Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Living Room Progress & Finding The Right Blue

renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/

In the spirit of the progress reports, you can see the one for Sebastian's Bedroom here. The living room is such an important room as it is a real workhorse of a space. For a busy family it has to be all things to all people. A play space, a cinema, a romantic hideaway, a space for friends and conversation, and if you are like me despite trying hard not to the laptop comes out and it is a late night office.
renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
WHEN YOU EMPTY ONE ROOM ANOTHER ONE ALWAYS TURNS INTO THIS!
renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
PRIDE AT MY PATCH PLASTERING
My thoughts for this room went through a number of manifestations before it settled on dark blue. In our house that was a hard process, you see if I mention my latest thought to Joe he will take that as the final answer and then gets completely thrown when very different paint samples start to arrive. I have traveled a lot and collected on those travels, then Joe and I took some trips of our own and the collecting continued. One hoarder in a relationship is one thing but we both fall into that category so we are on dangerous ground. It was the carnival of colour that we have collected that was making me feel that I needed a neutral backdrop. The maternal side of my family are from India and despite our Western view that all Indian homes are bright walls and clashing saris everywhere in fact the opposite is true. I see more pale washed walls. I thought that backdrop would work as some sort of colonial haven. Then I thought who am I? I love colour and here I am in a south facing room that is flooded with light, a dramatic hilly Yorkshire landscape to look out upon and room proportions to die for get a grip. So I did, and I started to order sample pot upon sample pot of deep blue.
renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
THE WRONG BLUE!!!!
Now let me take another minute to tell you again how important it is to buy a sample pot. At around £5 a pot it might look like a massive waste of money but the tiny square on a paint chart or the interpretation on a computer screen is not going to cut it. You need to paint lining paper and pin it up around the room. move it, look at it over a few weeks and at different times of the day. Now to quote my husband "Nic they are all bloody blue just pick one, how many sample pots of the same colour do you need". Well as it turns out they were all very different. In my post on How To Create A Colour Story you might notice that the sample we chose was called Royal Navy from Little Greene Paint Company. NO IT WASN'T! We checked and double checked the label it was Royal Navy, we ordered 6 litres of the stuff, I mentioned the giant rooms right. I started to paint the wall. Then Joe and I stood back and pondered, it looked different. Maybe it will dry differently. It didn't it was defiantly a different blue. 
renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
FINALLY PAINTING THE WALLS IN THE RIGHT BLUE
I called Little Greene Paint Company and even though the sample was from one of their suppliers they set to work. They analysed what was left in the sample pot and it came back Moon Shadow. Funny aside is I liked that and refused to order it as I thought if I paint my living room in Moon Shadow I will have that Cat Stevens song in my head day in day out. It was fate, that was the blue.
renovating a Victorian lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
LATE NIGHT FLOOR SEALING
We were so lucky to get to work with the guys at Mandarin Stone for two reasons; one we have a stunning slate floor now and secondly if we had carpeted instead of ripping up the floor to lay a sub straight we would have been unaware of the horror that was our joists, best to get those sorted now really.
renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
THE INCOMPLETE JOISTS LURKING UNDER THE FLOOR
Working around toddler bedtimes, illness, and pregnancy not to mention work has been tough and the daylight bulb in my camera light has been a godsend for late night sessions. 
renovating a Victorian lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
So happy with the room so far and I know I know that picture is all wrong on the mantle it is already gone and I am talks with Kimberly Duran about a new piece. Then all I have to do is make the curtains, reupholster the rocking chair and well all the chairs, and the sofa, sort out the rug, dress the room, paint the lamp, make a cup of tea and binge watch something on the sofa whilst I admire the room with a moderately smug face or my eyes closed.
renovating a period lounge http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Then get up off my arse and shoot the room for a proper room reveal, I might even do a video, for someone who presented on Channel 4 I really do need to sort out the lack of videos but hey someone else did all the work then all I had to do was talk and I have never had a problem doing that.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

How To Make A Living Willow Dome

how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
I had long since decided that what was desired in the garden was stuff as opposed to lawn. So when I drew the plan for the garden I planned for raised beds, a tandoor oven, pond, fire pit and pergola. I had also decided that a living willow house for Sebastian would be a welcome addition to the garden. You have to plant the willow switches in the winter when they are not actively growing so although I have been itching to get on with this project for many months now I had to wait. 

