Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Styling a book case... and tricks!

Our book case in our living room has been used as nothing but a dumping ground for all the stuff we didn't know quite where to put!
Sound familiar??
Of course it did contain books, which is the purpose of a book case, but as we are not avid readers (as much as I would like to be), there really was no structure or functionality in the shelves!
So, after staring at the mess it contained for a while, I decided to take action!
I was going to "style" that book case , so if nothing else, it looked nice!!
Now, styling is not something I have touched upon before here at Nostalgiecat...mostly because I don't consider myself an expert stylist, but also because I somehow find the concept a bit contrived!
So, after spending a few evenings on Pinterest, reading up on bookshelf styling, I decided to go for it...
So here's a few tricks of the trade that I learnt, alongside some pictures of my first attempt at bookshelf styling!

I started by clearing the shelf off and giving it a good clean!

Starting with the big things, I used a basket to store my magazines and I added some books...this is after all a book shelf, even if the chances are slim they will ever get read!! I say "some" books, because I didn't  put our entire sporadic collection back...I kept it minimal!
If you are an avid book reader and your collection of books are your pride and joy, then this post is probably not for you...I just wanted to make our book shelf look nice!
Try to keep the look and feel balanced by spreading the "piles" of books across the shelf!

Notice how I've turned the books around, so the spine faces back into the shelf....yup! NOT very practical if you like to see the titles of your books, but it makes the display a lot more uniform, so that's what I did!
....or you can wrap your book spines up, like Kristin Cadwallader from Bliss at Home did here
I stored the books both vertically and horizontally for a more interesting expression, leaving some "negative" space around the piles of books!
Negative space, is the space around things, and I've learnt that when it comes to styling something like a book shelf, leaving a bit of emptiness is important!!

I also added an unexpected light source on the bottom shelf, in form of this origami paper table lamp from Habitat...this will help add some nice low-level lighting to the room, ergo enhancing the feel of the space!

Next, I started adding some decorative objects....I took my own advice from THIS POST, and shopped my home for things I already had! I collected items with similarities and kept the color palette neutral , in white's and grey's.

I placed items on top of the book piles, as well as in the spaces in between...

On the top of the shelves, is the ideal place to display your favorite items: Your favorite coffee table books, a decorative bowl, a vase,some figurines (I love keeping mine in cloches) and some candlesticks...whatever you have. Make it a collection, by grouping similar things together for maximum impact!

Try mixing up textures and finishes, but keep to a limited color palette!

Try to layer your objects: 

Work from large to small: Placing larger or taller items first, then layering your items by adding smaller items into the mix last... Play around with shapes and layers, step back and have a look every now and then....tweak as required!

As my color palette was so neutral, I decided to add some greenery....and the green bamboo leaves, cut from my garden, really pops against the neutral back drop of white porcelain and my handmade concrete items..

...and a little Succulant on the book shelf finished off the look...

I am quite pleased with my first attempt to style our book shelf...and it most definitely looks better than it did before....and hopefully not too contrived??
That is the only bit I am struggling with to be honest...does it look the right amount of casual? Not too done??
I'm sure it will not stay so pristine for long, with a 5 year old in the house, so I guess it will naturally evolve into a more natural display!
So for now, I am happy to know that my favorite items are proudly displayed, and my book case is no longer a messy dumping ground!
I looks beautiful!

So here's a little pinnable recap of my top tips on styling a book case:

What do you think?

PS! There's only 3 days until voting closes for the Amara interior design awards, and I sure would appreciate it if you would take a minute and click on the image below to give me your vote for Best DIY blog:

amara interior blog awards
nominated for best DIY blog

Monday, 29 September 2014

Mid century Scandinavian style furniture for less...

...from Tesco

Its not very often I do sponsored posts, but when Tesco e-mailed me their Autumn/Winter look book, I knew this was one I could get on board with! So although I've received a small compensation for writing this post, I can assure you that all opinions expressed here are truthful and entirely my own!

