Boho girl's bedroom makeover: before & after

I have written this post from I've not opted out of society, but I have been struck down with a horrible shivery-gluey-hacking-cough-thingy (that's a technical term) and am currently sitting in bed writing this. I flaked out yesterday and did nothing except lie in front of the fire semi-comatose for the 6 hours the children were out of the house. Hubby has taken them to school this morning, which is a very welcome break, but guilt at doing nothing has definitely kicked in! So here's a good old before and after of my little girl's bedroom makeover to cheer me up...

To recap, this room was a pretty sorry spare room when we first moved in. I then used it as my office for a while and painted it a deep chocolate brown (which I loved) but felt that it needed a new brighter look to become my daughter's new 'big girl room'. You can read about my decision to come back from the dark side here and about the overall design plan here.

First the 'before' photos – you'll have to forgive the appalling images from my very old iPhone, but they do give you the gist! They also give you an idea of what a messy DIY-er I am.

Once the walls were white I decided to add a little warmth by painting the fairly high ceiling a pale dusky pink (if you are wondering what the colour is, I mixed a little of 2 Little Greene tester pots into my Dulux White! The colours were Little Greene Ashes of Roses and Carmine). High ceilings are usually desirable, but this is a long and fairly narrow room, which felt a bit like a chimney, so I wanted to make it feel cosier!

Next I started testing out various textile options before moving on to the wall treatment. I had toyed with the idea of an elaborate painted-wall effect (think Kelly Wearstler graffiti wallpaper) but decided that something subtle and a little bit organic would be right for this room. Inspired by the good old Beni Ourain rugs that I so love, I decided to try out a relaxed diamond motif on the walls. You can see my masking-taped pattern here:

I simply rubbed newsprint gently along the edges (thrifty heh?) to create the overall effect, then finished with hairspray to prevent smudging (you could use artist's fixative, but cheap hairspray actually contains the same ingredients for about  fifth of the cost). Voila, a DIY wallpaper!

The bed is really the centrepiece of the finished room. I turned a plain old trundle bed into a day bed by having 2 headboards made and screwed onto either end. I then sewed the valance and 2 bolster pillows to complete the look (I'll list the various materials and sources at the end):

The textiles add some colour and pattern – the kilim rug, frazada blanket and hemp pillows are fun and bright. And I just love those 'mamma bear' and 'baby bear' prints above the bed.

On the other side of the room, I repurposed our old Ikea sideboard as a wardrobe! We glued plywood over the glazed panels (for safety in a 2 year old's room) and replaced the shelves in one side with a hanging rail. It'll work for a few years until we need to upgrade to a proper wardrobe, but for now this works perfectly and has a bit of a mid-century feel to it which I love! 

My metal antelope/gazelle head wall-decor (bought years ago for a song) has been pimped up with some cotton-ball fairy lights. He's the first thing you see when you walk into the room, and I always like to try to add something that has immediate visual impact when you enter. A few teddies and an old pantone print complete this corner. 

And finally, a cute little reading corner (because of course we have to keep things educational too!) These shelves are just the right height for Abigail to help herself to her favourite books, and she already loves sitting on the Moroccan pouf to look through them. I love baskets for toy storage – something about the wicker texture tones down all the gaudiness and makes tidying up easy (essential if you want any chance of the little darlings helping you!)

And finally, here are the sources...

1) Orange velvet fabric on daybed: Designer's Guild Zaragoza in Paprika
2) Striped hemp cushions on daybed: Hide & Seek
3) Yellow pillowcase: made from Volga Linen in Chinese Yellow
4) 'A' cushion: Asda
5) Frazada blanket: Hide & Seek
6) Brass side table: West Elm
7) Striped kilim rug: one-off, similar available at Hide & Seek
8) Organic British Sheepskin rug: Hide & Seek
9) Bear prints by Amy Hamilton: Society 6
10) Roman Blind: made from Laura Ahsley gingham
11) Wall hanging: came from Tiger, but doesn't appear on their website). Really this is a place holder for a proper macrame wall hanging!)
12) Pantone prints: bought at Home Sense a long time ago, but also available here.
13) Chest of drawers: Ikea
14) White animal head: similar available here
15) Coloured fairy lights: Cable & Cotton
16) Book ledges: Ikea
17) Basket: Hide & Seek
18) Moroccan Pouff: Hide & Seek
19) Wooden sideboard: Ikea, no longer available. Similar
20) Joshua tree print: Hide & Seek
19) Framed feather drawing: gift from an artist friend
20) Table lamp (from BHS years ago, but similar available from Habitat)
21) Ceiling light Ikea

