Saturday, 10 February 2018


A few weeks ago I embarked upon a job that has literally had me itching since we moved in: the laminate floors in our guest bedroom, and Sienna's room. They were done by the previous owners, and as they had two children, I get the practicality of opting for it over carpets, but why you would go for 'the brown stuff', is beyond me. Come to think of it, in our other guest bedroom, they had gone for BLUE laminate (for the boy, obvs), which made the room resemble a hospital ward, so every time I walked in there, I was expecting to see an elderly lady sitting in the corner doing a crossword. To erase this image from my mind, I painted that a few months after we moved in with an amazing Dulux floor paint, that just went straight on the laminate with no priming.

Hello, Granny, are you there?
Bye bye blue floor! You probably recognize this room now!
Being the cheapskate that I am, I didn't want to fork out for a nicer laminate, reclaimed wood or carpet, so I had to take matters into my own hands. 'Ah ha!' I thought, 'I'll just use that amazing Dulux stuff!' Could I find it anywhere? Nope! For some reason, they'd stopped producing it, but then I thought if I can paint my melamine kitchen units, then surely I can apply the same method for my floor..? I went to my local paint shop and while they were slightly hesitant about my ideas, they didn't disagree that primer will allow floor paint to stick and will stick to laminate, and to be honest, I'd rather the mess I would potentially create over the brown stuff.

Guest bedroom before...
Sienna's room before...
So, without further ado, here's what I used and did:
Equipment I used for priming (click for links):
Priming kit

Before you begin, make sure you empty the room as best as you can. I couldn't be bothered to dismantle the bed frame or Sienna's cot, so I painted around them, and then moved them when the primer was dry and painted the left over patch. Once the room is good to go, you need to clean the floor thoroughly. I used a hoover first, getting in all the edges, as there's nothing worse than finding a stray hair and having to do that finger swipe thingy in your wet paint. Then, I used a mop and bucket with warm water with some washing up liquid in it. Leave it to dry (fling your windows open to speed up the process).

Once dry, get priming! I used Zinsser 1-2-3, as I'd used it on my kitchen units, but it's up to you what you go for. I used the paint brush around the edges of the room, working along in sections, so that it doesn't dry too quickly, then I used my roller over it so that you end up with the same finish everywhere. When rolling the floor (make sure you wash and then dry your roller to get rid of loose fibres), make sure you follow one direction (I don't mean stalking Harry Styles and co...), and roll in the same direction your laminate planks run, and go in lines from one end of the room to the other, smoothing your paint out as you go, otherwise your floor won't have a neat finish. Oh, and plan your route out of the room as though you're doing your D of E Gold Award - you don't want to paint yourself in, and if you do, take snacks a good book, and a tent...!!!

Plan your route with boy Scout precision!
As some of you may have seen on my Instagram Stories, I'd primed both floors in half an hour, and they are touch dry in an hour. Priming was so quick and easy, and I could already see the back of the brown laminate. Now, for the waiting game to begin. You need to leave your primer to harden for 7 days. Some of you got in touch saying this isn't the case, but as I was painting an unconventional surface, I didn't want to risk it. Plus, I still hadn't found the paint I wanted to use...

Equipment I used for painting (click for links):

Painting kit.

The lovely man in the local paint shop advised that I used Farrow and Ball floor paint. I can't for the life of me remember why he said this, but it sounded legit, as opposed to him just stitching me up to spend a fortune on something that might not work. This is when I cheated on him. I went to another local DIY store and found this Rustoleum Chalk White floor paint. I love that it has a flat matte finish (I didn't want the floor to resemble an ice rink, as much as I love Torvill and Dean), and it seemed to be the right kind of white I was looking for (who knew there were so many shades of white? E. L. James missed a trick there...). I did ask again, as the pot says it's not suitable for laminate floors, but the guy in the shop didn't see a reason why it wouldn't stick to primer. Plus, Rustoleum have a help line you can call, so if you're really worried, you can always ask. I didn't make the call, as I couldn't bear it if they said no!! Desperate times, and all that...  All it took was two coats of the paint and I am over the moon with the finish and colour. I used the small sponge roller to do the edges and skirting.

