A few months ago I embarked on a little home upgrade project! With the help of local interior designer Charlotte Minshell from Minshell Designs, I set about updating some of our decor, decluttering (now we have an empty nest) and creating some new colour schemes. I didn't want to complete a full renovation and I didn't need to do much decorating but I did feel we needed to inject a little creativity and tidy up our storage space as well as add some new updated accessories. It has been so much fun to do and I am delighted with the results. Without spending a fortune either. Charlotte came up with new ideas, things I hadn't thought of, and we worked together to make sure I kept to a budget but achieved my goals!
We had a fairly clear blank canvas in as far as the walls were already painted cream and we have good quality furniture items that we didn't want to get rid of but we did need ideas of how to give everything a fresher, more modern look .
Upstairs had already been done the previous year so this project was focussed on the ground floor - the kitchen, conservatory and utility room, my home office and the living room, hall, stairs and landing! You can read my brief to Charlotte on my blog post, Can I Afford an Interior Designer?
This blog post is part of a gifted collaboration and contains affiliate links.
Above: my conservatory - my home accessories are a mix of new and old, coffee table books purchased on Amazon (Eat Drink Nap and For the Love of White) , faux flowers from Home Sense, jug vase and candles from Dunelm and match bottle from Etsy.
Below: the faux flower bouquet is from Amaranthine Blooms and sits on a white washed wicker tray from Ducks Nest Interiors, the table mats were purchased from Etsy.
Starting with the conservatory, I knew I needed to keep the large statement sofa, our budget didn't stretch to replacing it yet but it is looking a little dated, given that the the trend is more towards neutral colour palettes now. Our conservatory is a large space, with lots of natural light, it already has a comfortable chair and the large sofa and we have a beautiful oak dining table too.
Charlotte did me some mood boards and we came up with a plan to add some sage green shades to the cream and red sofa. Without Charlotte's advice, this is not a colour I'd have considered so interior designers really are worth it!
The coffee table was very marked and faded but I hadn't found a suitable replacement, so Charlotte suggested upcycling it, we chose to paint it with Frenchic Cool Beans furniture paint and put new handles on - the old ones had been chewed by the puppies! The cream chair is the Cambridge Armchair from Laura Ashely a long long time ago and it does get a bit soiled with the dogs jumping up on it, but with the new scatter cushions from Neptune and the pretty Milo footstool also from Neptune I am delighted with this new cosy corner of the room. Dogs are now banned!
I've never found the right work of art for the conservatory preferring to keep personal photos on display instead, and the original photo of me and my daughter had become damaged and faded so I had a new small print made from my collaboration with Rosemood, it is printed on extra thick card and looks fabulous propped up on the sill. I do have the stunning red glass from Venice though, we had a day trip to Murano!
I love my new coffee table books and I have reused a few ornaments I already had. The wicker trays were from Ducks Nest Interiors and the green candles and the wooden pear ornament were from Dunelm, as was the large ceramic jug.
I was really keen to invest in some beautiful faux flower bouquets and Charlotte recommended Amaranthine Blooms, I used a Black Friday discount code and am delighted with the stunning Green Pastures bouquet in pride of place on my dining table. My new table mats were from Etsy UK, I searched around for these, as the recommended White Company ones were out of stock and more expensive!
Between the conservatory and the kitchen we have an entrance hall area and I was desperate to replace the old seagrass wicker chairs! This is where we welcome our guests - we never use the front door - so I wanted this space to look welcoming. I shopped around to try and suit my budget but in the end I splashed out and chose the 'Vesper Cocktail Chairs' from Arlo & Jacob covered in Jensen Stripe in Chalk, a gorgeous neutral that I then had treated with Staingard. These chairs feel so solid and are excellent quality. The new cushion is from Neptune. The small coffee table is the Claudia Brass Effect Coffee Table from Dunelm and my 'Home Sweet Home' poster print is from Poster Store. I am planning some art on the walls in this area but not yet seen what I want! A few more books and scented candles from Ducks Nest Interiors complete the accessories. This is where I always try and have fresh flowers.
I didn't make many changes in the kitchen and this is an area I'd like to come back to, I'd love to make a few accessory changes on the dresser but for now I needed to focus my budget elsewhere and the Utility Room had to take priority!
I spent a lot of time looking at Pinterest for storage ideas and I really did fall in love with glass storage jars and printed labels. I knew that I couldn't spend a fortune though so I hunted around and my jars came from Dunelm, they come in three sizes, small, medium and the taller spaghetti jar. My labels were custom made from Etsy seller, Bellamy Stone. I then had a proper cupboard declutter and used the Wham Bam grey plastic trays and my own label maker for inside the cupboards. I am delighted with the finished storage! My daughter agreed it is so much easier to grab things when we are baking. A few more plans like I am now keen to get better organised in the fridge!
Above and below: my three storage tins and tray are from Emma Bridgewater. The tea and sugar storage jars are Charlotte Watson.
