Current colour crush

The work on the hallway floor is well underway and the underfloor heating and tiling should be done by the beginning of next week. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I painted the walls Shaded White before the work began and that has made the space feel so much warmer to balance the cooler Incyhra Blue below the dado rail. The walls were previously a budget-saving Brilliant White, which I always knew I would change down the line once I got a good feeling for the space and had saved up again after the initial renovation budget was blown. I really disliked the Brilliant White after a while as it is so cool and actually makes a space that lacks natural lighting quite dingy; it is definitely not a good choice if you want to brighten or warm up a room. So, the combination of Inchyra Blue and Shaded White is a great one and extremely practical as the blue hides all sorts of scuffs and dirt at dog and child level. However, I want to add another colour to the hallway to make it more welcoming and cosy but one that will work well with the rest of the house and all of the greens and blues. Therefore, I want to add some deep reds here and there. The inspiration came from this DIY lamp that I spray painted a while ago and I just love the way that colour sits with the blues and greens downstairs and it really adds a touch of warmth and rich colour. I also have reds and rust colours in the rug in our home office and it adds so much to that space and even glimpses of it from the landing seems to wrap the whole first floor up in a lovely warm glow.

I’ve been noticing a lot of gorgeous red, rust and wine-coloured homewares and paint colours and I’ve decided to paint the inside of the front door Refectory Red, which is a deVOL furniture and joinery paint (hoping it works on our uPVC door as it’s been primed and painted with eggshell previously so it can be treated like interior wood now…famous last words) as well as adding a couple of other red touches with accessories. Obviously I wish it were a beautiful original 30s front door that I will be painting but it really doesn’t look plastic anymore and I hope the Refectory Red will add a big dose of cosiness to the space whilst still being dark enough not to highlight the ugly the ugly mouldings on the door.

Refectory Red paint by deVOL

Here are some other beautiful reds that I have spotted for some inspiration for adding these colours to your home…

The home of Sarah Brown who has used Chop by Plain English to perfection.
Carl Hansen recently partnered with Ilse Crawford to develop a new colour palette for the first chairs that Hans Wegner created for Carl Hansen in 1950. Of the five colours I love this red, called Falu, and now seriously contemplating painting a couple of my dining chairs!
Preference Red adding a gorgeous dose of contrast to the blues at The House on Dolphin Street

Before I go I just wanted to come back to deVOL’s Refectory Red that I have chosen for the inside of the front door and show you the difference it makes to this white pantry cupboard…

What do you think of these colours – can you be convinced? I’ll keep you up to date on how I get on with the front door!

Katy x

Narrow hallway storage solutions

I asked whether this would be a useful post over on Instagram and the answer was a resounding yes. It seems to be a very common issue, no matter the type of flat or house. I count myself extremely lucky having a wider than average hallway and I can honestly say it is a complete game changer compared to homes I have lived in before this one. I recently did an interiors consultation for a family who live in a five bedroom house but their hallway is the width of the front door and it was driving them all mad so we really focused on how to solve the storage issues that come from having an extremely narrow hallway.

Obviously the decor of a hallway has a huge bearing on how it looks and feels but I won’t be focusing on that here other than to say that the lighting is absolutely key to how well a hallway works. If it is badly lit and gloomy it makes functioning in the space so much more difficult i.e. not being able to find shoes, keys, tie laces, see into bags etc. I would say that the first thing to do is really assess your lighting and whilst you don’t want it to be harsh and too bright as that feels unwelcoming, you do need to have a well balanced, even lighting from different sources – a pendant or two combined with wall lights is ideal (make sure they are on different circuits so you don’t have to have them all on at the same time as sometimes in the evening, for example, it’s nice to have lower lighting for just passing through the hallway) or a table lamp if you have space for a table and don’t have wiring for wall lights. A dimmer switch for hallway lights is also a good idea to help change the mood of the lighting.

So, moving onto the storage issues…

Coats and bags

Do try to remove as many coats and bags from the hallway as possible – whether that be storing winter coats in wardrobes (vacuum packing is good for big bulky coats) during the summer and vice versa or if you live in a house what about using landing space at the top of the first flight of stairs? If you have to hang coats and bags in your hallway then a high peg rail is what you need. Try to make it as long as possible to space the coats out so they don’t become a massive bunch of coats that will cause an obstacle and get dragged off the pegs as you pass. Also ensure the pegs themselves really do hold the coats to make it easier to hang them and less likely that they will slip off. I love the bespoke rail that Hannah from The Otto House had in one of her previous homes that you can see below. The length of it means coats don’t get bunched up and the shelf above can be used either to store bits and bobs or to display things to make the hallway look and feel more welcoming. Don’t be afraid to hang coats over a radiator as this can actually be quite practical especially in the winter when coats are wet and soggy. Try Etsy for similar peg rails shelves. You can go for a bigger shelf if it is high as this won’t encroach on the space but can be a very handy place to store things that aren’t used everyday.

