Well, first of all, hello to any of you hopping your way from the fabulous Emma Jane! Thanks for sending everyone my way and I hope you all enjoyed her amazingly chilled out sleep space. Some of you will just be here for the reveal pictures so to you, welcome and scroll on, scrollers! I hope you enjoy what we’ve created.
To the rest of you – hiya, Mum! – who like to stick around for the waffle, I’m going to take you through the last four weeks of our lives.
Let me start by saying our front living room was more DIY SOS than 60 Minute Makeover. This was never going to be a small challenge. Eight years ago when we moved in the front room looked like this:
It was the first room we decorated and, to be fair, it managed to hold its own for a few years. But with the extension came neglect and before long it descended into a messier, bluer version of that image above.
With regards to the Revamp, I’ll admit, we could have made it easier for ourselves. We could have just painted the walls, stuck down the cheapest flooring option available and dropped the sponsored product in place. Et voila, a finished and functional room would have been at our fingertips in exchange for minimal effort.
But we have waited a long time for the chance to re-do this space. And in all honesty, we didn’t foresee the opportunity arising for at least another five years. So when the dream suddenly became a reality with one inconspicuous inbox invitation from Lisa and Bianca, there was no further conversation required. We were going to do this right. Go big or go back to your cookie cutter home. Something like that.
Our entire interiors aesthetic has become a mixture of curated new, thrifted and DIY-ed elements to create eclectically refined and laid-back spaces. So even though we were going to be receiving pieces from a list of incredible sponsors, to simply leave it at that wouldn’t have sat well with us.
We mood-boarded and we mood-boarded hard. Years of Pinterest favourites and screen-shotted inspiration images came into play. Being difficult or awkward to execute didn’t come into it. My pet peeve is when design is limited by ‘what ifs’ and ‘buts’ so I figured I’d throw it all out there and allow solutions to manifest.
One of the main highlights of the whole room was the idea for the geometric, wooden wall. Inspired by the commercial work of Bells & Whistles, I knew this would be a way to elevate this space to a whole new level. What I also knew was that between this, the planter box and the window seat, all the complicated construction would be a sticking point for Marky P. He’s a worrier. A think first, jump later-but-probably-not-at-all kind of guy. Very handy when you have actual adult life to live and bills to finance. Whereas I’m the one who misses flights and ends up at the other side of the world with no money in my account. That’s a story for another time.
After initially high-fiving the idea, he began to think about the execution and the anxiety set in. And when you begin to over-think, that’s when designs get compromised. So I did what any considerate wife would do. I listed all the terrifying plans in our first RRR Youtube video so the concern of not following through would hopefully win out over the original stress. Anxiety Wars. Pitching himself against his own pride. It’s a doozy.
Over the two weeks prior to the starting klaxon, I watched his mind unravel and a plan unfold and evolve. Every few days he’d come back to me with a slight variation on the plan. ‘What about just doing the alcoves?’ Nope. ‘What about pallets?’ Nah uh. I waited patiently. Let it simmer.
Then one day he casually walked in the door armed with strips of wood and an air of confidence. A few hours later and the first panel was complete. And it was perfect. I mean, not just okay. Perfect. And thus, the master carpenter of One Four Six was born. Over the next few weeks, the wall grew into something spectacular and Marky’s confidence began to bubble. After me humming and hah-ing for weeks over how to make a faux, floating planter and half-heartedly IKEA hack the window seat, he blew those plans out of the water and, well, just bloody did them. No blueprints, no endless Youtube tutorials, just straight up natural skills. This room is actually 80% Marky – all credit has to be given where its due and he has absolutely smashed this project from start to exhausted finish.
So enough faffing, I’ll give you what you came for. Let’s see what we did.
