Sunday, 31 May 2009

sizzling summer days

I hope you have been enjoying every last sun soaked second of this bank holiday weekend - how amazing are those clear blue skys?! No doubt the word Barbeque has passed your lips and hopefully a sizzling sausage or two also! Here are some BBQ's that have caught my eye recently...

Thanks to Harry for the photoshop help i.e. doing it!

Portable Weber 'Smokey Joe' BBQ from Meadows & Byrne
2.Marks & Spencers kettle BBQ
3.Portable BBQ from Divertimenti
4 Bodums portable BBQ from Divertimenti
5.Gas 'Genesis' BBQ from weber

Friday, 22 May 2009

mirror mirror

Did anyone see Channel 4's, The Home Show last night? I was so glad to be treated to some eye candy in the form of George Clarke...or is it his accent, his carisma, his dress sense, his inspiring designs and ideas..The whole package? yes please!

Anyhow, I was snapped out of my trance when I spotted these mirrors - I have been searching for months now for exactly this style and indeed for over our bathroom sink, so bingo! I think the double sinks and mirrors look great but unfortunately not for us this time in our teeny tiny bathroom.

Anyway, I had a little look on the shows website (while taking another sneeky peak at George) and found the supplier here. Now, I just have to pray I'm not disappointed with a 'no delivery to Ireland' policy!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

the paint train

There's lots of painting going on at the moment...Ciara at milkmoon has plans, Zee at homebug has ideas and my friend Agnes in limerick is repainting the garden furniture for her cottage! Anyhow, I'm on the paint train too - I've been gathering paint swatches and tester pots all week for a wall in our bedroom as (a very small) part of the big push to get this house finished!

Once our house was freshly plastered last year, Martin gave it a big lick of white paint all over. It transformed the place, making it really bright, fresh and spacious. I love my colours too much to leave it white though, so the intention was always to paper and paint in places.

To add some colour to our bedroom we decided to work on the wall at the head of our bed...yes, it's down the somewhat dated 'feature wall' route but because our wardrobes are blingin' gloss white and down one whole wall, I think some walls have to remain white so they don't stick out like a sore thumb. I drooled over wallpapers but just couldn't make my mind up and so decided on a plain simple paint colour.

wall of white wardrobes

the royal suite

I think our choice of colour was decided upon as it is quite regal and so fitting for our King & Queen of France bed! I love mixing and matching clashing colours and so have been gathering soft furnishings, furniture, lamps and picture frames in red, white, pinky purples and blues (some already in those colours, others to be updated to this space) to help marry the room together. However, the exact choice of paint colour is definitely the next step before making final choices for everything else in the room.

There really is so much choice of paint out there. Besides the usual suspects like Dulux, Crown, Farrow & Ball and here in Ireland, Fleetwood and Color Trend, other paint makers include The Little Greene, Designers Guild, Laura Ashley, Sanderson
and organic and eco friendly brand, Auro, to name a few. Find your paint online or in your local DIY store or paint shop (obviously we are spoilt with MRCB paints here in Dublin).

Paint comes in a huge variety of finishes depending on the intended purpose. Oil based glosses are prefect for wood, while water based emulsions are best for walls. After that you can choose your finish: gloss, satin, egg shell or matt. And not forgetting primers, undercoats, fire retardant paints, stains and varnishes to name a few! (Will save more details for another post!).

When choosing a paint colour the first point of call obviously is to check out swatches, either as colour cards, inside brochures or online. (The room set photos in brochures are usually pretty inspiring in showing what colours go well where and with what other colours). Stick the colour swatch to your wall with a little blu-tack and check it out in day light aswell as artificial light at night time. Look carefully at how it might blend in with other colours in the room, sticking it just behind items if it helps to see how they work together. Remember there are lots of shades of the same colour (not just between different brands but within brands also). Several light blues might appear to look the same but looking closely and holding them against colours in your room you will see different tones of green, navy or grey in them. Bearing this in mind will help you eliminate colours and get down to the chosen few. Read more about harmonising here and contrasting here.

Don't even think about buying your paint based on the colour card (unless you don't mind being disappointed or aren't really fussed). Next, purchase a paint test pot of the colour(s) you fancy and a small paintbrush (synthetic brush for emulsion or natural fibre brush if an oil based gloss), about 1" wide (Dulux sample pots actually have a little brush attached to the inside of the lid).
Don't forget to protect the area around where you are painting with a dust sheet or newspaper. Paint about a 30cm square of each paint on the wall you will be painting, giving it 2-3 coats of paint (obviously allowing it to dry between coats). Don't forget to wash your paint brush really well (in water for water based paints and in whitespirits in oil based paints).

my test patches came out completely different to how they
looked on the cans...they definitely looked more alike but
quite clearly they're not so well worth testing.

If testing more than one paint then don't forget to label the patches so as not to forget which is which! then sit back and allow them to dry completely (while praying hard your favourite one will be the cheapest!!). Allow the paint samples to grow on you, checking them out in daylight and again at night, before making your final decision (hopefully, unlike us at the moment, you'll agree on a colour!).

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

paint me pretty

I must admit I'm not a huge fan of wood and so (much to some peoples cries of disgust) take the paint brush to it without batting an eyelid. I much prefer colours and so like to cover wood with a paint or spray paint colour that matches (or, much preferred, clashes!) with other things in the room. Here are some snaps I took in Avoca & Cath Kidston of exactly that....colourful and fun and a great way of instantly (but cheaply) updating something old, giving it a new lease of life...

Monday, 11 May 2009

seriously thrifty!

A really big thanks to Zita at Homebug for her very kind link to friendly cottage on her hugely successful blog, I'm flattered. Thanks also to her for asking me to contribute some thrifty tips to a feature she wrote for the current issue of House & Home magazine (editor (Eimear) of which by the way now has a fab blog here).

Being thrifty for me is not so much about making the most of my money, it's about the joy of being creative with what I have...or feeling confident enough to buy something cheap knowing I can mix and match or embellish it and nobody would ever know. I especially like to think of ways to use something in an unexpected way, particularly if it's something old. I crave and lust after old and secondhand things that can tell a story or two. Which brings me nicely onto the treasure I found today...

I had been searching all winter for a cute coal bucket and came across a 'fire' bucket online recently. I had planned to buy it tonight but was over the moon when I stumbled across this baby hanging from the roof of a big warehouse (Gibson & Bailey on South Circular Rd). The guys there went out of their way to get it down for me and then unbelieveably didn't want to charge me for it because they didnt realise they had it in the first place!! obviously for good karma I gave them a drink....seriously thrifty though eh?!