How to create cool kids rooms (without the clutter)

You want to throw all the toys out of the window you say? Momma, I hear you. I remember the days, before having kids, when my husband and I would look at each other in horror after visiting a bomb site at a friend’s house. “I can’t believe the state of their house. Honestly, the amount of plastic toys…surely they could tidy up, right? If we ever have a family, I will never have so much junk.” *laughs hysterically*

Yeah. I have a three-year old and a five-year old now. Boys. They have a a lot of stuff: toys, clothes, sticks. Pants and socks everywhere. And I ain’t got a lot of time. Or energy. You get the picture. Things get messy sometimes. Oh sure, I do try. I buy nice storage boxes (which subsequently get turned into mini bath tubs for toy cars – or used as helmets in superhero dress-up games) and then it stays tidy for a while. A day maybe. One day, when I am old and the boys have flown the nest, my house shall be clutter-free. Until then, I shall give them a warm, loving home while I browse Pinterest and Instagram and dream of stylish, tidy rooms.

Here are some examples of kids rooms that just look great and probably are more stylish than your own bedroom. (I also bet no kid was allowed in them before the photo shoot was over and done with. I would love to see what they look like on a daily basis – ha!). Do you have kids rooms at home that you’d love to show off? How do you handle the clutter? Do let me know!

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A gorgeous room in blue, mustard and natural wood via The Boo and the Boy

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I want a swing in my room. How lovely is this? Via Style me Pretty

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Sweet. It even has a little plant on the bedside table. I love the midcentury modern lamp too. Great eclectic room for older girls. Via The Boo and the Boy

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Lots of cuteness here in this vintage style bedroom. The Boo and the Boy

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Gorgeous wallpaper used in this room. Oh, how I wish to be a kid again! Via Fawn & Forest

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Simple, but stylish and a bed on a budget. Buk & Nola

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Who says kids rooms have to be in pastel colours? Add some ‘oomph’ with black and mustard yellow. And bears, you need bears. Via The Boo and the Boy

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Add some serious wow factor with a mural like that! My Domaine

What inspired me this week: simplicity, texture and botanical accents

Autumn is here and it seems everyone has got the declutter and home-making bug. Have you noticed? It is obviously time to get cosy inside again. I love looking at interiors that make me feel calm, such as this gorgeous room by Australian designers Doherty Design Studio in Melbourne. Beautiful textures, monochrome palette and timeless furniture create a peaceful space.

I love how the mustard colour is repeated in the picture. And a fiddle leaf fig tree is always a winner.

These pictures are taken in my own home. The pottery is part of the stock I am gathering for my upcoming pop-up store Vintage Haus. This is a Scottish pottery jug and a coffee pot in one of my favourite midcentury designs ‘Chevron’ by Denby. I still need to find more things to add to the shop collection, but it is a nice start.

Botanics are very much on trend right now and as I love a bit of green, I created a little corner with a print on canvas and a vintage globe.

Our bedroom has an ever growing gallery wall. Blue is a great calming colour for the bedroom, so I try to stick to that with the artworks, which are a mix of cheap carboot sale finds, photographs and an abstract acrylic painting I made myself.

What inspired you this week?

How to choose art for your home

Art is a funny thing. I absolutely love art and have always been interested in it, from when I was very little. I just need to have art around me, whether it is paintings, photographs, sculpture or ceramics. I yearn for the handmade, original qualities of a piece of art. Problem is, I keep buying it, even though I have long run out of wall and shelf space to display anything.


I find it amazing how art just seems to have the ability to ‘grab’ you and you feel you need to own it, probably because it is such a one-off, unique piece and you adore it. Well, that has happened to me more than once. Even though I sometimes couldn’t justify it and it was not in my budget. One time I was working at the Glasgow Art Fair for a previous employer and during a little wander around suddenly this big orange Rothko-like painting stared me right in the face and drew me closer. I couldn’t walk away. It was as if the devil himself had taken over my sanity and before I knew it I took my card out and spent every last penny of my hard earned savings. Utter madness. But it is still my favourite painting and it has pride of place in my house. Countless visitors have looked at be baffled and don’t see why on earth I love the painting so much, but that is the thing about art: it is not about what other people think – it is very personal and if you love it and it means something to you, it is worth buying. Even if you have to live on porridge oats and water for the rest of the month.

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My own orange masterpiece on my wall.