A room transformed: Sienna's room has improved a million fold.
As I'm sure you can understand, my decorating days are limited to when Sienna is at nursery, so I am yet to paint the walls in the guest bedroom, so those pics aren't the full works; that's another blog post, you're only supposed to look at the floors this time..! Sienna's room, on the other hand, is finished and I am so happy with the result in both rooms, and the paint hasn't scratched yet, but I am still in that 'don't walk; levitate!' stage. I hope this has been helpful, feel free to ask anymore questions below or on my Instagram! Ciao for now!

The walls aren't painted in here yet and the styling is incomplete, but this is about the floor!
Disclaimer: Before you undertake priming and painting your own laminate, always seek the advice from the experts. I always consult the experts, AKA the lovely people my local paint shop before making my own decisions! xxx

Saturday, 13 January 2018


There are things in life that are certain: death and taxes. On a less morbid note, we also need to find time to sleep. When we moved from our rented flat in London to our first home here in East Sussex, James and I had never owned a bed, which of course meant we didn't own a mattress either. Did we enjoy being reminded of the previous dwellers every time we changed the bed and saw the dribble patches that resembled a pirate's map? No. But did we care enough to buy a new one? No. Why? Because it was temporary. We would just put a mattress protector on and pretend it didn't exist. A few years ago, a bed was merely a place for us to rest our heads before work or crash after one too many or... read the paper on a lazy Sunday morning.

With no dribble marks in sight, I could definitely see us reading the Sunday papers in here. If only Sienna would let us..!

When we moved here nearly 3 years ago, and as anyone who has bought a home is well aware of, the deposit (and the dreaded Stamp Duty) is a financial killer, which doesn't leave you with loads of disposable wonga to play about with. Scraping our remaining pennies together, James and I were certain about two things (aside from death etc.): we wanted a decent sofa (which we still love, by the way) and that we wanted our first proper bed to be awesome to not only look at, but to sleep in too. Little did we know, was that within a month of us moving in, I was pregnant with Sienna and the notion of sleep would soon be redefined...

I wish the Cloud was in my life when I was heavily pregnant with Sienna...

We were nearing our moving day and were still searching high and low for a bed store that gave a high end look without the shocking price tag. We asked friends (some of their ideas of 'cheap' were anything but) and after another go on Google, visited Warren Evans really cool store in Clapham. I was really pleasantly surprised at the range they had to try in store, as we were complete novices, but also the choice of wood and finishes they could come in, because let's face it, there's nothing more annoying than finding your dream investment piece, for it be only available in claret and not the matte black you're pining over. No pun intended.

As we were making an investment, we loved that Warren Evans beds and furniture are guaranteed for 10 years, are all made sustainably in London and are affordable; it's the way it's always been since the company was established 38 years ago, so we knew it was a brand we could trust. After lots of lying down and the occasional bounce (make of that what you will), we finally settled on the Siesta in the Satin Elm finish. Why? It's sturdy and solid, there's storage opportunities and it's so versatile to style; those who have followed me for a while will know that my bedroom has had many different looks (some more questionable than others... I shall say no more), but the Siesta has always been a show stopper.

Our much loved Warren Evans Siesta bed making the perfect home for the Tempur Cloud Deluxe mattress.

Fast forward the clock nearly three years, and when Warren Evans offered me the opportunity to try the new Deluxe range from Tempur, I jumped at the chance. I went to the Brighton store (again, another really cool space, check it out below!), to try the Original (firm), Sensation (med/firm) and the Cloud (med) mattresses. I was really surprised that I went for the Cloud, as traditionally I like a harder, sprung mattress, but I instantly loved the soft, luxurious feel and it made me go 'ahhhh' when I laid down, which can never be a bad thing in bed, right?!

I mean, have you ever seen a cooler bed store?! The Warren Evans Brighton store, showing you how to do nautical in the right way.
I can hear the sea just by looking at this pic: ahoy, me hearties!

