Thursday, 14 May 2015

Garden makeover - Chelsea ambitions, Lambeth budget

Laurent Perrier Garden, Chelsea 2010
As the weather slowly starts to turn more spring-like, thoughts start to turn to that additional, outside room that sits forgotten for 6 months of the year. In our case the garden has been the last "big job" on our list and having had a couple of glorious, sunny spring evenings recently, we finally bit the bullet and kicked off the process of turning our former builders' yard, full of old building debris and weeds into a space we might actually feel safe padding about in without shoes on, and be happy to entertain friends in.

My dream garden would look something like the above picture of a Chelsea medal winning garden,

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Copenhagen - interiors highlights

From House of Laura

Last weekend we went on a little city break to Copenhagen. Given that my husband recently married a half-Dane in a Danish church (in London) but has never been to Denmark, I thought it was high time he visited "the motherland" (literally the motherland in my case). That was how I pitched it to him anyway, and to be fair, it was 80% of the reason for the trip, but the other 20% of the motivation was so that I could get a long overdue dose of interiors inspiration from the source of all my design inspiration, and hopefully squeeze in a bit of shopping too!

Here are the interiors highlights from the weekend..

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Current obsession: Josef Frank wallpaper and fabrics

Using a bold, graphic wallpaper is something I've been desperate to do for a while but haven't had the courage to, however our tiny, window-less cloakroom is crying out for something bold and being small, is I think the perfect place to experiment. 

In my search for the perfect wallpaper, I've re-discovered Josef Frank and a keen liking for his designs has now become a full-blown obsession. Unfortunately, wallpapers bearing his designs are infuriatingly difficult to get hold of and the design I've got in my sights seems not to exist as a physical product, only as an image on Flikr and Pinterest:

Image found on Pinterest

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Be careful what you wish for

One of the things at the top of my wishlist when we started our renovation project was a kitchen that was classic, well-built and would stand the test of time by being as adaptable to changing trends and tastes as possible.

The answer seemed to be to get units that could be painted. This seems like such a simple thing to want but is almost impossible to find on a modest budget - most "budget" kitchens have a lacquered finish that would be difficult or impossible to paint, whereas a handmade, bespoke kitchen obviously offers you the option to have it painted in any colour you want from the outset, and then easily paint it when you want an update in the future. I think this must be a conspiracy by kitchen manufacturers to ensure you have to buy an entirely new kitchen every time you want to tweak the colour scheme of your home!

Anyway, I was over the moon when I found out that Plain English - makers of everyone's fantasy kitchens - were bringing out an "off the shelf" budget-ish range of units which would be every bit as customisable as their bespoke kitchens as they come primed and ready to paint any colour you want:

But, this did lead to a problem of epic "first-world problem" proportions - "if I can paint it any colour I want, then how do I decide - out of all the colours known to wo/man - which one I want?". I flirted with the idea of having an almost black, dark blue like the one above, and then with having a totally white kitchen and then yellow and everything in between. In the end I made a bit of a panicked decision and went with Papers & Paints, SC218 which on paper looked pretty similar to the dark colour above:

Unfortunately, this has been a bit of a painful lesson in paint colour testing as the emulsion I tested was exactly the dark shade I wanted, but the eggshell looked completely different - as I found out only after the decorators had finished painstakingly painting the entire kitchen! 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The House of Laura, a tour. Part 1: The hallway

With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise that having named the blog 'House of Laura' I maybe should have kicked it off with an introduction to 'The House of Laura'! Oh well, better late than never.

I'm going to drip feed these as there's quite a bit I'd like to include about each room, like the 'before' and 'after' shots, the inspiration for each space and the problems I'm still working through with each one because, as anyone who has extensively renovated an old house will know - it is never "finished"! Plus, having moved from a 2 bed flat to a 3 bed house, we still have quite a bit of furniture buying ahead of us.

As a quick intro to the house and the project overall, we first saw the house - a typical 3 bedroom, late Victorian semi in South London - in August 2013 and completed on the sale at the end January 2014. Which means we've now owned it for a year so this feels like a really good time to look back on the project..

Monday, 26 January 2015

Splurge, Save Create: Daybeds

Feeling energised and rather pleased with myself after finishing my first blog post, I thought I'd have a go at thinking up some regular features that will help me focus my weekly posts a bit.

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was so that I would have a place to organise my thoughts and record recent sources of inspiration. Having recently finished the lengthy and painful process of buying and renovating a house, I now sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of styling and furnishing the mostly empty rooms. 

So, for these (mainly selfish) reasons I've come up my first regular feature: Spend, Save, Create. It's not exactly original but it is the kind of feature I really enjoy on other blogs and in magazines, and might help me - and maybe even other people - see how an idea can be seen through to fruition by spending big, spending less big or by being frugal and creative. 

A daybed for the snug

First up then is my biggest problem area in our new house - the snug:

Lots of people with Victorian or Edwardian houses that are shaped like this use their second reception rooms as a dining room, but as we have a big kitchen diner we don't need, or want, a separate formal dining area, plus it's quite dark as you can see, so we decided to turn ours into a 'snug' and use the front reception room as a slightly more formal/grown up living room. But, given that it's fairly narrow, a standard sized sofa would make the area look a bit too crowded I think, and I want something that looks a bit more 'loungy' so I'm on the hunt for a day bed. 


My 'if money was no object' option is from Another Country which is a recent discovery of mine and I just love the simplicity of their furniture which has that quiet, well made, well-worth-the-investment air about it. With its brass legs, Belgian linen mattress and £2k+ price tag, this is truly my dream daybed:

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Getting past the first post

First blog post on my first blog... who knew a blank white 'page' could look so scary! This feels like stepping into the unknown and is so much more daunting than I thought it would be. I have a new found respect for the many bloggers I follow who make daily blog posts seem totally effortless..

I've written and deleted a few first blog posts now and having worked myself up into a proper stress trying to think of something profound to write by way of an introduction to myself and what I hope to achieve from starting a blog, I've decided to scrap that totally and just dive straight in as I've realised that what I want to achieve from this above anything else, is to have an outlet for my creative juices - a place to collect and work out ideas and thoughts and little pieces of inspiration. 
So, with that in mind I'm going to start with some images I've seen this week that have made my heart beat a little faster:

This one from a post on Suzy Hoodless on - makes me wish I had a space big enough in my house to divide with Crittall windows and turn into a library/study just like this one:

I'm dreaming of a full set of these Hans Wegner Sawbuck chairs (picture from We have just about enough money left  in our wedding present fund for 1 of these deciding which combination of wood and textile to invest in is keeping me awake at night:

 This looks like a kitchen shared by a cook and an artist and seems like great dinner parties would be hosted here - I'd so like to see the rest of the house and find out more about who lives these but sadly the blog it's from originally is private (picture from Pinterest). I love the simple framed illustrations on the wall and the massive great big slab of marble on the opposite wall:

16 house: interiors

And finally, I'm not usually one for cheesy life affirming quotes like this, but it sort of sums up how I feel about starting this blog and a few other things in life at the moment (from dianekrugerperso on Instagram):

There we go then - I've passed the scary first blog stage! Here's hoping the second, third and all subsequent posts are a whole lot easier than this one.