 

 

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If you spot something you like – or even more than one piece, don’t be put off buying it because of lack of wall space. Group pictures together to create an interesting gallery wall. And don’t be scared to buy something large either. Nothing worse than a tiny picture frame on a massive wall. Here’s a great website explaining you how to create a gallery wall: decorationchannel.com

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Image: Rise Art


If you are not too familiar with art buying, you might feel a bit at a loss when finding something great for your walls and may choose to be safe, going for a picture that matches the colour of the curtains rather than that it makes you smile or evokes any emotion at all. Such a missed opportunity, because why not make your home a place that inspires you? Fill it with things that are meaningful, not mass-produced.

Still, if you feel you know very little about art or claim you are “not really into art”, then where do you look for something that ticks those boxes? Here are a few ideas.


First of all

  • Don’t care about what everyone else may think about your choice of artwork or whether it is by someone famous. If you love looking at it, it is meaningful.
  • Pick something that ‘speaks’ to you. Does it make you happy? Does the subject have significance? Or do you just really love the colours or composition? You’re onto a winner.
  • Set yourself a budget if you don’t want to be swept away by crazy impulse buying tendencies. Yup – I am talking from experience.
  • Sleep on it. Do you still think about that artwork in the morning as worth it? Get it.


Where to find art?

  • Visit the degree show of the local Art School. Those fresh graduates are dying to make it big and have their art out there. You are bound to discover some pretty cool pieces and will make someone’s day (or month) if you go home with one of their works.
  • Go to local art fairs and markets. There must be some in your city or area. Stroll around, speak to the artists. These events are usually very lively and informal and feel less daunting than shopping for art in a quiet gallery.
  • Buy online. There are a growing number of online galleries selling original artworks at various prices. An easy way to familiarise yourself with different styles and see what you like. Rise Art is one of them. They have some more great tips on what to look out for when buying art. Oh, and if you don’t want to buy, you can rent! How cool is that?
  • Be brave! Dive into an actual gallery! Galleries may look scary for someone who doesn’t usually go to these kind of places, but trust me, gallery owners want to sell art and you are customer just like anyone else. You’ll probably find there are pieces of art at different price levels. You may not be a regular, but you have every right to go in and have a look around. Many galleries in the UK now have a scheme called Own Art, which let you buy an artwork with a 0% loan, so worth popping in for.
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Popular art with vintage lovers: the Asian lady series from the 1960s by Vladimir Tretchikoff


On a budget? Or maybe on the hunt for something more vintage?

  • The local auction house will have plenty of artworks too. Have a look in their online catalogue of items to see if it is worth bidding. You’d be surprised how often you could pick up a framed original for less than £50. Of course, as with markets and charity shops: it is hit or miss, but certainly a good way of buying quirky art on a budget.
  • Browse the charity shops, car-boot sales or flea markets for original paintings, etchings and vintage posters.
  • Feeling creative? Make something yourself. Paint, draw, sew, print or take photos. Frame a piece of fabric or wallpaper you love. Get the kids involved and let them go crazy with their felt pens and finger paint. It is amazing how good things look in a frame.

Have fun, start that art collection!

Valencia, historic city with an edge

This summer my family and I did a house exchange with a lovely family in the city of Valencia, Spain. It was the second time we swapped our house for the holiday and we love this concept. It’s personal, you get free accommodation (and pet-care!), insider information and you get to live in a real neighbourhood for a few weeks, rather than a hotel. We even swapped cars. It’s not for everyone (if you are particularly sensitive about your house or people sleeping in your bed!) and it does require a deep-clean beforehand, but I would thoroughly recommend it. It’s great fun.

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Renting bikes and cycling through Turia park to the City of Art and Sciences

 


Valencia seems to be a city of many layers. At first sight, it’s just like any other big city: lots of high-rise buildings, busy traffic and not an awful lot of beauty about it when you first arrive on the outskirts of town. It is after all Spain’s third largest city and has just under one million inhabitants. But when you dive into it and stroll around – or rent a bike – you discover a wonderful, laid-back, colourful place full of art, parks, cafe culture and last but not least…the beaches. Did we love it? Oh yes, we did.

Street Art

The Ciutat Vella, including Barrio del Carmen, is the old town. Now as any old town this one too has plenty of little streets, old buildings, cathedrals and historic squares, but what makes Valencia different is the street art. What? Graffiti and historic buildings? No way! Yup. And it looks pretty good. Definitely a big hit with my 5-year old who loves drawing (why are they allowed to draw on walls, mummy? Erm…).

