Wednesday, 29 October 2014

HIGH PILE RUGS & TODDLERS

Decorating a house can be challenging at times when there are small children involved. We have been very lucky in the past as we have not had any major accidents but something funny (although, not funny at the time) happened a few weeks ago that I thought I'd share with you.

Currently we have an Ikea Gaser high pile rug in our living room (you can see pictures in my older post the-masculine-living-room-before-after) and I have been quite happy with it. It goes very well with our living room colour scheme and is very soft and fluffy. However, I find this rug very heavy and a nightmare to keep clean (too heavy to lift) plus it is somewhat small. We had an unfortunate incident few weeks ago as our daughter, who is a toddler, loves lying on the rug and drinking her milk on it while watching TV. She somehow managed to pour almost a whole bottle of full fat milk (120 ml) on it without us noticing for quite sometime. The rug is high pile so it absorbed everything and it wasn't visible but we started noticing the smell after few days. And, let me tell you, it wasn't a pleasant smell!


The first thing we did was try to clean the spillage by using cold water (apparently it stops the milk stain setting in permanently) and then we tried to sponge clean it with warm water and dishwasher detergent. We even used a dry shampoo on it but the smell seemed to linger. I was reluctant to get it professional cleaned as the rug is from Ikea and costs only 80 pounds. If anything this would be a great time to replace it with a less heavy rug, right? So, without wasting any time, I ordered a new rug from Ikea while my husband was still trying to save the old one (of course he didn't think we needed a new rug..)

The new one I ordered was the Ikea Morum Rug which is a flat woven rug and even though I hadn't seen it in person I thought, based on the pictures online, it would be perfect. Sadly, when the rug arrived I was having doubts about it. The size was good but I missed the softness and the texture of my old rug. Also, the colour was more beige than I thought it would be. You can see it here on my Instagram page.

I ended up returning the rug in the end. I was never fully happy with my current rug and I didn't want to purchase another one that I wasn't sure about. I used Ikea's pick up service so I didn't have to go and take it to the store myself.  You won't be refunded for the delivery though but this seemed like a stress free option at the time.

By the way, we ordered this bean bag from Great Little Trading Co. for our daughter a while ago and she does seem to enjoy it (although she is starting to prefer our sofa now). I love the funky design of this bean bag but I cannot believe it's spot clean only! Time will tell whether it will remain white but otherwise I have been very happy  with it. Also, my experience with the company and their customer service was very good so I will definitely use them again.

In the end, we managed to get the smell out of the rug (it spent many days airing in our garden and conservatory) and thanks to our 'milk bottle incident' I now have a better idea what I want from our next rug. And, I will not settle for anything less than PERFECT (even if it means that it might get ruined again).

Here's my wishlist:

  • Low or medium pile (still provides some texture but is not as heavy as high pile)
  • The material has a nice sheen but should not be too shiny (overly shiny often indicates poorer quality)
  • Grey or taupe colour
  • Luxurious looking with some fine strands of silky viscose
  • Good value. Let's face it, it is not a good idea to invest in an antique rug that could get ruined again.
I would like the rug to add instant texture to our room as the rest of our living room is quite masculine with all the chrome and stainless steel detailing. I would also like it to be a statement piece as it will be placed in front of the fireplace which is the focal point of the room. Practicality is also one of my biggest concerns as it is important that I can hoover the rug in order to keep it clean.

I found some great rugs in John Lewis and Heals but I need to go and view them myself this time. I am also not ruling out Ikea, although for the time being, I haven't found any suitable ones on their website.

Another thing to bear in mind is that if we didn't have a small child in the house of course my criteria for a new rug would be very different but at the moment I have to consider this when decorating. Comfort is equally important to me as the aesthetics. Living room is such a cosy place that every single member in the family needs to be able to enjoy it and not worry 'too' much about making a mess. I read a great article on Apartment Therapy few days ago called Do you buy furniture with kids in mind? It's worth a read and my answer is yes and no. It is interesting to see how people have many different views on this. I would love to hear yours!

Happy Midweek!

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

DIY - GLAMOROUS HALLOWEEN DECOR

Halloween is not as big in the UK as it is in the States but every year shops are bringing out more and more Halloween decorations. I find that most of these are aimed at kids so I thought it would be nice to come up with a bit more grown up look for our house this year.

I feel lucky that we have gone for the monochrome theme in our house as black and white are a great backdrop for Halloween decorations. I have to say, I am absolutely loving the colour orange at the moment. Not only is orange the ultimate Halloween colour, but it is also perfect for autumn decorations. I actually feel that our Halloween decor is this year very much inspired by the beautiful autumn colours; mainly brown, orange, beige and maple.


