Easy Peasy Wall Panelling

Read below to find out how we created this look.

As you all know I have always been a huge fan of panelling, after creating a panelled wall in our master bedroom (see here for tutorial) I have managed to incorporate it in to 3 places in the house and I have no intention of stopping there!

We have a long and thin, traditional 1930s hallway with windows on the stair side and a long blank wall running along the other. The house would have once had a separate dining and living room but these rooms were knocked through and the door filled in by the previous owner which we love, but it did leave us with a very long blank wall where a door once sat. We decided to go for a taller and more rectangular panelling than we have previously done. I actually took my inspiration from the panels in the front door, being a total sucker for period features I always try and incorporate traditional aspects into the home where possible.

As soon as my husband had got over the fact that I had convinced him to panel yet another wall, we headed to B&Q for supplies. We had already drawn and planned how many strips we would like on the wall and from that, worked out our spacing and height. We decided on 1400mm Lengths that were 80mm wide. We brought a 3mm thick large sheet of MDF from B&Q and had it cut using their in house cutting service. The MDF was only £13 and gave us enough strips of wood to do the panelling twice if we wanted to. It always impresses me how affordable panelling can be.

We used Gripfil and pin nails to attach the strips to the wall. We started with the bottom horizontal pannels that ran along the skirting, because we had all of the strips cut to the same size we needed to join strips together to do this, we got them as close to each other as possible and used a finger of wood filler on the joins where required. We then began the vertical panels, and then the top horizontal panels at the end. The project came together really quickly and we had the panelling attached and together in around an hour. We used a nail punch, to punch in any nails so they were flush with the surface, used a small amount of wood filler on any joins and then began priming. We always use Zinsser BIN for priming.

A very messy photo, post priming

We have now painted and almost (story of our lives) completed the hallway and landing renovations. We painted the walls using The Decorating Centre Online hard wearing matte colour matched to Farrow and Ball sulking room pink. I am so pleased with the result. Panelling really is a fantastic way to transform a space on a small budget. If you give it a try, please do let me know how you get on!

The Finished Look

Chynna xxx

Style over Practicality? The roll top shower bath edition

When it comes to interiors my heart always rules my head. You will often find me standing in a shop, holding something impractical and trying to convince my husband that we need it in our home. If I had a pound for every time I have heard the words “Chynna we have enough cushions on the bed” I would be writing this from my sun lounger in the Maldives. Unlike myself, my husband looks to purchase useful and functional items, I am all about the look and style. In this blog post I will be delving into the good and bad of the ultimate style vs practicality item in my home. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you my most treasured possession, the bain of my husbands existence and the truth about…..

A roll top shower bath

It’s the most blindingly obvious style vs practicality example in our home, (although I am sure I could name a few). I get a lot of questions on my Instagram about the roll top shower bath and I am always sure to be honest, but I do feel that what I try to explain, may come across as confusing, so I will have a better go here. I can’t tell you the fight I had to put up to get Mr J to agree this beauty. I had always dreamt of having a roll top bath and until we knocked the toilet and bathroom together and saw what space we had, it still wasn’t a guarantee. When we were planning the bathroom we spent hours drawing out different positions and although we did eventually find a way to make a separate shower and bath fit, it just was not what either of us had envisaged and felt like it had very little floor space. Shower baths are really commonly used in bathrooms as a great way to save space so this seemed like the perfect solution to keep the bathroom feeling spacious, but I just could not let go of my roll top bath dreams. I scoured Pinterest constantly and this is when I noticed a few roll top shower baths… I was off! I gathered my evidence together in the form of the three Pinterest images I had found and a mock Victorian plumbing order and excitedly presented it to my husband. He seemed on board, he loved the look and got to work drawing a scale drawing, it looked to be the perfect solution, then in true Mr J style, he came at me with questions over functionality! “If it stands away from the wall will it not leak water down the back?” “Don’t shower curtains cling to your body and feel horrid” “what if standing in the bath causes it to become weaker” I knew I had some convincing to do…

Luckily in most cases my husband lives by the mantra ‘happy wife happy life’ and as I am sure you are all aware, I convinced him a roll top shower bath was a great idea. We have now had the bathroom completed for around 6 months so I can finally give my true verdict on whether it was a good idea or not.

