Monday, 23 July 2012

Barn Renovation: Ceiling Inspiration

I am so excited about the barn renovation project we are working on right now because this will be the new home of West Egg Interiors. There will be a showroom downstairs with a studio workshop and office space upstairs. At the moment I'm looking at the type of ceiling to have in the upstairs area of the barn. I want it to be really light and airy so I'm keeping the colours simple and fresh although no final decision as yet. In general, decision making is proving to be a real challenge. I want to get it "right", even though I'm not sure what that is, and I am overwhelmed with the choices available. I don't know whether to keep the beams exposed and natural, exposed and white, boarded up with the main ones exposed? There are so many options. I've been collecting some ideas on Pinterest, some of which I've posted below. I'd love to know your view, what do you think we should do? 

Image: Carrier & Co

Very simple and clean with the main beams left in their natural wood. I also really like the window treatments, but let's not get into that now. 

Image: Heritage Barns

I love this but I think it's too dark, especially as the upstairs is single storey.  

Image: Home Design 2 You

This sliding grey door is such a great statement.

Image; My Lovely Things

LOVE this, perfectly light and airy. This is pretty much my perfect idea of a work space. 

Image: Room Seventeen

These grey tones are wonderful, I just find this image calming - might be good for a work space too. It's decision time soon as things are starting to happen quite quickly so post a comment to let me know what you think. 

Friday, 20 July 2012

My Top 5 Home Renovation Blogs

I've realised I've become really preoccupied with the new house and renovating it in just the last week. After months of not letting myself get too excited, telling myself "don't think about", "don't jinx it", I now feel like I can really let off steam and get stuck into the research for the project. 

Researching insulation for the barn is not that interesting to me but it's such a necessary and vital part of the barn that we have to get it right. So I have to be interested. I'll keep you posted on how that goes...

When I'm not researching insulation methods, I like to read about other people's renovation projects. I suppose I'm just really nosy, but I want to know how other people did things, did they work, what went wrong, what was the lowest) point, what did it feel like when it was finished, do they love it, would they do it again. You get the picture. I thought I'd share with you the 5 blogs I am obsessed with right now that cover home renovation projects:

Image: Young House Love

Sherry and John are two self-confessed DIY geeks whose story of transforming their first home and now their second home is truly inspiring. They blog about everything to do with their projects, ideas, inspiration, tips, home life, family, it's an amazing resource and they are bringing out a book later this year. Excited.

Image: The House Directory

Honestly, I don't know what I would do without the The House Directory. It is such a brilliant resource of just about everything you could possibly need in the world of interiors. I love their blog for the latest fresh finds. 

Image: Katy Elliott

Katy and her husband have been renovating their 260 year old house in New England for the last few years. I've been following her blog for at least 2 years, maybe longer and it's brilliant. She is so inspiring, honest and takes everything in her stride. 

Image: Mad About The House

Kate Watson-Smyth is an incredibly well respected freelance journalist and her relatively new blog Mad About The House has already gathered a huge following. She shares details of her own house renovation project in London in witty and searingly honest blog posts that make you think it's all going to be okay. I also love 365 Objects of Design. For one year she posts a daily suggestion for household accessories that will enhance your home. 

Image: Bower Power

Katie Bower is just so funny, her blog is so funny, even her "about" page is funny. I kind of get lost reading all the old posts from time to time. You know you've found a good blog when you spend at least an hour just surfing through the old posts. I think that's what I like so much about blogging, it's a series of in-the-moment thoughts on something whereas books and magazines can sometimes be edited to within an inch of their life.

3 of the 5 blogs above are run by women called variations of the name Katy. What's that about? Hmmm. I don't have time to ponder that though as I'm off to rip out some more cupboards, and today we might actually be able to get the front door open after removing the ivy. Fingers crossed. You can follow my progress over at Nest Egg by clicking here

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Love This! Giffords Circus

Firstly, I'm sorry I've been slightly MIA the last little while. We completed on the house and work has started already so there has been lots to do (read about here) and what with West Egg, various people coming/going/staying and a weekend away in the Cotswolds squeezed in, I just haven't had the time and/or access to my laptop. But I'm back and I have something so fun to share with you. I was invited by some friends to join them at the circus last Saturday and it was brilliant, just brilliant.    

Giffords Circus is a traditional small touring circus set up by Toti and Nell Gifford just over 10 years ago and they move locations around the South West of England each week.  We saw them when they were set up at the Trout Inn in Lechlade which is a lovely part of the country and a fantastic pub with wonderful staff and delicious food, I really recommend it. 

I loved the set design so much, it was the perfect backdrop for this kooky circus. The set was designed by Louisa Birkin, what a cool name :) Seriously though, she is one talented lady and you can see her progress on her blog by clicking here. 

So, anyway back to the circus. It is so fun in the most old school way possible, just rowdy, happy, musical, noisy fun. It was packed out with adults and children with everyone roaring their heads off laughing, especially one little boy on the front row who laughed so hysterically it distracted the clown from his act. 

The show itself is packed full of entertainment, I don't want to give too much away in case you get a chance to go and see it but the acrobatics were breath-taking and there is a seriously amazing dog!

Circus Sauce serves interval drinks and freshly baked cakes and they have an evening service so you can have dinner after the show. They have literally thought of everything and I love their personalised Emma Bridgewater crockery. It is so refreshing to see massive pots of tea being made rather than those big cylindrical hot drink dispensers. They get it right on every front.

