My window has better clothes than I do!

It’s true!
My window has the most amazing new dress and I just had to share it with y’all.
She’s been naked for quite a while now and every time I looked at her I felt embarrassed by her exposed frames and glass.  Winter has been approaching and the lack of any window coverings made the house feel even colder and open to the cold winter nights.

BEFORE & AFTER
BEFORE & AFTER

Finally I decided to do something about it.
Choosing curtains can be such a pain, having those pushy sales people around to your house with their little folders of fabric and unwanted opinions. I have done this exercise so many times and I was not looking forward to wasting hours getting multiple quotes and still gasping with shock every time I finally received one back.

This time I decided to try an online service, I am using online shopping more and more these days so I thought it was worth a try. I looked at a few different sites and read lots of reviews and settled on Pret-a-Portiere. They supply made to measure curtains and drapes that are easy to buy and install yourself. They also supply to interior stylist and decorators worldwide.

I popped over to their website armed with my window dimensions and Pinterest ideas.
I knew I wanted linen, I am currently having a love affair with anything and everything linen and they have a whole section dedicated to linen drapery, I was happy to see so many options available. It was a hard decision, there is so many styles to choose from, but I decided to go with the Soho design with the double bottom banding. I have seen this type of curtain a few times in my favourite designer spaces and was excited when I realised I could achieve this look in my own home.

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Next step is to choose your header style and colours, again, such a hard decision as there is so many different combinations to choose from. I went with a Double Pinch Pleat and 2.5 x fullness. I chose Snow and Mountain Blue as my colours.

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When you have made all your selections you will be given a quote right then and there, none of this – ‘give us all your details and then we’ll e-mail you stuff’, they give you a quote immediately.
You can chose to ‘add to cart’ and get your curtains underway or you can go back and try a different selection.

They only took a few weeks to arrive and I was completely blown away by the quality. I have had custom curtains made before, but these are amazing. I’m not sure if it’s the beautiful weight of the linen, the precise workmanship or the fact that they are just gorgeous, but I am totally in love with them.

 I put hubby to work hanging them, which is really quite easy and I probably could have done it myself, but he was home and I know how much he loves me ordering him around.
My window is no longer naked, her linen dress is much more fabulous than anything in my wardrobe and the whole space finally feels finished and cosy.

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What do you think?
Curtains make such difference to a space, they make it feel complete. I love closing them at night to keep the warmth in and I’m sure they will be great in summer to keep the afternoon sun out. And who doesn’t love the glow of filtered light through linen curtains, it’s just dreamy!

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If you want to have a play with some options for your own home, grab a tape measure and head over to Pret-a Portiere and get some instant ideas, advice and prices!

But here’s the bit you’ve all been waiting for ….
I have some curtains to giveaway to one very lucky home!!!
You may choose from the Soho (same as mine) or Madison range in any colour combination up to the value of $1100, I know … you don’t want to miss this one!!!
We’d love it if you follow Pret-a-Portiere and myself on Instagram here and here, and please come and make friends on my blog mailing list.
Leave a comment here or on Instagram telling us where you need new curtains.
EASY PEASY!

Check back here next week to see if you’re the winner, and don’t worry if you’re not because I will have something special for you anyway – a code to receive 20% off your purchase from Pret-a-Portiere!

HERE IT IS – MLL20 for 20% off!!!

There’s no need for naked windows anymore!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

*Competition is open worldwide. Entries close at 11:59pm on Friday 28th July 2017. Winner will be announced Sunday 30th July 2017. No purchase is required. Entrant must answer the question, the winner will be chosen by Pret-a-Portiere.

** UPDATE – WE HAVE A WINNER!!! As chosen by Alice from Pret-a-Portiere the winner is Michele.J. CONGRATULATIONS! Alice from Pret-a-Portiere will be in contact to organise your prize.

The thrill of the find!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure … I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am constantly amazed at what some people are selling and often at crazy prices!

As much as I love to wander around an antique shop looking for vintage treasures, when you are after a specific piece nothing beats searching an online marketplace for exactly what you want. You can search for the specific model number, colour, size, quantity or any other detail you require. Then you can narrow your search to find one near you, or in your price range, etc…
It couldn’t be easier to find what you want these days.

