This is the first time in forever we’ve had a room that we can say, hand on heart, is completely “ours”.
Before moving into this house we’d always lived in rented places – a flat, then a cottage, then a little house while we went through the process of buying where we are now. Our rooms were filled with second-hand furniture given to us by kind relatives, because all our money went on saving for a huge mortgage deposit.
Our homes were loved and comfortable but not necessarily entirely of our own choosing. We couldn’t paint the walls or look for beautiful furniture to upcycle, because we didn’t know where we were going to end up and didn’t own the houses we lived in. If we ended up in a tent somewhere, that huge sofa purchase would have seemed like a hasty purchase, you know?
This May half term that all changed. We’ve only lived in this house since December but we’ve been keen to crack on with a few projects to make the place feel properly ours. Over Easter we did up the hallway, stairs and landing. And over half-term, we set to work on the living room. Here’s the result:
The sideboard is my favourite part of the room. It’s special, not just because it’s an original 1960s Danish teak number (as a fan of mid-century furniture this excites me – don’t judge), but because it used to be my late grandmother’s. Nana had style.
Whenever I look at it I smile. I can clearly picture Nana standing next to it at a typical family buffet, passing pieces of huge cake or scones around and piling more Lancashire lemon fingers onto platters on top of the sideboard. She’d find it funny that her sideboard was now in vogue, with similar models fetching hundreds of pounds at auction. And I hope she’d like that I love it and have displayed it pride of place in my living room.
On top of the shelf we’ve got a giant wooden lightbulb lamp from Urban Outfitters, one of my grandma’s blue glass vases (bought on a holiday to Venice), a piece of pottery from the House of Marbles near where we live in Devon, a retro style vase from a German pottery maker bought from eBay, and a retro style orange phone by Wild and Wolf.
A huge Picasso print bought for me by my parents on my 21st birthday sits above the sideboard. After four years of getting used to it my child has finally stopped pointing out the fact the woman in the painting has her “boobies” on show.
This would be the perfect opportunity to take part in the brilliant “shelfie” competition over at Tots100, where you can win up to £500 in High Street vouchers. It’s a well-known fact that, unlike the “selfie”, it’s impossible to take a “shelfie” showing an unwanted double chin. Plus, you don’t need to bother about holding your stomach in either. I call that a win.
Sadly (cue the violins) I can’t win the competition because I edit the site, but that doesn’t mean I have to miss out on the shelfie craze. So here you go.
Elsewhere in the room, we repainted the dark and dreary beige colour on the fireplace wall in a bright summery yellow. It immediately opened up the room and made it feel much brighter. We call it our Happy Yellow Wall.
The monochrome rug and sofa are both from IKEA and the black and white chevron cushion and mint geometric cushion are from sellers on eBay. The coffee table was a present from the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine’s parents at a vintage market we visited a couple of years ago. I painted it in Annie Sloan, mixing Florence with Pure White to create a bright minty turquoise shade.
Yet again, I’m reminded how much of an impact your surroundings can have on your mood (well, mine at least). I’ve had a pretty crappy day, but I’m happy as I sit on this new comfy sofa, typing on my laptop, with the bright yellow wall and “boobies out” Picasso woman next to me. Never underestimate the power of a cushion, a sideboard and a lick of bright paint.
Don’t forget – you can take part in the Tots100 shelfie competition on your own blog. Hurry though, the closing date is the 6th June!