Spotted: Mr & Mrs Smith At Home

For quite some time now I have disregarded paint as a decorating medium (well ‘coloured paint’ at least,) as out of favour. Perhaps as a result of fully embracing the feature wall trend that washed over us several years ago, more recently I’ve opted for patterned wallpaper or pale and neutral paints as a backdrop to my home. In the last few months though, I’ve noticed myself leaning towards statement walls in rich, bold and elegant shades, so it’s no surprise that taste makers Mr & Mrs Smith have launched a paint range At Home, inspired by their stylish boutique boltholes.

Divided into three collections, each designed to evoke the feel of destinations around the globe, each one provides an easy to combine palette for design led traditional and modern interiors.

The Coastal collection is, as you would expect, full of blues, but not just your traditional seaside shades, referencing sparkling Mediterranean seas, and the North American atlantic coast with stormy shades.

For the country, expect your usual Farrow and Ball-esque chalky tones and earthy neutrals, with a surprise pop of ochre and forest green, perfect for period interiors.

City shades are rich, glamourous and sexy with modern greys and pops of red nodding towards oriental lacquer and North African medinas. All the colours are a deep matt, low odour and eco-friendly. Even cleverer, instead of ordering paint pots to test, M&MS provide an iPatch adhesive rectangle of colour to test in your home without leaving residue – particularly great for removing the issue of testing darker shades and leaving messy patches that take coat after coat of paint to cover.

The paints are available from Colour & Paint online. What do you think readers. Do you use paints in your home decor?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Real Room Re-vamp: After

Ok, so you have seen the ‘before’s‘, now for my thoughts on what to do to rescue this sad and unloved little room! Here are some moodboards I put together (it’s so helpful to see things almost together before you splurge!) and I’d love to hear what you think!

Option One: Duck Egg and Neutrals/Grey with Botanical elements

This look was inspired by the Botanist range at John Lewis this spring/summer (the sale started today in case you liked any of it too.) I liked the botanical sketches, and the way there were a range of garden blues and greens that worked together with a neutral backdrop to dilute the duck egg. It also appealed to the inner victorian in me with the collections of curios and I lucked out finding an appropriate curtain fabric – always a tough one when you have a particular scheme in mind.

Option Two: Blue and Coral

I love Coral and suddenly had a brainwave that it actually goes beautifully with the blue shades here when I came across a whole range of different coral prints in Zara Home (who’s sale also incidentally started today!) My2 major reservations when it comes to this scheme are: a. will it feel out of place come winter, and b. I’m really struggling on the curtain front.

Option Three: The combination

So then I thought, can I possibly combine the two? Coral colours, with the blue and a hint of botanical victoriana? The answer is I’m still not sure. The key with mixing patterns like this is to make sure the shades are bang on perfect and I don’t know if this look is just trying too hard to pull it all together.


Items all as above.

This is where you guys come in! What’s your favourite look? Cast your votes below and all suggestions or advice welcome!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS If you missed them this morning, here are the before pictures.

Getting Pretty on the Cheap

This afternoon you’re in for a treat readers. Kimberly is back and with a bang. Her home was a huge hit when it was featured on FF a while back but now you get the real scoop, how she got it that way and without splashing too much cash. Thanks Kimberley!

Why hello gorgeous Florence Finders! I’m Kimberly from Swoon Worthy and I’m more than thrilled that Rebecca has asked me to fill in whilst she’s off on her travels. I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with you lovely lot in the past when Rebecca shared my home in progress a few months ago and I’m back again to share with you one of my most favourite topics: how to make your home gorgeous without spending bucketloads of cash.

It’s easy to think that in order to have a beautiful home, you have to have loads of money to throw at it. But who wants to spend more money than you have to? Why not save that cash for globe trotting, pretty shoes and going out with your mates? (See, when I put it like that, it sounds so much more useful, doesn’t it?)

In the last 2 years of owning our home, we have stretched every last penny out of getting this place up to scratch (and still going). We have bargained, searched, learned loads of new skills and made bargain hunting into an art form. So I’m here to share with you my Top Tips for Getting Pretty On the Cheap. Let’s get started, shall we?

eBay’s “Saved Search” is Your New BFF

This is by far my top tip. Thrift shops around my way aren’t too great although you can of course find bargains if you persevere. Personally, I like to shop from the comfort of my own pyjamas and home, and the beauty of both the eBay website and the eBay mobile app is that I can do it anywhere. Learn what you are searching for and then don’t assume that everyone knows how to list items properly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen things listed as ‘Shabby Chic’ that weren’t even REMOTELY in that genre. Consider searching common misspellings as well – so if you are looking for a chest of drawers, be sure to search ‘Chest of Draws’ as well!