By reusing things I already had around the house, I managed to spend only £310.50 in total.  The paint was in the shed; yellow linen was left over from a project years ago; the blind was made from old curtains. The only new items were the velvet for the daybed; the 'A' cushion (only £5!); 2 bear prints, wall hanging, new cable and cotton balls (to go on an old set of lights), Ikea book ledges, ceiling light and Joshua Tree print. Abigail seems pleased with her new room. She loves running in there to empty the clothes drawers (sorry, get dressed) and read her books. We're still working on getting her to actually sleep in the big girl's bed though (even with a side guard on it)...looks like I'm not going to be getting my new office any time soon!

So, what do you think of my boho girl's bedroom makeover? I'd love to hear from you (as ever), all comments appreciated!

Boho girl's bedroom makeover: the design plan

It's been a few weeks since I started work on my daughter's bedroom, so I thought it was about time I shared the design plan! I wrote here about my first design decision: to take it back from the dark side. Having served as my office for the past couple of years, the walls had been painted a rich, velvety chocolate, which I painted white. It may have taken 6 coats of paint to cover the aforementioned dark walls, but don't worry, I'm over it now. Just.

The finished room is being photographed today (yay!) so I thought I'd give you a sneak peak at the design before the pictures are ready. I know a lot of people love decorating children's rooms and feel it's an opportunity to go a bit wild and crazy, but I've never really felt that way. Maybe it's because I don't see many girls' rooms that inspire me; maybe it's because I'm just pretty averse to all things pastel pink and frilly, but I just wasn't really sure where to start with this room. Having 2 older boys, I've not really been exposed to much overt girliness up until now and I wasn't sure I really wanted to start with her room (although Abigail went off this morning wearing a forest fairy costume over a pink tutu and sparkly tights, so I think my time has come!)

I wanted to create a girl's bedroom that was strong, stylish, funky and a little bit boho. 'Does a 2 year old really need a stylish bedroom,' my husband asked? 'Can't we just paint it pink?' Honestly...
It's not that I don't like pink – I've seen some really stylish pink rooms recently – it's the traditional 'pretty, pastel girls room' use of it that offends me. Our little girl definitely has a strong, determined personality and I wanted her room to reflect that. I wanted strong colours, warm and cosy textures with a few natural elements throw in. Oh, and I needed to do it on a strict budget (hence starting with a shed full of white paint – 6 coats, did I mention that)?

With budget in mind, I thought I'd better scour the house to see what I already had and start from there. The list looked something like this:-
1. A single bed with trundle underneath. Deathly boring, no headboard, footboard, valance or redeeming features, it looked pretty much like this one (i.e. grim!) This has been a spare bed for years but has hardly been used and was already in the room, so it was a no-brainer to make it the big girl's bed.
2. Beige gingham curtains – these had been used in the nursery for all three of our children. They are good quality fabric and blackout lined, so whilst they wouldn't have been my first choice I was pretty sure I could make them work.
3. Ikea Hemnes chest of drawers. White. Functional. There's a reason why every other kids' room in the land has one of these!
4. White animal head decoration – I think he's a gazelle or an antelope or something, but he's quirky, cute and an allowable cliche because (a) he was a bargain for £10 from M&S a few years back and (b) I love him!
5. Very old Ikea sideboard – previously a drinks cabinet in our old dining room, latterly a storage cabinet in my office. A good size, but the glass doors made it less than ideal for a child's bedroom.
6. Pink and brown striped kilim rug (useful for covering the nice coffee stain right in the middle of the beige wool carpet, a little leaving gift from a previous au pair!)