Delivery day came last Friday, and as I was the first delivery of the day, two men arrived at my front door at 7:45am and were promptly upstairs in my bedroom (to those with curious minds, that was the first time I've had two men in my bedroom at that hour, or any other, for that matter...) fitting the mattress. I was slightly gutted that I had a full day to wait until we could try it out, but when bedtime finally arrived, I was like a boarding school master on dorm night duty, hurrying James along to brush his teeth and get into bed ready for 'lights out'. I tell you what, the Cloud felt like, well, a cloud and whichever position you lie in, you feel secure, settled and supported as the top layer of the memory foam moulds to the contours of your body, whatever shape you may be; even Kim K is catered for.

Here comes the science: what makes the Tempur Cloud Deluxe so snuggly (pic courtesy of Tempur UK).

Before, I was one of those people that would declare that they could sleep anywhere, be it a sofa, a blow up mattress or if I'd had enough lemonades on a student night out, in a nightclub toilet. However, since the Cloud, I've found that as soon as I get in to bed, I find my sleeping position for the night much quicker, as I'm 'cuddled' and held in place better than before. I'm tossing and turning less, which overall has meant a better night's sleep for me. I've even found that I've ditched pillows completely, and lie like I'm on a massage table, as it really feels THAT good from head to toe and sleep like a baby (why do people say this?!).

James, who definitely didn't think that memory foam mattresses were a big deal before, is now a founding member of The Cloud Convert Club; he has a dodgy shoulder courtesy of an old rugby injury, and he feels that the Cloud is kinder on his ailments. Anyone who works long hours, or is a parent will understand that getting the best possible sleep that your circumstantial clock will allow, is unbelievably important. James' alarm goes off at 4:45 most mornings and on average in the week we try to go to bed and sleep by 10:30, so that we can both get through the week without feeling like we want to bite each other's heads off and have a nice date night come Friday, otherwise it would be really awks.

Anyone thinking of getting a new mattress for the new year, I would really urge you to consider the Tempur range at Warren Evans because you are dealing with two leading experts in their fields. If you needed any more proof, Warren Evans was the highest rated UK mattress shop in the Which? Members 'Best Mattress Retailers' survey in 2017. As we spend on average, a staggering 26 years asleep, it's amazing that people aren't willing to invest as much into their sleep as they would perhaps in a designer handbag or luxury holiday. Shakespeare himself wrote: 'We are such stuff/ As dreams are made on, and our little life/ Is rounded with sleep', so if he's advocating it, then it must be true. One thing is certain; sleeping away from home will be a lot harder now; leaving the bed is tough enough, so thank goodness I've got Sienna as my human alarm clock!

You can use the code WETEMPUR online or in any Warren Evans store, for a further £50 off (they're already really reduced in the sales!), valid until March 5th 2018.

Thank you for reading, I'm sure you can guess, but I'm off for a lie down..!

Are you a troubled sleeper? Do you need tips on how to help your children sleep? Check out Warren Evans' resident sleep expert Dave Gibson's blog here for his top tips on getting a good night's sleep: or


1) Keep your hours consistent
2) Relax before bedtime
3) Don't work late and put the technology away
4) Check your mattress if you have disturbed sleep
5) Do regular exercise and have a healthy diet
For more great sleep tips visit 

If you need me, you'll find me here!

This post was sponsored by Warren Evans and Tempur.

Friday, 8 December 2017


Those of you who follow me on Instagram, will have seen that I recently went on a press trip to Almhult, Sweden to go to IKEA HQ for a jam packed two days to discover what goes on behind the scenes.

With lovely fellow Interiors bloggers Kimberly and Kate looking like kids on a school trip in a mock up of the latest catalogue cover.

The town itself is where the founder Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and the original store, which opened in 1958 (it had been a mail order business since 1943), is now the museum, which structurally hasn't changed a bit.

Pretty self explanatory.

Some of what I learnt, I can share with you, the rest is tip-top secret so I would definitely have to kill you if I told you. I'm joking about committing murder, obvs, but there were things that we saw that we weren't allowed to photograph, so I feel pretty privileged to have seen the prototypes for collections and collaborations that aren't due in store until 2019!