The willow arrived and we left the unwrapped willow outside to keep it cold and wet. Three days later it was Sunday, the day after Friendmas, so we had some extra hands to help us.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Before embarking on the creation I had spent a good amount of time watching videos on You Tube, (that is how we learn now, right), and reading tutorials. In all honesty the tutorials made me feel more daunted that anything but I kept this under wraps as Joe is always more hesitant than I with new things. Joe likes to know a subject inside out and I have a a bodging, I mean have a go attitude to all things, this is probably why he is a nuclear safety engineer and I would have destroyed the world by now if let on site. The whole thing was a lot simpler to create than any of the tutorials made it sound. So let's not get bogged down with measurements, so here is how we did it.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Nothing about this operation was precise. It started with me standing with a can of spray paint at arms length and turning around as I marked out a rough circle, kind of like I was a human compass. This was followed by another very rough guestimation on the location and size of the arch that would be used as an entrance. We cut a circle of weed suppressant fabric larger than the circle marked and 'tucked' it into the ground at the edges.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
We took the 6 thickest switches, we pushed 3 switches into the ground either side of where we had not so mathematically decided the location and size of the entrance. We then twisted them together to form an arch and secured with bakers twine. We then followed the circle with couplets or willow switches. Again we resorted to high brow maths and engineering techniques using the width of Joe's boot as a guide. We then crossed each one and secured with twine. We went all the way around and then we crossed them again placing the cross in between the lower row two crosses. This continued until we reached the top and then it was less about securing with twine and more about the weave.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
All done all that is left to do now is scatter some bark inside and wait for the willow to grow. Then it is a matter of weaving in and cutting back every year. I am thinking it might be quite cute to plant peas or climbing beans around it this spring and let them grow up and through the structure.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Thank you to the guys for helping and if you want to have a go at this yourself buy your willow now before Spring hits.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sebastian's Bedroom Update

DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
I am literally chomping at the bit to show you some full on room reveals but time is moving slowly, although I am so close to finishing 3 rooms now so I thought I could share some updates with you. When I first bought the house I had every intention of having 2 guest rooms, one in the attic and a huge luxury room on the first floor. Then I became pregnant again and my mind changed, unfortunately we lost that baby but I still maintained that it should be a room for children. Sebastian's room became a playroom ad I decided to create a separate bedroom. It made sense to me as we had the luxury of space so I could separate the room for giddy play and the room for calm sleep. Hey kids you have just been going crazy in here and you are surrounded by all your toys now lie quietly and sleep. Pretty much the opposite of everything we are told as adults when we talk about restful sleep; leave your phone and and laptop out of the bedroom, don't work in there, create a peaceful atmosphere, yet with the kiddos... No wonder so many families allow toys to migrate all over the house. 
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Time has moved on in our family and i am due to have another boy in March, I still intend to have one room as a bedroom and the other as a play space and here is why. Children having all having their own room is a very new concept and it was not just a matter of being poor and not having the space, often children would sleep in a nursery and move into their own room post puberty. Girls and boys can share a room and have done for a long time. The arguments for segregating children that I have heard talk about them needing their own space. The fact is it is a room to sleep in and there are many opportunities to have space. They will wake each other up. Well quite possibly but the flip side of that is that if they wake up a little freaked out they have a buddy in there and often opening your eyes and seeing a familiar face is enough comfort to allow you to drop back off.  Anyway regardless of the endless thoughts one can have on the subject that is what we are doing.
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
This room was the first room we camped out in on a trip back from Paris as it needed no building work. It then served as an office, a store room, a wardrobe but the time is now and we set to work. I had hoped that I could get away with not having to lining paper all of the walls but when we pulled off the old wallpaper that dream was swiftly over. We have been collecting hot air balloon models from a shop in the flower market at Cité on line 4. One of my favourite haunts as I never grow tired of walking by the river, who would? With the balloons collected they needed a home and I wanted to set them in a see of cloud wallpaper. I love wallpaper and have wanted more of it in this house but my love of expensive wallpaper and my bank balance don't exactly mesh. The room proportions are huge in this place, which is probably adding to the time it is taking to complete a project, that and a toddler! I used the room calculator and my dreams of papering every wall vanished and we were down to a feature wall, but I would make that work.
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
The major cost in this room was replacing the window, it was unsafe, they all are but all of the other rooms do not have small children sleeping in them. The new sash window looks fantastic and the heat is finally being kept in the room. I was pretty nervous about papering the wall as I had never used pre pasted wallpaper before but the stuff I got from Spoonflower was great the whole thing was done in an hour and was fairly mess free. I felt pretty smug about my achievements and sharing that photo on Facebook was the first alert to my being pregnant or fat, most of my friends were too British to bring it up, others weren't!
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
One thing being a parent has taught me is there can never be enough storage, ever! I honestly look at these sparse kid spaces on Pinterest and think seriously how guys? How? I precured a large chest of drawers from a friend and some Ivar cabinets that I mounted on the wall. I have given them both a makeover. Keeping the cabinets on the wall and off the floor gives the illusion of space, if you see floor you have the floor space. 
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
There are only a few finishing flourishes to add in here but both myself and Joe have declared it our favourite space so far. 
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Keep your eyes peeled for details on specific projects in this room.
DIY decorating a childs space home tour http://www.archieandtherug.com/

