Showing posts with label decorating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decorating. Show all posts

Thursday, November 28, 2013

finally! our master bedroom

Sheesh, I've been slow with this. That's because it's still not finished, but will it ever be? Probably not. Because it's not even going to be our master bedroom forever - when we extend, we'll be building a new one on the back of the house (yay!) and this will become Zak's. But in the meantime, it's ours. And so here was our plan:

I have no rug yet, no lamp for Steve and no ticking stripe. I also haven't got the curtains organised yet because we'll be changing the window soon(ish) and so I'll wait until then. We're living with the timber venetians that came with the house for now. What we have done (and please ignore dirty mirror and wrinkled bed linen - I don't iron), is this:

The floors were whitewashed by yours truly and I love them. It was quite the experiment and I will write about it, but there were things I'm going to do differently the second time around, so I'll wait to do Zak's room so I can show you properly. The whole house will eventually be like this and I can't wait.

A word on my diamond light before I go on... Well. I absolutely love it - I planned a lot of this space around that darn thing - a dark wall, a white cord with gold fitting (I spraypainted it) so the diamond shape would really stand out. And after waiting MONTHS to install it (we waited until we had all the lights installed in the room properly), it blew in less than three HOURS. How unimpressed was I? NOT AT ALL. And just to annoy me even more, the store I bought it from just said they didn't stock it anymore - no offer to replace with something else or refund or even apologise... And all the publicity I gave them too... Oh well. So I usually have a normal light bulb in the bedside one, but seeing as I am rarely in bed reading, I'm just leaving the diamond in for a while - it's all about look, right? It can look pretty in the daytime! Just not practical...

Back to the room... The dark grey feature wall became a feature wall after the wallpaper that had been on the wall refused to come off. I probably could have hired a steamer or tried different things on the market, but my patience ran out after a little while of wallpaper removal and I looked at other options. The wallpaper had been painted and so all the removal took the paint off, but not the paper. I gave up when I had an idea to panel it. We decided to try it ourselves and I ordered the pine siding - it came in linear metres (so they just provided enough timber for the amount of metres I needed, but they were random lengths). In the end they weren't random lengths, which was annoying because I could have ordered a few more and just had them all the one perfect length of the room. And they also arrived slightly warped. We assumed it would just kind of straighten on the wall but no. The panels didn't slip into each other as they should so after spending a morning measuring and cutting the panels to fit (we ended up doing a kind of patchwork look) our patience ran out again really quickly (let's blame the baby I'm growing shall we? For Steve too - why not) and Steve decided to cut off the lips of each panel and we just screwed them to the wall (in the studs, obviously) and got on with it. 

I wondered how it'd turn out - some of the gaps are pretty big. But after patching some of the joints with wood putty and painting it, I love it. It kind of looks like an old weatherboard wall that we have painted - not a brand new one and I like that. I don't do perfect too well anyway!! We can also see some knots and grain, which is a nice change to the flatness of the white walls. And I LOVE the colour - it's Rhino Grey by British Paints and is a magical colour-changing colour. Sometimes it's grey, sometimes it's a bluey colour, othertimes it looks black. I am thinking it'd make an awesome exterior colour too - we plan to paint the outside dark, so this might be it! Hydrangea is from my garden (I love being able to say that).

 I covered my headboard with this herringbone fabric - it's actually a curtain from Spotlight that I grabbed for $10 a metre during a recent sale. It's just pinned at the back and can be easily removed. We're planning to buy a king-sized bed eventually so I'm happy with this for the time being.

 Our main bedroom light is this capiz shell chandellier. I've always wanted one of these - I love the tinkle it makes in the breeze - I thought it'd drive me nuts but it is just off centre to the open windows so is in a perfect spot!

Annoyingly, our bed can't be centred against the wall just yet (I moved it over slightly for this picture) because we have dressers and a rack on the left and need some room for Steve to actually walk past! Eventually we will have a built-in and that white chest of drawers will move into Zak's room, but for now, this is how it is.

