Nursery Underway

Well, it’s official….my uncomfy office shoes are already in the trash (I spent most of today wearing moccasins!), this morning I finally got around to eating breakfast sometime after noon and tonight I found the time and energy to bake a dessert.

So, what does it all mean?

No more work for me – yay!

Now my head’s just a-swirling with all the fun and creative projects I can finally get stuck into before bub arrives, starting, of course, with the nursery.

I struggled for ages with the type of feel I wanted in the baby’s room.

I was sooo tempted to opt for a contemporary pop of gender-neutral colour….

Or to go for something dark and dramatic….

Though I think I’ve finally decided to stick with my favourite scheme – a fresh blend of earthy neutrals with loads of natural texture and some vintage elements.

So, that means whites, creams and rustic greys, character-rich timbers, raw linens, jute and perhaps a few metallic hints.

Here’s a little mood board I came up with….

You may remember the challenge I’m facing in terms of size and shape. The nursery is only around 2.5 meters square (8×8 feet approx.) and has a weird angle which cuts into the space so I’ve decided on just three main pieces of furniture; a cot (crib), a dresser/change table and some kind of nursing chair.

Although it’s gonna be tight I figure there are a few layout options I can probably get away with.

Though I would like quite a balanced layout, due to the irregular shape of the room and necessary proportions of the furnishings, it looks like a more asymmetrical finish will probably be the go. Though of course the final layout will depend on what items I actually find during my frugal searches and how best they physically work together in the space.

I can’t wait to get started!

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Contemporary Cottage

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The Nursery Begins!

I’d be lying if I said the design for our nursery hadn’t been floating around in my head since I saw double blue lines on the pregnancy stick!

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not having a baby just so I get a whole new room to decorate (truly ruly) however for me it’s one of the bonuses :-)

The to-be nursery is currently our study/home office/catch-all/junk room which has never been properly ‘done’. It’s a teeny-tiny 2.5 meters square (8×8 feet) which should make for an interesting challenge – both design and photography wise!

Here it is currently….

Blah. Blah. And more blah. In fact, I never realised quite how ‘blah’ until I just looked at the photos!

Some nice pieces (most awaiting TLC) though just a jumbled-up mish-mash of everything I have no-where else to put really.

And here’s the floor plan….

As with pretty much every other room in our home there’s at least one weird angle. In this case it means a standard double bed can’t even fit without the door banging into it – see, it really is teeny-tiny.

Based on the shape and size of the space I’ve already deduced that only three main pieces of furniture will work; a cot, a dresser/change table and some kind of nursing chair. I’m still a little undecided on the feel I wanna go for so whatever pre-loved bargains I can find will probably help dictate the direction.

Soooo, let the scavenging begin I guess.

Oh, and remember, we don’t know whether that bundle in there (affectionately referred to as ‘crazy baby’ for now – did anyone else have a non-stop kicking and punching machine?) is a boy or girl so I suppose relative neutrals will be pretty key – though no real surprises there.

Wish me luck (and stay tuned for all the coming nursery updates)!

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Budget Living Room Makeover

Recently, I took up the creative challenge to help my Mum make-over her sitting room on a non-existent (and I mean ‘zero dollar’) budget. Course we did have a little more than zero dollars though we just wanted to see what we could come up with.

Here’s the space before (quite a few years ago, complete with my brother and sister in pre-Débutante poses)….

The room had changed since these photos though I didn’t have a proper ‘before’ shot which included the floral lounge suite.

You see, up until recently that floral lounge suite was still in the space, and although Mum did have plans to update it, the motivation didn’t come until some irresponsible pet owner (whose name may begin with ‘K’ and rhyme with ‘pristine’) left their new puppy unsupervised on what was clearly a very tasty looking floral sofa. Needless to say, that sofa is now in heaven.

So, with the old floral lounge suite finally gone, the hunt was on for a thrifty replacement, and if we were going to replace that, why not update the entire space? So that’s just what we did.

Mum wanted a sophisticated, semi-formal yet comfortable feel on a tiny budget (I know it may be hard to believe though she’s even tighter than me when it comes to spending cash on decorating!). She has more traditional and less eclectic taste than me, so while I feel the final result is a little too matchy-matchy, Mum just loves it (which is the main thing – plus it’s a vast improvement on how it began!).

