Tuesday, 11 September 2018

NEW SYMMETRICAL GALLERY WALL WITHOUT NAILS



I guess it's safe to say I love gallery walls since I just added the third gallery wall to our house few months ago. They are quite easy to put together, although I do find symmetrical gallery walls more time consuming than asymmetrical ones. If you're planning to put together a nice and organised symmetrical gallery wall, you need take a few things into consideration before you start banging nails on those walls (I didn't use nails on mine and will share my 'nail free' method with you shortly). 

So, few months ago I decided to add the third gallery wall to our family home. You may remember our landing make-over earlier this year, so it kind of made sense to redo our old (6 years old to be exact) gallery wall at the same time. I had previously used smaller frames from Ikea and they just looked too small in that big space and I had also gone off the walnut coloured frames too. If you don't believe how hideous it used to look, here's the proof.. The following picture still makes me cringe.. What was I thinking?!




The easiest part was to choose the right photos for the frames. You could also use art prints but I wanted this gallery wall to be filled with our family photos. I chose large frames (30x40 cm) so that the gallery wall would really showcase all the photos and create more impact. I also made sure that the colours and the themes in the photos complemented each other. It's not a must but if you're going for coloured photos it helps to be at least somewhat consistent with the colours. 

I placed all the frames on my bed before attempting to hang them up. I wanted to make sure the order was right and of course I ended up changing it quite a few times. Once I was happy with the layout,  I taped A4 size paper cutouts onto the wall where the frames were going to go. It's really important to visualise what the gallery wall is going to look like before actually attempting to hang anything up. Then I made sure the gaps between the frames were more or less the same so it wouldn't look unbalanced. There are many different ways to make sure that your photos are level. The easiest is probably to use a string and mark the spots with a pencil. You'll still need to check all the gaps with a measurement tape though. I realised half way through that our wall wasn't straight (don't you just love old houses!) and had to redo some of the nails. Once all the measurements were (more or less..) the same and it looked good, I was happy to start putting those 'faux' nails in. I'm sure there is a more mathematical way to do all this but I was simply running out of time and had to get my gallery wall up very quickly. I remember finishing my gallery wall pretty late at night and had guests coming in the next day, so I really didn't have a lot of time to play around with them.




Like I said, this time I wanted to use extra large frames to create more impact. I got my frames from Desenio and ended up buying the passe-partout as well. The gold frames were my biggest expense but I think they were totally worth it. Luckily I managed to print the photos myself, so at least I didn't have to pay for that. I printed out regular A4 size photos and they fit the frames perfectly. The frames are plastic by the way which is not really that obvious by looking at them. However, I wanted them to be shatter proof, especially since we have young children. Also, you have no idea how many times people walk past them and knock them over. 





I didn't want to use old fashioned nails on our newly painted walls, so I opted for command sticky nails in stead. They are the perfect damage-free solution when you don't want to be using traditional nails. I think they work with most photo frames and were an absolute godsend for us. Trusts me replastering old walls isn't fun and if you want your nails to stay in place you need an electric drill, not a hammer. I had to readjust the nails a few times but once they were all more or less level I was pretty happy with them.




Below you can see our bedroom gallery wall which must be at least 3 years old now. I need to put up some more recent photos soon. I kind of think having two symmetrical gallery walls next to each other is pretty genius. 




So there you have it. Our third gallery wall has transformed our landing and it definitely catches your eye as you walk past it. I like both asymmetrical and symmetrical gallery walls and would use them in different rooms in the house. If you're going for an organised, zen look, symmetry is your friend. Asymmetrical walls, like in our dining room, create much more interest and can be very captivating which is why I think they are great in common areas, like halls and living rooms. You can also have a bit more fun with them and include different shapes, materials and colours. Most importantly, use photos and art work that you really love. You'll find yourself admiring the gallery wall a lot more if it has photos or art that means a lot to you. 


What's your preference? Asymmetrical or symmetrical, or both? 

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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

I'VE BEEN NOMINATED IN THE AMARA INTERIOR BLOG AWARDS!


About a month ago, the lovely people at Amara got in touch with me to tell me I had been nominated for one their prestigious Interior Blog Awards, this time in the 'Best Use of Photography' category. Obviously I was over the moon about the news.  I've been very lucky to be nominated in the past in the Best Design Inspiration Category, but I feel like this years category means so much more to me (I'll explain to you later why). 


As you may know already, Amara Interior Blog Awards (also known as the IBA's), is THE event of the year in the interior blogging industry. It's all about giving recognition to the most loved and respected blogs in the industry, but it's also a big event in terms of networking for bloggers (which is why I would absolutely love to get shortlisted this year!)