 Steve's side is looking a bit sad at the moment - he has the tree stump at the moment but it looks very lost. I think maybe a crate or rustic stool or something might be better...

Ignore filthy mirror... This chest of drawers has had several lives. It is a temporary addition and holds all my clothes (well, the ones I wear - there is an entire cabin filled with boxes of clothes still that I obviously don't need or wear! Due to a serious lack of storage in the house, we're all just keeping a few faves on high rotation!). The Z is a mini marquee light - I'll post a how-to soon, and the tiny gold vase is one I made and gold-leafed.

I found this brass stork (?) in a charity shop for $5. The bell jar is from Kmart and the books are just a selection of well-read ones topped with the birthday book that has been handed down through my family from my great-grandmother. The white bowl is one I made from clay and gold-leafed the edge.

And just to keep it real - here is the other side of the room. At this moment my sideboard is housing half the bathroom while it's being renovated and the other side of the TV has an assortment of picture frames and washing baskets and Christmas ornaments.... This is our hanging space at the moment - a cheap rack until we get a built-in (in the same spot next to the door).

 My "helpers"!

And so that is it - for now! There will be changes and there are still a fair few things to do in this room, but I'm happy to have one room relatively done! And it's a nice preview in terms of colour and floor to to what the rest of the house will eventually look like. And I'm happy with that!

Still to do:
+ Built-in wardrobe
+ Paint the door
+ Replace the window
+ Add curtains
+ Buy a new bed
+ Work out side tables
+ Buy a rug and lamp for Steve

Room sources for those interested...
White walls: Dulux Lexicon quarter strength
Dark wall: British Paints Rhino Grey
Floor: my own concoction - separate post to come
Capiz chandelier: Jezebel Small Capiz Shell Pendant Light, $34, Lighting Illusions
Side pendant: Create 1 Light Pendant in White, $31.95 (on special), Beacon Lighting
Diamond lightbulb: Eric Therner Diamond Lights - try eBay or international stores, I don't think Australia has stockists anymore.
Moroccan side table: local store, but try My Island Home
Ikat cushion: Table Tonic
Headboard fabric: Spotlight

{All images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

crafty decorating: painted cork-tile pinboard

My poor desk has been sitting there covered in papers and bills (ugh) for way too long. It needed something to make it look a little bit more inspirational than it did so I would actually want to sit there and work. And now, I think it does! I wasn’t going to do a moodboard and I’m still not sure if I’ll bother with the typical magazine tear-sheet moodboard – because I hate ripping up my magazines! And I have no time and patience to do the photo thing I wanted to do – maybe somewhere else another time. So for now, it was a graphic pinboard of some kind for a few pictures, cards, photos and other bits and bobs I feel like hanging/dangling/pinning on it. I was thinking of stencilling something, but then I realised I keep doodling this diamond-ish pattern so I decided to translate it in giant-scale on some cork tiles.

Oh look! More handmade touches – I made this cushion out of two napkins, the twine hanger was made with dowel and thin wire, the lamp is an Ikea Tertial spraypainted blue, the garland is another one I made from scrap papers and a half-inch circle punch. Rainbow and sticker art by Layla, dinosaurs by Zak. He is such an awesome drawer.
What I love about this simple pattern and duplicate tiles is that i can change it up – the same tiles can be rearranged to be a chevron pattern or diagonal stripe. I also left space on either side to add to the tiles if I want to later on. They’re simply stuck up with 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips* which are easily removable from the walls (thank goodness as I’m renting!) but also meant that if I DO rearrange, it’s as simple as pulling the tiles off, and pressing them back in as they’ll just click into place. Awesome. If you’re keen to DIY, I of course took some pics of the process. Why not make the project process even more drawn-out?! Ha! Here’s how.

