Wednesday, 20 August 2014

How to: Paint laminate furniture

In turning our loft space into a work space/ office , I am , as ever, on a tight budget!!
So making do with what I already have is essential!!
Having said that, this is not going to stop me from achieving the look I am after (See my previous post here)

An essential part of a working office/work space is storage....but I could not afford to go out and buy new, so I've transformed these old laminate IKEA bedside tables that we already had to fit in with my work space design!! Other than being that fake birch wood look , they were perfect...especially as they already had castors, making them easy to move around. All they needed was a lick of paint!!

Painting laminate furniture can be a bit of a disaster, if not done properly.... in this post I am going to show you how to get a lasting and good-looking finish when painting laminate!!

The rules for painting Laminate is slightly different from when painting real wood:
You cannot key up the surface of laminate, as you would with wood, by sanding the surface.
But you still need to prep the surface in order for the paint to grip and not slide straight off.
The key to achieve this on Laminate furniture, is to thoroughly clean the surface:
Use a cleaner with de-greasing purposes : I've found that a regular cream cleaner does the job.
Rinse and dry the surface after cleaning!

The next step is THE MAGIC INGREDIENT!!
Get some Polycell liquid sanding solution* . This will help key up the surface, making it more receptacle to paint!
(*This is an affiliate link: I may make a small profit if you decide to purchase this product !)

Simply wipe it on with an old cloth, leave to dry for 10-20 minutes, then clean off !
You will notice that the previously smooth surface of the laminate now feels slightly rough to the touch!

Before you can paint your laminate furniture, you will need to further prep the surface by painting it with an oil-based primer! This will create a bond between the laminate and the paint, making the finish more durable!!
 It CANNOT be a water based primer, as this will simply not work!!
Any oil-based primer will work, as will a product like Stain stop*, which is what I used!
*affiliate link

For a smooth finish, roller it on with a sponge roller...
Don't worry about an even coverage at this are merely creating a bond for the paint to grip on to!

When the primer has dried, you can paint your laminate furniture with ANY paint you'd like: emulsion or doesn't really matter: If you have prepped the laminate properly, they should all grip nicely to the surface!!

I chose to use gloss paint!
I rollered it on with a gloss roller sleeve! 
I did 2 coats to achieve an even coverage!!
(If you are painting something that will have to withstand a lot of wear and tear: Like a table top, I would recommend that you finish off with a coat or two of clear varnish)

And that's it: My old laminate IKEA bedside tables has gone from fake wood look to glossy white!
And now you know how to properly paint laminate furniture with a lasting finish!!
(of course you can be more adventurous with your color choice than I have)
Using what you've got, and updating furniture with paint, is one of the best ways to save money when updating a room! See more of my tips on decorating on a budget here and here

It fills me with a great sense of achievement when I can make do with what I've got and still create the look I am after... The new work space in the loft is nearly there now...Just a few little creative touches left to do, before I'm ready to show you all!!
And just in the nick of time, as we are off on a little break to Norway tomorrow!
Time flies! (is it just me or does time go faster as you get older??)
Enjoy the last of your summer folks!!

Oh! And if you have a spare minute or two, please vote for me in BEST INTERIOR BLOG CATEGORY in the COSMOPOLITAN BLOG AWARDS!
Voting closes on the 29th August, and I would really appreciate your support!
Click on the image below to be redirected to cast your vote (Page 11)
Thank you!!

