There are a lot of walls here in the Peach Palace, high ones, wide ones, ones that when we walked in were crying out to be treated right. OK, we bashed the crap out of loads of them but once we’d lovingly put them back together we were faced with acres of blank space that quite frankly terrified me. When designing each room, without realising it my starting point was always wallpaper, not a specific colour, not a statement piece of furniture, just a pattern that I loved. Pattern simply makes me happy and one thing is for sure, I’m not scared of it.
The dedicated and determined wallpaper junkie I’ve become has seen me furiously pinning, trawling and spending a fortune on interiors mags all in the pursuit of the perfect papers. As with most of lifes problems, it’s clearly my mothers fault. As a small child, I vividly remember being dragged around Sanderson interiors shops where my mum would hunt through heavy wallpaper books. This was the only way to choose then, now we are so lucky to have such a vast selection literally at our fingertips. One google search will throw you whatever print your heart desires and enable you to easily set your colour, deign and price parameters. I’m going to share with you my absolute favourites of the wallpaper world, 10 of my best. Some of which I’ve used on our precious walls, and some of which I know I’ll be using once I can convince Mr Peach that its time to decorate again……
I’m putting HoH first because quite honestly, if they disappeared I would cry. I would cry those big ploppy snivelly tears that you just cant stop because their prints are my BFFs. There isn’t one that I don’t adore and if I was a willowy size 6 I would dress entirely in their clothes to totally blend in with my wallpaper. Unfortunately I’m size chub so don’t feel that I could quite pull off the same look that HoH are going for, hey ho, in a different life maybe.
I have used HoH in our lounge, hall and in the bedroom, THATS how much I love it.
First up is our lounge in Palmeral Midnight
Our bedroom in Tulipa Pewter
And our hall in Blackthorn Black
If you want some passion in your paper then look no further than Woodchip & Magnolia. Nina the founder has ink running through her veins, she was born for this shizzle and I reckon that there aint a thing that she doesn’t know about the wallpaper game. Gloriously she is also from the North which I totally salute and champion. We have used the Monstera print is green and pink but there are heaps of delicious prints to choose from.
I’ve used an oldie but goodie in Toby Peach’s room. The request for a Blaze & The Monster Machine room was well and truly ignored and I sweet talked him into a camping room knowing full well that the chances of me actually taking him camping were pretty non existent. This left me feeling pretty smug and pretty awful in equal measures. Of course Cole and Son are one of the UK’s wallpaper powerhouses so you could take your pick of beauties but of course I was going to get this one, its called Woods for goodness sake!
Pax & Hart
This is one of the most incredible prints you’ll ever clap your peepers on. The more I look the more I see, I mean badgers, mixed with jellyfish, who knew that would work. It’s a paper that will grow with the littlest Peach for years. Pax & Hart don’t actually make the paper themselves, this Australian artist collaborated with Jimmy Cricket to produce this beauty. I sourced this from Scandiminis
NLXL is a Netherlands based company who have collaborated with Piet Hein Eek, Piet Boon and Paris based store Merci to produce a stunning high end line of wallpaper. I have used the Brooklyn tins paper in our Peach powder room which has no repeat, I repeat, NO REPEAT! Its a bad decorators dream! More gorgeous effect prints too, concrete, marble and one of my favourites, scrapwood.
Oh Lisa, how I heart thee! For your sake its a good job that you live all the way over in that there Sweden because if you lived nearby I suspect I would follow you to the corner shop and ask you to be my friend. There isn’t a pattern that you have designed that I don’t adore and I know that I will use your paper somewhere in the PP. I very nearly chose the frames wallpaper for our study and the turtles wallpaper would look incredible in my bathroom. Lisa also stocks some gorgeous very well priced accessories, the human dog plates are insane.
If you’re not familiar with Timorous Beasties then you are clearly being held in a bunker somewhere against your will. Hold tight, I’ll send help. Seriously though, TB should be donning the wallpaper crown as the paper they produce will have you drowning in your own drool pool. I guess you always know its a bit posh when its called a wallcovering rather than a wallpaper but I have to admit, it’s totally deserving of a more upmarket title. My all time faves are the Kaleido Splatt and the Kaleido Block but I would totally consider selling a kid for the new Storm Blotch paper and fabric.
Rebecca Loftus designs a small selection of bright, bold in your face prints. They are totally ‘right now’ and I would happily live side by side any of them.
I’ll admit to being quite taken to the idea of removable paper, peel on, peel off a la Mr Miyagi. Of course it helps that they have the most cracking selection of prints AND that shipping to the Uk is pretty simples.
Sweet baby cheeses, we got bold colours, we got botanicals, we got insanely cute animals with big doe eyes. What is not to like? I wanna wrap myself up in a big witch and watchman blanket, lock the bin lids out and have me a big fat G&T (or perhaps more aptly a can of lilt).
The observant among you will notice that this is actually number 11. Come on, give me a break, you cant expect a full on paper addict to just pick 10 so I’m sneaking in Sandberg, another Swedish company as a little extra because I know you’ll thank me for it.
So, be bold, be brave, have the courage to take on the pattern and win because if walls could talk I honestly don’t reckon that they would be asking to be bathed in plain paint, they’d be begging to be wrapped in a big colourful blanket of pattern.
Images C/O Chasing paper NYC, NLXL, Lisa Bengtsson. Timorous Beasties, The Loft & Us, The Witch & Watchman and Sandberg
There are a number of things that were unplanned in this renovation. The most significant of which was going so far over budget that cereals all round as an evening meal has become quite acceptable. I certainly never planned a secret room yet here we are 9 months later with quite possibly my favourite feature.
