Tuesday, 22 July 2014

MAKE OVER: THE MASCULINE LIVING ROOM

I suppose the title of the post gives it away?! This is one room in the house that my husband had quite a lot to say.. <deep breaths>. But seriously, I think it's only fair that other people who live here have a say as well.  Our living room  is where we spend most of the time as a family. This is certainly one multi-functional room; we watch TV, eat (more often than we should) and use it for entertaining when we have guests. It is also used as a play room by our toddler although I guess every room is kind of a play room these days...

Here are the before and after pictures!



The room has changed quite a bit since don't you think? The old carpet was removed and new laminate flooring was installed (we used Quickstep Natural Varnished Oak with v-groove). We have used the same flooring in every room downstairs so there is a good sense of flow going through the house. Also the wall paper was removed and the walls were painted using Dulux Timeless colour (Matt). We didn't do any of this work ourselves (the room is too big and we wanted the finish to be perfect). We hired a gentleman called Keith from Chapel Decorating (we found him on  www.ratedpeople.com) and he has always been a pleasure to deal with.

Unlike many modern houses we don't have an open-plan living room so rather than trying to make it feel open-plan, we just wanted it to feel like a nice snug room where you go after dinner to have a chat and a glass of wine. The room is quite wide though which is great. I feel it has a certain zen about it. It feels cosy, calm and well organised.

The focal point of the room is (or should be) the fireplace. Although it seems to be our Samsung 55 inch LED these days.. I don't actually mind it. The TV is thin framed and stylish so I think it blends in pretty well. The fact that it has voice recognition is pretty cool too! We painted the original fireplace white/black with spray paint. I originally wanted to replace it with a new modern fireplace but I might keep it as it is.. It is still a period feature and I think it's important to keep few even though you are going for a contemporary look. We don't actually use the fireplace at the moment but we keep our speaker there.

Candle holders: Georg Jensen
Black Dinner Candles: John Lewis
The high pile rug is from Ikea (see here) and I specifically wanted something fluffy that brings a bit of texture to the room. I think the colour compliments the room nicely but the size is wrong. I knew when I got it that it was too small but thought I'd replace it soon after. However, with our daughter eating on the floor and watching television, it does disguise all food and dirty spots very well. Maybe not hygienic but I might not get rid of it after all until she is a bit bigger. It is very nice to lie on as well. Next time I think I will go for rug that is made of natural materials. I'm pretty sure it will be grayish again but you never know...

You might have noticed we don't have a coffee table in the room. We actually had a long debate about this with my husband and he really wanted one but I felt there was no room and it would block the view to the fireplace. If the room was bigger or open-plan I might have considered a coffee table but the layout of this room and how the other furniture is positioned just wouldn't make it work for me. In stead, we got these side tables which have been great (I think they are from Argos or Ikea.. We got them a long time ago).

The sofa and swivel chair are old but they seemed to be the biggest obstacle we have ever faced as a couple!! I'm totally serious. Husband wanted black leather and I wanted fabric. So what do we get? Fabric and leather. The second dilemma was he likes really slouchy sofas and I like them quite hard. Well I guess we chose something in between but I wish they weren't as deep as they are. The only thing that we bought for this room when we moved in is the Barcelona chair and the matching footstool which I absolutely love. It is such an iconic design! Barcelona chair has been around since 1929 (designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lily Reich) and Knoll owns the production rights for it these days. Ours is not the original but a very good quality version of it (sold by www.baseclassics.com) in premium Italian leather.

Art: Dwell
Sofa: DFS


Magazine rack: Dwell
Cushion: Laura Ashley
Chair: Baseclassics

Chair & foot stool: Baseclassics
Tray: Chilewich Manhattan Tray

Tray: Chilewich Manhattan Tray
Place mat: Chilewich Basketweave

The window was a nigthmare to dress. It's an odd shaped window as you can see and it had an ugly rail attached to it when we moved in. I didn't want curtains in the room as I felt it would make it appear even darker so roman blinds seemed like the perfect option. We purchased them from Hillarys (www.hillarys.co.uk) and have been very happy with their service and quality.

My favourite part of decorating a room is the accessories. Especially art and paintings. The large boxed wall art is from Dwell and it bounces light off beautifully. The two paintings above the television bring a bit of colour to a monochrome room. I actually wrote about them in my older post (read here). It's important to bring a bit of texture to this room as it does have a very streamlined look with all the black, white, metal and glass. By adding some softer materials and funky patterns the room becomes much more welcoming and cozy. In order to get it 'right' there should be a perfect balance of the two which I haven't quite achieved yet but I am getting there.. I hope! Also the good thing about having such a simple monochrome look is that it is the perfect backdrop for displaying statement furniture or funky artwork.

Wall Art: Dwell

Wall Art from www.art.com
Here's a really quirky piece of art that was a gift many many years ago designed by Guillermo Forchino who specialises in comic art. The Character is a businessman. How cool is he?! I just love all the details. For more information about these fabulous figurines, go to http://forchino.nl/





Because our living room is quite masculine (lots of black leather) I have tried adding there few feminine but also neutral items. It's amazing how candles and fresh flowers bring a whole different dimension to this room. By the way, I have yet to find artificial flowers that look nice. Most look so fake that I cannot bear having them in the house also I think a lot is to do with the divine smell of real flowers.










One thing I have learnt about myself is that my home decor is quite formal. I wonder what that says about me?! I guess I just like being organised and definitely feel that less is more when it comes to decorating. Also, I wonder if other husbands/boyfriends care what their house looks like or if I am just the 'unlucky' one? Just kidding ;) I do love this room and we are quite lucky in the sense that both of us have a fairly similar style.
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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

IITTALA NAPPULA

Due to recent holidays it has all been a bit quiet on the blogging front.

I actually went to Finland last month and I am very excited that our Iittala family has grown a little more thanks to this trip. I am a keen collector of Iittala products and love their timeless design and I have been so happy with our new additions that I cannot stop talking/thinking about them.

I have many Iittala candle/tea light holders already but for some reason I had never co me across their Nappula, candle holder (designed in 2012 by Matti Klenell). I had seen them few times on Instagram and wondered what it was but as soon as I saw one (or two!) in their store I knew I had to get them. They are very simple and elegant at the same time. I love the streamed lined look and how something so simple can still be a statement piece.

Nappula candle holders are made of painted steel and feel very sturdy. Iittala also have quite a good selection of colours; white, black, blue, green, brass but the one that I would have hoped for they did not have; stainless steel/silver. I do hope they add this colour to their collection in the future. Apparently Iittala are also going to have red added to their colour selection. You can read about it in purodeco blog. This time I chose to get the large one in white and the small one in black. I think they go perfectly with the monochrome look that our house has. See below.


Candle holder: Iittala Nappula
Vase: A gift
Place mats: Chilewich Basketweave





















By the way, I am obsessed with flowers at the moment. I think it is to do with the summer time and flowers just seem appropriate to have in the house. You can never have too many either. In these pictures I am using home grown roses from our own garden. Not planted by me (I wish!) but they are lovely and free which is the best part. If only we had them all year round!




















I also noticed for the first time that Iittala products are designed in Finland but made in China. They used to make them in Finland and I am a bit disappointed but also understand that they have to keep up with the competition. It is a shame though and I hope the quality has not suffered?! Luckily I have never had any issues with any of their products.

I do hope they maintain the same quality standards and bring out new designs that I can add to my collection. They are such timeless pieces and will be easily carried over to the next generation.

For more information visit www.iittala.com
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