All posts filed under: DIY

One bored stylist + 3 days = Hacked tv unit to fabulous sideboard

I’m a bit dangerous when I’m a). a bit bored and b). get a bee in my bonnet about something. This is a post about how those two things come together and result in a really rather lovely piece of furniture created from a small sideboard made by me that I’m really very chuffed with. When we moved our TV and sofa into the kitchen/diner we put an old sideboard, relocated from the living room plonked against a wall to put the TV on. It was practical and all, hiding all the TV boxes and cables etc (a particular bug bear of mine) but it always bothered me slightly – I wanted it to look lovely but it didn’t. It looked a bit meh. A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that the problem was that it was just too small and looked like an island against a big wall. I started a hunt for a much bigger sideboard but I couldn’t find anything on EBay or in secondhand shops. I’m not very …

Check out my 3 features in this month’s Style At Home magazine

The new issue of the very lovely “Style At Home” magazine has dropped on my doormat and I’m delighted to see I have all sorts of features in there this month! I wrote an 8 page feature all about wall tiles which (I hope) will inspire readers to consider a different layout, colour, style or even room in which to use tiles. We all know they’re perfect in bathrooms and kitchens but what are the new trends here? Using rectangular tiles in a brick pattern has been popular for a while but now we’re using coloured grout or fitting in different patterns such as herringbone or basketweave which looks amazing. Doing these layouts is as easy as “normal” tiling and the visual impact is impressive (what a great combination). The tricky bit is getting the first row set up correctly then you build as normal up the wall. You can always dry-lay the tiles first (this simply means laying them out on the floor) first to try different patterns – take photos on your phone of each as you go so …

Woo hoo I have a new website!

I am a complete technophobe and even when I try really hard at getting it right, more often than not I get it all wrong so the concept of building my own website was more than a little daunting. A friend pointed me in the direction of Wix claiming it was really easy to use. I was very skeptical but I spent many hours, made lots of mistakes, got frustrated, got un-frustrated and ta- daaaaaaaahhhhh here it is!  I am terribly proud of myself because it all seems to work well and is a great place to see all the things I do… magazine room makeovers, styling, writing, up cycling and craft, as well as the videos I did for Style At Home magazine. It’s also got info on my new venture which is taking on private commissions for design and styling because for years people have asked me to come and help but up tis now I’ve only worked on magazine features. So I’m excited and I hope you have a chance to look at …

Take a simple wooden box or crate and turn it into something wonderful for your home

Wooden boxes or crates. Bit bland, bit nothingy you say? Well yes some are and the best we can think of to use them for is to hold magazines or kick shoes into in a porch but what else can you do with this unassuming little thing? Lots, actually and as I like wood – it’s strong and sturdy, happy to be painted or have holes drilled – I thought I’d collate a few ideas together and I hope you find something you like. All these ideas are pretty straightforward and require minimum DIY experience and some are just about the decoration so no matter what your skill level, there’s something you can do. Where to get the boxes in the first place? Car boot sales or charity shops have been known to offer a few vintage treasures (I’ve picked up old wine boxes and a gorgeous 30 year old Australian fruit crate) and of course there’s always EBay, but if you want a few that match, or smooth contemporary versions rather than the old …

New paint from Little Greene – “Blue” – giving you a sneaky peek of the most inspiring collection I’ve seen in a long time

Working as a freelancer for magazines means I am lucky enough to see press releases of all sorts of lovely products, trends and ideas before they hit the shelves in the shops, or are shown off in magazines. It’s exciting to see what’s coming next and I am a complete sucker for a paint chart because I absolutely love looking at new colours and working out where I can use them on projects I’m working on.  I have just seen the new “Blue” range from one of my favourite paint manufacturers, Little Greene – a truly mouthwatering collection of shades and I wanted to share them so you can start planning your own re-painting project. Really and truly they are the most beeeaauuuutiful colours I’ve seen in a long time (and I spend a vaguely concerning amount of time looking at paint). They aren’t available until September but this will give you (and me) time to work out what colour to use where in your home… Lots of people think blue is a cold colour and yes, certain shades …

What can I do with a junk shop side table?

Side tables… jolly useful for a cup of tea, glass of wine, TV remotes or a book. Those in the shops are generally fine, just a bit blah but charity shops, car boot sales and junk shops often have a sad small table or two just asking to be given some love. Small projects like this are a great place to start learning how to upcycle furniture because they’re cheap, don’t take long or cost a fortune to transform and it’s fun to try ideas out without worry because even though you will probably create something fantastic, if it all goes wrong, you haven’t lost very much. I hope there’s something that makes you reach for the paintbrush as this is a perfect project to join the upcycle revolution 🙂 When purchasing, check for any major wobbles (and see if there’s a screw to tighten to remedy this), and ideally buy solid wood pieces (not flat-pack plastic coated versions) because these are easier to paint successfully. Lots of old tables have a piece of glass covering the top surface which allows you to display anything you like …

Want to make your house stand out? Make your own fabulous number plaque from a slate floor tile

Everyone’s home has a name or number of course and having clear identification means that all friends can find you when they come to visit, or that special online purchase is delivered without a hitch. When I was looking for a number plaque for my house that was traditional yet bold, I found limited choice, none of which inspired me. I was sure I could do something myself that I would love the look of and as I always like things if they’re a bit unusual this was the way to go. In simple terms, the plaque is made from a 40cm slate floor tile with the number painted on top. I used white paint but you could do something really eye-catching with orange or turquoise (or any other bright colour) paint – get a small pot of craft paint at Hobbycraft to avoid wastage or use a standard exterior or oil-based paint. The only thing is to make sure it’s a good contrast to the colour tile you choose so it can be seen …

Inspiration from across the pond – Loving HGTV magazine

I’m a subscriber to a few American homes/decorating magazines and I love them dropping on my doormat. There’s a similarity of course to those we buy here, but there’s also a slightly different viewpoint and approach to decor and schemes that I personally find inspiring. As I paint, make, write and decorate for magazines in the UK, it’s interesting to compare and contrast   and absolutely, I learn lots too. The American market seems to be deeply practical and HGTV magazine clearly inspires as well as instructs. Reading from the UK means that in order to recreate the ideas you need to do legwork to find paints the same sort of colour, as well as clever primers and the like but it’s all quite do-able and the slightly different take our cousins across the sea have means that anything you do bring into your home will give it an unusual twist – and we all like being unique, don’t we? This month’s HGTV magazine cover is four-part in contrasting colour schemes – all a splash of colour to brighten this rainy …

Fabulous upcycle projects in Style At Home

My copy of the fantastic “Style At Home” magazine has just dropped on the doormat. There’s so much to read and be inspired by in the issue including these upcycle projects where I’ve turned drab, run of the mill things into lovely home accessories using on-trend pastel colours and geometric shapes. Go grab a copy as all the instructions you need to do it yourself are there!

Hang a gallery picture wall to add personality to your home

Blank walls in a home are common, but can make a room look boring and characterless. Either we finish decorating and haven’t the energy to put anything up, can’t find anything we like, or just don’t know where to start. A gallery wall, where a display of pictures, photos or other art either of similar ilk or vastly different hang together in a group. This can either be in a structured group with matching frames or a mis-matched collection for eclectic, relaxed style. The former is pretty easy to achieve, the latter, although looking unstructured can be trickier but well worth the effort. Whatever you decide to do, always use a spirit level so your results are considered and beautiful, not wonky! What to put up? The choice is yours of course, but it can be great to take the opportunity of finally printing out some photos from your phone to frame. My iPhone pics are a high enough resolution to print out pretty large so as long as you’re not thinking poster size, upload …