Chalkboard boxes

I have a chalkboard in my home for boring shopping lists.  However, whenever someone comes over it ends up being scrawled over with messages of thanks, love or very rude words. Either way, chalkboards to me are very friendly-looking (do you know what I mean?) and can be fun.

Blackboard paint is a bit of a revelation to me. I really want to use it for the back of a door, a whole wall or the inside of cupboard doors. Before I go that far, I’ve decided to use it in a practical way by painting wooden storage boxes so that they can be labelled easily. Plus, I know they will end up with messages all over them and surely this is much more interesting to look at than plain, boring storage boxes.

For those of you with kids, blackboard paint has got to be a winner. Buy bigger boxes, paint them with blackboard paint and add castors and you’ve got yourself fun toy boxes.

This is how you do it:

Chalk storage boxes

I bought these untreated wooden storage boxes from eBay for £12 for three.

Chalk storage boxes

I bought chalkboard spray paint from Amazon, but you can also get it from hardware shops. You need to spray at least two coats, each coat takes twenty minutes to dry. Make sure you do it outside.

Chalk storage boxes

I’m using mine for some of my craft supplies. When I get round to it I will also line the inside with pretty paper or paint the inside with a bright colour.

Chalk storage boxes

Boring storage boxes transformed in less than an hour.



The Barn at Port Farm

Last summer, my wonderful friend Najette took us all down to Kent for our bestest friend Amy’s hen-do (a very civilised hen-do as the bride was six months pregnant). The converted barn we stayed in was just too beautiful to keep to myself.  The combination of old barn and ultra modern interior make this place unique. If you are looking for a large beautiful house with all the mod cons to rent check out their website The Barn at Port Farm. This house has made me realise that the hard, cold surfaces that I associate with modern interiors can be made to feel warm and comforting if done right.

Take a peek…

Kent barn conversion

New windows have been installed in the barn, which is the first sign that it has been modernised.

Kent barn conversion

The problem with the design of a barn is the lack of light as they were never intended to be houses. The architect solved this problem with very large windows and doors wherever possible.

Vaulted ceiling with beams

The entrance to the barn is truly impressive. The exposed beams are beautiful.

Converted barn

As you enter the barn there is a cosy group of low seating. The double aspect of this room allows precious light in.

Concrete staircase

Modern hanging lights are used to ensure there is no darkness in the barn.

Concrete floor

The concrete floor runs throughout the ground floor of the barn. Underfloor heating keeps it warm, which is essential in order to make the barn feel cosy, yet still cutting edge.

Leather retro chair

Amazing leather mid-century chair. Give it to me!

Bespoke book cases

On the galleried landing, bespoke bookcases make effective use of the space and look stylish. The owner displays books and personal possessions, which softens the modernity of the build.

Bespoke bookcases

A mix of old and new is very effective.

Converted barn

On the ground floor there is a further open-plan sitting room/kitchen/dining space.

Converted barn with hanging wood burning stove

The wood burning stove acts as a room divider and instantly attracts attention.

Converted barn

The view of the garden softens the the hard lines of this modern space.

Concrete and stone kitchen

A concrete and stone kitchen blend in with the industrial concrete floor.

The stone work top reflects light.

Swedish chairs add to the contemporary design.

Concrete floor

The concrete floor reflects light, which stops it feeling dull and heavy.

Modern chimney wood burner

Unique hanging wood burning stove. A real design statement.

Converted barn and chaise longue

The master bedroom looks out onto the garden and is sparsely furnished so this chaise longue makes an impact.

Converted barn

Imagine waking up to that every morning!

The ensuite bathroom to the master bedroom has a glass wall that allows the light to reach into every corner of the barn.

Each of the four bedrooms is furnished very simply with crisp white bed linen, white walls and white linoleum floor.

The honey colour of the wood-clad walls in each bathroom stops them feeling cold. The white linoleum floor is bright and the modern-shaped loo and sink are very minimalist.

The green view from every window lights the barn with colour.

The juxtaposition of original beams and modern bathroom is very effective.

old sleepers

To one side of the barn there are old sleepers to make a terrace that falls off to fields as far as the eye can see.

Amazing views.


Reclaimed doors have been used to make this outdoor seat.