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

5 inspirational office spaces

Image via
The last couple of weeks me and Little Miss Moo have been busy working on turning our messy dumping ground of a loft space into an office/work-space/playroom...
With LMM starting year 1 in September, she needs a place to do her homework, as her room is too small for a desk....but more selfishly, I wanted to create a work space for my self: Somewhere I can get messy with all my projects (so I don't mess up our NEW kitchen, which has been my little hub up until now, and somewhere I can retreat to , to write my blog posts in peace and quiet (NOT on the sofa with Scoobie Doo blaring on the just now!!) Also somewhere we can all go to just hang out... So I've been spending a lot of time on Online looking for inspirational work spaces/ offices recently...
Today I want to share my top 5 most inspirational images:
#Top image is from a friend of a friends home in my hometown of Bergen, Norway, The entire house is just dreamy, but I particularly love the simplistic and rustic look of this work space: The use of old apple crates as shelves on the wall is inspired, and the framed child's drawing is soo cute.... And I lust after that filing cabinet!!
Norwegian blogger Elisabeth Johansen from pure interior has created this little working paradise.
I love the long desk with space for several, miss matched chairs: Ideal if LMM has friends around for some craft time... I also adore the wire mesh mood board on the wall: I may have to DIY one like it!!
Amalie Fagerli of the Norwegian blog Svenngaarden 's workspace is almost opulent.... yet functional, with the use of gold and metallics throughout! I love the gilded ornate frame used to display her mood board /images and the lushness of that green palm!! I also like how she's created a narrow shelf above her desk to help free up some desk space and keep it clutter free!

This space from blanaid is very close to what our loft space look like, with the slanted ceilings on either side, and I love the idea of the trestle bench along that wall and the way this lay out gives enough floorspace for a seating area and a rug on the floor where LMM (or me) can play !

My last picture of an inspirational work space is this one, found via vtwonen. Unfortunately I cannot find the original source, but it is obviously Scandinavian: Just see that lovely map of Scandinavia on the wall...I want one!! I love the monochrome and airy look in this room, but what really caught my eye, was the flooring: The sort of floor you don't need to worry if you spill some paint on....This work space is for creating in!! I also love the use of casters on the storage units, making them easy to move around to change the space!!

Follow along in the next couple of weeks to see how elements of these inspirational offices will be implemented in my redesign of our loft into a work space...
There will be some practical how-to's, some easy DIY's and some more creative and decorative makes ....and of course: the big Reveal!!
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Thursday, 14 August 2014


Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Kate from An Artful Life at the opening of her London pop up shop at the Folly!

"An Artful Life studio and shop was set up by Interior Architect Kate Whitfield. Kate designs and sources creative items that are beautiful, imaginative and on-trend to help customers create their own stylish environments to enjoy spending time in.
The eclectic collection is constantly changing and being added to. Many items are one-off vintage finds, some adapted, or hand-crafted in the studio, others are new and chosen for their beauty and modernity."*

*extract from the AAL website

Vintage school chairs, customized by An Artful Life Studio's
This was a first, for many reasons for me: my first experience of a pop up shop, my first face to face meeting with someone I've got to know through "blogworld"...and my first night out, solo, since having little miss moo!
And I must say: I picked a good one! 

Wooden stool with painted legs by An Artful Life Studio

In a relaxed atmosphere at the beautifully, trendy the Folly bar, Kate's collection fitted right in...and that themed with her friendly demeanor, made this nervous, small time blogger feel at ease straight away! Of course it helped that her collection of upcycled furniture and handmade home accessories  pared with handpicked items from a variety of designers, is right up my street!
CUBE cushion from A MIND'S EYE
In fact: if I could, I would fill my home with her collection ....and it would be so me!

So I felt at home! 
(albeit a perfectly styled home...filled with things I love,  heaving with stylish, merry people, where I was greeted with a glass of champagne!!, nothing at all like my real home then.....more like the home of my dreams!! LOL)

I adore the creative initiative Kate shows in her collection: Handmade macrame planters, upcycled wooden candlesticks, made from a vintage set of children's building blocks and hand painted retro furniture, from An Artful Life Studio, sits in perfect harmony with graphic print cushions from a mind's eye and hand picked home accessories from established interior lines, such as House doctor...All beautifully supplemented by original artwork, such as the Angela Morris-Winmill canvas below,  and modern prints from smaller graphic artists, like Letters on Love.

Kate's online shop is just bursting with eclecticism and original and unusual home decor....and I am pleased to tell you: All at affordable prices!!
Kate has certainly got an eye for not only aesthetically pleasing , modern design, but also for quality craftsmanship...something that shines through her collection!
So if you are after something a bit different for your home, I would highly recommend that you check out An Artful Life...not only will you be supporting the very talented Kate Whitfield in these early days of setting up her new business, but you may also find, and support THE next big thing in design, before they hit the mainstream!!

