Saturday 30 March 2019

March Madness - Guest Bedroom Makeover

The Guest Bedroom Makeover.
Another box ticked in March.  Almost.

Much March Madness has been going on in my home.  
I summarised in my previous post how much attention I've given Chez Pout during the month.  
Here's the guest bedroom, the focus of recent attention.  It's an almost finished room but I just had to share it with you NOW!

The scheme is blue and white and a light putty colour.

The Room Before (pics from about 5 years ago)

The room is long and narrow. 
It was bitty and a bit bland.  It lacked "identity".
I changed it round a bit a few years ago, after these shots,  but only a little and I knew it was unfinished work.

The glazed door at the end goes through to the ensuite shower room - it was a wardrobe run when I bought the house; that changed pretty soon after moving in!
A double wardrobe was built using one of the old wardrobe mirror doors (just in sight on the right).

The Makeover

So, the room was long overdue a revamp and I had to decide what elements would drive this project.  That was the easy part.  
1)  the large Japanese islands oil painting.  It's big and doesn't fit in any other room.  I had it in my bedroom in my previous house and I've had it for 27 years so it ain't going nowhere!
2) the blue velvet Victorian nursing chair, which belonged to TP's grandmother.

These two items were the key drivers.  So blue was the colour for this room, obvs.  Then came the hard part, the makeover!

During the Makeover

We're messy workers.

But you've got to break eggs eh ...?

The Almost-finished Room

We switched the brownware roll top desk for the white glass top desk.  I felt it created a dressing table and determined the mood of the room.  I then painted the limed mirror white and we positioned it to span the desk.  It reflects light from the window opposite and creates the illusion of width in this narrow room.

A surprise bonus were the old bedside cupboards.    Adding the old brass bedstead, surplus from the main bedroom, added an inch of width to the bed, which meant the cabinets now didn't quite fit the already-tight space either side of the bed.  Removal of the bedstead wasn't an option as it had been 
a b*%%#& to fit difficult to fit, so TP came up with plans to saw bits off the cabinet tops and take out chunks of skirting board.  
I stepped back and paused, had a "ha'peth of tar" moment and said "You know what, I'll buy smaller nightstands!".  And just like that, the v.old cabinets were queued for the charity shop.

 But when tidying up the mess after painting, I happened to shove one of them out of my way, next to the dressing table.  Then as I tidied some more, I was suddenly inspired to see if the two fitted either side.  They did, just!  So they stayed.

I like the run of desk and cabinets and they provide extra storage.  Maybe I'll freshen them up with a lick of paint, maybe I won't.

Similarly, I'm undecided about painting the old chest, but it needs to stay at the end of the bed to stop the bed sliding all over the wooden floor on its castors!

The glazed Billys from Ikea are tremendously good storage and a few years ago when they switched walls I had a carpenter build shelves up to the wall.

TP tidied up the dangly TV cabling in trunking.

Yes, that troublesome brass bedstead was so going to be dumped when it became surplus to requirements after the arrival of the new master bedroom whizzy bed, but I thought I'd give it a go in here before it left the house and I liked it!  The brass links to the touches of gold in the picture frame.

TP refreshed three walls with a putty coloured paint and although he wasn't convinced at first, we added a blue wall to echo the blue in the painting and bedding to knit the room colours together.  It balances out the long corridor effect of this room shape and creates a cosy feel.

Everything else was washed and ironed and looks fresh again.

The Deets

Valspar emulsion paint (great coverage):
2 pots Sling Your Hook (light putty), £30
1 pot Self Soothing (blue), £15
Duvet from M&S, £35
Nightstands, 2 x £69 + delivery, £147.95 (currently in transit)

Leftover Dulux Trade white eggshell for mirror surround.
Bed, bed set, curtains, rug,  etc, existing. 
Desk swapped in to create a dressing table.
Cabinets flanking the desk, no longer fitting the original space and were going to be charitied.
Bedstead a throw-out from the master bedroom makeover and was destined for the charity shop too.