The study, our home office space, was the room I was least looking forward to tackling! Charlotte knows I was avoiding it! I wanted a stylish home office but I never seem to have enough space for storage in here and I also realised I have been hanging onto far too much paperwork, I really didn't need the big filing cabinets any more and the shelves were full of books. Charlotte had created me a mood board and I searched Pinterest for the best home office ideas! My husband wasn't keen on changing or painting the reproduction antique desk so I knew I needed to make do with the office furniture I already had! I decided I needed to empty the entire room first - this was the one room that needed decorating too. I was able to persuade my husband to build in a cupboard to house all the sockets and wires and with fresh lick of paint, I felt I had a blank canvas to start my home office makeover.
Jo my friend who runs Less is More a decluttering business based in Maidenhead (but also available online) came to help and over a few hours she got me focused and organised, I had boxed everything up and it was stored in the log cabin, so we went through it all carefully. As I am at home full-time I spend a lot of time in my office and I needed it to feel like a comfortable space as well as functional and uncluttered. The little chair is from Next (a few years ago) and sitting here early evening is cosy and warm.
I wrote about my home office late last summer, at that time I had decided to try and use the log cabin as my blogging space. In reality it didn't work once the weather changed and got colder! But with Jo's help it is now usable for occasional working days, storage space so I can organise my clothes, sell some and if I ever go back to home workouts!
I then had a trip to Home Sense at Taplow with my daughter and we bought some really lovely accessories including the glass Buddha and some faux flowers! Worth. visit if you have one nearby, I also purchased some blankets and a lovely basket to store them in for the living room.
I repurposed my white storage boxes from IKEA, bought some glass jars from Hobby Craft and sifted through my books, choosing the most aesthetically pleasing ones to display on the shelves with some faux plants from Dunelm, new photo prints from Rosemood, and reduced down the childhood photographs! The glass coffee table is the round version of the one I mention above - I can't see it online at the moment though. The lamp is from Next, I'd quite like a bigger one but I was being a bit cautious, maybe I will see what I spot when I am in the shops!
I like that when the door is open (above), and I walk past I can see a tidy space! The desk isn't always so tidy!
Above: in the living room we kept the existing small glass coffee table and lamp, the new basket is from Home Sense, my faux flowers were a gift, and I love my 'booty candle' from Etsy! Linked below.
Below: the ottoman and tray was from a supplier Charlotte organised for me, it is covered in a velvet fabric from Neptune. My wool throw is from Baavet (use F&F20 for 20% off).
Below: I bought the little ceramic houses from Etsy for Christmas decorations but decided to keep them out! My new cushions are from Laura Ashely at Next. The Beach Huts and Flowers picture is from Wychwood Art Gallery.
Then the final room to get a makeover was the living room, it already had fitted shelves, an old fireplace with a wood burning stove, and our sofa's although a good few years old now, still have life in them. Charlotte suggested changing the accent colour to a vivid peacock blue, the new curtains were from Curtains2Go which were such good value and came with blackout lining included. I really wanted an ottoman coffee table with a tray so I could style it up (think Pinterest and glossy magazines again) and my faux flowers were a gift from my sisters a few years ago - the colours are perfect. I now feel our living room is a better place
to sit and relax! We didn't have any light fixtures in this room, just downlights and a lamp, plus I am still using my Serious Readers light for reading and close-up work.
My herringbone wool throw on the ottoman is from Baavet and you can still grab a 20% discount using my code F&F20 at checkout. I really rate their wool duvets as the best things ever for night sweats!
The coffee tables books - An Edited Life, Live Beautiful and Morning Noon Night - are all from Amazon.
My Booty Candle is from Etsy seller, Naked Flame Candle Company.
Finally a bit about the new carpet! We moved from a pale beige wall carpet throughout to a man made fibre but I am so delighted with it. The Primo Plus in Misty Morning from Cormar Carpets is so hardwearing and is already proving to be totally stain resistant! Necessary with two dirty dogs! I also purchased a small dog guard from Etsy seller, The Crafty Cuts, I didn't want a permanent 'child or puppy gate' so this portable dog gate is a really great option!
I am absolutely thrilled with my little home upgrade project, yes I still have things I'd like to do - like a gallery wall and more art - but all in good time. Charlotte really supported me to get out of my comfort zone and made suggestions that saved me a lot of leg work and money! Her mood boards inspired me and her shopping list sent via email meant I could browse at my leisure and swap things around, some things she suggested I found cheaper elsewhere, other things I decided were well worth the investment.
Charlotte can help you with a complete project from start to finish or as I did, she can help with initial ideas, mood boards and shopping list. It is worth getting in touch to discuss your needs. Charlotte has been so willing to offer ad-hoc advice and ideas when I have been stuck on sourcing something or if I am not sure what looks best. Charlotte can be contacted via her website Minshell Designs.
You might be interested in my other posts - Personalised wall art to celebrate the unique history of my home and My cottage in the woods.
Disclaimer: Charlotte gifted me a home design consultation and mood boards. This blog post includes some affiliate links.
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Is This Mutton
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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