Friday, 10 November 2017

IKEA X HAY: YPPERLIG.

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.
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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...
Phwoar!
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 EDIT:



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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Saturday, 22 July 2017

How to cut costs in your bathroom revamp.



James is brilliant at most things. He can sing, act, played sport to a high level at school and university, is a brilliant business man- basically Mr All Star. However, he has the DIY skills of a baboon and thinks a U-bend is a type of driving maneuver. So, when it came to the bathroom and en suite refurbishments, I was swiftly labelled 'Project Manager'- how very Grand Designs; give me my high viz jacket, hard hat and Kevin McCloud.

Help me, Kev.

How to save money in the process? Do it ALL yourself. I'm kidding. But if you can, that's the answer and you can stop reading now. If not and you need the help of the professionals, here's what I learnt and how I saved money whilst doing ours, as you will probably part with more money than anticipated 99% of the time due to hidden obstacles that love to rear their ugly heads.

Hidden costs: not long after this, the ceiling started peeling off due to badly glued on coving.

Go online
Tony, who did our bathroom, advised us to go local. I tried, I really did, as I like supporting small businesses and it always feels more personable. If you're on a budget like us, this was quickly becoming problematic due to the prices of even the basic stuff. By going to online stores like Soak and Victoria Plum for your sanitaryware, you are literally saving thousands and the quality is good. If you catch the sites at the right time, you will find they're often doing 10% flash sales too. Tons of Tiles came up trumps and have a brilliant range of tiles to choose from, all at great value.

At 94p a tile, these matt black hexagons from Tons of Tiles
were a bargain and make the bathroom look really chic.






You're already saving over 50% on this Soak black slate effect tray.





























Re-use your hardware
Do you really need new taps, shower system and shower screen? I thought I did but realised they were perfectly fine and all they needed was a clean. I soaked my shower head, hose and taps in strong de-scaler, and they came out like new. The shower screen for the bath just needed a clean and it's good to go again. As our plumbing is quite old, there was also a chance that newer shower units and taps wouldn't have had the same pressure and it would have been costly to adjust this, so it's always best to go by the old saying 'if it ain't broke..' you know the rest.

Upcycle
You've heard me talk about this before, but it's always worth considering this avenue, even if buying something new. We wanted a grey sink unit, but our dreams were shattered when Tony told us due to the industrial sized waste pipe that ran through, having a unit with drawers was pointless, as he would have needed to hack the insides to pieces to accommodate it. I'm a firm believer that bottomless options should start and finish in Nandos, so only a unit with doors would do. We had to go back to the drawing board. So, I bought a good quality basic white sink unit and using one and a half sample sized pots of Farrow and Ball Plummet, had a grey sink unit like the one I was lusting after, saving nearly £150.

The hardware needed some personality injected into it, painting the sink unit helped massively...


One and a half sample size pots of Farrow and Ball Plumett later and it looks soooo much better. To add even more drama, I used Kalk Litir's lime paint in Nero.

My biggest upcycling triumph during this process was my old towel heater in the main bathroom. It appeared bland and knackered, but it worked well, was giving me all kinds of industrial vibes and I loved the curved edges. Like any stereotypical 'nerd to hottie' American movie; it just needed a makeover. I used Hammerite metal spray in Black Satin and Tony said was fine for my towel heater, but it's always worth double checking, as you don't want black stripes running across your finest Egyptian Cotton...

Goodbye to Sandra-dee.

Tell me about it, stud... This fab 'Completely Devoted print from Soouk, that I bought from BHS compliments my upcycled rad perfectly.

As we were having our decking done by my lovely cousin's equally lovely hubby, I found a piece in the garden that I sanded down and with the addition of some leather strap that was hanging around (for decorative purposes only, there'll be no Christian Grey antics here, thankyouvellymuch), I had a shelf ready to use (with the expert execution of Tony, there was no way I was going to drill into the tiles myself). The grooves in the decking are fab for ensuring picture frames don't slip down and clobber you on the head while you're washing your money maker.

There's now a gap in my decking. Joking. Obvs.

