Thursday, 31 January 2013

Homes & Antiques :: 101 Best Courses for 2013

I had a nice surprise last week which was to find out that Homes & Antiques magazine featured our furniture painting workshops in their 101 Best Courses for 2013. Thank you H&A magazine!! It means so much to be mentioned in this feature and not just because it's so fun to see West Egg's name in print. but it also makes me realise that these workshops are so popular. It's funny as I never intended to teach when I set up West Egg and it's not something I would have dreamt of doing really - it's just an opportunity that presented itself, I grabbed it and I've not looked back. 


From the beginning though I've been really passionate about sharing my skills and techniques, ideas and inspirations with the students who come along. Someone told me when I started these workshops that I was crazy to be so open with my knowledge, maybe I am, but I don't think so. 

For every idea or technique I share, I definitely get at least one back. The students who come to the workshops are some of the most inspiring, creative and charming people I've met in my life. At the end of every workshop I drive home buzzing with energy because I just spent the day with an amazing group of people who transformed pieces of furniture in just one day. And everyone is so unique. I've never seen any two people do the same thing, it's quite extraordinary. I guess part of the reason I love teaching the workshops so much is because West Egg is primarily an online store so contact with customers is limited; it's fun to get out there and out and meet people! 


If you'd like to come along to a workshop, we've just added some new dates for the end of February to squeeze in an additional Furniture Painting workshop and a Start Up Your Creative Business workshop as the others sold out so quickly. Hope to see you soon! 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Behind the Scenes: New Studio & Workshop

Want to see a tiny corner of the new studio and workshop? Keep reading! We're so close to finishing The Old Barn now, just some flooring to sort out for downstairs, and a few snagging bits and bobs to go. It's sooo exciting. If you follow West Egg on Instagram (and if you don't, I recommend you do! Handle: @westegguk) you'll know that I have already started using the barn for some photos of new products recently and oh my goodness, it is so much fun. I could literally spend all day styling and tweaking the same piece 20 different ways. It's such a revelation to have the space and the light, oh my god, the light! It's a total game-changer and a big milestone for the business. 

I haven't taken any proper wide-angle photographs of the whole building yet because it's not quite ready, and I need it to be a bit more ready and a bit more perfect before I let you guys in, okay? But it's so close now I don't think there is any harm in sharing one corner. The walls have all been covered with timber wood cladding, which my amazing dad actually did himself. Our lovely neighbour came and helped with some of it thankfully as it was such a big job. Upstairs, the walls are painted white - pretty simple, with a grey floor (Pavilion Gray by Farrow & Ball). I've left the floorboards quite rough, I didn't want them to be perfect because as they get marked and dented it won't matter so much. At one point I was thinking of painting the floorboards white... can you imagine? If you really want to see the "before" photos - hop over to the nest egg blog which I intermittently update with photos of the renovation project. 


What do you think? This photograph features the Apothecary Style Bookcase, Damask napkins, Green L'Ideale Jar and a Vintage Glass Bottle. The damask napkins are one of my favourite new additions to the store actually, they are such a wonderful design and the best bit is they are designed and made in England. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

NEW Workshop || Start Up A Creative Business

I'm so excited to share some great news with you all!

On Saturday 2 February 2013 myself and Debbie Blott of The Decor Cafe will co-host a very special workshop focused entirely on starting up your own creative business. Whether you want to sell painted furniture, offer your services as an interior designer or garden designer or want to start an online store - this is the workshop for you. 

We will be discussing all aspects of starting a successful creative business from our own experiences - you can learn from our mistakes and we'll share all our top tips for success with you. Plus, you'll be among others in exactly the same boat as you - something I know I wish I had when I was starting West Egg Interiors.



The workshop will take place at Debbie Blott's home in Putney where we host furniture painting workshops once a month. For those of you that have attended the workshops before, you'll know we strive for an inclusive, relaxed and informal working environment because we believe this inspires productivity, ideas and general all round happiness! 

The outline for the workshop is below, spaces are very limited (only 6 places available) so, if you'd like to attend please don't delay as it is first come first served and we don't want you to miss out. 


Workshop: Start Up Your Creative Business 

Location: Putney, London - at the home of The Decor Cafe founder Debbie Blott. 