So for a little over £200 and a bit of washing and furniture shifting, the room has been revamped.
My guests will enjoy a fresh spring feel to the room - La Duchesse, what do you think of 'your' room now ?!!

2018 was my year of Light Touch.
I've declared 2019 to be my year of returning things to their rightful place in the house.
I've lived here 16 years and over the years things have been chopped and changed and switched and some are no longer where they are best suited. This white desk is a perfect example of my 2019 Right Place drive - it's natural place is here.

Ok this isn't a modern room makeover.   It's not all black and moody and mid last century.  It's traditional.  
You will see that the decor style was determined by the style of existing hard and soft furnishings as I didn't want to spend too much on this room after splurging on a full makeover in the master bedroom!  So it's perhaps a bit "old lady" in decor terms.  But the room had always been hotch potch, thrown together with a bit of this and a bit of that.  It still is, I 'spose, but it seems a bit more cohesive now, more singular in style.
I think a lot has been achieved here for a handful of loose change  and a bit of graft - I've made a silk purse out of a sow's ear and the room is now inviting and pretty.

I hope you like our work!

Do you have a neglected spare room, filled with furnishings that had nowhere else to go?  
A room that could perhaps benefit from taking a step back and a rethink?
It's surprising what can be achieved with a small budget when you focus on a room's identity driven by what you already have.
Some of this room's changes have been purely accidental - The Universe can sometimes be your interior designer!

A la perchoine,
Mary x

Wednesday 27 March 2019

What I've Been Wearing Lately

Hi peeps!  Can you believe that we'll soon be seeing March's dust as we head in April?!

The thought of April looming sets me in panic mode.  I'm going on holiday then and we have cat sitters coming to stay to look after Bertie the cat.

Now, you know what it's like when you have people staying - you invite them into the rooms in the house that are fit for presentation.  You have control of what they see.
Having people stay whilst you're away is a while different ballgame, as they will be rummaging around in the kitchen and bathroom looking for the potato masher or the loo cleaner, so EVERY cupboard, drawer and shelf must be fit for inspection.

Being a lazy person, I generally only deal with the stuff I can see and turn a blind eye to the rest.  Having people come to live in my house means that for the whole month before I am systematically going through the house.  
Washing and ironing bedding (the latter only happens at these times!).  
Clearing and cleaning out cupboards.  
Doing all of those little repairs that we've put off doing. 
Actually getting round to some of those queued up room makeovers!

I think you're probably getting the picture of how March has been for me.  It's been an enforced gigantic spring-clean!
You may have wondered why I've been slogging away at my room makeovers so ardently and not posting many outfits - this is the reason!

I've comforted myself in the knowledge that I will return from holiday to a house that passes muster and thus gives me the whole spring and summer to potter around in garden and play around on the beach.  That's the theory.  
It's hard work and I'm exhausted, but it gets me to look at my home through the eyes of a stranger and there's a huge benefit to doing that.  Because things actually get done!

Ok this loonnnnnnnng intro is my way of saying that most days I've been in scruffies.  I mostly have forced myself into presentable clothes for funerals.  So I don't have much in my WIBWL arsenal for you!

A funeral in a cold  snap.  
Black frock coat, black skinnies,  fur muffler.

Drinks with the neighbours.  
Bejewelled berry chunky jumper and coated jeans.

Staycation at a local hotel, a lovely gift for our November birthdays (I'll do a separate post on that).
Zara blouse and black coated jeans.

Popped into town to buy a duvet for guests - (M&S, it's super soft!)
A lovely orange/coral gilet  from Peacocks.  
I'm starting to see the attraction of a gilet, perfect for providing a quick easy layer  between-seasons.

Girlie meal with Sis and cousins.  
Black lace trimmed jersey top (bought in Y2K so 19 years old and still going strong!), only slightly distressed blue jeans and a biker from Primark.

And that's it folks!  The rest of the time I've been in leggings and Ts. 

I'm looking exhausted, I realise that, but I've promised myself that for the first few days of my hols I'm going to sit around (hopefully in the sun) doing nothing more taxing than catching up on your comments, reading the posts of my blogger mates which I've neglected of late, and getting re-trained in wearing nice presentable outfits!