IKEA HQ- behind those wooden boards on the upper level is top secret stuff.

They make a staggering 2,500 protoypes per year using methods such as 3-D printing or mocking up chairs and tables, so we were told not to sit down in the top secret areas, because it was likely you'll collapse Goldilocks-style onto the floor.

Most importantly, whether it is a mock up, or the real product, they must all live by their five-pointed 'Democratic Design': form, function, sustainable, low price and quality.

IKEA's values- no product makes it to the shelves without passing every element.

Personally, I've always had a massive crush on IKEA. I suppose it's because growing up in the 90s, the fashionable interior styles were floral three piece suites, fussy, frilly curtains and brown swirly carpet that if you'd chundered on it, it would blend in. IKEA was a breath of fresh air, and when I took my first steps in the Croydon store with my Mum and big sister, my five year old mind was blown.

I loved the simplicity of their design, that I'd never seen anywhere else before and fast forward the clock a decade from that point, I based my Design Tech. GCSE table project on the IKEA style. Talk about fan girl.

A gorgeously hygge corner of the IKEA Hotell

IKEA has an evocative nostalgia in my heart: one of my best friends from primary school used to live in a house which had A LOT of IKEA in it (think black leather POANG chairs, fold out kids' chair beds for sleepovers, sleek lighting, and you've got the idea). To me, that house was goals - so simple, so homely: modern classics and they still have pieces of it today.

I've always had this strong awareness that their products aren't just the 'flat pack crap' that some people think they are, but rather things that are built to last and more importantly, keeping low cost, quality and the environment at the forefront.

My room at the IKEA Hotell- Scandi perfection.

Given my level of IKEA fandom, you can only imagine what I was like when I strolled up to the IKEA Hotel- yes, such a place exists and yes, I almost lost my composure when I saw loads of products I have at home. I had to try my hardest not to recite the catalogue number and shelf locations at everyone. I digress...

Let's all play 'spot the IKEA product that you have at home'...

So, here's the lowdown of what I can tell you about IKEA that you might not know...


We started our trip in Copenhagen at an uber cool futures lab called Space 10 (they even have a tree house in their office), which was set up two years ago by IKEA to explore the ever changing world we live in and what they can do to adapt to this.

Just a casual tree house in the middle of the office at Space 10...

Here, they are trying to find open, accessible and collaborative solutions for sustainable and efficient living, particularly in cities, so they explore concepts like co-living i.e. where we can live together, produce and share food locally or even grow food in your own home or in a community garden.

I know it's an office, but I could easily reside here and live off the micro-veg.

We were then swiftly taken downstairs to the hydroponic farm in the basement; it looked strangely familiar, but then I quickly realised I'd seen a similar one on CBeebies on that bloke from JLS' farming show. I didn't admit that to everyone. Here, they explore techniques to grow food; they even have a fish tank where they extract their poo to use as manure to grow chillies, cucumbers and tomatoes!!

It wouldn't be a futures lab without a chap in a lab coat.

The hydroponic method (basically growing veg in specially lined trays), which:

  • uses 90% less water than conventional farming; 
  • allows produce to grow three times faster than when they're in the field due to the artificial lighting (it's a gorge neon pink, I hasten to add). 

This initially sounds very 'Dolly the Sheep' and could be subject to alienating people from nature. However, as the conditions are constant and not at the hands of unpredictable weather:

  • the produce will never spoil; 
  • you'll always have fresh ingredients on tap;
  • it's kind to the environment as there's little or no transportation involved and;
  • it is packed with nutrients. 
Winner, winner, micro-veg dinner.

Neon light goals.

IKEA's mantra is 'a better everyday life for the people', and what struck me on this trip was that this is something they are truly passionate about, rather than it being something the big corporates tend to do to be able to tick the 'eco friendly' box.

We met a sustainability spokesperson for IKEA and she explained that they are constantly exploring ways to prolong the life of their products, or once a product can no longer be used, how can it be made into something else. To you and me, this will be apparent in the stores as IKEA only sell LED bulbs, what will be less apparent to us, is that their taps are designed to let out less water than conventional ones.