One last thing is the band are incredible and the costumes they wore are just so wonderfully eccentric and fabulous, it makes you want to run away and join the circus. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Styling your home with Feng Shui the Urbanara Way

A couple of days ago I was sent these beautiful images from Urbanara and just had to share them with you all. They have also put together a really interesting guide which you can download featuring cool tips and quirky facts about feng shui and the colours associated with the various elements. Like, did you know yellow can cause nausea which is why you'll never see it in an aircraft design? I would always associate white as a sign of peace but in China it's a sign of mourning. Red can you make you feel hungry while green doesn't. It's really a fun read so do take a look. 

I love to see linens folded and piled up, very orderly, simple and charming. 

This beautifully styled bed is so inviting...I love how the distressed old wall behind gives such a brilliant contrast to the crisp white bedsheets.

I could definitely take a bath here, what a peaceful setting. Wood is represented by the colour green and according to Feng Shui aids development and growth, creation and creativity. 

The team at Urbanara are a pretty cool bunch because they've put together some really beautiful collections of homewares but without a massive price tag. And to help things even more they have offered West Egg blog readers a £15 discount on all orders over £50 for the next two months - just use voucher code POILK238. Thank you Urbanara!

Have a great day everyone, it's drizzling here and I'm heading into London shortly for work appointments but I do have time at lunch to see an old friend who has recently moved back to England. So excited to catch up with her and we're heading to Wagamamas for ramen which I love too. Bye!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Importance of Being Idle

I had an email from a friend last week who is in a similar boat to me and running her own business. She asked me how I stay motivated every day when there isn't a boss telling me what to do and when to do it by. Running a start up business on you own can be really tough and this is one of the challenges. Don't worry, I'm not about to embark on some waaah waah post about how hard life is, so stick with me...

Because actually, my life isn't hard at all.  I enjoy my job and I like all the really great things I get to do, every day is different and I decide what's what. It's not perfect obviously, nothing is, and stuff goes right and stuff goes wrong. That's okay with me.

I realised all this over one weekend a few months ago when I was idle. I am not an idle person. I like to be busy and doing stuff and if I'm in London for the day I'll cram as much as I can in and see as many people as I can. At home I like to potter around and do stuff, and fiddle and faff about. All the time. 

I've always done this. I work all day, sometimes amazingly productively, sometimes not, but I'll always be trying. I work in the evenings and I work weekends (although I do try not to do this all the time). I once made my husband spend an entire Sunday sorting out receipts. I tried to make it fun. It wasn't. 

Anyway, so I saw this feature on Maria Forleo's website a few months ago and thought I'd give it a go. The title was "What to do when you doubt everything + don't wanna get out of bed". Pretty compelling. 

We all have days when we feel blah about everything, whatever job we're doing, I know this! But one of the really challenging things about running a business that you've started from scratch is doubting:- doubting yourself, your abilities, your decisions, your choices etc. It affects your motivation because all the doubt drains your focus. And you need focus to get stuff done. 

So, Maria's advice is basically don't get out bed. There is clearly a reason you feel like this and you're probably burnt out. Well, I have to get out of bed because I need to feed the dog and then take him outside (you don't need details).

But then I spent an entire day doing nothing. My husband was away on an exercise so I was on my own and I completely switched off. It was amazing. I slept, drank lots of tea, watched rubbish TV, took the dog on some nice walks and didn't go near my computer or study or workshop all day. It was relaxing and lovely and the day after I was raring to go again.

I often hear or read about how we are so plugged these days - to our phones, computers, ipads, ipods - it's all so distracting. So I told my friend to take the day off away from everything and see what happens. I'd be interested to hear what keeps you motivated and how you deal with those moments, not just so I can pinch them either :)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Interiors Style: Old and New

Good morning! Does anyone else think the weekend went really quickly and now we're in July, I can't actually believe it. I know lots of you readers are in the UK so you'll know what I mean when I say how relieved I am that the sun actually came out the last few days and stayed out! It's looking gloomy and rainy here for today though so I thought I'd share something that brought a bit of virtual sushine into my world.

A few months ago I wrote a post called Is Old the NEW New? and I featured an image from Emily Gilbert who is an incredible interiors photographer from New York. Emily is so talented and I read recently that her personal style is rustic meets modern, totally up my street.

Mixing old and new is how I love to decorate and I think lots of people do too. I  love the interest, stories and charm of old pieces and if you mix that with the fresh, clean look of modern pieces I think what you get is a really simple and eclectic style shining through. I sought out the image by Emily over the weekend to take another look at the dining table which I recalled falling in love with first time around. While I was on her website I saw so many other inspiring images that I just had to share them. Emily has kindly given me permission to use these images so take a look.

This is definitely my cup of tea. I am in love with that dining table and the wide, polished wooden floorboards. It all looks so comfortable and elegant.

How relaxing does this bedroom look? I could just curl up with a good book and be lost for hours. I love the vintage doors made into a headboard and the limed wicker basket. So simple and cosy. 

The styling here is just wonderful, so simple with little pops of colour here and there but nothing too attention-grabbing. It's low key and looks like a really chilled out room to work in. 

That little burst of turquoise from the artwork on the mantelpiece and the stunning flowers really  make this room for me, and give it a lovely laid-back luxe feel. I love the dramatic fireplace too, it creates a really neat focal point.

Right! Back to work. We have a bit of a road trip on for today as we're heading over to see some of my favourite antiques and vintage dealers to pick up some new stock. Just need to get Alfie, some coffee and we're off. Have a great Monday!

All images used with kind permission from Emily Gilbert.