Monday, 26 January 2015

Coming Up! Paint Like A Pro Workshop at Komedal Road Studio, Bainbridge Island - March 7-8, 2015

I'm so excited to be heading back to the US to teach the Paint Like A Pro weekend course at Komedal Road Studio on Bainbridge Island, W.A on March 7-8, 2014. It's going to be amazing.

This workshop is ideal if you have an interest in furniture painting, restoration and upholstery. Maybe you're thinking of starting a business selling restored furniture or painted furniture, or maybe you just want to gather some new skills to use on projects in your home, whatever the reason, this workshop will give you the confidence, inspiration and motivation to take on really interesting and rewarding projects.

Absolutely no experience is required. Ideally, you will bring with you two pieces of wooden furniture (it doesn't matter if they are varnished or unvarnished) and an upholstery project such as a piano stool, small footstool with legs, or a dining chair with a drop in seat. If you don't have furniture that you think is going to be suitable, don't worry, just send us an email and we will source some pieces for you.

The best bit about this workshop is that you will be working on actual pieces of furniture and you'll have all the materials and equipment you need to transform tired pieces of furniture. Even with the same selection of paints and finishes, students always put their own unique stamp on their work and this is one of the most inspiring parts of the workshop.

Course Outline: 
  • Choosing furniture; how to source pieces and what to look out for at auctions and antiques fairs. 
  • Preparation tips for all types of furniture including heavily varnished pieces. 
  • Basic repair work, how to remove stains such as water marks, guidance on the tools and materials required. 
  • Furniture painting using chalk paints, we show you three techniques. 
  • Waxing unpainted furniture and finishing techniques for unpainted furniture. 
  • Different decorative techniques for painted furniture.. 
  • Finishing techniques including waxing, varnishing and sealing. 
  • Basic upholstery - how to upholster simple projects such as a drop in seat dining chair, stool or footstool. 
The workshop includes the following:

* All materials for the weekend, including paints and waxes etc.

* A full set of notes for each stage of the course with a breakdown of instructions for each process.

* Breakfast, lunch, snacks, all refreshments.

* Skype follow up call (up to 1 hour) with Louisa Blackmore anytime after the workshop.

The cost of this workshop is $470, however, this is a special Early-bird rate that will get you $100 off the normal rate, please click here for information and how to book. All payments are taken via PayPal, however, you do not need a PayPal account to pay for the workshop, there is an option to pay by credit card. You will receive a confirmation from PayPal and we will also email you directly from


We have organised an additional weekend for the same workshop "Paint Like A Pro" now scheduled for March 14-15, 2015 - -please click here to reserve your place.

Friday, 23 January 2015

A cosy corner in West Egg Cottage

This last week it's been pretty chilly here but we're very lucky to have a lovely log burner fitted in the inglenook. It was fitted last year and I must admit I was really taken aback by how different the house feels when it's lit. The heat is more subtle than heat from the radiators, it's less drying and seems to warm through the walls keeping the house warmer for longer. The old part of the cottage is a two up two down affair with the inglenook in the middle so when the log burner is going it's absolutely wonderful and feels like the little old cottage has really come to life.

I was just about to light it this afternoon but instead I grabbed my camera because I wanted to get some photos of my new Murphy McCall cushion that arrived this week. I had spotted it originally on the homepage of the website but it had sold out - no problem, they made me one bespoke!

A few weeks before Christmas we have also moved the sofas around due a red wine fiasco on the natural jute carpet. Although it pains me greatly to admit it, moving the sofas around actually opened the room up a little, and we now have more space and moved the Marlow chair to beside the inglenook. Hey presto, a cosy corner by the fire was created.

The cushion is made from napa lambs leather which I've never heard of before but it's so soft. The back is linen and has a wide exposed zip down the middle which is really cool. I love the mottled / dappled effect on the leather - it's a real one off.

I'm absolutely thrilled with it and it looks perfect on the Marlow chair from Swoon Editions. I was actually lucky enough to win a £200 gift voucher for Swoon Editions after winning their blogger styling competition last year with this blog post. Each blogger had to style the chair in their home and then photograph it and share it online. I was absolutely amazed to win especially because the other bloggers had such lovely styled shots.

