Happy Thursday, hope you had a wonderful July 4th to my American friends, it was quite the washout here, which was disappointing we often enjoy the parade (it was cancelled.) It literally rained all day. Last week Mr L and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, eight fun filled years, Mr L informed me that it was pottery, he did this while surprising me with the most beautiful porcelain bowl. As I begin to share my home with you, you will learn about my passion for china and the colors blue and white. Mr L hit the jackpot with this present. I knew the bowl would take pride of place on my dining table and although it looked beautiful I knew it was goading me to try my hand at making my own floral centerpiece.
A Pattern Close Up
Firstly I knew that the easy option would be to take it to the florists and ask them to plant something stunning in it, I also knew if my idea went tits up then I could fall back on that plan. Secondly I had considered buying a fake arrangement but that would have to be online and although I am not against faux flowers they have to be the most exquisite quality otherwise they can look cheap and I hate not being able to see or touch them. Thirdly both options are bloody expensive and I felt I could have a go. So for Queen and Country I jumped in and I share with you what I did.
What I Used
An extra large beach towel, so not to dirty the floor. (You will see why later.)
Potting Mix for Orchids. I used the coarse blend.
A black bin liner/ trash bag to line your bowl of choice.
Clips to help keep liner in place
A bowl to collect old soil.
Orchids (the amount is dependent on your bowl size.)
Moss to cover top of bowl (not in picture.)
The centerpiece bowl (not in picture.)
A sixteen month Goldendoodle puppy (not necessary at all, wanted to be involved she was a total pain in the butt, but God she is cute.)
Take the bin liner/ trash bag and with one of the bottom corners place it in the bottom of the bowl, making sure the corner is centered.
Then pull the bag taut over the sides and clip. (You will have plenty of excess.)
Next use scissors to cut and remove the excess. Leave a few inches below the clips on the outside you can tuck this in later.
You now take the Orchids out of their packaging (this is where the bowl comes in.) Orchids tend to be packed in mossy/damp soil which needs to be removed carefully to expose the roots.
I then semi lined the bowl with the potting soil about half full.
Next I positioned the Orchids where I thought they would look best, juggling the roots is quite complex as they are shallow and bulky and alter placement.
It is important to view the Orchid placements from all angles.
Carefully fill the rest of the bowl with the potting soil, I did this by hand to ensure all roots are covered.
It is quite fiddly because you have to make sure the Orchid leaves are not trapped.
The leaves get dirty/dusty from the soil so I used a paintbrush to clean them up.
I then used plant twine to pull the Orchid close to the rod so it is upright and looks neater. Orchids can drop with the weight of the bloom.
I prefer to use twine and then cover with florists tape in the color of the stem, looks better.
The Orchid clips I find are not as effective at holding the plant straight.
Then you remove the clips, you can either cut the remaining excess or tuck it in as I did (neater edge.)
Finally you add the florists moss on top to give a professional look (who am I kidding?!)
I then placed the arrangement on the table and admired my amateur work.
I am actually quite pleased with the result and certainly doesn’t look bad when in situe and your not looking too close. Plus it saved me several $100.
One of the questions I get asked most here on TLL is about my home its décor and design. People have asked for a home tour and for me to share how my house is progressing. It is my plan to share with y’all areas of my home as I feel ready to do so. I have already shared my daughter’s bedroom and if you had not seen that please click here. I recommend you refresh your memories because much of the room has changed once again and I plan to share how I transitioned her toddler room to The Little Princess Room it is now soon.
It is not my intention to talk about my home today, but more about design and décor and how you create a style or look for your home. I have always been interested in décor and design – it is in my blood! I have so many memories of my parents remodeling and decorating homes. I vividly remember the smell of paint being burnt off the skirting boards by my mother on her hands and knees and my parents looking exhausted from peeling paint or wallpaper from ceilings and walls. But they did it all, remodeling and decorating our home room by room. I think they loved it although it wasn’t always conducive to marital bliss. They would change the feel/mood and look of a house and make it our home. Even now, they have scaffolding up as I write this, knocking doorways between rooms, remodeling bathrooms and developing into the roof. Granted they are doing less of the work themselves these days, but when it comes to the design and décor of their home they are not standing still and I have inherited that bug.
I don’t wish to date myself but I remember when most décor inspiration came from books, magazines and some google images. With the invention of social media we are now bombarded with images at every turn. I think if you are someone who is looking to curate your style in a new home or discover what you like, all this information could be overwhelming. Today I want to share some of my key thoughts on helping people navigate this world or décor and design.
