I was in two minds about writing about our renovation projects as I’m not a DIY expert nor an interior designer. Then again, I’m not a stylist either and I’ve been writing about clothes for almost 9 years! After all the questions I’ve received on Instagram about our new home, and the projects we’ve undertaken, I decided there was enough interest to write a few blog posts to help you out, if you are considering something similar. Learn from our mistakes – though I’m delighted to say, to date, there have been few.
We moved at the end of October and I have to say we’re thrilled with our new home. The first few weeks were challenging as I was desperate to start decorating, but we first had to get all our boxes from Atlanta out of storage. The majority of these contained clothes – which complicated matters – we had nowhere to store what we unpacked! Hence for a lot of our short term storage we made a few trips to IKEA. Malm chest of drawers are cheap, roomy and the perfect interim storage solution. I’ll share my current closet solutions in a separate blog post.
Once we had unpacked we made a plan to tackle the communal areas first, especially as we are heading towards Christmas – I wanted to be able to decorate our first tree (a £199 faux one bought here – it’s incredibly real looking!) in Leeds. We started with the living room, so at least we would have a sanctuary, or an oasis of calm, while other projects take place. Having placed our offer on the house back in July I had tried not to get too carried away with plans, just in case…however by September, with our confidence buoyed, I started to spend time on Pinterest and interior accounts on Instagram (I’ll be sharing my favourites in future posts).
I was determined to create a room that showed off the period features – the high ceilings, the incredible coving, the fireplace and the floorboards. I was also convinced that I wanted to go dark with the walls. It was met with skepticism by some, and I was nervous it would make the room too dark, but heck if it doesn’t work just paint it white right!? I’ll reiterate – I have zero experience in design – but what I lacked in design knowledge I made up for in creative vision and I began to create a Pinterest board packed with ideas.
It was around this time that Farrow & Ball released their new colours. These included Peaen Black – an incredibly deep purple that reflects the colour of hymn books. I was smitten, but again cautious – it’s called ‘black’ for a reason! Also I didn’t want to pay Farrow & Ball prices but I fortuitously discovered Seagulls Paint right here in Leeds. They will match any colour and they repurpose paint – great for my pocket and the environment! Then it all began to fall into place. I found this rug on Wayfair.co.uk which I immediately clung to as an anchor for the entire room – it ended up providing the colour palette of jewel tones – golds, teals, purples and pinks.
This is the image that inspired the room.
Initially I was going to select sofas from Loaf.com – they’re simply stunning, but with 2 dogs and 2 children practicality/value-for-money played a part in our final decision and we chose three sofas from Made.com. We’re thrilled with them. I got a little nervous as I read some poor reviews – but upset customers tend to shout loudest – and our experience with Made.com has been fabulous. We’re still waiting on one more sofa to be delivered next week, but we’re already planning to order this bed there in the New Year.
Our sofa choices are the Claudia Love Seat in Antique Gold:
I absolutely love them and delivery was as scheduled. To continue with the jewel tone colour palette I ordered a bunch of cushions from H&M Home – they’re cheap, colourful and perfect! Contrary to what my Husband says, you can never have too many cushions! To appease him we went with his choice of coffee table from Habitat – the Orrico in rose gold – it’s currently 30% off here too!!
I should mention that before we installed the furniture we decided to sand the floors ourselves! They were VERY dark and with dark walls we wanted a lighter floor – blog post to follow on my tips and suggestions for sanding and finishing floors – in the meantime read our friends’ post here at Fresh Start Living – they gave me the confidence to give it a go. We found it so straightforward that we’re doing the dining room floor this week.
We also fitted our own ceiling rose and new light! Having seen Alex (The Frugality) with hers I decided we should tackle it – what did we have to lose? As long as we follow safety precautions and turn the mains electricity off we’ll be fine right!? And we were! It’s so rewarding to do it yourself!
So here we go! Here’s the before photo from the estate agent listing.
And here are the after photos. We’re still missing artwork, some of which I’ve ordered on Etsy.co.uk, and a mirror for above the fireplace. I highly recommend Homesense for accents like coffee tables, planters, foot stools and decor – it’s my favourite store right now!
Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions – it can be quite nerve wracking making expensive decisions and trying DIY tasks! I assure you – the two of us can manage it – you can too!