Now I would use all of my own photos in this blog, but unfortunately my dear husband left our camera on the plane to Madrid. Ouch. Fingers crossed we’ll get it back. In the meantime, you’ll get my iPhone shots and some beautiful images I found around the net.

 

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The mural in the image below must have been one of my son’s favourites. “It’s a mummy! Did you now that mummies have toilet roll wrapped around them?” Image: Travel and Lust


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Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciencies

The City of Arts and Sciences is a world in itself. This impressive part of Valencia, whether or not you end up actually going inside any of the buildings, is worth visiting. It consists of the Oceanographic (Europe’s largest sea aquarium), The Science Museum, the Palau des Arts and the Hemispheric. Plenty to keep you occupied. More info here: www.cac.es

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The City of Art and Sciences is an amazing complex of white contemporary architecture (by Calatrava) and blue shallow water all around the buildings. The kids couldn’t wait to get their clothes off for a dip after a visit to the Science Museum!


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Turia gardens

Rerouting the river Turia and turning the old riverbed into a 9km long park must be one of the best decisions ever made by city planners. What an asset to have for the people of Valencia. Full of play parks, fountains, cultural events, free outdoor gym equipment and cycle and footpaths. We rented bikes from Valencia Bikes (although there are many rental places everywhere) which kept us entertained all day and was great to move around quickly from A to B with the kids. Valencia is super kid-friendly by the way. Mini play areas next to the cafe terrace, why doesn’t anyone else think of that as standard?

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The beaches

One of the great things about Valencia is the proximity to the beach. Different from what most people think when they hear the words ‘beach’ and ‘Spain’ in one sentence, the ones in Valencia are nothing like the package holiday type. We experienced some fantastic beaches, quiet and more lively, but never overcrowded or lined by tacky bars and souvenir shops. A breath of fresh air. You can easily reach them by public transport, bike or car.

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Valencia has some great beaches all along the coast, many of them quiet. This is the beach at El Saler, just south of the city. It’s 8.15pm…kids still playing. Spanish routine!


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A little gem of a place on Patacona beach is La Mas Bonita, cafe and beach bar. Fantastic food and stunning location.


Swap report

So how did the Valencian family get on who came to stay in our house in Aberdeenshire? They had a fantastic time too. Glad to be getting away from the Spanish August heat (it was VERY hot and humid at times – no wonder most of the city had escaped), they enjoyed the Scottish fresh air, being outdoors, climbing hills, watching seals on the beach, visiting castles and whisky distilleries. They even saw the queen at the highland games. A win-win for us all.

Vintage Haus – your midcentury design Pop-up store this September

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I am very proud and excited to announce my next event: Vintage Haus! I have hooked up with the talented Lorraine from HUME vintage, who has just launched her vintage business in Aberdeen. Together we will be turning the studio on 8 Chattan Place into the most amazing midcentury pop-up boutique, full of carefully selected and curated furniture, textiles, ceramics, art and accessories from the 1950s-1970s. I can’t wait!

Opening hours

Tues 19 Sept 10am – 6pm
Wed 20 Sept 10am – 6pm
Thurs 21 Sept 10am – 8pm
Fri 22 Sept 10am – 6pm
Sat 23 Sept 10am . – 6pm

CURATED STORIES STUDIO, 8 CHATTAN PLACE, ABERDEEN, AB10 6RD

One day…my dream house in the sun

Living in Scotland is great and we are lucky to be surrounded by beautiful countryside, lots of space, nice people and generally a good quality of life. But oh, how I curse the climate, even though we do get the odd wonderfully hot day in summer which makes you appreciate it all the more. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your winter clothes put away in April – and wear your summer clothes…like, all summer? Today I am posting about dream houses in the sun! Yes, because, well, you can dream, right? I have been collecting some gorgeous inspirational images again, making us all wish we lived in the Med. I guess we could always try and replicate the ideas…in our summerhouse or glass extension. Or just book a holiday. Perhaps you’re already there.

Enjoy, get inspired, imagine the sound of lapping waves as you lounge on your bohemian veranda full of plants and floaty drapes, sitting in your white linen dress, sipping a mojito. Bliss.

(To enjoy this post even more, I suggest clicking on this Youtube link and use the calming lapping waves as a background sound…Done it, yes? Told you it was good.)

And…relax.


