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Articles tagged with: Our Home

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #19 ' This is My Castle'

on Sunday, 10 May 2015.

We absolutely love to travel, we love to go away, to spend nights in a different place and experience new things. We are so grateful to be able to do these things and to make these memories together. But I can guarantee that I will always have a excited feeling whenever I pull into our small driveway and turn the key in our front door after a trip away. Someone wise once said 'There's no place like home' and they couldn't have been more right.

You see, our little home, it's my castle. I'm the Queen of it, it's the one place where we all belong, where we all fit together nicely. Where we potter around and exist together. Some days as I potter around the house, wiping down the walls from sticky nutella fingerprints, putting umpteen cheap plastic toys back in the toy box and hoovering for what feels like the twentieth time that week, I will stop and look around and realise that this is all I ever wanted.  It's like I am living my dream.

I really do love our little home. When you stand at the tip of our driveway and take a look at it, it's nothing particularly special. A small three bed detached on a rather large, but nice, estate on the outskirts of a slightly dubious town. Our town isn't the nicest, it looks pretty, but it hasn't got the greatest reputation, in fact it's one claim to fame is being on the cover of Britain's Worst Towns in 2010.  But instead of going right once you leave our estate and heading towards the town, you can go left. And then you head into beautiful countryside, picture postcard villages and the city of Cambridge is within half an hour away- and well that's just beautiful. 

But back to my castle. It's nothing extra ordinary. From the outside there will always certainly be our front garden which is desperately in need of a cut, one of the perils of not having a husband, or indeed myself, who is keen on gardening. But once you step inside, I reckon you can feel it from the second you walk in the door.  

Love. 

Our home is full of love. There's memories everywhere you turn, whether that's a photo on the wall, a quote that means something to us, or a piece of furniture that shares a history. Something that connects us as a family. There's our sofa. I remember like it were yesterday coming back from a business trip to Bournemouth and seeing my husband lying sprawled out on our beige sofa. I sat on top of him and pulled out something from my bag- a pregnancy test. I found out while I was away that I was pregnant with our first little girl and I wanted to wait until I was back to tell him. I still remember him bursting into tears of shock and happiness and holding me while we discussed the future.  Or there's our bed. The bed that has seen so many things. (not just those things for the dirty minded!) It's seen arguments, times where I cried into my pillow out of sheer frustration at my husband, happy lazy Sunday mornings with a newborn and a toddler, or breakfasts in bed on special occasions.  

I often get asked on social media when I post a photo of our home, or indeed by friends who come to visit, if our home is always that tidy. I would love to say some of it is for show, but to be honest it isn't. I keep our home really tidy, I love interior design- there's been some effort, and it shows. I make my home somewhere I love to come home to at the end of the day, and I love to keep it clean and tidy- not to impress others or to live up to a certain ideal, but because it's my castle and I love to maintain our little nest.  Some people thrive in organised (or unorganised) chaos, I am at my most calm if the house is tidy.

It drives my husband mad, I constantly clean and tidy up, and at the end of the day you would be mistaken for thinking that no little people lived there, unless you looked closely at the photos of happy times on the wall, and a tell tale rogue Toy Story character that has escaped the fate of the toy box. Everything has it's place, bar the girls bedroom, and I like to put everything away at the end of the day, only for it to be all brought out again the following morning.

We have lived in our little home for almost six years now. Buying it and having a mortgage felt like the most grown up thing ever at the time, and sometimes it still does, almost like we are playing at being grown ups. For a long time we couldn't afford to put our stamp on it, we painted it neutral and slowly started to make it from a house into a home. It's seen us through tough times, I remember Mr E being made redundant just after Mads was born and we sat at the table and wondered how on earth we were going to pay the mortgage that month. That's why every room we decorate, every time we put more of a stamp on it, makes me feel more and more proud. I have a strange taste in interior design, bright yellow wallpaper, lots of colour and weird little quirky touches aren't for everyone, but luckily Mr E is a fan of it too.

We have worked for this. Worked really rather hard over the years. I remember almost crying when I saw our bathroom done for the first time last year, we lived with a basic, grotty bathroom since we moved in, and I was just so proud that we had worked hard enough to be able to afford to renovate it how we wanted. We have no more rooms we want to decorate now, bar the kitchen, but to be honest we are slowly outgrowing the house and in the next couple of years it's going to be time to start looking for our next step on the ladder. It isn't our forever home but I know that I will be really sad to leave it behind.