The barn is surrounded by green with metal sculptures.

These metal sculptures are eye-catching and the rust colour works well against the old barn.

The garden.

Looking up to the barn from the garden.

Happy memories and a beautiful house x

P.S. Amy and Joe’s wedding was way too much fun and Keir (the baby bump that was) is beyond cute!

The beauteous bride, Amy.




Shallow shelves

If you are the type of person who gets bored of their surroundings relatively quickly, shallow shelves could be for you; they allow you to display the pictures or objects that you love the most with the flexibility to change them with no effort at all. Also, if hanging pictures always seem far too much to cope with, shallow shelves are very easy to put up and don’t involve all the intricacies of hanging a piece of art.  This type of shelf is also a great storage solution without eating up precious living space.  Take a look at some examples to get inspiration:

Shallow shelves

Photographs on a stairwell. So much easier than hanging every single photograph on a difficult to reach area.

A simple, yet effective row of three prints. The shelf has been painted black to make this a feature and tie in with the rest of this gorgeous mid-century feel hallway.

Styled shelves look good in this monochrome work space.

Above a desk and used for a number of different objects: Pictures, signs, mirrors, prints etc. The over-lapping creates a modern, eclectic look.

Wow. This scares me a bit! Far too neat and tidy but I like the idea of storing small objects that you need on a regular basis on this type of shelf.

I like the idea of using this type of shelf to display work you have done with the ability to change it as you move on to different pieces of work. Could help with the creative process.

A very easy way of displaying plates and if you ever need to use one there is no hassle in taking it down and replacing it later.

If you ever wondered where to put all the random prints, pictures, framed photos (we have quite a few stuck under a bed) these shelves allow you to put everything together to create a point of interest.

Use shallow shelves with a lip to display books in a child’s room.

A real feature in this bathroom. Not sure I’d volunteer to dust this room…

Use for magazines and books, not just pictures.

Love the way these pieces of art are grouped together, but with the flexibility to move them around when you get bored.

Shallow shelves

A space to display toys in a child’s room.

This is the usually wasted space behind a door. Very clever.

This shallow shelf has been used to store cotton reels.

Are you inspired? If anyone has tried this please post a link in the comments section.  Have a good week x

What to do with a grain sack

Make a delightful French-style, no-sew curtain, that’s what. I’m excited about this because I have been trying to figure out a solution to the window dressing in our home office/craft room (Jules, would say it is his home office, whilst I would say it is my craft room) for a while.    I don’t want to spend money on curtains and they would be too heavy for this room and I also want as much light to come in as possible, whilst blocking out just enough not to get glare on our computer.  So, I have bought one grain sack on eBay for £20 and a curtain wire and clips from Ikea for £2.50.  The challenge:  To make a delightful cafe-style half-curtain.  Here’s how I did it…

You will need:

1. Grain sack (just type grain sack into eBay search engine and choose the colour and design you like best but don’t pay more than about £20).

2. Curtain wire and clips (I bought mine from Ikea for £2.50 click here to view them)

3. Scissors

4. Drill


1. Cut the sack open and cut off the excess fabric according to the measurements of your window. You don’t need to sew the resulting hems as the fabric is heavy duty but you can if you want a neater finish.

2. Put up your curtan wire following the enclosed instructions (this is the part you need the drill for). I put it about half way up the window.

3. Hang your fabric evenly with the clips.

4. And that is all there is to it!

How to make a no-sew grain sack cafe curtain | Quick and easy DIY project | No sew curtain | What to do with a grain sack | Apartment Apothecary

What could be easier?

Katy x

My home

The beautiful, creative and amazingly talented Katharine Peachey of came to take some photos of my apartment (very exciting). My apartment is in Bermondsey, which has recently become quite a trendy spot right next to the river Thames, east of Tower Bridge.  Bermondsey itself used to be an industrial area and a rail track runs through it with amazing arches, which is the home to Maltby Street Market.  There are also lots of perfectly restored factories and warehouses, which is my dream home.  However, my apartment is one of the many brand new developments in this area.  Whilst new homes have their advantages, one of the major problems is that they can end up feeling soulless and clinical due to the hard edges, white walls and box-like rooms. I have loved the challenge of trying to fill my home with furniture and possessions that reflect both the newness of the building whilst also combining the old and the longed for period home I desire.  I have also had to work with limited funds as moving house is so expensive; I’ve used furnishings from my old studio apartment, updated them or picked up bargains where I could. Hopefully, you will like the results.