My favourite place to find myself a bargain is Gumtree. I have the app on my phone and am guilty of lying in bed and scrolling for hours looking for that elusive piece of Spode or perfect piece of rattan furniture.
Those of you that have followed me for a while might remember my amazing Xavier Cayman drawers that I nabbed a few years ago, or my cane outdoor swing that I picked up for a song more recently.

When Gumtree contacted me and offered to help me with the purchase of something for our home renovations I jumped at the chance.

I desperately needed new counter stools for my kitchen breakfast bar. My problem was due to the design of the island bench I had very specific dimensions to work with. The kitchen bench has an ‘apron’ running around the perimeter that hangs down 10cm from the 4cm marble bench top. Ultimately this ‘apron’ is limiting the leg space under the bench. A standard counter stool is about 65cm high, which only gave me 11cm to squeeze your legs underneath, unless your really skinny, this is just not enough.
So, I looked high and low and even though I found a few that might have worked they were all over $500 per stool and I needed 4. That was not in my budget!

I decided to hunt for some on Gumtree. There are over 2.5 million listings on Gumtree, I thought surely somebody had what I needed!
I wanted something that, if needed, could be cut down to the right height, so the design had to allow for that. I also wanted something that was made from wood because I love the warmth of timber, but also wanted to be able to paint them in the same white as the kitchen, or another colour if I changed my mind (which I often do). I also preferred something that was upholstered and could be slip covered because I have 3 kids and need to be able to wash them.
Oh, and lastly, I didn’t want to spend a fortune.
I know, big ask!

What I found after a couple of weeks hunting was 4 Ikea stools. I had considered buying these from Ikea when I started hunting, but they have a lighter wood finish than I would have liked, and they are currently only available with a white slipcover, really … white? In a kitchen with 3 grubby kids, I swear I would have to wash them everyday!

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But … for $60 per stool on Gumtree, I decided to get them, paint the legs and have new slipcovers made. They were in pretty good condition, but a couple of the slipcovers were stained and yukky, which was really unfortunate because they had a gorgeous blue and white ticking cover originally. I chucked them out and bought a new set from Ikea to get me by until I got a new set made.

I am completely chuffed with them, they fit my brief exactly and after a quick makeover they will give me a  completely customised look for an absolutely incredible price.

Here they are with the white covers, literally 2 days after I put them on they had tomato sauce and milo on them.

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I dyed them in my washing machine with a cheap and effective home dye kit, and for now the green is much more practical.

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I am planning a full makeover of these including pretty new blue covers and a new leg colour, I’m not sure whether I will paint them white or sand them back and stain them darker. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime ….

I have been pretty successful with my Gumtree finds, I often get people telling me they never find anything and I’m so lucky. While I do think luck has a little bit to do with luck, there are also some tips that Gumtree suggests to help you find your perfect piece. I thought y’all might be interested in these and you know I’m a sharer, so here you go …

  1. Do your research: Dedicate time to researching what’s out there, what kind of style you’re looking for as well as the full retail price of similar items (so you can see the savings you can make by buying on Gumtree)
  2. Plan ahead: If you’re overhauling a whole room, or an entire house, make a list of all the key items you need and decide which ones you could save money on. Consider investing more in lounges and dining tables and save on home décor items like plants, throws and cushions
  3. Set your budget: If you’re on a tight budget, research the average price of similar items on Gumtree and set your budget accordingly
  4. Filter by price: If you do need to stick to a budget, Gumtree’s search results allow you to filter by price – so you’re not tempted buy any items out of your price range
  5. Save your searches: If you’re after a specific item or brand, say a Scandinavian style sofa or a certain make of wine fridge, the saved searches tool is ideal. Each time you save a specific keyword and location search, you’ll receive an email update whenever a matching item is listed. You can decide how frequently you want to be informed; either immediately, daily or weekly
  6. Expand your search region: If you can’t find the item you’re looking for in your immediate local area, try expanding your search to include a wider area. Instead of looking just in Newtown, search in Inner Sydney or Sydney region. You may have to travel to pick up an item, but by expanding your search region you’re sure to find even more gems
  7. Use your imagination: Sometimes it does take a little imagination to see an item’s full potential. There may be some signs of wear and tear on the outside, but with a touch up and a coat of paint, it could become a key piece in your home and you’ll forever be able to tell the tale of how you lovingly restored it
  8. Ask questions: While most sellers will include key information, don’t be afraid to contact the seller to ask questions. It’s always worth asking about the condition of the item, why it’s for sale, the dimensions and if there are any receipts or warranties available. It’s easy to contact a seller via the Gumtree My Messages feature.
  9. Negotiate: Don’t be afraid to negotiate a price you think is fair but don’t go too low – nobody likes an unrealistic offer!
  10. Meet in person: We always encourage you to meet face-to-face with the seller so you can inspect the item, with an in-person payment made once the goods have been seen. We have some lovely Gumtree sellers who have plenty of stories to tell you about the item you’re buying. You never know which piece of history you might find on Gumtree.