LED bulbs being tested for safety and efficiency.

Beyond the store, IKEA take great care in ensuring their supply chain is top notch. Anyone (basically everyone), who has built an IKEA product will know that you will come across some kind of wood.

As they are responsible for using 1% of the world's industrial wood, IKEA ensure that their sourcing is sustainable and they have a target to use 100% sustainable wood by 2020; they're currently at 76%, which is still miles ahead of everyone else.

In cotton farming, they achieved 100% sustainable cotton two years ago- they are trailblazers in business, and other big businesses are trying to quickly follow in suit.

In the restaurants, they use ASC/MSC certified seafood, have recently introduced veggie balls and use 100% organic jam. Delicious for you and the environment.


This is what makes the sceptics most suspicious about IKEA: if their products are cheap, they must be low quality, unethically sourced, mass produced toot. Historically, Swedish craftsmanship was about making multi-functional items with minimal waste and this tradition is embodied by IKEA.

With small living spaces, Swedish homes historically needed to have multi-functional handmade items, with the surplus being used to make things to either use in the house, or to sell for a small profit.

Some of their wood will be hollow, but reinforced inside or they'll use a more cost effective material, such as pine, so that it is still a quality product, but the low production cost can be passed onto us as the customer.

Different materials and colours the IKEA products we know and love come in.

And of course, it'd be stupid of me to not talk about the most obvious low cost point: the flat pack, which IKEA introduced in the 1970s, and is probably one of its defining USPs.

Interestingly, in the design phase of a product, the price is the first thing that is decided, then the process continues within those perimeters. That way they can ensure they are producing products that always comply with their Democratic Design and leave you with enough change to buy some meatballs at the end of your shopping trip. Aren't the Swedes just the nicest?!

It wouldn't be a trip to IKEA HQ without eating this iconic dish.


No, really. You read that right; from the tea lights to tables, it will not find itself on the shelves unless it has endured rigorous testing. Hence why it is unlikely you'll see a three legged chair or table in store. We saw the cutest lunch box that was in the shape of a dog's face being opened and closed by a machine. This process will be repeated at least 200,000 times and up to a million, essentially until the poor little doggy has had enough.

It even snowed!

Similarly, mattresses are tested by a wooden bum repeatedly sitting on it and another method uses a huge wooden roller, rolling back and forth. I wondered why they didn't have one going up and down too, but I kept that question confined to the dirty corners of my mind...

In the words of Limp Bizkit: 'Keep rolling, rolling, rolling...'. Literally.

It was also fascinating to see two bathrooms set up to test the effect of humidity in different climates around the world- if a product doesn't pass testing, then it's literally back to the drawing board, to ensure that the product will withstand the test of time in the home. Although this may be the case, design and comfort is never compromised in the process.

That awkward moment your jumper matches the materials they're about to set alight for testing.


Have you ever considered how the photoshoots for the catalogues happen? How IKEA work out what products people who live in small spaces in Japan, need in their homes, as well as those in Victorian conversions in London? Well, this is where I-COM- IKEA's in house agency- come in. They find solutions for people's living needs, by visiting homes around the world, as well as creating the global media content and the catalogues that we all love flicking through and getting decor inspo from.

A mock up ready for a photoshoot.

Cultural awareness is key here, as the mock up rooms in store must be relevant for the area they're in and also in the way they're presented to the 48 countries the catalogues are found in.

So, you're probably thinking this will take more than a month of Sundays to photograph different set ups over and over? Wrong! Due to very detailed hand scanning techniques, IKEA can have products digitally augmented into their catalogues.

This saves a lot of time if, for example, the colour of the kitchen doors need to be changed and it is invaluable to see if a kitchen is actually practical in real life- I mean nobody wants to have it installed in their home, and then finding out that the utensil drawer is too far away from the cooker, do they?!