With these inspiring (ahem) starting points in mind, I started pinning images I liked. I shared some in the first post on this bedroom – click here if you missed it, but here's what I ended up with as my inspiration:

1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. //

I wanted it to be feminine but definite, and I clearly love pink, orange and yellow! The Jonathan Adler room top left was a pretty big source of inspiration, I loved the idea of making my daughter's bed a real statement, but cosy too. I've been dying to use some orange in the house somewhere – this felt like the perfect opportunity. A few weeks of pondering and pinning later, this is the design concept I came up with for the room:

I went for plenty of bright fabrics – starting with orange velvet and yellow linen – 2 of my favourite textures and colours!  I love the bright, clashing pink combination. I went with stripes to bring in some pattern (I'm just not that into florals it seems) and offset these with a few more rustic/natural elements, like the Ikea Sinnerlig pendant lamp and organic British sheepskin rug. A few monochrome touches always help make a room in my book – hence the cushion and cute print. I hope this proves to be the perfect boho girl's bedroom makeover. I'll post the 'after' pictures as soon as I have them, but I'd love to hear what you think so far!

How to fill a large blank wall (without busting the budget!)

The problem with spending all day working on other people's interiors is that my own home is always the last to get finished. It's not that I can't muster the enthusiasm, more that I never have the time (or budget) to do exactly what I want. The large, empty wall next to our dining table is a case in point. I've endlessly procrastinated researched possible solutions without every actually implementing any of them! But to prove that said research wasn't entirely in vain, I thought I'd share my top suggestions for filling a large blank wall (on a budget!)

The wall in my dining-room is 4.5 metres wide by 4 metres high and it's visible as soon as you walk into the open-plan room. I look at it every day from the kitchen, face it whenever we eat meals at the dining table – and stare at it from the sofa. It is undoubtedly the perfect place to make a real statement. So what have I chosen to put there? Two small framed prints. Hung side by side. Not even placed cookily off-centre. Not flanked by a cool light or underlined by a fabulous bar. Just hung up. Hastily.

In my defence, I was 9 months pregnant with my second son at the time this piece of interior design genius was dreamt up (the fact it still looks the same 5 and a half years later is slightly harder to forgive). So here goes with the ideas...

Idea 1. Wall to wall print montage

Image source

I absolutely love this image of Ben Pentreath's London living room. A vintage map of the city has been oversized and segmented into 24 individual frames. I love the way it stretches wall to wall and skirting to ceiling to totally fill the end of the room – impact and stye. You could do something similar on a reasonable budget using high street frames and your own image. You might not get quite the edge-to-edge bespoke look, but I think you could get pretty close. It does require some serious measuring (D is trying to put me off this option as he dreads having to get all the frames lined up neatly!)

Idea 2. Hang a huge painting

Art is always a great option if you have a lot of wall to fill. The challenge is a) finding one within budget and b) getting the other half to agree on it!  eBay still comes up trumps occasionally with a vintage find – its where I scored the amazing abstract pictured above a few years ago (actually it was neither within budget nor signed off by the other half, but it ended up on the other side of the kitchen anyway!) There are some great artists on Etsy and instagram too, many of whom are willing to undertake commissions and won't cost the earth.

Idea 3. Large scale photographic print(s)

Image source
OK, so this is pretty similar to idea 2. There's plenty of Cali-cool inspiration for this type of look – beach and desert scenes are very popular, but you could of course completely change the look depending on the image you choose (I quite fancy a black and white photograph of the moon). Or maybe mix idea 1 and idea 3?

Idea 4. Oversized mirror

Image source

A mirror is a pretty failsafe way to fill some wall space (and bounce some light around too). I can't help but love this huge train reversing mirror used by Lucy St George in her dining room (check out her home in this month's Living Etc). Antiques fairs (and even car boots) are good places to go hunting for budget-friendly options. Alas, this won't work in my kitchen as the sun would shine straight into it and either a) blind anyone sitting opposite or b) start a fire – neither of which is really the look I'm after.

Idea 5. Picture ledges

Image source

If, like me, you’re too lazy or scared to create a gallery wall (all those nails, holes and potential for mistakes!) then picture ledges are a great and more flexible alternative. I love the way the owner of this uber-cool Dutch apartment has mixed framed prints with taped-up tear sheets, feathers and favourite textiles to create a laid-back and quirky display. Ikea picture ledges would do the trick here for very little cash!