So yes from the outside our house really isn't anything spectacular. But the inside tells a very different story.  It holds our memories. Our adventures. Our love. Our shared history.  

It's our castle. 

And I will always be excited to return home to it.

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at home magazine bathroom 

A while ago we were contacted to see if our bathroom renovation could be featured in the new At Home magazine for May. I picked up a copy the other day and it looks great- there's four pages on our little monochrome space.

 

 BiB2015x350SLoutstanding

Pssst. My blog has been shortlisted for an award which is rather exciting- I am definitely not outstanding (talk about bigging yourself up!) but if you like my blog and haven't already voted for one of the others, I would love it if you would vote for me!  Thank you. xx

Our New Shared Workspace Makeover...

on Monday, 13 April 2015.

There's been lots of changes in our house recently.  Mr E is now working for himself, in fact we are working together, and that means that he is based at home.  For years I had my laptop and he had his Mac desktop crammed into a corner of our living room against the sofa on a small white metal garden table as we couldn't find a desk small enough.  Obviously when we found out he was going to be working from home we needed this situation to change, as it was completely impractical for him to work in our living room when the girls and I were at home.

We decided to change Mads old room into our new joint workspace, and therefore turn LL's old bedroom into a shared bedroom for the girls.  (You can check out that room makeover here)  This meant that we could create a study from scratch, something which I was really excited about.  I am thrilled with the end result- so far I have been so much more productive working in our new room rather than on our dining table.  It also has done wonders for me switching off and relaxing in the evening, as I leave the laptop in it's new place on my desk, rather than have it downstairs with me on the sofa.

The room is a very small space, in fact a single bed would pretty much take up the entire room, but I am so pleased with how we have set it out.  If feels quite spacious and also we have lots more storage space than we originally had- after all these years I even have a drawer for all my camera bits, whereas before I used to hide them down the side of the sofa.

Here is our shared workspace in photos...

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We needed a space for both our computers, and rather than look at two separate desks which would take up a lot of room we found this amazing double desk in Ikea- which was absolutely perfect.  It's really narrow, but couldn't be better for what we need it for, plus I love the white gloss.  

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Our black and white chairs were ridiculously cheap and also from Ikea.  I love the prints above our computers, the camera one is by Seventy Tree and I have wanted it for ages so Mr E kindly bought it for my birthday, and the other one Mr E made himself.  

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I love my little ceramic elephant which I bought from Paperchase, he comes with a pen which he holds in his trunk and you can write important messages on him. (they wipe off)  It says on his ear 'elephants never forget'.  Very cute.

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I love this tiny little bell jar from Paper Marche Shop over on etsy, they are made to order, and you can write your own message on there.  I chose 'Do What You Love' cause cheesily that is exactly what I am doing- there's nothing like a good motivational quote. ;)

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I really wanted to get a peg board for memos and things, plus I found this one that exactly matched our colour scheme.  I got the inspiration for it from my lovely friend Rachel who also has a few dotted around her house.

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Amsterdam holds a special place in our heart's after one of our favourite trips there, and I got these little postcards as a gift from my gorgeous friend Keri-Anne who surprised me in the post last week.  The wooden postcard is also a little note in the post from another blogging friend Lucy, what a lovely kind bunch bloggers are!

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In one corner of the room below the pegboard we have a set of storage shelves, again from Ikea.  (We heart Ikea!) The box shelves are so great for different types of storage.

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I've wanted to put my David LaChapelle books on display for ages- Mr E has bought them for me over the years as he is my favourite photographer.

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Little knick knacks.  These two ceramic houses came from Dunelm Mill and I randomly spotted them when I went in to buy some light bulbs.  Glamorous.

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Mr E bought me these Sketch Inc nesting dolls for my birthday- I have been admiring them for ages but never told him.  He knows me and my nesting doll obsession far too well!

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We have a similar storage shelf on the other corner of the room, but this one is an eight shelf one rather than four.

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I had to buy this old fashioned egg timer, but Mr E really doesn't like it for some reason.

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This glass jar came from H and M Home, as did the candles inside. 

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Can't beat a succulent. 

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I love this little area the best.  I am obsessed with photo walls (every wall in our house is covered with photos) and all these prints mean something to us.  You can't really see the Enjoy the Little Things print as it's hard to take a photo of it because of the light glare, but it's gorgeous and from my old friend Ben's store Old English Prints.  

