Tag Archives: design ideas

What I’ve mostly been loving this week…

… is Pinterest.

As the winter settles in and I get all nesty, I dream of DIY projects. I’ve started making a wreath for Christmas (watch this space), the Christmas cards are done, I’ve got the sewing machine out and I’m awash in red and yellow satin, sequins and silver ribbon to make Christmas decorations.

I start dreaming of beautiful interiors. Instead of the Home and Gardens and BBC Good Homes, I now dream of interiors of the more Country Homes type – all resaved, reused, repurposed, upscaled objets trouvés. And this is where I’m putting all my love:

The lovely home of my pinning interests

Ahhh, Pinterest, I love you.

I ♥ Pinterest


I ♥ nesting

I ♥ having a house that is waiting to be pretty


Tick List 2011

I don’t like resolutions, because they’re always something loose and useless, puffy and vague. So… I’m going to have a tick list instead. I like tick-lists. I like order rather than chaos. Once, in Japan, a guy had photocopied city maps from his guide book, given the things he wanted to see a star-rating, then highlighted the ‘must-sees’ in green then the ‘quite like to sees’ in orange (traffic light colours, of course!) and then worked out the best routes from one to another so he could cram in maximum exposure time.

Whilst this frightens me a little, since it’s sooo regulated it ends up dictating your day like Mussolini and the trains and verges on travel fascism, I still admired it. I used to colour-code my to-do lists, and as every English teacher will admit, would be very happy with a stationery shop as a back-up career. How I love stationery and order!

Anyway, disturbing admissions aside, a to-do list is much more useful. I might even set micro-targets and mid-point targets and outcomes and long-term objectives like I used to do in teaching. Nothing feels nicer than a completed tick-list (unless I am in Eeyore mood, when it all seems pointless and the nearer I get to completing the list, the more it seems pointless) and so I shall use this as a springboard for productivity in 2011. Hoorah!

I might, since I’m feeling super-organised, section these 🙂

Wow, I’m feeling productive and efficient and organised today! Must remember not to drink so much coffee so early!


Home has to be my big one, since it’s been the focus of 2010 to get a new one!

  1. Finish painting all the ceilings in the downstairs rooms
  2. Paint the front room cream, hang pictures, get new flooring, make curtains and nets, paint window frames, put new doors on the door frames to the wash room and upstairs, make and paint new shutters, make cushions and a curtain for across the doorway, put up shoe shelves in the entrance and paper and decorate.
  3. Add work surfaces in kitchen, paint walls peach, make blue polka dot curtains, add shelves and cupboards for my panatry (sic – a word used by Danielle for a pantry, which I like so much more than pantry, so I’ve adopted it)
  4. Decorate dining room, strip floor, xenophene it, wax and polish it, make curtains, new shutters and paint window frames.
  5. Decorate my bedroom, white walls, strip and xenophene floors, put lambris up for the ceiling, make curtains and put up voile panels.
  6. Decorate Jake’s bedroom, paint walls, strip and xenophene floorboards, make curtains, new shutters and paint window frames.
  7. Secure the annex (that sounds like a Nazi war manoeuvre!) and make new shutters, sort out window frames, secure roof, xenophene floorboards and replace where needed, wallpaper, curtains (God, I’m going into about 2017 now!!)

I hasten to point out that many of these to-dos are for Steve 🙂

He’s going to be a VERY busy boy in 2011!

In all seriousness, I hope I do as much myself. I like seeing the fruits of my labour.


Less important, but we’re Englishers in France – it’s vital we live up to expectations and do up the house so that it sticks out like a sore thumb and everyone knows we’re English. If you have a nice-looking house from the outside, you are English, or you bought from an Englisher. It’s the law for Frenchers not to bother with the outside of their house unless they live in a new pavilion or they are renting it out.

  1. Check roof
  2. Put new gutters in and water butts
  3. Paint exterior walls on road side
  4. Paint the lean to windows
  5. Finish painting gate. Alright, I started it in August and this might be why I’m known as ‘Arfur’ – ‘Arfur Job’
  6. Render the rest of the lean-to
  7. Paint inside walls in both lean-tos
  8. Put up shelves in lean to
  9. Sort out new polytunnel fabric.
  10. Sort out middle grass field
  11. Dig over vegetable patches


  1. Plant peas, beans, carrots, potatoes, leeks, cabbages, melons, strawberries, herbs, onions, garlic, chillis, spinach, chard, cauliflowers, lettuces, tomatoes, gherkins, sweetcorn and so on
  2. Keep a garden journal of weather and temperatures and harvests and plantings

Other stuff

  1. Get to know a whole load more about birds and nature – I don’t want a bird coming in my garden that can’t be recognised! Bird identification books are already set out by the window!
  2. Improve my French, bien sûr! Read 10 books in French by the end of the year (now this is sounding like The Great Gatsby and Gatsby’s list always makes me sad!)
  3. Go on at least three long walks a week with the dogs
  4. Get a couple of goats or sheep!
  5. Go to the Alps or to the Aquitaine coast for walks and bicycling in the summer.
  6. Bring a little order to my chaotic life!
  7. By next November, have a freezer-full of stuff to get us through the winter
  8. I feel I have to have 10
  9. But I can’t think of another 3
  10. So I’m just going to have 10 numbers.

I hate things not being even. I don’t mind about the other lists not being even, but I really don’t like it when I finish uneven. I’m such a semi-aspergers’ nerd.