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Reflections on 2016, The Blog and The Holidays

For those of you who are regular readers you will have noticed a gap in December. Well there were a few contributing factors the main one being floored with god awful lurgy, in truth I am still coughing a month later. It has hit a lot of people hard this winter. Illness or no illness my book still had to be promoted, (the perils of writing a seasonal book), my child still had to be cared for, and at Christmas that means dragging myself to many holiday events and that on top of the exhaustion of the third trimester meant something had to give. Sadly that was the blog. The time away allowed me to reflect on the blog and stepping away has had a positive effect on my view of the blog and the direction I want it to travel. 
I am not part of a blog team, I have no intern and the few posts ahead that I keep are soon swallowed up in times of crisis. I sat there and I had photographs but I was so weak, to the point of falling asleep typing I would have been throwing posts up there just to fill a gap and that is not something I want to do. I started to think about how far I have come with the blog and the opportunities I have gained because of it, such as presenting on TV and writing a book. I also thought about how I had grown in terms of professional development and the 'time off' allowed me to see improvements I still want to make, and take action. 
Over the holidays I have contacted a lady who is coming to my home so that I can work on food photography and styling. I have also decided I need to realise my limitations. One of the hardest things to do in business is to know how and when to spend money. I have to admit I have not always made the right choices. Letting go of control is something I am learning to do and it is hard. I have learned so much about blog design but there are so many things I want to do both technically and in terms of brand development and I am ready to spend the money paying a professional to do this. It is not only about skillset but also about time, when you run your own business you have to decided how your time is best spent. So look out for changes in the future.
Let's just come out and say it 2016 was a real bugger of a year, many awful things happened globally and we will feel the repercussions for some time to come. One of my dearest friends married her soul mate last year and she and I chatted about the fact that every bit of bad news was reigning on her parade. We turned it around by realising that even in the darkest of times there is true joy. That made me sit down and think about all of the wonderful things that happened in 2016. Friends getting married, my friends having babies, friends getting their businesses back after the floods, my book was published, I spent everyday with my little boy, I became pregnant, I met a wonderful woman and embarked on a new business venture, (talking about you Kimberly). On top of the specifics I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and love in my heart. Recognising the good does not make me blind to the heartache around me but no one is helped by me not seeing it.
The holidays are hard when you are sick, mostly because my parenting style is feeling guilty for not being enough, (I know I am working on that). Sitting down and thinking about all the things I did not manage to do was getting me nowhere so I sat down and thought about all the times I saw Sebastian smile and all the memories we made and guess what, we actually did loads so I did myself a small favour ad let myself off the hook.
A real highlight for all of us was visiting a reindeer farm in the midlands. It was truly wonderful to go on a sleigh ride and see these majestic creatures up close. In fact that week we could not have had more Christmas if we tried. On Thursday I kicked off the weekend by promoting my book at the Country Living Fair, Friday was reindeer farm, Saturday we went and got our tree from a local farm. We were a 2 tree house this year, I plan to up that next year. On Sunday we went back to Harrogate and the Country Living Christmas Fair for more book promotion and crafting.
When it comes to resolutions I have not really officially made any but I have made a number of plans and goals but I also started a bullet journal so I will talk about those and my late to the party bullet journal another day. For now I want to thank everyone sticking with Archie & The Rug, I hope all of you have things that you were thankful for and continue to have joy in 2017.