bathroom, bedroom, budget decorating, budget design, dining room, DIY, hall, kitchen, living room, my projects, presentations, property development

New flat, old flat and other changes / Nowe, stare i inne zmiany

I don’t think I should even start apologizing for not being here for ages… so let us pretend those two months never happened 🙂

That would be difficult, though, as since the last post:

  • we finished and rented out our Polish flat within a week of posting the ad (which is a really good time in our market!),
  • both me and my husband started working at different companies (still within one corporation),
  • we moved offices to outside of London,
  • we moved houses in London to be closer to new offices
  • … and yesterday we have become owners of yet another flat in Poland :).

So this is a very exciting time for me and there is really lots going on. I am obviously going to share with you the ideas for the new flat, and can tell you straight away this is going to be tricky, as we want to finish the flat mostly remotely, and as of today there are only bare walls and windows there.

But! First things first, let me show you what we managed to do to our first flat around Christmas; we wanted to make it livable, so that it rents out quickly, on a budget of ca. £250:

  • bathroom

I guess you’ve seen some of our bathroom, especially the cupboard hand-made by my husband; to our great anger and despair, the glass maker did not manage to do the doors on time so our shelves are still open, but the rest was good to go:

Bathroom - view from entrance
Bathroom - view from entrance
The old trick - big mirror visually increases the size of this bathroom
The old trick - big mirror visually increases the size of this bathroom
  • bedroom

The bedroom, with the furniture set we got for free from a friend, a super-old retro ceiling lamp, and bits and pieces of decorating from my mum, with the only new element of the baroque-inspired white wallpaper to add just a teeny bit of glamour:

White bedroom with white glamour wallpaper
White bedroom with white glamour wallpaper
Detailed view of the wallpaper
Detailed view of the wallpaper

To complement the wallpaper, we have used a spare piece as wall art and put it in behind glass, all placed on an old shelf which I finished in a quasi-shabby-chic look. The throw also works the same theme as the wallpaper.

  • living room

Now, the living room, and to be completely honest this is the most haphazardly finished room ever 🙂 One feature wall covered in beautiful black wallpaper… though since it was our first time ever wallpapering, the results are far from perfect! Good tip – when working with a dark wallpaper, it’s much easier if you dab the areas on the wall, where wallpaper pieces will meet, in paint the colour of the wallpaper; this way even if your work isn’t perfect, the gaps between stripes will not be as visible as on our wall.

Living room - feature wall with black floral wallpaper
Living room - feature wall with black floral wallpaper
Living room - view towards the ornamental blinds
Living room - view towards the ornamental blinds

The rest of the room is my parents’ old sofabed under a new throw, a red ceiling light which was supposed to be comlemented with red wall art though we never put it up (don’t ask), my teenage bedroom set, a good old piano, a spare single bed that can be put away depending on the needs of the tenants and an Ikea Lack table 🙂 Plus the really pretty blinds which unfortunately do not show too well in this light – basically when it’s light outside, they seem very pale and creamy grey, but when it’s dark, additional silver elements show as well.

  • kitchen-diner

Finally, the kitchen-diner, with the infamous kitchen units which never got properly fitted together (so that the worktop still floats independently of the units, there is no steel strip at the bottom and a millon other sins we committed with it and haven’t tried to make up for yet). Nonetheless we like the kitchen and maybe, some time, in the distant future, we will finally put it together once and for all 🙂 There is also an extra loveseat and armchair in the other part of the room.

Light and dark wood kitchen with green walls
Light and dark wood kitchen with green walls
Retro kitchen oilcloth
Retro kitchen oilcloth
  • Hall

…and our hall, unfortunately I have a photo only from the time when this ugly carpet was there (with the dog’s bone and toys prominently on display) so try not to notice them 🙂

Open hall with spotlights
Open hall with spotlights

So to sum up, this is certainly not the best example of interior design, but we tried to make the place nicer for the tenants than the usual offering but on a minimal budget, and the result was that we rented it out just a few days after we advertised it!