Love. This is so important to me, whether you own or rent, your home is your largest investment so you should LOVE it. I am also a proponent of filling your home with items you love. It will become more cohesive and a reflection of your family. There is something magical about being able to touch and see items around your home and for them to evoke memories or thoughts that you are able to reminisce about or share in. It is more sentimental than purchasing something because it subscribes to a certain look. Very few of us are fortunate enough to buy new décor and furniture specifically for each home; most of us collect items as we progress up the property ladder, whether inherited or purchased. If we buy pieces we love we will want to take them with us and reuse or repurpose.
Practicality. Sure, you can look at thousands of gorgeous images and think I want to recreate that, but you have to be practical about the stage of your life. There is no point spending thousands on wallpaper or upholstery if you have small sticky fingers around. Similarly there is no point having a polished floor if you are approaching your mature years. Practicality also covers versatility, for many a room has to be multipurpose and that is not always conveyed in the stylized photos of Instagram. Storage is so important and you can never have enough. A home will always look collated and dressed if you have places to put away your things (ie hide the crap!)
Budget. Sorry to bring you down to earth with a bang, but one has to consider this. We can all get swept away looking at and desiring bespoke items but if the budget is Ikea then we have to work within those parameters. A beautiful stylish home can be created on any budget, you just sometimes have to be a little more creative which is more fun. Even if your budget is not limited you have to consider if what you are adding is good value, either in terms of adding value to the price of your home or to your quality of life. Perhaps consider asking yourself if this is your “forever home”, or the place you wish to raise your family. If you can enjoy your investment for a longer term I believe your can let your heart rule your budget a little more.
Fit. If you are in a new home or remodeling your current home and are unsure what direction to take, I always try to be sympathetic to the home’s bones. This is especially true in countries and areas where homes are older. If you have bought a new home (unless it has been modeled on a period style) perhaps cornicing or picture rails might not be a fit. In the same vein, if you buy an older home with period features it is important to modernize with recess lighting and modern amenities. Ripping out older floors and fireplaces is criminal! You can decorate with a more modern taste while respecting heritage.
Flow/Tone. I have lived in quite a lot of homes and the flow and tone is probably one of the most important things I consider when decorating. I like there to be cohesion as you move between rooms. Whether your home is several thousand square feet or a small apartment, if you have a smooth flow between rooms your home will look stylish. How can this be created? Color is an obvious one, if you’re wondering what color to paint your home, go look in your closet and see what color you tend to be drawn to. I may sound crazy but sit in your home and see if colors come to you. Look at possessions you may love, that can inspire a palette. If you are a Pinterest person, look at a board and see if there is a color which unites all your pins rather than getting detail-obsessed by an image. I always used to scrapbook magazine pics and I could see as I flitted through that a palette appeared. Tone is another way; tone through shades of color is obvious but tone can also be created through texture and textiles. I love love love textiles and I plan to do another post all about them at a later date. Similarly, the décor accessories you choose can set the tone and mood throughout the home.
I am by no means an expert but these thoughts and considerations have work well for me to date. As I begin to share my home and some of the upcoming projects we will revisit these points in more depth. If you are in a position where you feel overwhelmed by projects and decisions with design perhaps consider hiring an interior designer. I think their expertise and knowledge can be invaluable as well as providing savings and discounts.
How do you style and decorate your home? Have any tips which you wish to share?
Today is a great day because I get to share with y’all the first room in our new home. If you have followed me for a while you will know I mentioned it was my intention to share areas of my home as the reached completion. The house is a labor of love, we purchased it back in March and after some hefty renovations we moved in June. If you have moved recently you will know what a time consuming project creating a home is. I bound into the house with lots of plans and ideas, after renting for an extended period. I couldn’t wait to choose colors and fabrics but at the same time was conscious not to make expensive mistakes. Choosing furniture that works and will stand the test of time is an investment. One thing I have learnt during my constant moving is the importance of getting the family settled. In my life this has meant always getting Little L’s room unpacked and surrounding her with the possessions she loves and that are familiar. With our new home this was no different. I wanted her room to be one of the first finished and I stuck true to my word and I share that with you today.