You’ll need:
Cork tiles – mine are from Bunnings, $13-odd for packet of 6. They’re floor tiles so quite thick and hardy. 
Painter’s tape
White paint
3M Command Picture Hanging Strips – I used 4 small velcro-style strips per cork tile
A paintbrush 
Also helpful: a ruler and pencil

Step 1: The easiest way to do this corner angle is to measure the same distance from the corner on both sides, mark and then line up the tape to the markings. I couldn’t find a ruler – of course – so used the 3M tape itself to measure everything. As multi-functional as it is genius. Tape off your corner and then cover the whole triangle with tape if you want to (or if your 3-year-old daughter is going to be painting it and you want to ensure the paint only goes in the right areas).

Step 2: Use your ruler – or in my case – your 3M tape! – to measure the distance you want the stripes to be. Steve said you could use maths as well but PFFT. I’m not even going to go there (not even close to my strongest subject). Tape it up and around the edges and repeat – mine ended up being (coincidentally, but very helpfully) the same size as two strips of masking tape. Repeat with all tiles the same way. The maths way is something about dividing up the lengths of each side…

Step 3: Arrange your tiles in the pattern you desire to ensure the stripes line up well enough.- with this simple pattern you can do this diamond, diagonal stripes or chevron. Don’t you love options?! If you couldn’t be bothered to keep redoing the pattern to get it right later on, mark the tiles on the back (top-left, top-right etc).

Step 4: Have your slave child paint the remaining cork. Then go over it yourself to redistribute the paint that all ended up on the one cork tile in huge glumps. Paint the tile in smooth strokes in the one direction. Leave to dry.

Step 5: My favourite part about painting with tape – peeling it back to see super-straight neat non-bleeding lines. Yay!

Step 6: Stick two 3M Command picture strips together – they click together a little like velcro.

Step 7: Peel off the backing tape off one of the sides, stick into place on the tile. I used one in each corner for super-strength and also to ensure the tile was evenly set off the wall – it sinks a tiny bit in the middle when you press in a tack, but is not going anywhere! Stick into place on the wall and repeat with all tiles until you have your pattern. These strips are great for any kind of wall hanging you want to change up – photos in frames can easily be swapped by simply taking the frame off – leaving the strip on the wall still – and then pressing back into place. Same might go if I rearrange my pinboard (although if the tiles turn to the sides they might not fit in perfectly, but they should still stay put.)

Step 8: Stick, pin, tape, hang, decorate!

 And one more to see it in the rest of the room… There is an Expedit to the right of the kids table. I really should take a picture of the whole space, but it’s always so messy… Even too messy to show you how messy it is, if you know what I mean. Normally I’m happy to do that, but at the moment, sheesh – the place is appalling. I had to turn down an impromptu playdate today because the place looked like a bunch of teenagers had been allowed to live in it parent-free for a week. That bad.
Anyway, there is my new pinboard. I just need some things to pin on it now! It’s a bit sparse, but it was mainly to show the pattern. I kind of don’t want to cover it up too much… I like diamonds. Real ones too! x
* I was sent a packet of 3M hooks to use in some way and enter into a Blog Aloud competition. I think if you read my blog regularly you’ll know how I feel about them (I love and use them for EVERYTHING) so I decided against a review and incorporated the competition requirements – image, link and mention – into this project instead. My project has been shortlisted as one of the top 8 and it’s now down to votes. If you have a spare minute and enjoyed this project, please pop by to Facebook and “like” my project here (I am assuming a like is a vote?!?!) to vote. I would very much like to win the prize. Thanks!
{Images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

imogen's nursery corner

This print was a gift from sweet Amanda of Calico & Co and Lemon Tree Lane. I couldn’t see it as an option in her store, but it should be! I’m sure she’ll be happy to chat to you if you want one too (she’s nice like that).

