Organizing For Your Lifestyle

ORGANIZATION

Being a pretty obsessive OCD organizer, (mainly due to a lot of ‘stuff’ in my home which if I don’t control results in chaos within hours), I can happily spend hours sorting, catagorizing and decluttering areas. I find this a really calming thing to do, whereas to others it might seem like hell.

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I always thought that this was my own personal madness, as I can get itchy when I see clutter.  But I recently read a new book by Jane Stoller called ‘Organizing Your Lifestyle’ that delves deep into the psyche behind organizing, and which explains what the benefits are as a whole to your life.  With the clutter controlled, there is more time to actually ENJOY YOUR LIFE!  I don’t usually read self-help books, but  ‘Organizing Your Lifestyle’   is a really useful hybrid as it offers both practical advice as well as explaining the psychological benefits of organization.

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Plus it is a realistic book, as I do not have the patience to look at everything I own and murmur in the latest fashion ‘But do I really love it?’  Of course I love it, I love all of it and am never, ever going to be a minimalist!  But I can be a tidy and organized maximalist, and this book has excellent tips on how to evaluate what you have and how to look after it all so you have more quality time on your hands.  It also makes you look hard at things so you can let some of them go without regret.

USEFUL ADVICE

Some of the tips are really useful, I loved the wardrobe section on how to store and look after items.  Like most ladies, I own more clothes and shoes than I realistically have cupboard space for.  There are great tips on how to look after and store things so they are not creased, crumpled and hence last longer.  If you think of the hefty financial outlay that we females spend on clothes, it makes sense to make them last.

Traveling away?  The book has great ways to make packing less stressful, and without the dreaded over-packing that I usually do so I end up with a massive suitcase full of clothes I don’t even wear on the trip.

The book breaks down areas of organization, so it can be something you can ease into this is a new process and makes you shake in your boots.

You can follow Jane on Twitter where she has motivational tips to keep the spirit going.

 

 

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Dream Living Room Plans

I have been looking at a fabulous website called Arhaus who are based in the USA, and am seriously wishing they would open a shop in the UK, (hint, hint….).  Their collections are really beautiful, very classic, and I would snap up a lot of their items, especially the furniture, in a flash to use in interiors.

I have based the room around artwork by Fin DAC, who produces huge scale street mural artwork around the globe.  I love this image, and used it as the inspiration for the room.  It would look amazing as a huge piece on one wall, and he sells via online galleries so I am after one now… although I may have to save up a bit….

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Having recently completed a grey, black and orange dining room, I am still slightly obsessed with these colours and was immediately drawn to the sofa and daybed in the Clancy range, they are both traditional with the buttoning but have lovely sleek modern lines as well.  Plus, (and this is key for me), I really hate plumping up base cushions of sofas, so this is a dream design for me!

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Most Hit Posts of 2016

Today I have been looking back at last years blogging, sometimes done a bit intermittently I must admit, and noticed that the most popular posts always seem to be the DIY ones, so here is a round up of the ones that still get the most hits, and I only hope that as a result there are many Ikea hacks, Plaster Flowers and No-sew curtain pelmets floating out there now!  More DIY ideas coming soon as I tackle a spare bedroom in the coming  months.

Click on the photos to take you to the posts and tutorials…

DIY Plaster of Paris Flowers

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No-Sew Curtain pelmets

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Ikea Hack Bookcase

 

 

Slate Effect Painted Fireplace

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Moppe Drawer Makeovers

 

 

Hatfield House – the best ceilings in the world ever…

This week I was near London with the eldest child whilst she was performing as part of the Hatfield Chamber Music Festival.  We had an hour free afterwards, and although this was not much time at all, it seemed madness not to go into the house and have a peep.

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Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. The Estate has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. Superb examples of Jacobean craftsmanship can be seen throughout the House. I got very over-excited looking at the wonderful portraits, all of my history lessons at school, (and I was a bit obsessed with the Tudors), came to life again as names and faces appeared.

 

 

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It is an iconic building in British architectural history.  Thousands of hand thrown bricks in red clay, and a lot of glass leaded windows.  The turrets are also very similar in style to Hampton Court and the Tower of London.  It is also famed for its beautiful knot gardens and parkland:

But is THE CEILINGS which amazed me.  The most ornate plaster work, pargetting, gilding, embellishment and decoration is pretty much in every main room of the house.

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Meis – Colour, colour and more colour

I have been away to the Lycian Coast this month, and whilst based in Turkey, I took a trip over to Meis, the easternmost Greek Islands.  It lies just off the coast of Turkey from Kaş , and I had been recommended to visit by local people where I was staying.

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Meis is knows as such by the Turkish, whilst the Greeks call it Kasterllorizo or Megisti.  This is the most beautiful little island.  The ferry only takes about 20 minutes to get there from Kas, and it is like being transported in a time warp to another place.  It also has the smallest duty free I have ever seen:

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As the boat approaches the harbour, the main town area comes into sight.

All of the houses are painted the most beautiful colours, like sugared almonds.  Inhabitants are not allowed cars, not that there is anywhere to go in them, and there is one taxi who seems to go round the island in circles a lot. I also met a few Australians, with Greek heritage from the island, who are known as ‘Kazzies’, and who have returned to live in this beautiful place.  What a homeland to have….

I pottered around and took a lot of photos, many of the houses are being restored by descendants of the original families.  Others are just waiting for their turn… Continue reading

My latest find…

And how to communicate with teenagers successfully…

After Christmas I received hundreds of sale emails from various interior shops.  One of them was from Cox & Cox, a great online retailer with quirky items.  I was not planning to buy anything, especially after Christmas, but this little beauty caught my eye, and it was also reduced so it would have been rude not too really….