A brief synopsis to those of you who may not know, Little L is three and very nearly four. I was wanting her room to reflect a little girl and no longer a baby. A room which could adapt and grow with her as she develops. You will see in the below pictures she is not in a crib and we purchased her Jenny Lind toddler bed when she became two. It is our intention to change her to a bigger girl bed in the next year or two and I was conscious that the design of the room would have to be adaptable. The current need is for a pretty, creative, fun and imaginative space where she can play, relax, read and rest. I had such fun picking colors with her. I did give her carte blanche to choose the color of her room and I confess I was not disappointed with her choice. Little L loves pink and if you can not embrace that with full gusto when you are small when can you. We took the Benjamin Moore samples and decided on Elephant Pink. It is a very close match to Middleton Pink by Farrow and Ball and I was thrilled with the finish. I love the balance between strength of color and the light in the room. It is always important when choosing colors for your home (and I consider myself a semi-expert after the last few months) to consider the natural light in your home, its position in terms of how it faces and how much artificial light you have. These all matter to how successful a color will sit and suit your room, all this without touching on other textures and colors of the room.
You will see in the above photo, the finished room from her doorway. The beautiful window allows a plethora of natural light and I didn’t want to cover that with blinds, we found these linen Pottery Barn Kids drapes that we both liked. I was a little concerned at first about them being too pink but I knew that I would be changing her bed out in the long term which will be bringing much more white and textile to the pink. The linen fabric of the drapes softens the color and the bows add some texture and interest. My only bug bare is that they crease and I am forever steaming them!
I am also intending when she progresses to a bigger bed to get another rug but for this short time, this works. It works well to define space for her and she knows this is her rest/sleep place. You will note the furry bean bag propped up against the window, one thing about a toddler bed is that they are not designed for comfortable story telling for the teller. In my and Mr L’s advanced years this provides some comfort for us. It is handy for her to lift and move around the room if she is playing in other areas. The book manger at the end of her bed is marvelous. We did originally have a book case and I often found she was more reluctant to go and explore her books or alternatively she would make a total mess pulling everything out. This has really helped. It holds some of her total faves and I often transfer books around so she always reads different things. It is a total LL love.
In the first picture you could not see perhaps my favorite part of the room which is to the right of the door and that is her teepee and dress up area. Little L much like her parents loves to read and this teepee provides a wonderful place to snuggle up with her favorite soft toys read and play. I am not sure how clear it is from my photograph but the inside is lined with fairy lights which are on a timer and add to the cozy feel. I placed a patchwork quilt on the base which breaks the color up and is dead easy to lift and wash which is necessary when having a tea party with the fairies (they love goldfish apparently!) I placed a variety of throw pillows in different shapes and sizes at the back and sides. This allows the tent to keep its shape and it is more comfortable. You can see from the picture that the Princesses and Peppa family are very comfortable.
Under the flower garland you will see another of my crafty efforts where I made a dream catcher. This was simple to make and I think it adds a statement. You can of course buy these but I couldn’t find one I liked enough and I have been happy with the result. It works well in the room, what is not clear is that is also has beads and bells on the end which add some playful interest. The flower garland which again was made by Martha Stewart me. It is a recent addition and I think it adds a little sophistication, color and texture to the space. I also adore flowers and this was a wonderful way to add country flowers that wont die or get spilt. I love that I could incorporate Roses in the project. Little L often refers to it as part of her fairy garden.
Next to her teepee is her dress up space. She loves to dress up and is a different princess every morning. I wanted a place where they were easily accessible, pretty, functional and organized and this has all bases covered. I really encourage independence and want her to do as much for herself as possible. There is plenty of hanging space a shelf at the top for crowns, tiaras, hats etc and she can reach it. Plus underneath a place to store all the shoes and other paraphernalia. I love the pretty design, I hate to compromise beauty for function. The mirror next to her allows her to get see herself easily and safely. Plus it all matches.
I will let you into a little secret, I hide some of the ugly things behind her door. The two strings hold her hair accessories and this horrendous cheap shoe holder is on the back of her door and works very well for holding her Barbie dolls and her plastic toys. She also can reach and put them away herself.
If you remember from the first picture you will have noticed the most stunning dolls house which was a beautiful gift from a dear friend. I was very keen to get this up and off the floor and have enough space so that she could open and play with it. It also helps stop items from creeping on the floor. It looks beautiful in the corner and creates a lovely focal point.
Below I share some other areas of the room.
The most important thing to me is that I have a happy client, who loves to play in this room and I love to play with her. I will share the next phase of the room when she moves to a big girl bed next year. Hope you enjoyed it, any questions please get in touch.