Thursday, 14 August 2014

Planning & Playing!

Hi Guys

I don't know about you but I love to mess around with the mini's I have to see how a room will work. It helps to give an idea of the scale of the room and also allows you to work out where that special "must have" item will go. Of course, that's not to say I'm not already planning the next mini acquisition!

In the picture above I was playing around with some things to work out the best use of space in the attic sitting room. This is going to be a very relaxed old-fashioned room, even a bit of chintz! The bedroom will lead off this room but I'm still working it out. I'm not sure whether to have a tiny old attic style corridor with the bedroom and sitting room off to either side, or an opening in the wall between the two. More playing is required I think.

Talking of which, here is a glimpse of the colours and style I am going to put in the dining area of the ground floor area, adjacent to the kitchen. I like the blues and hope they work with the french grey I am painting the dining table.

I'm also considering moving the angled wall that the range sits against. It looks ok as it is but the more I plan and work with the space the less options I have for the dining area, not to mention a rather stunted entrance area. I may have to remove it completely and put in a galley style kitchen. More pressure on the grey cells!

I'll keep you posted...
Have a great day, All…

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Hi Guys

Another week has gone by already! I don't know where the time is going at the moment. I have a few things going on in the background which are taking up some of my spare time (and spare energy!) so I haven't had time to do a Book of the Week. What time I have had I opted to spend working on Belle Pierre.

This week I tackled the curtains in the living room. I have never worked with fabric like this before hence the delay in getting on with them. Up until now the living room has looked slightly cold and down-at-heel because of the tall windows either end of the room. Now, whilst I love them they do pose a problem in that they take up a lot of space and draw the eye away from things I would rather focus on. So with this in mind I chose to cover most of the window space. Thus showing more of the pretty fabric and adding a much needed injection of pattern and warmth. I looked at buying a Pretty Pleater but felt quite dizzy at the cost - upwards of £25! That would be a healthy contribution to my John Hodgson commode I am saving up for!! So I got to thinking about alternatives to the PP and my mind wandered to corrugated cardboard. I know!!  It took a while but once I peeled off once side of the paper I was left with a ridged board. Then I cut two pieces to fit the window and two pieces of fabric.

Then I brushed on some fabric glue called Elmer's Washable, No Run School Glue Gel (made for use by kids it doesn't stain fabric or dry a darker colour) and stuck the fabric to the board, pushing it down into the narrow ridges using two metal rulers. I saw Elizabeth use this in her fabulous posts on Studio E  to amazing effect.

Once this dried I carefully pealed the fabric off the board and arranged them to look more like they were hanging. The cardboard didn't give me the deep ridges you get with a Pretty Pleater but it did force the fabric into smaller ridges that made it easier to mould and arrange. I used my trusty pair of engineering blocks to weight down the ends in place till they dried completely. Incidentally, these blocks are amazing and I would thoroughly recommend you get a pair if you can. They are perfectly machined rectangle metal blocks and quite heavy, ideal for building kit furniture or mini kitchen cabinets with perfect angles. Mine are the smaller ones of about 6cm x 8cm and are a great help when you need an exact right angle.

The next thing to tackle was more wiring!! I'm not a big fan and I always leave it too late in a project but managed to get most of it done without too much trouble. A lot of the wires have been hidden behind the fireplace and skirting boards and all soldered to copper tape on the top floor, then wired into dimmer switches. I went for a lighter cream colour for these and the window trim in a bid to lighten the look of the room and I think it's starting to come along nicely now and I feel like it is finding it's own direction. I need to sort out some tie backs for the curtains and paint the sockets the same cream colour as the boards.

I also found a use for a pair of electric wall sconces I had but that no longer worked. I sprayed them with gold paint to take off the "blingy" shine of the cold metal finish and then set about making some candles. I remembered a tutorial that the wonderful Mr Ray Whitledge did on some amazing candelabra that he made (I want me a pair of those ;-) ) where he used cocktail sticks to make those lovely tall candles you can get. I cut them in half and mixed up a kind of ivory colour and painted them.

Thanks for the top tip, Ray!

The little cream cabinet on the right is just there to fill space, it will eventually live upstairs in the tiny sitting room. I knew it was smaller than 1:12 scale when I bought it on eBay but figured if I added wood to the back to increase the depth and raised it on higher legs it would pass as the real thing!

The only other thing I did was to paint over the darker green and gold cornice with a wash of French Grey. Before it dried I rubbed it away to reveal some of the gold underneath. I really like the aged look it has, not to mention that it now pushes the moulding away rather than lower the height of the room.

Well guys, thanks for sticking it to this long! I hope you all have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing what you are all getting up to.

Take care…

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Let there be Lights - Outdoor, at least!

Hi Guys

Another week has gone by already! My apologies for not posting a Book of the Week on Wednesday, some RL things came up that needed my care and attention, but I'll be back next week with another fave book.

In my spare time last weekend and this week I worked on some new additions to Belle Pierre - outdoor lanterns.

I have had my eye on these for a while now and bought them the other week. I liked them because they had a more rustic shape than regular wall lights. 

They were originally black plastic but I attacked them with some teal, blue and white paint and then sprayed them with matt varnish. The varnish worked well in that it gave the glass a sort of aged frosted look which defuses the lights when on. It didn't work in that it brought out the blue too much so, once dry, I went over them with a washed down version of some of the colours and finished with a dab of mod podge. They have come out very blue in the pictures but you'll have to take my word for it that they look much more pale and grey in RL.

I have also been thinking about the interior and the living room in particular. I really liked the wall panels but felt they lacked detail, and the room was rather dark over all. I wanted a dark and moody room but this was turning too dark! So, I took my own advise (from a previous post) and thought about adding wallpaper to the panels. After much testing I plumped for a pretty Itsy Bitsy wallpaper called Damask that I had a couple of sheets left over from an older project. It is actually blue with a beige background, but it turned out to match the wall colour perfectly! I guess there is more blue in my Green than I thought!

I am now thinking about cutting a seat off the pink sofa and turning it into a 2 seater sofa for upstairs whilst I put more "French" pieces in here. They will also be smaller thus making more use of this tiny space. Or perhaps I'll leave the 2 seater sofa in here after all? We'll see. The panel above the fireplace has changed too to match the other panels. I loved the other dark green that was there but it opened out the room more with them all matching. Even more so once I added the narrow strips on the corners by the windows. The windows will eventually be calmed down with some Susan Bembridge fabric I have in a box (I'm not brave enough to tackle curtains yet!).

I also want to tone down the cornice from dark green to a light colour - maybe with a light grey wash over it.  Still skirting boards needed but I'm still fiddling with the electrics so until that's done I can't put them in place.

I am still fretting over the roof space! "Merci", to Jean Claude and Isabelle for their observations re the roof height. I think I'll need to lower it a bit once I finalise the plan in my head - famous last words!

Ok guys, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Thanks for your time and lovely comments, they are always welcomed and very much appreciated.

Take care