Tuesday, 30 August 2011

home sweet home - a study in surviving built-in carpentry

So, as promised, finally some pics of the interior transformations at River Green...

First of all, it's a work in progress...that's due to budgetary constraints of course, but more so because this time I really want to start investing in things that I want to keep forever.
Obviously, that means that all the big ticket items have to be researched, sourced and considered before any money changes hands; and in an effort to watch pennies allowing pounds to take care of themselves, some of the little things have to wait a while too! I've had houseguests every weekend (which I *love*) and everyone has been a jolly good sport about glamping!

The last caveat is also that this is rented - 
so I have to suck up some terrible past choices others have made before me - like investing heavily in built-in cupboards.
Here's a life lesson: don't spend your life savings on melamine that will outlast you. It might last forever, but it won't be how you want to live in the space forever. And the next person, or the one after, won't love your design decisions so much as curse you.

Here then is the spare bedroom - which the estate agents euphemistically described as 'currently used as a study:'

Let me tell you that there was nothing 'current' about that set up. That's at least 35 years of inbuilt carpentry. And it's a little difficult to imagine using it as anything else, without first going through some major demolition work.

The three mock cupboards on the right hand side swing out to form another arm of desking. The total effect was majorly oppressive - it felt like the kind of room where 'detective stories' were written. Fortunately there is also a James Bond bed in those tall cupboards over there, otherwise the whole room would have been useless. 

So with four coats of white paint, and a decision not to bother with the radiator (less a design decision than just being totally over the hack of painting), the removal of twelve shelves (both on the wall and behind the door, next to the bed); this is the spare room now:

(if I *owned* an iron, 
the duvet would indeed be ironed, but i don't, so that's that)

The voile curtains have made a major difference, softening the whole room, and allowing me to get away with the green radiator:

Given that this side of the house doesn't have a river view,
 there are a few elements as a reminder that we're near the water 

The photo is actually an etching on glass -
I found it among my late grandfather's things - if I ever find an Antiques Roadshow that's what I'm taking!  The little boat was a gift from a Poole a few years ago.

A coastal scene that reminded me of the lush South Coast in South Africa, and guests have likened it to the sea near Ringwood in Dorset, and a coastal walk in Mexico.
It has a naivety that I've decided means it was painted for a high school art project, and best of all, it cost 50p from a car boot sale, so I'm really happy with it for now!

Still the James Bond bed - now in crisp cotton, with mohair blanket, and velvet & linen cushions.
To be honest, the coastal living feeling is mainly invoked by all that wood - it's not unlike living in a  boat's cabin!

Other than the paint & artwork, the only 'real' cost was the new Conran pillowcases from TKMaxx - which I also swap into my bedroom. The curtains are 'on loan', the duvet inner was bought using an old gift card I hadn't spent before and I owned everything else - linen, lamp, cushions - already.

I have *loved* playing house again -
and have had a full home every weekend since moving in.
I can't believe that for someone who loves being a homebody so much, I was nomadic for so long!



Stephanie Bentz said...

oh my word- what a change... love the curtains... and as u know... love the painting!

Gillian said...

Loving your changes! I am constantly amazed at how you can make such a huge difference whereas I would rip everything out, spend a fortune and still not get it looking as creative as yours! Can't wait to see the rest :-)

Anonymous said...

You KNOW i love it! and glad you are back at your desk writing again :-)

Carly said...

When I look at the photos its not as big a change as it is in real life! ho hum...that says more about my photo skills than my staging skills, promise.

Stephanie said...

My room looks lovely, but I do expect ironed duvet by the time I get there. Slightly better than your inflatable mattress and sleeping bag at my house.

Carly said...

- Let's not forget Tinsley weeing on me at your house - that was pretty special too!

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