Idea 6. Hang a rug

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I do love a Moroccan rug – hanging one on the wall would make a great feature (they’re like works of art anyway). However, I've already done this in my hallway, so not sure I can get away with it twice!

I'm sure there are plenty of other options to consider (I could probably string this research out for another 5 years at a push!) Do you have a large blank wall to fill? How have you done it? I’d love to hear (and pinch your good ideas!)e a Moroccan rug – hanging one on the wall would make a great feature (they’re like works of art anyway). I have already done this in my hallway, so not sure I can get away with it twice!

Do you have a large blank wall to fill? How have you done it? I’d love to hear (and pinch your good ideas!)

6 of the best...tan leather sofas on the high street

My latest interior design project, for a lovely family in East London, started with a seemingly simple task: source a great looking and comfortable tan leather sofa. I pretty much love tan leather anything (boots, chairs, handbags, cushions... l could go on) so happily threw myself into this challenge. A stylish AND comfortable sofa is such a holy grail that I thought I'd share my 6 favourite finds and hopefully save you some legwork!

Speaking of legwork, I did indeed stretch my legs prolifically on this challenge. Internet shopping is great, and I'm guilty of whiling away many an hour sourcing (or 'sitting on the sofa staring at that bloody Mac,' as my husband delicately puts it) but sometimes, nothing beats pounding the streets, sitting, squishing and stroking the genuine article. The last thing you want is to order a beautiful looking sofa online, only to realise that the leather is shiny and plasticky, or the cushions are hard as a rock. So I took myself into London for an epic Tottenham Court Road/Oxford Street/Battersea testing day.

The budget was up to £5k (nice, I know) but they wanted a good quality sofa, built to last, with great leather. There was plenty to choose from, but few that passed my oh-so-scientific 'good leather, good comfort, good style' test. Here are the 6 that did...

1. Heals Chill 4-seater sofa £3,499

This was the largest of the tan leather sofas I tried. It is listed as a 4 seater, but actually it's not much longer than a regular 3 seater at 219cm. The semi-aniline leather felt good quality and from the marketing images below looks like it would age nicely to give a more lived in feel.

2. Barker & Stonehouse Dillon sofa. £1,429.

This was the smallest of the sofas I tried, at 178cm long, but I absolutely love the Danish mid-century look and it would be great for a small space. It had a higher back than most (great for comfort) and a bench style cushion – which seems to be a growing trend and lends it a neat, clean look. The leather has a slightly distressed finish, and I really liked the feet which were wrapped in leather – a nice detail.

3. Habitat Newman sofa, £2,800.

This is a nice simple design, with a slim profile softened by extra cushions at the arms and back. The angular metal legs lend it a slightly industrial look. Another bench-seat style (definitely a thing at the moment) it was the lowest of the sofas I tried, although being only 5' 2" that's not something that worries me! The seat was fairly deep and squashy – I could imagine curling up on this for an evening on 'the bloody mac.'

4. Barker & Stonehouse Orson sofa. £1,299.

Next up is another Barker & Stonehouse number. The Orson is a very simple, unfussy sofa which would work well in pretty much any style of room. In fact it is so simple that it would certainly need a bit of styling up with a throw and cushions etc, but I found it comfortable to sit on. The leather was lovely – soft, slightly distressed, plenty of natural markings and a contemporary, matt finish. This was a little under the client's budget, but it's a real bargain, so I had to include it here.

5. West Elm, Axel sofa. £2,299

As you'd expect from West Elm, the styling on their Axel sofa is great – from the lovely flanged seam details (no, I didn't know that's what they were called either) to the bronzed legs, it oozes style. This was another 'bench seat' style with a single, long seat cushion – which gives a firm sitting position but I found very comfortable. The aniline tan leather is soft, waxy and looks and feels as though it will age beautifully.