Spot the difference: The Chinese version of the catalogue has the pencil cushion pointing the other way as it's considered rude to have your pen facing the other way. A two seater sofa is in place of a 3 seater, due to smaller living spaces and a little rabbit has been added in as it's the year of the rabbit. Amazing attention to detail.

It is so hard to tell the difference between a real photograph and a digital one (we were tested and it was so hard to tell, honest!), owing to the level of detail- even metal has the weld seams on it, to manage the customers expectations that what we see is what we get, even though what we're seeing doesn't actually exist!

Strike a pose!

So, there you go. My lowdown on life as you don't know it at IKEA HQ. I found it truly fascinating that such a huge business can have such a huge heart, and I wasn't sure it was possible, but I love it even more now.

IKEA; I love you!


Friday, 10 November 2017


Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. There are some collabs that just work without question and IKEA and HAY are no exception- they're the Scandi combo of dreams and it's not hard to see why they would join forces, through their shared love for the 'beauty of basics' as they say, and I was lucky enough to receive a selection of products to review.

I mean... look at it all, it's a faffer's dream!
Unless, like me, you're a die hard fan of IKEA (those that have followed me since back in the day, know that one of my guest bedrooms is basically a shrine to the blue and yellow Gods), you will know that they consistently deliver products of ergonomic design that are timeless and built to last. Some people are under the misconception that because their products are excellent value for money and you have to assemble it yourself, that they're too good to be true. Well, I'm glad that HAY didn't feel this way, as they have put interesting slants on recognisable IKEA designs, right down to their iconic blue bag.

Not even the bags could escape a HAY makeover. (Pic from Ikea).
HAY was founded by husband and wife team Rolf and Mette Hay in Denmark in 2002 and any design or interiors fanatics will be well aware of their modern and clean approach to design; it's slightly surprising that this collab hasn't happened sooner. What makes this meeting of minds even better, is that the pieces, in true IKEA style, are all priced very competitively; I have a feeling the range will sell out quicker than you can say YPPERLIG.

Making the magic happen: husband and wife team- Rolf and Mette Hay (Pic from IKEA).
My favourite piece is the coffee table, which wouldn't look out of place and could hold its own in a Nordic boutique hotel. For me, its simplicity is what's most striking; a beautiful matte black powder coated top, sitting prettily on rounded lacquered birch legs- versatile for any space within your home and a steal at £35. To assemble it is just as simple (I did both in less than 5 minutes) and I have a feeling that these will sell like hot cakes...

This table will never date- a true iconic classic.
With the design and price briefs met, some sceptics looking for the catch will think that comfort has taken a back seat- no pun intended. Well, they'd be wrong! The three seater sofa, which doubles up as a single bed, considers both purposes, meaning that the careful design decision to use a sprung mattress not only makes for a good seat, but also a good night's sleep. It is also absolutely huge and I love its sleek design and look. It can be assembled very quickly- the manual suggests two people, but I managed it on my lonesome and had a 'this girl can' moment when it was done; just don't tell IKEA I did it sans companion...

I might try and start a row with James before bed so I get to come and sleep on here.
The smaller pieces and accessories are absolutely gorgeous- Mette's speciality is this area- one of my fave pieces is the candle holder (£3 each- amazing!), with its cascading circular base and it comes in three colours- dark grey, light green and a grey green (my fave colour of the three) and for anyone who is a fan of a shelfie (I'm guiltier than OJ Simpson), the wall shelf will give you hours of fun, as the elasticated bars holds books, pictures and small trinkets and it is perfect for narrower spaces. It looks like something that you would scour high end Scandi interiors websites for, except the difference is that it is £12. Yes, you read that correctly- £12. That's two pints in some London establishments!

Gorgeous candle holders- the small ones (set of 3 for £4.95) can hold either candles or tealights.
Shelf perfection- perfect for any room, and any space.
For a more bespoke vibe, the hand painted vases, that come in two different designs and colour schemes, look like something you might buy in a trendy pop up market. I love it's matte finish and what struck me initially, was that this was the one item that I haven't really seen from IKEA before. It looks amazing with fresh or dried flowers, or even just as it is.