The Good

  • We love the look- I don’t think I expected how much I would love the look of the over bath shower rail, the way the curtains fall and how well it would work with the rest of the bathroom. I could not be more happy with how the bathroom looks.
  • Because we saved space we got to go for a huge bath- The bath is my absolute pride and joy, it doesn’t look it in photos but the bath is a great size, even my husband who is 6ft is really comfortable in it, it is much longer than a standard bath also meaning that all 3 kiddies fit in comfortably and with it being double ended they don’t seem to flood the bathroom while playing like they used to.
  • No glass enclosure to clean- Lets face it glass shower enclosures are a pig to clean and with three sets of little mucky hands, I think a glass enclosure would have had sticky prints on it more often than not.

The bad

  • During showering water gets everywhere- Spoiler alert, Aaron was right! Water does go everywhere IF you don’t take precautions. If you clip the shower curtains at the back with a hair clip and make sure you angle the curtains correctly and don’t fling your arms about too much then its absolutely fine- my husband does not have the patience for this!
  • There is nowhere to place your products apart from near your feet.
  • Aaron is tall so when he steps into the bath it makes him even taller, meaning his head is very close to the fixed shower head
  • Because our shower and bath are together they are always in use, so I clean it all constantly.

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly. We are fortunate that we will be planning a downstairs shower room into our extension, somewhere my husband can fulfil his shower of dreams, so this room will be used a lot less in a couple of years time. While I can totally agree with my husband that it is not the best shower I have ever been in and it’s most certainly a style over practicality purchase…. I have no regrets! I love our bathroom, it is everything I had imagined it to be and I am so glad that I went with my gut. I am learning along the way that in order to create a home you love, you have to go with the things you love, practical or not!

Chynna xxx

A Dotty Delight- How we created a stylish Girls bedroom on a budget

Those of you who follow my Instagram will know that we have just completed renovations of Isabella and Sophias bedroom. I knew I wanted to go bold and had seen Dalmatian print decor whilst browsing for inspo, but as always my fear of following current interior trends was playing on my mind. I am very conscious that I don’t want to come to the end of the renovations and hate the interior looks that we created in the early days. Once I knew I could create this look without wallpapering I was off! I have had some questions on how we created the overall look of the room so thought I would put this post together to answer any questions.

The room when we viewed the house.
On completion day.
Stripped, plastered and ready to go.

Before- Just like the rest of the house, the room was covered in woodchip wallpaper, so once again before I could even consider what to do with the room, we spent hours stripping the walls, sanding down the most yellow woodwork I had ever seen and getting to work on prepping the floor. We had the room plastered and have done with all of the rooms, this is because we want to know that the walls are not only in perfect condition but that they will also stand the test of time. Expensive yes… worth it 100%.

Decorating – Then of course it was time for painting. I had seen the colour Oval Room Blue by Farrow and Ball and knew it would be the perfect colour to clash with a pop of pink and the monochrome of the spotty walls. I had this mixed by The Decorating Centre Online and was very impressed with the quality. This was my first experience of using them but I will be back. The Dalmatian print wall was created using this stencil from Ideal Stencils. We used our standard Leyland trade white paint that we have used for all ceilings, as the base and then purchased a small pot of B&Q Matt black paint for the spots. We used a small, foam roller for the black and found this covered much better than a brush. The stencil was easy to use and as long as you are careful to lift it into place each time and not slide it across it should be smudge free, we did wipe a bit of excess paint off the back of the stencil a few times. Once we had covered both the shelving and fireplace walls we stepped back and decided the spots looked slightly too uniform and repetitive, at that point we decided to cut the stencil up and place random stencil spots in-between any gaps that looked to uniform. This worked really well and we could not be more thrilled with the end result. We painted the fireplace and wardrobe in Valspar wood and metal paint, in a colour match to Sulking room pink. The gold wardrobe handles are from Amazon and a pack of 5 was less than £10.

The Dalmatian wall stencil was a great alternative to wallpaper.

The Floor- I have had so many questions about the floor! We had never painted a floor, we had used varnish in our bedroom but getting advice on painting floorboards was near on impossible. We scoured the internet looking for what prep the boards would need, what paint we would need to use and how to apply it and found no consistent answers. As we wanted a rustic and imperfect look, we decided we had nothing to loose, we removed or hammered in any visible nails, lightly sanded any raised drips of paint that we had caused while decorating and gave all of the boards a thorough hoover and mop. We decided on Dulux Pure Brilliant white Diamond Eggshell paint for Wood and Metal. We painted half of the room at a time as the girls bunk bed was too large and heavy to remove from the room. This has given the room a really light and airy feel and I am considering painting floor boards in other areas of the house.

We preferred the look of a more rustic floor so did not sand them to a perfect state.

