Shades of Grey: Part Two

A little delayed by lots of awesome stuff I had to share last week, today I’m sharing my dining room, the other half of my decorating make over. (See the lounge and Part 1 here.)

Just as a reminder, here’s the before… and after.

It doesn’t take much persuasion for me to toot my trumpet and say I am more proud of this room than any other. It’s nothing ground breaking in terms of decor or design but it’s exactly what I set out to achieve. I wanted to make the room warmer, (thank you cow hide rug and Ikea curtains) and to look more ‘cohesive’ than it did. Warm and kind of salvage-rustic with a glamorous edge. The reason I am so pleased with it is that I walk though it every single day and don’t fail to enjoy it, and at the end of the day, what else is your home for?

Last week, I talked about the addition of the picture rail and architrave around the knocked through rooms. I’m ashamed to admit we had been in our house almost 5 years from knocking the two rooms together, without finishing off the woodwork and now I look at it and am so pleased that we finally did. The room looks so much more ‘finished’ and the white woodwork looks so crisp against the grey.

In the same way we had to work with the soft furnishings in the lounge, there were items we wanted to keep in the dining room, most notably the Habitat grey smoked mirror which shifted the colour scheme to a moodier palette of grey with smokey blue and dark wood (the table and floor,) accents.

Said floorboards are on the ridiculous side of freezing and there was little previously in the way of soft furnishings to warm to room up. First off we needed a rug and it was the perfect opportunity to purchase my favourite, a cow hide rug. We initially ordered a Graham and Green one but it arrived with a rather shaggy long coat and was sent back. Then we stumbled upon a much shorter one in Homesense for a bargain £199.

Our other Homesense bargain was this film lamp. Well, not exactly a bargain, but definitely worth every penny. I think it adds major impact to an otherwise unused corner of the room. We rearranged things slightly here, moving an old print that previously hung in the lounge and adding 2 curtains in a dark grey coarse linen from Ikea, instead of the single one that was there previously, to the window in the corner.

I’ve also tried to refine our accessories. Again, it’s a little empty at present, (some might say tidy,) but I prefer a more eclectic collection of ‘finds’ to make a home look lived in and illustrate its owners personalities. While we look for the right accent pieces, I’ve used some Sipsmith Gin bottles to decorate the mantelpiece and splashed out on a display dome although I’ve not yet decided what to put in it!

We also have a collection of letters to put up on the wall and my new globe is adding an eclectic feel. I edited the collection of frames we have to silver and mother of pearl ones with black and white images, giving a more cohesive look to the corner. The small wooden chest is a Tansu, a Japanese antique that Phil, my Mums partner gave me, that would have been used for storage.

My last ‘find’ was the lighting. Replacing the old tin Moroccan shade that I purchased in a Marrakech souk several years back, Pete and I had been unable to agree on a new dining light for several years, generally favouring design classics that required significant financial investment – which is hard to do when you haven’t seen the piece up close. BHS lighting department saved the day with these smoked glass shades in grey-blue in the dining room and then repeated in the living room in the smoked golden-brown version of the same. I think they were around £90 each and we hung them lower than usual to give a more atmospheric feel to the room.

And that’s it. We still have some accessories to add but I’m refusing to be hurried on those right now. I want to make sure they’re the right pieces and already, some of the bits I had chosen are feeling wintery while I’m looking forward to welcoming back in some colour. There might be more changes afoot. As ever, I’ll keep you posted.

Do let me know what you think of the ‘new look’ dining room…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Real Rooms – A Living Room Makeover

This morning, I am VERY excited. This post marks the start of one of the things that gets me really excited about Florence Finds… the opportunity to share other people’s Real Rooms. The idea is, you send in before and after pictures of your decoration, renovations and make-overs to inspire our lovely readers with your interiors style. There’s no right or wrong – I’d like to see a real variety of interiors and houses or flats on Florence’s pages, but today’s post couldn’t be more appropriate for the time of year.

Laura Lawson sent in the images of their recent living room makeover and I don’t mind saying I’d like to de-camp there for one winter weekend spent lolling in front of that fire. It’s so cosy!

Thanks Laura!

Before…
We bought our house in April 2010 and have been plodding along with its makeover ever since. It’s the first house we’ve owned, and I can’t tell you how excited we get about DIY and making things exactly how we want them! The living room in its former life was a rather dark, carpeted room with a mahogany door and window frame. It’s rather on the teeny side too so squeezing furniture in was going to be a bit of a nightmare.

After…
Step one was to banish the mahogany forever with a splash of Farrow and Ball’s ‘Cooking Apple Green’ (obsessed with it). Next, the old carpet came up to be replaced with some lovely oak wood flooring; the artex (shudder) was smoothed out by a genius plasterer and the walls were given a coat of antique cream. A lovely blank canvas, now what?!

There would be no point trying to make this room bright/airy/minimalist/tidy. We live in a cottage, we like its pokiness, so decided to embrace it! When we talked about our ideas for the living room we landed upon this theme – “the kind of room that you walk in and instantly want a nap”.

So here it is, our cosy, warm lounge full of stuff we love. Somewhere to put our feet up and snuggle. We succeeded in our mission by the way, I fall asleep in here all the time.

I love my Penguin classics!
A lot of photography books (of course!), and a vintage photographer stamp.

We found this fire companion set at a local traditional ironmongers.
Nothing beats a real fire and cashmere socks!


Now a word of warning to those wishing to embark on a land of real fires; they need attention, and if you haven’t used it for a year and it needs a good sweep you may accidentally set your chimney on fire (just a little) and need to call the fire brigade. What a dramatic end to our Florence Finds living room photo shoot; I need a lie down and a cocoa.

  • Sofas, coffee table, TV table, rug: Next. Bookcases: Ikea.
  • Lamp: Laura Ashley
  • Reconditioned telephone: Pedlars.
  • Tub of coasters from a souq in Morocco.
  • The best slippers ever: Ugg
  • Pretty pictures. ’Beneath it all’ by Todd White and an unnamed piece by a student.
  • Photo albums (containing our wedding prints): Jessops.
  • Speakers: Monitor Audio.
  • Tie backs: Laura Ashley.
  • Light: John Lewis.
  • Throw: Laura Ashley.
  • Candle: ‘Nectarine blossom and honey’ Jo Malone.

Super snug – I love.

So, Have you got a Real Renovation to share, a make over or DIY project? If you’d like to share it with our readers, please send in your images and a short write up, including the details of your featured items, to hello@florencefinds.com.

Please drop Laura a comment if you love her renovation, I for one am after those penguin classics… oh, and the cashmere socks please.

Love,
Rebecca.
xo

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