Chairs reupholstered Thursday, Apr 29 2010 

I fell in love with this handsome and unusual pair of chairs with their twisted wood and grand shape.  They had almost completely lost their upholstery.  The fabric was worn, torn and in places completely gone.  the underlying foam was severely deteriorated.

But with some care, a slick of varnish and a quick sand on the worn wood, we were able to get them smart enough to recover with a stunning silk taffeta stripe.

Here you can see the job half done.

The stripe in the silk picks up the carving that extends throughout the arms, legs and back.

They just look wonderful now!  As the area was small, it was possible to use a very expensive fabric without it costing a fortune. 

Hand beaded trim on gold silk blinds Saturday, Apr 24 2010 

I love shopping in India – the chaos, the haggling, the to-ing and fro-ing until you settle on a price. I love the discussions over hot, sweet tea, the laughter when you make and offer, the shaking of the head. I always take an empty suitcase with me (it’s so cheap and easy to get your clothes cleaned) and fill it up with purchases. And the thing I love buying most over there are the show-stopping textiles.

On my last trip, I was lucky enough to find a selection of antique beaded trims from very expensive and exotic saris.  These are all made by hand, and are a cornucopia of gold thread, beads and pearls, creating a heavy and lavish effect.  Utterly stunning.

One of the loveliest ways to use this is on window treatments.  This way you can see it every day.  This splendid trim was applied to gold silk blinds for a bedroom.  Along the bottom of the smaller blinds, the trim (it’s amazingly heavy with all that gold thread) acts as a weight, which helps the blinds hang well.  On the larger blind across the french doors, it was applied in two vertical stripes, to emphasise the ceiling height.

Red marbled stairway: faux finishes for dark corners Thursday, Apr 22 2010 

This stairway was always going to be dark.  There are no windows and no natural light and it’s leading down to the lowest floor.  It looked blank and utilitiarian and most uninviting.  It was never going to look light and spacious….

So why fight it?  It took a week to hand paint these walls to look like marble panels – white-veined marble with black surrounds.  To top it off, the offcuts from some kelim runners covered up the dated tiles on the floor.  This has created a dark and moody look, that at the very least, tempts you to see where it leads….

Why not recover a tiny washroom’s walls with maps? Wednesday, Apr 21 2010 

I always think you can go slightly crazy in the small rooms that you don’t use or see a lot.  You can use a decorative style that would be overwhelming or tiresome if you had to look at it every day.  I love the surprise of a tiny bathroom that is completely ‘out there’.

This little toilet was covered in unimaginative cheap square white tiles. Removing ugly tiles and replacing them can be a very messy, lengthy and expensive process.  Why bother when you can cover them up easily?

Here, we covered walls with a selection of maps from holidays and homes.  Doesn’t everyone have a box full of maps that are never looked at or used again?   This is something that men tend to hoard for some reason.  And if you’re going to keep them, you may as well enjoy them.  This way, you can revisit holidays every time you wash your hands.  Just be prepared for guests to spend longer than expected in there as they follow a trip down memory lane too….

An elegantly restored and repaired armchair Thursday, Apr 15 2010 

 I love the look of this refurnished chair – it still looks as though it has been loved for years, but the new linen fabric brings it bang up to date.

Before and after: old armchair Thursday, Apr 15 2010 

Stop!  Don’t throw out that old armchair.

I have to confess I am unextricably drawn to chairs thrown by the road side waiting for the council to pick them up.  Did you know that they just crush them and send them to landfill?  That’s just too depressing for words.

Every time I see one, I see a sick patient waiting to be nursed back to health.  And this old beauty was no exception.  Grease stains from head marks on the fabric, a broken leg, and even a couple of patches on the worn arms.  This chair has clearly been used and loved for years. 

We stripped the legs, to give them a distressed look rather than the gloss varnish that had been used.  This brought that wood back to life.  Some structural repairs were required – we replaced the worn out foam of the seat cushion and some of the padding, and of course we mended the broken leg. 

Then we covered it in an elegant linen fabric with a broad check.

Elegantly sustainable interiors Thursday, Apr 15 2010 

This site is dedicated to interiors that don’t cost the earth.

I have never been able to bear waste of any kind and now my passion for reinventing unwanted items and embracing other people’s cast offs has officially taken over my life.  I don’t really understand why you’d want to buy a piece of cheap, poorly-made furniture from a chain store, when you can have your own, personally designed and refurbished chair or table that has been beautifully made (a while ago – before cheap manufacture became so ubiquitous).

But not furniture that looks patched or ‘hippy’.  Furniture that’s elegant, glamorous or cool.  And you can have all this and more – for a lower cost (usually) and with minimal environmental impact. 

I’m also really into witty ways to design rooms and walls.  I love mural, marbling, trompe l’oeil.  I love a perfectly designed room that beckons you in and relaxes you.

So this, this is dedicated to all those rooms with furniture that has been revamped, preloved or reused.  This is dedicated to welcoming, stylish and chic homes that aren’t using up too many of the earth’s resources, or consuming too much of your wallet.  This is about using your imagination to create a home you’ll love, and that will sit easily on the planet.

In brief – it doesn’t cost the earth

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