High shelves


I recently did a post about shallow shelves that showed shelves don’t have to be merely practical but can be a design statement in themselves. However, the reality is we often surround ourselves with ‘stuff’ and have nowhere to put it so design has to come second. Ceiling height shelves offer the practical storage we need but can also look really good.  Another advantage is that the foot of space that traditional shelves use, which is often too much of a sacrifice, is not needed for high shelves;  they are positioned in space that will never be used, and don’t leave you feeling hemmed in.

We have recently put a high shelf above our bed for books (recognise the book ends from my previous post?); not only does this give us extra storage space but it also softens the room as only books can (when I say we, I mean Jules, although I painted). We also put a shelf above the door of our work-room. By positioning it above the door, when you enter the room, you can not even see the shelf and therefore do not feel the loss of space. We painted the shelves white and used white brackets because we didn’t want to draw attention to the shelf itself but you could make it a real feature if you wanted to.

High shelves

I love this shelf above the door in our work-room. You can not see it when you enter the room and uses totally wasted space.

Have a look at other ways people have used high shelves to interesting effect…

This high shelf is used for storing crockery that is not often used, which one rarely has enough space in kitchen cupboards for. It is painted in the same colour as the walls so it is barely noticeable but its underside is cleverly used for hooks to add yet more storage.

High shelves in bedroom

Even though this shelf is covered in objects it doesn’t feel cluttered because of its height.

High shelves on stair well

This high shelf is used to display art work.

High shelves

An ‘above the door shelf’ is used here to display treasures and a plant.

High shelves

This shelf is not quite as high as the others but still high enough so that it does not use too much space or in danger of clumsy kinders. A lovely place to show off plants and kitchen wares.

High shelves

Love this so much. All I want is a ‘garden room’ with a shelf of cloches!!

High shelves

Another ‘above the door’ shelf used here to display porcelain and pottery.

Ceiling height high book shelves

This ceiling height shelf wraps around the whole room and becomes a feature of this bathroom.

High shelves

What about a shelf above the bathroom door to store extra towels? You are very lucky if you have a bathroom big enough not to need to do this.

High shelves

If this bank of shelves were lower, they would eat into precious living space and make this room seem much smaller. As they are, they provide a huge amount of storage, freeing up lots of wall and floor space.

In the mean time my aim is to learn how to put up shelves myself instead of always relying on my dad or my boyfriend.  I don’t have much confidence of this happening…just being honest. It’s so much more  fun filling the shelves, rather than putting them up!



The other half of Double Merrick

I have always struggled to find interesting, yet affordable, art work. When people ask me for help decorating their homes, one of the things they always say is that they don’t know what to put on their walls.  If you get this right it can totally transform a room. In my last post we visited illustrator and designer Merrick in his beautiful, family home in rural France.  Now, I would like to introduce you to his unique and thoughtful work; his prints are both interesting and affordable and inspired by old classroom wall charts, films, children’s building blocks, even a Magic 8 ball! When shops are filled with so many generic products, it is a breath of fresh air to come across very good value limited edition prints. Perhaps one of these prints might suit your walls…

How did Double Merrick come about?

“In 2009 I was working as a freelance illustrator mainly working in magazine editorials. I had a number of ideas that didn’t sit well with my freelance work, but they just wouldn’t go away. Eventually they morphed into prints and the response was phenomenal! Thus Double Merrick was born. We currently sell through the site www.doublemerrick.com and are stocked by the likes of Pedlars, Liberty of London, and Selfridges. The business is great as it allows me to get involved in all sorts of fun stuff from designing plates and mugs, to madcap adventures rediscovering childhood friends, or swapping prints for a swanky holiday house.”

Double Merrick Magic 8 ball print

Double Merrick morse code print

Double Merrick chat print

Double Merrick La Lune print

Where do you get inspiration from for your prints?

“All over really. Where we live in France is particularly interesting as not much changes, and there is a feeling that the past is just below the surface. As a consequence there is a lot of old tat around to sift through, books, posters, ephemera, etc. I spend a good deal of time going round trocs and brocantes. Some things just strike a chord with you, most of the time you don’t know why, and the print is often the by product of trying to work out ‘why?’.”