———
Chyba nawet nie ma co zaczynac przepraszac za to ze mnie tu tak dlugo nie bylo, wiec moze zapomnijmy o tych dwoch miesiacach 🙂

Z drugiej strony byloby to trudne, gdyz od ostatniego postu:

  • wykonczylismy i wynajelismy nasze mieszkanie w PL w ciagu tygodnia od dania ogloszenia
  • zaczelismy z mezem prace w nowej firmie
  • zmienilismy biura
  • przeprowadzilismy sie w Londynie by latwiej dojezdzac
  • …i od wczoraj jestesmy wlascicielami nowego mieszkania w PL – a raczej wygralismy przetarg i teraz staramy sie jak najszybciej mieszkanie ‘przejac’ 🙂

Takze ten czas jest bardzo ekscytujacy i na pewno bede dzielic sie tu pomyslami na wykonczenie nowego mieszkania; juz teraz wiem ze nie bedzie to proste gdyz duzo chcemy wykonac lub zlecic ‘zdalnie’ z Londynu, a w tej chwili w mieszkaniu nie ma nic – stan deweloperski.

No ale! Zaczynac wypada od poczatku 🙂 wiec kilka slow o naszym pierwszym mieszkaniu. W okolicy Swiat Bozego Narodzenia postanowilismy zrobic ile mozemy w mieszkaniu by przygotowac je na wynajecie. Niestety czasu bylo malo a budzet juz zupelnie ograniczony (troche ponad 1tys. zl) wiec spedzilismy troche czasu wymyslajac co mozna zrobic by we w miare przyzwoitym stanie mieszkanie wynajac.

Zdjecia powyzej pokazuja rezultaty naszej walki z nieterminowymi sprzedawcami (czytaj: brak szklanych drzwi do szafek w lazience) i bardzo ograniczonym budzetem (czytaj: wykorzystanie naszych starych mebli, mebli ktore dostalismy od znajomych, odmalowanie kilku rzeczy, samodzielne kladzenie tapety ze skutkiem mieszanym – hej! robilismy to po raz pierwszy ok?? – i kilkoma drobnymi nowymi zakupami). Kilka rzeczy dalej nieskonczonych, typu kuchnia (caly czas nieprzykrecony blat i brak cokolow, nieoslonieta sciana i inne takie), te nieszczesne szafki w lazience (szklo to jedyne czego moj maz sam w tej lazience zrobic nie moze, i cholera tak nawalili 😦 ), oraz totalny misz-masz stylow i kolorow w duzym pokoju.

Zdecydowanie nie jest to przyklad swietnego designu ale biorac pod uwage ograniczenia czasowe i finansowe jestem w miare zadowolona z efektu, i obecni najemcy mam nadzieje tez.

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bathroom, budget decorating, budget design, DIY, furniture, my projects, presentations, property development

Bathroom DIY / Lazienkowe ‘zrob to sam’

And finally, here they are – photos of what we’ve managed to do in our bathroom back home a month ago.

As you know / don’t know, we live in London in a rented flat, but our hearts – and our own flat – are still in Poland. We have never managed to finish it to the standard we wanted because we moved to the UK having just bought it and being able to do only the basics. Now every time we come back to visit our family, we try to add to it.

The next visit over Christmas will be even more important as we’re thinking about renting it out, and for that we need to finish at least the projects we’ve started, if not the whole place!

Our orange-cream-brown bathroom is actually the only room in the flat that more or less started coming together and is almost finished – it really is missing a few minor details (though my husband wouldn’t call it details…)

Below is what we’ve managed to complete last time – some embellishment around the mirror, and a tall cupboard for the much needed storage. I’m not going to show the whole bathroom yet – I’ll do that when we finally finish it off, but I can proudly say that the bathroom design and most of manual work have been done by my husband with a tiny bit of help from me.