Here's my picks from her collection, for our new office/workspace (more on that coming soon...hint hint!!):
 From top Left :
Geometric make-up bag £4.50
Wooden stool with painted legs £130
White fade clipboards, set of 3 £17
"it always seems impossible..." framed print £36
Set of 3 wooden trays £15
Vintage wooden filing cabinet £150
House Doctor vase with handle £18.50
Vintage school chair £47

Of course, I didn't come home from my night out empty's my loot:

As mentioned above, I probably would've come home with half her shop stock, was it not for an annoying lack of money and arms for carrying!! (I did try my luck with a scratch card  earlier in the day, but with no for growing more arms: No chance!! (Maybe for the best, that last one....??)

This is NOT a sponsored post, but an honest appreciation for Kate Whitfield's taste in home ware design, and a big respect for her talent and aspiration!! 
I wish you the best of Luck with An Artful Life, deserve it!!
(OOOh ...I sound like such a fan....(which I totally am!!)

Go on...
Check out An Artful Life folks!!

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Create some uplifting DIY artwork.... set yourself up for a great day!

If you follow me on instagram, you will have seen this before....but today I want to share a simple and easy way to create some art for your walls!

All you need is a canvas, some blackboard paint and chalk...
Click play on the video below to see how easily you can create this...

Find a nice uplifting quote, and hang it in your bedroom so it's the first thing you see when you wake up, like I did, to set you up for a great day!!

I was struggling to work out what to do with this big empty wall in our bedroom, but this fits perfectly!!
I love it!
Of course you can change the writing at any time by wiping the canvas clean...
(Oh ....and meet "Arthur", our new family member...yes, I'm talking about the plant!!)

I am posting this early this week, as I am very excited to be attending the opening of the talented Kate Whitfield of An artful life's pop up shop in London this wednesday...I will tell you more about her and her new collection later in the week!!

Wish you all a great day....
...and remember:
Choose Happiness!!

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Diy faux stained glass window

Create a removable geometric window treatment

In my last post I showed you my mini hallway makeover, and part of this was my DIY faux stained glass window treatment for the back door! 

The problem was that , in the summer, when sitting on the sofa in the front room, you were nearly blinded by the light coming through the glass panel of the back door.....Sometime in the past someone had tried to solve this by installing a flowery glass panel , but with little success....besides: I hated that dated flowery glass panel!! Something had to be done!!

I love the look of stained glass, and if money was no object, I would've commissioned my friend (and amazing stained glass artist) Flora Jamieson of through the round window to make me a panel for the back door....but it is: Money is tight!!
Besides: That would've meant forking out for a new door as well, as her pieces deserve a better setting than this old PVC door!!
So, I freshened up the finish of the door itself with a few coats of spray paint, then I came up with this cheap but cheerful solution:

A removable faux stained glass design!
This project is perfect if you are renting, and have a window that could do with a privacy treatment!!

Today I want to show you what I did!

This project doesn't require a lot of supplies, just some
 sticky back plastic
Pencil and rubber
Permanent marker in black
...and I used translucent glass paints, but you could probably use marker pens in different colours as well!
Oh...and some glass frosting spray paint (Nice, but not necessary!!)

First you'll need to measure the glass pane you want your faux stained glass to go on, then cut apiece of sticky back plastic to fit (If the area is wider than the roll of sticky back plastic, simply join two pieces together with tape) Make sure you leave a margin of at least 1 cm all around so you can tape the SBP (Sticky back plastic) down to your table/work bench....Gridded paper side up!!

Mark out the area in which you'll want your design to fit!
Next you want to draw your design onto the gridded paper side of the sticky back plastic!

As I have a love of geometric shapes, I decided to make a star pattern to fit in with the pattern on the vinyl tiles I chose for the floor in my little hallway!! But of course you could choose any pattern that suits you,
( Maybe you could trace a pattern in a rug etc???) and use the technique described further down this post to create your own design faux stained glass!