Now, eBay has a little feature called ‘Saved Searches’ so if there’s something in particular that you are looking for, set one up. It will email you every day that there are new items listed that meet your criteria. I always have about 4 or 5 big ticket items that I’m looking for at any one time so it’s much quicker and more efficient to have eBay do the work for you and you’ll learn not only how often these items come up but also how much the going cost is.


I scored the vintage coffee table and white cowhide rug using Saved Searches and saved 50% on the cost of the rug (it was new) and only paid £30 for the coffee table.

For furniture, be sure to set your search results so that it only shows you items that you can reasonably drive to to pick up. If you know you won’t drive from Portsmouth to Leeds to pick up a tulip table, there’s no point in the search results bringing these ones up. Create your search specifically to your needs. At a bare minimum, be sure to enter Location (25 miles to my postcode works for me but you can go as near as 5 or 10 miles away) and the maximum price you are willing to pay. No point in the search bringing back items far above your budget and you’ll be less tempted to spend more than you intended.

Understand the Power of Paint

You’ll never feel more immediate gratification than painting a room. The impact a tin of paint can make is far greater than any cost to you. Bear in mind one thing however… cheap paints are a false economy. Spring for good quality paints and you can finish a room in two coats. Avoid the single coat stuff, it’s usually very thick and gloopy and it just doesn’t have the coverage nor does it go as far as the normal stuff. I tend to use Dulux the most often – it’s not as cheap as some of the own-brand paints and not as expensive as some of the higher end ranges but it gives brilliant coverage and Dulux will colour match to anything at all. The range of existing colours is truly never-ending.

The bathroom went from boring white to peacock blue – it’s saved me a bundle because I originally wanted to rip the whole thing out but this has bought me time to save before I look at a complete remodel. The full ‘makeover’ cost around £50 including the new hooks.

Learn How to Wield a Spray Paint Can

Spray painting is the perfect way to enliven any older piece or give something a new lease on life. I use it for any small projects, especially on those where I don’t want to see any brush strokes. Pretty much anything can be spray painted although bear in mind you may need a primer coat for things like plastics or anything with a glossy finish. In terms of technique, stand about 20cm back from your object and using steady strokes, move spray back and forth across the object, never resting it on any one place. A single thin coat is MUCH better than a single heavy one (think drips) so let it dry between coats and try at least one or two for even coverage. My go to spray paint? Montana Gold. It comes in lots of colours and is actually cheaper than the stuff you get in B&Q or Homebase. It also gives fantastic opaque coverage.

My vintage faux bamboo chairs were another eBay bargain – just £90 for four of them. They were an ugly dark green with beige seats when I found them but spray painting and recovering them gave them a new lease on life! The mirror was originally a grey wrought iron. Spray painting it gold and giving it an antique finish now makes it stand out on the bedroom wall.

Learn to Sew in a Straight Line

I know a lot of people are scared of sewing machines but honestly, with a few basic skills you can make so many things. Cushions, curtains and table runners? No problem. If you have a friend or relative that sews, ask for them to show you some tips and then just practise. There’s really something very satisfying about sewing your own soft furnishings and it’s not difficult at all!

After failing to find nice cushions in my red and white palette, I decided to simply make my own. Cost? £10.

Learn how to paint furniture

An old piece of furniture from eBay or a hand me down from a relative can be completely revitalised with a bit of paint. There are a million tutorials for painting furniture online, no matter what kind of a finish you would like. Do a search on Google or You Tube for lots of tips from lots and lots of bloggers. Preparation and oil-based primer is your friend here. Look for items that are in good overall condition and have good lines.

This chest of drawers total cost was around £55. It was originally an orange-y brown eBay find for £30. Painting it cost me another £25. The sideboard cost me £50. A coat of oil-based primer and a couple coats of white paint gave it a much-needed refresh.

Get Comfy With Basic DIY Skills

If you are not afraid to wield a tape measure, a hammer, a screwdriver and a drill, you’ll be fine. Depending upon others just doesn’t do in this age of women being able to do it as well as the guys. Again, if you are unsure, check out tutorials online – there are video tutorials and brilliant blogger step by steps everywhere if you look. Most importantly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Honestly, if I can tile a kitchen, anyone can do it.


My boyfriend learned to plaster, lay underfloor heating and install lighting via the internet.

Flower Power

Don’t be afraid to scatter cheaper blooms around a room. I always have fresh flowers and have no problem buying £3 packs of roses or carnations from Tesco or Aldi – single blooms work better so you can throw a few blooms in various containers and group them randomly. Fresh flowers just add a natural touch, colour and texture that simply can’t be replicated any other way. Ever better? Grow your own and during the spring and summer, you won’t have to spend a dime!