6. BoConcept Carlton leather sofa, £5,022 in Chester leather.

Last, but definitely not least, is the BoConcept Carlton sofa. This was the most expensive on my list, but definitely up there as one of the most comfortable. It was the squishiest and slouchiest of the sofas I shortlisted, with a deeper seat that makes it good for those with longer legs (err, not me then!) It's also customisable with a choice of simple legs as below, or ski style legs as in the graphic at the top of the page (for a more retro 70s look). The arms are also wide enough to rest a drink on (not that I'd EVER do that on an expensive sofa of course...without a nice coaster in place...or a least for the first 4 weeks of ownership...oh who am I kidding?) Cheaper leather and fabric options are available too, but to be honest I just didn't like their cheaper tan leathers! 

So there you have it. These were far from the only sofas I tried out by the way, and there were half-decent options in M&S, John Lewis, Camerich and more, but to my mind (or should that be bottom?) the 6 tan leather sofas above were the best in the budget/style/comfort range I was after. If you're in the market for a tan leather sofa, and don't want to be overwhelmed and frankly, paralysed by the range of internet choices, then you won't go far wrong with one of these.

eDesign: I design a Cali-cool master bedroom in...California! (Yes, really)

If you've followed this blog for any time, then you'll already know that I have a bit of a thing for Cali-cool interiors. Show me a vintage rug, a rattan pouffe and a fiddle-leaf fig tree and I'm pretty much sold. So can you imagine how chuffed I was when a lovely Californian family contacted me asking whether I could eDesign their master bedroom? I mean a real, bona-fide Californian family, actually living in California! I had to think very long and hard about that one (for all of 3 seconds).

I'd like to thank the universe (and google) for delivering one large dose of serendipity to this corner of East London. The client found my Hide & Seek shop when googling for leather stools, and loved the whole aesthetic. She emailed to ask if I offered interior design services and so it was that a few weeks later I got started on this gem of a project. In case you're wondering how I could possibly design a space 5,000 miles away, you can read more about how the eDesign service works here.

The clients (a husband and wife with a young toddler) had recently bought a ranch style home in need of some serious styling help. The property was a great buy – plenty of space, a fantastic layout and on a lovely road in Sacramento. It had been overlooked by other buyers due to its somewhat 'interesting' decorative state (interesting being a euphemism for dated, bizarre and in some parts downright scary!) Luckily these clients could see beyond that and weren't afraid to take on the project. They wanted to put their own well-travelled, relaxed, boho stamp on the place, starting with the master bedroom. To give you some idea of what they were up against, here's what the room looked like to start with:

I know, I know! Like an outlandish cross between an Austrian ski-chalet, an English country manor and Laura Ashley circa 1983! Definitely NOT what these cool clients were after. As usual, the process began with a design questionnaire... they answered 10 questions about function, mood, colours, features, likes and dislikes etc. They told me they wanted a relaxed, global, boho room with colour and texture (I loved them already!)  They wanted to incorporate their large canopy bed (a four-poster to us Brits), some navy and white Josh Henshaw bedding and a pair of brass wall sconces (OK, lights – I haven't totally defected just yet, don't get me started on closets and drapes...).

The clients took photographs of the room and measured up, emailing me a hand-drawn floorpan with dimensions that I could work from. They then got to work stripping the room out, painting (in Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray) and replacing the carpet with a contemporary wooden floor.

In the meantime, we shared lots of images via Pinterest, narrowing down the style and features they were drawn to. I filtered this down into an inspiration board and colour scheme, capturing the general mood, textures and feel we were aiming for, which looked like this:

The colour scheme was broadly reds, blues and natural tones (they love saturated colours) to contrast with that dark Chelsea Gray backdrop:

Clearly we were all on the same page and they signed off very quickly, meaning we could move onto the sourcing stage. With eDesign, the idea is that everything is available for the client to simply 'click and buy' at the end of the process, so I used a variety of different sources in the US (for larger pieces) as well as specifying some key pieces from the Hide & Seek eBoutique to be shipped (at the client's request – I don't always include items from my own range).