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

Friday 22 March 2019

Bottling It Up

The Photographer likes loves single malt whisky ... and so do I !!

Not for the beverage itself, which I can't drink for, as with tea, it doesn't reach my mouth because of my retching reaction to the smell!

I love single malt because these beautiful black bottles it sometimes comes in are a gift to the home faffer.  And when the single malt has been knocked back, well, it's a free vase!

I've sprinkled my on-trend black bottles around the house, here above the fireplace in the front lounge, next to my Gran's mirror.

There are some pretty clear bottles to be drained too.  Here, another beauty with fatsia japonica, next to one of my garden's last spring hyacinths.

It's not just malt whisky that provides the homeowner with such bounty.

How about a few sprigs of hazel in a ho ho ho and a bottle of rum?!

This beaut is from St Nicholas Abbey Distillery, Barbados.
I love the simple square shape and the sheer weight of its base makes it the perfect receptacle for tall spindly branches.
I'd almost go back there just for another bottle.   And the content was rather good too 😜!!

These are just simple ideas - taking a striking bottle, drinking it dry then sticking something different in it!

Another way to use up great glass shapes is to create a chalk bottle.
A couple of coats of chalkboard paint (B&Q, Home Depot) is all it takes, then attach a piece of chalk or a chalk pen to the bottle with string.

A chalk bottle is nice place to leave little messages for each other.  Mary Knows Best is one I pull out of the bag when TP is convalescing.  It keeps him in line!

I made quite a few of these to give as presents, chalking on the recipient's house name on dangled black hearts for a personal touch.

There are more possibilities that I haven't yet explored that require just a tad more effort (and a fair amount of wine quaffing, it would seem!)

Credit, Pinterest various

By popular demand, the link to the spray paint that can achieve this pretty effect can be found below.

Pinterest is a mind-blowing source of ideas.  People out there are so inventive and creative!

Have you looked at the possibilities of a bottle before chucking it in the recycling?  There are some beauties around.  Think for a moment about giving it a second lease of life before it gets ground up as useful recycled glass grains.

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

The beautiful sea glass effect is simply achieved with a quick spray on clean and dry bottles of various shapes.  Further details of the 
opaque spray can be found here.

 I'm excited to see what beauties I can create with this sea glass spray!!

Saturday 16 March 2019

Dressing for Sombre Occasions

This past week I've been to two sombre occasions ... and no wedding.  The rest of the week has involved some house clearance and a lot of jobs around my house.

 I have such a long list of housey things to do pre-holiday that I hardly find time to read others' blogs right now, let alone comment.  Sorry, fellow bloggers 🙁.   So when I eventually go on holiday next month I've promised myself a HUGE blog catchup fest!

Let's crack on ...

The Outfits

I seem to have only got out off my scruffies for sombre occasions this past week, so my outfits are black based, as I'm a traditionalist.  Are you?

These occasions are one of life's sad inevitables.  Some dress colourfully these days as it is often pre-requested by our loved ones.   If this hasn't been suggested, I willingly dress sombrely.
I don't want to make light of the occasion by talking about outfits here today but I post about my everyday and this is how it has been lately.  And I find it helpful to have a go-to outfit at times like these when my mind is in another place.

Occasion #1

Black Zara frockcoat, which has become my sombre go-to.

Worn with a Madeleine asymmetric cashmere jumper.  And chunky pearls.  I did say I'm a traditionalist eh.

Occasion #2

Madeleine cashmere cardi.

The silk square was the only break in my external outfit's blackness.

Then I had to add a fur muffler as protection against the Storm H winds.

The black jeans, pearls and silk square works well with a grey long-sleeved T for a less serious occasion.

So, sad times indeed.

And brighter times.

To cheer myself up I had fun comparing photos 11 years apart but with same pose and hairstyle.  I make my own fun.

The Bed

The Bed arrived at the beginning of the week.  I have yet to open the push-button under bed storage; I'll share that with you when I post the makeover post.

