A Cosy Mountain Cabin Scheme…

We spent a few days up in Big Bear earlier this month and it left me daydreaming of A-frame wooden cabins, cosy fires, beaten up old leather couches and plaid blankets. Driving up the winding canyon roads to our Airbnb I loved how no two cabins were alike – some were shaped like little gingerbread cottages with icicles lining the pitched front porch while others had these high, wooden boarded fronts with (every so slightly creepy) wooden stairs winding up to the front door…

Anyway it only took me one evening spent browsing Zillow to get me dreaming of decorating my own slice of mountain life and so I made this moodboard as a creative outlet. My choice of rug will provide a clue that this is something of a fantasy interior – one where snow boots and muddy paws fear to tread. I have a soft spot for mural wallpapers and thought this one by Pierre Frey would be perfect for a holiday home where you don’t have to live with it day in, day out. It would be such a surprising touch for guests in a rental too!

1. ‘Les Rocheuses’ wallpaper by Pierre Frey. The Rockies represent nature in all its untamed glory. Although dramatic there is also something about this design that I find peaceful – the style reminds me of the kind of black and white etchings you find in old books.

2. Giant Ram Head Taxidermy Kit by Sincerely Louise. I have only recently got onboard with faux animal heads (having avoided them until now as they made me feel sad and sorry for the animal). After reading a little more about Louise Walker’s inspiration behind her designs on Instagram I changed my mind – the real animal is replaced with a knitted one as Louise explains ‘to me, faux taxidermy was always a representation of the animal’s freedom rather than replicating the cruelty of hunting and trophy heads.’ With that in mind I’m going to be casting on my own knitted lion head later this month – keep an eye on Instagram for updates!

3. Global Printed Poof – Pottery Barn. Old Persian rugs make me think of cosy country cottages with flagstone floors, Aga ranges and labradors. I would want to sprinkle some of that on any home but particularly one up a mountain.

4. Rivoli Velvet Decorative Pillows – Designer’s Guild. Velvet fabric brings depth and texture to any room. I love these two shades together for Autum/Winter – I would maybe swap them out for a moss green during the Spring/Summer months.

5. Bear Side Table – Kare. This side table lives rent free in my mind at all times. I may not be a cabin owner but if I had this table in my living room at home it would at least remind me of log cabin cafes with neon signs, cold beers and pool tables – and all the wilderness beyond.

6. Plaid Amanda Throw in Paprika – Nobilis A beautiful throw is a must – I would hide this one away when the cabin was being rented out and save it for myself.

7. Prete-Moi Ta Plume! Round Rug by Christian Lacroix Okay so this rug is maybe slightly too beautiful for the main living-space in a fully functional cabin, but just imagine it for a moment, wouldn’t it be beautiful?

8. Small Meteor Lamp by Porta Romana – There is something so otherworldly about this lamp. Handmade from blown glass which is then hand-painted, each lamp is unique. I find Porta Romana designs are like catchy songs – the shapes stick in my mind and I keep circling back to them.

9. Double Old Fashioned Rock Glasses by Michael Aram – I really like how masculine these glasses are, I think they would look great on top of a bar cart. Definitely too good to be hidden away in a cupboard!

I hope you liked my cosy cabin ideas! These photos are a mixture of Big Bear in the Winter and Sweden in the Summer (I meant to take some photos of the interior of our Big Bear rental but as usual, life got in the way). Thank you for reading – let me know what you think in the comments on on Insta!

Lockdown Life: Dolls House Renovation – Part 1

Well, I didn’t see that coming. We’re now in week 6 of lockdown here in California and the girls have adjusted to our new normal fairly well considering the parks and beaches here are closed and they are now confined to the house and back garden. During the first two weeks I felt this strange sense of optimism and enthusiasm for our new life at home and threw myself into homeschooling and planning all the craft projects I would now (surely?) get around to. I kind of knew at the back of my mind though that this was maybe a coping mechanism and perhaps not sustainable for the long term and sure enough, fast-forward to today and those positive vibes have evaporated, I suspect never to return. I don’t know about you but Im having to work a little bit harder just to do the basics. It’s the same feeling I used to get pre-children if I read too many gossip magazines in one sitting or stayed in my pyjamas until 3pm. There is an undercurrent of heaviness which runs through the days – and especially the evenings – at the moment.

