Last week I ordered a pair of these lovely bedside tables for our master bedroom from a small British furniture maker in Sussex called Factory Twenty One. They do a nice range of small tables, and a few wooden home accessories. Their ‘mission’ : to make ‘affordable, easily shipped and eco-friendly house-hold products’.
As they are a small company, they kindly accepted my request for a customised order to slightly modify the wood finish. I asked them if they could make the drawer unit out of ash to match the legs rather than walnut. We don’t have any dark wood in the room, so it would have been slightly at odds with the bed (ash) and the floorboards (eventually white washed pine).
Like the radiators, they too are on a bit of a lead time (4-6 weeks), but I am hoping they will arrive before my next guests!
In addition to deciding on the bedside tables, I’m sure you will all be delighted to hear that we also decided on the laundry basket. After my extensive hunt to find a stylish laundry basket we ended up going for the bargain rope basket from Dunelm which actually feels of much higher quality than the price I am pleased to report! The only issue is that it didn’t come with a lid (despite a somewhat mis-leading image on the website) which would have been tidier.
Two of the key decisions that need to be made in any room is how to light it, and how to add in storage. I shared with you my thoughts on lighting earlier in January… so here is how things are panning out in our master bedroom.
For my three different sources of light in our master bedroom I am going for:
- A pendant light with a large folded white plastic shade in the corner of the room (top left sketch) to provide general overall illumination to the space. It will be on a dimmer switch by the door.
- Two drop pendant lights beside the bed to act as reading lights when we are in bed, and also to act as some ‘jewellery’ in the space. These will be on dimmer switches too, and switched individually on each side of the bed.
- A floor light in the opposite corner of the room to the pendant light to provide a bit of a soft glow in that corner of the room. I have sketched in a tall floor lamp, but it may very well be a low level globe light. This will be plugged into a 5Amp switched socket so it can be linked to a switch by the door.
As for storage, although I haven’t found the exact pieces yet, I have decided on the following shopping list as shown in the sketches above:
- Low end of bed storage box with drawers (for socks, shoes, and ‘smalls’ as Alex calls them), which can double up as a bench.
- A pair of free standing wardrobes perhaps with interior drawers on one side (about 1600mm tall, so we can still hang dresses and suits, but that don’t go to the ceiling or overwhelm the space onto which we can put plants, books etc.).
- Under bed boxes from Habitat on each side of the bed for out of season clothes and our wrapping paper (which is there now!)
- Bedside table with one drawer and legs (to minimise the temptation for multiple junk drawers and to visually free up space on the floor)
I don’t want to install a run of full height cabinets along one wall or beside the chimney breast as the proportions of the room are just fine the way they are and I don’t want to alter it. Also, going back to my original idea of having a more modern approach at the back of the house, and restoring and respecting the original features as much as possible at the front – it makes more sense to have free standing furniture here rather than built ins.
One of the great things about having guests to come and stay is that it usually makes you feel better about the city you live in as you get to view it again through a fresh pair of eyes and actually take time to enjoy it, rather than just pass through it every day on your way to work. Another is that it gives you a boost of energy to get few of those tasks that have been quietly nagging you done.
One of those things that has been on my ‘to-do’ list since we finished the study was to get the desk top sorted out. Having the timber top was nice for a while, but the natural oils from my hands, and the odd tea cup water mark, were making it look a little shabby over time. As you may remember from my blog post back here, my plan was always to cover the off-cut from our bathroom door blank with cork and desktop Marmoleum
It took me a little while to find a distributor, but I eventually found one in the summer called J.De Bruyn Flooring Services who would sell me a small piece. The roll width at 2m was slightly too short for the desk length at 2.4m, so rather than pay for a 2.4m long piece and waste a lot of material, I added a piece of cork at one end, and just ordered a 0.6m wide length which was just the width of the desk, which also adds some visual interest. The Marmoleum roll had been sitting in our grand hall for most of the summer and finally I got around to trimming the roll down to size, and glueing it on. I just used basic white wood glue (PVA) to stick on the Marmoleum. I then flipped the whole desktop over onto a flat carpeted surface so the surface didnt get damaged, and then piled loads of books and anything heavy I happened to have hanging around on top to allow it to set flat. Et voila! It seems to have worked!
I have been keeping my eye open for a timber bench for our ‘Grand Hall’ for ages. Finding the perfect bench is no easy task, (as I know one of my readers in particular can certainly empathise with!). As this task hasn’t been a priority, I never specifically went out hunting for a bench, hoping to just one day stumble upon it serendipitously when pottering through a vintage furniture store after a relaxing artisan coffee break, or browsing through a designer shop online. (You may remember my post about dream benches which I made after collecting a few ideas over the past few weeks)
I generally find that if you go out shopping for something quite specific in a given day, even if you spend hours and hours, you will not find what you are looking for and will just end up being frustrated at having wasted the time. (This basically happens to me every other year when I try to find a new pair of low heel, round toe, black leather boots – why is this so difficult?!).
