Thursday, 19 March 2015

Spring brightness ….

Phew - after a long Winter, we are finally enjoying some brighter days & this always spurs me on to bring in brighter colours.

The reds of Christmas & Winter give way to brighter colours in Spring.  We have had no proper snow this Winter, just a long wet time.

I am always impatient for change & the first place the change happens is in the conservatory where the sideboard takes on a lighter, brighter palette which is much fresher.

I love crockery! There I said it …

As a student, I worked in a china & glass department of an upmarket Johannesburg Store & that consolidated my love of beautiful china. My Mom always set a lovely table & the range that opened up during my student work, has stayed with me since my late teens.

I love living close-ish to the world famous potteries of Stoke on Trent & it is such a joy to just see such lovely things …

I digress - my Spring sideboard brings in many different elements & styles & somehow they all sit quite happily together.

My regular readers will recognise some things from last years Spring sideboard.

I love the Spring like brightness of the Ikea plates with their bright green & pink pattern & the lighter food we tend to enjoy in Spring just looks more tempting on them.

They work well with the pretty Gisela Graham plates with their fluted & rimmed edges.

The plates team well with these rimmed glasses which we use often for juice & drinks in the conservatory because they are sturdy & yet very pretty.

Bright IKEA serviettes are perfectly Spring-like too

Lovely textures repeated throughout the patters which link them together; a green glass platter doubling up as a tray for the drinks & adding a splash of colour too ….

I am pleased with the combinations & we will use the things over the next few weeks which is why I love changing the sideboard …

Our clocks will be leaping forward for Spring soon. I'm ready for lighter, brighter weather & dining - how about you?

Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to leave a comment.
Dee ~♥~

Monday, 16 March 2015

The garden awakens ….

It is always exciting to pop into the garden & find evidence of Spring. It is one of my favourite times as the bulbs start to poke their cheerful heads through the ground.

I am quite partial to the brightness of crocuses & daffodils. They just inject a welcome splash of colour in the most unlikely parts of the garden.

These have been tucked under the hedge for winter & it is a lovely surprise to see them ready to flower.

Promise of vibrant colour ready to burst open ….

I am partial to the loveliness of Hellebores. They are those unsung beauties that are easy to grow, form large green clumps then wonderful flowers when little else is about. I have several & they are always such a surprise to see their flowers ….

The delicateness of the flowers belie their hardiness. The creamy colour is so elegant.

I had forgotten about this colour - a welcome surprise

I love how they hang their delicate heads so the sunlight shines through the creamy leaves

An untidy winter garden brightened up by this burst of unexpected colour.

I was gifted this new bird feeder by my Wondering Star daughter & Andy.  I know my little friendly robin will enjoy treats out of this so I have put it in one of my large potted topiaries where it often visits.

This pot will soon be full of white feverfew blossoms so the bird shaped supports will be needed for support.

This is also the time of the year when I take garden photos to remind me of the changes I want to make to the winter structure of the garden. Ours is still too bare in winter, too dull, too empty.

That is one of my Summer jobs - to add ever green structure to the garden so that it looks good in all seasons but for now - I am enjoying the spring colour.

Thanks for your company - are you enjoying the changing seasons where you are?

Dee ~♥~

Friday, 13 March 2015

The kitchen is beautiful …..

I shared the journey of the new kitchen over these past two posts - modernisation-is-needed-in-kitchen the-kitchen-being-transformed & it is not until it is finally completed that you can look back over the choices you made (so many choices & decisions need to be made) & then & only then do you know if it all works as well as you hoped.

The line of cupboards with a lovely long counter / work top. Simple cupboard / drawer pulls don't distract from the cupboards at all …

The double oven was moved to the far left & a large storage cupboard mirrors it on the far right leaving a long work space between which makes the kitchen feel more open & airy!

The kitchen looking towards our dining room side 

We stepped the end line of cupboards back to narrower units to add interest & because it breaks away from a galley kitchen look. 

Tall cupboards frame the windows - perfectly.  The kitchen windows are private, facing the garden, so we have consciously left off curtains & blinds because we love the clean, uncluttered look of the windows & the view.  The two counter top cupboards that frame the windows serve very useful purposes: one holds all the mugs & paraphernalia for making tea & coffee behind solid doors, the other has a glass front to display some of our pretty glasses - perfect spaces with everything at hand but away.

The utilitarian utility is now a complimentary space which has lots of storage & clear counter tops. The built in microwave was a very good decision as the space is much more usable.

The view the opposite way - from the dining room to the utility. I love how the space flows. The door between the two rooms was removed during the work & once the flooring was down, I thought the space looks a lot better without it, so for now, it is staying off as the two rooms just flow so well.

That flooring - the tiled 'floor boards' are just so right for the space.  The boiler was encased in the utility (top left) which makes an untidy unit look much better. We opted for a built-in microwave to free up the counter top & streamline the area too. Our existing fridge / freezer was built in with storage above.