Finishing Touches- A big factor on my mind when choosing accessories for the girls room, was that I wanted it to still feel and look like a child’s room. It is easy to get carried away with the idea of the ‘perfect home’ but ultimately they are still very much children and I wanted the room to represent a fun and happy place for them. We ordered the fabric reading nook from Amazon, this is filled with some baskets of books and cushions so they can kick back and read in peace. The floor mat in the reading nook is from H&M, and is actually circular but we folded it into a semi circle for a better fit. I sourced the beautiful prints from Make My Day Stationary and put them in IKEA gold frames, these worked out at around £10 per framed print and I was really impressed with the fun styles that Make My Day Stationary had to choose from. The rug was a total bargain from George at Asda, this was the largest of the sizes available and using a discount code, I paid less than £40 for it! I feel like the rug ties the room together really well and at that price it is one of my best buys. The shelving and storage unit are from IKEA, the shelving is their LACK range and the storage is Kallax with wicker baskets. The light fitting is from Matalan, I love Matalan homewares as they provide designer style at a fraction of the price. I had been looking at similar fittings for over £150 before finding this light fitting. The cushions and bunting are also H&M in the sale and the mini cactus plants, timer and gold pots are IKEA. Finally the pink and gold baskets on the shelves are from Homesense.

The Finished Look.

So will the girls bedroom décor stand the test of time? Who knows? Maybe not? but stepping out of my décor comfort zone and creating something so vibrant and fun has been a blast! The Dalmatian wall may go out of style in a few years but the great news is, it’s only paint and for now we all love it. The girls are enjoying spending time in their new room and it feels great to have another room finished and feeling like home. I hope I have answered all of the questions I have received but if I have missed anything please do comment below or send an email.

Chynna xxx

If blush decor is your thing, check out our panelling tutorial.

How We Deck The Halls

December has finally arrived and I could not have been more ready to get the festive decorations up. Although 60% of our house is unfinished, anyone who follows my Instagram will know that I love nothing more than rolling a turd in diamonds…… my house being the turd and fairy lights, Christmas trees and all things festive being the diamonds. I thought I would give you a little insight into a few things we have done to make the house feel festive this year.

The Tree

Lets start with the obvious shall we? The pinnacle of all Christmas décor is of course the tree, we go for a real tree and have done for around five years now, I did almost order an artificial tree in the January sales this year but held off, there are some really fantastic artificial trees on the market now, but I just love the smell of a real tree and going and collecting it with the family. This year we were kindly gifted our Christmas tree from Pines and Needles, I am really impressed with the quality of the tree. We headed to our local Pines and Needles with the children to pick our tree, we were greeted by friendly staff who helped us pick out the perfect tree. We lived in a new build previously and the ceilings were very low in comparison to our current 1930s renovation so Aaron wanted fill his boots and go for a big tree, many an annual argument has occurred whilst sawing the top off of a tree far to big for our old house! We settled on a lush, green 7ft tree and I could not be more impressed with the service and quality from Pines and Needles. I am quite minimal when it comes to tree décor. We have been slowly phasing out some of our cheaper decorations by each buying a ‘fancy’ bauble every year. Five new baubles every year has meant that we now have a collection of really pretty baubles that we love.

Garlands

I recently brought this stunning garland from a local garden centre, I had been on the hunt for the perfect garland for a while. With them being such a big trend for Christmas 2019 I was very conscious that I wanted something minimalistic that I could add baubles, berries or lights to each year to create something tailored to our house at the time. I am really pleased with the results, we draped ours over a mirror but these look great anywhere in the home, from surrounding a fireplace to being used as a table centrepiece, it is no wonder that garlands are so popular this winter.

Candles

You all know by now that I am candle obsessed, my absolute favourite types of candles are warm, spicy, winery candles. I have a handful dotted around each room and will light them all of an evening to fill the house with delicious scents. I also love the ambient lighting and cosy feeling that candles offer. A staple for festive décor.

A Wreath

While the inside of the house is where most of the festive décor is in it’s glory, we love hanging a wreath on the door. We are yet to venture into illuminating the house with lights so a wreath is our only exterior festive décor. I recently made this wreath at a wreath making workshop, it is the first wreath I have ever made as we usually have an artificial one, I had so much fun making it and love the look achieved when using real foliage. I will definatly be either making or buying a real wreath moving forward.

Chynna x

Although my Christmas tree was gifted from Pines and needles, all words and opinions are my own.

