29 June 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

I've just seen this picture of this fantastic cubby hole while looking at Odeedoh:

Image found here.

It looks like the perfect fun den for teenagers (or fun loving adults!) to hang out. 

It made me smile as I remember trying to get my dad to cut a big hole in one of the eves of my childhood bedroom so I could put cushions in there. My bedroom had a big dormer window in it, and therefore had two sloping ceilings in it. I remember conjuring up the idea with one of my friends and then badgering my dad to chop a hole in the wall of my bedroom so I could sit in there. I must have been a complete pain!

27 June 2011

Just a quick one . . .

Firstly I just want to say thank you to all of you for reading Beautiful Square Feet! Its just reached over 2500 page views and I'm really pleased that you seem to be enjoying what I'm writing! Thanks for stopping by!

This week Torin and I are going to be spending a relaxing time with my parents in Kent - very much looking forward to my mum's cooking and it'll be lovely to catch up with other family members and friends! While we're away I'll still be blogging, but I'm not going to have as much time as I usually do to do  varied posts, so I'll be having an extended week of Can't stop looking at . . . which I usually do on Fridays.

First up, is the new attic bedroom that Benita of Chez Larsson has created for her son Wille in their new house:

Image from here.

It's a lovely, clean den that's perfect for a teenage boy don't you think? I really like the fact that the room is so simply decorated, but that there are a few really funky touches such as the map lampshade and the Kartell storage unit.

If you haven't already, you should really go to her blog and see what this room looked like before this transformation - it was just a little different to say the least!

24 June 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

Very good friends of ours are expecting their first baby in September (very exciting!), and yesterday the mum-to-be told me they are planning on painting the nursery in Farrow and Ball's Teresa's Green. I wasn't familiar with the shade so took a look at a colour card that I had in the house. It's the perfect calming shade of pale greeny blue and will look great in a neutral nursery - they don't know what they're having:

Paint chip from here.

I then had a quick look around for rooms that were painted in this colour, and was very pleased with the relaxing havens I found.

The perfect bathroom mix - period colour with a plain tub and antique accessories:

Image from here.

Setting off plain glass bottles and white accessories perfectly in this very lovely TV room:

Image from here.

Adding to the beauty of this jug (the middle colour):

Image found here.

Helping this Swedish style kitchen to feel light and airy:

Image from here.

Hope you all have a wonderfully calming weekend!

23 June 2011

A space on a hill in Bristol

Yesterday I ventured to Bristol with Torin and David as David was doing some fieldwork in a school there, and I wanted to go and look for a bed for Torin. The bed I'd seen was the single Oundle bed from ASPACE and, having only seen it in their catalogue and online, I wanted to see it in the flesh. 

Before we left Cardiff I checked where the shop was, and the directions told me it was on Whiteladies Road, which, I thought to myself, was good because I knew where that road was. For those of you who are local, David's office is in Clifton, so I knew the road I needed was nearby. What I had forgotten however, that most of Whiteladies Road is on a steep hill! Eventually, after much puffing and panting (I was pushing Torin in the buggy; it was hot; I'm pregnant etc.) I found where the shop was and stopped outside to have some water and compose myself a little before I went in.

This is the bed I went to see:

Oundle bed in antique stain, available here.

Oundle bed in matt white finish, available here.

Luckily, they had this bed on display in the shop in the white finish, so I was able to see the dimensions of the bed were like, inspect the slats (my dad said this was important!), and get a general feel of the quality. Although the single bed was only on display in the white finish, they had a double bed on display in the dark antique stain that I like.

Overall, the bed seemed pretty good quality, although it was a little scuffed from being on display, and I was pleased with the colour of the dark antique stain. It's also very reasonably priced compared to a lot of other places - it retails for £199 and ASPACE often have 10% off everything sales. I realise that there are cheaper places (like IKEA for example), but ideally I really want this bed to last him into his teens (this is also the reason we're looking for a full sized single bed rather than a toddler bed), so I really want a bed that is good quality, and that will hopefully last. I believe that the Oundle bed is one of ASPACE's best sellers, and I have read some good reviews of it - do any of you know of it already?

I think if we do decide on this bed, that we'll get it in the dark antique stain. I have changed my mind on this however, as I was very drawn to the matt white finish initially. My parents suggested that it would perhaps a little feminine and childish for a teenage boy though - and I think they might be right - what do you think?