I may strike through the things I achieve as a running example. I doubt it. I bet I don’t revisit this list more than three times! However, it might be nice to look back on next year and see what got done! It will be about a third of these things. That’s fine. There’s nothing like ambition! I must point out that it is 10:38 and I’m sitting here in my pyjamas, with unbrushed hair, covered in dog hairs. Hmmmm.

I do like the new year for that breath of fresh air I get from it. It feels like a new start, like a new term at school where you get new books and have a new pen. Everything is beginning again and it feels clean. It’s like all those new books you have lined up at school, unwritten in, fresh, uncreased, the corners un-dog-eared, graffiti-free. It lasts, as new term feeling does, for only a few days, but it’s nice to have that feeling of being at the beginning again and feeling ready to start a race.

Addendum #1:

Take up knitting.

Design ideas for the buanderie #1

We have a little laundry kind of room which joins the main house to the bathroom. It’s big enough for a couple of chairs and a small table, but it’s decidedly shabby looking. It firstly needs a good paint. Half of it is breeze-block, so plastering and a bit of white paint will be great. It’s also home to the boiler. I think a new door would be in order from the veranda, but other than that, it’s structurally sound, if a little battered. It could do with some new glass, I guess, too. Plus, I can’t remember what the flooring is. It’s not wood, I know that much!

I’d like it to be a warm, dry place for when you come out of the bath. I think I want it filled with tropical plants, possibly a tangerine tree or something to cover up the boiler!

La buanderie

Looking at it, maybe you don’t have the same visions I do! The ceiling plastic panels need replacing with something more substantial. It definitely needs a coat of paint or two, but I think it’s workable and quite liveable. One of my dad’s neighbours made some derogatory joke about ‘French-habitable’, which it will be, but I won’t care. It’s habitable. No, it’s not a beautiful conservatory design with stone walls and floor, but it does the job!

The door

The best thing is that it’s south-facing and it’s a sun-trap. When I saw it in October, it was roasting warm. I think Mr. Basil will love it in there, in a comfortable basket chair, away from the dog, roasting in the sun.

I’m going to continue the pink/green theme from the dining room into here. Partly because the dining room looks out onto the buanderie and partly because pink is such a great colour with green if you’re going for the tropical look. White walls, maybe some blinds and swags in coordinating fabric and then a couple of bits of furniture. New shelves, lots of plants, and it will be a veritable hothouse.

I’m going for the kind of look here:


It’ll notch the mint green of the dining room up a little, brighten the pink up, and look AMAZING with cheap white furniture.

Design ideas for the bedroom #1

I’m sticking with my general orange theme for the bedroom. Orange, white and brown. I will make white muslin curtains for the windows for summer, then some lush brown curtains for winter, with a milky coffee voile panel. The ceiling is cheap wood panels, so I shall paint that white. Not sure if standard UK light fittings fit French lights, but I might take my little chandelier. It all needs rewiring anyway.

Where’s my brother when I need him??!

I will leave the floorboards, once they’ve been stripped and xylened, then polish them and put the stuff in. I’ve still not decided which way I want the bed to go – The room has a north-facing window which looks on to the secret garden *read ‘wilderness’* and is longer than it is wide. I think the bed will have to face west. No doubt we’ll have the ‘who sleeps where’ dilemma, since Steve likes to sleep on my right and he needs to sleep nearest the door. He won’t be able to do both unless I point the bed the other way. These things matter!!

I was going to have the wall behind the bed done in some B&Q paper in brown and orange, but having seen the following design in Ideal Home 2010, I think I’m going for a drape behind the bed in an orange/white fabric. I may even paint the whole room white and dispense with the brown wall. It’ll look lighter that way, especially with the north-facing window.

Ideal Home Magazine 2010

I know this is the obsession-of-late Tara Grove Garden fabric, which mine won’t be in (though how fantastic does this look??!)

Now I need some suitable fabric. I may even do the curtains in it too.

Ideas for the garden #1

I love this garden from Ma Maison & Mon Jardin


Mon Jardin & Ma Maison

I think this would look lovely with a swathe of meadow flowers/poppies etc and would be easy to do. I could plant bulbs into it for spring – a mix of crocus, snowdrops and so on. As with my lawn, I won’t have children on bicycles, though. Only Steve skipping.

Dining room ideas #2

I’ve decided on Mint Crisp to go with the wallpaper. Steve says he can see himself skipping round the dining room with that kind of wallpaper. He’s a sarcastic beggar. What even is the point of having conversations with men about wall colouring??!

B&Q paint colours

I’ve already bought some fabric bright pink orchids for the vase. It matches beautifully!

My design sheet

With mint-green or pink taffeta, kingfisher blue and gold ribbons sewn on to it, I think the curtains will look fabulous!

Not decided what to do with the fireplace yet… paint, strip or what?? I’m thinking a matt eggshell in some colour or other, but I haven’t decided yet. Possibly my two Hokusai prints will go above the fire – they’re beautiful! And then my lovely, lovely prints that I bought in the Imperial Gardens… they’ll go on the wall along from the window. Steve’s mum’s kindly donated her chairs and dining table, as well as a beautiful dresser. I may re-cover the chairs (Well, may ask my mum to!!!) in co-ordinating fabrics. But then, the dining room is complete!

We went to hire the van today. Yikes expensive. I was crying when my poor visa card came out!

Dining room ideas

I’ve got the total hots for Osborne and Little’s Tara ‘Grove Garden’ collection. All of them.


I’m loving the mint and orange one, the most.

Osborne and Little 'Tara' Grove Garden

It’s beautiful. Now, can I justify it to Steve? I think I can get away with 2 rolls, if I only do half the wall!