I have never been snobbish about buying furniture from supermarkets, I mean :If needs must!! But I'll be honest, only for purely functional things....stunning design is not something I've associated with supermarket furniture in the past. however the new Autumn/winter furniture and home ware collection from Tesco has completely changed my mind, and I am suitably impressed with their ranges of styles.

 I am impressed by the way they are bang on trend with their new collection, and in particular they have really managed to capture that Scandinavian look, with a nod to mid century design that I just love!!

If you, like me, love that Scandinavian interior design style with that retro feel, here's my picks from the Tesco Autumn/winter range that can help you achieve that look for less:

From top left:
The arc desklamp with it's modern lines, and just the right nod to MCD.
I love the Julianne range of sofas and chairs for a more nostalgic retro feel. 
This grey space dyed throw would be perfect for cosying up in this winter.
The modern Miami occasional table has a definite Scandinavian feel to it...
.... and the Cologne glass pendant shade encapsulates the ongoing copper trend perfectly!
The Stockholm range, comprising everything from this beautiful book case, via a beautiful coffee table to the functional sideboard in a stunning retro design in solid American white oak..... it is right on the money with the cut away handle detail!
 The Capri range of sofas and chairs, all handmade in the UK, with the perfect retro feel would make a great basis for furnishing any mid-century style living room.
Throw on a feather print cushion to tap into the current "feather" micro trend ,
and accessorize with some of the lush grey sheepskins (below), and you have a very cool and sophisticated Scandinavian style look for your living room this autumn

Displaying Genuine sheepskin grey.jpg
See what I mean?...Tesco's got style this Autumn!!
It's all down to their new philosophy of having a mid-range line of furniture and home accessories that tap into the current trends and at the same time focuses on quality!
As an avid bargain hunter, forever on a budget, this is great news to me:
it means I can actually afford to get the style I want, and be up to date with interior trends for less!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Fireplace makeover

...with a Scandinavian twist!

OK! The fireplace!
What can I say, I know it's a matter of tastes, but I've always hated the fireplace in our living room!
It's one of the reasons why you will not find many photo's of this room here on the blog!!
I know a lot of my friends like it, but to me it just screams quasi-Victorian from the 80's!
The horribly dated tiles and the awful fake wood effect laminate mantle makes me shiver with dread!! And don't get me started on the electrical fireplace itself!!

So imagine my joy when earlier this year when , after removing the old back-boiler behind it, we decided to get a wood burner installed!! I was practically dancing with joy!!
But oh had other plans for us, and we had to abandon the plans one week before the installation of the wood burner was due to start!! (insert uber-sad emoticon here!!)
So it seemed I was stuck with the monstrosity!!

But I was determined to make the best of the situation, and decided to give the old fireplace a makeover!! I could't do a lot about the electrical fire place itself, but I could definitely work with the surround!!

So I painted the mantle (See my post here on how to paint Laminate "wood")... and the tiles ...and I made my own Norwegian style tile stencil!

So with my mantle painted and drying outside, I set to work on:


When painting tiles, there are two important things to remember:
#1: Preparation is key
#2: Use the right paint for the job

So first I lightly key'd up the surface of the tiles with sandpaper...I used 20 grit and some serious elbow grease! It didn't seem to do much, but I stuck with it!
Then as an extra precaution, I also painted on some of my LIQUID SANDPAPER.... 

I left it on whilst I had a coffee break (breaks are almost as important as my opinion!)
Then wiped it off with an old tea-towel.
This left the surface of the tiles slightly rough to the touch...the perfect base for painting!!

So with the tiles prepped for painting, I set about masking off the surrounding area with paper:

Because I decided to use tile spray-paint, as opposed to usual tile paint...Mainly because I didn't want any brush marks on my tiles!