Ok, now you’re armed with all the tips and tricks, go and find yourself a bargain and don’t forget to tag me on FB or IG so I can marvel at your find!
You can shop here or download the app here for Apple or here for Google Play.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

My bedside tables makeover.

I had a dirty little secret in my bedroom … a set of stained bedside tables that I tried to crop out of nearly every photo I took.  Don’t get me wrong, I love timber pieces of furniture, but these were those indonesian style ones, with the orange/red dark stain. While they might work if you have that kind of decor, it was not the look I was going for. The thing is, they were the perfect size for my bedroom, which was quite a mission considering I have this strange nib wall that only allows me 75cm each side for the bedsides, and I also have a really high bed, so I need something rather high. I found them on Gumtree when we first moved in and had intended on painting them, then life happened and I never got there.

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Then, I got absolutely sick of looking at them and thought I’d try the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I see this paint popping up everywhere, everyone raves about it and I’ve seen so many amazing transformation photos.
So, I thought it was my turn for an amazing transformation.

Firstly, I am no stranger to painting furniture, I have painted heaps of things over the years, some of you might remember the huge 4 posted bed I painted pale blue a few years ago, but I had never used the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
Let me tell you, now I understand what all the fuss is about.

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You don’t need to sand or undercoat first, actually there really isn’t any prep work, just a quick dust off and wipe down. Then you can get straight into the fun part. The paint goes on smooth with great coverage. I only needed 2 coats to cover this horrid red stain! It dries super fast which allows you to complete your project in one day. You can achieve a range of different finishes such as a rustic ‘chippy’ look, a two colour distressed finish, a vintage look or a modern, smooth finish. I went with the simple vintage look.

I applied the Annie Sloan Soft Wax over the top to protect it, which was easily applied with a clean cloth.

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I chose white because let’s be honest, I wasn’t brave enough to do a colour, but trust me, this won’t be the last piece getting the Chalk Paint treatment in my house. Next time I’m going to be a little braver and use a fun colour.

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Secondly, take my advice, if you have been waiting to paint something in your home and keep putting it off because it all sounds too hard … don’t! Grab yourself some Chalk Paint and do it, you’ll be so pleased with yourself.

You can find your nearest Annie Sloan Chalk Paint stockist here.

Happy Painting!

Hayley x

* In the interests of full disclosure, I’d like to inform you that Annie Sloan gifted me my paint supplies to complete this project. I was not paid for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.

My kitchen … the pretty bits!

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I split my kitchen reveal into 2 posts because some of you really want to know about the planning, the process and the products, while others of you are only interested in the pretty things. This post is for the pretty things. If you want to read about the process you can do that here.

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OK, now I have a beautiful, classic white kitchen, but I love a pop of colour in my home so I knew I needed to add that somewhere. I didn’t want to do anything too permanent, but I did want to be a little bit risky. I decided to make my statement with the window treatments. I actually had the white cedar shutters that were originally in this room, but I was shocked how much more light streamed into the room when we removed them so I didn’t want to put them back up. I wanted something that could be completely open during the day and give us some privacy at night. Roman blinds were the best option, so I went about finding the perfect fabric.
One thing I learned during this process is to always order a sample of the fabric if you are choosing something online or from a catalogue. I have 6 metres of another fabric that I ordered and thought would be perfect, but when it turned up it was all wrong. In the end I went with a heavy linen blend with a gorgeous pattern, it falls beautifully and I love the explosion of colour that I can control depending on how far I have the blinds dropped.

