Thursday, 30 October 2014

Billy Is In The House

Last week we took delivery of four Billys; you know the ubiquitous, whisper it *IKEA*, bookcases. I have a bit of a thing about books in that 1) I find it very hard to let go of any that I've read (unless they were truly awful, in which case they are gone, gone, gone) and 2) I find it very hard to stop buying new (or new to me) books despite the fact that my unread bookcases are pretty full.

This was the situation in the snug back in March 2012
Meanwhile on the landing...
As a result of this (some might call it a problem, but I prefer quirk), there were 20 boxes of books taking up valuable storage space in the garage and feeling pretty neglected. Plus, a house isn't a home unless it's full of books in my opinion, which meant our garage was doing a great impression of a home, while our actual home wasn't so much.

Hubby and I decided that the best place for the books would be the snug; we got a quote from a carpenter for some built-in, made-to-measure bookcases that made us wonder whether housing the books was such a good idea (let's just say it was a four-figure sum), and then we struck upon the idea of the Billy. Sometimes when we make a decision it takes forever to put it into practice, but not this time. We were all bish, bash, bosh, let's do it. We popped round to our neighbours house to look at their Billys (that's not meant to sound rude, but somehow it does), we checked the IKEA website for size options and set to measuring the snug, I went to IKEA in Bristol a few days later to see Billy and his extended family and check that the colour we thought we wanted was definitely the right option, then hubby was on the IKEA website and an order was placed. Then it was just a case of clearing out the snug (hubby did a great job) and waiting for the delivery van to arrive. And while we're waiting let's take a look at how the snug has changed over the last few years.
Prior to moving in
Check out those clashing curtains

The walls finally got some colour at the beginning of the year
OK, that's enough reminiscing, back to the present and it's all change - hubby got those bookcases up in double quick time (I had visions of one half-built bookcase with a hammer through it since hubby is not the greatest fan of IKEA/flatpack furniture, but everything went very smoothly), so much so that I only had a chance to take a photo when they were all already built. Excuse the awful quality of the snaps - iPhone + night time = baaaad.

 And so it begins - this is hubby's bookcase; yes that's right, he has one, I have three.

You can only imagine the sheer pleasure of unpacking box after box of books and arranging/re-arranging them on those shelves. Bliss. (Yes, you may call me odd, but I used to work in a library.)


And, finally, the boxes were empty (as long as you don't count the three [or is it four?] that are still in the garage full of travel guides...) and the shelves were full. There isn't much room left for future purchases, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, it feels so good to walk in to a room full of books, and in the evening when the fire is lit and the lamps are on, it really does feel like a snug.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Decorating the Hilda Ogden Way

There's been some decorating going on in these here parts. I have to admit we haven't been DIY-ing this time though, but instead got Derek the Decorator on the case. He's done two weeks' worth for us and has completely transformed the living room, hallway and the stairs up to the first floor.

This little nook in the hallway has undergone quite a transformation. 
From this:
Via this
To this:
And this. The jug has since been moved and replaced with a photo since the 'artfully arranged twigs' looked a bit much against such busy wallpaper.
What do you think of the wallpaper? Not everyone's cup of tea I'm sure, but we absolutely love it. We first spied it in the window of a lovely ironmongers in Warwick when we were up there for the mediaeval glamping experience last summer. I then sent off for some samples in the various colourways. They arrived, we oohed and ahhed over them and then promptly put them away in a drawer.
But when we knew Derek was soon to arrive it set us to thinking of we really wanted in the hallway, and our minds went back to this wallpaper. We both really liked this colourway and we happened upon a paint that we felt went well with it, and so we decided to go for it. At £60+ a roll it was a nail biting decision because if we didn't like it, it was quite an expensive mistake to make (thank goodness we only needed one roll.)
But, luckily, we both absolutely love it. It's certainly got a touch of Hilda Ogden about it, don't you think?!?
It's by Little Greene and is called Great Ormond Street (in the cappuccino colourway in this instance), in case you were wondering. Apparently it's based on a wallpaper removed from the ground floor rear closet of a very early-18th century house opposite Great Ormond Street Hospital (according to the LG website.) 