My apartment has lots of windows, which is a rarity in new builds. I have tried not to include any furniture that absorb too much of the light otherwise an already smallish property becomes very small, very quickly. I decided to use the large teal loveseat as a basis for the colour scheme.

Lloyd Loom chair

I’ve tried to fill the sitting room with a combination of old and new. This antique chair was an ebay bargain at £20 and helped to emphasise the teal colour of the loveseat but this looks more incidental than planned as these pieces of furniture are from toally different periods.

School trunk

I upcycled my mum’s school trunk to make a coffee table.

Habitat lamp

This Habitat spindle lamp is one of my favourite purchases of all time. It can be used in any room because of the colour and style. The silk shade emits a beautiful soft light, which is so important in a stark, white apartment.

Balcony planting

I have filled my balcony with potted plants and they sit in vintage crates to add to the old and new theme I have in my apartment. I always think of my balcony as an extension to my sitting room so it is important I style it as I do the interior.

Ercol dining chairs

I picked these Ercol dining chairs off the street (so lucky!) and the nineteenth century table is from a French flea market. Mid-century furniture, like Ercol, can blend with older furniture, as well as new. Ikea cushions on the chairs don’t even seem out of place.

Postcards on mirror

I bought this antique mirror from Camden Passage and this also picks out the teal from the chairs in the room. I use postcards to add interest.


I’ve tried to soften the hard edges of a new, modern kitchen with vintage finds like the Bush radio, old tins, saltcellar and glassware.

Old jelly mould and glass bottles are perfect to sit on the kitchen window sill as they still allow the light to come through.


Whilst wanting to display vintage finds it’s also important to not overcrowd a small kitchen and valuable workspace.

A collection of different storage pots breaks up the uniformity of a modern kitchen.

Bush radio

I love vintage tins and and this one makes a perfect vase.


I removed the kitchen cupboard to show off the crockery that I love.

Framed family photographs are hung above an antique writing desk that I was given for my seventh birthday.

work space

I made the pinboard above the desk for inspiration and I made sure the computer is the only sign of modern technology as I didn’t want this to feel like an office with a bed in it.

Old books, flowers and childhood pots personalise the room.

Bakelite telephone

A functional Bakelite phone ensures modern technology is not overbearing in this room.

I have used duck egg blue as the accent colour in the master bedroom. It is picked up in the stripes of the bed linen, the mirror, the cushion, the framed print and the stripes of the curtains.

I can get away with using £6 Ikea steps as a bedside table because the Roberts radio and my late grandmother’s 50 year old silk lamp draw all the attention.

The bed was one of the new purchases I made. It is a clever mix of old and new from Loaf, which I love.

My late grandma’s chair that she covered in Sanderson fabric sits proudly in the window of my bedroom. The tailor made curtains were one of my splurges (I don’t think I can admit how much they cost!) but they tie in with the colours of the chair perfectly. An Ikea cushion looks as old as the chair itself.

Pine antique chest of drawers

I bought these antique Victorian pine drawers from ebay for £100. The family photographs and my parents’ old mirror add to my bedroom’s antique feel.


I always cover mirror in photos or postcards as this makes them more personal.

Fresh flowers in a house are transformative.

I removed the door from this cupboard and put up shelves. I stuff these with all my knick knacks which adds character to a new build.

TIPS to help you make a new home feel old:

1. Don’t be afraid to combine styles e.g. modern, mid-century, Victorian.

2. Add colour as a totally neutral palette adds to that ‘brand new’ feeling.  However, try not to to colour coordinate in an obvious way e.g. buy one new item and an antique item in the same colour so they don’t ‘match’.

3. Personalise your home with photographs, postcards, possessions, paintings.  Without these things there can be no soul in your home.

4. Use vintage finds and vintage textiles to soften the hard edges of a new home.

5. Make the most of any outside space to prevent your home feeling soulless and sterile.

6. Use soft lighting to help warm up stark white walls; always use table and standard lamps rather than ceiling lights.