WELCOME TO MINFORD
So I’m going to come straight out there and say it. When it came to painting our sitting room I got it wrong. I chose a blue grey paint and though I still think it looks beautiful, in reality the room feels really dark and on the wrong day a bit gloomy.
I kind of knew it was off straight away but I was in denial at the end of what had been a long and arduous building project (we moved out for nine months) and I just wanted to move back in.
I had spent FOREVER Pinteresting my perfect ‘look’ and on paper it was fabulous (see pics below of what I was hoping to achieve).
What seems very obvious now was not so obvious then. We don’t live in a Scandinavian high ceiling-ed house with windows on every wall.
Having closed off one side of the sitting room to make a laundry room (best thing I ever did. Kids = washing, three kids = a shit tonne of washing) there was now only one window. It’s a big one but there’s only one.
The crying shame is I never want to spend any time in there. I’ve been considering why and I have come to the following conclusions:
1. There’s grey and then there’s grey and this is just one step too gloomy. The paint colour is SO beautiful. Just not in that room. I thought painting it a lighter colour was a boring, bland idea but I’ve had a change of heart.
2. The lighting in a room where you are doing a lot of cosy, relaxing, wind down stuff needs to be really good. Atmospheric and low key yes, but not so dark that you can’t read a newspaper (it’s so dark you can’t read a newspaper in there).
3. When it comes to cosying up and watching television you want some sort of right angle whether that’s an ‘L’ shaped sofa or an armchair next to the sofa. It’s the inner cave man in us all.
4. Random but true: I like to put my feet up on something when I’m watching a movie. Attempting to find a piece that passes both the style and comfort challenge has so far proved elusive.
So there you have it. The decorator is booked for next week and we’re going with a (still to be decided !) lighter coloured paint. I’m off on location all week and I will return to a newly light and hopefully much more enticing sitting room. I shall be sure to keep you updated with the results.
Here’s the look I was going for:
Here’s the room, shot in full sunshine with the help of a bright camera exposure:
Habitat's New Collection IS AMAZING
Habitat. Fair to say they’ve had a bit of a bumpy ride over the last few years. I must say unless I’m in the market for a picture frame it’s not been at the top of my list of go-to destinations for a while. Well, thanks to a tip off from a friend with serious interior credentials, that has just changed. Habitat have had a huge drop in the ‘New In’ section on their site with 604 products to be precise, and luckily for you I have meticulously tralled through each and every one to bring you my top selections. Oh happy days when I realised there’s a fat 25% discount code running until the 1st of May. On your marks, get set…
DISCOUNT CODE: HAB25 (ends 1st May)
This comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Perfect, chic and understated. Top of my list.
. Coffee Table .
Sod the outdoor bit and get it in your sitting room now as a side table. Remember that something has to be a bit off in every room tip? Hi there chic interior person.
. Side Table .
Black and brass together make for the best combo. Two sizes? Yes please!
. Storage Trunk .
Garden furniture can be a bit of a hornets nest. This has all those Jardin du Luxembourg vibes at a wallet friendly price.
. Garden Chair .
I’m having a thing about weird objects at the moment OK. Come with me on this one.
. Black Jug .
Instantly turn your home into a Hamptons beach house with the edition of a pillowcase or two ;-).
. Pillow .
You know that really irritating moment? The one where you find your dream room on Pinterest, try to track down the exact furniture in the picture but can’t find it? Yeah. It’s a pain. Well for once, Pinterest and Real Life have become one. The incredible curved rattan bed from a shoot I styled a few years ago for Homes & Gardens is back in stock. If you happen to be in the market for a new bed may I heartily recommend this one.
If I had my time again this is what I would buy for a nursery. With three kids under my belt – they broke said belt actually but let’s not go there 😉 – I feel I can impart a good deal of wisdom on this subject.
Sleeping: You need a moses basket and a cot bed, NOT a cot. Even though you won’t believe that your precious miniature bundle will ever one day get big they grow SO fast. Trust me. If you want a top tip from an old pro save your pennies and invest in a cot bed to see you the distance until they can sleep in a proper grown up bed. A Cot bed is more robust. This is important because once they grow, things get trashed quickly. I’ve looked at hundreds and chosen the Laurette Convertible Cot Bed because I love the shape and the fact that it’s not white, or this on sale with 50% off East Coast Toulouse Convertible Cot. My favourite moses baskets are Numero 74s – a bit more spendy than the usual John Lewis affair but SO good and if you are blessed with more tiny people it will get plenty of use.
Cot bedding: I LOVE these beautiful LAB cot bumpers and am obsessed with mix and matching different patterns and textures in the cot. At first you can also go for a pretty coloured or patterned fitted sheet. There’s not much call for duvet covers for quite a while. This one from Camomile London is gorgeous and I also like this grey mini gingham one from The White Company.
Sleeping Bag: Invest in a nice sleeping bag. You will see it almost everyday and they have the added bonus of being seriously nice to cuddle. This Numero 74 Sleeping Bag comes in so many great sludgey colours or I found this brilliantly priced Verbaudet Baby sleep Bag which I think is a dead ringer for a Caramel baby or Marie Chantal jobbie.
Mobile: Hang a mobile over the changing mat not the cot. You want them to sleep in the cot but you want them to be distracted when you’re changing their nappy so hopefully they don’t **** all over you. I brought this Flensted Circular Bunnies Mobile on a trip to Paris in Saint Germain for Aurelie. It makes me feel all sentimental. I also love the idea of having this Volta Paris mobile in the room. While I’m on the subject you don’t need a changing mat cover or special towel thingy, you need a mat to be wipe down for the reason stated above.
Wallpaper: I’m partial to a statement wallpapered wall in a nursery or child’s bedroom and these are my top picks for such a task. My all time favourites are Cole & Son Hummingbirds and Melville, and a design called Raphael by Sandberg. I got so far as to wallpaper the inside of the girls wardrobe in the Hummingbirds and I’m about to order the Melville for Benjmain’s room. It’s hard to express how much I love it! I would so use any of these in the children’s rooms now and Aurelie is 10. i.e it’s worth the investment.
Above all have nice things for you in the nursery, don’t theme everything around the baby. Frankly it can be lonely and quite hard work in the night feeding so you want things to cheer you up and a lovely environment for you to sit in. Soon it will be full of fluro pink Barbies or Spiderman posters so enjoy a bit of chic styling whilst you can.
P.S I have tried for HOUUUUUURS to find you beautiful and practical pictures of nurseries but it seems there are very few out there! So you have inspiring children’s bedrooms instead to help you along.
I asked you lot (good old readers) at the beginning of the year what you’d like advice on and Janine tasked me with this post – where to find a great bar stool.
So today things are simple. Here’s my pick of my favourite bar stools and where to find them. There’s the easy wins from John Lewis and Heal’s where no online bidding is neccessary. Then there’s the Etsy finds or vintage picks for something more unusual. Pinch make the Chanel handbags of stools. They are so comfy and well worth the investment if you have the pounds.
When choosing bar stools really think about elegance and clean lines. I’ve included some inspiration of some of my favourite kitchens. And in my own home (in the above picture) I like to mix and match them rather than buy one style in bulk. Let me know how you get on!
- Industry Valley Bar Stool
- Galvanised Tolix Style Bar Stool
- Pinch Bar Stool
- Pair of 1960’s French Bar Stools
- Ercol Bar Stool
- John Lewis Croft Bar Stool