Thank you so much to Swoon Editions for asking to take part and then sending me the vouchers. That was amazing! Of course, I didn't waste any time in spending them and as soon as I spotted the Marlow chair I knew it would be perfect for our sitting room. I'm a big fan of Victorian furniture and I love that this is based on a library barrel-back chair from that era. It's made from solid oak and has a grey oak finish and the seat is covered with a textured oatmeal linen fabric.

Unfortunately I think these are all sold out now, but you can still get the Milly chair - take a look here to see the full range.

I hope you like this little corner of the cottage. If you have any suggestions for how to style the inglenook mantle - it's very limited height-wise - it's very tricky to get right! Maybe an elaborate and extensive mug collection inspired by my good friend Geraldine who writes the Little Big Bell blog.

And one last thing, in this last photograph you might be able to spot my Dash + Albert rug I lugged back from Los Angeles a few years ago. I just spotted the other day that Amara are now selling Dash + Albert rugs - in all the sizes! Previously there was only a company in Germany that would ship to the UK which was really expensive so I'm really happy that Amara are now stocking them. A great and exciting moment - especially for the red wine fiasco area of the living room.

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The wonderful world of Mari Orr

I discovered the wonderful world of Mari Orr through the instagram rabbit warren and I'm so happy I did. Mari is a super talented artist whose current work includes watercolours, oil paintings, weavings and calligraphy. As well as being super talented, Mari is also super generous and regularly gives away free downloads of her work as well as donating a portion of her profits from the Kind Notes to the National Alliance to End Homelessness or The Fund for Global Human Rights.

This print is actually a free download from the website, so you can print it off and use at home. It's the perfect motto for the year ahead, don't you think? I can apply this motto to pretty much every aspect of my life right now!

Take a look at Mari's blog too - it's so inspiring and I particularly loved this recent post about tiny kind notes. Such a great idea - I'd be thrilled to find one of these cards as I went about my daily life. 

Do visit Mari's website to see more of her amazing work. 

Image credits: Mari Orr

Monday, 19 January 2015

Roly by AABE - A Perfect Glass Box Extension in Belgium

Over the weekend I spotted the most wonderful glass box extension on Pinterest. It was actually one of the "picked for you" pins which is the new-ish smart feed feature on Pinterest - I think it started some time mid-2014. At first I was really skeptical about this new smart feed because I felt it was going to go the same way as facebook, but actually, I really like it. I've seen a lot of pins I wouldn't have otherwise and this extension project is one of them.

So anyway I thought I'd share these stunning images today since it is so chilly here. Lots of the UK has snow, particularly Scotland and I know it's a pain for things like travel, but it does make everything so extraordinarily beautiful. Currently we only have some frost in Bedfordshire, and the lane was very icy this morning. But no snow, yet. I'm sitting upstairs in the barn writing this which is lovely and cosy (downstairs is really not). I have a White Company winter candle burning and the Amelie soundtrack playing which I haven't listened to in ages. So it's really lovely here, but no snow. So, I sort of wish I could shut my eyes and open them to find myself here...

This is the Roly project by Atelier d'Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners, or AABE, who are based in Belgium but undertake architectural projects all over the world. The brick building is actually an outbuilding that has been extended and made into a perfect home for a bed and breakfast. The sitting room is made solely of glass and opens out in the surrounding garden. I really love the way the original building has been left alone and the glass box delicately ajoins it. The snow really gives these images a magical feeling and are all by Jean-Luc Laloux who specialises in architectural photography. Take a look at his other work here to be truly inspired.

So this is my snow fix today sorted. Hopefully we'll have some of the real white stuff to enjoy soon.

Images credit: Roly by AABE | Image Credit: Jean-Luc Laloux

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Dinner at The Dove, Tortola

Happy new year! I hope you had a lovely festive break and enjoyed some time off with family and friends. We had a wonderful time up in Scotland on the Glen Tanar estate which I will try and blog about this week. In the meantime, as promised, I want to whisk you away to the British Virgin Islands to my favourite restaurant on Tortola: The Dove ... just for a few minutes okay?