So there you have it and I hope it's been more useful than a chocolate fireguard. Have a look below at the before and afters of our main bathroom and en suite!

Main bathroom before...

...and after! Note the reused shower screen and taps!

En suite before...

...and after. So much better.


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Friday, 7 July 2017

How to give your kitchen some va va voom for less than £150

Since doing up my kitchen units, I've received so many messages about how I did it, so thought I'd better get my behind in gear and write a blog about it. So, if you follow me on Instagram, you'll most likely know that I've been undergoing bathroom, garden and kitchen works simultaneously, meaning that I've been doing a lot of throwback pics and photographing corners of my home where there isn't any evidence of men at work. As soon as my kitchen was tiled, I got stuck into updating the units and extractor fan (I knew that if I left it any longer, I would keep putting it off; poor Sienna gets blamed for a lot of these incidences). Here's what I did and my tips and tricks that I learned along the way...

Before. Perfectly fine, just not for me.


TALK TO THE EXPERTS: There was no way I was going to attempt to do this without seeking advice from my lovely followers, some of whom came up trumps with recommending primers, rollers, paint etc. I also asked (read interrogated) the lovely people in my local paint shop, who pointed me in the right direction of the Zinsser 1-2-3, which is perfect for laminate units as it's water based and there's no need to sand your surfaces prior to application; a great time saver if, like me, you'd rather spend your time Instastalking. Apply using a foam roller for smooth application and synthetic brushes in those hard to reach areas.

Metalwork sprayed and ready for priming. I used exactly the same process as the units to do the extractor hood.


DO WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN: I cannot stress this enough, but then again, I leave it at least one hour between coats of nail varnish. Zinsser says leave it a week before applying paint. Obey. You will live to regret it and you'll be buying a new kitchen before you know it, which defeats the object totally. I didn't lay the primer on thick, you just need enough to cover the units and it's OK if you can still see some of the colour underneath. If you run your hand over the primed surface, you shouldn't be able to feel any of the laminate underneath.

IT'S WHAT'S ON THE OUTSIDE THAT COUNTS: No, I'm not giving duff relationship advice and I know there'll be those that really disagree with me on this. I would've disagreed with me before I'd done it, but I'm so glad that I didn't try and paint the insides of the cupboards, as it took me a whopping FOUR coats of Farrow and Ball's Railings in Eggshell finish on the framework and both sides of the doors. I've since found out that if you can find a good dark water based primer, I probably could've done it in two. You live and learn, even if there are less tedious ways to do so. I painted the inside and outside of the doors- make sure you take them off to get even coverage around all edges. The classy bird that I am, I used cans of Carling that we can't seem to shift at family BBQs to hoist the doors off the floor, to make for quick and easy painting around the edges, which avoids excess paint gathering and that awful 'stickiness' you get when paint isn't spread thinly and evenly. I also painted the backs of the doors first, in case my Carling cans damaged them in anyway, it would be out of sight.

One coat of Farrow & Ball Railings. The moment I realised it wasn't going to happen in two coats as previously assumed. Ignore the Coco Pops.


UPCYCLE, UPCYCLE, UPCYCLE: You might hate your kitchen units, but if you look at them, are they in good nick? Are the knobs or handles OK too? If so, upcycle! I really wanted new handles, but couldn't justify the cost of getting them right now, so I simply sprayed my existing ones copper, and they surpassed my expectations!

My, what gorgeous knobs you have!



Total cost of upcycling units:
Zinsser 1-2-3 primer 1 litre - £21.10
2 X Farrow & Ball Railings in Eggshell 2.5 litre - £100
Rust-O-Leum Copper Spray - £7.98
Rollers - £9.54
Synthetic paintbrushes - £9.95
Total - £148.57
AKA- Much cheaper than a new kitchen.

Have a butcher's to see the results!

New units featuring the very gorgeous reclaimed leather rug from Elvis and Kresse you can save 12% on anything on their website with the code NESTTWENTYEIGHT12

So. Much. Better.