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AirBnB

A fabulous way to experience – or pretend you own – a house in the sun, is to rent a house through AirBnB. Much more interesting than a boring self catering apartment in a complex within a resort, often off the beaten track and certainly more personal. Have a look for some stunning places in Greece or Spain.


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Not an outdoor space, but I love the interior and how the light comes into the house. Image source


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Beautiful shadows and shelter created by the roof made of branches. Image source






How to enjoy your garden in summer when you live in Scotland

I know, that title seems a bit cynical, doesn’t it? Yes ok, I admit, Scotland is beautiful in all weather. There actually is a saying up here: ‘There is no bad weather, just bad clothing’. But do you know that feeling, when it’s been a sunny day, you have just laid the table, ready for a nice al fresco dinner or a BBQ, cushions on the chairs, wine poured…and then it starts to cloud over…and rain. Yes?

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Nevermind, there are solutions (other than moving), including building some useful roofed structures in the garden. People seem to like their wooden summerhouses in the UK, but they are usually not very big and may only have space for two seats at the most. Larger roofed outdoor spaces, like verandas, would give people a lot more opportunity to sit and entertain outside while getting shelter from the weather.

I have gathered some images in this post which might give you some ideas if you were thinking of creating your own roofed patio in the future. Have a wonderful summer, rain or shine!

For all of my collected garden ideas, please visit my pinterest board

 

Verandas

I love verandas. Just a little bit of roofed area alongside your house can give great shelter from some rain or a chilly breeze. Even if it is just to dry your washing.


Below is another example of a roofed outdoor area attached directly to the house, but slightly bigger. It even has space for a swing. And who says you have to stick to traditional garden tiles?

 

Wood burners

In my home country the Netherlands, a part of Europe also generally known for their wet summers, large roofed patios or ‘garden rooms’ are very popular nowadays. Often combined with a shed or garage, these sheltered areas are great for creating a relaxing corner with outdoor sofas and even a wood burner to add some heat in the evening.

 

A little shelter from the rain

A roofed garden area doesn’t need to be big, it could be just a small space to cover your favourite comfy seat, or a small table and some chairs. I love the space below, with the large swing and the outdoor rug.

Outdoor living rooms

What a fabulous big garden room this is in the image below. Again an example of what is quite popular just now in the Netherlands. Great decor, including lighting and artworks, and still space for a tool shed beside it. I would happily sit here with some friends and a glass of wine, wouldn’t you?

Pergolas for sun and rain

Ever hear of aluminium pergolas? Biossun is a company that makes these things out of recycled materials and they are pretty cool, especially if you prefer something a bit more sleek and contemporary instead of the ones with heavy wooden rustic beams. The Biossun is a swivelling slat pergola that ‘regulates the temperature in all seasons and protects against heat, wind and bad weather.’ Basically, it can be fully open to let the air through, half open to give some shade from sun or shut when it is a rainy day but it is still warm enough to sit outside. They can be built against your house or freestanding in the garden. Looks like a neat solution. If you live in Scotland, our friends over at Papillon Landscaping are the only local supplier of this structure, so get in touch with them if you want to know more.

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Also great shelter for a hot tub (oh, doesn’t this look inviting…?)

Five creative ways to show off folklore textiles in your home

If you have ever visited markets abroad, especially with a strong folklore tradition, you know you’re likely to find some gorgeous woven or embroidered textiles. Rugs, blankets, stacks of fabric. I have come back with suitcases full, from the souks in Marrakesh and the markets in Ecuador. You can often get carried away, blinded by the bold colours and beautiful patterns. Once home, you end up wondering what to do with all that fabric. Mine ended up neatly folded away in the wardrobe for years waiting patiently to be put to use. Sounds familiar?

I thought I’d gather some ideas today for things to do with textiles from exotic markets, so they will hopefully take pride of place in your home from now on. Because they are ideal to give any room the Wow factor and a good splash of personality. And more importantly, they will take you back to the wonderful places where you found them… Show them off!

1. Frame them

This is a great idea for any smaller bit of fabric (or even wallpaper!) you love and want to show off. Hang them in a group and create a gallery of your favourite textiles.




2. Throw them on your bed

Layer, layer, layer. Those large rugs and blankets look fabulous spread over your bed, and keep your warm too. Don’t be afraid to use different patterns and colours. Combine them to create a lovely bohemian feel.