Another colour that has made it's way to my favourites list is gold. Previously, most of our home accessories have been silver/chrome but I am loving the mix of black and gold at the moment. They look very stylish together!

Even though the best place to get Halloween decorations is the supermarket, I also like doing a bit of DIY myself. These are all very easy and quick to make. I wanted to make traditional Halloween decorations sparkly and glamorous so I bought plenty of glitter and started glamming things up!

SPARKLY PUMPKINS

This is the first year I bought some miniature pumpkins for the house. I am not really into pumpkin carving myself. I leave that to my husband. But, I am loving the mini versions! One of my favourite decorations this year are the sparkly pumpkins! All you need it all purpose glue (washable preferably), spatula and lots of gold glitter (I also taped the stump to avoid getting glitter on it). They are supposed to last a bit longer too once they are coated. Love them!

The tray here is a vintage Backman tray from 1966


Tea lights and the tea light holder are from Waitrose.
AUTUMN INSPIRED TRAY

I used the Iittala 'Aalto' Stainless Steel serving tray for this setting. The stainless steel looks astonishingly good with orange and gold. The Chilewich placemats also compliment the tray nicely. I used some old potpourri, natural pine cones covered in gold glitter, some leaves from our garden and Iittala 'Kivi' tea light holder.


The cones are very easy to make. All you need is clear glue and gold glitter. Spray painting them is also a good option.

 

SPARKLY SPIDERS

I bought plain plastic spiders and then just gave them a 'sparkly' make over. I used all purpose glue and some glitter. They are very easy although a bit messy to make...


HALLOWEEN JARS

Is anyone else addicted to Gu desserts? Any empty glass jar will do to be honest but we just had so many of these lying around the house. Initially, I was going to spray paint them orange but then I liked the clear look and just added a pretty ribbon. The ribbon is actually more yellow than orange but it will have to do. These glass jars also make great tea light holders. It doesn't really get much cheaper than that!

There are some really stunning home accessories out there that are well suited for Halloween such as skull cushion from Dwell or silver skull from Argos. We usually get a real pumpkin as well but I think I will invest in some plastic ones this year.

I am also seriously considering adding some orange items for our house now. I've been trying to introduce more colour to our monochrome theme and the Kelly Hoppen range has some stunning vases in orange in different shapes and textures at the moment. I have my eye on this particular one that has a lovely texture about it (see link here). I find that orange goes with black and white incredibly well and that it can lift the mood of virtually any room.

There is still a week to go but our house is looking pretty much ready for the Halloween celebrations. We will be having pumpkin pasta and some delicious miniature ice cream cones topped with popping candy. It really doesn't get better than that, right?

Happy Halloween to everyone!

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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

IITTALA TAIKA - TIMELESS TABLEWARE WITH A MODERN TWIST

As you may already know, I am a massive fan of Finnish design brand Iittala and I have been collecting their tableware for over 10 years now. In the last few years, one of their more recent collections really caught my eye. It is the Iittala Taika Collection.

Taika means 'Magic' in English and I do find this range magical! Taika tableware, designed by Klaus Haapaniemi, are contemporary looking and enchanting at the same time. They come in multiple colour combinations but I have opted for the black and white one (surprise surprise!). Especially the red and blue ones are striking and real statement pieces for the dinner table.


At the moment, our collection consists of dinner plates (30 cm), dessert plates (22 cm), bowls (26 cm), white coffee cups, coffee plates, mugs and most recently their deep plates (22 cm) which are great for serving pasta. Since Taika collection was introduced in 2007, it seems to have really taken off and the fact that Iittala keep adding new lines to the collection speaks volumes.
 

Placemats: Chilewich Basketweave









Taika dinnerware are especially great for entertaining! They are everyday pieces but if we are having a dinner party it is pretty much for certain they will be used. I mix and match them with Iittala's Teema plates which are black and they really complement each other.

Runner: Chilewich Metallic Lace
Plates: Iittala Taika & Teema
Flutes: Waterford Crystal

I recently discovered that Taika collection is now available in textiles (cushion covers, tea towels and throws) so I also bought the tea towels for our kitchen. They are perfect as they match our tableware but also because they are colourful and a bit quirky. They bring a bit of fun to our contemporary and safe colour scheme. I do wonder if the colours will fade with time but so far so good...




I have been so impressed with Taika series that I constantly keep adding new items to our collection.
Initially, I was contemplating getting Villeroy and Boch NewWave dinnerware but  I found the plates very heavy and not the most practical due to their shape. I am glad that I chose Taika in the end as they are so beautiful to look at and versatile. I also know that Iittala quality will stand the test of time which is as important to me as the beautiful aesthetics of this collection.

For more information visit Iittala Official Website.
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