Mosaic mirror frame

Actually, this decor has never been planned. We thought we’re going to have just an extension shelf over the mirror, on the same level as the top of the cupboard next to it. But then it turned out that we have some remnants of the panelling which we could use for the shelf. The only problem was that it was some milimeters shorter than the cupboard, which would result in the front of the shelf being a bit recessed in comparison to the cupboard, so the idea of having it at the same level for a sleek look would be lost. So we thought and thought… and then I came up with an idea of adding something decorative to the front of the shelf to disguise the difference in level, and we settled for some mosaic.

Obviously, there are many types of mosaic, and originally I thought we’d get the traditional glass mosaic. We also needed to make sure that the size of single tile (or two / three etc) is more or less the same height as the front of the shelf.

But after some strolling around the decorating shops, I saw this decor and I loved it! The original version was vertical (the size of the usual tile decor) so I broke it up into pieces, got rid of the supporting (and irritatingly difficult to remove) plastic frame beneath which normally holds the mosaics together for easy mounting on the wall, and used each separate tile as I wanted, making sure I don’t repeat the pattern much.

I mounted it onto the shelf using a standard all-purpose strong glue, and it worked very fast and was much easier to work with than the tile glue. Of course, be careful with this – you don’t want your fingers stuck together forever 🙂

…and after a moment of drying up, we were able to hang the shelf up!

DIY in bathroom - mosaic mirror frame
DIY in bathroom - mosaic mirror frame
DIY in bathroom - mosaic mirror frame close-up
DIY in bathroom - mosaic mirror frame close-up

Tall cupboard

This is another example of recycling what was already in the house. My parents have bought a set of furniture to my teenage bedroom ages ago; one cupboard had glass door. We thought we saw some stain on it, so we asked for replacement. The manufacturer duly resent the door, but never took the faulty one. In the meantime we decided the fault is almost unnoticeable, so haven’t even replaced the door. And so it lay for ages in the basement, which my husband noticed some time ago and had his plans for it 🙂

Even though I know how good a DIY-er he is, I was still surprised by what he managed to do in half a day (with some finishing touches the next day) – he has actually measured up, had the panels cut, finished the edges, and built a proper cupboard for our cupboard, nicely employing all colours from our bathroom’s scheme.

Even so, I can hardly survive having something so big in my house without me adding the teeniest bit to it… so I’ve decided to  use the spare mosaic tiles to finish the door handles 🙂

DIY in bathroom - my hubby's cupboard
DIY in bathroom - my hubby's cupboard
DIY in bathroom - cupboard door handles
DIY in bathroom - cupboard door handles

So, that’s it for now. Going back now to choosing textiles for Christmas… hmmm maybe that’s a topic for my next post 🙂

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accessories, budget decorating, DIY, home office, inspiration, presentations, room of the day

Room of the Day / Pokoj dnia

Ish and Chis super-sweet studio
Ish and Chi's super-sweet studio

How pretty is that! Viv has completely remodeled her studio by converting an unused space in her house into this gorgeous haven of creativity! I live the DIY aspect of it which not only saved the budget, but also immensely personalized the space. Check out the gorgeous butterfly mobile, Eames style chair, painted wardrobe and this antique sideboard on the right! Not to mention the pretty designs over the desk (Viv’s own, and you can buy them in her Etsy shop here).

——

Co za piekne studio! Viv przemienila niewykorzystane miejsce w jej domu w przepiekne, kobiece studio w ktorym tworzy swoje male dziela. ‘Zrob to sama’ to jej motto i dzieki temu przestrzen zostala upiekszona nie tylko tanie, ale i bardzo wyjatkowo. Zwroccie uwage na piekna ozdobe z motyli, krzeslo stylizowane na Eames, pomalowana szafe i zabytkowy bufet. No i oczywiscie obrazki nad biurkiem, ktore sa dzielem Viv i ktore mozna kupic tu.

