#WIP

More on the now-ubiquitous gallery wall today. I still love a gallery wall, even though I fear it is the avocado-coloured kitchen appliance of the new millennium…
I like gallery walls because they offer a way to showcase a lot of pretty things in a way that “reads” as one big “piece.”  But, a word of warning: in order to work, a gallery wall needs to have a variety of things on it.  A good gallery wall is not your grandmother’s “rogues gallery” of school portraits. 🙂 To look current, aim for a range of sizes of frames, a range of items (not everything should be a print or photo in a frame), a range of textures and works that are both vertical and horizontal in orientation.

delovelydelightful

Here is a little work-in-progress in the corner of our dining room. It was born of the need to camouflage the thermostat (I still dream of getting one of these, but M is not on board, alas), which stands out like a sore thumb on our newly-dark walls. I started off with the round shelf and the gold K, then added a few cards from Rifle Paper Co. and a couple of other cards I found at Indigo and framed up in IKEA frames.

The table and the candles added some interest lower down, but I knew I would need to keep my eye out for a few more pieces to complete the look.

delovelydelightful

When I found the little figure at IKEA, I had to have him– I have always wanted to hang a series of these along a long hallway. I used my beloved 3M Command Strip to hang him on the wall. The tiny mirror was a Homesense find– it had a black frame, but a quick coat of spray paint fixed that in a hurry!

delovelydelightful

 You can see that I still have a couple of spaces to fill (don’t worry– I have some horizontal items for those empty gaps), but things are looking better all the time. I was not happy with the corner until yesterday, when I added the large piece at the bottom; I was feeling that the stuff in the corner was too “bitty” and teensy-looking.    I love the way the larger piece balances things out and I am a BIG fan of hanging artwork low to the floor.

delovelydelightful
More about the frame on the larger piece on Monday.
Have a great weekend!

Advertisements

Fine, Furry Friends

Go get a cup of tea, this could take a while.

I am not going to get into the whole fur debate here. Nor am I going to get into the fact that, as a child, I actually felt physically ill in the presence of fur (some of which feeling resurfaced this weekend when I took on a DIY project I’ve been considering for a few months now).  I will put forth that I am not proponent of NEW fur, but that I am willing to touch (and even wear!) vintage fur because I think doing so is better than throwing it out or letting it get moth-eaten. But that is not what this post is about. Instead, I am going to tell you a very not-so brief story about an item that was given to me when someone was doing a cleaning up/purge.

Here it is:

delovelydelightful

It is, in short, the World’s Most Enormous Fur Coat.
Made of raccoon.
Vintage raccoon.
It weighed about 350 lbs. It was a size Gigantic. Seriously, a Volkswagen could have worn this coat.
It ought to have made the man who put it on (surely it was not designed for a woman?) look deliciously collegiate-football-fan-circa-1935. Alas, it made everyone, male or female, who donned it look like a pimp from the 1970s.
It was, in short, problematic. One of those items that ought to have been utterly fabulous but…. just….wasn’t.  This fact made me sad.
And I didn’t really want to believe it, so I let the coat hang in our basement for many, many years.

And then I started to think, what if I could save this coat from itself?
Would I have the nerve? Could I bring myself to do it?

Well, Gentle Reader, it took me a couple of months to work up the chutzpah to tackle it, but this past weekend, I took the plunge. After carefully removing the lining and label, I…..
cut up the coat.
Cue vomiting– this part reaaaallly made me think about the raccoons, I have to admit, and I very nearly chickened out.
Even now, just typing that makes me kinda queasy…

BUT, the the World’s Most Enormous Fur Coat, made of raccoon, vintage raccoon, has become two rather good, very cosy throw pillows on our couch.  Even M likes them! (Will wonders never cease?!)
I like that this project gave new life to the old fur; makes me feel a bit less sad about the raccoons.

delovelydelightful

I was nervous, never having sewn with real fur before, so I looked up some tutorials online. They all required about 30 pieces of equipment, which terrified me. Also, I am the Lazy DIY-er, so there was No Way On Earth I was going to take on some complicated cushion tutorial. Thus, I did what any self-respecting Lazy DIY-er would do: I winged it. And it all worked out fine! Basically, I made two envelope-style cushion covers, the way I would do if I were using regular fabric.  No big deal. I did take three sage pieces of advice from the lengthy tutorials, so if you are planning to do similar, I recommend that you also take these tips:

1. Use a razor blade or a utility knife to cut the fur, and cut it from the back side of the pelt, being careful not to shear the fur

2. When sewing, be careful to push the fur away from the cut edge of the fur/fabric, in order to avoid stitching the ends of the fur into your seam. Just go slowly and you will be able to tuck the ends of the fur towards the middle of the cushion as you go, leaving you with a nice, furry edge when you turn the pillow right side out.