All these flowers were from my own garden and the ‘vases’ are simply empty alcohol, vinegar and oil bottles! Cost? Free.

Give Yourself Permission for 1 Splurge Per Room

If you fill a room with only cheap disposable things, you may be less inclined to truly take care of it. Save your money for the really special stuff and when you are ready, go for it. There are certain things like sofas and bed linens that are a false economy. Buy the best you can afford and take good care of it. It’ll make a room that much more special to you.


The sofa has been our biggest splurge to date but after 2 years, I am still utterly and completely in love with it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my top tips today! Now it’s your turn! What are your best bargain ideas? Have you got a great eye for a bargain? Any favourites in the list I created? Anything you feel I’ve completely missed out on? I would love to hear your ideas for Getting Pretty On The Cheap and keep the blog warm for Rebecca while she’s gone.

Remember, if you want to follow along our adventures for Getting Pretty on the Cheap, come pay a visit to Swoon Worthy, it would be lovely to have you! And thank you, Rebecca, for having me!

PS Like the cushions? You can buy them here in Kimberley’s shop – Swoon Worthy Homewares

Shades of Grey…

As you read this post, hopefully, somewhere warm and dry with your bum on a comfortable seat, I will be decorating. That is, I will be up a ladder, standing on a dust sheeted table, or wielding a paint roller with the dulcet tones of an electrician in the background, hacking a channel out of our plaster work to relocate a light switch. Because that’s what you do when you’re in search of perfection, no?!

If the paint roller had been the least of it, I would not be complaining – with a week off from work, we decided now would be the time to re-decorate. But in my infinite wisdom and as our lounge and dining room are open plan, it seemed only sensible to decorate both of them at once. I reasoned that if I did one or the other, the other would potentially get paint splattered or dusty anyway. What I didn’t consider was that I was basically unleashing chaos on the heart of our home. At the present time I have not put my bum on a seat, (including our sofa that I am practically having hallucinations about collapsing onto,) for five days. Five whole days of being stood up, climbing ladders, sanding (read: destroying my nails) painting, (read: getting paint in my hair) and now I’m fast approaching complete knackered-ness. All of our downstairs living area is in disarray – either covered in dust sheets, covered in plastic bin bags, (as are the fireplaces) or covered in piles of paint tins and wood offcuts.

Then there is the dust. The dreaded dust from sanding back Edwardian skirting boards and replacing the picture rails. We’ve also been finishing off the arch created when we knocked through from the front to the middle room 5 years ago. Yes, for 5 years it has been a bare rectangle of painted plaster which we were ‘going to finish off soon.’  And now I look at it finished I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

It’s been a slog through. As I write, my Mum and her partner Phil have just left. He’s a bit of a handy man with a saw and he and Pete saved us about £500 on employing a joiner, by installing the picture rail and architrave (decorative wood around a door frame) themselves. It’s taken the best part of 2 days but I’m so proud of them and grateful we had the help. Mum has been cleaning around us all like a demon, painting, hoovering up, keeping the troops fed and watered, and generally being fab. Thanks Mum!

So today’s post is dedicated to what we’re halfway through achieving, the perfect grey room. I wanted something contemporary but elegant and in keeping with the period features of our home. We already have a neutral sofa and blue/brown 2-tone arm chair, plus some hessian-look roman blinds with a blue/brown edge that I’m undecided whether to keep or not. I wanted a true grey, neither so pale as to be mistaken for off-white, nor so dark that it looked like cement. Chic but not cold looking and the existing colour (Dulux Egyptian Cotton) was a pale taupe that already looked grey in some lights, so it had to be different to that.

Let me tell you, it is seriously hard to find the right grey. We started off at Farrow and Ball, (which we considered still an economy as we tend to lean towards wallpaper usually, which would have cost much more) determined that spending money would yield the perfect shade. How wrong we were. For all its great press for fabulous neutrals, the greys were all slightly green, too beige, cool blues. Our preferred shades were splitting hairs when compared with the existing paint so F&B, however luxe and lovely, was out.


Top row, all Farrow and Ball, bottom row as labelled.

Disheartened, we headed to B&Q and bought them out of tester pots in everything resembling grey. I’ve never been a paint snob and true to form it was here we found our chosen shade. I wonder if you can guess which one?

So today, I’d like you all to make me feel a little better! Let’s hear if you’re decorating – have been wiped out by a project like this, or if you have got the perfect shade of grey paint in your home?

Oh, and ten Florence Finds points for any of you who can guess which shade I chose 😉

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Did I mention we have new carpets coming tomorrow? Eeeek! Which means we need to be finished by then. Double eeek!

PPS. Please excuse the rubbish iPhone pictures. I promise there will be a full, beautifully photographed before and after soon, but for now an iPhone is all I can muster!

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