So, why am I so excited about being in this new category this year? I hope it's pretty obvious when you look at my blog. I take photography very seriously and it is a massive part of my blog. My love of photography came before my love of interiors. I started off with portraiture and studied portrait and social photography in college few years ago to get a hang of it all. I loved shooting my daughter when she was little and then started building my portfolio shooting friends children and then had some lovely clients as well. I started shooting interiors when I opened my blog in 2014 and it's been keeping me so busy that I made the decision focus on interiors rather than people (although I would never rule out doing both when I my children are a bit older and I have more time).

I'm so happy that photography is such a big part of my blog and that I get to shoot 99.9% of the images myself. I love the creative process and planning behind the photo shoots, and even the photo  editing part which is sometimes the most consuming task of them all. What I also love about photography is that you'll never be perfect. You'll need to constantly learn new skills and improve your shooting style. I also think it's really important to find an original shooting style that differentiates you from all the other photographers out there. 


It's truly an honour to be EVEN nominated in this category, but it would be my dream to be shortlisted one day. It's going to be extra tough this year though. This year all the categories are open internationally as well which means I'm also against some of my favourite American and European  blogs. But, if you don't try, you're never going to win, right?

So, if you like my blog or my photography, please cast a vote! It would mean the world to me to get shortlisted and please let me know if you have voted for me, so I can personally thank you for the support. Also, thank you so much for reading my blog. If you have any ideas/feedback/questions, just leave a comment below or message me. I'd love to hear from you!

YOU CAN VOTE FOR ME HERE.

Psst! If you love photography as much as I do, you'll be pleased to hear that all voters will be automatically entered into a draw to win a very cool SOFORT instant camera! All you have to do is to submit at least one vote for your favourite blog (you can only vote once in each category) before 19th of September and you could a lucky winner!  So, get voting...
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Tuesday, 31 July 2018

SURVIVING THE HEATWAVE

 






I guess it's safe to say that this summer has been so far a memorably hot one. I know everyone isn't a fan of the heatwave, but we have fully embraced it. I've always loved hot weather, although 30+ degrees Celsius sometimes feels a little too much when you live in London. 

Having a garden has really made the heatwave more bearable for us, especially now that the girls are on school holidays. I'm so happy we installed a timber decking in our garden few years ago. We definitely spend more time in our garden than in any other room at the moment, so I've made sure that it's fully furnished too. Our Alexander Francis garden dining room set is now 3 years old but luckily it still looks brand new. Functional dining room table and some additional seating is a 'must' if you want to turn your garden area into a second living room.







A good sized
paddling pool has been a godsend in this weather too (especially with the kids). I bought ours from Amazon two years ago and although it takes ages to fill (and sadly deflates a lot quicker than I had expected), it's been worth it. I know it won't last forever, but I'm ok with that considering the price. I guess the most important thing is that my girls absolutely love it. They can easily spend an entire day in and out of the pool so it does provide hours of endless entertainment for them (and obviously for me too!). It's the ideal height for our (almost) 3 year old and big enough for some smaller beach inflatables too. The best part is that it's big enough for adults too, so I've ended up using it few times myself when it has been unbearably hot. You'll definitely need to invest in an electric air pump though. This pump from Rantizon has done the job for us. Our giant swan inflatable is by Sunny Life. Isn't it cute? I think I'm more obsessed with it than my girls.. Who says you need a real swimming pool for quirky inflatables, eh?!




Our lovely neighbour gave us some gorgeous hydrangeas from their garden. I adore blue hydrangeas but sadly they only lasted few days in the vase. I've given up buying roses too in this heat. The only flowers that seem to survive in this weather are carnations. PS. I obviously keep the flowers indoors in this heat. I do not recommend placing any flowers in direct sunlight, unless it's for a brief photo opportunity which is of course a perfectly acceptable exception.



Air conditioning is not exactly common in the UK in residential homes. Annoyingly cooling down our home has been a real struggle in the last few months. Don't get me wrong, I do love the hot weather but it's challenging at times. It doesn't help that we live in an old house I guess. I try to keep the windows open during the day (although apparently you should close them to keep the heat out). I need the fresh air, so I can't imagine ever doing that. Usually I just drop the blinds down to block the sunlight. We also bought a very stylish fan from Dyson few years ago and it's been so useful recently. We also have a slightly larger version of it our TV room. My husband uses them all the time as he cannot stand the heat.   



Do you love the heat or have you had enough? Leave a comment or let me know on twitter!
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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

MY HOME TOUR ON AMARA.COM








 



I have some pretty cool news! Our home is now featured on Amara.com. It felt like too good to be true when Amara asked me if I'd like to be featured on their Home Inspiration page. I've been a massive fan of Amara for years now, so obviously it was no brainer really. My house tour is now live on their website (see it here) and since it's summer the emphasis was on summer/garden living. Of course I also had to feature our brand spanking new marble & monochrome bathroom there. I'm still pretty obsessed with the makeover in case you haven't noticed.