Imogen actually slept today so I was able to tidy up her “room” and take some pictures. Of course, it also meant she slept TOO much and I had to take the snaps with her in the bed before I lost the light… Typical! Her room is actually a teeny portion of my bedroom – it’s one half of a wall. I like my babies to sleep nearby for the first six months or so and in a little cradle – they look so ridiculously lost in a proper cot!!
This was my original moodboard for her nursery when she was Bubble. We didn’t know her sex and even though I wasn’t planning to decorate a full nursery, I of course did a moodboard. It’s not exactly what I’d planned, but in my world, that would be rare anyway!
So, I started with the room looking like this (above) – grey and white. I still love it looking all minimal and simple, but then I went and had a little girl and there is NO ESCAPING THE PINK. So mainly due to the fact her clothes and gifts were pink, it became pink and grey with a little peach dotted throughout in the clothes and sling on the side of the cradle. And so… here it is (I may have gone overboard with the number of images. Sorry)

This is the “nursery” in its entirety. Not much to it, is there?! I like all the colours together and the hits of nature.

I painted the cradle a deep grey. It’s my own custom mix – chalkboard paint mixed with white undercoat! I love the matte chalky finish and went crazy with the same colour throughout the house – Layla’s bedhead, the step stool, a chair…

I used another piece of driftwood as a mini shelf – it’s stuck on the wall with a million 3M tapes (and the cradle is out from the wall so no chance of anything falling on Miss Imogen even if it does fall). The little horse is by Kate Finn and the teeny tiny ballet shoes were Layla’s – they’re from Chateau de Sable.

I love this little clock (hmm, still need to set it!). It’s Decoylab and I struggled choosing which style I wanted, but the owl won. From Hunt & Gather. BUT, I just noticed the Decoylab website is having a giveaway of THIS VERY CLOCK! Chances of that?! You’ve got till April 30 to enter – click here. The tissue paper garland is made by me – I’ll have a tutorial for you tomorrow.

The white cube shelves are from Kmart. They cost a while $19 each. The sheepskin rug is Ludde from Ikea.

Love this reversible sling, only none of my children actually liked being in it. Sigh. So it’s always been a room decoration until they’re old enough for the hip-slinger style. It’s by Rockin’ Baby. The giraffe is Sophie The Giraffe teether.

I’ve used my mum’s rocking chair for all three kids. It’s fun to rock with them and I would feed in it at night but I’m way too lazy and prefer to slouch or lie in my bed.

I bought this little elephant while pregnant with Zak. Coles – of all places – had a bunch of really cute stuffed animals so I bought a few of them. Ooh-Ahh (Zak’s monkey) and Lion (Layla’s lion – original name) are their best mates and they nominated Elephant for Immy. I’ve since banned stuffed toys as gifts because I despise them en masse, but I’m still happy with this original buy – every child needs one fave cuddly bedtime pal… The cushion is actually a tea towel – another sweet gift from Julie of from Olive & Joy. But I love the pattern and colour too much to ruin it as I do all my tea towels, so I turned it into a cushion. Keep an eye on the store as you’ll soon be able to buy a cushion in this print.

My driftwood hanger – wow, the last image of this (the grey and white one, above) got around the WWW, which was nice. I do love this.

Immy’s little shoes (the slippers are Britt Design)

Mr Rabbit is from Typo (man, I love that store!) and the little paper boat I made – originally I was going to do a string of little multi-coloured paper boats to hang on the wall, but then I had a little girl, so the boats went to Zak and Layla to sail in the puddles and I just kept the one.

immyclothesTeeny tiny clothes, a basket of wraps and a stack of spew catchers (ok, they’re nappies, but Immy is such a spewer, that’s what I call them) make up the rest of the cubes. And no, they’re NEVER this neat.
So there we have it – Immy’s little nursery corner/wall. Thoughts? One of the comments in my survey was a suggestion to have a before and after of the styling of a space. I thought it was a great idea. So tomorrow – provided I get the time! – I’ll show you how I put the room together, how it looked before I made it photo-worthy and a few other sneaky things I did to get it to this stage. Because despite my slight rant in my previous post, I do edit and style when I take a picture of a space. Just not as much as magazines do!

