Every Home is a Castle

Art Inspiration

Art Inspiration
It’s Monday, and we’ve survived! Cause for a celebration I think, and I have just the thing in mind. As of yet, we don’t have a moving date confirmed, so whilst I’d love to be buying furniture and curtains I’m settling for mostly online browsing whilst looking around for some art inspiration.

There’s some really great amazing resources and shops online, but this does mean that it can be difficult to know where to start. I always thought people that had “art” were grown ups with lots of money. Whilst that can be true, I’m starting to realise that just as there are lots of different types of art, there’s also lots of different price points.

Today I want to share some different ideas of where you can look to find art, as well as to share a few pieces from around our home. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but we’ve chosen things that make us smile and we truly love – which I don’t think can be a bad place to start!

As I mentioned, price points vary considerably, so if you’re looking for some free online resources, there are a a few printables available on this site, but I’ve also found this incredible site: Mrs Fancee, which has links to 100’s of free printables.

If you’re looking to spend some money then one of my favourite places for unique art is Homesense. You can’t buy online unfortunately, but their in-store stock changes frequently – so if you see something you like, buy it! We couldn’t decide whether to originally purchase quite a large piece from here, but looking back we’re so glad we did – I love how the bright colours look against the dark navy wall.

Art Inspiration
Some less established artists are selling pieces or prints on Etsy, which is a great place to spend an hour (or two!) looking for art inspiration with the possibility of potentially grabbing yourself a bargain. I’m also a big fan of Notonthehighstreet.com, although the prices can vary quite considerably.

If you’re looking for some well known prints, or have a particular artist you like then Art.co.uk is a great place to look. They also have clearance sales occasionally, so another great place to grab a bargain.

A site I’ve recently discovered, which does have a slightly smaller offering is Hu2. It was a site that actually popped up on my Facebook, but I couldn’t resist one of the prints on there.

I love New York, have visited twice and would go again in a heartbeat (if it wasn’t for the airfare costs!), so this print seemed particularly apt:

Art Inspiration
As I said, we don’t have a moving date set yet – but I can just picture this pretty on my study wall and I can’t wait!

What about you, where do you go for art inspiration? Any online shops that are a must see?

Ikea Moppe Hack

Simple Ikea Moppe Hack
There are plenty of Ikea Moppe hacks out there, so I won’t pretend that this post is completely revolutionary – I know it’s not quite the reinvention of the wheel! However I did want to share a small project we’ve worked on recently. For other inspiration do check out Pinterest, as there are some amazing hacks on there. In fact – Ikea Hackers have a whole section dedicated to it here.

I’m a big fan of the Ikea Moppe, it’s cheap and really useful for storage. I’ve never purchased one before, but on a random stroll through Ikea (as you do!) I spotted one. As a bit of background I work for a Cosmetics company, so I have quite a lot of products (some being used, some collecting dust) and my old storage was getting pretty grubby, which mean time for a new solution.

At the moment I’ve left the Ikea Moppe as is, without painting the bulk of the wood, and instead chose to use a wallpaper sample on the drawers and attached some handles (I’ve put the drawers in backwards to hide the funny finger hole). The wallpaper sample was free, and the handles another cheap Ikea purchase. I may paint the frame at some point, but definitely an improvement on what I had before.

What do you think? What do you do for customised storage?

House Buying: What to do if you get it wrong

House Buying
I’ve been considering writing this post for a while, as it feels like a very personal thing to share with people, but after some searching I felt like it was something that needed to be shared as I couldn’t find anything else that talked about it openly.

Earlier this year, as we went through the process of house buying, you’ll have seen numerous posts about what to look for when you buy a house, the do’s and dont’s, as well as some more upbeat posts about what had made us buy our current house.

But reality has hit.

And truth be told – we don’t love our new house (note I’m calling it house, not home) and unfortunately it seems that no amount of character is going to make up for that.

What does it boil down to? It’s difficult to say – its fair to say we were misled by the previous owner slightly, but the location and the style of the house just doesn’t suit us. In theory – I love Victorian houses, with high ceilings, ornate fireplaces and quirky features. In reality an old house scares me – I’m terrified of woodworm in our original floorboards and damp in our thick, old walls. We thought a 20 minute country drive to the town we both grew up in wouldn’t be a big deal. Turns out it is. Such small things, but combined we’ve fallen out of love completely.

6 months after moving in we put our house up for sale. The thought of the money we’ve wasted over the years makes me feel ill. We’ve made a little on this house, to cover our selling expenses, which considering the time we’ve been here is very lucky. We’re hopeful that we’ve found another property, and at the moment are trying our best to be patience as the legal side of things begin.

The reason I wanted to share our experience is because house buying is scary! It’s really exciting to own a home, but it’s also a massive expense (probably the most money you’ll ever spend) and in most cases, you view it only a small number of times before making the decision about whether you can live there or not. I’m sure most have had more success with house buying than we have – and I would imagine that’s from having a clearer sense of what’s important and what can be compromised on.

Our advice isn’t to immediately sell your home if there’s something that can be changed however! For us it ultimately came down to location, but if we’d needed more space, or to change the internal layout, there’s a few things we definitely could have considered. Whilst the process has been quite a painful one to go through, we’ve definitely learnt that the key thing for us (after 6 years and what will be 6 moves!) is location. We’re creative and can turn something into our home, but we’re never going to be able to pick up bricks and mortar and move them. We can definitely appreciate the saying – location, location, location!

We’re clearly not experts in the process of house buying, but hopefully by sharing our experience it might reassure a few people out there struggling themselves!

Fireplace Reveal

One of the things we were most excited about when we purchased this house was the big characterful fireplace in the living room. When we viewed our property the fireplace had a huge log burner in that was hiding the mess that was the wall behind it (there’s something to add to the checklist next time!). When we moved in sorting out the fireplace wasn’t necessarily a priority, but as we painted the living room and added custom furniture, such as our geometric coffee table, it stood out as a bit of an eyesore:



Fireplace - before

Granted, these photos were taken just before Simon started work on the fireplace, but you can see the visual eyesore that a big grey hole in our living room was causing.

Before we could freshen up the fireplace the back and sides needed to be re-screeded. To do this Simon mixed plastering sand and cement, roughly 4 parts sand to 1 part cement with some water, and applied PVA to the walls to create adhesion between the wall and the new plaster. We knew that wouldn’t be any heat generated in our fireplace, however if you were going to do so you would need to add lime to the mixture to help harden.

We had to leave quite a gap between screeding and painting, to enable the new smooth walls to completely dry out. Even while we were waiting for this to happen the fireplace was a vast improvement to look at (Although I think the bright sunflowers help a little)!

Fireplace - screeded

As you can see from the in progress shot we decided to add a fire basket into the mantle, rather than adding a log burner or fire. One of the reasons behind this was cost, but the other is that the house is already very well heated and a fire would have been for decorative purposes only.

Once the walls had dried out completely (I think this took about a week or so) we then painted the inside of the fireplace to match the colour on the walls. A few pine cones and some fairy lights later and we have now have a cosy focus piece for the centre of our living room, at minimal cost!

Fireplace - after

Fireplace - Close up

What do you think of the final effect? Do you have a focal fireplace in your home? I’d love to see what you’ve done with them!

Garden Update: DIY Garden Planter

DIY Garden Planter

We’ve never shared a garden post on the blog before, so today is a real treat for you! Our focus has always tended to be on the interior of our homes rather than the exterior but when the weather is lovely and sunny, like it was at the weekend, our focus tends to shift. However, our garden is a bit of a peculiar shape, and to add a bit of greenery DIY was needed.

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