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I love the 'It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice' quote- so true!  It's from Bonne Nuit which is a little shop I found over on instagram.  I can't remember where I got the 'Creativity takes Courage' print but I bought it for Mr E as I think it really rings true for the fact he has given up work to start his creative business.  The 'Blogs & Diet Coke' print is one Mr E made for me, and the others are just random little ones I have picked up here and there.

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The habitat clock is my favourite, I have wanted to get one for years and years but never really had the right space for it, so I treated myself to one with my birthday money.  I love it so much.  I have had the little black and white lomo camera for years, as I have mentioned previously I collect old cameras.

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I love this little globe that Mr E bought me (he's a pretty good husband actually!) and this print which was given to me ages ago by my friend Katrina when we started our travel site.  I love the fact that there are little details in the room that show off our hobbies and passions- like photography, design and travel.

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Yay for cacti.  Although they are prickly little customers as poor Mads found out the other day!

 

Overall I am really pleased with our new shared office space, I love to go in there, and it's helped wonders in motivating me and also helping me switch off in the evening time.     

 

If you want to see what the room liked before click here.

If you want to see my other interior posts click here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Colourful Shared Bedroom For Our Girls...

on Tuesday, 24 March 2015.

For the last couple of weeks we have been embarking on a couple of interior projects, which quite frankly are my favourite kind of project.  This is due to the fact that we really needed an office space, as from next Monday my husband will be joining me in working from home.  Being in a three bedroom house, that meant that we decided to put our girls in a joint bedroom.  We decided on the largest of their two bedrooms, that used to be our guest room and then for the last few years has been both Mads and LL's nursery.  It hadnt been decorated in a few years, when LL was born we just gave it some finishing touches, so it was well in need of a spot of painting.

 I have had my reservations and nerves about them sharing, but we so far are two nights in and both have been brilliant- the bunk bed has been a raging success and so far LL has been fantastic in her 'big girl bed', we have had some giggling in the evening and morning, but everyone has stayed where they should be!

But anyway back to their room.  I deliberated for a while on what theme to do for them- I love pastels and when looking for inspiration on pinterest, it seemed that monochrome or pastel seemed to be everywhere when it came to little people rooms, but Mads just isn't into pink or 'girly' colours.  Therefore I decided on a primary colour/rainbow room with a few retro touches.  I am a massively colourful person, our whole house is awash in colour, as are our clothes, so I decided it would be perfect for our little ladies.

We ended up spending a lot more than we planned too on their room, (sorry Mr E) because as usual I kept finding other things that looked nice, and these little trinkets and things just add up.  I am thrilled with their new space and best of all they are too- with Mads calling it 'the best room ever'.  High praise indeed.

I will try and link to as many products as possible in case anyone is after any inspiration, but here is their new happy, colourful bedroom in many, many photos...

 

Rainbow bedroom 1

As soon as I saw these Farg & Form cloud duvets on instagram many months ago, I knew that some day I would have to have them- and in fact I planned most of their room around the duvets!  We got ours from Little Baby Company and although they are quite pricey, I absolutely love them and the bright colours.  They are a Swedish brand so one thing I would say is that we struggled to find a duvet and pillow to fit the dimensions- in the end we found one almost the size in Ikea but it isn't perfect, it's fine when they are all tucked in though.  The fab letter cushion is from Next and was a bargain, as was this funky geometric cushion from Tesco. (I can't find the link for that one!)

Rainbow bedroom 4

For LL's bed we went for the Farg & Form duvet in red and this gorgeous Hello Sunshine cushion from Tesco.  

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I found these little house shelves in Next and thought they would be perfect for trinkets above Mads bed.  

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How cute is this little troll?  So retro. ;) It was mine when I was little and the funny little guy next to him is a nightlight from Ikea- it glows all different colours and I put him there in case Mads wakes in the middle of the night.

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We have had these Ingela P Arrhenius owl nesting dolls a few years, they were in Mads old room.

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The little knitted owl was also in Mads old room, made by our dear family friend's Mum, and the little Cookie Monster was a memento from our recent holiday to the Caribbean.

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The rainbow and cloud garland is just so gorgeous, and was handmade by a lovely lady called Coral who I found on instagram who runs the etsy shop Velveteen Babies- I love instagram for finding creative and unique products from independent businesses.  

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Our faithful friend Mr Dino watches from his spot on top of Mads wardrobe.