Image via The Otto House

I have found that children’s coats are much better hung up at their level so that they can be in control of them and because they are generally a lot less bulky they don’t get in the way ion really tight hallways or knocked off their pegs even though they are at hip level.

We hang Mimi’s coats below the dado rail right next to the front door on a cheap wooden peg rail that I painted the same colour as the wall.

Shoes

Come to our house on any day of the week and the hallway is strewn with shoes. It is beyond annoying. Even a neat row of shoes against the wall is annoying, if you ask me. Shoe storage cabinets are really great for narrow hallways for every day shoes and slippers and they also provide a handy ledge for keys, glasses, face masks and all the other bits and pieces that build up in this space. We also make a big effort to keep shoes that aren’t worn often in wardrobes and we often keep walking boots and wellies in the car.

The white shoe storage cabinets above are from IKEA (they do a couple of different models) and MADE make a blue shoe cabinet, which is nice. The image below shows another lovely version that is much more of a feature by MADE.

Image via Made

Hallway table

If you really need a hallway table or console there are some great options for very narrow spaces. You want the table to work as hard as possible so it needs to have storage as well as a surface so go for something with a drawer or a shelf below. This is a great example from Cate St Hill’s lovely blog…

Image via Cate St Hill

Not only is this Ferm Living console table very slim and easily pass-able but it offers a decent amount of storage on the top and bottom, especially with the tray style surface so things won’t be knocked or dragged off as you pass by.

Another option that takes up the smallest space possible and can be used over a radiator, if needs be, is this Urban Size console table with a peg rail below.

Oak Hallway Stand

Seating

It’s impossible to add seating into some hallway spaces due to radiator or door placement but it can be done even in the narrowest of spaces. It seems like the ultimate luxury to me to be able to have a seat in the hallway and I have decided that it is a real priority in our hallway to make the most of a wider than average space. We have had a make-do IKEA console that I got for free second-hand and painted for the last three years until we had the budget to finish the space and so now it is time to choose a seat to replace the console. My family is very kindly gifting me part of a settle bench for my birthday, which has just been. Much like hallway tables I think hallway seats or benches have to work as hard as possible and provide storage. My bench hasn’t arrived yet so I can’t recommend it but there are a lot of options for second hand settle benches if you are interested in one. The one I am getting is £375, so not cheap, but it is a very flexible piece of furniture that can be moved around a house and I’m pretty sure we will have it for years and years to come. I’m hoping we can store some shoes, woollens, bike helmet and picnic blankets in the seat. If you do a quick google and search for ‘settle bench’ you will see the various second-hand and new options.

I am getting a settle bench similar to this but in bare pine.

Another good option for a storage bench is the IKEA Stocksund model as you can see below. A lovely soft seat in the hallway with decent storage. Just bear in mind that textiles in the hallway are prone to getting pretty grubby but saying that Bemz design bespoke washable covers for IKEA furniture that are worth investigating.

Stocksund storage bench – Image via IKEA

If you are tighter on space than the options above allow try a slimmer bench but still with potential shoe storage as can be seen in Jess’s beautiful hallway below. This is a storage bench from MADE and fits in very neatly to a narrow Victorian hallway.

Storage bench | Image via Gold is a Neutral

If you need something with even less depth and have more of an industrial style try a shoe bench like this vintage 60’s one from Vinterior or a new version from John Lewis.

Ultimately, if there is any way of building a bespoke seat storage bench then that is the ideal option as seen below.

Buggys

If you are struggling for space and have a buggy to deal with every day there are a couple of options. I came across this buggy hook called a Strollaway, which would be ideal on an unglazed door. You would have to be organised about not storing loads of stuff under the buggy but worth it, I’d say.

Alternatively, and something I discussed with a client in a two bed garden flat with two children, is the option of wheeling the buggy through the flat and storing it outside in a dedicated shelter.

Image via 600sft And A Baby

I hope some of those ideas help if you are stuck with how or where to store things in your hallway. I can’t wait to show you my new bench when it arrives next month some time.