3. Keep your eye on the nap of the fur by using the bottom hem of the coat as a guide– always keep it positioned towards you so that you can be sure that both pillows have the nap going the same direction.

delovelydelightful

What do you think? Would you save unusable fur from itself?

Friday Eye-Candy

Here is a look I am really loving these days– clean white with vintage elements, including pops of colour from antique and vintage textiles like kilims and suzanis.
Gone are my monochromatic palette days, it would seem…

delovelydelightfulsource

delovelydelightfulsource

Have a great weekend!

(ps– how about that amazing herringbone floor in the bottom image? Perfection, non?)

Inspired by…

… a vintage metal desk.
Wouldn’t these pretties make for a lovely home office?
Or office-office, for that matter?

delovelydelightful

Vintage Lucite Letter
Pale pink, gilded bergere chair
Desk lamp (pitter-pat goes my heart! And it’s on sale.…)
Silk rug (gasp!)
Vintage metal desk

 

Studio Envy

deloveydelightfulsource

I can’t remember how I stumbled on Iron & Twine, but I am so glad I did!

delovelydelightfulsource

I love the freshness of Michelle’s master bedroom, but it is her studio that really makes my heart beat faster. Her use of pegboard is particularly inspiring.
Now, I love my own little sewing/crafting space and I know how lucky I am to have it, but I do covet a space with windows and LIGHT. The charming vintage vibe of this one is so appealing, don’t you think?

delovelydelightfulsource

Want to see more? Check out the whole post here: Iron & Twine studio reveal.
Brace yourself– it’s goooood!

 

Let’s Go Shopping In London

Was Wednesday’s post too pretty for you? Too whimsical? Do you crave a more industrial edge?
Or, like me, do you think that a mixture of pretty, whimsical and industrial is Just About Perfect?

While we are on the subject of pretend shopping for our pretend homes, why not pop over the pond to London Town and drop in at Retrouvius?
(Fair warning– you might want to stick your credit card in the freezer before you click on that link…)

delovelydelightful1. This angle poise lamp comes in a variety of colours. I’ll take mint, thank you.
2. In a kitchen, in a dining room, in a home office, in a living room, in a bedroom– where wouldn’t this shelving unit look great?
3. I had no idea there were such things as “numbered vintage gym hooks,” but now that I do, I think they’d be divine in a dressing room or a mud room.
4. These coat hooks, reminiscent of antlers, are pretty darned awesome.

Happy Friday, everyone.
If you need me, I’ll be picking up this gorgeous item for my pretend home in London.

 

Keep Your Fork, Duke…

…there’s pie.

delovelydelightful

Okay, maybe there isn’t pie, but there is a new dining room at our house.
Okay, maybe there isn’t a whole new dining room, but the one we do have has had a facelift. Thing is, the facelift has taught me, among other things, Important Lessons On How To Never Become a Famous Blogger.
Namely, paint your rooms in dark colours that, while they make your heart sing, do not enable the taking of decent photos. Looks like the ABM girls have nothing to fear from me. 😉

Our dining room here at Delovely HQ is in the middle of the main floor. Since Delovely HQ is a semi-detached house, built in the 1920s, the centre room has no windows of its own. It did, however, have French doors at both ends, which I loved. M, on the other hand, did not. And so I sacrificed and gave in when he said he wanted to take them down. I am still sad to have lost them, but I must agree with him that getting rid of them has opened up the flow of the main floor in a very pleasing way, one that is sure to increase once we build our deck off the back of the house and we can swan right out onto said deck, cocktails in hand…
I digress.

delovelydelightful

You may remember that I made the mistake of painting the dining room white, in an attempt to be all “oh, look at me and my all-white house full of airy lightness!” Except that the white paint was boooooooring and made the room look pokey and small and, weirdly, even darker than it did before. Hm.

