accessories, dining room, inspiration, kitchen, my projects, presentations

Christmas coming – last minute ideas / Ida Swieta – kilka pomyslow

Ah, and so we are – mid December, a few days to Christmas. So how does this time look for me every year?

– overworked (company targets need to be met!)
– cold (though London is surprisingly mild this year)
– sad (missing my family, the more the closer it’s till Christmas as I know I’ll see them soon and want this to happen ASAP!)
– and this year, additionally, stressed out and tired as hell since as always I’m over-ambitious and have decided that I need to be responsible for whole of the Christmas look and feel. The occasion is perfect as it will be the first Christmas at my parents’ new house, so a blank canvas almost. So I’m sewing: tablecloths, table runners (both in 2 sizes!), napkins for 15 people, choosing decorations for the whole room and presents for both my and my husband’s families…

Anyway, I’m hoping all this hard work is going to pay off and deliver the ‘wow’ factor – the color scheme  / theme chosen for this year’s Christmas is Gold, White and Glitter: timeless, elegant and very celebratory.

Let me share with you a few beautiful photos that inspired me and maybe can inspire you too, if you’re planning your Christmas last minute.


I’m also planning to bake and decorate cupcakes, and – another last-minute idea – bake gingerbread in the shape of letters, for a different take on gift tags.
I hope this is going to work out as I never baked gingerbread before!

—————-
No i jestesmy w polowie grudnia. Jak ten okres w roku wyglada dla mnie? Jestem zwykle
– przepracowana (bo przeciez firma musi wyrobic plan)
– zmarznieta (choc pogoda w Londynie jest w tym roku dosc laskawa)
– smutna (bo tesknie za rodzinka, tym bardziej im blizej do naszego spotkania!)
– a w tym roku dodatkowo absolutnie zestresowana i zmeczona jak diabli bo jak zwykle ambicja wziela nade mna gore i postanowilam zaprojektowac cala wizualke swiateczna. Okazja ku temu jest niebanalna gdyz beda to pierwsze Swieta w nowym domu moich Rodzicow i jest duze pole do popisu :). W zwiazku z tym szyje obrusy i biezniki w dwoch rozmiarach, serwetki na 15 osob, wybieram dekoracje no i naturalnie prezenty dla calej mojej i meza rodziny…

Tak czy inaczej mam nadzieje ze wszystko dobrze sie uda i swieta zrobia wrazenie na gosciach – schemat kolorystyczny na te Swieta to Zloto, Biel i Blysk, czyli kombinacja elegancka, ponadczasowa i bardzo uroczysta.

Powyzej dziele sie kilkoma pieknymi zdjeciami ktore zainspirowaly mnie w tym roku – jesli szukacie swiatecznych pomyslow na ostatnia chwile, mam nadzieje ze te pomoga.
Ostatnim pomyslem ktory moze sie przydac to pieczenie piernikow w ksztalcie inicjalow – zamiast bilecikow prezentowych. Sprobuje to zrobic, jak sie uda – pokaze efekty 🙂

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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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accessories, inspiration

Repurposing and alternative use, or breathing new life into old things

Ever wondered how to give new use to old things, or in other words, repurpose? Well, here are some ingenious ideas! Some of them are being transformed into new objects, whereas others show new approaches to home chores or DIY.

  • Get any of the big vases which you can now buy everywhere (or perhaps you have one in your home collection?), and use it to store toilet paper. Depending on your level of quirkiness, choose either a transparent, or more discreet opaque version.
Vase as toilet roll holder
Vase as toilet roll holder
  • Want to get rid of old bubblegum stickers of Kevin from Backstreet Boys you taped onto your mirror as a teenager? (OK, was that only me??) – try the good old mayonnaise… who’d guess!
Mayo as adhesive cleaner
Mayo as adhesive cleaner
  • OMG! Can this be true?? Just last night I had to soak my new IKEA side plates for a few hours before those stubborn stickers graciously decided to allow me to scrape them off and now – this! You’ve got to try this out – just heat the labels and…
Hairdryer heat softens label glue
Hairdryer heat softens label glue
  • OK, I’d now say: ‘Enough of those useful ideas! Let’s see something impractical!’ And yet, even this use seems very relevant now, as we all have our photos on our drives rathen than in albums (unfortunately). Be honest, when was the last time you developed (gosh even this word sounds strange already) your holiday photos? So, here is what you do with the spare albums – use them as business cards holders! Or, even better for design maniacs, you could use them for wallpaper scrappings, pieces of fabric, etc etc…
Photo album as business cards holder
Photo album as business cards holder
  • …and this DIY project will add interest to your hall – simply cut off part of your hangers, and either use industrial glue, or nails. If you don’t have such strong glue, you can still use it e.g. as jewelry rack.
Hanger as ... hanger :)
Hanger as ... hanger 🙂
  • OMG once more – this is ingenious 🙂 Run a sticky side of a post-it note between keys of your keyboard (if you are me, if will be full of tea, coffee, cookies’ crumbs, nail polish chippings and other ‘items’) to clean it.
Post-it notes as keyboard cleaners
Post-it notes as keyboard cleaners
  • And finally – the bizarre.  Check out this amazing bench 🙂
Ski bench
Ski bench

Gosh, I absolutely love such practical ideas (…perhaps apart from the bench!). Putting one or two into practice make me cheat myself that I am not as disorganized and inefficient as I am 🙂

If you liked these, check out AltUse which claims to be the ultimate website for alternative uses (DYI related).

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