Revamping an Edwardian Home used for Bed & Breakfast


Large Edwardian family home in Tooting, South West London, with a well established bed & breakfast Parklands Bed & Breakfast

I was contacted by the client to revamp the guest suites and communal areas with new colour schemes and to restyle each room with different accessories. In most instances I was able to recycle all the accessories in the property. 

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Renovating a Victorian apartment on a tight budget


Single professional male; first home he has owned; South West London two bedroom ground floor Victorian apartment; east facing. 

The client had no furniture when he moved in except a deck chair!  The whole apartment needed to be painted, decorated and filled with furniture and accessories.  His brief was for a stylish and comfortable design as his previous abode had been a real bachelor pad!  And all on a very small budget.

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Transform your kitchen with colour

One of the biggest problems with posting my projects on my website is the fact that the projects are ongoing. My clients are all residential and the projects don't have a start and end date mainly due to budget restrictions or the time it takes to source a particular item(s).   I'm happy to roll with it - dip in and out of the project as and when the client needs me but it makes it difficult to share the finished article with you.  So I've decided that I'll share my projects with you as a work in progress.

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Open house event at mine

Recently my home was opened up to members of the Decor Cafe for an evening event. The DecorCafe Network, of which I am a member, is a collaborative community of those of us whorun our own businesses in the interiors industry and those who just need inspiration and help to decorate their homes. These home tours bring members together to connect, learn and share ideas.  

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Petersham Nurseries - a source of inspiration

Petersham Nurseries is one of those places that is good for the soul.  It is all about beauty and style, both outside and inside.  I'm there at least three times a month and have rarely left there empty handed!  

It's a half hour drive from my home which takes me across Richmond Park, another place that is good for the soul. It's hard to believe that you are in a big city when you are in the middle of the park surrounded by trees, bracken and deer.  

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Add colour to a grey colour scheme

The trend for grey interiors continues, at least in south west London where I and most of my clients live.  Most paint their interiors in various shades of grey and then wonder what they can do to brighten them up. After all, it's grey outside most of the year in London so why would you want to bring that indoors?!

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An optical feast at Petersham Nurseries

s many of you know, I love Petersham Nurseries and am a frequent visitor. It's described on their website as "Internationally prized garden centre, Petersham Nurseries is a tranquil oasis
and seedbed of inspiration"
and that about sums it up. The highlight is always the shop which is in one of the glasshouses. The styling of the furniture, accessories, plants & flowers is superb and I find it a real inspiration.  I love to wander around admiring and of course buying one or two things as it's very difficult to leave empty handed!

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Tips for creating a picture wall

Most of my clients and friends are daunted by the task of hanging their artwork so it usually never makes it on to a wall !  

Styling your walls with artwork and mirrors is something that people struggle with because they don't know where to start and when they do start, they usually hang everything too high and don’t group things to give a feeling of cohesiveness (see my separate blog post How to Hang Artwork).   

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Mirror Mirror On The Wall .....

As many of you know, I have a passion for mirrors and my home is full of them. At last count I had 27 and it's only a two bedroom apartment!  

You can't have too many mirrors in the home. Apart from their functional purpose, they are a superb way to bring light into a space, can be used as artwork or generally to enhance the aesthetics of a room.

Here are some of the mirrors in my home and how I've used them.

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Give a piece of furniture a new lease of life

I'm a great one for up-cycling furniture with a lick of paint rather than get rid of it.  I usually paint with Annie Sloan chalk paint as it's so easy to use - no prep required and you can paint it on any surface including on fabric!  However this time I wanted a specific colour which doesn't come in the Annie Sloan range so I opted for Farrow & Ball which had the exact colour.

I'm a huge fan of Farrow & Ball paint and I have used it throughout my home. Most, if not all, my clients have F&B throughout their homes. I particularly like the way F&B split their neutrals into six groups which makes it so much easier for people when trying to choose a neutral colour(s).  In fact I use the six neutral groups as the basis for my colour talks.

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Headboard or Artwork in a Bedroom?