The rest of the hallway and the walls up the stairs to the first floor have also been decorated, although just with paint rather than overdraft-enducing wallpaper. We've gone from white:
to 'wheatgrass' (aka beige...)
And up the first part of the stairs, again from white...
to wheat.
The wall at the top has been painted, but I was too eager to get a photo to wait for it to be done. 




Next time I'll show you the changes in the living room/dining room/kitchen - I bet you can hardly wait!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

House Swap Holiday in New England: the shopping!

I cannot tell a lie, I do love to shop. Be it for clothes, furniture, books, or even groceries, I enjoy the browsing, the choosing and the buying. And in the USA I love to shop even more - there is just so much choice and so, of course, my bag came back bulging at the seams and only just shy of its maximum weight limit of 50lb. 

Here's a glimpse of what the kitchen table looked like when I started to unpack my haul.
Then I stacked some of it neatly on the side.
Here are the books. All are cozy crime; got to get my fix while Stateside since they are harder to come by in the UK; best thing was that most of them were second hand - got to love a bargain or 18...)
And here they are in alphabetical order...
Some beauty products; good to stock up on the Clinique while going through duty free and Aer Lingus had a great deal on the perfume that I've been wanting to buy for ages, so I couldn't say no. The Aveda box set is destined to be a gift (no one specific in mind but it looked so nice that I couldn't resist; however, I may find it difficult to part with...)

A selection of clothes; shirt on the left for me, t-shirts for DC. We also bought him a coat which I forgot to add to the line-up, and several more t-shirts. Spoilt.

Craft/home/migraine-solving items

And let's not forget the food stuffs...
Jars of sweet and savoury goodness from the fabulous Stonewall Kitchen. It's fair to say that these jars and the books are probably what added most to the suitcase weight issue.
Savoury goodies. 
Biscuit-shaped goodness.
Chocolate-coated goodness.
Gooey, pouring/spreading goodness.
And a couple of seasonal additions to the home. I already collect the Department 56 Dickens Village series of figures and buildings, and I've wanted to collect the Hallowe'en series for a while so I thought I'd make a start with this little chap.
Plus, of course, some Christmas decorations to add to our ever-growing collection. The one on the far right is of a covered bridge, something you see quite a lot of in New Hampshire and Vermont.
And finally, a little something for the walls. This is a giclee print by the American artist Sabra Field. Hubby and I spotted this when we were looking through the window of a gallery in Woodstock one evening; the gallery was shut at the time so we went back the next day for a closer look and fell in love with several of her prints. In the end we settled for this one which is entitled 'Snow on Snow on Snow.' Apologies for the pretty feeble photos, but I find it really tricky to get a good shot of anything that's framed because the light just bounces off the glass.

 I also picked up this print when Mum & I visited The House of the Seven Gables in Salem; it reminds me of the cover of a cozy crime book and I thought it would look good in the snug. One day I might actually get round to buying a frame for it and hanging it on the wall.
And that's it! Congratulations on making it to the end of this post (especially if shopping isn't really your thing.)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

House Swap Holiday in New England: Part IV, Massachusetts

Massachusetts was our final destination for this summer's holiday; it was just a brief two-night stopover and two of hubby's friends very kindly put us up. We didn't arrive until early evening on the Wednesday and by lunchtime on the Friday we were heading to the airport, but that still gave us all day Thursday and we decided a trip to Boston was in order.

And what better way to entertain a small boy who has quite a thing for Octonauts, than a visit to the New England Aquarium

We found Dory, but no sign of Nemo
jellyfish

piranha - scary!
not a ghost, but a ray




our friends' house - like something from Desperate Housewives
the last supper
sign on the way to the airport - all well and good as long as you're not late for your flight!

homeward bound after a fantastic holiday; already looking forward to the next one!