This was the initial design scheme for the main sleeping area:-

1. Basket for fiddle leaf fig // 2. Dip-dyed linen curtains // 3. Cowhide rug (Persian rug sold) // 4. Vintage cinema seats (sold, find similar on eBay) // 5. Joshua tree photographic print // 6. Nightstands // 7. Selection of vintage textile cushions // Vintage indigo mossi throw //

I used a mix of global textiles (vintage indigo mossi cloth, kantha quilt and mud cloth cushions) to satisfy the client's love of travel. A Persian rug under the bed adds colour and grounds the scheme. Natural textures: linen, cowhide, sheepskin and rattan add texture and interest.  (The numbers on the image correlate directly with the 'shopping list' received at the end of the process, so that the clients could click and purchase each item quickly and easily).

Next up was the other side of the room – a large gap between 2 closets and a larger window made the perfect spots to display some art and add a reading nook.

8. Original painting // 9. Vintage indigo bolster cushion & monochrome pom pom throw // 10. Cowhide bench // 11. Ombre linen curtains // 12. Monochrome print (sold), find similar here // 13. Red floor lamp // 14. Moroccan tan leather pouff // 15. Embellished indigo cushion (sold) find similar here // 16. Organic British sheepskin //

I presented the final scheme to Mrs Client via a Skype video call. She loved it, but was worried that the vintage cinema seats might be a little impractical with a 2 year old (way too tempting to bounce on and potentially end up falling off/through). Therefore I came up with a plan B for the end of the bed and designed a bespoke bench upholstered in a vintage red and navy Indian kantha quilt (to match one of the bed cushions).

The following day I received an email saying "the design and shopping list were a huge hit with my husband! He loves the cowhide textures and art and accessories you selected. We would like to buy everything on this list." Yay! It's always such a pleasure (not to mention a relief) when a client is delighted. It makes all the hours spent agonising over the perfect layout, art and furniture worthwhile. I collated everything into a detailed shopping list with pricing, details and links to purchase. A floor plan helped them to visualise and implement the scheme:

We went on to discuss various rug options at differing price points (as Persian rugs are beautiful, but definitely not at the budget end of the spectrum). I suggested options from Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel which would have worked very well, but then the clients were offered an unbelievable bargain, a slightly smaller, darker rug but one that was such a good deal that it seemed crazy not to make it work. With the red bench adding more colour at the end of the bed, the darker rug worked out fine. They went on to purchase the rest of the items on the list and sent me this photograph part way through install:

It really is looking sooooo much better already I hope you'll agree! A Cali-cool master bedroom fit for a cool, Californian couple! I've just completed a second room for this stylish family and look forward to working with them again next year, so, watch this space!

If you're struggling to revamp a room (or rooms) and fancy taking advantage of this fun and affordable eDesign service, then please ping me a message here, via social media or email. You can visit the interior design section of the website to find out more about the options here or simply email me. I have one more slot available before the end of the year so, if you're quick, you could have a newly designed room by Christmas! Happy hump day everyone...

Disguising the television: should you hide or display with pride?

What's your view on televisions? They seem to be universally sneered at in the world of interiors. I mean clearly they're not the most attractive of items (particularly when showing Sponge Bob Square Pants at maximum volume) but they are a fact of modern life. I don't really get the obsession with trying to elaborately 'design them out'. I mean, who doesn't like to flop down in front of a box set on a Saturday night? Or let the kids veg out in front of a DVD on a Sunday morning (particularly if aforementioned Saturday night was of the more exciting and alcoholic variety)?

At the same time I don't want the TV to be the centre-point of my living room either. I feel a bit torn writing a post on hiding the TV, when what I'm really into is interiors that are laid-back, liveable and real. Trying to hide the telly seems just a teensy bit dishonest. What I'm after is some healthy middle-ground here – a way to make the TV blend in, without trying to pretend that I don't own one.

So, in my humble opinion, here are some of the best options:

1. The vignette. 
Here the outline of the television has been cleverly blurred with lots of books, candles, vases and accessories (arranged beautifully asymmetrically). The fantastic cabinet steals the show, so that the TV is almost the last thing you look at, rather than the first.

2. The gallery wall. 
When well-executed (as above), hanging lots of art around the TV is an effective ploy (but it's tricky to pull off). There are 3 key tricks to making this technique work: 
a) Consider scale. Ensure that at least one piece of art is significantly larger than the TV. If you have a wall full of teeny tiny pieces, it will just look messy.
b) Layer it. Make sure that some of the artwork is layered behind your TV. You could consider propping something smaller in front too.
c) Add some dark tones – either in the artwork itself, or in the frames and mounts. If you put a big black rectangle (your TV) in the middle of lots of smaller, white rectangles  (your art) then it'll stick out like a sore thumb.