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Saturday, 11 March 2017

How to work with what your Mama gave you (in your home)

With it being International Women's Day earlier in the week and Mother's Day coming up, I thought I'd dedicate this post to my Mum and all the amazing pieces of furniture she's passed down to me (albeit via the Aladdin's Cave that is my parent's garage, but that didn't quite have the same gushy sentiment I was going for.) It also dawned on me when I did my recent feature on the fab Topology Interiors blog, that these hand me downs form the base for my home inspo.

I'll share a bit of history on my favourite pieces that I get asked about a lot on my Instagram feed and give you tips on how to utilise your hand me downs!


The Arab Chest
Mum picked this up in Zanzibar in the late 60s. As soon as I was grown up enough to have a house of my own, my parents offloaded a decades worth of end of year school books (remember making those and sticking all your work in them?!) which now reside inside here. If you remove the two right hand drawers, there's a secret drawer that pulls out! I love how it works alongside my vintage record player where I've put one of my favourite prints from Ginger & Fraggle. As you can see, James' pride and joy sits atop it, I shall say no more (although I must admit, watching movies on it with the sound bar and subwoofer blasting is quite something- don't tell him I said this).

The Arab Chest. Makes having such a monstrous TV on display bearable.

Take the drawers out and reveal...

...the secret drawers- nothing to see here, moving on.!


The Cow Skin Drums
So, when I asked Mum for deets on these, she told me that the black and white one was bought by a relative to commemorate my birth in 1987; I came over all regal. It's probably apt that it's ended up with me. The smaller, white one was bought in Uganda, where my Mum is from, in 1983.

An offering to commemorate my birth.

Lop-sided, but well loved.



The Mid Century style table
Not as old as I thought, this was bought by my folks in the early 80s in a furniture store. It was recently storing champagne, wine and lemonade (2014 vintage) in aforementioned Aladdin's Cave. I love how it compliments the legs on my mid century style sofa- legs galore, it's like being at the Moulin Rouge! What's more, it has the perfect space underneath for my gorge Violet and Thistle lightbox! Also, how cute is my handmade concrete tea light holder from Eme and Grey?!

Bet these legs could do a good Can-Can.


Vintage Singer Sewing machine
Mum bought it for a fiver from the Friday Ad in the late 80s and actually used it as a sewing machine, before it was retired to Aladdin's Cave and had several hundred plastic bags shoved in its gaps and endless bottles of BabyBio on top of it. What a fall from grace. Now, it's in my kitchen and I just can't get enough of the gold detail on the machine and the ornate metal frame.

Bought for a fiver. It pulls my black and orange zone together in my kitchen.


Tips for your hand me downs:

Don't upcycle the piece, upcycle the purpose. 
I haven't had to upcycle a single piece I've been given, firstly because I don't have the heart to and secondly because there's no need, I love them as they are. I use my cow skin drums as tables, my sewing machine as a home for my Penguin Classics and table lamp and my Arab Chest as a TV stand (don't get me started on the unnecessarily large TV, but at least the beautiful chest counteracts it... slightly...)

Enjoy them in your everyday life. 
They've stood the test of time so far, my big sister and I definitely abused all of the above over the years when our parents' backs were turned. We used to pretend the sewing machine was a getaway car, so we used to pump the pedal as fast as possible, sending the spindle into overdrive. The drums were jumped on, banged loudly and tipped over. I'm not advocating the same sort of treatment, but use them for more than display purposes, after all, they're in your home, not a museum.

Mix the old and the new.
If you're not after a completely vintage look in your home, there is no rule to say that you can't mix old pieces with modern. It's a great way to bring them into the 21st century. If they're mid-century style pieces, it's even better as it's very on trend, so will blend seamlessly into your home.


Help! I have no hand me downs!
If your parents aren't hoarders like mine, then great places to find hand me downs:
- Charity shops- shopping whilst helping great causes, what's not to love?
- Online- nothing like a good Ebay/ Gumtree trawl.
- Antique shops and markets- great finds to be had, and if you're like me, great bartering opportunities.

I'd love to hear how you've used hand me downs in your homes!
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