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accessories, art in interiors, bedroom, budget decorating, home office, inspiration, living room

Living white / Mieszkac na bialo

I’ve noticed that you prefer white recently” wrote my Mum through IM a few days ago. Do I? I guess I do. Although I’m ashamed to admit it, it took me some time to acknowledge white as a color. I’ve always loved bold colors (even though my red bedroom was giving me headaches during my uni years). With time, however, perhaps the more interiors I’ve seen, the more I’ve learned how colors dramatically influence how we perceive everything around us.

  1. White is a great background to both statement pieces of art, and bold color accents. If you want to display a treasured painting, a gorgeous chair or any other item – what better background than white?? (unless the item is white 🙂 )
  2. White works for everyone. It makes interiors seem timeless, elegant, fresh. It’s exactly why we call it the blank canvas – everyone can imagine themselves in the space, even if to decide what other colors to use. It’s easy on our imagination, bluntly speaking.
  3. White works with every style. Normally we’d think – minimalist. But think also – modern; think shabby chic; French country, Scandinavian, etc, etc. Even think retro! (as a background to graphic designs)
  4. But most importantly, white = space. They are almost synonyms.  It will always create this feeling of spaciuosness, so desired in small places.

And yet, surprisingly, white seems to be used more in big spaces rather than small flats. I’ve realized it when looking through my inspirations collections to choose images for today’s post. All the post-industrial, ex-school buldings, lofts, barn conversions and quite a number of old big mansions boast the white interiors. So why not small flats? (And yes I know I admit my kitchen is green and my bathroom orange! I’m not saying everything needs to be white 🙂 )

Anyway here are some not-so-big-or-expensive places that I hope will inspire everyone to the gorgeous white…

  • …workspaces at home
Desire to Inspire - White workspace
Desire to Inspire - White workspace
Design Sponge - customized workspace
Design Sponge - customized workspace
  • …calm and relaxing bedrooms
Kikettes white bedroom
Kikette's white bedroom
Decor pads glamour bedroom with mirrored end tables
Decor pad's glamour bedroom with mirrored end tables
Melanie Acevedos simple and light bedroom
Melanie Acevedo's simple and light bedroom
Charlies design diarys simple white bedroom
Charlie's design diary's simple white bedroom
  • …and chic and spacious living rooms
Stylerooms white living room
Styleroom's white living room
I like designs living room
I like design's living room
Steven Shadleys gallery-style living room from Katiedid
Steven Shadley's gallery-style living room from Katiedid
Freshhomes minimalist living room with fireplace
Freshhome's minimalist living room with fireplace

So? I’m sure you have at least one white room. Will you look at it differently now?

——–
“Widze, ze ostatnio preferujesz biel“,
Mama napisala do mnie na GG kilka dni temu. Coz, chyba ma racje. To prawda, dlugo mi zajelo zanim uznalam bialy za kolor. Zawsze uwielbialam mocne kolory, mimo ze ze moja czerwona sypialnia z czasow studenckich przyprawiala mnie kiedys o bol glowy. Ale z czasem, ogladajac coraz wiecej wnetrz, nauczylam sie jak wielki wplyw maja na nas kolory wszystkiego co nas otacza.

  1. Bialy to doskonale tlo zarowno dla wyrazistych dziel sztuki, jak i mocnych akcentow kolorystycznych. Jezeli chcesz wyeksponowac ulubiony obraz czy wyjatkowy fotel – nie ma lepszego tla (no chyba ze obiekt tez jest bialy 🙂 )
  2. Bialy pasuje wszystkim i do wszystkiego. Sprawia ze wnetrza staja sie ponadczasowe, eleganckie i swieze. Wlasnie dlatego mowimy – biala karta, czyste tlo, poczatek; kazdy moze sie w takim wnetrzu ‘zobaczyc’, nawet po to by zdecydowac na jakie kolory ten bialy wymienic. Jest to kolor przyjazny wyobrazji, ze tak powiem.
  3. Bialy pasuje do kazdego stylu. Pierwsze skojarzenie – minimalizm. Ale takze nowoczesny, shabby chic, francuski, skandynawski, itd, itp.. nawet retro, jako kontrastowa podstawa do mocnych wzorow.
  4. Co najwazniejsze,  biel = przestrzen. To prawieze synonimy. Biel zawsze doda poczucia przestronnosci, tak potrzebnej w malych wnetrzach.

