26 March 2015

A staircase full of memories

A staircase is just for getting from one floor to the other, right?
WRONG!
You should treat your staircase as a room of its own, and that's what we've done.
We recently spiced up our staircase with a new wall colour, as well as some lovely decorations that make us feel happy and remind us very fond moments.

The first thing you see when walking up the stairs are these fab vinyl wall stickers of a couple of tree branches. They're from wall sticker specialists Cut It Out and you can custom order them in your requested colours. I went for brown and gold to match the rest of the decorations in the staircase.

Our staircase looks very foreign and almost tribal, don't you think? The wooden mask and round plate, both with golden details, were finds from Chichen Itza in Mexico. We negotiated with the Mayan indians for a good price, and I'm so glad we made the effort cause they look great on the wall - and they remind us of a fantastic holiday! The plate is actually a Mayan calendar, which is very fascinating.
The wooden cat in the window doesn't have a history that's as interesting... it was bought in my local interior shop in Sweden. 

 One you've reached the upstairs landing you're met by a huge floor to ceiling (well, almost) mirror. This is a recent purchase, and it immediately made this part of the house so much better! Well, first of all it makes the landing look twice as big, plus the frame is gorgeous - black with swirly details. It matches my oval and swirly IKEA frame perfectly!

In my Ung Drill frame from IKEA there's another great memory. It's a lovely photo of a tiny underground lake, also located in Mexico. We visited this cave with the winding stairs while passing through the small town of Valladolid. Such a great day! Thanks to StressFreePrint I was able to print this lovely memory on a huge poster without sacrificing the quality of the print. Since I knew I wanted the picture in that particular frame I could custom order it to size - brilliant!

The rest of the decorations in my staircase are made of metal or wrought iron. The chandellier is my absolute favourite! I fell in love with it on Lighting Majestic's website, and I haven't regretted it one bit. It's a love story that will last forever. 
The other little bits and bobs were presents from friends and family.

So, do you agree with me now that your staircase is not just like an empty space, but that you can turn it into a room of its own?

23 March 2015

How to throw a great summer BBQ

Yay, spring is finally here!
This means warmer weather, longer evenings, more sociable friends, and a bunch of BBQs!
We had a fab Swedish style midsummer BBQ last summer, and I thought I'd tell you all about it in order to inspire you for this year's season.

The first thing to think about when throwing a great BBQ is obviously the food. For our midsummer party last year I as a host decided to buy all the meat, but since we were so many people at the BBQ (about 12 people) we decided that everyone was to bring a side of some kind - to match the Swedish midsummer theme of course. We ended up with a great variety of food, including all sorts of meat, potato salad. pasta salad, french bread and cheeses, as well as a mixed salad and lots of BBQ dips (tzatziki, mango sauce... you name it!)

In line with the theme I had also bult a mini midsummer pole out of green leaves and wild flowers. Now what is this, you may ask?
Oh, where to start? It's an ancient Swedish tradition... a pagan thing. It's supposed to symbolise fertility, and you're supposed to dance around the pole whilst singing silly songs. Now, we didn't actually do that, but it was still a nice feature for the garden.

I don't think Melba was too impressed with the midsummer pole, or that I had lots of rowdy friends around...

Another little feature for the garden was my newly planted herbs, which we used for both the food and the drinks. A few weeks before the BBQ I had bought some little dill, chives, thyme and mint plants. We used the dill and chives for the potato and pasta salads, and guess what we used the mint for!

Along with some fresh lime, strawberries and brown sugar we were able to use the mint leaves for both Pimms and Mojito drinks. Yum! Can't get more summery than that!

The best thing about summer BBQs - except for the amazing company of course - its that it's warm enough to stay outside in the garden all evening.

We had propped the garden with plenty of garden furniture so that we could all enjoy the time outdoors - both a big round table and chairs a la this style from Jamie Oliver, and also a couple of lounge chairs. Once it got dark we lit lots of candles, as well as our oil burners, which resultet in a really lovely and cosy atmosphere.

Dessert was Swedish strawberry cake, of course!

What makes yours a great BBQ, and what tips and advice do you have to throw a great summer garden party?

19 March 2015

7 Space Saving Ideas for your Compact Home



Getting any space tidied can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, organising it can be more exciting than you think! Nothing says ‘cramped’ more than clutter and untidiness, right? Every living area could always do with a bit more space but compact homes tend to need an extra hand when it comes making them feel tidy. Below are some simple ideas to make extra space and storage.

Create an impression of space
At the foot of the bath, mount small decorative shelf brackets – use them to store candles, bath salts or artwork.
Using metal and glass is the best trick to reflect light and create an impression of space. A mirrored wardrobe appears to increase the dimensions of a room.
Install a full office on a single wall or convert a wall of the living room into your work area. You'll be amazed at how much you can accommodate when you go vertically.

bathtub shelves


Upward space solution
Mount your cabinet units all the way up to the ceiling to take advantage of the extra space. If you truly can't stand clutter you can say goodbye to unused ceiling gaps and hello to extra storage space.
floor to ceiling bookcase


Multi-purpose bed
Get yourself a deskbed in order to save space – it can be made with the desk built into the bed so that you don’t need to fold it away or move your things when switching from desk to bed.
A sofa bed can save space and you can dress it with throws and cushions for a comfy and cosy appearance. 
deskbed

 
Open shelving solution
Open shelves and wall display units help to make a space look bigger. Floating shelves are ideal for displaying items in your home. They also blend in with the wall and put the focus on your furniture.