Anyway. I’d love to tell you a romantic story about how I picked this bench up in a Parisian flea market, or from a country barn hidden away in the Cotswolds, just like the home owners of the interiors featured in Elle Deco magazine always seem to tell. But, the truth of the matter is I found it online (by complete chance, I will add) on Etsy at a store called Magpies Vintage Shop. The old school bench wasn’t expensive, was delivered directly to our door, and fits perfectly in the space. Job done!
For ages I have been collecting dream bench ideas for our ‘Grand Hall’ to sit along the long wall where the fireplace frame, (which we eventually sold on Gumtree) is shown here. Last weekend we actually had time to give the house a clean from top to bottom and when we moved our bikes out of the Grand Hall I was reminded of how nice it would look with a bench to sit on to take off our shoes instead. So, as we are between renovation phases, I thought I’d spend a bit of time on this challenge!
At over £500 a pop they really are ‘Dream Benches’, even if I could wrangle an architect’s discount out of the supplier! The cork topped Marco Cork Bench is just about affordable, however not only does my good friend Claire have one (which you can see here in her lovely new kitchen), it is a little too short for what I am after.
I also considered undertaking an IKEA Hack on the IKEA Sinnerlig cork coffee table, but it hasn’t been in stock for two years (or at least when it says it is, there are only 2 available so I don’t dare take my chances on the epic journey to Croydon only to find them sold!). My plan was to remove the black legs and install bright yellow hairpin legs instead (which you can buy here from Etsy ). The reason I was going to use the coffee table, is that the bench is just a bit too short! Anyway, I have given up on this idea as in time I would probably tire of the hairpin legs (is it just a passing trend?), and also because I wasn’t 100% sure how securely I would be able to fix the legs into the top, given it is probably just has a corrugated cardboard core.
The benches shown include:
- Skagerak Georg Bench in Oak – (with cute elastic held cushion) – 124cm long – £599
- Ercol Love seat in Dead Matt Elm and Beech – 117cm long – On Sale now for £620 from Heals
- Ercol Love Seat in Graded Mandarin – 117cm long – £820
- Seating Bench Two from Another Country – 160cm, 180cm and 200cm long – starting from £685
- Marco Bench – 90cm long – £159
- Sinnerlig Coffee Table – 150 cm long – £85 + 4 Hairpin Legs – £41
- Tom Raffield Crib Bench – (notice the curved wood horizontal bar) – 120cm long – £685
- Rowen & Wren Byron Indoor Outdoor Bench – 123cm long – £682
I love love love the bench from Another Country, and one day, many years from now maybe I will have the bench, the table and the beautiful kitchen dining room extension to put them in, but for now we can simply dream and enjoy the images!
We don’t really buy much furniture from IKEA these days because we are planning on staying put in our home for quite some time, (so want pieces that last), but I have recently been quite impressed with the quality I have seen from their designer collaborations.
So when I was checking in on the stock of the Sinnerlig cork coffee table from last year’s famous designer venture, I stumbled upon the news that the are working on a collection with Swedish glass and ceramic designer Ingegerd Råman.
The collection is called Viktigt and will be available in the UK from April 2016. It seems to be focused on bringing more unique handmade pieces to the IKEA brand. The collection features pretty woven bamboo pieces, and clean lined dishes and glasses for the table. The professional photography (included here from IKEA) looks more ‘lifestyle magazine’ than ‘IKEA catalogue’ – and if I hadn’t told you it was IKEA I suspect you wouldn’t have known!
I’ve been meaning to make a post about the designer collaborations IKEA has been undertaking lately but haven’t really got around to it until now. So, as a break from dusty construction photos, here we go…
Last year in August IKEA released the Sinnerlig collection in the UK which was designed in collaboration with Interior Designer Ilse Crawford.
The affordable collection is comprised of 30 elegant pieces mainly for the kitchen and living room areas and has a really lovely tactile, hand made feel to it. I checked out the collection at my annual pilgrimage to IKEA Croydon last year shortly after it was released and was surprised to find that pretty much everything in the collection was out of stock!
I was planning on undertaking a bit of an ‘IKEA Hack’ and purchasing the cork coffee table top, and using it as a bench (as it is longer than their actual bench), and then buying new taller legs for it.. but sadly it has been out of stock for months.
Instead I came home with the inevitable bag of tea lights, some 365+ Serving dishes , and the 365+ Glass Carafe with Cork Stopper (also pictured above), which somehow both sort of look as though they belong in the collection!