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We are thrilled with the girls bunk bed from Wayfair- I must have spent hours researching and looking into them, but we couldn't have got a more perfect choice.  At first we decided on single beds, then a bunk bed but it was huge and took up most of the room.  In the end we decided on the Rustic Retreat America Short Bunk bed, which is slightly bigger than a toddler bed but smaller than a single.  It is brilliant and means that they have a fair few years in it, (especially as they both curl up so much) but it also gives them lots of space in the room as well.  I was really nervous about it, but Mads loves it and can get up and down safely using the ladder.  There is also a large guard rail on the top which means I have absolutely no worries that she will fall out- in fact it has made going to bed really exciting and fun for her, she can't wait to go to sleep.  Bonus!  

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I love her little Etch a Sketch, she has been getting up earlier in the mornings and because we don't want her to shout and wake up LL, the Etch a Sketch is there so she plays with it for a bit before shouting us, plus it keeps in with the retro feel of the room.  So far so good and it's been a massive hit- it's lovely seeing her play with toys I enjoyed as a child.

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Their whole room was based around this image- it's one of my favourites and so I had it blown up large as a center piece for their picture wall.

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It's hard to see their picture wall in these photos because the light from the window hits the glass frames.  But I had great fun choosing prints for it.

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The prints are a combination of photos, prints I have designed myself and got printed, and prints I have bought, but they all have lots of colour in common.  Our frames are the trusty ones we use for all our photo walls- the Ikea Ribba frames, which are as cheap as chips and do the job nicely, although if you look really closely sometimes they aren't all the best quality.

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 Rainbow bedroom 31

I am so pleased with how their wall turned out bar the dusting.  ;)

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In keeping with the colourful, retro theme, we bought some of their toys from downstairs upstairs to live.  One thing that I am thrilled about is that there is so much more space for them to play now the room is arranged the way it is.

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I love these colourful little hooks, again this is from Little Baby Company and was really good value. 

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The lampshade was in Mads old room from before, but again it is Farg & Form.  The curtains obviously are also the same brand (cloud obsession me thinks) but we just bought material and got them specially made with black out lining.  All the furniture, bar their bed, is from Ikea and is their Stuva range- it's fantastic, good value and quality, and comes in loads of different combos.  We were really worried we weren't going to be able to fit two wardrobes in but we managed to get two long skinny ones which do the job perfectly.

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The bookshelf was again from Ikea and was I think about £12 which is just crazy.  I put a load of their little trinkets on the top and the gorgeous Shakespeare quote print 'Though she be but Little she is Fierce' is from a very talented old friend of mine Ben who owns Old English Prints- I absolutely love it as it is one of my favourite sayings.

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Their Toy Story characters show no signs of being forgotten about so we have them as pride of place in these cute little storage boxes I found at Next- they have one side which is chalkboard which is a nice touch.  Unfortunately somewhere in the decorating period, Woody found himself lost, we have a horrible feeling we threw him in the skip with some other rubbish by mistake.  RIP Woody.

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'Grandma in the computer' (Mr E's Mum!) made this owl for Mads old room.

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I found this little cloud plushie randomly by searching on google from a company called Sew Sew, although small, he makes a perfect little windowsill companion.

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Ingela P Arrhenius again- this time from Little Baby Company.  They live perfectly in this little house shelf from H and M Home.

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My favourite part of their room is their bookcase shelves, just because it is full of colour.  I had seen this Ribba Shelves (from Ikea) hack on loads of sites, so finally got round to doing our own.  The girls love it and it really brightens up the room.  I think the shelves were around £8 each so they are such a cheap way of making a room instantly more colourful.

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Rainbow bedroom 30

I absolutely love these 'Sisters' letters- they are individual wooden letters but rather than spell their names I thought it would be nicer to spell out this.  They are colourful and look lovely sat on their chest of drawers.  The apple is from Dunelm, it's meant to be a door stop but looks great next to them.

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I got this little coat stand thing from Ikea, I just thought it went perfectly with their room and although Mr E rolled his eyes when I put it in the trolley, I just couldn't walk past a colourful coat stand and not buy it. ;)

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And there you have it.  A colourful, happy room for my girls.  I hope that sharing a room will bring them even closer together and that it is the start of a real adventure for them both.  I am so pleased with the way the room has turned out and it makes me happy every time I walk in there- it's just so bright and cheerful.  At the moment we have their suitcases under the bed but when I get a minute I am going to sort it out and put some toys under there, so they can really enjoy and play in there more.  

 

If you want to see the before photos of the room click here.

You can check out my other interior posts here

Our Bathroom Makeover...

on Thursday, 02 October 2014.