A jednak, co zadziwiajace, wydaje sie ze biel jest duzo czesniej uzywana w wielkich przestrzeniach niz malych. Zwrocilam na to uwage przegladajac moje kolekcje inspiracji, gdy wybieralam zdjecia na dzis. Wszystkie te post-industrialne, po-szkolne obiekty, lofty, i inne wielkie budynki wrecz chlubia sie biela i przestrzenia. Czemu wiec nie male mieszkania? (Tak, wiem, moja kuchnia jest zielona a mini-lazienka pomaranczowa, nigdzie nie powiedzialam ze wszystko musi byc biale ale jednak…)

Tak czy inaczej, powyzej przedstawiam kilka wnetrz ktore mam nadzieje ze Was zainspiruja – domowe biura, sypialnie i salony. Prawie kazdy z nas ma choc jeden bialy pokoj – czy spojrzysz teraz na niego inaczej?

—–

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articles, DIY, furniture, inspiration

Design on a budget

I’ve decided to update my blog tagline (see above) to include part of my motto –

…how to get the designer look on a budget?



(And be quiet, language purists – of course there is always a budget but I mean the common meaning of this phrase!)

Really, I don’t think it’s difficult to create a great space with lots of money (though, surprisingly, I’ve seen LOTS of expensively made, but terribly designed / decorated spaces). To be honest, the tendency to go for the expensive is very irresistible. Why?

Well, it’s really not about squeezing money out of clients. It’s just that we love good design. And good design is, predominantly, very costly. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone – after all, to create an outstandigly beautiful and high-quality piece of furniture, for example, has to be costly. In time, ideas, effort, resources (including human of course), machinery and materials. Then – advertising or getting it to the market, etc…

But – one is also paying for the brand, and again rightly so, as those brands ‘high up there’ deserve to be special and exclusive for their role in opening new design horizons for us all. However, if one is willing to search and research, and wait a bit longer, and try out things, and visit auctions and sales, and customize, etc, etc… one can really create an amazing space mimicking pretty well the unattainable designer classics. So what can you do?

1) Buy vintage, customized or knock-off versions.

Sounds simple, well, it is and is not. You will have to invest a lot of time in investigating all options, checking out all the outlets, eBay, online boutiques of hand-made items, local auctions, blogs like this, designers’ stores and online shops, discounts and sales at the shops you love (and they are now everywhere, does anyone buy full-price anymore?), charity shops, car-boot sales, and the local suppliers down the road who are happy to create something for you for fraction of the original’s price.

So, time is the main investment. But this option is certainly most cost-efficient. Apart from those ‘real’ designer classic in vintage, which are sometimes more expensive than new (unless someone doesn’t realize their value and yes, it happens a lot).

And it’s fun, too, especially when you find some gorgeous stuff! You don’t have to be skilled, you just need loads of time, good eye, and good luck. 🙂

2) Customize yourself.

This is the most rewarding way, the real crowning of your achievement. But that requires ingenuity, and is certainly not ‘cheap’ in terms of time and effort. It requires skill. And patience. And good eye. And a bit of experience. So – you just have to ask yourself: what is more important to me? Am I willing to save time and spend money for the great stuff? Or am I able to spend time to research and get inspired and build and create?

Both options are rewarding in different ways. And I don’t think I’ll make a call on which one is better – I love them both. And you can also mix’n’match; buy this sleek Eames chair lookalike, but save on very simple coffee table which you can get at your local supplier and which will look just as good as any (let’s hope). Allow yourself for this gorgeous designer wallpaper, but use it sparingly – on one wall only, or buy just one roll and customise an old cupboard with it.

