As you may have seen if you watched my last vlog, we have FINALLY started decorating our new flat. Well, I say ‘new’, we actually moved in nearly a year ago. (I can’t quite believe it, it seems a year goes very quickly when you’re buying your first place together, getting married, and going on honeymoon. And no, I don’t recommend planning/doing all those things at once, but hey, at least we know that our marriage can survive stressful times right from the outset?)
At the moment, the whole flat is pretty much a big white box, that we’ve moved whatever furniture we had in our old flat into. As you can imagine, big white box is not exactly my ideal (I neeeeeed colour!), and the vast majority of our furniture was scraped together from ebay, donations from our family, and charity shops. There are a few gems in there, but a lot of it is looking very tired. Our new home deserves some new furniture, bought with it in mind, and in any case, it’s about double the size of the old one, so parts of it are looking a little empty.
One of the more ‘bare’ areas is the area that we’re starting with – the hallway and landing. Our reasons for starting here are actually pretty simple – we are absolutely dying for more storage space. I still have piles of boxes from where we moved, and under our stairs is pretty much just one large pile of stuff (ok, it’s mostly one large stack of beer and wine bottles). We desperately need some more space to display our precious belongings (hide embarrassingly large stocks of alcohol), and the hallway seems the perfect place to start.
As you can see, it’s a large, airy, double height space. When I first walked into the flat to view it the space pretty much took my breath away – it was HUGE compared to everything else we’d looked at, and I just knew that we could be happy here. I’m really keen to take advantage of this space, and make it a really good ‘first impression’ of our home.
However, the double height/space is also a little bit overwhelming – this is probably the main reason behind our decision to keep the walls white in this area (I know, I know, I said I was anti-white box – for us at least, I blooming love a bit of minimalism in other people’s homes, see Forever Amber’s gorgeous nearly completely all-white house for reference, but I’m just too messy. And, you know, colour.) I know that you can get extension poles for painting high walls, but I think this one would actually require hiring a scaffolding. And I’m clumsy. And Dan’s really not great with heights. So, white it is.
Anyway, back to storage. The dream is built in, wraparound, library style bookcases/cupboards with a sliding ladder so I could do my best Belle from Beauty and the Beast impression. However, I’m aware there may be structural issues with this as, being a flat, we don’t have any proper walls. In any case, large, tall book cases are definitely the plan, and I’m keen to paint these a dark colour, along with the rest of the woodwork in the flat.
Speaking of woodwork, I don’t know how obvious it is in these photos, but all the doors and skirting boards in the flat are a horrendous dirty cream colour. Consultation with my dad reveals they probably were white once (and I’ve confirmed this by checking areas that aren’t so exposed to sunlight etc.) but due to the ‘lack of availablility of a good oil based gloss these days’ (darn that environment!) they have faded to this mucky colour. As it is, I feel that it just adds to the ‘white boxness’ – so a dark grey is in order to pick out the dark colour from the staircase.
In the ‘here’s where we throw all the coats area’ I really fancy a nice console table. Currently we have a bit of a ‘command centre’ made up of a calendar, in tray for post, and bowl for keys etc, on an old Ikea Expedit unit (which nowhere near meets our stuff requirements. Sooo messy). It works really well for us practically, but I’d like to do something prettier, and also move the coats onto hooks in our storage cupboard so we can show off our cool TARDIS print a little better!
To add a little more colour (alongside what I’m sure will be beautifully curated shelves. Oh who am I kidding, they’ll just be packed full of our stuff, although I am keen to fulfil the blogger Pinterest cliche and rainbow colour code our books) I’d like to add a rug to the floor in this area. Again, the acres of laminate are just a bit bare for my liking.
I also fancy adding some sort of feature to the wall over the stair case – it’s large and just feels like it’s begging to be made a feature of – maybe a gallery wall? Or I’ve seen some quite cool things being done with mirrors over on Pinterest.
So, on to upstairs and the landing area – again painting the woodwork is in order, and this is the one area of the flat to be wallpapered. I’m in love with the gold polkadot from Elsie Larson’s hallway but haven’t been able to find anything similar that doesn’t cost a million pounds. Fortunately I’ve found an alternative to give me the same glitzy feel, but at a better price!
Our beloved lino prints of scenes from Birmingham will definitely be staying here, so I think the only other addition is, again, perhaps a colourful runner style rug (although I’m a little concerned about the practicalities of tripping/opening doors over it.)
So there you go – the before photos, the plans, and below a little inspiration to help you get a feel for what we’re going for. I’ll no doubt continue to track the transformation on my weekly vlogs – now we’ve started I can’t wait to make the whole flat feel like it’s really ours!
Next up, the master bedroom?