I love reading home decorating magazines, and at one point briefly wanted to be an interior designer. Just as well it was a momentary yearning as I would have been rubbish at it. The thing is I love looking at beautiful things, pristine houses, or cluttered cottages but I’ve discovered putting it all together isn’t at all easy!
If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I was out of the house for earthquake repairs. I’m very grateful. I have been one of the “lucky” ones here in Christchurch with mainly cosmetic damage to my place (there was a little structural damage in the roof and my concrete block walls were cracked outside – but not split or broken). So I’ve been happy to wait my turn for repairs. I’m well aware there are people in Christchurch with worse houses still waiting too. As every room in my house apart from the spare room (typically the one with the ugliest wallpaper!) had to be repaired, I’ve now got fresh paint in all rooms, and the ugly dated stipple ceilings, complete with asbestos, have been removed and I now have lovely smooth ceilings. I also have smooth walls with the dated wallpapers all gone. We’d painted over those previously but I was amazed at how different they look. The place does feel rejuvenated. Now to put my own stamp on the place.
Cleaner layout with the dining room
“Spanish white” kitchen and dining room looks rejuvenated from the previous yellow walls
Prior to the EQ repairs I had updated the sliding doors in the lounge. The old one kept sticking, so badly that I needed to call my friend’s husband one day to help me to close it. Time to update and double-glaze. This completely changed the room, opening it up so much.
The old slider
The new slider
The challenge with my place is it is a 1970s unit. It’s not modern and it’s not old. So finding something that fits is hard. The lounge has been my biggest challenge. With the new sliders opening up the room with a double opening, rather than a middle single opening, I felt like the indoor-outdoor flow had doubled. In summer it will be great to open the doors into the garden, which normally is much tidier and full of blooms! I felt like I should have a retro bach kind of feel to the room. Modern furniture wouldn’t be right, nor would old furniture, but a bit of a muddled mis-match might be okay. Considering I’ve got a beautiful old piano in the lounge I had to cater for that. A bach has a relaxed feel to it, and my bookcase full of books and CDs seemed to fit okay. What about the furniture? I’d inherited mum and dad’s lounge suite which I hated. It was beige. Striped beige. The whole room had a bland feel to it. It needed vibrancy and colour. While I’ve kept the walls neutral, I didn’t replace the carpet due to time constraints and the fact that renovations and EQC repairs don’t go well together, so it was up to the furnishings to bring the colour.
Off I went to a furniture maker that my mother had used occasionally. I like the fact that it is a local manufacturer. Everything is made here in Christchurch. It’s important to support places like this. The extremely helpful staff clicked on to my idea of style – slightly retro – and showed me around a number of furniture styles. They then showed me a range of fabrics, taking into account I have a cat who loves to use her claws on furniture. The velvet lazy-boy I had in the house is the only one not scratched by her, so we looked at the ranges in velvet textured materials and I settled on some bold colour choices.
Proof is in the pudding, of course. I still have to do something about curtains in the lounge. It’s winter, so I’ve kept the old ones as they’re heavy and keep the frosty temperatures out. Once spring comes I’ll take them down and look at options. I want to keep the openness of the room that the doors give, so I’m thinking some form of blind.
So here, without further ado, is my new lounge furniture.
Purple and green! Bold enough I feel.
A brief glimpse of sun on a cold morning brightens the room too.
What do you think? Obviously I’ll update the kitchen at some point. It’s in my mid- to long term plan and I’m thinking semi-cottage style; white with dark bench tops and the wooden look floor going through to the dining room. Short term is get some more wall hangings up in the lounge – photos from my trip etc, and paint the spare room which is still in its hideous original wallpaper state (albeit with a new ceiling).
It’s a very difficult thing, this interiors stuff. I know you can always change paint colours. That’s easy and that’s cheap. It’s the furnishings that cost, so I want to get it right first time! Those curtains will be the next challenge, as I think I have the furniture right. I guess the main thing, is I like it. After all it’s my little space on earth, what I call home.