And the makeover post won't happen until I sort out nightstands for the narrow bedside gaps.  Until then, I'm using a couple of side tables pilfered from the front lounge.

The Candlewax Spillage

So, we had a little accident in that front lounge recently.  A candle pedestal got knocked and spilled hot wax on to the carpet.
Now, this also happened 15 years ago.  Back then I used up a whole Saturday afternoon and two kitchen rolls, sitting on the floor ironing up the wax.

I was rather putting off this latest clean up as a result.   I started mumbling that maybe now was the time to think about putting down a hardwood floor, easier to clean up the spillages.
Then TP said he'd have a go with the steamer.  To be honest I humoured him but really didn't think the steamer would have any impact on the wax.
But it did!  The wax totally disappeared after just a few short minutes running the steamer over the messy mishap.  I was gobsmacked!

Not a trace of candlewax is left!

(Of course, TP should have taken a before shot.  Sorry about that.  I have since put in place some emergency training for him and I hope he'll know what to do next time we deal with a mishap!)

I've sung this little steamer's praises on this blog before but I'm going to shout out its praises this time!  Vax steam cleaner!!!!

It works brilliantly on wooden floors, tiled floors and walls.  It cleans carpets, including little cat carpet mishaps.

If you don't already have one of these babies, then think seriously about getting yourself one.  Now!!

A la perchoine, 
Mary x.

Sunday 10 March 2019

Introducing A New Piece

Hi my lovelies!
Hope near-spring is treating you well.  Or near-autumn if you are down under.
Here in Pout World it's been pretty much loop living for me.  More decorating, more de-cluttering, more dealing with family matters.  And the new bed arrives tomorrow so that will be mega exciting!
So it's been house stuff and family stuff on repeat.  Most days I've been in my scruffies, so its rather nice to sit here with a cuppa and talk outfits with you today.

Introducing a new piece into the wardrobe is quite a scientific process.  The test of its adaptability is to see how it can integrate with the existing pieces in that wardrobe.
The unwritten rule is that it needs to fit into at least three outfits.

So, I put a leoprint shirt to the test. I  bought it last autumn in Zara's and didn't really start wearing it until earlier this year.  I think it may have been because I ended up with a glut of Zara shirts (a glut, is that the collective noun for Zara shirts?).
My Zara shirts were various plays on red print and so they came out a lot in the lead up to Christmas.
But now it is the turn of the leoprint shirt and it needed to be put through its paces.

Outfit #1.

The first testing is a repeat on the blog but it makes the point without me having to go into repeat outfit changes!

The shirt is still in stock at the time of writing, 

Worn loose and long with a leather skirt it is quite forgiving (read slimming)

Simply adding a belt creates a sassier look, IMHO.
Or a sack tied in the middle look in TP's less than humble opinion!

And adding a jumper over the whole lot with just a hint of the shirt peeping through gives the outfit a more casual feel.

So Test #1, it works with a skirt.

Outfit #2

Coated jeans next.  And a cardi.  (In this pic I was pleading with The Photographer to allow me another change of clothes just before we went out.  My pretty-please pleading did not work.)

So I left home wearing coated jeans and a modal vest with the shirt, and a layering of gold necklaces.

Leoprint.  Faux leather.  Gold.  Is this just tooooo much?!

So, Test #2, coated jeans and  Bet Lynch vibe, done.

Outfit #3

On yet another day, I put the shirt through its paces with plain black skinnies, black polo neck and the ubiquitous leather jacket.

It was a no-makeup/third day hair day.  The hat should have stayed on.  Or quite simply, I shouldn't have offered myself to the camera!

But there will be days like this in one's life eh?  And I though the shirt worn over black skinnies and a polo neck called for very little else.  Or the truth - I had no time nor inclination for make up on this day, and if you'd told me ten years ago that I would be uttering those words I would have laughed you out of town, or at the very least out of the room.  But here I am, no make up and I went out the door like that …  AND posted the evidence for the world to see!!

