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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Make a statement with your table lamps

Hi everyone.  Firstly I must apologise for the lack of blog posts in the last few weeks; in fact since 5 March when I posted the last one.  I've had a manically busy few weeks having taken on a number of new clients. Also, I am preparing for a photo shoot of my flat in mid April which has been stressing me out somewhat.  So I've been furiously upcycling some of my furniture with Annie Sloan paint (separate blog post shortly) and changing lampshades on all my table lamps.

Table lamps can be so boring and serve no other purpose than to provide a lighting source. Gone are the days when you only had a limited choice of shades, mainly 50 shades of beige or cream!!  Now you can buy the most divine shades and make a real statement, a wow factor, even if the lamp base is a bit "meh".    The reverse is a statement lamp base with a plain shade that doesn't compete.   However, beware as you can spend hundreds of pounds on a lamp shade and even thousands of pounds on a lamp base.  It's a matter of finding something affordable and you really love.

There is a great shop in London called Pooky Lighting which sells affordable and fun lamp bases and shades so I popped in and bought three pairs of lampshades for the bedrooms and kitchen.  What a difference they have made to the rooms; the lighting has transformed the spaces from "meh" to "tah-dah" !!!


In the kitchen I changed the shades from plain taupe coloured silk to these gorgeous silk Ikat pleated shades by Pooky Lights.  In the sitting room I replaced a pair of beige linen shades in the alcoves with black & white Ikat ones which really draw the eye in.

And finally, I bought a rather expensive but absolutely divine lamp base from Nicholas Haslam designed by Paolo Moschino.  It is my piece de resistance but one of those items that you see and just have to have!!  It is solid handcarved brass and it was the way it opened up like a flower and had such beautiful flowing lines that made me fall in love with it.  The jury is out on whether any of my friends like it !!

I would love to hear what sort of table lamps you have and would be happy to offer some advice if you are thinking of changing them so do contact me.

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An invite to an exclusive blogger event

Hi everyone. I had the pleasure of being invited by India Jane to an exclusive blogger preview event today, Tuesday 1st December, at their flagship store in Kings Road, Chelsea, London.  For those of you not familiar with India Jane,  it's a family-owned home interiors business which was founded in 1992.  Their signature style embodies the understated elegance of updated classics and sleek lines of contemporary sophistication. They have ten stores in the UK but none abroad, at least not that I'm aware of. There were five of us (all ladies!) handpicked discerning bloggers of interiors!!  We were given a talk by their head of Marketing and PR, the very charming James Neil, on the key trends and latest products of India Jane while being offered bubbly and nibbles.  We were also offered 15% discount on everything we purchased and it was very much the embarrassment of the choice as to what to buy as it all looked so incredibly inviting, beautiful and luxurious.  And if that wasn't sufficient, they offered us a goodie bag when we left which I discovered this evening when I got home, contained a selection of gorgeous India Jane homewares.  I know Christmas hasn't come yet but I felt as if all my Christmases had come at once! 

I adore this time of year when the shops are dressed and styled to the hilt. Indian Jane is certainly no exception!  I'm no stranger to India Jane; I have a house full of their furniture, mirrors, soft furnishings, accessories and lighting (I have no less than five of their chandeliers in my home!). However I never tire of browsing one of their stores as they are styled within an inch of their lives but with the utmost taste.  Glitz and glamour but understated and refined. What more could you want?!

I took some photos on my iPhone but they aren't the greatest quality (says the gal who has just done a course in DSLR photography!) so do excuse the poor quality of some of the shots. I think I was overcome with the emotion of trying to decide what I could afford to buy when all I wanted to do was transport the entire shop to my home!

 India Jane is one of those shops, you have to buy something. I've never left empty handed! I'd love to hear about any interiors local shop that you frequent and the things they sell that you cannot live without. 

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Another inspiring day at Petersham Nurseries

Well, I'm not sure what season this really is as it's nearly as warm as late summer and we are already at the end of October. Talk about Indian Summer - it's last way beyond the end of September. This weather is unprecedented - warm (up to 20C) and no wind or rain. The trees are the most incredible colours, the best autumn colours in many years due to this late warmth. 

It was a stunning, sunny day up to 19C last week so I decided it was time for another pilgrimage to Petersham Nurseries which is one of the most inspiring places in London for me.  I get trigger happy with both my iPhone camera andmy compact Panasonic camera as there are so many beautiful things to photograph.  The shop displays are styled so well and the use of plants and flowers in the styling is superb.

And of course the food in the cafe is wonderful so my friend and I arrived in time for morning coffee and a huge slab of cake, browsed the gardens, glasshouses and shop for two hours and then returned to the cafe for a tray of lunch dishes to share. 

I've decided to devote most of this blog post to images, a veritable optical feast.  Most of the images speak for themselves.  I hope you derive as much pleasure and enjoyment from the images as I did seeing everything in person.  There's lots to learn about styling in the home from these images so take note!!

I'll start with a selection of photos of how they styled some of the public spaces - the cafe where you queue to get your food, the loos (!) and the glasshouses where you can take your food on trays to eat. 

Another group of images follows:

And the most mouth-watering photos I'll leave until last - the shop which is my favourite part of the whole Petersham experience. Check out the vintage chandeliers, they absolutely gorgeous.  It is so beautifully styled and full of items/objects that I covet. I never leave empty handed!

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