After a long search I finally found an appropriate pre-loved lounge suite to form the basis for the ‘new’ room on eBay for just $100! It comprised two sofas (we only used one in this room) and two armchairs plus a bonus coffee and side table.

And here’s where the ‘zero dollars’ thing comes in. As we didn’t need the two ‘bonus’ tables we on-sold them both for double the price we paid for the whole set to begin with – crazy! Hence we managed to makeover the entire room for FREE using just the profit from the sale of the tables. In fact, we actually came out waaaay in front cause we were still super stingy!

Anyhoo, here’s the space before with the new lounge suite in place….

And after….

The lounge suite could easily have been overlooked for being too ‘Nanna-ish’ though I saw some potential for a Soho feel in the regency lines and geometric upholstery so we teamed it with ice-blue, apricot and silver highlights to pull it more towards contemporary.

Aside from the new lounge suite the other big changes came from a coat of paint (to one wall only) and ripping up the ugly old carpet.

Mum polished-up the rustic hardwood floorboards herself while Dad gave the north wall a fresh presence by painting subtle wide stripes.

The coffee table (which I failed to get a before shot of – sorry!) and two end tables (as can be seen in the first set of ‘befores’) had been in the room for years. Rather than replace them we simply attached some resin mouldings and painted the bases black to add some drama and depth to the space.
Dad also added bun feet and shelves to the base of each end table to give them some extra height and another area to display decor.

We retained the neutral curtains. I simply removed the tie-backs to streamline them a bit.

Mum made all of the cushions herself from inexpensive fabric we found at Spotlight.

You may recognise the framed pictures above the sofa – I have the same ones in my living room. They are vintage style postcards I received as a gift. The pack came with double-ups so I gave some to Mum. She cut the matte boards herself and transformed some cheap black plastic frames with nickel spray paint.

The gallery wall is currently a bit of a mish-mash (and note, whilst there is a nice grown-up photo of both my brother and sister there’s only me as a baby – middle child syndrome or what?) though with more grandchildren on the way (have I mentioned my sister is pregnant too?) more photographs will need to be added so it will be re-done soon anyway.

Pretty much all the decor was sourced when we ‘shopped the house’. The only exceptions being the lamps, which Mum bought ages ago on sale from Target, and the larger of the two cases beside the armchair which was purchased from a discount store (The Reject Shop I think) for just $20.

Now, just because I haven’t already totally overloaded you with photos, here’s some side-by-side before and afters just for comparisons sake….



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Refurbished Dining Setting

Whilst not necessarily in-keeping with my usual style I knew this was a special find.

A stunning 13 piece vintage Drexel dining setting comprising a table with three optional leaves, two carvers and ten standard dining chairs!

The enormity and repetition involved in the refurbishment led to two years of steady procrastination, but hey, I got there in the end, right? Right?

Given the heritage and mid-century styling of the setting I wanted to maintain as much of the original integrity as possible so decided on a sympathetic restoration rather than a full-blown renovation.

The table top was completely stripped, sanded then sealed with several coats of danish oil. The timber is really quite beautiful, I wish I knew what it was. Pecan, maple or walnut perhaps?

I decided to re-finish the apron and legs, which were in poorer cosmetic condition, with a few fresh coats of rich ebony satin acrylic.

The base of the legs were quite damaged (and I wasn’t loving their bulbous shape) so as a solution I affixed some vintage brass cup castors for a more tapered line – the wheels also come in handy for rolling the table open when adding or removing leaves.

To accommodate the castors I used the inside dimensions of the cup as a guide then trimmed down each foot with a hack saw until it could neatly fit inside.

The chair frames were in great original condition so to retain the natural character of the timber I simply nourished them all using raw linseed oil tinted with a dash of teak stain.

The seats were originally upholstered in a ‘lovely’ mustard gold corduroy – well, I’m sure it was lovely at some time – which needed replacing so I unscrewed all of the seats from the frames then prized off the staples affixing the original fabric. A fresh layer of wadding was then layed over the existing foam (which was still in great nic) then my chosen fabric was positioned over that – I went with a very neutral mini houndstooth for a classic finish. I flipped the seat over, pulled the fabric sufficiently taught and staple-gunned it neatly in place before trimming away any excess (oh, and remember when recovering seats try not to staple or upholster over the holes needed to re-screw them to the chair frames!).

This was a pretty ambitious project and suffice to say I won’t be attempting another one this big for quite some time!

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