We opted for a stainless steel zinc / basin in the utility because we use this basin a lot.  The unit is also a very  generous size to suit our needs. When cooking, the hot oven trays are brought through to the utility to be washed or put out of the way if we have friends over so a large size was needed. We kept the fittings  & subway / metro tiles the same in both rooms.

The kitchen basin is ceramic which is perfect for that space & teamed with the large stainless steel one in the utility, we have a very good balance.  The dishwasher is integrated by this basin, so it is hardly noticeable but used all the time. 

The test of any space - how it works everyday!  

We had spent a lot of time in the planning, making several changes & are completely happy with the choices as they all work well. I am especially pleased with the large pot drawers under the hob & the two under the ovens as it is so much easier to store & use the pots in stead of digging around in a cupboard.  The top draw under the hob holds all our spices so they are handy for cooking but are out of the way & off the countertops.  

The long shape lends itself to two lines of cupboards but the change in depth of the one line adds interest, as does the 2 cupboards framing the windows.

We decided on tall cupboards that were 'scribed' to the ceiling so that there was no space at the top for dust to gather. By doing this, we have used all the space & the upper shelves are perfect for storing the items not used too often.

The long line of counter tops make the space feel more open & spacious. Several friends have commented that by losing the small return cupboards on the section before the utility, it has opened up the space so much more. Small choice which have made a difference to the overall feel of the room.

I have made a conscious effort to keep the counter tops free so that cleaning is easy & truth be told, I love the clean, uncluttered lines of the space which is so easy to keep clean.

We all love our new space and the house is now very much our home,  reflecting our taste, choices & style.

I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me. I always love your comments.
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The kitchen being transformed

I shared the packing up of the kitchen in the previous post, now for the progress. It did not take long for the old to be gone. The kitchen team arrived,  plans were finalised & I was brought up to speed on what to expect over tea & biscuits (the tea / coffee / biscuit station was a brilliant idea even if I say so myself) then it was time to get down to the business of removing the old kitchen. I sold off the oak cupboards so they were removed & stacked in the garage.  It certainly didn't take long to clear the space ….

The cupboards stacked up in the garage - sold off on EBAY; their sale paid for lovely floor tiles for the kitchen ….

Walls stripped of the ugly tiles, loads of wires & connections now visible.

Plastering needs to be done  - lots of it to make the walls & ceiling ready

The plaster drying - no units left at all so the start of no kitchen facilities. Luckily I had planned for this & had the microwave set up for meals.

The space looks so different as a shell

Exciting time - the new units arriving en masse …

Lots of shrink wrapped units arriving on a cold winters day - the garage filling up really quickly

The first of the units going back in

Units & electrical fittings. Pot drawers - be still my heart - no more digging through piles of pots to find the one that is always at the bottom ….

The garden side being fitted

Space for the dishwasher & sink unit

More units ….


The gas hob & the extractor fan - yay - I will be able to cook again … soon. 

The utility taking shape. We kept out existing fridge / freezer & washing machine, but added a built-in microwave to keep the counter top free.   I am dreaming of all that storage …

It is taking shape …

I love the choice of the cream units - so gorgeous ….

The tiling - cream subway / metro tiles. I am always impressed by people who are really good at what they do. Shaun, the tiler asked some questions & made suggestions then the tiles were planned from the centre outwards, in perfect symmetry - be still my heart as I love symmetry & I know this will be pleasing to the eye too.

The symmetry is reflected in the utility with the units mirroring each other …. Sal the designer understood my vision perfectly ….

I kept coming through to look at the units going in - happy with the choices we made. The stepped in cupboards on the right were to break up the long lines of the units & to add interest to the lines.

Doors & counter tops in place - I love the light / dark contrast. The tiled floor going in now. I found these tiles that look like wooden flooring & knew right away that they would be perfect.

The new floor tiles look lovely against the light cupboards - I am very happy with the choices we made.

Getting there - taking shape now as the floor tiles are grouted. The long lines through to the utility just make the space seem larger.

Painting time - the plastered walls & ceilings need to be lightened now that they have dried thoroughly. A local painter decorator who has done painting for us several times was entrusted with the bringing calm & light to the new space.

All the new units & flooring are covered up ready for Natural Calico paint.  Decorator Andy even jokes 'you do know that paint comes in more than just Natural Calico.' Hmmm I love the calm of Natural Calico that flows through the house ….

Nearly there, then I can start unpacking all those boxes & actually cook the first proper meal in nearly a month (3 weeks of kitchen fitting & a week of various painting.) I have really missed proper food - microwave meals are just not proper food ….

All will be revealed in the next post …. Thanks for reading this long saga, I hope I have inspired you.
Dee ~♥~