Bear in mind though… the ‘budget’ version does not always mean dirt cheap. Sometimes you will have to invest in high-quality golden paint, or in gorgeous crystal cupboard handles (and you will notice that accessories are often more expensive than the base item you wanted to customize). In fact, in many cases, you would have been able to buy a pretty high-street item for less than all the materials you need for customizing, and for zero effort.

BUT. Whatever you create will still be cheaper than the classics. More importantly, whatever you make yourself, is absolutely unique. Not only will it look outstanding and special, but will also reflect your personality and taste, and make your house a home.

…so where does the interior designer come into this ‘budget’ game?

Well, you may want to consider their services on two levels:

  • Idea. If you do not feel you are up to creating the layout, the style, the idea for the place – this is the first problem designers can help you with. Depending on your budget and plans, this can be anything from online help (you send photos / floor plans, designer sends back his version), through to one-off consultation at home, then creating the mood board (which will gather your colour / style / furniture ideas and give you a feel for the proposed space), up to the visualisation stage, furniture and accessories suggestions, etc.
  • Implementation. If after that you still are unsure you can find those unique items, or really you’re not up to customizing or simly can’t spend time rummaging through second-hand shops and going to auctions, the decorator can act as your buying agent and source everything that is required for your unique place. Even more so, depending on the extent of their services, they can customize objects for you. Perhaps they sell their furniture and accessories already?

And if you go for the interior design services, remember: ALWAYS be open and frank. You remember the previous article? “The more your tastes are communicated, the happier the outcome.  Also, have a specific budget in mind.  Honesty is always the best policy.” Say that you want customised. Or say that you want know-off. Say that you’re not afraid of vintage. Say that you hate the standard. Or that you love The standard, you just can’t afford it. And so on, and so forth…

…so, good luck with designing on a budget, whatever it is :).

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accessories, art in interiors, bedroom, DIY, furniture, hall, inspiration, living room

DIY IKEA, or how to make the standard – unique

I can’t believe what some people are able to do with some of IKEA classics. If you’re up to it, try this out; some of the projects aren’t that difficult (more time-consuming and nerve-racking) but SO amazing! All of them have been found on the IKEA hacker blog.

  • Malma mirrors made into wall art

From this:

IKEA Malma mirror
IKEA Malma mirror

To this:

Malma mirrors made into wall art
Malma mirrors made into wall art
  • (Broken) Emmabo rocking chair into stylish deck lounge chair

From this:

(Broken) IKEA Emmabo chair
(Broken) IKEA Emmabo chair

To this:

Stylish Emmabo deck chairs
Stylish Emmabo deck chairs
  • Now this is really simple but so stylish! Lack / Vika Fintorp chic entry way / hall table

From this:

IKEA Lack wall shelf
IKEA Lack wall shelf

To this:

Chic and sexy entry way table
Chic and sexy entry way table
  • How ’bout this really simple but prettily customized set of Malm tables aka TV bench?

From this:

IKEA malm bedside table
IKEA malm bedside table

To this:

Malm twin TV bench with grass :)
Malm twin TV bench with grass 🙂
  • And one for the arty types out there: A heavenly wall art / tree mural done with scrappings of IKEA fabrics:

From this:

IKEA fabric scrappings
IKEA fabric scrappings

To this:

Tree mural made from IKEA fabrics
Tree mural made from IKEA fabrics
  • Finally, the best in my opinion: Retro FIRA jewelry cabinet …AND… a shabby chic bedside table

From this:

IKEA Fira mini chest of drawers
IKEA Fira mini chest of drawers

To this…

Fira retro jewelry cabinet
Fira retro jewelry cabinet

To this!! The Absolutely Gorgeous shabby chic bedside or side table is a smashing HIT! Congratulatins on imagination and craftiness!

Shabby chic Fira bedside table
Shabby chic Fira bedside table

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