immynursery3Sleeping beauty…

{Images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

Monday, April 18, 2011

my home + family in Real Living magazine (complete with bad hair and dirty table)


Too often I will roll my eyes at the images in a homes magazine – the pictures are styled to death, you just know the stylist bought in half the furniture and accessories, and a lot of the time they even had clothes borrowed and hair and make-up expertly applied. I know all of this and it bugs me. Just like those darn photoshopped celebrities. And yet… when Real Living editor Deb basically forced me to have my home shot for the mag’s renovation special (”We’ve been waiting for you for YEARS. It must be finished now!” ), I couldn’t help but hope Sarah, the stylist, would wave her magic stylist’s wand and make the house, the styling, the family… better. I wanted clothes brought in (being a week out from my due date, I didn’t exactly have a lot to choose from). I hoped she’d bring a truckload of goodies to sprinkle through my house to make it seem a little more special. I looked forward to her whisking around my home moving this here and that there to make it look more magazine-worthy. And I was disappointed budget restraints years ago had culled hair and make-up funding – I was on my own.

Belinda's house - page 3

So when she arrived with a bag of cushions and throws in one arm and bunch of flowers in the other and declared that’s all she had, I was slightly disappointed. And when my hair refused to dry into its usual nice waves and frizzed in the heat, I was sad my “at home with” pictures were not going to rival Gwyneth’s House & Garden ones. So after they left, I worried: would it be good enough to get a run? (hey, it’s happened!) Would it look a little amateur next to architect’s and stylist’s and awesomely stylish people’s homes? Would I just look like a big fat scruffy blob? But then I slapped myself silly and gave myself a stern talking to: not only was it Real Living – and a renovation-tips story at that – but I AM Real Living through and through.

Ever since I worked on the launch issue, I was pretty much considered the official representative of the people: I AM the Real Living reader. As the deputy editor, if the price was too high, the style too unattainable, the piece too designery, the copy too technical, the project too unrealistic, it was my job to do my best to make it more “real” and have a whine about making sure it didn’t happen again. So if my home suddenly looked all perfection and too different to how it appears on my blog, if I looked like I had my shit enough together to blowdry my hair and have perfect angel children eating an impressive homecooked meal or sitting soldier-style at the table, I’d be a hypocrite.

Because I barely had enough time to make the beds, straighten the house and dress the kids and myself before they arrived. And the reason there is no impressive meal on the table is because there was no food in the house (I spent the day before cleaning, not shopping). Not even eggs, hence the empty egg cups, or fruit, hence the bare fruit bowl. And the only way Layla would even consider having her photo taken was if she wore her tutu and played with the blue golf ball (which is still on the benchtop). And then there is the matter of the filthy dirty tabletop… I swear this was clean on the day. But the dark wood, light showing up the streakmarks and the fact I’m not even close to a cleaning goddess resulted in this atrociously dirty looking table that my good friend Bi – the retoucher – didn’t magically retouch away.
And so… the house images you see in Real Living this month are very much “real”. Sarah simply moved a couple of things around and added a cushion or throw here and there. I have to admit it was very hard not having the control that I do when I style and photograph my own place for the blog. I kept going to say “why not shoot this? Or pull back more? Or shoot on this angle?” but bit my tongue – they had their instructions so I had to butt out! I think the pictures could have showed a bit more of the renovation side of things, but overall I’m happy it looks like us, looks like my house and am completely chuffed to have it featured in not just any magazine, but MY magazine (I still consider myself part of the team! hehe). I’ve always said we could have made the place slicker, much more modern and a little more “user-friendly”, but that’s not us. And if your place doesn’t feel comfortable to you, what’s the point in living there?

In a small attempt to help save the publishing industry that I love so much, I won’t post the full images and scans here until it’s offsale in a month. But, I will send you to the website where you can read 10 lessons I learnt while renovating. I’ll go through my ridiculous amounts of supplied copy later on and share what didn’t get published in another post. And to milk the feature for all its worth, I’ll do a small behind-the-scenes post too when I get a chance.