Here is how we fixed it:

1. I repainted the walls in a colour that makes me swoon with joy every time I see it– Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball is a dark navy with a teal-y undertone. It’s so dark it’s nearly black. Totally my speed.

2. M agreed to let me have our outdated dining room furniture painted. We had it done by a pro and ended up with a brand-new-looking set for a fraction of the cost of buying new. I had the table painted in Great White , three chairs done in All White, two in Blue Ground and three in Stiffkey Blue. The multi-coloured chairs not only help to tie in the colours of the rug, but also to keep the room looking current and fresh.

delovelydelightful

3. We invested in the Slip Bench from Crate and Barrel to add some interest to the seating. Getting rid of the French doors meant that we were able to shift the table and chairs to along the party wall, leaving more space to walk through the room and more space to access the china cabinet than we had when things were centred.

4. We bought grown-up lights. I chose the Capiz Orb Pendants from West Elm in the small and medium size and had M wire me up two Plog-it cords in pale grey. We staggered the height and the alignment of the globes over the table, for interest’s sake. Bonus feature: we didn’t have to fuss about lining up the ceiling hooks from which they are swagged (our electrical box is centred in the room, so we had to pick swag-able lights). I LOVE these lights. I had M put them on a dimmer so they just glow like beautiful moons or lanterns over the dinner table.

delovelydelightful

5. I re-purposed the chalkboard I made for our kitchen several years back and hung it horizontally over the back of the bench. I added a few mirrors– the vintage, gold-framed one was smashed & the frame was broken when I got it and I finally got around to having the glass replaced & the frame repaired. It cost less than $40! It would have been a bit more to get the antiqued glass I really wanted, but I was in a rush and didn’t have time to wait for the antiqued glass to come in on special order.

delovelydelightful

6. I added two vintage-inspired bevelled mirrors I found at Target for about $25 a piece, and the antique swing-arm sconces I picked up at The Door Store in the spring. I have a few ideas of bits I’d like to add to the wall, but for now it’s fine.

delovelydelightful

What is really funny (now ) about the dining room facelift is, like our office facelift and our TV room gallery walls, it just sort of happened, snowballing out of the Misguided White Walls Fiasco. Yet, also like the office & the TV room, it is now one of my favourite rooms/projects in the house.
I wish you could all come over and see it in person– I’m a lousy cook, but my dining room looks pretty enough to eat!

 

Heart’s Content

In my dressing room, I felt at liberty to go as GIRLY AS I WANTED with the decor.
I try to rein in my girly decorating tendencies in the rest of the house
(and fail miserably, most of the time), but I just let it all hang out in here! Within girlicious reason. Ish.

delovelydelightful

One of the things I was really looking forward to styling was the interior wall of the Murphy bed. I collected images  for months and months, knowing I would use them in an all-white gallery wall over the bed, creating a cozy nook for guests.

Buying “art” is pricey and, while I do have some “real art,” I really just like to frame up stuff I think is pretty or cute. The frames are all from Ikea or re-painted ones I had at home. If you are thinking of embracing the gallery wall trend (which we have done in whole-heartedly around here!), here are some of the things I did to get on the bandwagon without breaking the bank.

I found the adorable Amanda Catherine print of the Kate Spade quote at Homesense and snapped it up. I strung up a sweet little Liberty garland I made with pre-cut circles from La Droguerie and some vintage chandelier crystals I found in London at the top, to camouflage the frame of the bed where it mounts to the wall & to add some softness. This is the inside of a bed, after all.

I kept the frames uniform– I went with all white for a soothing, fresh look that won’t keep my guests up at night. I added one gold frame and I mounted a sweet little box from Ladurée to add some sparkle. I like to use more than just framed images on a gallery wall to add some interest. In this case, I hung some starfish and the macaron box from Ladurée to add some depth to the display.

delovelydelightful

Above, you can see that I used one of my favourite Dorothy Parker quotes and layered it over a wallpaper sample from Farrow & Ball. Instant cuteness!

How to get a gallery wall without a gallery price tag:

delovelydelightful

1. Frame a snippet of vintage fabric. I got this piece at a vintage fair in Kensington, London. It’s an old piece from France and there is no way I could bear actually cutting it, so this was the perfect solution!

