A little pause…

Excuse me while I take a pause to familiarise myself with our new little family member! Needless to day the DIY and house projects have slowed somewhat for the time being… but I will post soon when a window of opportunity presents itself.

In the meantime, here is a photo of some beautiful flowers from my friend Heather, whose amazing plant filled home in Chicago you may remember here.


A Book Nook with Ikea Mosslanda Picture Ledges

Alex installed the Ikea Mosslanda picture ledges in the study/ nursery over the weekend, so now we have a cute little ‘book nook’!

As I briefly mentioned in my previous IKEA related post, these picture ledges replace the Ribba range that were discontinued (about a year ago?). The Mosslanda ledges are a little deeper (120mm),  have a ‘V’ shaped groove routed out of them, and have a taller upstand at the back (as you can see from the side view photo above).   As a picture ledge, I feel as though the Ribba ones were perhaps a little more elegant, but if you are using them as I have as a forward facing book shelf (or for anything with a bit more weight on them) – these modifications work well. The taller upstand at the back also makes them feel MUCH more secure on the wall! As an aside – I’ve also seen these shelves used to display a favourite selection of vinyl records – which also looked great!

As the shelves were being fixed into our brick party wall, we first drilled holes into the masonry, which we then filled with plastic rawl plugs before screwing in the shelves. For more handy tips for fixing into masonry check out this article from the DIY Doctor. I only just discovered this website, and will certainly be back if needed for another project!

It is a really sweet tradition at my office to give anyone expecting a baby a selection of children’s books, as chosen by each employee.  Because the staff range in age from 25-45, and come from a total of 11 different countries, a really interesting collection of stories results… and now we have somewhere to store ours!


Annual Visit to IKEA

My main reason for going to IKEA this year (unlike in previous years) was to pick up some economical drawer units for the nursery to house all the stuff that seems to come with a tiny baby.  I could of ordered the units online, but then I’d of missed out on seeing the new Hay Ypperlig range ‘in person’, and being inspired by all their sensible clever storage solutions for small living in the display areas.

I am pleased to report that the Ypperlig range is all lovely and well made except the shelving unit (which was a little too rickety for my liking), and the felt blankets (which felt a little flimsy and likely to pill within minutes).

So, this year, in addition to the Nordli drawer units, I came home with:

  • Ikornnes Table/ Wall Mirror  – Last year I bought the floor version of this mirror for the guest room, but now the corner that it occupied will be used by our mini study.  The floor mirror therefore found its way into our master bedroom, leaving the guest room without a mirror.  I always kicked myself for not getting the table mirror last year when I went, so this year I rectified that problem! The table mirror can also be mounted on the wall, with the stand flipping forward to be cleverly used as a shelf.
  • Stockholm Round Tray – This high quality walnut tray was introduced into their Stockholm range this year, so I couldn’t resist. It matches the Stockholm mirror that we installed in our living room, which I absolutely LOVE, and which no one believes is from IKEA!
  • Mosslanda Picture ledges – These simple picture ledges replaced their old RIBBA picture ledges when they were discontinued back in 2015. I’ve seen quite a few super cute IKEA hacks of people using these as shelves for children’s books as you can face the books outward and they can take up to 5kg of weight!
  • Salviken Waffle hand towel – Their new range of bath towels with one side waffle, and one side terry is surprisingly soft and economical – so one had to come home with me!
  • Goddag table runner – As I’ll be here in the UK for Christmas I thought I’d pick something up to dress up the table. I thought it might look nice with some festive red candles and napkins.

I didn’t buy the Lisabo coffee table or 2 side tables pictured, but I thought I’d mention it here anyway as one of my ‘IKEA picks for 2017’. The fact that the side tables fit neatly beneath the coffee table and that they could also probably be used as additional seating, is a really clever design for small spaces. Its also made in solid ash, so feels a much more upscale than their laminate furniture and could easily pass for a more expensive brand.


Staircase Finishing Touches

Our re-built staircase has been complete for a little while now, but I only got around to photographing it today – so here it is!

The treads and risers were finished and white washed last month when we had our floors done upstairs, and I painted the uprights a few weeks ago slowly over the course of a few days. As with the rest of the woodwork in the house, I used 2 coats of the Johnstone’s Acrylic Satin for wood work, on top of 1 coat of the Johnstone’s Joncryl Primer Undercoat, making sure I did a gentle sanding before starting.