I would've loved to create a PDF of my design for you all to download, but as it was so big I couldn't! 
And a step by step on how I created my design was way too complicated for me to explain, but I will give you some TIPS ON CREATING A GEOMETRIC DESIGN!

Geometry is maths....basically! So you might find a calculator handy! And a ruler is essential!!
And use a pencil and have a rubber will probably make a mistake or two!!
When creating a geometric design ALWAYS start from the middle!
So find the middle of the area you want to cover (See picture above).....

Working your way out from the center of your design, take note of measurements and work on one area at the time!!
This sort of Geometry is all about mirroring the shapes! So once you've created the first section of your design, its basically a case of repeat, repeat, repeat!!

Have a big pot of strong coffee to hand, because this is going to take some time....AND YOUR FULL CONCENTRATION!!

Work your way out from the center and repeat and mirror the lines from the first section!
When you have created the finished geometric pattern, trace over the lines with a marker pen! You will probably find that there are lines in your design you don't want to be part of your finished design, so leave those out! Use your ruler to get neat and straight lines!!

Next up, you want to flip the sticky back plastic over, so it's the plastic side up!!
Your design should show trough!
At this point, it would be helpful if you tape the SBP down to a removable surface, such as a piece of cardboard etc.

....I took my design outside and gave it 3 coats of frosted glass spray paint!
This is not strictly necessary, but will give the finished Faux stained glass a slightly more authentic feel + it creates a good "key" for the paint in the next step to adhere to!!

Right! So I chose to use some transparent glass paints to colour in my design....because I had some!! But I'm pretty sure using permanent pens in different colours would also work well!! (You've just got to be extra careful as to not make any mistakes!!)

First I experimented with colours on a scrap bit of SBP.
If you've created a geometric pattern like me, get an A+....only joking...Seriously: keep to 3-4 different colours, or this process can get very complicated!!

When I had made my choice of colours, I painted in my pattern using a different paint brush for each colour...

Again: Start in the middle of the geometric pattern and work your way out....try to spread the impressions of the different colours evenly throughout your design...
I painted every-other section of my stars, leaving white gaps in between...

Colouring in a geometric design can be complicated and could get will most likely make some mistakes....If you are using glass paints, like I did, you can simply clean off the paint with a moist rag or for more detailed mistakes: Use a q-tip to correct!! (above)
If you are using  permanent marker pens to colour yours in, I would suggest maybe marking out which colour goes where with crayons before committing to pen!!

When you have finished colouring in your design, leave to dry/set for a while!!
Then dig out your ruler and black permanent marker again and trace over the lines, creating the "lead" effect!
I kept mine slim, but a thick pen-line would look great and more authentic!!

When you've traced all the lines, give it all a coat of clear varnish/ frosted glass effect spray and leave to dry!!
Your faux stained glass window is now ready to apply to the window pane!!

Trim off the excess SBP around the edges...

Peel off the backing at the TOP of your design (leaving the rest to hang down behind) and stick it to the top of the glass...
Next up You will need some pieces of paper, some tape and a credit card...

Tape a bit of paper to the glass surround, so that it hangs over your Sticky back plastic...this will help protect your design from rubbing off at the next step! (If your paper doesn't cover the entire area, tape another bit onto the first bit etc...)

Use the credit card to smooth down the sticky back plastic onto the glass.
Work on one area at the time, pulling your design taught as you go!Try to avoid creating any airbubbles or wrinkles, but if you do, use the credit card to smooth them down! 
Gradually work your way down your design, pulling more and more of the backing off the SBP....until its all up!

And there you have it: Your faux stained glass panel...

I never realized how difficult it would be to photograph the "stained glass" with the light coming through the window (near impossible!!) so I'm sad to say: these photos doesn't do this project justice: It really does look great!!

I love the way it has changed the light in my little hallway, and it certainly helps with that sun glare when I'm relaxing on the sofa in the evening!!!!
And should I ever tire of it: All I have to do is peel it off again!

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