I need to go and look at a lot of other places before we actually buy a bed for Torin, but at the moment, based on its aesthetics, quality and the price, this is the front runner.

Where did you go to buy beds for your children?

20 June 2011

Chores, chores, chores . . .

Sometimes I wonder if my house will ever be truly clean. I do try and keep on top of things, but it seems that no sooner have I done one job, it needs doing again. I guess with three humans and two cats living in a terraced house, we're going to generate dust, but sometimes I'm really shocked at just how quickly the surfaces get covered again!

I think I may need to make myself a daily cleaning schedule and then at least if some of the jobs get done on it, it's better than nothing, right?

I found this handy one at www.housetohome.co.uk

Available to download here.

This calendar looks like it might be a good starting point, but there are some jobs like vacuuming the floors and the wiping of kitchen sides that really need doing daily in our house (sometimes even more frequently!).

It is hard to keep on top of everything and look after a toddler all day (and be pregnant!); however, it does feel sometimes that because I'm not working, there isn't really much of an excuse for washing up to be on the kitchen surface, or for weeds to be taking over the garden!

What about you? Do you have a set routine? How do you keep on top of your chores?

17 June 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

So I guess soon I'll need to turn my attention to the back room of our house, as we'll be turning it into Torin's room. The new baby will have the room that Torin is currently in as it is next to our bedroom, and most things in it will probably remain the same. I think we'll move the wardrobe and chest of drawers into Torin's new room, so we will need a few new bits, but even if we were keeping everything the same, I'd like to change a few things just to ring the changes! Still don't know what we're having by the way, (we should find out in early July) and I guess this may have some influence on what we do in the nursery, but most of the room is neutral anyway, so we shouldn't need to do too much.

However, I'll still be enjoying looking around for inspiration for both the nursery for the new baby, and for Torin's room. When I was planning Torin's nursery, Odeedoh was such a useful resource, especially the nursery tours - I'll definitely be going back there for ideas! Speaking of Odeedoh, I saw Lula's nursery on there the other day, and I love it! Just the right mix of old and new combined with a sophisticated colour scheme.



Images from here - make sure you take a look at the other pictures of the room - lovely!

One of my favourite things about the room, apart from the fantastic mirror(!) are the letters making up Lula's name on the wall above the nursing chair. It has become quite commonplace to see children's names on their bedroom walls, but the way that Lula's mum Sophie has chosen letters in different styles is a really fresh take on the idea, and something that I'd love to replicate for both of my children.

15 June 2011

The life story of an aloe vera plant.

I bought my aloe vera plant from IKEA several years ago - I think we may have even had it in our previous house - I think that is definitely a record time for me to keep a plant alive! I don't know if you've seen the size of the plants in IKEA, but they're certainly much smaller than my now giant plant that lives in my bathroom!

It had been sitting in this pretty pot on the window in our bathroom, but it was really getting too big to sit there comfortably, so I needed to find a new space for it. 


This was actually one of the reasons I decided to dismantle the old LEKSVIK IKEA corner cabinet we had in there - I knew the plant wouldn't fit on any of the shelves. Also, because the cabinet was so tall and against an outside wall, the back of it had gone a little mouldy. All in all, it was a good excuse to get rid of this cabinet, as I hadn't ever really liked it. We bought it because we were looking for a reasonably priced corner cabinet to house our TV in our old house, and this fitted the bill. However, I quickly went off it as it seemed to be trying too hard to look old, while being so obviously new and cheap.

Anyway, back to the aloe . . . it really needed re-planting, as you can see here (yes, that really is yet another paint sample on a wall in our house!):


As the sun shone here in Cardiff yesterday, I decided to make the most of the lovely weather, took Torin outside and re-planted the aloe vera. A Spanish friend of mine once said that an aloe vera should be re-potted when the pot it sits in becomes less than half the length of the plant's longest frond. I've always followed this advice and my plant seems to be thriving. I also only water it about twice a year (seriously!) - I think it really likes the humidity of the bathroom.

A few minutes later, after using compost and a pot we already had, the plant was sitting in its new home:


The white cabinet that is now in our bathroom used to be in an alcove in our living room, had the TV on it, and housed computer games and remote controls. It now contains toiletries and helps to make the bathroom feel bigger by being smaller and a paler colour than its predecessor.