3. The dark background. 
Painting (or wallpapering) the wall behind your TV in a dark colour automatically makes your TV stand out less. It is the option I've gone with in my own den/open-plan kitchen area. The idea of physically hiding this TV was just a no-go, as we use the room all the time. The log store was already there, so I opted for this great Andrew Martin lumberjack wallpaper to blend the TV and logs into the alcove next to our woodburner. (The rest of the room is painted off-white as hubby absolutely wouldn't let me paint it navy blue, which was my original plan!) 

4. Create a built in media/shelving unit.
This is another strategy that needs to be really well-executed to look at all stylish. Avoid the common mistakes:
a) do NOT build a huge, doored cabinet to house your TV. It will just look like you have a wardrobe in your living room.
b) do not position the TV too high (e.g. more than half way up the wall, or even above the fireplace! Televisions, a bit like art, are frequently positioned too high. They should be level with your line of sight from the sofa, otherwise you're guaranteed neck ache.

 In this example above from a recent client project, the TV has been fixed to a wall bracket within made-to-measure industrial style alcove shelves. It blends in thanks to the surrounding accessories, but can be easily pulled-out for optimal viewing.

Style up your telly by all means, but there's no need to pretend it's not there! Do you disguise your television or display it with pride? I'd love to hear.

Happy Friday everyone!

Animals in the bedroom?

It's not been a brilliant week so far – I'm being plagued by a nasty start-of-term cold/cough/sickness thingy which is hampering progress in the back bedroom. I'm currently sitting on the floor of said bedroom, surrounded by piles of lovely things (cushions, rugs, blankets, sheepskins) and some not so lovely things (paint roller that needs washing up, heap of junk from recently emptied cupboard, mug of cold tea).

So I thought I'd put off sorting any of that out by sharing some inspiration from my recent meet up with Andrew Martin (I like to think that technically it's not procrastination if it's productive.) Andrew Martin has long been one of my favourite sources for high end textiles and wall coverings – their gorgeous fabrics, masculine furniture and iconic trompe l'oeil wallpapers are fantastic. Seriously, if you haven't already then check them out.

Their recent collaboration with artist Holly Frean has resulted in this new collection of fabrics, wallpaper and cushions with a definite zoological vibe. From monkeys to polar bears, elephants to penguins it's just really fun and quirky. I'm in the midst of decorating my daughter's room right now, so this was right up my street (although I think it would look pretty fabulous in plenty of other rooms too).

First up is this gorgeous Cheeky Monkey print. I'm a sucker for a silhouette and you can't go wrong with monochrome. What you can't tell from this picture is that these little guys are actually flocked – just imagine, little velvety monkeys climbing your walls – you could even stroke them! I love this design, it's also available in a subtle white on white (white flocked monkeys on a chalky, off-white background). I love a bit of texture and if you can add some on the walls, then why not? If budget weren't an issue these little guys would be pretty near the top of my wish list for the youngest DesignSeeker's bedroom.

However, this parade of elephants on a cloud grey background would come a close second. They'd look pretty majestic sweeping across your walls – although somehow orderly and dignified too (perhaps I need them in my office).

Or perhaps a waddle of proud penguins (yes, I had to google that particular collective noun, great isn't it)? I currently have Abigail Edwards' fabulous Owls wallpaper in my downstairs loo, but I could definitely see these guys taking over one day.

There are several more designs to check out at Andrew Martin, all cheeky and playful, without being too childish. I would definitely use these in a grown up bedroom/den/bathroom/office. This may be as close as I get for now – we don't actually own any real live animals at home (unless you count cowhide tables and sheepskin rugs)...our two small boys can be beastly enough!

So what do you think? Would you put animals in the bedroom? Or anywhere else for that matter? (No smut, please)...

Right, best get on with cleaning that paint roller. Oooh, hang on, a cold tea! Think I'll just drink that first...