Until then, enjoy your copy of the mag. I’m off to buy a few copies today (I haven’t even seen it in the flesh yet; just PDFs I made the office send me and sweet Julie’s snaps of the feature). Might have to leave an open copy casually lying around on “open for inspection” days when the house goes on the market! hehe

{Top image Maree Homer for Real Living; other image courtesy Julie of Olive & Joy}

Monday, July 5, 2010

bedroom makeover: new black wall

I think it’d be safe to say I love my new black wall. I had a feeling I would – as soon as I started slapping on the black paint I could picture it finished with the side tables and new/old lamp. And this is exactly how I pictured it. I wish the rest of the room looked this clean and tidy, but it’s not even close. From the end of the bed there is this-sized-space-and-a-half, and it’s mostly piled with all the stuff I slid out of view for this picture hehe.

I changed my mind about the chalkboard paint – they do have a water-based version but was out of stock so I went for Wattyl Low-Sheen in Colorbond Night Sky. Pretty much a perfect match to my beloved chalkboard. Two coats is all it took!
My side: an old tree stump is my side table. Wondered what happened to my Tord Boontje garland light? Wonder no more – here it is! In case you’ve been living a world that doesn’t have design blogs or interiors magazine, let me tell you: hanging lightbulbs as bedside lamps with cord casually hanging from the wall or ceiling? Totally hot right now. Possibly and probably started by Sibella Court who has one in her bedroom. Of course mine is neither vintage or a cool designer find and is a total cheat: a handheld workman’s lamp from Bunnings of all places ($18!) with the garland wrapped around it. But I like it and that’s all that matters.

Steve’s side: the newspaper pile again (Steve is a newspaper editor so we have quite the fire hazard collection of newspapers) with some fave books, an antler and fig candle.
Now I just need to get myself organised to finish the rest of the room… One day! More importantly, do we like?!

{images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

Friday, January 22, 2010

secrets to creating a happy home

A few months ago I was excited to receive an email from a writer, Catherine McCormack, who was putting together a feature forHome Beautiful magazine called “secrets to a happy home”. She figured being the author of a blog called The Happy Home, I might have some tips. She figured correctly. I did have tips. Lots of them. And being the awesome babbler that I am I wrote only one thousand words of brilliant happy-home-creating wisdom. Whether or not they’re helpful at all is entirely different, but I wrote them, sent them off with a smile on my face and jumped up and down in Coles with joy when I read my name in its pages the day it came out. Of course, the issue came out on the very same day my entire blogged crashed and so any new readers who popped on to check it out would have seen nothing, but I was happy regardless.
Anyway, I knew when I sent it off that only a tiny bit would be included because that’s what happens in magazines – you use a fraction of the information you receive and then that is slashed even more to fit the layout – but I didn’t care if I had one sentence. My name was in print without it being a byline (an odd, but nice change). And I was there as an “expert”. Love that. So, because I’m knowledgeable about such things, I thought I’d post my entire answers so you can all live in happy homes. Ha! You might recognise a few of the suggestions… But you must pick up the issue to read other happy-home tips, drool over pretty homes and enjoy the last summery issue for a while (next issues in Magland will be March so they’ll be getting into autumn mood). And a huge thanks to Catherine for thinking of me and including myquotes (one of which is below) – yay!


What makes your home a happy one?
Happy occupants! And for us to be happy, we need to be surrounded by items and spaces that feel comfortable, are meaningful, welcoming and that reflect our personalities and lifestyle. Our home is not precious or perfect – we’ve been renovating for six years and still aren’t finished – but I’d like to think it’s a home that feels like us. There are signs of life with a (select few!) toys hanging around and shoes on the deck, casual and comfortable furniture, objects that reflect our passions and interests, and personal touches or creative ideas in every room. All rooms are treated as living spaces – not show rooms – and we do just that: live in them – so very happily!