I’ve decided to leave the handrail and newel post unfinished for the time being (you will remember that we decided to keep the original ones!). I quite like how all the different colours it has been painted over its lifetime are slightly visible.

We still need to finish sanding and painting the plaster repair that Alex has neatly executed above the skirting on the rear wall – but its good enough for now!  We  haven’t got around to the top landing balustrade and handrail.. but at least the downstairs bit is looking sharp.

P.S. The slots are to provide a bit of ventilation and air circulation to the cupboard under the staircase. There was originally a surface mounted plastic grille at this end of the cupboard – so we replaced that with some cut out slots for a slicker look. To lessen the ‘blackness’ of the slots, I taped one of the white curtain fabric samples that I received when trying to select curtains to the back side! Job done!


IKEA Designer Collaboration – Hay

For the past few years, IKEA has been undertaking collaborations with famous upscale designers and this year was no exception. (Read about my post about IKEA’s collaboration with Interior Designer Ilse Crawford here or ceramisist Ingegerd Råman here)

This year, not only did they work with British designer Tom Dixon to design a sofa bed called ‘Hacking’ (which you can read about here on his website, or here on Dezeen), but they also collaborated with Hay, one of my current favourite furniture designers.  (You may remember my Hay ‘About a Chair‘ purchase which was delivered back in January…)

I have to admit that I don’t love the sofa bed, so have decided to share with you some of my favourite pieces from the Hay collaboration which form the recently released Ypperlig range.  They do both a table and floor version of the light – both of which are clean lined and elegant.

Get yourself to IKEA now to snap them up before they are gone if you need any of these items (unfortunately we are currently well stocked for lights, benches and mirrors!).


Happy 40th Little Sister!

I don’t normally make personal posts, but in celebration of my little sister’s 40th birthday today, I thought I’d make an exception for this special occasion (..and hope she doesn’t get too upset that I’ve made this post!)

Here we are back in 1979 in our matching PJ’s, on a sunny morning after eating breakfast by the looks of things.

Love you…



Winter Firewood

To accompany our new wood burner, we recently ordered some firewood. Here are a few things that I learnt recently that I can now share with you:

  1. Large logs won’t fit in every log burner! Luckily most London fire wood delivery companies cater to small London homes, with their small London fireplaces and offer logs that are cut to a certain dimension. Check your wood stove instruction manual as that should give you the recommended log size. Our Heta Inspire 40 stove has a maximum log size of 30cm… which seemed to be a fairly standard size on offer (the logs we ordered came in perfect 25cm lengths).
  2. Think about how often you will be having fires to determine how much wood you’ll need. We will be having occasional fires, and won’t be using our stove to heat our home – so the suggestion was 1/2 a pallet (or 4.5 ‘boot bags’) would suffice. We’ll let you know how we get on!
  3. You’ll be after seasoned, or kiln dried wood to ensure it is dry and burns well.
  4. Don’t forget to order kindling wood!
  5. Garden twig off cuts can serve as kindling wood, but if they have dried out for at least a year. We’ve been saving some garden offcuts in our shed, but they will need to be cut down further to size to fit in our wee stove!
  6. Think about where you want to store your fire wood ahead of time, both inside near your fire, and for the rest of the log reserve.

We got as far as using our trusty apple crates (previously used as bed side tables in the guest room, and before that as kitchen shelving in my old flat on Camberwell Grove) as log storage boxes, leaving a space between them for newspaper to be stacked up. Its a temporary solution until I get around to designing the joinery units for beside the fireplace… but I’m quite happy with how it looks for now.  The rest of the wood reserve has been fairly unceremoniously dumped into a massive pile in our kitchen until we get around to moving it into our shed. (which, as you might imagine, involves a bit of a clear out to make space first – half a pallet is quite a large volume!)

To benefit from the savings of buying in bulk and sharing delivery costs,  we joined forces with our neighbour and got a pallet delivered and split the order between us. We ordered from The London Log Company as they came recommended!  Apparently there are some companies out there who don’t properly dry their wood,  or cheat on the quantity delivered – so watch out and go with a trusted company if possible.