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.


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!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

How a pot of paint transformed my living room

If like me, you've got champagne taste on beer money but want to make a dramatic change to a room in your house, then this blog post has your name on it! By changing the wall colour and utilising the home accessories I already have and have recently acquired from my parents, I have transformed my living room. Before, the room was Magnolia- the wall colour of dreams in the 90s. The sort of colour I'd swoon over when I was a kid watching The Generation Game and the contestants would win a luxury weekend for two in a hotel, clad in lots of frills, matching floral sofa/curtain combos, and yes, the Magnolia. In my home, rather than make the room feel light and airy, made it feel bland and generic.

Bland, lacklustre and meh. I loved that pallet table, but the baby didn't so it had to go.

I'm forever shuffling the chairs and sofa around, but bear with me...

I'd always thought about going for a dark colour, as I love how it looks in country houses and Gastro pubs, but wasn't convinced that my 1980s home could pull it off. That was until I saw so many beautiful homes on Instagram that were nailing the dark look in such a fabulous way, I decided it was time to take the plunge. After all, YOLO.

Previous owner's curtains used as protection (sorry).

No going back now...

Enter, stage left Farrow and Ball's, Hague Blue. 'You said you were on  budget, you lying cow!' I hear you cry. Yes, it's not the cheapest paint, but I promise I didn't spend much elsewhere..!

The first obstacle was selling the idea to my husband. He will to be the first to admit that he has the interior eye of Noel Edmonds and Mr Blobby combined (jeez, I'm loving my 90's game show refs today). So, I took a gradual approach and told him I was only going to paint one wall. Knowing full well I wanted to paint all of them. I'm such a Ninja.

Was far too tempting to not put a pic of these two in.

Fast forward a few weeks and LOTS of faffing, I'm totally in love, the hubs is totally in love and the baby is totally in love (she's not really, she has no idea but I have a thing for triples). My sofas, chairs and home accessories all popped and the room looks so much bigger. I found that one wall needed some TLC, so got a plasterer in to sort it and actually liked the way it looked, so have decided to leave it as it is. I would've spent much more if I'd gone for a subtler colour as I'd be over compensating with home accessories as my home isn't a period property with features that speak for themselves. Have a butcher's at the process- hope you like it as much as I do!

One wall done. One hoodwinked hubby and some Hague Blue, and the whole room was done.

Despite going dark, the room still feels light and bright.

My naked plaster wall that I've since chosen to leave. Arab chest from my folks, vintage record player from my sis- my family have such good taste.

It's love.

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