Double Merrick France print

Double Merrick La Mer print

Double Merrick solar system print

Double Merrick La Terre print

Do you have any advice on where or how to hang art?

1) Go with your gut – The stuff you hang on your walls should either be fascinating to you or hold sentimental meaning. Don’t bend to fashion, or it will just look really dated in twelve months time. Building up a collection should be a gradual, organic process and not about achieving this season’s look, it’s about personal history and your story.
2) Don’t balk at spending money on framing – Good framing can completely make an image, it can make a really cheap print look expensive.
3) It isn’t welded to the wall – Not sure if that print works in that place, move it around until you can find it a better home. Things should evolve.
4) Taste is about confidence. It’s just having the belief that one thing will look good with another, that a print would look great on a pink wall, or that fruit crate label looks amazing and is important enough to be framed.

Double Merrick numbers print

Double Merrick Pomme print

Double Merrick cerises print

Double Merrick do re mi print

Thank you Double Merrick! x


Duck Egg Designs

One of the things I love most about interior decoration is sourcing the perfect piece of furniture, print, fabric or vintage find. However, it does take a long time and you do need to be totally committed to the cause.  I think this is what stops a lot of people from bringing their vision of  what they want their home to look like to life.

I have found a family run business that  aims to add a vintage touch to your home by sourcing furniture, home accessories and designing fabric for you. They will basically do the hard work so you don’t have to trawl through eBay, car boot sales and haberdasheries.

Duck Egg is run by Ellie and Nick Harrington. Their own home featured on Kirstie’s Vintage Home Channel 4 and their kitchen, which you can see above and below, was turned into vintage heaven! The products that they design and sell through their online shop will help you create the same cottage-like look.

Kirstie's vintage home

 My favourite Duck Egg picks:

I did a post last week about what to do with vintage findsI suggested putting your plant pots into vintage crates as this protects decking and it looks great. Duck Egg have sourced them for you.

Vintage crates

I’m doing a post next week about recycled planters. What about planting in this lovely enamel strainer? This is just one of Duck Egg’s vintage kitchen finds.

Vintage enamel colander strainer

Follow my tutorial on how to add castors to a steamer trunk, like the one below, to turn it into a fully functional coffee table with lots of storage.

Vintage Steamer Trunk

A 1930’s enamel jug, like this one, will lift your interior from generic to unique.

Enamel Jug

Duck Egg sells new items that are well designed and very reasonably priced. This pendant lamp is very similar to ones I used in my interior decoration project recently.

Duck Egg Designs pendant lamp

Ellie used to be an Art teacher and now uses her artistic skills to design fresh, pretty fabrics that would be perfect to upholster a piece of furniture – follow my upholstery tutorial.

Duck egg designs fabric

So, now there are no excuses for not bringing your dream interior to life; Duck Egg will do all the hard work for you!



Design classics I want to get my hands on!

This is the first of my design classics posts. We can all dream (or be inspired and then come up with a cheaper, more realistic version)…

Retro Benjamin Hubert desk lamps

Desk lamps made from concrete. The attention to detail on the cord and switch turn this lamp into a beautiful piece of design. Benjamin Hubert.

uten.silo desk organiser

Vitra Utensilo office organiser. This would work perfectly in my new work space but at £209 I might have to fashion my own solution. Heal’s.

Ercol pebble nest of tables

Ercol nest of pebble tables. These are so versatile and the shape, the legs and finish are the best of Ercol design. John Lewis (to get the original 1960s tables buy from eBay).

Vintage haberdashery drawers

I’ve been hankering after these vintage oak haberdashers’ drawers for ages. Peppermill Antiques £750 (I’d call that a bargain).

Retro Dualit toaster

Dualit toaster to add a design classic to your kitchen because every detail counts. Dualit £78.50.

Ercol daybed

I have wanted this Ercol daybed for years, just need somewhere to put it. It not only looks beautiful but is very versatile. Give it to me! (To buy one you should bid on eBay for a bargain.)

Conran Manila armchair

This Conran Manilla armchair is so comfortable. This should be your priority when buying chairs, especially dining chairs, which is what I would use them for. Conran shop £275.

Revival Roberts Radio

I have a navy blue Roberts radio and I am addicted to its dulcet tones. I now want the saffron version for my home office. Roberts £160.

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.