Sunday, 13 June 2010


SO, as promised quite some time ago, here are some pictures of the boy's new music studio, which also doubles as an office space.

This room is the biggest 'bedroom' in our three bedroomed flat, so when we moved in it automatically seemed to be the one that we should sleep in. However, I just never really liked it. Part of is was probably the furniture - whilst we were in that room we never really satisfactorily sorted out storage, and so had too many clothes in far too small a wardrobe. Another big contributing factor was, I think, the light. That room faces east, and I just didn't like the quality of light if you ever went into the bedroom during the day. After some time we moved into the box room, which I love. Then we thought it was silly that the largest room was our guest room, so we decided to re-jig and use it for a studio space (as the the boy isn't nearly so bothered about light issues as I am); we'd move into the medium sized room (the former studio) and our guests would have to make do with the smallest room. The whole arrangement now suits us perfectly.

I've posted already about getting wooden floors laid downstairs (apart from the studio, because of the sound), which makes everything look cleaner and airier, and also, even though they're dark oak, seems to throw light around better than the old carpet ever did. I've also posted about getting decent wardrobe space for the first time ever. SO, here are just three pics of the new studio.

The boy is saving up for decent studio furniture, which would keep things much tidier than the current arrangement where he uses an ancient, battered old table that we bought from a man in the neighbourhood for just £20. We also need to get at least one office chair and I'm planning to paint the cheap little ikea stool (that you can just see under the desk, with a cushion on top) a cool, battle-ship grey.

A key part of sorting out this new space for to find a spot for my late Dad's fabulous old desk. My Mum is planning on moving house, and so didn't want to keep this ancient, heavy piece of furniture, but I've always loved it, and plus I couldn't see my Dad's desk going to anyone else. Dad rescued it from a pile of stuff that his work were getting rid of in the 70s. He just couldn't see it go to waste. Who knows how old it is, but its solidly made and I'm sure it will out-live me. I love that its old and battered and has a bit of a story. I also like that I now have somewhere for stationery, gift wrap, cards, ribbons, sewing things, old diaries etc etc

The studio is a very functional room, and also one that we've spent no money on, so it's not the most stylish room in the house by any stretch, but it's perfect for what we need it for. I love that we've re-used old things and also that it's a room we can all use - I'm including Millie the cat, as she has her cat flap in this room too, as it backs on to the garden!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Watching my garden grow...

It's been SUCH a gorgeous weekend! I love the sunshine, and it makes such a nice change when it's here at the weekend rather than in the week when everybody is stuck in the office!

We have a shared back garden - us and five other flats, but only us and the next door flat really use it, which is great! I do any gardening that gets done, aside from the occasional grass cutting, which the management company does. I know very little about gardening, but I would like to learn a bit more. I love going down to Columbia Road flower market on a Sunday and trying to soak up some of the knowledge that those guys there have, and I always come back with bags laden down with plants. I did my window boxes last weekend - simple pink geraniums - and this weekend I planted some tomato plants and lettuce. I haven't grown either before, so fingers crossed in a few weeks we'll have some lovely fresh salad ingredients.

I planted the lettuce in a pot - they said that 3 plants could easily fit in a 12 inch tub, and I used a peat free compost too, so hopefully that will work. The tomatoes I put in a window box that I've got hanging from some railings, and I just used normal compost. I'll let you know how I get on...

Millie being curious about the lettuce -

Little tomato plants -

Some shrubbery -

Some bluebells in amongst the weeds (though as they're quite pretty weeds I decided to leave them there!) -

Some window boxes, which are actually on the back wall rather than the window ledge. Pictures of other window boxes out front to follow another time

Friday, 21 May 2010

An attempted return to the blogging!

Sorry! I know I haven’t written for an eternity, and it’s for a mixture of reasons. I’ve been busy at work; we’ve been busy at home (with the boy preparing for the launch of album number two); we’ve been on holiday and also, I realised that when I was writing blog posts I found that they weren’t really coming out quite the way I’d originally intended when I started the blog!

I guess in the beginning I was feeling all gung ho and inspired by a few things that I’d put together cheaply for the house that people had commented on, but then once I’d written about DIYing pictures; what a difference some cute cushions can make etc etc I was kind of stuck. We’re not great at the DIY, and so even though our floorboards, for example, are only from B&Q the fact that we didn’t lay them ourselves seems to preclude them from being truly ‘thrifty’. Luddite that I am, I don’t really fancy re-naming the blog as such, but maybe from now on in my own head I’m going to think of it more as ‘thifty stylish homes & random inspirations & some room reorganisation & the odd bit of decorating’. I hope this will encourage me to carry on writing, because I was really enjoying it when I was doing it, and also mean that I feel I can write about a broader range of things, too. Having just had 10 days off for example, I’ve also come back all buoyed up about some great books I’ve just read and longing to see our cat, who I realise hasn’t been pictured on here nearly enough! Books and cats – both inspiring in their own way!

Here's Millie, in the studio, sitting on the printer! (More pics of the studio to follow soon, as we've just had a little move around in there).