5 ways to incorporate Autumn into your home

Soft Furnishings

One of the easiest way of incorporating a touch of Autumn into your home is with soft furnishings. Adding a touch of warmth to your home is essential as the colder evenings draw in. Layering up throws and blankets around the house not only adds a cosy feel but also looks great. Cushions are also great for changing colour pops to a more Autumnal feel. I love using warm tones in Autumn/Winter, gold, champagne and deep colours like greys, navy and aubergine give a real luxurious feel to your home. Using lots of texture like faux fur, fleece and silk also adds a decadence that you just don’t work as well in the warmer months.

Seasonal Accessories

Investing in some key seasonal accessories is always a great way to vamp up your home this Autumn. Halloween decor needn’t be tacky. There are some gorgeous pieces out there at the moment, I ordered these Halloween pumpkins from Ebay for around £6 and although they had a brown, plastic stalk when they arrived, I used some gold paint to make them look a bit more luxurious and fit into our home better. I am like a magpie and anything glittery instantly catches my eye! I like to add some glitter wherever possible, try lightly spraying some faux flowers of foliage with glitter to add a touch of sparkle to your Autumn decor.

Candles

As I am sure you all know by now I am candle OBSESSED. Candles are so much more than just fragrance. With such a huge range available, candles can really add so much to your Autumn decor. As well as fragrancing your home with gorgeous Autumnal scents like Pumpkin spice, wild berries and warm cinnamon, there is nothing more cosy than sitting in a dimly lit room with candles burning to add ambiance. With so many gorgeoeus brands out there you can choose candles to compliment your A/W decor.

Every day accesories

Using your every day Autumn accessories can add some real character to your home. Leave your favourite bags and boots on a stand in the hall for an effortlessly chic way to add a seasonal touch to your home.

Bring the outdoors in

Autumn decor needn’t be expensive. Look to nature to help you out. Dry out and frame some leaves, glitter up some pinecones or conkers and paint pumpkins with the kids. Using a mirror plate or tray to make a simple display of Autumn ruffage can look really effective and cost just a tiny amount. This can also be turned into a fun half term activity with the children.

Chynna x

Ask an Electrician

As some of you know from my Instagram, my lovely husband Aaron is an Electrician by trade. I get the odd question for him on my social media so thought I would pin him down and get his opinion on some commonly asked questions, a few questions my followers have put to us following a recent Q&A and his opinion on current lighting/electrical trends.

At what point in a renovation/ remodel should lighting be considered?

I think a common mistake people make is considering lighting options too late. It can be very disruptive wiring lighting points, so preparation is key to getting cables in place and positioning of lighting just right before any final decorative work is carried out.

I get alot of questions from my readers about underfloor heating. Based on your experience, what is your opinion of underfloor heating?

I think underfloor heating serves a purpose, however in my honest opinion and experience underfloor heating is not only expensive to install but can be extremely difficult, if not impossible to maintain. You should always have a professional install this type of heating system, as there is a risk to the delicate heating system becoming damaged during the instillation process. It is also recommended to have each section of the electrical heating system checked and tested before instillation, it has not been unknown to be damaged in transit or faulty at manufacturing stage due to its delicate make up. The most important factor when choosing this heating option is that once the final flooring is down, should there be a problem with the heating system later on, the only way to replace damaged or faulty parts is to pull up an entire section of floor. I have seen and heard of cases myself where someone had underfloor heating throughout their downstairs, the floors were fully tiled, a fault then occurred, tripping the electrics and in the end there was no option but to pull up the entire tiled floor to gain access! For me personally this has put me off using it in my own home. However if you are sure you want underfloor heating, my advice would be to choose a specialist installer so any issues are covered by them.

Lets talk about current lighting trends… what trends are you loving and why?

For me personally lighting can make a room. I am pleased to see the return of a more classic, glamorous style lighting, I just love the wow factor. I am also seeing a lot of antique lighting that has been restored, you can find some amazing lights on sites like Ebay and have your electrician re wire these to suit modern day electrical systems.

How has the trend for open plan living affected the way lighting is used currently?

Open plan living can sometimes result in large areas needing lighting with minimal reflective surfaces due to walls being removed etc. This therefore needs taking into consideration when planning your lighting. The most popular way to get around this in an open plan space such as kitchen/diner are downlights, as these tend to give uniformity. One thing to be careful of when using downlights is the quantity per area and the lighting output, it can be all to easy to over do it and install too many. If you are more into a vintage/ classic look it may be worth considering wall lights or over counter lighting.

How can I enjoy fancy lighting while keeping the running cost down?

In this day and age we all know utilities are becoming more expensive, therefore my suggestion would always be to use LED lamps (bulbs) or fittings wherever possible. These do cost more to purchase than standard lamps, but will pay for themselves time and time again with both the efficiency and long life duration. Another way to lower your electrical usage is by using a dimmer switch, this reduces the power being drawn whilst also conveniently allowing you to choose your own lighting level to create a more ambient feel.