It's always so much fun to style and photograph new products for clients. The first product I bought from Amara was my Chilewich lace runner which is now almost 5 years old. It wasn't cheap, but it still looks brand new and it's such a statement piece which is why I never regretted the splurge. A by Amara (which is Amara's very own brand) has also recently impressed me. I styled some new products from this range as well and must say that the quality/price ratio is excellent.

I really hope you enjoy my Summer Home Tour on Amara.com and don't forget that you can also shop all the products on the Home Inspiration page. Just click on the images and the product list will appear. So easy and simple!

Go to my Home Tour HERE!

*This post is in collaboration with Amara. 

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

MAKE-OVER: NEW MARBLE & MONOCHROME BATHROOM



You have no idea how relieved and happy I am now that our never-ending bathroom renovation is finally finished. Honestly I thought we'd never get there. Our bathroom reno got delayed by a few months when our bathroom fitter broke his hand, but luckily it all turned out fine in the end. This make-over has felt like the hardest of them all. I think it's got a lot to do with the fact that I did all the designing, project managing, hiring and sourcing the materials myself. I knew that if this room would look like a mess, I'd only have myself to blame and nobody else. Luckily, I think it turnout great and I really hope you like it too.

Our downstairs bathroom wasn't really that bad to begin with. It was a pretty standard bathroom but it was totally lacking any wow factor for me. We installed real marble floor tiles when we moved in but it didn't take too long before you could see some wear and tear. It wasn't ideal to be honest and I knew that I'd like to renovate the bathroom entirely at some point.

Here's what our old bathroom used to look like..











We pretty much changed everything. I had always wanted a fully tiled marble bathroom with some striking matt black accessories. Obviously I was always going to go for a monochrome theme just like the rest of the house, right? Also, I figured if we were to ever sell this house and the next owner wasn't a monochrome fan, it would be quite easy for them to replace the black taps with chrome ones. Marble effect tiles are timeless and I'm yet to meet a person who doesn't like marble, so I thought it's a safe bet. But essentially I designed this bathroom for me and wanted it to be my dream bathroom and something that I will enjoy everyday. I was lucky that my husband had only two requests and that was to install a jacuzzi bath and a rain shower. I made sure that he liked the tiles and the appliances too of course. Luckily our taste is pretty similar though. I don't think neither of us could live with a pink bathroom (no offence to any pink bathroom owners out there!)

Are you ready for the after photos?







LAYOUT

Our downstairs bathroom isn't huge which meant that I didn't really have a lot of options to do anything drastic with the layout. We wanted to keep the bath (or to get a new one) and I knew it would take up most of the room. The old layout didn't work for me at all in terms of the aesthetics, so I decided to move the toilet next to the bath and the basin against the opposite wall. If you're planning to move plumbing around like I did, be prepared to pay a bit extra for that as it's a pretty time consuming job. I do think it was worth it as the black round mirror above the basin really makes a big difference, don't you think?





MARBLE EFFECT TILES

I always wanted a fully tiled marble bathroom but I wasn't going to repeat the mistakes I made with our bathroom mini make-over. To keep it short, we installed real marble tiles 5 years ago that started to deteriorate only after a year or so. It totally put me off real marble in the bathroom and I chose marble effect porcelain and ceramic tiles for this project in stead. I went for very realistic looking marble effect tiles by an Italian manufacturer called Pasta Blanca. Our bathroom fitter sourced the tiles directly from N&C Tiles and Bathrooms so we could get a trade discount. Gloss tiles can be dangerous when wet (especially if you have small children) so I chose matt marble effect porcelain tiles for the floor. I picked the glossy ceramic tiles for the walls so that we could maximise all the light that comes in. Our bathroom isn't huge so gloss tiles are great because they allow light to bounce around the room.

TAPS AND SHOWER HEAD 

Few years ago I saw the dreamiest black matt basin mixer tap on Pinterest and knew that if we ever decide to redo the downstairs bathroom, I will need this tap to go in it. It's funny, I kind of picked the tap for this room before the tiles which sounds a little crazy I know. I do think the mixer tap from Tre Mercati is the dreamiest tap out there but according to our fitter it wasn't exactly the easiest to install. But I have to say that is does look absolutely fabulous!
 



The bath mixer tap is also from Tre Mercati but I couldn't find a shower head from the same range (that would have been delivered on time) so I ordered a similar one from the MODE Spencer range. All the accessories are matt black so you wouldn't really notice they are not part of the same range. I do feel like the black accessories pull the look together. I did feel a little silly for blowing most of our budget on the accessories but I think it paid off in the end.