 Favourite decorating ideas for bringing warmth and character into a living space:
* There is something about handmade that always draws the eye and instantly gives off good vibes. Whether it’s a recovered old chair, framed family silhouettes on the wall, a stencilled floor, wallpapered tabletop or heirloom quilt, these are the things that not only make a space unique, but their specialness is felt. A few vintage touches have the same effect – there’s usually a story behind it and its imperfections give it that lived-in look which is the key to warmth and character. I’ve tried to do something creative or unique in each room – particularly if the furniture is pretty standard as it stops the space looking like everyone else‘s. And it’s so satisfying to look around a room and know you literally put your own personal stamp on it.
* I’ve learnt recently to pretty up the mundane – I like the basics to be pretty basic (ie, simply shaped, white or neutral) but I’ve discovered it doesn’t have to be plain. So now I look for textured or fringed towels, white waffle doona covers and matte-glazed earthenware. I also choose pretty tea towels, beautifully scented eco soaps and decorative vases for cooking utensils. It’s nice to see beauty in unexpected places!
* My rule is, if you absolutely love it, you can make it work! I have a lot of classic-style furniture and I mix it up with a few ethnic-inspired pieces, hand-me-down antiques and DIY revamped items, but because it’s all in a similar palette and kept as neutral as possible, it all fits together. So a piece of coral sits side-by-side Buddha, Moroccan leather poufs are paired with a cow hide, dainty tea cups sit on chunky wooden tables and I have a girlie Tord Boontje garland light above an industrial-style aluminium chair, but it’s all very laid-back and so works.

 Kid-friendly decorating ideas that adults will love too:
I think the trick to kids and adults living in style and harmony is blendability! Let their presence be evident in every room, but don‘t let it overpower everything else. In my house, we have kids “stations” pretty much throughout: the kitchen has a magnetic wall with a double-sided activity board with chalkboard on one side/felt board on the other; in my bedroom they have a cube of my office shelving and their table and chairs; and in the living room, the bottom shelf of the bookcase is dedicated to their books. They have a select few toys in their rooms and I rotate them with others kept in the shed not just for mess, but so they have “new” toys regularly. The aesthetically pleasing and creatively stimulating (my favourite combination) toys reside in the living room: beautiful birch wooden blocks, a wooden train and a wheely bug. We can be creative and fun all the time without the house turning into a preschool.
A few other ideas:
* Low poufs, floor cushions or mini adult furniture (try Fantastic Furniture for mini couches; or Little Nest for kid-sized designer chairs) in the living room let little ones sit and draw at the coffee table, plus they’ll feel more at home on furniture their size.
* Adult fabrics in colours or styles that reflect the child’s likes look great in kids rooms, as does animal print.
* Chalkboard walls don’t seem to be losing popularity, but to make yours stand out, paint a large mural or streetscape on the wall or paint on furniture instead.
* Narrow walls in living rooms or in a hallway look great turned into vertical book racks – mix it up with kids and adults hard covers for a stylish library. (We’re about to do this in a small hallway.)
* Framing kids art is not new, but think of other ways to display their talents: have them paint an actual canvas, a bird house, vase or platter.
* Cow hides are perfect for young families – they look great, take a beating but clean up beautifully every time. Plus, they don’t feel as scratchy as you’d expect. (PS: check out Lou’s post here for a good online source)
* There are lots of decorative items that run the entire length of the age spectrum: world maps and globes (try Mapshop), assortment of letters and numbers on the wall; vintage posters (try Galerie Montmartre) and book pages; landmarks like large wire Eiffel Towers (especially if they can drive little cars under them!) or Muji’s City in a Bag.
* Vintage suitcases and recycled tyre tubs (try Heaven In Earth) make brilliant stylish toy storage.
* If you have the space, an indoor swing for old and young alike is too much fun. Just ask Gwyneth!

