Sunday, 16 June 2013

A touch of handmade in a neutral space

It is always good fun to have a sneaky peek at someone else’s home, so come snoop around my sitting room today. It is much more subdued than some of the *other rooms* in the house, but I have still managed to get some homemade goodness here and there, with more to come as I finish my WIPs...

This room is a very neutral space, to keep everyone in the family happy. We all agree on hardwood floors, a woodburning stove and subtle shades of taupe (I know, deep down, that taupe is to the new millennium what avocado was to the 1970s. I know one day, sadly, it will look completely dated). We renovated this room when I was pregnant with Little Flower four years ago – the original room had one of those fake gas fireplaces with the mantle stuck to the flat wall. We had a chimney breast built and installed the woodburner, which is probably the best improvement we’ve ever made. I love my woodburner!
After the cost of installing the fireplace and floor, I couldn’t get custom-fitted bespoke bookshelves, but Ikea’s Stockholm range had the next best thing, which miraculously fit perfectly in the space. The TV unit is from the same range.

This console table is from the same Ikea range, too, but at this point the room was getting a bit too ‘woody’ with the hardwood floor and all, so I matched a paint colour to the sofa and painted it. Little Flower came along before I was able to put a protective varnish on top, so it’s become a bit unintentionally distressed.
The coffee table, however, is very intentionally distressed...

If the woodburner was the best improvement, distressing a central table such as this one is the smartest. This children can bump it, play games on it, spill a drink on all adds to the Shabby Chic charm (and my goodness I’m glad this design trend is still around, I hope it doesn’t go completely out of style until Little Flower is 15 or more...).
I have revamped lots of furniture over the years, painting, stippling, mottling, liming, antiquing, distressing, etc. This table was bought when I was first married, a flat-packed inexpensive one, and I wasn’t going to invest in something else with small children in the house. It was originally wood tone, so I needed to update it to suit the new decor.

See the inside of the drawer? That’s the original colour. I sanded it, painted a coat of primer, then two coats of a greyish-white. Painted the drawer knobs black. I sanded here and there, whacked it with a screwdriver or somesuch, and then I experimented a bit with crackle glaze.

I don’t care for the look of an entirely crackle-glazed piece of furniture, but a bit of crackling here and there looks like the piece was left in the sun, or that something spilled and left a bit of damage – good grief, isn’t this design trend going to seem *so completely bonkers* a few decades from now? I mean, really, intentionally damaging furniture? At least I’m doing it myself and not spending a fortune on it in some posh shop...
Good sewing, on the other hand, will always be appreciated. My grandmother made all the cushions for me because I couldn’t sew at the time. I especially love the giant floor cushion by the children’s shelf, so they can sit and read or play a little game.

All of the fabric is from Vanessa Arbuthnot, in soft greens and blues. I love the fern pattern of the sofa cushions.

I plan on adding to these with some of my own homemade creations and make my grandma proud!
But where are all the toys and kids’ junk? Tucked in the opposite corner

My great-grandfather made the little kitchen cupboard for my grandma in the 1930. It has now been played with by four generations of little girls! I love watching my girls play with it; I remember opening the cupboards and putting in my own tea set, I remember the smell and feel of the wood. Childhood memories. I don’t think he intended it to become an heirloom when he made it from scraps of wood, but it is now priceless.
The best thing about putting the play area in this corner is that, after a long day, I can turn my back on the mess, because the sofa faces the other way. Out of sight, out of mind! That actually might have been a better decision than the woodburner...

Chrissie x


  1. I love a little nosey around other people's homes! Your living room is really lovely. I love the table you distressed it looks great. The cushions your grandma made are lovely too. Great post, thanks for letting us have a little peek...
    M x

  2. I'd just love a wood burner! What a great little cupboard, fantastic little heritage there! Your room looks like the perfect place for the whole family to chill :) x

  3. Your lounge looks soo wonderfully inviting and cosy! I just feel like sitting down and enjoying the calm. I too love log burners and they have such great effect. I love what you have done with yours, it looks wonderful as the focal point in your room. I am also loving your painted coffee table and yes it made me giggle reading about what generations years down the line will think of us spending time painting, sanding, painting, sanding, waxing and bit more sanding (haha!). I think it looks great and I think most things in our house is distressed (in more than one way!). You did a great job with it! Just adore the little kitchen cupboard that the fact that your Grandad made, it is so gorgeous and I think it is so lovely to have share things from your own childhood with that of your kids, a real joy! A lovely post, I so enjoy looking at other peoples homes (too nosy!) xoxo

  4. what a lovely room, ali

  5. Love this room, my very stylish friend :-) xxx