2. Use washi tape to hang pretty cards or postcards that tickle your fancy. I like that the flatness of the taped-up cards makes the depth of the frames and other items more interesting.

3. Keep your tongue in your cheek. I loved this postcard of a WWII propaganda poster. I picked it up at Churchill’s War Rooms and thought that I would have had a Very Hard Time with this particular piece of advice. Also, I often pick up postcards when I am travelling and then they just get stuck away in a box and I never look a them. This way, I can be reminded of my lovely summer trip.

4. Frame cards. They also make great travel souvenirs and are inexpensive and light to bring home. I got these in Shoreditch High Street; they are by an East End artist in London and remind me of William Morris‘ wallpaper designs. You will also see a Ziggy Stardust card I picked up at the V&A and a few more postcards and cards on this wall.

5. Frame wallpaper samples. This darling otter with a fan is one of the images on my beloved House of Hackney  fabric and wallpaper. Since I could not bring home the wallpaper (or convince my fella that we neeeeeeeeeed a wall of black wallpaper covered in naughty animals), I got the sample and framed it up.

In other words, FRAME EVERYTHING.
Frames can be had for a song at Ikea or craft stores and there is precious little that is truly un-frameable, so let your imagination soar.
Hung as a collection, even smallish frames and inexpensive artwork can have a big impact, so hunt around your house and see what you’ve got!

Update: Since writing this post, I have seen several posts around the web about the very topic of gallery walls. Clearly, this is bandwagon on a roll– hop on! 

What the Deuce?!

Today I visited a couple of beds in person that I’ve been stalking online.
They are very pretty and I promise to share them with you at some point.
BUT, they are BIG.
Really, really BIG.
And our master bedroom (like all the rooms in our wee house) is not. Not at all.

While I do not belong to the “I must have a master bedroom big enough in which to play football and/or land a 747” school of décor, and while I firmly believe that an oversized piece in a small space can be the stuff of design genius, I am pretty sure that, in this case, the result would just be to make our room look cramped and over-stuffed.

Soooo, when I stumbled on this baby, I had to ask myself… could this be it? Could I have found The One?

The Deuce bed by the Novogratz (es?) for CB2 ticks a lot of boxes for me: modern with a nod to the traditional, mimics a style of bed I LOOOVE but which is usually made in gorgeous antique wood that not even I would paint (and if I can’t paint it, I don’t want it!), not too tall, space for cats to hide underneath, a headboard to lean against in order to read, no need for a bedskirt, re-paintable down the line if I need a change of pace…

delovelydelightful

Below, you can see it in situ.
Okay, not in OUR situ….
(How fabulous is that room?!)

delovelydelightful

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It is dark, dreary and wet here. So here is a quick little project for a rainy day.

delovelydelightful

A few weeks back, I was the lucky recipient of a lovely collection of vintage lingerie ads. They are utterly fabulous and I really want to frame them all up and make a feature of them somewhere in the house. The thing is, custom framing is so pricey and once you commit to it, you are locked in, as it is not economical/sensible to switch up the frames if you get tired of them. Which I always do.

delovelydelightful

Thus, off to IKEA! But, as you may know, IKEA frames are designed for use with their own prints and images = the sizes are non-standard and, frankly, kinda wonky. So, how did I solve the perennial my-pictures-don’t-fit-the-frames problem so well-known to devoted IKEA shoppers? Washi tape, of course!

delovelydelightful

I got basic Ribba frames in white and, rather than mounting the images inside the mats (the openings are too small, the next size up is too big. Hello, Goldilocks Complex!), I used pretty washi tape to attach the images to the front of each mat.

delovelydelightful

I chose my current favourite washi tape– it looks like pins stuck through fabric, which I thought was appropriate for fashion ads.  I used one strip at the top and one at the bottom of each image. I tore the tape, leaving ragged edges, for a more unfinished look in order to echo the torn edges of some of the images and to provide contrast with the oh-so-well-turned-out models in the illustrations. You could mix and match, use a different number of strips of tape, cut your tape with scissors, use more traditional frames…whatever!

delovelydelightful

delovelydelightful

Easy, fast and effective. My kinda project, perfect for brightening up a rainy day.