When using spray paint in your home there are a few things you MUST do:
Close/seal all doors leading to the rest of the house, and remove all soft furnishings to prevent the smell of the spray paint from setting in textiles and saturating your home.
Open all windows in the room you will be spray painting in...good ventilation is a MUST!
And lastly, but most importantly:  wear a mask!

When spray painting, several lighter layers is best...Leave about 15-20 minutes between each coat.
Do not underestimate the amount of paint-particles flying through the air (known as over-spray), it will get everywhere! 
TOP TIP: Start spraying the top of whatever you are spray-painting first and lay down some paper/a dust sheet on the ground: This will prevent the over-spray from settling below the area you are painting(creating rough areas of spray paint)! Then, when you have finished spray-painting the top areas, remove the dustsheet and spray the bottom areas...(In my case, I sprayed the tiles on the wall before moving on to the tiles on the floor)

When I was satisfied with the coverage of the spray paint, I left the room (and went to work on my stencils)..., all windows wide open, for 3-4 hours, letting the paint fully cure and the fumes fully evaporate!!

The nest day, I printed out the pattern I designed, and set to work on making my stencil..
My Norwegian Star pattern is based on traditional Norwegian knitting patterns.

You can download my "norwegian star" stencil pattern here.

First I "laminated" my printed pattern by putting sticky back plastic on both sides of the paper.
(I did want to print it out on acetate paper, to save doing this, but could not get hold of any anywhere)
I did this twice with each pattern.

Then, using a scalpel I carefully cut out alternate "leaves" of the pattern...On my second copy, I cut out the opposite set of "leaves".
Then I trimmed the pattern down, leaving a small edge all around..

I used Rust-Oleum painters touch gloss pots, mixed up the colors I wanted:
I chose a grey and aqua combination.

Then, taping the stencil in place, I used a stencil sponge to dab on the colour on my tiles...
The other "opposite" stencil is for the grey (Wait until your first color has dried before going over with color number 2)

When I had stenciled all my tiles, I used a fine pointed paintbrush to touch up any areas where the stencil pattern did not meet up properly, or where the paint had bled a little...

Finally I sealed it all off with a coat of clear lacquer..

I am so pleased with how it turned out...

It may not be the wood burner of my dreams, but at least it's now to my taste...

...and actually goes with my interior!!

And it didn't cost me more that £30 in spray paint etc...
And  I love it!!

What do you think??

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Buy art fair, manchester

This week you can find my concrete bowls at the buy art fair in Manchester.
My stockists Art at 88 are taking a selection of my bowls up to Manchester for this 3 days arts fair, so if you are in the area, do check it out!

"Now in it’s 7th year Buy Art Fair, with The Manchester Contemporary, will be held in their new home, the iconic Old Granada Studios, Manchester 26-28 September. Eighty galleries will be exhibiting the work of over 500 artists and with prices from £50 - £5,000+ there is a piece of original, affordable art for everyone at this year’s unmissable Buy Art Fair.
The Manchester contemporary brings together exhibitors of critically engaged contemporary art for you to enjoy. There will be work for both the seasoned collector and the intrepid first-timer.
Launched back in 2008, Buy Art Fair is the place to buy original art in the North for 8,000 people every year. With the support of Manchester City Council, Arts Council England, Own Art, The Contemporary Art Society and a wide range of cultural partners Buy Art Fair and it’s sister event The Manchester Contemporary have grown to be the largest contemporary art fair outside London.
Over the three days, there are guided tours of The Manchester Contemporary, the chance to meet artists and see them painting live, music and a fantastic café bar so you can relax with and a drink or a bite to eat and enjoy a great day out.
With only original art work and limited editions for sale, 80 galleries representing 500 artists and prices from £50-£5000+ there really is something for everyone's budget to take home and enjoy."*
*extract from the buy art fair website

There are 10 000 free tickets available, so go on: have an inspiring day out, there will be so much to see...and treat yourself to some art for your home!
Get your free tickets here