Do you have a headboard on your bed? Many of us don't. So what alternatives are there?   Mirrors, artwork, wall hangings.......... ?

In one of my bedrooms the bed has no headboard so I have added a very narrow bookcase on which are two lamps. However the wall above that was completely empty and crying out for a wow factor alternative to a headboard. 

I recently purchased a boxed set by Natural Curiosities of 14 x 14 inch square prints called 'Images for the Inquisitive - Volume 12 - Hortus Eystettensis'. They bear the authentic Latin name of an important 1613 collection of engravings of every species in the palace garden of Prince Bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria).  The box had been sitting in a cupboard and this was the perfect opportunity to have some of them framed and placed as art decor behind the bed.  I used my wonderful picture framers, Read and Booth, in Wandsworth Bridge Road, London SW6, who helped me select nine of the prints and a suitable frame (with no mount).  I planned to hang them 3 x 3 to add a real sense of drama to the room. The ceilings are very high in the room so there was plenty of space below the picture rail.  I also painted the lamp bases in Annie Sloan's 'Aubusson Blue' and bought a pair with a lovely botanical fern pattern pleated shades by Pooky Lighting

In the other bedroom there is a headboard but the wall above the headboard needed something on it to complement the headboard and add a wow factor.

I had forgotten all about a very old book of Pierre-Joseph Redouté rose prints that was my grandmother's. Belgian born Redouté achieved success as a painter working for the French royal court as a tutor to Marie Antoinette and later from 1798 was appointed to paint the flowers of Malmaison by Josephine Bonaparte. His famous published works include 'Les Liliacées' and 'Les Roses'. This version of 'Les Roses' was published in 1954 and I had rescued it from my grandmother's house in New Zealand when she passed away over 40 years ago!!  I had a light bulb moment and decided to create a group of framed rose prints above the bed as the colours would beautifully complement the headboard and the colours of the cushions and Kantha throw. Also, the wall colour, Farrow & Ball 'Teresa's Green' would provide the perfect colour to enhance their beauty. Once again my lovely framers, David and James from Read and Booth helped me select the eight prints from the book and a suitable frame. The frame is a reddish-brown wood which really works well with the background colour of the prints and the red/pink colours of the roses.

I hope I have inspired you to use art in a bedroom in place of a headboard or even to enhance a headboard.  I would love to see what you have done with the wall above your bed(s) so do send me pics.

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Back to Petersham for inspiration and sourcing

Hi everyone.  I went back to Petersham Nurseries this week armed with my Nikon D5500 camera.  It was a sunny but cold day and I decided to take a walk along the Thames before lunch (Petersham Nurseries is a stone's throw from the river).  There was even someone launching a boat and taking a jaunt up the river, despite the cold.

Along the river bank I found some pretty delicate wild flowers

I branched off the towpath along the river into the woodlands of Petersham Lodge.  Signs of spring were everywhere:

The woods led to a pretty iron gate that separates the gardens of Petersham Lodge (which are private) from the woodlands. 

The Belted Galloways are back in the Petersham Meadows by Petersham. Dogs are banned during the grazing season, April to October.

I returned to the Nurseries and spent time before lunch taking photos in the cutting garden where there was a superb display of tulips.

There were so many beautiful flowers to photograph

And of course the highlight of my visits to Petersham is the shop. I love the way it is styled with plants, flowers, furniture, accessories etc.  And I am always tempted to buy something!

These two beautiful bowls of flowers greeted you as you enter the restaurant


If you’re working on your own home decorating project and looking for some inspiration, please get in touch and see how I can help. 

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Upcycle with Annie Sloan paint

As many of you know, I love upcycling furniture with Annie Sloan paint. I use this paint because it doesn't involve sanding or undercoating - you just slap it on and away you go!

I have recently had a bit of a binge of painting pieces of furniture that I've been procrastinating about for nearly a year. 