NB. You may notice that there is a glass jar missing from the last picture . . . I guess it was only a matter of time before it got broken. Torin picked it up by the lid and of course, the jar fell off and smashed on the floor. I just didn't get to him in time, but I guess it wasn't really a smart place to keep it with a 2 year old around. Luckily, I managed to scoop him up before he trod on any of the glass - it was bathtime so he didn't have anything on his feet! Lesson learned - I'll be finding a new place to keep the remaining jar, and eventually it'll be kept in the wall mounted cabinet I still need to find and buy!

14 June 2011

A little decluttering is good for the soul (and the desk).

Since we moved our desk into the more prominent position of in front of the chimney breast in the dining room (rather than under the stairs), we've really tried to keep it tidy. This does not always happen!

Sometimes, our desk looks like this:


Most of the time however, our desk looks like this (on a good day!):


It was becoming clear that the desk was a magnet for papers, and that neither of us were in reality, going to stop putting letters and bills etc. there. Therefore, I decided to find something in which to put all the clutter that keeps accumulating there, and remembered that I had 2 sturdy boxes that came with our Orla Kiely bed linen sets. Perfect.

From now on, our desk will look like this (well, here's hoping!):

13 June 2011

Red is the colour . . .

IKEA is great for many things isn't it? When it comes to furniture, I like to mix it up a bit and have a blend of old and new - I don't really like it when people kit out their homes in IKEA wholesale!

However, sometimes when it comes to little bits and bobs like kitchen storage or picture frames, for me, there tends to be limited competition.  I forgot to mention the other day that while I was at IKEA buying this storage for Torin's toys, I picked up the LĂ…GIS mouse mat - it only cost 40p!


Here it is on our desk in the dining room (yes, there are still splotches of tester paint on the wall in here - really need to get the painting finished, but probably shouldn't be climbing ladders are the moment!):


It's red, so it goes well with the other red accents in the dining and living rooms, and it's plain, so it helps to keep the surface of the desk looking (relatively) uncluttered. So, the great hunt for a new mousemat that I wrote about here, is complete. Job done.

PS. I don't think I've mentioned before how much I love the international keyboard viewer we have on our Mac - I can never remember the keyboard shortcuts for accents, and I can't work out how to insert symbols on blogger (is this possible?) so the keyboard viewer is brilliant. When I needed the accent for the name of the IKEA mousemat in this post, I simply chose to have a Swedish keyboard and the computer showed me which key I needed to press on the British keyboard in order to get my chosen accent - simple!

10 June 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

I saw this image in the July edition of Living etc magazine, and every time I open the magazine I'm drawn to it.

Image found here.

I don't know if it's the mixture of patterns, the mustard tone of the yellow, or the fact that the colour of the wood goes so well with the yellow and the grey hue of the walls (I think they are actually white, but the lighting makes them look grey to me), but I just think this picture zings!

I would love to give this type of stencilling a go in a plain hallway (as mine is at the moment), but we are about to lay carpet on our stairs. At the moment they are painted white - we chose to do this as the old carpet was badly stained and I do like the way they look, but they are so impractical when you have a toddler! I settle Torin in his cot, and then the moment I walk out of his room onto the landing and the floorboards creak, he wakes up as he knows I'm no longer in his room! If I make it across the landing, I've taken to going down the stairs 5 at a time which involves using my hands and feet in an almost crab-like movement - not something I'm going to be able to do for much longer! So, we've decided that a new carpet is the answer, as it will hopefully muffle the sound of our feet and Torin will be none the wiser!

So, this picture is firmly in an "appreciation from afar" box, rather than something I'm going to do in my home, but I hope it has brought your Friday a little bit of sunshine (something we've certainly lacked in rainy Wales today)!

9 June 2011

No more runaway trains!

Just a quick update on the toy storage situation . . .

I popped back to IKEA today and bought a larger SAMLA storage box to house Torin's wooden train set. It fits in perfectly and there is still some room left for possible expansion, so I'm happy. Torin had a great time throwing in the pieces of track once we'd finished playing with it earlier - long may this continue!

This is where the three boxes live at the moment:


Yep, that's right - in our living room down the side of the sofa! Not ideal, but he does play with the things inside them every day at the moment. I really must though, find something prettier to put these boxes in so they are a little more hidden. Having said that, it is just great that the things inside them are tidied away, as since his birthday the Playdough and pens have been out on one of the shelves in the dining room, and the train set was in a different box with his cars, which was completely overflowing. It's a good compromise . . . for now.