Two vase designs that work together and on their own.
This is a collab that has made me fall even more in love with IKEA (if that was possible), and I hope this is not the last we see of this power pairing. Click here to see the whole YPPERLIG range. You're welcome.

This blog post is sponsored by IKEA.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Elvis & Kresse: Business and Interior Goals.

If you saw my InstaStories a few weeks back, you would have seen that we were at our friends James and Kresse's 200 year old mill in rural Kent two weekends on the trot; one for a social meet up, and the other for James' annual work retreat. We know them through James meeting James(!) on a train, and the rest is history. We're such fans of their products, that not only do we love getting our friends to guess what their products are made from (no-one gets it right, as it's that unusual), we have enough now to start our own little pop up in the living room, from cuff links, to a bespoke wooden chest we had made to commemorate our wedding in 2014.

The stunning mill that Kresse, James and their adorable dog Monty call home.
For me, not only does their home trump anything I have seen on Pinterest, with its industrial rustic vibes, but their business, Elvis & Kresse, as well as the ethos at the helm of it all, is incredible. Fasten your seat belts as I give you a whistle stop tour of their absolutely beautiful home, impressive business and an edit of my fave E&K products. Oh, and did I also mention I have not one, but TWO discount codes for you to enjoy at the very bottom of this post, because there's only 11 weeks until Christmas after all..!!!!

This vignette is everything. What's not to love about this?
When you go into the mill, you're not entirely sure what is waiting for you (especially as it was pitch black outside when I first went there in 2014, so was totally blind sided), but you're greeted by a chair made from an old whiskey barrell, sitting within a space that is well utilised, the kind of hallway I can only dream of. There's even a wine cellar underneath this area... The mill has 4 bedrooms, all finished with their own character and gorgeous view of the sprawling pond.

It's a whiskey barrell and they made a chair out of it. They make it all look so easy.
At the very top of the mill is the main living space, which is completely open plan, making for a sociable area with a massive log burner, midcentury leather Danish corner sofa and chop and chat kitchen (can you tell I used to be a letting agent?!). 

Open plan living goals. Kitchen to the right, midcentury Danish sofa to the left. I think they would've noticed if I'd made off with it in my luggage.

These shelves inspired my upcycled scaffold board shelf at home. Can you guess which shelf is my favourite...?! I'll give you a clue, it's not the one with the teacups on.
I love these stools, painted in fire hose red. Such unpretentious attention to detail.

A pummel horse, re-covered with coffee sack. There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.
There's also a mezzanine level here, as the rafters are so high, like a viewing gallery, where there's also an extra dining space. Most of their home accessories have come from reclamation, salvage yards, or resources such as Freecycle. Their relentlessness to not be wasteful naturally extends into their home, which they'd eventually like to run on the water that rushes under the mill.

Above the living space, there's a mezzanine level. You get a sense of the height from this pic.
Look at that reclaimed wood floor!
Not to mention the view...
So, who lives in a place like this? Let's go through the keyho-... you know how the rest goes. Like Batman and Robin, Elvis & Kresse both bring something different to the party yet rely on one another to get the job done: Kresse gives the brief and Elvis executes it. Kresse, is not only a self-confessed life long waste fanatic but also has an MBE to her name for services to sustainability, but is ridiculously modest about it in a way in which I would be completely incapable.

Elvis and Kresse, AKA James Henrit and Kresse Wesling, MBE.
Their story began when Kresse visited The London Fire Brigade in 2005 and was staggered when she saw the piles and piles of decommissioned fire hose with nowhere to go but to landfill, as it can't be recycled. She saw the potential that no-one else did in this truly beautiful material, and from then Elvis & Kresse was born.

They would both literally knock anyone out of the water when it comes to the red herring task on The Great Interior Design Challenge with their Midas touch; turning waste into luxury items that are unique and striking but also built to last. They are true investment pieces. In addition to them rescuing so called waste materials and extending the life of them ten fold, they also give 50% of their profits to the Fire Fighters Charity from sales of their fire hose range. This is very important to them and something they feel all profitable businesses should be doing- again reusing surplus in the monetary sense to see what good can be done from that too. Amazing.