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY – AKA, ACTUALLY JUST ONE
The shell of our design was exactly as I had planned and hoped which left only one thing. Dropping into place the pieces and products from an incredible list of sponsors. The walls were painted out in Hidey-Hole by Earthborn Paints. We began with a thick clay paint that had an ultra-matte finish but as you can see from the first picture above we have a bit of an issue with recurring moisture in one corner of the room. I sanded the walls down to create as smooth a surface as possible and used the Isolating Primer that Earthborn provided to create a seal before re-painting in their Lifestyle paint. The finish was perfect and the colour was just right. It’s rich and dark without being over-powering and makes everything around it sing, like our collected treasures on the mantel.
And, in a move unheard of for me, I painted all the woodwork in a finish actually intended for that purpose. The eggshell applied so easily and gave such a subtly, sophisticated sheen that I ended up painting both sides of the door to match the mouldings and will more than likely continue this throughout the whole house once the project is over!
MANGE TOUT, RODNEY
Although we went dark with our walls, we wanted to avoid the glam, boudoir aesthetic, erring instead on the side of our old favourite, boho surf-scandi. We kept the floor itself light with amazing concrete effect tiles sourced locally and made careful choices with our accessories. The tan Habel sofa from the French masters of affordable, modern furniture, Maisons du Monde, was the ideal choice for a laid back, bohemian vibe. The boxy silhouette pairs perfectly with the geometric woodwork and gives the space a classic edge and it’s the ideal size for a family pile-on or some casual feet-up alone time. Because that happens.
The jute-clad pouffe, also from Maisons du Monde, brings just the right amount of texture; the boho-printed fabric bringing a pop of fun while also remaining totally practical. I like to think of it as the pouffe personification of our relationship.
Tying both these pieces together is the amazing, Moroccan inspired rug from the Cotswold Company. The cotton makes it soft and luxurious underfoot and it doesn’t look shiny or fake like so many acrylic versions of this style can. The diamond pattern is also slightly greyer than some I’ve seen which serves gives an instant, imported vintage feel to it.
THE SUPERMARKET SMASHED IT
When I found out Sainsbury’s Home was one of the RRR sponsors, I could not have been more thrilled. I absolutely love their homeware, especially recently, where it has taken a distinctly travel-influenced turn. And it didn’t disappoint. The pieces I selected were a complete mix of styles, following on from the eclectic vibe that runs throughout the house. Two side tables, one with an incredible, textured top and the other with a metallic cut out design both look amazing set against the industrial, concrete effect tiles.
Carrying on with the metallic theme, I chose a super-cool planter with colour-popping hair-pin legs and challenged myself to choose something outside my usual comfort zone. I saw this rose gold tray embossed with tropical leaves and instantly knew it’d be perfect set on top of the pouffe dressed with some plants and candles. Even as I was crouching down to snap the shots for my reveal I could catch the scent of the grapefruit & rosewater candle tin drifting across the room.
R.I.P. ME – I’VE GONE TO TEXTILE HEAVEN
Of course, I couldn’t pull together a curated collection of pieces without opting for a healthy handful of textiles. The textured, boho cushion from Sainsbury’s is a fab addition to their collection and easily looks like it could be four times the price. The indigo rope basket was a cert and I love how comfortably it sits next to the yellow-legged planter. Two totally different styles made cohesive with the addition of some greenery.
But it would be remiss to talk about textiles without honing in on two companies who made this experience a total delight. Christy Home is a long-established and world-renowned brand, best known for quality bedding and towels. I was, of course, doing neither my bedroom, nor my bathroom, but did not for a split second struggle to pin-point products that would sit seamlessly in a living space. I fell in love with the pieces when I saw them online but nothing could have prepared me for just how beautiful they were in real life. An embossed cotton throw that looks like acid wash denim. A textured, indigo embroidered cushion. A black and white, stitched blanket that could pass as a treasured family heirloom. (It came in a bag, people. Life goals, right there.) And let us not pass over those blush, velvet, feather-filled throw cushions. I wasn’t really a pink gal until that fateful day on the Christy website and now it has clearly started to influence even my art choices!