3. Make cushions. And then make some more.

A pretty obvious one, but cushions are a great way of using your souvenir – or any found or vintage – textiles. Also great to use outdoors on the patio or veranda in summer to bring back that holiday feeling.

4. Hang ’em up
Larger pieces of fabric or rugs can be put up as wall hangings behind your bed, above the sofa or in hallways. They make a great statement. Add a rod to the top to prevent sagging.



5. Upholstery

Last but not least, there are some amazing examples of oriental kilims and other folklore fabrics used as upholstery on chairs and ottomans. It seems a shame to cut up your nice fabrics, but at least this way they will get used and admired for many years.


Like what you see? All image sources and more ideas can be found in my Textiles Pinterest board.

Creating stylish, eclectic kitchens with colour

When choosing a kitchen, most people nowadays will play safe and buy a white one. Bright white, off white or cream. Either sleek and contemporary or a shaker style to create a more traditional look. A super expensive one or a cheaper version from Ikea. This is then usually combined with some neutral, grey or cream tiles, a slate floor and some rustic natural wood shelving and furniture. Nothing wrong with that, it’ll look fab for years to come. But how about stepping away from the white and throwing in some colour? A wall in a bright colour, a bright yellow vintage cabinet, colourful mosaic tiles or a mixed bag of old painted chairs. Colourful accessories like pendant lights, large framed posters and things like kettles and toasters in bold colours are great too for contrast. Be brave! You don’t want your kitchen to look like everyone else’s, do you?

A feature wall with colourful, patterned wallpaper can make a bold statement in a dining room or kitchen. Imagine the room with just a white wall…not quite the same, right?

Bold contemporary, graphic artwork can also add some real style to your kitchen-diner. It combines well with white furniture and a white washed floor.

Not strictly a white kitchen, but too gorgeous not to share. Fabulous choice of colour. 

Adding sliding (barn) doors to a kitchen can also add a difference to a room. How about adding one to an alcove you use as a store cupboard/pantry? Turn it into a blackboard for a real eye catching element. 


Another example of bold wallpaper and accent colours in a great space.


Want to see more eclectic and colourful kitchens? All images and more can be found on my Pinterest board. 

Eclectic bathrooms: blue mosaic tiling, copper pipes and vintage accessories

Oh, I can drool over pictures of bathrooms on Pinterest, as I’m sure many of you do as well. We had our own bathroom redone two years ago and we went for something quite simple and timeless ourselves. Still, I can’t help going Oh! and Ah! when flicking though images of bathrooms with a lot more wow factor, eclectic touches and uniqueness to them. I love Moroccan tiles, colourful mosaics, the look of a sleek modern bathroom in combination with more rustic looking copper pipework and wooden accessories such as ladders and stools. It’s the combination of different textures and materials that really makes a bathroom stand out. Are you ready for some inspiration? ‘Course you are.

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Wonderful simple, yet striking combination of blues, greys and different tiles. Nice copper hardware too.  Image source

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More lovely blue tiles! Without them the room would look much like any other grey bathroom, but the pattern and colour give it a great backdrop. Image source

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I really love how this looks, but knowing from experience that these mid-century sideboards are often not solid wood throughout and very prone to water marks, I would put an extra (glass? marble?) top on it before installing a basin. Great colour combo though. Image source 

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A very dramatic looking bathroom with the black tiles and the large traditional sink. I love how they create contrast by combining this with a concrete floor and an oriental rug. Image source

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Who says that traditional and contemporary don’t go together? Wonderful combo of painted panelled walls, mediterranean tiles, a freestanding bath and a walk-in shower. Minimal in an eclectic way! Image source

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I don’t know about you, but I really love the indoor plant trend that’s been around for a while now. It just makes everything, well, greener. Dream away in your tropical bathroom wile soaking in that gorgeous deep freestanding tub… Image source

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Oh my word, those tiles, that walk-in shower. I bet the rest of the house is a dream too. I love how they have very sleek, minimalist built in cupboards on the left, which make a good contrast with the vintage features.  Image source

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How about this striking, unusual bathroom scheme? Monochrome meets a splash of red. Great use of large patterns and smaller tiles and a very useful and good looking storage niche. Image source

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Need I say more? Just wow. Image source

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What a fabulous bold colour scheme and patterns going on here. Amazing also what a pink scarf (or towel) and a pot of dark blue paint can do to give your bathroom or toilet a quick update. Image source


Want to see more eclectic bathrooms? Have a look on my Pinterest board.