The iconic red fire hose waiting to be cleaned and made into things of beauty. 50% of profits go directly back to The Fire Fighters Charity.
...And here it all all cleaned and ready to turn into something beautiful.
Fire hose aside, a shocking 35,000 tonnes of leather go to landfill from the European luxury industry per year and instead of it's life ending there, Kresse was strongly compelled to do something about this. She gave James the challenge of making something big from the small scraps of leather, that can be put together, taken apart and built to last; so James designed a clever interlocking system, where the pieces 'jigsaw' together to make rugs of any size and in a range of colours (my favourite is the caramel, which sits handsomely under my dining table at home). It's perfect for clumsy people who are susceptible to spilling red wine on their rugs; you can take the stained part away, put in new leather pieces and it's like the incident never happened- ta da! You can pretty much make anything out of them, and you can buy the pieces needed for any job you wish, as you can see from the picture below:

Leather components constructed by hand make these amazing rugs and even a new covering for a chair. They are made from wasted pieces deemed unusable from luxury handbags and rescued by E&K.
Kresse and James run E&K from their home and have cleverly adapted machinery to make their products- I mean, who else has a firehose splitter?! Their conscientiousness doesn't just stop at the product- the packaging is also considered, be it military grade parachute silk or re-purposed tea sacks, all finished to the highest standard to compliment the product inside. Most of their products can be made extra special with a laser etched engraving, perfect for gifts (or self gifting).

Where the magic happens: Elvis & Kresse's workshop at their home.


THE PRINT ROOM OVERNIGHT BAG: I bought this bag for James for his 30th birthday, and whenever we go away, I get serious weekend luggage envy. It's made from printing blanket- the material used to print thousands and thousands of leaflets at one time. Once it gets an imperfection in it, it is no longer used, otherwise the imperfection will be repeated (I always think of Charlotte in Sex and the City, when her engagement to Harry is announced in the paper, and her face has a very unfortunate Hitler moustache on it due to a printing imperfection), so it's reused for these gorge bags and detailed with fire hose handles and edging.

The lining is made from auction banners, which are often used just once in their life before E&K get hold of it. I love the structure of the bag, and it's so sturdy and durable, whilst still (in the words of Anchorman) staying classy. When it comes to bags, I am quite fussy about the small details, like zips and studs- this one ticks all the boxes. When you open it, it's such a nice surprise to see the vivid colours from the upcycled auction banners popping out. One of the bags even had a banner lining with a naked male Adonis on it and true to their word, E&K didn't waste it and someone is walking around with a member on view everytime they unzip their bag.

LARGE WASH BAG: If you like to travel with your cosmetics in one space, this wash bag is the perfect size to do just so. I love the unique markings each of these fire hose bags come with, so no room for arguments over whose is whose and they're lined with colourful decommissioned parachute silk. Not only are they sturdier than regular wash bags, they're also completely wipe clean and of course, the outside is water resistant. If you're like me, then being the recipient of a wash bag or 'smellies' would be the sign that someone doesn't know me very well (or like me, for that matter), but I would happily receive one of these for every Christmas and birthday for the rest of my life.

MACBOOK CASE: Ticking all the practicality and style boxes, I'm a little bit (OK, very much) in love with this coffee sack Macbook Case, finished with yellow fire hose. I think it speaks for itself with it's sleek but rustic design and is perfect for anyone who works on the go, although E&K are not liable for your work productivity being seriously reduced by people asking you what it's made of and where it comes from. I love that no two are the same due to the markings on the sack.  

So here ends the tour, the gift shop is to the left- check out all of Elvis & Kresse's amazing products here. You can get 12% off with the code NESTTWENTYEIGHT12 across the website, and 40% off on the leather pieces to make your own rug (it's really straightforward to follow the pattern and therapeutic) with the code NEST28DIY. Get in touch with them for something completely bespoke, they're lovely and will always go above and beyond! Find out more about how Elvis & Kresse's story and how they reclaim and reuse materials here. Thank you all for reading!
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