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…


  1. Hi Si
    The curtains were well worth the wait! They are lovely. The corrugated cardboard is a brilliant idea and seem to leave natural looking folds in the curtains. Tie backs will finish them off beautifully. I must get me some of that glue, it sounds great for fabric. The sconces are lovely, where did you get them. I think the room is coming together really well. Each and every little (and big!) thing you do just enhances it more. Roll on the next post :) Maybe you should try a book review once a month......that way your library of fab reads will last longer?
    All the best and take care

    1. Aww, thanks V, good idea about the book review. I should re-name it I think lol. Hope you've not been hit by Bertha? it's terrible here! x

  2. What a beautiful, elegant room. I love all the colors and patterns you have chosen. The curtains look fantastic!!!

  3. Hi Si!
    I wish I had known your little carboard kit before I bought my pleaters! Your curtains came out perfectly I really like the print. When I look at this room I see each individual piece. Yet they are all tied together as a room. Looking great!

  4. I am happy to see your cutting mat looks a lot like mine, lol - no, mine looks worse in fact. ;)
    Using ridged board instead of pleater seems to be a good idea and the curtains look pretty now. :)
    Cornice looks really good now and the cream cabinet is such a pretty thing. Good it will find it's place in this charming house!

  5. Hi Simon'i love your curtains. They look very pretty. Great tip with the cardboard too thanks a bunch. Xoxoxmarisa

  6. Hi Simon,
    What a lovely room, I really like the color palette and the mix of patterns.
    Great job, as always!

  7. The curtains turned out great! The room is really coming together.

  8. I love how you've done the curtains, very natural looking. I also like your colouradjustment on the cornice. It's going to be great! (already is, but you know what I mean ;) )

  9. What a lovely room Simon and a beautiful rug too. I'm pleased you managed to get to grips with the your curtains - see, you're not as ham fisted with the fabric as you thought you might be!

    It has all come together so well and I'm itching to see the next post now.

  10. Ha ha, you make me laugh Irene.

  11. Bonjour Simon,
    le tissu des tentures est magnifique et s'accorde très bien avec l'ensemble de la pièce (l'idée du carton est ingénieuse;-) Il manque juste un petit détail, un cordon avec une jolie floche pour retenir la tenture.
    La couleur de la corniche est maintenant parfaite. Je suis impatient de voir quel meuble de John Hodgson vous allez choisir.
    A bientôt

  12. Hello Simon,
    The change of color on the cornice turns out very good, it is a detail but I think it makes a lot of difference! How inventive to use that board instead of a PP, great tip and the curtains hang so much more in a natural way.
    To me, that can make or break a room.
    Did you repaint the table on the left as well? love that table as well as the cream cabinet.
    The golden ornaments on top of the panels are really French too, plus I did not see them before in other houses so I double like them :)

    Hope Bertha leaves soon, she is a nasty lady.
    Have a great sunday1

  13. oh, and that black thing underneath your cutting mat (sorry don't know how it is called) has a gorgeous printed edge!
    Great to copy and use somewhere in a French house!

  14. Hi Hon, catching up with all your posts. Thnx for the curtains tips. I am going to give it a try for Marram House. The change of wallpaper on the wall really transformed the room. As you know I didn't dislike the first version but this wallpeper really compliments the whole room.
    Talk to you later ;p

  15. Hello Simon,

    I have just discovered your blog :-) Great style, great tips, great reading! Thanks for the corrugated cardboard technique.


  16. Hi Simon! Your curtains look Beautiful! What a lovely gentle fabric... they really do soften and warm up the room!!! I never would have thought of using the corrugated cardboard for the pleats! I think it worked Fabulously... and might have to give it a try myself! All your little "tweaks" make an amazing improvement in the overall ambiance! Isn't it amazing how we think we like it at one stage of development and we wonder if we have the courage to make a little change... and when we do it produces an altogether better place!!! I agree that the gray wash on the cornice lightens it too... I really would LOVE to come curl up in this room with a cocktail and a fire in the hearth....!!! You create such beautiful spaces!!!

  17. It all looks great together, the curtains fit perfectly in. I wasn't very lucky as the fabric wouldn' t part with the cardboard, l will have to try another glue. You did a fabulous job. Love the little details you have put in the room, eg. the blue urnes/ vases. Pam x

  18. Hi Simon! Your curtains turned out to be simply WONDERFUL!!! I love the choice of pattern that you decided upon and the slight pull back which is just enough to let the glass peek though! I am so happy to see that you have adapted my curtain tutorial to suit, and THank You for the honorable mention and for the link! Much appreciated! :))
    I LOVE the sconces as they are as elegant as they should be for this "Oh So Stylish " French room. Your taste is very refined and so classic.... I can never get enough!

    p.s. I also like the way you are moving some of your accessories around the room. Your groupings for the flat surfaces are constantly evolving and looking better and Better all the time! :D

  19. Hi Si,
    The room is looking better every post. the curtains are lovely and really give the room a beautiful finished look. Well done! It is a very grand but comfortable room! Bravo!
    Big hug,


  20. Very beautiful.Thank you for the tips.

  21. Hi Simon,

    I can barely keep up with your progress, you are a machine! I love the changes the curtains make, I think it suddenly looks a tad more cozy and lived in. It's funny, I just finished photos for a tutorial making curtains WITHOUT A PRETTY PLEATER - so obviusly great minds think alike! I love your corrugated cardboard idea, very simple and nt outrageously expensive!

    Thanks for being so productive with your blogging this summer,I've really enjoyed your progress - things in the mini world have been so quiet, it must be the holidays!


  22. Cosy warm and cheerfull and at the same time ....grand !!
    How can you do that? I simply love it to bits!

  23. Simon, adding the curtains is lovely. It's so fun to see the changes take place.
    The pattern makes this mini home seem so gracious. Kudos to you..

  24. Great work Simon! Love the curtains and the cardboard pleater is genius! The room works really well with all the decorative elements you have brought together. I really do need to get on with some curtain making myself!

  25. Hi Simon,

    What a magnificent room - love all the details. How very clever getting the pleats in the drapes using the cardboard. Love the colour of the wallpaper, the lovely rug and the little cream cabinet. You are very talented and thanks for showing us.

    hope you are enjoying your week

  26. Gosh it has been a long time since I have been here! For some reason I don't spend a lot of time on blogger anymore. But I see I have missed a lot.
    What a beautiful room you have created! Love that blue-green colour. I see the same set of wall sconces and fire screen as I have. I have also toned down the gold as it was so shiny, and my sconces are giving me problems with the lights not working very well. They weren't expensive, but still, I would like them to work properly! Is that what happened to yours as well? The candles look great though!
    It's funny to see your curtain fabric, as this is what I have chosen for one of my bedrooms. Such a pretty pattern with lovely colours.
    Also I see you have a 'Hungarian point' floor. I have been making one this past week by request for someone, but messed it up. I thought I had a clever way of cutting it up after glueing, but that didn't work. Now I have to go out and buy new wood (I used cherry). I was wondering what kind of wood you used for it?
    Love the little cream cabinet. It looks like ivory (which I love but obviously has to be old in order to use it.) I think the size is fine!
    I hope to be back regularly now...

  27. the color of the curtains is exactly the color it was worth this room. the color is perfect. I 'love the picture you have chosen. I am horrified, haha! your electrical outlet .... it's a crime! this is that there are no solution to change that? your room has a lot of charm. the details are very beautiful.