Coconut Row Poolside by Den Designs.
Coconut Row Poolside by Dena Designs.

The roman blinds in the kitchen determined the colour palette for everything else, which I love … blue and green. Of course the obvious choice for me was to fill my kitchen with cabbageware and blue and white, which is exactly what I did. I don’t have enough pieces of cabbageware to achieve the look I want yet, but thats half the fun … hunting them down. As for the blue and white, that’s easy!

I already had some beautiful pieces in my home that fit perfectly, I love these little striped jugs, they look like they were made for the kitchen.

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Another favourite ways to add colour to the kitchen is with a big french oven. You see them in all the stylish kitchens on Pinterest and that’s half the reason I wanted one, but honestly they are a dream to cook with too. I leave mine out on the stove top, I also bought a few mini cocottes to display on the range hood and I think they look super cute.

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Also on the range hood is 3 rattan jugs that I’ve had forever, and my boxwood wreath which looks as fresh as the day I got it.

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Probably the thing I was most excited about for decorating the kitchen was this floor rug. It is from the Dash & Albert indoor / outdoor range, I already own one of their rugs along with a door mat and couple of outdoor poufs, so I am familiar with their quality and how easy they are to clean, you literally take them outside and hose them. It is the perfect runner for messy spaces like the kitchen.

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With all the hard lines and cool colours in my kitchen I felt like I needed to add some natural wood elements to warm it up. I chose a chunky elm cutting board in a fun shape that I love, and a pair of salt ‘n’ pepper mills in acacia wood.

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I alway like to have a clock in my kitchen as I often take my watch off when baking. I had my heart set on something timeless in a polished nickel and after quite a long hunt I found the perfect one at Pottery Barn, should have known to look there in the first place, duh!

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Another thing I had a hard time finding was a rattan cutlery holder, I saw them everywhere a while ago when I didn’t need one, then when I decided I needed one I couldn’t find it. Instagram to the rescue and I finally found one, it’s perfect for quick access to the cutlery when the kids are sitting at the island bench (when we get stools).

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Then the necessities, the toaster and the kettle, they aren’t always pretty but I think I found some pretty good looking ones. The toaster is all kinds of awesome with buttons and dials for every setting you can think of, plus it beeps when your toast is ready, very cool.

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Another necessity in the kitchen is tea towels. We all have those yukky stained one that have been used for one too many bolognese clean up, maybe they are your favourites, maybe they dry really well … get rid of them! A dirty tea towel makes your whole kitchen look grubby, they are so inexpensive and easy to replace. I just bought a fresh new set of 4 in a pretty blue colour for the new kitchen.

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And lastly, I always like to have fresh flowers and a beautiful candle burning in my kitchen. I had the most amazing hyacinths for these photos, the scent was incredible and they literally made me smile every time I looked at them.
I change candles often, but one range that is pretty consistent in my home is the Circa Home range, they have a lovely collection of scents that I love.

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Now all I have left to do is hunt down the perfect barstools …

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If there is something I haven’t covered or answered, leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I’ll get back to you.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

Roman Blinds – Coconut Raw Poolside fabric / Dena Designs
French Oven – Chasseur 6.3L in Imperial Blue / Kitchen Warehouse 
Floor Runner – Herringbone Indigo 76 x 243cm / Winton House
Clock – Pocket watch in Nickel / Pottery Barn
Toaster – Kitchenaid Artisan 4-slice in silver / Kitchen Warehouse
Kettle – Kitchenaid Artisan 1.25L / Kitchen Warehouse
Elm board – Elm cheese board Heart / Bloom and Co
Salt Shaker and Pepper Grinder – Williams Sonoma open kitchen / Williams Sonoma
Tea Towels – Multi-pack in Bistro blue / William Sonoma
Cabbageware  – White salad bowl / The Source Homewares
Striped Jug & Bottle – Aegean range / The Source Homewares
Flowers – Hyacinths / Flowerhaul 
Candle – Forest Berries and Fig / Circa Home
Blue Striped Jugs – Handmade on the Gold Coast / Fine Things
Wreath – Preserved boxwood / The Doors of Berry
Cutlery – Matte Black / Reform Merchant