BATH

It was my husband idea to get a whirlpool bath and although I wasn't convinced first, I'm definitely a fan now. If you suffer from upper back pain like I do, you'll find the jacuzzi function a godsend. I've been using our jacuzzi bath twice a week since we had it installed which just goes to show it was a great idea in the end. I think the quality is ok, although I was a little surprised some of the chrome parts are actually plastic. I only use bath oils in the bath and also do a monthly cleaning cycle (I use non bio powder). Otherwise, I find it just as easy to maintain as a regular bath.

TOILET

I really wanted a space saving wall hung toilet for this bathroom but it wasn't possible because the wall it will be fixed onto is load baring. I ordered a compact toilet in stead and our builder also had to add a cistern to it which he luckily boxed up.

VANITY UNIT

Initially, I had ordered a different vanity unit from Soak but it arrived damaged so I had to get another one. I ended up going to our local bathroom store and buying almost an identical (except smaller) vanity unit. To be honest, I think it's a better size so I guess it was meant to be. I also really wanted a wall hung unit so that we could store things underneath it.

BUILT IN SHELVING

Storage was always a big question mark. Our old bathroom had very little room to store anything so I really wanted to create more storage space (which was tricky since this is the smallest room in our house). I thought one long built-in shelf above the bath would be practical and also make a great feature. Of course it also meant that the room would have to be slightly more narrow but  was happy to sacrifice few inches for this cool feature.



ADDITIONAL STORAGE

Of course I still needed more space to store all the products so I bought a black shower caddy from Umbra that just hangs off the shower head. I love that is required zero drilling and holes! I also fell in love with this ladder shelf from John Lewis as it really makes the room feel bigger and lighter. I had to get some small storage boxes so it wouldn't look messy and unorganised. Can you believe we have now more storage space than before which is amazing considering this is our family bathroom after all.


LIGHTING & MIRROR

I've been eyeing up this round mirror from Umbra for a while now and pretty much knew from day one that it would look great above a white gloss vanity unit. It's suitable for the bathroom as are the black wall lights from Dusk lighting, It was so hard to find nice black wall lights online. I wanted something quite contemporary and classy. Not too industrial if it makes sense. We installed a double dimmer switch so we could control the wall lights and the spot lights separately. Best decision ever!



ACCESSORIES

Accessorising the room has definitely been most fun. I felt the room needed a splash of colour as well as a bit of texture to soften the look a bit.

The Missoni Giacomo towels and the bath mat (gifted) were on my wish list from day one. I didn't want to use more than one pattern in the room and Missoni's famous chevron stripes just seemed perfect. I'm totally obsessed with this range. They are also the softest towels I have ever own.



Now we all know that every bathroom needs a good sized laundry basket, am I right? There is nothing more annoying than clothes on the floor which is why I was thrilled when Garden Trading  sent me this woven laundry basket (gifted). It's the perfect size (medium) for this little corner and it's also a lot bigger than it looks. I feel it really softens the look too and adds texture to this room. I also have this same basket in size extra large in my bedroom - that's how much I love them!


Garden Trading also gifted me this chic wire egg basket which I decided to use for cotton wool. It's such a perfect way to add a bit of industrial chic to our new bathroom.


This project wasn't easy but somehow we managed to make it work. I faced a lot of challenges along the way (mainly with our fitter who turned out to be pretty unreliable in the end) but I think I should write another blog post about that. This has felt like the hardest make-over of them all, probably because I decided to do everything myself. I wanted to test my design skills and heavily relied on my own instincts and Pinterest. Although, it was stressful at times, I loved every minute of it and I couldn't feel more proud now that I'm looking at the end result.

I really hope you enjoyed this transformation. I'd love to hear your bathroom renovation stories. Leave a comment below or let me know on Instagram!


PRODUCT LIST
Vanity Unit
Whirlpool Bath
Wall Mounted Basin Mixer

Tre Mercati Mixer Tap for Bath
City Space Toilet
MODE Spencer Shower Set
Woven Laundry Basket (gifted)
Wire Egg Basket (gifted)
Silver Tray (gifted)
Faux Flowers & succulent by Sainsbury's (not available online)
Jo Malone Special Edition Candle
Jo Malone Neroli & Basil Hans Wash
Black make-up mirror H&M (not available online)
Missoni Giacomo Towel Set (gifted)
Giacomo Bath Mat (gifted)
MADE.COM Metal Towel Ring
Umbra Round Mirror
Umbra Cubiko Shower Rack
Ladder Shelf
Rattan Basket
Aquanova Storage Basket Set (gifted)
Black Towel Rail
Marble effect tiles (similar)
Free Standing Toilet Roll Holder
Black Pedal Pin
Astro Wall Lights


* Some of the products in this post are gifted.
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