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It’s a light box that come with lots of letters, and you can either wall-mount it or have it freestanding.  This has become the key way of communicating with my teenagers at the moment as they shoot in and out of the house, and they also love to leave messages too, so it is a two-way thing.

I have mine in the hall, so they can see it the minute they enter the house.  There is NO WAY they cannot get the message.  Unlike a phone that they can say they did not have on to receive a text or a voicemail, this sign is in your face and unmissable.

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When I first got it, I did a cheery message to get them ready to go back to school after the Christmas holidays:

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By the end of day one at school, it had been changed to this by a child…

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But generally it is a lovely sign to greet people and you can personalise it too if you want.

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But it also has brutal usages if so required…

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Genius, thank you Cox & Cox!

Ikea Hack – Bookshelf Unit, Part 1

PLANNING:

Yesterday I was over at my sisters house.  She has been working really hard recently on decorating, de-cluttering and generally removing the ravages of children over the years.  She has a sitting room with a newly installed woodburner, (she enlarged the fireplace and taught herself how to lime plaster to help install this, bravo!), and her style is very boho.  Lots of indian/ethnic furniture, kilims, fabulous battered leather armchairs and artefacts.  The room is skinny with a low ceiling, and not much natural light, so it ends up like a tunnel with dead space at either end.

There are two very long alcoves either side of the fireplace, and one is very underused – in fact it is crying out for something more.  So I suggested some sort of storage combination so she can get all of her stuff like LP’s, DVD’s, books etc into one dedicated place.  Budget is an issue, and we always like to get creative and avoid shelling out a fortune where possible. So I came up with an idea for an IKEA hack that we will be making this week.  Here are some very fuzzy images of the room and alcove, apologies for the quality!

Using an extended KALLAX as a central piece and two Billy bookcases either side, plus wood mouldings to revamp the front areas and to create some grandeur, we should be able to come up with a lovely break-front bookcase that will store a huge amount of things, fingers crossed!  As the room has generally dark furniture we are going to use white Ikea units, but paint the backs of the shelves in a dark grey to highlight whatever ends up on the shelves.  We will also paint everything else in white once the mouldings are attached.

The KALLAX units comes with great square baskets available made in rattan and palm leaves, so in some shelves clutter can be hidden in these.

SHOPPING LIST:

So here are the basics we will be buying:

Mouldings will be detailed with vertical rises like this:

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And the top pediment moulding like this:

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The base will also have a small skirting added to finish off the piece:

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English Antique hunting mission

I am sitting in a very cool cafe in Tetbury, Gloucestershire today and about to start on a mission finding interesting antiques.  It is pouring with rain, so I think there will be less tourists about giving me excellent shopping space!


Tetbury is a beautiful town in the Cotswolds, famous for a myriad of Antique shops.  It is also local to both Prince Charles’ and Princess Anne’s estates, so I might even have a Royal spotting (although if they are wise they should stay indoors on this very wet and grey English day).


But first some fuel… A pretty jam jar of juice and a mega toasted sandwich.

 There is one main street in the town which is full of antique dealers’ shops.  The current vogue is mainly for rustic French furniture, prints and reupholstered furniture.  It is pretty pricey but some of the pieces are wonderful.

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Armoire

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China collection

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Prince of Wales’ Insignia

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I’ll have it all!

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I had already spent about £30k in my head in just one side of the street.  All of the dealers are very friendly and informative, and I did not have any negative experiences anywhere.

The shutters above are my plan for a bedhead, I just have to hope they are still there when I return in the near future.



  

5 New Year Decor Resolutions for 2016

As I have been cooking, eating, drinking… and then cooking, eating and drinking some more over the last week, I have not had much time for any interiors dabbling.  Not that it is a bad thing, in fact it made me sit back and look at the house with a visitors eye.  I saw things I liked, and some things that could be improved.  Therefore I have decided that this coming year the following things must be done, (and it will be interesting to look back and see if I actually made them happen in 12 months time via the blog).

1.  Get on with the kitchen extension

I have had plans drawn to create a huge new kitchen from a tatty old outside decking area and to tweak existing rooms into a new laundry, wet room and study.  The plans have been sent to the council for approval, and already have been sent back with a query and a demand that the planning gets upgraded to a more expensive version, (for their benefit not mine)!  I am going over permitted development scales, so have to pay far more money for my extra 1.5 metres that I would like.

So I need the plans tweaked, a hefty fee attached and then hopefully I will get the go-ahead in 6-8 weeks time.  If this happen, then realistically the build will not start until at least Easter.  I have learnt to be really patient on this whole plan, and am a bit ‘Que Sera, Sera’ about it.  Until I am actually standing in the new kitchen I am refusing to believe it will finally happen.

This is how I want it to be; rough luxe, industrial, mega-high ceilings and light.

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But this is probably what it actually will end up like:

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Lovely, but could be a bit skinny due to budgetary constraints…

2.  Purge, purge, purge

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Planning Christmas table decorations

Yes, I am really a bit sad, I freely admit it!  I spent this afternoon messing about with the dining table, china, glasses, cutlery and so on, so as to plan upcoming Christmas entertaining in advance.

We have 3 lunches to do over the Christmas period, including the biggie on Christmas Day, and rather than go into a spin with table decorating on the actual mornings themselves, (when I am supposed to be concentrating on cooking), I thought it better to know what I would put on the table for each occasion in advance.

Lunch Number One

This table is styled with fresh whites and greens.  There are lots of natural elements in those colour ways on the table.  A large footed glass bowl of hydrangeas has raffia curled around the inside to hide the stems.  Faceted tea light holders in clear glass bounce light around and don’t block eye levels.  Two porcelain flower shaped tea light holders add more candle glow.  The table has two linen runners on it, one natural laid in one direction and a pale lime green going in the opposite direction.

 

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