Before & After: Living room

Dear All,

Hope you had a lovely Christmas in the company of your family and friends.

As promised, I’ve started working on Before & After posts to summarise our house transformation.

Let’s start with our living room. The next three pictures show you the extent of our makeover.

Living room before we moved inliving room before the work commencedsecretgardenghome living room after

The work included: new gas central heating installation, new sash window, stripping wallpaper, wall replacement (hardcore DIY), replastering, repainting, new wooden flooring…let me catch my breath…new open shelving (thank you George), new furniture…If you want to see more detail, click here.

secretgardenhome living room after makeover

In terms of the colour scheme we went for a mix of white, pebble beach and grey. The sofas came from Habitat and the coffee table and TV unit were made by Unto this last.

Inviting and cosy small living room

In terms of the lighting, the main light is called Kaigami, and the side copper lamps were purchased at John Lewis.

We are almost there with this room now. Just a couple of things to do: putting pictures on the walls (should be fun), getting a small rug (I’ll share my research with you soon), and perhaps a magazine rack.

What do you think? Do you like it? Is there anything we could have done better?

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!



Inspiring places: Battlesbridge Antiques and Craft Centre

Every week I write about a new inspiring place/website from an interior perspective.

This week I would encourage you to visit Battlesbridge Antiques and Craft Centre.
Battlesbridge-antiques and craft

I tend to go there every 2 months is search for unusual home accessories. The centre is spread across many buildings and spaces, and it forms a good size antiques’ village.


old bottles-antiques

You won’t leave disappointed. You can even pick up interesting garden ornaments there.


The centre is open 7 days a week, and has got few lovely cafes, so make a day of it.

Have you ever been there? Do you visit antiques centres in your area?


Bargain of century: round wooden kitchen table

Hello Everyone,

Hope you are enjoying today’s weather after yesterday’s downpour.

I forgot to share with your our ebay find.

Our kitchen is almost complete, but was missing a table. I envisaged having a round wooden extendable table to accommodate our friends and family.

We managed to secure a beautiful table on ebay for less than… Ready! For less than £30!!! And who says you can’t find real bargain if you really looking for it.

wooden kitchen table from ebay

I’m planning to paint the table’s legs and the chairs in one of Annie Sloan’s chalk paint colours. I’m currently considering Old white, Paris Grey and Paloma.

Have you upcycled furniture before? Have you used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint? Any advice you’d like to share?

Enjoy Bank holiday Monday!





Kitchen update

Hi All,

Hope you had a great weekend soaking up the sun.

A quick note from me to show you how the kitchen transformation is progressing.

We managed to secure an excellent carpenter who was working very hard to make our dream kitchen come true (if you live in Essex, and looking for a carpenter, get in touch).

kitchen fitting day by day

We still need to paint the room and sort out the electrics, but we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…

I’m going to start looking for a wooden extending round table, which I could restore.

What do you think of our new kitchen? Any advice about the wooden table?


Inspiring places: Ikea’s showroom

I like Ikea in general. It’s modern, Scandinavian and affordable. I take your point that for a single person it might be more like shopping experience from hell, but I would argue that one can always opt for a home delivery, and having furniture assembly party is always an option.

What I most like about Ikea is their showroom. Try to avoid busy times. We went to the one in Lakeside with S on Saturday evening, and it was half empty, so we could cruise around all different departments starting with the living room, through kitchens to bathrooms.

We went there to get few bathroom accessories as we are having our bathroom done in a week time (can’t wait to show you the pictures). Ikea is great for accessories. The value for money is unbeatable.

I must say whoever designed their showrooms is a genius. Every time we go there, we get more stuff that we intended in a first place. Oups!

Seeing products in a room setting is stimulating. I always leave with 100 more interior ideas, and that’s the point!

Things I like:

Ikea showroom

What do you think of Ikea?

Have a lovely Tuesday.


New Year, more DIY

Happy 2013 to All my Readers! Hopefully it’s going to be kind to us! Wishing you lots of great creative ideas and interior inspirations!

Our New Year’s resolution is to finish the house! I couldn’t be bothered this year to write any personal resolutions as I know I won’t have time for anything apart from redecorating and sourcing interiors. But you know what, I love it! And I love telling you all about it!

A quick round up of what we did in 2012:

  1. Installation of gas central heating
  2. New sash windows
  3. Master bedroom revamp
  4. Front garden and back courtyard sorted
  5. Office/guest bedroom restoration
  6. New floors upstairs
  7. New carpet in the hallway
  8. Living room repainted

living room round up

guest room round up
garden revamp

What else we’ve got left to do:
1. Finish living room
2. Repaint the main door
3. Second reception room/library
4. New floors downstairs
5. Utility room
6. Bathroom
7. And the kitchen
The last two are going to be the most expensive and will require lots of research.
As soon as we finish the heavy DIY, we’ll be able to focus on more pleasurable part: hanging frames, getting accessories and general interior styling. Can’t wait!
Wish us luck!

What are you planning to do in your home this year?


Extreme DIY Part 1

Hi All,

I’m not going to claim that I’ve done it, but I’m very proud of my Steve.

I told you that one of the walls in the living room was falling apart hence it needed to be replastered.

Before this can commence, someone, with much more stamina and strength than me, had to demolish the existing wall.

I quite like the look. It’s like a more hardcore version of shabby chic. ;)).


Part 2, hopefully, will happen next weekend.

Have you done any extreme DIY recently? Let me know.