My favourite Annie Sloan colours are Graphite and English Yellow.  This 50s cabinet was first up - English Yellow at the back and Graphite everywhere else.  I was given this piece of furniture by someone who was getting rid of it and I was going to sell it but I rather like it now that it's painted. No distresssing on this piece, just Annie Sloan clear wax.

Next up was this little vintage Hungarian table which I use for my printer. It was already painted in a hideous yellow gloss paint (sorry no "before" image) so I decided to give it a dousing in English Yellow with distressing.

While I was on a roll with the English Yellow, next up to get a dousing was a gilt mirror that I bought in a second hand shop two years ago for £20.  I fancied something different and fun so it certainly scores on both these points. I may add more dark wax into the crevices but for now it gives a lovely sunny warmth to the kitchen.

Next up, my workstation. This is a cupboard that I use for my work and the yellow mirror sits on top of it.  It was painted in a dark grey gloss paint and I prefer a chalk paint finish. Once again I used Graphite.  However this colour can look a bit dull on some textured furniture and that's what's happened here. This can be resolved with a coat of dark wax over the clear wax.

The biggest success was the next item, a gilt mirror that I have had for 5 years and never really liked.  Sometimes it's all about trial and error when painting furniture so do have a go. Mix colours together, put one colour on top of another, use a wash (diluted 50/50 paint/water) etc etc.  On this mirror I've used Aubusson Blue and Old White then clear wax and dark wax.  It is a stunning transformation and the shape of the mirror is really enhanced (sorry no before pics).

The jury is out on the next piece -  I don't like the finished look.  The table was originally a light grey/green colour when I bought it (first image below), then I painted it Graphite. I should have left it at that because now the effect doesn't suit the elegance of the table.  So it's back to the drawing board with this piece. As I say, trial and error!!

I'd love to hear about pieces of furniture that you have painted in Annie Sloan and see some images so do share them with me.

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Inspiration for home styling

As regular followers of my blog know, one of my favourite haunts is Petersham Nurseries which is about 20 minutes from my home. It's somewhere I go for inspiration and to take photos. It gets my creative juices going and all I want to do is take loads of photos and buy lots of plants and items for the home!  I've become quite obsessed with photography since I invested in my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D5500. Macro photography is my passion so Petersham is the perfect place to go as I can take closeups of flowers, plants and the gorgeous items for sale.

The way they style the shop and the glasshouses with plants and flowers is absolutely superb. And there is the added bonus of great food and coffee in the cafe or if I want to treat myself, the other end of the glasshouse where the shop is located is a Michelin star restaurant!  The floors in the glasshouses are just earth, even in the Michelin star restaurant but that's what makes Petersham so unique. 

If I have some free time and the sun in shining my first thought is to head to Petersham.  I could bore you with loads of superlatives but I'd rather stimulate your creative juices with a visual feast. It's not the same as being there in person but it gives you a good idea of why I love the place so much.

Some advice when looking at the photos below. Look at the way they style the items in the shop as this should help you when you style your own home - the way they group items, colours they put together, textures etc.  This is one of the things that I really find helpful when I go there. I hope you enjoy my photography; don't all budding photographers aim to take the perfect photo?!

I'll start with some closeups of the flowers

I have a passion for vintage chandeliers and Petersham always has a range of the most beautiful ones (in fact I bought a small antique French chandelier from them a few weeks ago which is being wired up currently and will then have pride of place of my kitchen table). 

The sun was shining on one particularly large chandelier this time, and I was mesmorised by the colours in the crystals so became rather "trigger happy" with my camera. These images come with a health warning - you may need your dark glasses on !

There was a lot of new stock in the shop since I was last there a week ago and quite a number of ceramic pots with incredible shapes and textures. You can see from the scale of the small items next to these pots the sheer size of some of them.

Petersham always has a good selection of vintage mirrors. I have bought quite a few over the years and recently have been buying some of their convex mirrors in various sizes.  And then there are so many other interesting items on display which you think "I want that" but then "where can I put it in my home?" and then "oh heck, who cares, I just want it" and you go ahead and buy it !!

I hope you enjoyed these images and that they have given you some fresh ideas about how to style your own home. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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