The second brand that set my heart beating was Style Library who were offering pieces from their Harlequin range. I faffed about with the idea of wallpaper for a bit but as soon as I saw the fabric, there was no turning back. A couple of days of sample swooning later and I settled on the most incredible design; the Nia fabric in a rather exotic sounding grape and oyster combination. Yes, a lilac and ivory zebra print velvet. Let that wash over you. It doesn’t sound subtle, but it is.
A bay window space can be so awkward; often the tendency is to shove a wingback in there and be done with it. We wanted something that was both more striking and a cooler use of the space. While the brief may have began its life as a simple window seat, Mr 146 took the idea and disappeared somewhere into the clouds with it. What we have actually ended up with is a rocking window nook, somewhat reminiscent of the back of a renovated surf-shack camper van. Marky P; always on brand.
It houses our vinyl, has side panels for plants and magazines and has a built-in lightbox feature which is useful in case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to have the full light of the moon situated in your living room. On top of all this, the lush velvet gives a luxe, inviting feel, changing colour in the sunlight and that purple-hued animal print just adds some necessary fun while somehow managing to jive with every single other element in the room.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT BALANCE
Because we knew we were going industrial on the flooring, I specifically looked for pieces that would soften that. Pieces with a variety of textures and and a bohemian edge. Pieces like that beautiful mirror from the Cotswold Company. Almost window like, the golden colour is even more striking against the grey wall. Any thing that looks as if we might have recently taken a trip to Marrakesh and returned with a truck load of treasures is a shoe-in.
Setting off the alcove is the epic, Vidro table lamp from David Hunt Lighting. Hand-made in both Portugal and the Cotswolds, the slightly smoked glass is mottled which not only gives off some gorgeous, ambient shadows when it’s switched on but also makes for some incredible reflections when the sunshine streams in. We have a typical Victorian semi with high ceilings so the oversized nature of this lamp works perfectly to even out the proportions. I believe this is what they call a belter of an accessory.
TURN UP THE HEAT
We shopped our home, transplanting the swing chair into the new living room and I can guarantee now that as you read this, there is a high possibility Marky is already falling asleep in it. It’s the perfect spot to
spy on the neighbours listen to our vinyl collection, now housed in the window nook. The Audio Technica turntable from AO.com fits like a glove on top of our old Ferm Living table and just behind it lies the absolute show piece of the whole room.
I really think an ugly radiator can ruin the overall look of a whole space and while I was ready and willing to suck it up by simply camouflaging our old one with paint, WeAreSoak.com came through with the goods to blow my mind. Not just any column radiator, but a triple column one that will toast your socks off. And not just any triple column radiator, but an anthracite grey one that ended up being a perfect match to our paint colour! It has a textured, matt finish that is more like a reclaimed, antique radiator than a brand new one. It brings an instant degree of refinement and finish and I can honestly say that this room would not be quite as epic without it.
And that, ladies and gents…well, that is that. Months of plannings and four weeks of headless chickening that has resulted in not just a decorating embargo set by Marky P, but something pretty special. I always say your home should be a reflection of yourselves. For me, this room is a considered, creative hub, a mix of old and new, brimming with heart and soul and a hefty dose of sweat. But don’t worry, I’ve Febrezed, you can call over for a cuppa without fear.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the process and I hope you love the result. Thank you to each and every one of you who were there with moral support and encouragement. You’re all brilliant and make every step of this interiors journey that little bit more fun. Let me know what you think in the comments below and you can keep up to date with all our future projects over on Instagram.
But for now, it’s on to the next brilliant blogger, Malcolm Begg, who has been working some serious magic in his bedroom. Easy now, it’s too early for any nonsense. We’re talking intense renovation work so get yourself on over there and have a drool. And someone buy that man a drink!
Enormous thanks must go to our sponsors without whom, these epic revamps would not be possible!