Date: Saturday 2 February 2013, 9:30am - 4:30pm. 

Co-hosted by Louisa Blackmore and Debbie Blott. 


We will teach the following areas:

* The Biz Side - all the practicalities of starting up
* How to Succeed Online and how to set up an e-commerce site
* Marketing on a Budget
* Branding including creating your own vision board
* Social Media - how it can make your business a success


Cost: £150 and this includes:

* 6 hours of teaching by Louisa and Debbie
* A specially curated goodie bag with notebook/pen
* Lunch 
* All refreshments 

As you may know, in 2011 I set up West Egg Interiors which is an award winning online interiors store. I feature on the expert panel in Period Homes & Interiors magazine, contribute regularly to national interiors magazines and resarch and write all the content for the west egg blog. Debbie Blott set up The Decor Cafe in 2010 to help people create the home they love. The Decor Cafe runs regular homes and gardens workshops including furniture painting, interior design, garden design and much more. Debbie has years of experience in marketing and branding for companies such as Dulux. We don't pretend to have all the answers or know everything, let's face it, who does? What we do have is our shared experiences, honest advice and inspiring approach to sharing information to help you succeed in your chosen creative business.

If you're interested in attending this super special workshop, please book your place online via this link or visit www.westegg.co.uk and click on workshops.


UPDATE: This workshop is now sold out, we add dates from time to time so please click here to book your place! 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Crooked Logs Make Straight Fires

Have you heard the proverb "crooked logs make straight fires" before? I just came across it this morning, it really caught me at an appropriate time! I think the point is that something flawed can sometimes be just as useful as something perfect. So, just use what you have and make the best of it you possibly can. 

As some of you may know, we've undertaken a house renovation for our first home which is turning into a colossal effort but the main structural work is now complete so our fragile little 17th cottage will hopefully continue to stand for a few more hundred years. 

Without ever questioning it, the general consensus was to put a log burning stove into the large inglenook in the sitting room. I think this is because they are so efficient? Perhaps safer too? I never once properly thought about it. But the house I grew up in and love dearly I might add, has a huge open fire in the ground floor sitting room and a small open fire in the cosy sitting room directly above it. I've been fretting for a few weeks now about how we're actually going to be able to afford to put a log burning stove in when there is still plastering, flooring, insulating blah blah blah to be getting on with. 

Money is such a big problem when you're doing these projects because you basically haemorrhage cash on a daily basis. You want to level that tiny area of uneven floor? You'll need 8 bags of high performance levelling compound, a drill paddle (didn't even know they existed), some other bits and it will cost you £177.56. A sorry tale of woe if ever I heard one. 

So, I'm now thinking - why are we so focused on a log burning stove? Why can't we just have a normal open fire like I had when I was growing up? My parents still use them, and actually, one of my favourite sights over the Christmas holidays was watching Alfie pug lying practically comatose in front of the fire and so hot you can barely pick him up to move him (why do pets do that?)


This room is roughly the same size and layout of the sitting room in the new cottage. Our walls will all be plastered and our flooring will be nowhere near as beautiful as this stone laid floor but it's given me some idea of what it could look like.

Back to the proverb, I think maybe we'll just go with an open fire for now. I guess we can put a log burning stove in at some point in the future if needs must. I definitely need to do some more research and check our brand new flue liner will be up to the task, but I'm thinking go with the crooked logs. We'll make a nice straight fire.

I've just posted over on the Nest Egg blog the progress photos of the inglenook - it is quite amazing actually how far it has come. If you have any experience of open fires vs log burning stoves I would really love to hear from you - please email me at louisa@westegg.co.uk. Thank you! 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Meet me at Meet The Blogger London!

Hello everyone. I have some exciting news to share! I am absolutely thrilled to confirm I will be taking part in the Meet The Blogger London conference which is taking place over the weekend of  March 9-10, 2013. Meet the Blogger is a truly unique, international blogger 2-day conference in London dedicated to home, design and lifestyle bloggers. 

I will be teaching a very special workshop where I'll be speaking about restoring and revamping furniture and I'll also be demonstrating a range of techniques that you can use at home to bring old pieces of furniture back to life. We have some fun surprises in store for those coming along which is very exciting and I've had a lot of fun putting together some new and different ideas. 