Katy x

Tiling a hallway

As I said last week we have made the decision to tile our hallway and install underfloor heating. It is a big expense but worth it for the warmth it will bring to such a cold space. Covering up the extremely battered and dirty floorboards in the hallway will also transform the space from an aesthetic point of view. However, the challenge of choosing the right tiles is not one I relish, if I am completely honest. I’d happily choose a kitchen or bathroom tile any day of the week but hallways are very different. I’d always go for a traditional Victorian mosaic floor in that period of property because that is what would have been there originally. A 1930s house is a different story as the hallway wasn’t originally tiled and it is a much more modest space with no intricate period features or high ceilings. If I had the budget I would lay a new wood floor from the hallway right through the living space downstairs but as it stands that won’t be possible until we extend the back of the house in maybe five years time. Therefore, I want a new floor in the hallway that we won’t have to touch when it comes to extending and tiles is the obvious choice.

I need the tiles to be Porcelain, easy to lay (so not mosaics) to keep costs down, suitable with underfloor heating, a traditional feel to them as modern isn’t really my thing, patterned to disguise some of the mud/dirt that gets traipsed into our house every day, light in colour as there is so little natural light in the hallway and fairly neutral colours that will suit a change of paint colour in the future. I can’t say I have found a huge number of options that I love that fit all of these criteria!

Let me just show you a few tiled hallways that I love:

A 1930s house designed by Doris Lee who added these Bert & May tiles to a very similar hallway to ours (although this is a lot wider!) I love how much light and brightness they bring to the space as well as a lovely dose of pattern.

Again, only in my hallway dreams does this image appear! Photograph by Paul Massey for Living Etc.

So, I only have a few tiles in the running at the moment for my hallway. Firstly black and white chequer, a very classic choice that Jules is in favour of:

We have ruled out a large (20cm) black and white chequer tile (as can be seen in the image above on the right) as our hallway is too small and I worry it looks too utility room/kitchen if you know what I mean. Also, it is very difficult to find an off white tile and I definitely definitely don’t want brilliant white.

However, we do both really like Topps Tiles Victorian Mosaic black and white chequer tile, which is much smaller and the white tile is off white (much more like the image above on the left). The issue is that they are a lot more expensive to buy and lay. Also, I would really want them to be laid diagonally and that will be a nightmare to do, especially with a border. I worry they are quite cold looking too and I would really like the hallway to feel more cosy and welcoming. Hmmm…

The second choice is something I’m quite keen on but Jules not so much. It has a bit of colour in it so they look warmer but still quite muted and it would be very easy to lay. My only issue is that it kind of matches our house too much! I would like something with a touch more contrast.

Richmond Manor tile from Your Tiles

A couple of other options that I am considering are these porcelain black and white Casino Baccarat tiles from Fired Earth:

Image via Colour Interiors.

And I also love the drama and simplicity of these Trellis Fired Earth tiles (currently not available):

I love this design by the wonderful Laura Lakin Design.

I have to say if I could consider encaustic tiles the choice would be a lot easier as I feel a lot of the designs are more suited to hallways but they are just too high maintenance for our family. I would love to have either of these Fired Earth tiles but sadly our budget and general levels of muckiness just won’t allow it. Also, they are quite colour specific so it would be harder to change the colour of the hallway in the future:

Terrazzo Mitri tiles from Fired Earth and Madeira tile above right.

Here are some tile companies to try if you are on a search too:

Your Tiles – really good for a huge range of relatively affordable porcelain tiles with encaustic tile style designs.

Fired Earth – I love pretty much all of their tiles but definitely on the pricey side.

Maitland and Poate – amazing selection of antique tiles (would love this one for the hallway)

Otto Tiles – some lovely unique encaustic designs.

Bert & May – great selection of bold encaustic tiles.

Ca’Pietra – good large black and white chequer option.

Claybrook Studio – beautiful designs in lovely soft colours.

Mandarin Stone – I love their terrazzo tiles.

Anyhoo, I will keep you updated on the search!

Katy x

1930s hallway decor – our plans to finish the hallway

I was super excited about our hallway when we were doing the first round of renovations to the house as I had such a clear image in my mind of what I wanted it to look like. As it turned out we didn’t have enough money finish the hallway so it was left plastered and painted but not a lot else. On the surface it looks good but actually the unfinished stairs, the old floorboards and the brilliant white walls make it a pretty miserable space.

If you are interested in the doors you can read this post about restoring 1930s doors. You can also read more about painting a uPVC front door and I have to say the painted front door has done AMAZINGLY well – not a single scratch. I still hate it but slowly, slowly!