During the early days of the lockdown I began a project which I had wanted to tackle for a long time but kind of accepted I would never get around to. This dolls house belonged to my younger sisters and I was beyond thrilled when they passed it on to my girls a few years ago. It is handmade and definitely not something you would find in a toy shop, with the odd jagged edge and surprise nail protruding. There are pencil marks and wobbly windows and it is just so imperfect and handmade, I absolutely love it. It looked as though it had undergone a restoration at some point prior to coming to us – as well as the original victorian style dollhouse-scale wallpaper there were a some 1990’s paint effects which had to go. Overall the dollshouse had been well loved and looked ready for a fresh start.

I have always been something of a hoarder when it comes to craft materials so in my previous life working for an Interior Design company in London I used to quite often save discontinued fabric and wallpaper sample books from the wheelie bin. Although I whittled down my collection quite a lot in preparation for our move to the US, I did bring some wallpapers by Harlequin and GP&J Baker along for inspiration. Although I’m not an Interior Designer myself, I am in my element surrounded by wallpaper and fabric and I really enjoyed the process of choosing which wallpapers to use, then choosing which sections to use for which walls and sometimes having to carefully cut and paste motifs to trick the eye into thinking that the larger prints run seamlessly from one wall to the other. Progress was fairly slow as each wall had a slightly different shape so I had to make a paper template first to check for fit before cutting the actual wallpaper.

I began with the bedrooms, choosing fairly conservative polka dot prints (lockdown living must surely have had a subconscious hand in my choice of a restful, neutral taupe for the master bedroom!). As I moved downstairs though I realised that, rather than choosing the small-scale prints most suitable for a dolls house, I could make good use of some of the larger scale prints that I truly loved, giving a more modern feel – like a giant wall mural!

Nursery…
Master Bedroom
Living Room
Kitchen

The dolls house sits on top of a mid-century coffee table in the playroom and is visible from most angles of our main living space. Seeing these papered rooms makes me smile and I like to think of what future generations will make of my design choices. My next task is to repair the front of the dollshouse which broke off during our move and I’m planning one or two updates to the exterior – inspired partly by the painted surfaces in Charleston Farmhouse and partly by the Dorset farmhouses I was familiar with as a child. The dollhouse looks quite devoid of life when it’s not occupied by my old Sylvanian Families so I would like to add one or two hand-painted touches – a cat skulking along the side wall perhaps or a bird perched on top of the chimney.

I highly recommend dolls house tinkering as a quarentine activity (kids or no kids) – if you dont have one you could try Ebay or check out pinterest for cardboard dolls house ideas. However you spend these weeks I hope you stay safe and well.

HOW TO MAKE A QUILTED HOT WATER BOTTLE COVER [DIY TUTORIAL]

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Winter where I live can be pretty brutal – grey skies day after day, freezing temperatures (but seldom snow to make it pretty), rain, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark…

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I can think of two things though that help make Winter better wherever you are – hot pyjamas straight off the radiator and going to bed with a hot water bottle! The pyjamas you can probably figure out for yourself but I’m excited to share my new and improved  Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover sewing tutorial today! Continue reading

LIBERTY PRINT TISSUE BOX COVERS [MY LATEST MAKE]

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A few days before I went into full blown labour with Emily I was looking for a sewing project to keep my mind occupied and found this tutorial for a tissue box cover by Brett Bara on Design Sponge… Continue reading

HOW TO MAKE: ROLLED BEESWAX CANDLES [DIY TUTORIAL]

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Beeswax candles have some pretty amazing properties – did you know they clean the air as they burn? They also smell amazing and best of all, are easy to make at home! Round about this time every year I make a pot of tea, dust off the record player and spend an evening making a big old batch of these DIY candles to see us through winter. There’s no hot wax involved so you can even do it with one eye on the TV! They’re easy to make at home and I’m going to show you how in today’s tutorial…

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DECEMBER 2015

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I hope your Christmas was merry and bright? Mine seemed to arrive all of a sudden and then was gone in a flash, leaving only a trail of chocolate in it’s wake. Here’s my little needle felted robin making himself at home on our tree! My Christmas decoration scheme is called All The Colours and it’s working out well.