I'm really excited to be part of such a stellar line up including Yvonne Eijkenduijn who writes the incredible Yvestown blog, Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar fame, author Ana Aguilar of Let's Blog Design and the supremely talented photographer Paul Craig who specialises in interiors photography. Click here to take a look at the bios of this super amazing group of bloggers!



Oh, and I didn't mention one really fabulous thing yet... the conference is taking place at the brand spanking new 5* ME Hotel in the heart of London. Just a *tiny* bit excited about the rooftop bar where I can imagine we'll definitely be having a few drinks on Saturday evening. 


So if you would like to come along and say hello, please click here to go to the registration page on the Meet The Blogger London website. Everyone is welcome, you don't have to be anywhere near a pro blogger to come along - lots of those attending will only be *thinking* of starting a blog so please don't be scared away if you don't have a fancy pants blog. 

Want to know what's included? 
  • Entrance to the biggest and most attractive 2-day European blogger conference in London
  • A wonderful 5* design location in the heart of London
  • Get to know fellow bloggers from all over Europe
  • Free coffee, tea, taste breaks, drinks, lunch, bubbles and bites
  • Inspirational key-note speakers e.g. Yvonne Eijkenduin
  • Educational blog-, style- and trend workshops for upcoming and professional bloggers
  • Exclusive London city design tour
  • A goodie bag when you leave
  • A weekend to remember!!
  • A discount on your hotel booking (attendees only) in the ME Hotel
See you soon!

All images used with kind permission by Meet The Blogger London

Monday, 14 January 2013

Styling Trend - the unmade bed

Hello everyone, happy Monday to you. It's snowing here in England which is super exciting, especially as I don't need to be anywhere today other than in my home office working away. Got some tea, got my pug, and I'm on a roll. 

I was taking a break earlier though and doing some research on painted wooden bed frames (I'm planning to paint ours) and I got really distracted by this trend for styling unmade beds. I've vaguely noticed it before but they seem to be everywhere. And I'm not talking turned down kind of unmade, I'm talking really messy unmade. It just does not appeal to me at all. Is this it for me? Have I totally lost it?! 

Just to clarify, I'm not saying everything has to be perfect. Far from it. I've never been into the kind of stuffy interior design look where you'd be scared to touch anything, let alone sit down. I want my living spaces to look stylish but not like they are trying too hard. Karate chop cushions do not do it for me. But, equally, at the other end of the interior styling spectrum, this unmade bed trend is not for me either. Picky, much?

And So To Bed 

And So To Bed - what an amazing company, their beds are just absolute heaven. I completely understand that having photo after photo of immaculately made beds could get a little boring so they've mixed it up. But this for me, is just not right! What do you think? 

The White Company

This is more my idea of the perfectly made bed. Not too neat but it looks comfortable, classic, and most importantly, inviting. The only thing I would change is to add a headboard. And not a karate chop cushion in sight! Actually, there is a great blog post on Apartment Therapy about karate chop pillows, and design peeves in general - take a look here. Some of the comments are very funny too. 

So, which camp are you in? Unmade, or made? Please leave a comment to let me know what you think - I'd love to hear from you. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Furniture Painting Workshop: Before & After

Hi everyone, Happy New Year! I'm completely over the moon *excited* for 2013 and not just because my husband is due home in a matter of weeks after 6 months away... woop woop! I'm excited for West Egg which is looking in great shape for the year ahead and I have some great products and pieces coming in soon. And.... we should be moving into our new house at some point in 2013 too. So yay, I'm excited.

I wasn't actually going to start blogging again until next week but I just received some photos from a lovely lady, Anna, who attended one of the furniture painting workshops last year. I absolutely love it when I get "after" photos emailed over, it makes me feel so great to have helped people transform pieces of furniture. 

Furniture Painting Workshop - Before & After

Amazing right? I love how Anna totally transformed it. She also used my favourite Annie Sloan colour "French Linen" - which as far as I'm concerned is just perfection. I find it very inspiring watching students using the colours in different ways at the workshop and creating something unique - it's so fun. 
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