particularly like the super-kitsch holographic “3D” image of Jesus – it’s a little tounge-in-cheek and complements the little Jesus figurine we picked up at a thrift store in New Orleans.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

Lighting-wise we again took our inspiration from a 60s Hollywood motel room – creating arcs of soft light from above and using dimmer switches to give superior control of the ambience. We used Reno pendant lights in white (currently out of stock but available in black or chrome from BHS for £32 each). We also sourced a sweet little burnt orange desk lamp that adds a further dimension of light on the sideboard and allows for even more control over light levels and direction.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

Finally, we chose a whole host of Yankee Candles to add both ambience and a delicious scent to the room – these chunky, bright candles are beautiful enough to have on display, they last ages and there are few finer things to add a little romance to proceedings than the gentle flicker of a candle wick. Oooh la la.

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

live.love.space. Monday Modernist Makeover

Designing this sophisticated, retro boudoir has been a labour of love, and we are thrilled with the results. If you’d like to talk to us about room styling, vintage sourcing or anything else interiors just drop us a note in the contact form below.

Happy decorating!

The Use of Texture in Interior Design – Guest Post

We’ve got the lovely Aimee Claire guest blogging for us this week – and she’s talking all things texture in the home …

There was a time when all I thought I had to think about when decorating a room was the colour, but now I’ve found out that I have to consider texture as well.  All surfaces have to have a texture, whether it is smooth or rough, shiny or matt, fine or coarse.  Adding texture into the mix ensures that your room is going to be full of interest and stop it from becoming too boring.  Just think if a room was painted in neutral colours and all the furniture and ornaments were smooth and shiny, how uninteresting that would be, almost as bad as a hotel room.  Mix and match is the name of the game in the decorating world, my friends.

Texture texture texture!

Texture texture texture!

Changing the look

Adding a texture can change the look of a room.  Don’t believe me?  Imagine changing a carpet for wooden flooring.  A carpet will absorb light coming in from the windows, whereas a smooth floor will reflect it and lighten up the room.

Smooth textures can also convey a feeling of space, as their shiny surface will reflect light, making a room appear larger than it actually is. Soft raised surfaces will absorb light and create a sense of warmth.  Placing a smooth textured item alongside a rough one will heighten the difference between the two, and you have added interest right there!

A big change can be achieved with different types of  really lovely furniture, mixing upholstered fabric sofas with leather chairs, for example.

Karuselli chair by Yrjo ukkapuro

Karuselli chair by Yrjo ukkapuro

Bringing texture to your design theme

How do you add texture to your rooms?  Well, what about hanging textured wallpaper, or covering part of a smooth wall with wall hangings, such as tapestries?  Just don’t overdo it.  Make a window a prominent feature of the room, by hanging a blind to keep the light out, and hang curtains around the frame merely as decoration.

Wandrey_BALANCE_OF_POWER_1992

Wandrey_BALANCE_OF_POWER_1992

Lay rugs upon a wooden or laminate floor to break it up.  Have colourful, highly textured cushions on plain leather furniture.  Use throws hung across the back of sofas or across tables to break up areas of colour.

Don’t be afraid to mix different periods to add interest to a room.  Whilst it may not seem an obvious choice, a minimalist modern room can take a heavy gilt-framed old style painting or portrait on a wall, or just wallpaper one wall in a patterned textured fabric whilst keeping the other walls plain.

Where's the birdie?

Where’s the birdie?

Accessories are the easiest way to add texture to a room.  This can be something as simple as a sleek glass vase with flowers of your choice, or lampshades with fringed or embroidered shades.  Alternatively, go for a plain lampshade with a really interesting base, one that’s moulded or shaped.  Place a woven runner down the dining table to create a contrast with the smooth wood.  Then put a plant in a pot on top of that to finish it off.

Add a simple accessory

Add a simple accessory

Bold bottle-top curtains

Bold bottle-top curtains

Whatever you do, always consider the practicality of your designs and make sure you and your family are going to be able to live with it.

The Joy of Erections, part 4

Move over, Estee Lauder… I’ve discovered that plaster dust is an effective dry shampoo and skin powder!

Weeks 10-13

The last instalment finished on a thrilling cliffhanger. Would I change the roof tiles? Would the builder batter me over the head with them? He didn’t, but packed me off to the roofing merchant’s yard where I minced through the heavy machinery to a hoary man in a hi-vis jacket. He saw at once that the tiles in situ were entirely unsuitable (and machine made), and together we chose a sympathetic hand-made alternative. A few days (and some extra cash) later they were on the roof.

IMG_3331

New hand-made roof tiles – still a bit uniform, but a better colour. Can you spot the missing one?

A lot of progress has been made, and a lot of people have been coming and going. Some of them are people I’ve known for years, most are new, and some are almost invisible – in and out in a couple of days or even hours. I enjoy seeing the old faces and meeting new ones, and am constantly amazed by what I get to hear over a cup of tea and downed power tools: tales of family discord, local gossip, gardening tips and sexual misadventure to name a few. Unfortunately, our electrician – who I have known for 7 years – died unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago following a routine operation. It is a sad loss, summed up by the plumber, who told me “Yeah, the other electricians [currently working here] are gutted ‘cos they were hoping he’d be back at work soon and finish off this job”. The secrets and mysteries of our electrics have literally been taken to the grave.

IMG_3311

The chimney – awaiting a date brick

The biggest milestones have been the removal of the scaffolding (revealing the beauty of the brickwork – like a bride taking off her veil), the installation of the windows, and The Knock Through. This last left everything in the adjacent rooms coated in a thin layer of dust, looking a bit like the remains of Pompeii. It’s in my hair, up my nose, and in my mouth but my hair has gone from lank to bouncy and my oily T-zone has completely vanished!

IMG_3325

Two become one – the knock through downstairs

There have been a raft of decisions to be made: internal doors, radiators, flooring, door knobs, finishes and handles on the windows and sills – and Sunpipes for the kitchen. I went to see one in operation in the builder’s own house and was instantly converted. Fortunately they don’t need sun to be effective, just light. I wondered about having a periscope installed in one of them so I could check on the neighbours without twitching the curtains. I might even be able to uncover the long-running mystery of who doesn’t pick up their dog’s excremement from the church path!

I might keep them like this to save on cleaning

I might keep them like this to save on cleaning

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