PS. I love that Rufus' tail is in this shot - he wouldn't move!

8 June 2011

The Playdough is contained.

I've begun on my mission to tidy Torin's toys (as complained about here) - I went to IKEA for some cheap storage for his pens and Playdough. I also realised yesterday that he can (quite scarily I think) recognise the brand of Playdough because he pointed at the logo printed on a piece of paper and said "Playdough" quite clearly. Now for a child of 2 who obviously can't read, to know that is what the image said, that's some clever branding!

I didn't buy much, and still need to find something to contain the majority of his smaller toys that are in our living room, but for the meantime, I bought 2 SAMLA storage boxes. They're not particularly pretty, but what they lack in aesthetics, they make up for in functionality, and they're a great size for Torin's bits and bobs. 


I think I may pop back there tomorrow and buy a larger box to store his train set!

7 June 2011

Design classics and other old things.

You may have seen from my tweets that I managed to get to Jacobs Antiques Centre in Cardiff (I wrote about it here) on Friday. I'm so glad that I finally got to go there - it is a really great place!

There was a huge array of treasures on display there - it is made up of 50 or so separate "stalls". Some are set out neatly and only had a few things to sell, whereas other stalls required a real rummage! There was a lovely mix of furniture, accessories, vintage clothes and jewellery - when we got there it was really difficult to choose where to begin!

The first thing that caught my eye, apart from piles and piles of old suitcases, was an old black Barcelona chair and ottoman similar to these ones (though admittedly a little more worn):

Image from here.
Image from here.




















I then could have taken advantage of a massive bargain - I found a 4 tier Kartell Componibili storage unit for £100 and the vendor said I could have it for £70! It was similar to these but taller:

Image from here.

I told the woman that I would go away and think about it as I thought that it could provide a solution to my bathroom storage problem (mentioned here). But, I think I really want a glazed wooden cabinet and although the Kartell unit is very cool, it wasn't really what I wanted. It is amazing how tempted I was though, to buy it without anywhere to put it, just because it was a design classic - familiar feeling anyone?

There was a lot of much older dark wood furniture in the place, and out of this range, an Edwardian "potty" cabinet that would be great as a bedside table, caught my eye at £35. It actually looked a lot like the EDLAND bedside table from IKEA:

Image from here.

It just shows doesn't it if you like old furniture, it is so much more economical than buying flat packed!

I also saw a wooden glazed cabinet that would be great in our bathroom, but stupidly I had forgotten to bring my measurements with me, so I couldn't make them an offer on Friday (this may be my excuse to go back soon). The cabinet was £40 and looked similar to this one:

Image from here.
If I do decide to go back and buy this (if it's still there) I'll probably paint it so it's more in-keeping with our bathroom, and so the wood is protected by the paint.

I'll definitely be going back to Jacobs, and if you live nearby and haven't yet been, I'd definitely recommend taking a visit! Next time I go I'll also try and remember to take my camera as I realise actual pictures of the place would give a better illustration than my description!

Have you bought anything from an antiques / second hand place recently? 

3 June 2011

Can't stop looking at . . .

Each week, I'll be sharing with you something that has caught my eye. It may be a picture, blog, product or website.

Last week Marie Nichols of Whole Lotta Lovely, married her partner Simon. Marie has written a full post about her day here and has included many lovely pictures, but the wedding looked so beautiful that I wanted to show you some of her pictures here too. 

Marie calls the day her "DIY wedding" as she made all of the decorations herself with help from her family and friends.

I'm sure you'll agree, it all looks fantastic!

Images from here.

2 June 2011

Birds nest in blue.

I've had to buy several birthday cards this week and unusually for me, I've actually bought two of one card to send to two different friends. I always try (if I don't have time to make a card) to choose cards that are "perfect" for that person, so sending someone a card that I have also sent someone else felt a bit odd. 

It happened that way this time though because I discovered a range of cards from Jane Ormes - they're lovely! 

This is the card I bought two of, called "Birds nest in blue":


I hope the people I bought it for like it as much as I do!

Below are some of Ormes' prints that have caught my eye, I really like their witty titles!

"British bird unaware he'd flown to Australia":


"Bird praying for an open top":


"Tattooed birds, they'll regret it later":

Print images from here.
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