And here is a reminder of what the hallway looked like when we first viewed the house…

So what do we need to change? I still absolutely love the Inchyra Blue woodwork, the beautiful Skinflint globe light and the stripped doors so that is all definitely staying. The biggest issue we need to deal with is the floor. The hallway is incredibly cold because of the external wall (we are semi detached). The floor makes it even colder because there is no insulation beneath the floorboards. Therefore, we are getting quotes to install underfloor heating and getting it tiled. Porcelain tiles will work well for us because Otto brings in so much dirt – I would never consider porous tiles (encaustic cement tiles, for example) as it would be a nightmare maintaining them and they would constantly look dirty. Tiles also a good way to lighten the space and throw a bit of light around as the grubby floorboards that were never oiled are so drab and just absorb all of the light. Primarily, however, the priority is to stop cold coming in through the floor and add an extra dose of heat to this space.

The stairs is a whole other issue and expense so we’re going to see how we go on that front. We had a moment of madness recently and started the paint peeling process on the stairs with Peelaway but we quickly abandoned that as it was the least fun DIY process I have ever experienced! Yes, a lot of the paint came away but our skirting paintwork took a real hit so it all looks even worse now. It’s still very much in debate as to the way forward. If we decide to spend the money and get carpet I have chosen a few options from Unnatural Flooring – it looks exactly like sisal but it is 100% manmade which means it is stain resistant, washable, bleach-able and a lot softer to the touch. It also won’t be attacked by moths (anyone else obsessed with keeping moths at bay?!). My favourite option is the New England Newport carpet (close up on the right):

The other big issue for me is how cold the brilliant white is on the walls. Using brilliant white does not make a dark space brighter and lighter; it actually makes it feel cold and dingy. Therefore, I would love to paint it Shadow White but I would have to do that myself so…

Anyhoo, the floor is the first big step and big expense and I’ll show you more about the tiles that I am thinking about soon.

Katy x

IKEA PAX wardrobe hack

Hello! I’ve been away from the blog for the whole of lockdown 3.0 and I’ve really missed it. I also have a whole lockdown’s worth of comments/questions to catch up on; I’m so sorry if you have left me a comment and I haven’t responded yet, I will try to catch up as quickly as possible but there are a lot so you’ll have to bear with me. Please do remember to use my search tool as lots of the questions asked are answered elsewhere on the blog i.e. paint colours. Also, pop over to my Instagram as there are lots of story highlights and info over there too.

During the lockdown I’ve had Mimi at home full time so work has taken a back seat (very, very lucky for us that I’m able to be flexible in terms of how much work I take on). During lots and lots of afternoons at home I have managed to squeeze in a fair bit of DIY and painting around the house so I have lots to share with you over the next few weeks but first and foremost as promised about six months ago I want to share our IKEA PAX wardrobe hack!

The hack took a solid three weekends, and painting took another full weekend, but we are so thrilled with the results and we have saved around £2000 doing it ourselves (we had a couple of quotes for bespoke wardrobes with internal drawers/shelves/hanging space and they were all around £3000). Would we do it again? Yes. Was it hard work? Yes. Did we learn a lot along the way that would make next time easier? For sure. In fact, one of the hardest things about the project was not really knowing what we were doing as it is pretty difficult to find instructions online so I hope this blog post helps those of you who want to take on the hack.

The right alcove has a 35cm deep PAX frame.

Firstly, let me tell you what items we bought from IKEA. For the right alcove of the bedroom we chose a 100cm width – 236cm height – 35cm depth wardrobe frame. The alcove is roughly 105cm wide but the walls aren’t straight so in some places it is 103cm and in others it is 106cm. In our bedroom the 35cm depth frame was the only option as there is relatively little space between the wardrobe and the end of the bed so the 58cm deep frame would have been far too close to the bed. We also had to make the decision to place the frame off centre in the alcove as we wanted hinged doors (not sliding doors, which is the other option) and if the frame was centred the right hand door would not have opened properly against the radiator under the window and curtain pole – consider what your doors will open out onto very carefully as they must be able to open out completely, especially if you are fitting drawers inside the cupboard.

For the left alcove, which is also roughly 105cm, we decided to extend the wardrobe around the corner and along the left hand side wall of the bedroom. With this type of configuration it is not possible with the PAX system to use a 100cm wide frame to go into the alcove, it has to be a 75cm frame as this can be connected to the corner attachment and enables a 50cm door to be fitted. The cupboards that run along the left hand side wall have to be 35cm deep to fit with this configuration and that suited us perfectly as if they had been deeper they would have eaten into the small amount of floorspace we have far too much and again opening the doors would have been a struggle. However, we were able to have a 58cm deep frame in the alcove as there is enough space on this side of the room for the doors to open without clashing with the bed.

The corner unit is configured like this – the frame on the right side is 75cm wide and 58cm deep and the one on the left is 50cm wide and 35cm deep:

The corner attachment frame is 35cm deep and will only connect to a 75cm wide frame.

