Conservatory news - and progress!

You might have been wondering what's happening with our Conservatory work, and you're right I have been rather quiet about it, other than telling you work has started.  And there's been a very good reason for that, which I can now explain.

[It really isn't that exciting, but my security conscious head prevented me from sharing before now]

The day the builders started work, I arrived home to this.

Our conservatory doors in the drive

Yes, that's our old, exterior conservatory doors in our drive.  I knew that the new doors weren't due to arrive for a week or so, so I was curious as to what I'd find (or not) inside.  But before that, when I left for work that morning, I'd left them taking out the window that needed replacing.  That had already given them some gyp, it was heavy - well it is a big window, but they also discovered it wasn't toughened glass as they struggled to break the unit.

The white dots are actually where it's been hit with a hammer

The white "dots" are where the window had been hit with a hammer (by the builders) in an attempt to smash the glass.  Not only was it heavy, but it was stubborn, but they did manage to get it into the black sacks show in the first photo. 

So there wasn't too much left of our conservatory...

Our new "open" look conservatory

It certainly had an open feel, and it did amuse me that our doormat had now moved to the other end of the conservatory, in front of some of the only doors we had left.  Thankfully the internal doors did lock, but nonetheless we did feel kind of exposed, which is why I've not shared more before.

A new home for the doormat

So this is where the window used to be: 

Where the window used to be

I also noticed a new lump of wood on the outside, this no longer looks like this after, but is the way our builders have devised of adding guttering to our structure.  Our conservatory has been up since 1996, and not had a piece of guttering even waved at it I'm sure in its lifetime.  That's not great and has contributed to the damage on the window and windowsill.  

A new addition to the exterior in preparation for guttering

And this is where the doors used to be.

Where the doors used to be

And the final piece of work for day one, was adding these roof bars where the laminated glass joins were starting to fail, as MOH and I were in agreement that there was little point in doing this work - and spending the money - if the roof were to start leaking soon (or relatively soon) after.

Repairing the roof

So that's the first day's work completed - great - which left us with no conservatory doors for the first Bank Holiday weekend.  Hmmmnnn, there is obviously more to come - and don't worry, there won't be a day by day update, the next update will cover all of the second week - and at least that was four days.

More soon..

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Talking texture and sharing some tips for adding more to your home



  1. the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or a substance.
    synonyms: feel, touch, appearance, finish, surface, grain, quality, character, consistency, weave, nap
    "the quality and texture of the fabric"

It's something we take for granted in our homes and often it's something we add naturally when we decorate and furnish our rooms, guided by the products on sale no doubt. You might think you don't add texture, or don't have different textured items in the room you're in now.

Take a look around you, and look for the texture

Even if you're in the bathroom, a room you wouldn't naturally think would have much texture, I bet you've got fluffy towels - or wished you had - and a bath mat whose texture contrasts nicely with the smoothness of your tiles. Maybe you've got a loofah, or an exfoliator too... But enough about bathrooms, there's plenty more texture elsewhere in the house.

I'm sharing some snippets from our living room, to show how you can introduce texture easily if you think you could do with some more. 

With wooden floors, leather sofas, high ceilings and a wood and steel spiral staircase in the corner of our living room, we've had to work hard to reduce the echo and 'bounce' of sound, and we quickly realised that soft furnishings help. Cushions are a great way to add texture, and if you have cushions with removable covers then you can swap the covers to match the season.

The most obvious texture we've introduced in our living room is the bamboo wallpaper on the main wall. MOH found it years ago and showed it to me not expecting me to like it, but I did. And when we redecorated it was top of our list, and we haven't regretted it. It's also really easy to hang as it's about a metre wide and the note that comes with it says there's no need to match the pattern either - a novice wallpaper-ers dream!



But it's not just textiles that add interest. Our round CD rack does that too, in a way that a more traditionally shaped rack might not. When I explained to our decorator that we wanted these two wallpapers together and to hang the CD rack back where it was, he told me it wouldn't work. But it does, maybe not in the traditional way, but that's not a reason not to do something is it?

An unusual round shaped CD rack in the otherwise wasted space of our spiral staircase adds interest as well as texture #notcompletewithout
A throw adds texture to your room easily, even more so if it has a fringed edge #notcompletewithout

I've mentioned cushions already, and throws, especially fringed throws are another quick way to add texture. And on those cold evenings they're great for some extra warmth too. Julian Charles are currently promoting their #NotCompleteWithout campaign and if you're looking to add more texture to your house then it's worth taking a look at as they've some great homeware items.

Nature too has some great textures, think of the smooth driftwood and the fun you can have searching for that. I've opted for something slightly more easy to find and that's giant pine cones, and equally as much fun to find on a long country walk. I display mine in terracotta pots from my dad, much to MOH's dislike. But for me the pots were too nice to leave in the greenhouse, and way too nice and characterful to just have earth in, I've three in a line, and no idea why I've only photographed two.