 

**Warning- lots and lots of photos- may take a while to load!**

 

We have been living in our house for five years now, it's not our forever home or our dream home, but it's perfect for our family now.  We were thinking about moving next year, but we have decided now to stay put for a couple of years and just enjoy our little home, and not to push ourselves financially with moving costs and a bigger mortgage.  We are finally getting it how we want it, and I love buying bits and pieces for it.

Pretty much since the day we moved in, I have been wanting to renovate the bathroom.  Our old bathroom was horrible- dodgy pipes, ugly tiles, a little mouldy and above all just really plain.  It wasn't my style at all, but bathrooms are expensive, and at the time we just didn't have the money to rip it all out and start again.  

Just to give you an idea, this is how it used to look- bleugh!

bathroombefore

Finally after some saving, and some luck in the fact Mr E has taken on a big freelance contract, we were finally able to renovate our bathroom.  To say I was excited, is a BIG understatement, I was straight on pinterest pinning ideas for our new room.  

 

Here is our new bathroom in photos...

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The first thing we did was get rid of the horrible tiles.  I adore subway tiles so just had to get these, and we asked the tiler for dark grey grout instead of white.  We were really lucky that Homebase had a half price deal on these when we purchased them, because we had to get a LOT of them!

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We went for a black, white and grey theme, but with a tiny hint of turquoise.  Love our stripy shower curtain.

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Most of the bare bones of our bathroom suite came from a company called Crosswater.  We found each other after they followed me on twitter and they were amazing from start to finish, happy to help and collaborate with me on my blog.  Such fantastic customer service, and we visited our nearest show room where the team helped us figure out exactly what we needed.  Our soap dispenser and tumbler came from there, as part of their Wisp collection.

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We chose a vanity unit as because the bathroom is quite a small space, we needed all the storage we can get!

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Our shiny taps are from Kelly Hoppen, we really liked the contemporary, sleek design.  Is it weird to be in love with a tap?! 

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We bought quite a plain, bogstandard, square bath from Victoria Plumb, instead making the taps more of a feature than the bath itself.  Again these taps are from Kelly Hoppen, it's her KH Zero 6 Range.

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I love our shower, we opted for a square style fixed one from Victoria Plumb.  After years of having a horrible electric shower that sounded like it was about to take off, I absolutely love this.  

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Our old mirror and cabinet was tiny so we decided to go for a huge mirrored cabinet, it has so much space we don't have enough toiletries to fill the space- I love it although I am already obsessed with fingerprints!

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The whole room is such a dramatic change, but I think one of the biggest ones for me has to be our toilet.  In our old bathroom, all the pipes were exposed at the back and so ugly, but our plumber boxed it all in (giving us a shelf too- woo hoo!) and we bought a concealed cistern back to wall toilet.  We replaced our brown floor tiles with some luxury vinyl from CarpetRight, we were advised on vinyl by the company who carried out all the work for us and although dubious at first, we are thrilled with how it has turned out.  I couldn't get a photo of it, but it's a sparkly grey colour.

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We previously had floating shelves but we changed the colour to white, I adore all the knick knacks we put on.  Our new towels and wire basket came from H and M Home and the big lantern came from Tesco

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Got to have lots of candles for all those nice relaxing baths. 

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Myself and Mr E argued about the stags head for ages as he wasn't keen on it but in the end I won, (obviously) we bought him from Homebase.  The two little plants are from good old Ikea.

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Love the lantern from Tesco, and my trusy Jo Malone candle that we got as a wedding present but I have never had the heart to light has made it's way on the shelf too.

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We got the monochrome prints from This Modern Life.

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The two outer prints are by Seventy Tree and the middle one is Eef Lillemor.

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 Other things we did was add some really cool and bright LED lights, and a new chrome towel rail too, as well as add a new blind from Dunelm.  The whole bathroom has been redecorated, including removing the artex and replastering the ceiling- hooray!

 

Overall I am absolutely thrilled with how our bathroom has turned out.  It was definitely worth the 5 years of moaning, saving and planning!  We are both so pleased with it and nice relaxing soaks in the bath are definitely a million times better now.  Now I am happy with every room in our house, although I have plans to redecorate here and there.  Here's on to my next project!

 

 

Check out some of my other interior posts here-

Our Pink, White and Gold Bedroom Makeover

Our Yello and Purple Retro Living Room Makeover

LL's Pastel Nursery

Mads Woodland Room

 

 

 

 

 

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