Go brighter and lighter
Updating dark cabinets and tiles with white-coloured units and grey-blue marble can make an area seem twice as big. A small white table can double as a breakfast corner.

Space for kitchen area clutter
Just because you don't have a kitchen that can house a six-burner cooker, double sink or big fridge doesn't mean you have to give up function or style.
If you have empty wall space take full advantage of it by installing rows of shelves from floor to ceiling.
floating shelves in kitchen

Keep in mind, the smaller the living space, the more important it is to make the most of every inch. Don't be afraid to be innovative!

17 March 2015

My nautical inspired bathroom

One of my favourite themes to decorate a room in is the nautical inspired white and blue, so when we recently decided to paint our little hallway bathroom, we took the chance to decorate it in this particular style.

It was the small round window in this room that inspired us, as it very much resembles a window on a boat.

The walls in this bathroom are painted in a light grey colour, whilst the inside of the deep window is painted in an ocean blue hue to give the impression of water outside. 

I painted this 3-piece nautical painting with a compass and the writing 'Wherever you go... take me with you' quite a few years ago with the intention of decorating this bathroom with it. We never got much further than that though, so I'm glad we've finally completed this room exactly the way we like it. The colours I've used are acrylics, and I've simply attached the cream coloured stones with super glue.

You won't achieve that perfect nautical style without some blue glass art! Corked bottles are classic pieces that look beautiful and authentic. These beauties are from the home range at Next.

This little blue bowl is from the Swedish glass art brand Kosta Boda, and holds lots of little beach stones and sea shells from our different holidays around the world - a great way of keeping those precious memories alive.

A little blue glass wrapped in rough boat inspired rope decorates the toilet, and is of the same style as the beautiful blue glass ball hanging in the round window. I'm thinking of placing a little tealight in it for when we have guests around for dinner to create a cosy atmosphere. Both pieces are from The Range.

All the wooden details in the bathroom, such as this towel ring, were painted in a matt white colour...

...including the toilet roll holder and the little rounded corner shelves on which the blue glass art stands. We also changed the toilet seat to a white wooden one with grooves from JL Bathrooms to match the nautical theme.

It's hard to capture the actual look of the bathroom in a photo when it's so small, but I hope you get the idea.
I am very happy with the result, and can't wait to hear what my guests have to say about it!

11 February 2015

8 ways of upcycling your coffee table

I’m absolutely loving Pinterest at the moment, and as you know from my previous post - where I wrote about a DIY project - I’m all up for a challenge!
I’ve seen a ton of ideas for upcycling as well as DIYing. Isn’t that the same thing, you might say? No, upcycling is basically taking a finished piece of furniture and giving it a new look, whilst DIY is usually creating something from scratch.
Just have a look at the inspiring examples below. I’ve chosen tables and coffee tables as examples, as this is a project I would really love to get working on. Let's start with the square/rectangular ones!

First out in my inspirational upcycled coffee tables feature is this square table that got an uplift by weighing it down with something heavy. A solid concrete block works as a table top, and gives a beautiful rough contrast to this smooth white table. Couldn’t get any simpler than this, but what a result!

For the more artistic person you can upcycle your table with patterns and flat studs. Be creative and create patterns based on your own personal taste. This example, made from a simple IKEA table, looks quite old fashioned and romantic.

Consider wallpaper for a real facelift! Simply cut it to the right size and use wallpaper glue, then place a piece of glass on top of it to hold it all in place, and in order for it to last longer.

My personal favourite is making new pieces of furniture look old by adding planks on top which you have painted with wood stains for a distressed look. Doesn’t this look like genuine drift wood? Well, it’s not! It’s brand new planks, and a hell of an artistic hand! You can obviously apply this style to a round table as well – you just need to saw the planks into the right shape. 

And talking about round tables, let’s move on to these!
You can easily change the look by swapping the legs for something more creative – in this case a metal basket which has been painted in a quirky colour and turned upside down. 

The typical shabby chic look is a favourite amongst many, including me. All you need is some white paint, wood stain, and sand paper. Simple but effective.

Again, just as the concrete top table above, you can simply add another material on top of any table to create a completely different look. I like the natural look and shape of this log slice side table. 

But the simplest, and probably most effective ways of all to style up a table, is obviously to just add some paint to it. Leave the top as it is, and just paint the legs in a bold colour that stands out but that still matches your dining or living room. Piece of cake!

But where to start if you don’t have a suitable table at home?
Square and rectangular tables are easy to find, but round ones are a bit more rare.
I’ve found this Malmo oval solid white oak veneer coffee table which has a lot of potential. Scandinavian designs are always to stylish and simplistic – I love it!
I hope you’re as inspired as I am after this post. Let me know of any DIY or upcycling projects you’ve done.
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