Giant pine cones in terracotta pots with bamboo wallpaper in the background #notcompletewithout
This paper lampshade adds texture with it's feathered pattern and contrasts with the lamp base and the radiator breaking it up nicely #notcompletewithout

Lampshades can also add texture. The one above is a paper shade, you'd never think so would you, its pattern suggests texture and I love how it is against the radiator.  I said we'd worked hard to introduce texture, and along the way we've made what I can now call clever choices, at the time we just liked the chenille patterned material for our curtains.  

These add texture to the small Georgian-style windows but don't overpower the room, which I think is always a challenge with curtains. My ideal curtains are full, flowing and floor length curtains but they wouldn't suit our windows so they're on my list for another house!

Choosing a chenille patterned material for our curtains introduced texture in a subtle way #notcompletewithout
Books on a bookshelf add texture, we found these ones in a local bookshop #notcompletewithout

Books add texture too. Whether they're more decorative like these above which we picked up in a local bookshop many years ago or your reading pile. If you look carefully in the photo below through the lamp base in the top right, you can spot my reading pile, which seems to have got a little out of control.  The encyclopedias which look old and interesting, are old and interesting but sadly we've no idea just how old. We liked their battered look and that they're Nelson's Encyclopedia, especially as we're up the road from Greenwich with its rich maritime history.

Oak wooden blocks as side tables and a rug on the wooden floor #notcompletewithout

And with a beautiful wooden floor, at times it seems a crime to cover it with a rug but for us it's an essential. Without the rug the room feels bare, and we feel lost. It's amazing how a rug can help ground us, and zone the room - it's taken a while to get the right sized rug, but we're there now and we wouldn't be without it.

So, as I said at the top of this post it's easier to add texture than we think. Did you notice more texture than you first thought when you really looked?

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* This is a collaborative post with Julian Charles, but all views and opinions are my own.

Sharing our chairs

Yes, it's the post I've been meaning to share for a while. We've had our new chairs for what seems like ages now, and I think some of the gloss of having them has gone as it was quite a palaver in the end. We ordered them in January from a very big furniture shop on Tottenham Court Road and expected to wait a couple of months for them to arrive.

We'd hoped they would arrive a couple of weeks after our table at the start of March, but they didn't. They finally arrived, after much to-ing and fro-ing and chasing on my part, in the middle of April. And then one was damaged and needed to be replaced. I was beginning to think this was one of those purchases where everything goes wrong. Finally by the middle of May we had a set of chairs that we were happy with.

I'm not going to name the company - although you may have worked it out already - nor am I going to confirm or deny which it is, but I was pleased they had a robust compensation scheme and through negotiation we ended up with one chair almost free of charge.  So that's something but it's still not the service I expected. I think that's contributed to how long it's taken me to write about these.

Don't get me wrong I'm really pleased with them, but less so the pain that they came with!

So after much research we chose the Eames chairs to go with our white glass dining tableand I persuaded MOH that having more than one colour would be a good thing. Although I ummed and ahhed about the mustard chairs, which we did order. We went for two ocean (blue), two white and two mustard (yellow) and they look great. 

So let's take a look:

mustard eames chair
white and ocean eames chairs

I'm really pleased with how the colours worked out and can't stop myself from smiling when I see the yellow, sorry mustard.  And that's meant an influx of yellowy-mustard items into the house, so it really can't be a bad thing, can it?


Now our table and chairs are more contemporary and fit well with our kitchen, we've also noticed how much lighter our dining area is.  Light reflects off the table, rather than being soaked up by the mahogany table we used to have. It looks great with some of our everlasting sweet peas in a milk bottle, and there's been plenty of these this year already. 

sweet peas in a milk bottle
sweet peas, milk bottle and eames chairs

But the Alessi Blow Up basket also looks good - you can see just how reflective the table is in this shot. 

reflective glass table and alessi bowl

The only thing is our table mats don't really go now, they depict a French brasserie and while there's nothing wrong with them they were bought with our last table in mind.  So I have a plan, which I suspect you expected. I plan to make some fabric place mats, and the material I have from Prestigious Textiles matches perfectly. I used a different pattern in the Java range for the blind in our porch earlier in the year.

At the moment I'm not sure if I'll just make a couple of fabric placemats, or make something a bit more complicated where I can slip our existing placemats inside the fabric, sort of envelope. I'll let you know, but isn't the material a good match?

material for place mats and napkins from prestigious textiles

So there you go, finally a look at my dining room chairs. Now I've got the material out and seen how well it matches, I'm getting a bit more enthused about it all again.

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