The knock on effect for us of having this corner unit was that the wardrobe frame was only 75cm wide, the frame had to sit 13cm away from the left hand wall and that left a 15cm gap on the right hand side of the alcove. This was the big compromise for us and would make boxing in essential.

As you may be able to tell by now there was nothing symmetrical about the two sets of wardrobes – one was off centre, the other deeper and with a big gap – therefore boxing in would really help to make the cupboards look more cohesive.

What we bought:

Right hand wardrobe

100x35x236cm frame £60

x2 Forsand white stained oak doors £60

Left hand wardrobe

75x58x236cm frame £60

53x35x236cm add-on corner frame with 4 shelves £135

50x35x236cm frames x2 £80

x4 Forsand white stained oak doors £120

(I will tell you more about the interior of the wardrobes and the overall cost in my next post)

Materials we bought

Timber for base

x2 sheets of 18mm MDF for boxing in

x1 sheet of 6mm MDF to customise the door fronts

Tools needed

Track saw

Drill driver and impact driver

Laser level

Multi tool

Nail gun

Instructions

  1. Remove skirting board with a multi tool and construct a base for each set of wardrobes the same depth as your wardrobe frame (so the door will overhang the base). Ensure it is level using wood offcuts to adjust the level if needs be.

2. Construct the wardrobe frames using the IKEA instructions and place them on top of the base and anchor them to the walls.

Customising door fronts

Ideally we wouldn’t have customised the door fronts but we were only able to get hold of Forsand doors, which are flat fronted and not the finish we wanted. Therefore, our only option was to customise the fronts, which added a lot of work to the process. Without messing with the doors the whole hack project would have been sooooo much simpler. We decided to add strips of MDF to create the look of panels and we got 6mm MDF strips cut to 55mm by B&Q.

3. We used masking tape to decide the width of our MDF strips to be cut by B&Q. Sorry about this photo – it was the only one I took! We ended up deciding on 55mm strips after taking into account the effect of shadows of the strips making them look slightly wider.

4. We used glue and nails to attach the vertical strips to the doors first. We cut them to length using a mitre saw and made sure any rough edges were sanded.

5. We used a laser level to place the horizontal strips and we decided on placing them one third of the way up the wardrobe.

6. We added handles but because the MDF strips added 6mm of depth to the doors the bolts for the handles were too short. Therefore, we had to counter sink them from the back of the door.

N.B. Once the strips were attached we realised that the doors that would open against the end panels and against each other needed to be chamfered otherwise they rubbed. They also needed open hinges.

Boxing in the wardrobe frames

6. Use a track saw to cut the end and bottom panels that will clad the wardrobes. Ensure they will sit flush with the doors. Remove any picture rail or coving necessary with a multi-tool and glue and screw the end panels directly onto the surface of the wardrobe. Glue and screw the bottom panels onto the base that the wardrobes sit on.

7. To cover the large gap on the right hand side of the left wardrobe we decided to use some timber that we already had. We drilled through the inside of the wardrobe to attach four wood blocks. We then drilled a length of timber into the base and through the ceiling from the loft, attaching it to the four wood blocks using glue and more screws.

8. We clad the frame with two MDF panels, one on the side, one on the front.

9. We used the same technique for the right hand panel on the right wardrobe. We drilled through the holes in the wardrobe to attach four wood blocks. We were then able to attach a panel to cover the gap.

10. The last panels to attach are the top panels as the measurements for these will depend on the side panels. We drilled through the inside of the top of the wardrobe to attach a block of wood onto the top of the wardrobe that runs flush with the frame. We could then drill a panel onto that to cover the gap between the top of the wardrobe and the ceiling.

11. We reattached the skirting to the bottom panel of the wardrobes to create the feeling of the wardrobes being built in to the fabric of the room. We had to cut the boards at an angle or scribe them to fit together.

12. We then filled in all holes and gaps with wood filler and sanded.

This is how they looked before being painted…

I realise that my written explanations here may be unclear to some so please do ask me questions in the comment section below and I will try and get back to you asap. Just so you know, the cupboard doors and boxing are now painted including the inside of the doors but not the interior of the cupboards (a question I have already been asked a couple of times). We did this quite some time ago now so small details have slipped my mind so please feel free to ask very specific questions.

If we were to do it again we would have waited until panelled doors were in stock as personalising the plain door fronts really was a faff and they would open more easily now if they didn’t have the MDF strips on. However, I am really, really please with how they look so I definitely don’t regret it.

I will take some photos of how the wardrobes look all painted up to show you next. Believe it or not I still haven’t sorted all of the inside for the cupboards (I blame lockdown!) so that may need to wait for a little while.

Katy x