And here are 3 of the 5 books I enjoyed on holiday! I wasn't so keen on the new Maggie O'Farrell (not pictured), which I also read (though I adore After You'd Gone and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox), but I loved One Day; Brooklyn and I also really enjoyed The Group by Mary McCarthy, which follows eight graduates from exclusive Vassar College as they find love and heartbreak, forge careers, gossip and party in 1930s Manhattan...

Sunday, 7 February 2010

A floor lamp needed

Meant to say in previous post, what we are still missing is some sort of lamp so that we can read in bed. I quite like the idea of something quite modern, to contrast with the more traditional wallpaper. What I'd really love is an anglepoise lamp, but sadly the budget won't stretch to that. I was looking online and saw this one from B&Q. What do you think?? (and sorry, you'll have to squint, because I can't seem to get the images any bigger!)

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Our new bedroom... previously the studio

Soooo, our wooden floors are done downstairs (B&Q solid oak floor); our wardrobe is up (IKEA Pax); the wall is papered and the curtains are hung (both Laura Ashley Heligan). Happy days!

Getting the floor done was actually more of an upheaval that we had anticpated. I don't think you realise how much 'stuff' you've accumulated, until you have to move it from one room to another! We basically had to clear everything from under two double beds (which included boxes and boxes of the boy's old singles)as well as the contents of the wardrobe and drawers etc etc. And because we were switching the studio and bedroom around (the new studio/old bedroom being the only room that wasn't getting the wooden floor treatment) we ended up piling all the studio stuff into the back bedroom (see pics on previous post) before moving it in order to enable us to get to the bed etc so we could move that into the new bedroom. Lots of heavy lifting.

Anyway, it's done now - aside from touching up the walls in a few places and re-painting our woodwork (which inexplicably always seems to go yellow even though we paint with good quality white gloss). I love our new bedroom (petite though it is), and I also LOVE having decent wardrobe space for the first time ever. We've kept our old wardrobe and put it in the small bedroom, so guests will have somewhere to hang their things too. Yay.

Hope you like!

Pictures of the new studio (complete with my late Dad's shabby old oak desk that I've always loved, and that we collected from home last weekend) will follow!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Wallpaper and curtains

In a few minutes of rare decisiveness I've just ordered some wallpaper and curtains in the Laura Ashley sale for our new bedroom (the old studio). I've loved the Heligan pattern for ages, and actually thought about using it in the back bedroom (new studio)and brought a sample home. I decided against it, but took it around to a friend's house thinking it would look great in her guest room, and it does! So she has a heligan covered chimney breast and heligan curtains in her guest room, with lovely green walls. I think we're going to keep our walls white and just paper one wall... Hopefully it will look restful and lovely.

Floor laying is going on at a pace downstairs - though still no skirting boards in the bedroom, so we can't start moving stuff back in yet. I'm so impatient, and I HATE mess, so I just can't wait to get it all done! We're away for the next two weekends, so not sure when we're going to be able to order our wardrobes - I might have to bribe a friend to take us to Ikea one week night.

All promising progress though!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Pre-wooden floor chaos!

A few snaps of the chaos! We spent last night clearing out the studio so that wooden floors could be laid today. They're looking great, but the skirting boards still need to be replaced. That will be done tomorrow, and then the work will start on the hallway... The plan is that by about lunchtime tomorrow we should be able to move the bed and wardrobe etc into the old studio / new bedroom. Hopefully we can then sort out the new studio / office. We've already moved the piano and so once the bed is out of the way we'll be able to sort everything else out. In two weeks time we're hiring a van and driving back to Dorset to collect a huge oak desk that belonged to my wonderful Dad. I can't wait to have it in our home, and have told the boy that he has to keep the studio tidy in honour of the desk!!

More soon....

Piles of music equipment...

And you can see the floor in the old studio / new bedroom!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Wooden floor excitement

I'm very excited because on Wednesday our wooden flooring is being delivered!! We've already got dark oak flooring upstairs (in the lounge and hallway - our house is kinda upside down) and we're now doing the hallway and two of the bedrooms downstairs. We got the flooring from B&Q, but it really does look great (we're going for the same one again). I was a bit disappointed that we only saved 15% in the sale this year, 2 years ago we saved a whopping 30%. Still, 15% isn't to be sniffed at I guess.

We're going to move the boys music studio into the large bedroom (currently guest room and dressing room) and he's going to keep the carpet in there as it's better for the sound. Our new guest bedroom, complete with wooden floors, will be the medium sized room AND very excitingly once the floors are down we're going to order 200cm of wardrobe space - 2 double wardrobes worth. As we're getting IKEA Pax ones the rails will be double height so it should quadruble the pitiful wardrobe space we have at the moment.

Realistically I don't expect this all to be completed before the beginning of February, but I CAN'T WAIT! I'm slightly worried about all the stuff I'm going to find under both the double beds when we move them... but I guess January is the perfect time for a clear out!

Photos to follow soon...