Some of my readers are considering smart lighting systems for their homes. Any advice?

I am all for futureproofing and using the latest technology however I believe we are at early stages of this technology, therefore these systems tend to be very costly. It may be worth holding off a couple of years until this becomes more mainstream. However if you have the budget then go for it! Make sure you do your research into different systems and look at reviews.

What electrical items is it worth splurging on and why?

Most definitely sockets and switches, these are all over the home so I think it is really important that they look stylish. There are so many options available now, to suit all types of styles from modern chrome to antique brass. One thing I believe to be worth spending on are the USB sockets, I recently installed these near our bed sides and it is a game changer! One other tip, most sockets will have a 25mm back box in the wall, therefor make sure that if this is the case you do not exceed the depth of this when choosing your socket as otherwise this will not fit in the wall. Another thing I cannot recommend enough are security and outdoor lighting. These can come with 2 options, dusk/dawn sensor or motion sensor (PIR). Not only do they transform the look of your property at night but they also add valuable security and deterrent. Definitely worth splurging on in my opinion!

Aaron

Master bedroom Renovation

Better late than never hey? I get asked about our bedroom renovations often, so thought I would create this post to cover any questions that I get asked. I think it is one of the rooms we are most proud of because of the DIY tasks that we turned our hand to in this project. We (basically my husband) did everything from restoring the floors to built in alcove wardrobes. We took some décor gambles and pushed ourselves out of our interior comfort zone but I think it paid off. It really does feel like a touch of luxury and is our escape from the chaos that is reno life! Here’s how we did it.

The master bedroom began much like the rest of the rooms in the house, thick with wallpaper and poor wall condition underneath. However this time we had the added treat of, what can only be described as the ugliest fireplace I have ever seen. It took alot of prep work and the chasing into the walls for the wall lights was incredibly messy, but as soon as we were plastered (the walls, not me and Aaron on this occasion) it started to look like a room and I began thinking about decor.

The Panelling was a total last minute decsion. I saw something similar on Pinterest the day before we began decorating, showed my husband and we went to get the parts for it that evening. We had never done any panelling before but were pleasently surprised how easy, cheap and effective it was. You can see the full details of how we did the panelling on my DIY panelling blog post here. In true renovation swings and roundabouts style, the flooring was a labour of love and a real learning curve. It took alot of work and mess but was totally worth it. I love the ease of real wood floors and the fact that they are original to the house means that they add great character to the room. Again you can find a full guide to restoring original floorboards here. When it came to the fireplace I was a bit stumped. After hours and hours of trawling the internet I couldn’t find a single 1930’s tiled fireplace makeover for inspiration! I hate removing original features so i suggested to my husand that we try painting it, we decided it was worth a try and got a pot of cheap, one coat kitchen tile paint. This didnt leave us with the desired look…. or anywhere near in fact. When we were painting the panelling in Valspar wood and metal paint we decided to give it a try on the fireplace and it worked brilliantly. We added some heavily patterned tiles from fired earth and it completely transformed the look.

Once all of the painting and decor was done we moved onto wardrobes. We had space either side of the alcoves which seemed a bit wasted and wanted something built in instead of freestanding. Notoriously expensive, we just didnt have the budget to pay someone to do it. My husand decided to turn his hand to it and give it a go…..There was alot of swearing, wasted cuts of wood and trips to and from shops to get materials. The frame was the most tricky thing to get right. We purchased the doors from Ikea, an absolute bargain at just £35 per door! We then primed and painted the wardrobes to match the panelling. The handles were from Ebay and were super cheap but great quality for the price. I really recomend shopping around once you have your eye on any interior item because 9/10 times I find exactly what I want, cheaper elsewhere.

As always my advice to anyone is to give doing it yourself a go. You have nothing to loose by trying, we are absolutley closing our eyes and hoping for the best with alot of tascs in this renovation, however working so hard to create the small luxuries makes us love them all the more. It was my time to shine…when it came to furnishing the bedroom, I knew that I wanted it to feel like total grown up luxury. I based all the decor around the fireplace which had quickly become my favourite feature of the hosue…. who would have thought it! I took the art deco/boutique hotel vibes and ran with it. Luxurious fabrics, deco patterns in a mix of greys and gold, have made for the perfect adult retreat. I have tried my best to list where products we used were from below, but should you have any questions or want any further detail then please feel free to pop a comment below.

SHOP OUR STYLE

Chynna xxx