Test #3, leoprint shirt with leather jacket and no make up, done.

Now this one was the real test.  I'd tried the shirt with skirt, coated jeans and skinnies and leather jacket.  But they were all black and quite safe, given the print.  But jeans is the real test.  If something doesn't go with jeans then it really does not deserve a place in my wardrobe.

Outfit #4 (yes, I made it to #4!!)

Here I wore the shirt with distressed jeans and taupe boots.  The choice of boot colour was an attempt to anchor the shirt's colours, top and tailing the brown hues around the jeans.

At first I thought that teaming this leoprint shirt with plain blue jeans was a test too far for this print, but the longer I wore it, the more I adjusted to the mix. 

What do you think?  Test #4, shirt with jeans done?

So this shirt has passed  its testing, creating not three but four different looks.  And there are more that I'll come up with over the next few months.

I have felt that this print is a challenge.  The brown/caramel/black print colourway I felt was quite limiting.  I felt that it would only work with a black backdrop.  However, I am drawn to the jeans look now and I think that the denim brings the glam style of the print down to a more day to day level. 
And I think that the shirt will work well with chinos in a month or two and I'm quite looking forward to that road test. 
In summer I think it will work well with white, maybe over white jeans or draped over a white linen dress. 
Yes, I'm conjuring up more possibilities for this leoprint shirt so I think its been a successful testing of its integration into my wardrobe.

What about you? Do you find a leoprint top quite limiting? 
Do you find leoprint works best as an accessory rather than a main event? 
And do you run a new piece through the minimum three way testing? 

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Bedroom Makeover, Half Way Stage

Hi there my lovelies.  
I'm half way into my bedroom project so I thought it might be a good time to share how what I've achieved so far.

I have to accept that all room makeovers are multi-faceted and involve so much more than just sploshing paint on a wall and thus are all-consuming.   There's emptying cupboards, moving furniture out, taking the unwanteds to the charity shop, yadda yadda.  It's all different forms of the same - dirty work.  And dirty work requires unblogable attire.  I will be so pleased to get up on a day some time soon and not reach out for the scruffies and a clip to scrag back my hair!

So here's where I am.

Firstly, I've won a battle of wills!
TP wanted just the one wall painted, the one behind where the bed head will go.  We did that a few weeks ago, in good time before carpet laying day

Comparison with old, tired carpet.

My view was that as two of the walls were taken up by grey painted wardrobes and cupboards, one remaining wall in off-white looked a bit odd.  An off-white wall can hardly be called a feature wall eh?

I argued my case ad nauseum  once or twice.


TP finally saw sense agreed and the day before the carpet was laid I got splashing Howl at the Moon (Valspar) on the remaining off-white wall.  Triumphantly!
 TP agreed that it brings cohesiveness to the room.  Ok, I fed him those words!

On Monday I painted the mirror surround white, slapped a few coats on the tired radiator cover too and also the decorative shelf that goes under the round mirror (not in the pic).

The carpet has made a huge difference to the room.  I took photos of the old carpet before the carpet layers arrived.  It was embarrassing to see how I'd turned a blind eye to it, as the really rough bits were covered by furniture.   
Perhaps I'll man up and show you the pics in the final room reveal post.  Perhaps not.

So let's recap.

One wall painted and old bed in place.

Flowers and Danish pastries on Valentine's Day.

Bed base collected and headboard removed before the carpet laying. Bertie saw this as an act of kindness to an aging cat, as jumping down on to the floor from this height is kinder on his arthritic bones.

Second wall painted.  The new carpet laid.  The colour is Icing Sugar.  I like that name.  Sweet.

Next up, the new bed arrives, I work out a nightstand solution and find a better window dressing.  Maybe some squishy new bedding too.  Then the big reveal.

And here's a reminder.  The room in its original off-white state.

I'm still dreaming of this glam and cosy end-game!

I hope you enjoyed this post, it's new subject matter for me to try out and it's nice to report in on on what's consuming my days right now!
Are you  doing any spring decluttering or decorating ?

A la perchoine,
Mary x.