22 Responses to “secrets to creating a happy home”

  1. oh yes I saw this article, didn’t see your quote tho, but did think of you!!!
  2. MrsLimestone says:
    Oh how fabulous. Great tips.
  3. [...] secrets to creating a happy home « the happy home [...]
  4. Wow, what a beautiful post…completely agree with the handmade part…that is what makes a house , “a home”
  5. RickinSC says:
    I liked your article.
    My grandkids often made a mess in their rooms until I made this toy cabinet that gets them to put a toy back before they can get the next one.
    The kids have learned to keep their rooms neat really quickly. One more idea of what we can do once we start to look at things from the kids point of view.
  6. Congratulations on your publication!
    I’m going to have a completely blank canvas to start decorating and the thought is a little daunting so I keep checking out new ideas on the internet. I agree that it’s a lot of little touches and personal items that make a room warm and comfortable.
    The idea to reflect our passions and interests has inspired me. We are avid outdoor enthusiasts and that is a good place to start to put a room idea together.
  7. engracia says:
    Congratulations and what fabulous tips, all of them
  8. jen says:
    Woo hoo!! About to go back and read the article. Terrible habit of looking at all the pretty pictures and not reading. Loved reading this post though :)
  9. Oh congrats! This is so wonderful!!!! Such great tips too! My grandma gave me the same tip about putting toys up and rotating them so they seem “new” I so need to start that!
    Have a great weekend!
    xx Trina
  10. Viv says:
    Congratulations!! Gosh you’ve given me so much to think about. Might have to steal a few of these ideas ;)
    I love all of your tips and I too agree that a Gwyneth swing is fun. Everyone who has the room should have one. Can we officially call it a Gwyneth swing? I like the sound of it.
    Hope you are managing to keep cool this weekend x
  11. Amanda says:
    Thanks for sharing your great tips Belinda and congratulations of being ‘quoted’ in Home Beautfiul. Have a lovely weekend x
  12. Katrina says:
    Hi Belinda, love you article, have the mag! Your tips are always great. I always race to your blog to see what inspiration you give that I can rip off haha :)
  13. Jo McBride says:
    …another good read. Also I can highly recommend cowhide rugs. We have one in our main living area and a couple of hide cushions on the couch, two messy kids, two dogs, two cats and messy manfriend. They are supersoft, warm in winter, cool in summer and clean up with a good brush…who would have ever thought? Oh and they look great too….if I dont mind saying so myself.
  14. Great reading, just finished it in the actual mag last night and now found it here !!
    totally agree that Galerie Montmarte is the place to go for vintage posters, Shelley’s web page is amazing – would love to get there for a proper look one day.
    Congratulations on the article, really great :)
  15. paula says:
    this is so exciting! congratulations.
  16. shelley t says:
    i saw it and loved it….and of course they were going to ask you – you are an expert, hon! thanks for including the whole article. it’s a great read.
  17. Janette says:
    Congratulations Belinda! Fantastic tips, very inspiring. It must have been nice to be on the other side of an article, being the interviewee. I’m sure it’s the first of many articles we will read about the expert of the happy home! Janette x
  18. Jessica Zee says:
    What a delightful topic! Thank you for sharing the thoughts you put together for the author. I think you’re 100% right about floor pillows–I always figured they’d just be pet-collectors and that they’d take up too much room on the floor, but I’ve finally given in and they make the living room sooooo much cozier, and an impromptu indoor picnic or two has definitely lifted my spirits during this post-holiday time.
  19. Debbie says:
    HI Belinds have been ‘lurking” for a while and love your blog! I must say I read Home Beautiful every month and when I saw the article I thought “that’s my blog Belinda”. Congratulations on being quoted in HB.
  20. simply grove says:
    Great article Belinda!!!
  21. Sheila says:
    couldn’t agree more – especially on making the basics things you enjoy looking at and using – makes the groundhog day aspects of family life that bit easier
  22. I am SOOOO excited for you!!! I’m just catching up after traveling for a few days and what a happy surprise! It is so well deserved and I think you said it all so well. Doing a HAPPY dance with ya!