Doors were quite some issue when we moved in, as in the sheer obnoxious excess of them, 27 in total and some of them entirely pointless. Doors to get to doors and doors linking bedrooms for example. Now, I love my kids but there is absolutely no reason why I would want to make it easier for them to poke their grubby fingers in my face at 4 am. Wherever possible the pointless slash redundant slash odd doors were blocked up giving me one less reason to yell at my kids for not putting wood in th’ole. Having gone a bit bricking up crazy our study (which used to be the pantry) lost both its entry from the kitchen and it’s exit into the living room. Small problem, we need a door. Cue eye rolling and pen tapping all round. We had enough of them to put back in, it’s just I had no interest in looking at another one.
Channelling my inner Miss Moneypenny, the idea of a secret door was knocked into the mix. Clearly Mr Peach having always fancied himself a touch Bond (I reckon he’s more waft of milk tray man) was on board and our poor joiner Steve’s job description evolved from prolific paneller to actual superhero. How he has made it work I have no idea. He turned up one day in his batmobile (i kid you not he has an actual batman van). He was armed with wood and some tools and somehow he created this.
And here hidden away lies our study. I’m not going to lie, there is very little studying that goes on in this small room. In fact I’m thinking of renaming it the ‘hide’ because that is mostly what I’m doing when I’m in there. I have been known to shut myself in there with a toffee crisp, a cuppa and some fancy earplugs and ignore the bin lids demands for dairylea dunkers and CBeebies. It’s also incredibly impractical, the littlest Peach’s favourite game is ‘smashing all the lovely stuff on the bottom shelf’ meaning that those shelves remain particularly bare at ankle biter level. I will unashamedly admit it though, I think it’s really bloody cool and when the coolest thing I do is get the fish fingers out, I’m embracing this feature with every bone in my body!
The study itself is another one of those rooms I wasn’t afraid of going bold in. It actually all started with the desk. Incidentally, it was using the #desk that got me shadow banned on Instagram, who knew that was one of the saucier hashtags! I found this reclaimed beauty on gumtree from a guy in Doncaster who was obsessed with restoring vintage steel furniture. I’m suspecting he was single due to his actual aroma of metal but this guy had a passion, one that I was willing to take full advantage of.
Upon delivery of the desk he just so happened to have a stash of vintage lockers in the depths of his van. There wasn’t a chance I was going to let him go without leaving one so I traded him some old metal pigeon holes and some fruit cake as part payment and he was off. Filling a teeny room with metal required the softness of velvet and this frame chair from Made.com topped with a cowboykate sheepskin ticked all the boxes
My ability to kill any living plant within hours had me looking at different ways to satisfy my need for botanicals in this room. There are some incredible bold leafy prints out there but this one from Woodchip and magnolia fulfilled my foliage requirements a treat and scratched my green itch with zero need for watering.
There is still plenty to fill this room with, I guess priority would be filling it with work but when all your doing in here is ignoring your kids and daydreaming you’re Miss Moneypenny then there’s really no point? I’ll put some sensible stuff in here soon. A printer, a few biros but until then I’ll just make do with a toffee crisp.
When you live with a colour for a while it kind of gets under your skin, you absorb it, it enters your pores like a dose of smog and clings to you. That’s what’s happened with peach, it’s found a small place deep within and left it’s peachy imprint all over my vital organs. There wasn’t a chance that I could delete it entirely, there was always a plan to keep a shrine to the Palace’s peachy past and it didn’t take long to work out where that was going to be.
Amidst all of the fifty shades of peach tut, the swags, the carpets, the wall lights and the panelling lay an absolute peach of a find. Like an oversized treasure chest, the downstairs bog housed a complete gem. An incredible marble sink in the perfect shade of, you guessed it, peach. Now, I know I was wrong but initially I hated this monstrosity. My confused mind was distracted by the mother load of 80’s going on around it. Other than the sink there was nothing instagrammable about this room, in fact it committed a number of interior crimes, the worst of which was a hideous green deep pile carpet. Permeated by countless particles of pensioners pee, this was quickly disposed which left the sink to shine in all its glory and ignite a little spark from within. Thus the peach powder room was born.
Sacrificially, the room gave up its only natural light source (its window) to the beast of an extension to its rear so the first problem to tackle was the light. Mr Peach campaigned for the ‘painting it white’ approach to adding brightness whereas I was keen to embrace the dark. What’s the point in painting a room white when it will only reflect the dark and be dull. There was less than no discussion before I just bought the Farrow & Ball Pitch Black and told the decorator to get jiggy and paint out the woodwork too.
The whole concept of the room hinged around an epic nod to the peach. It was utterly not enough to just paint part of it a colour, I needed a statement pattern on the walls, the ceilings were high and the room could totally take it. Those of you that have ever searched ‘peach’ on wallpaper direct (and I’m guessing it’s not the sites most popular search term) will know that the results are pretty darned sparse and so I had to spread my search wings wide. Four beauties made it to the shortlist, flamingos from wallpaper direct, Brooklyn tin tiles from house of Sloane, terrazo from Daniela tasca and Versailles from Cole and Son.
The Brooklyn tins took the gold medal due to its perfect position on the peach side of pink and its marriage to Pitch Black required a threesome flooring match. This came in the form of the kimono tile from marakech design a saucy monochrome hexagonal number that only good old Ned was brave enough to tackle.
Now, I bloody love Ned but thank the interior Lord that I posted this sneaky update on Instagram because imagine if I hadn’t? A whopper of a thank you to @louise10heart for spotting the Ned slip up here pre grouting! Can you imagine how crazy annoying that would have been if it had gone unnoticed!? I began to seriously reconsider Ned’s previous upgrade of biscuit from a bourbon to a cookie!
The ceiling I chose to paint out in peach although this came under the disguise of heirloom apricot from Valspar, a decision which caused the very sharp intake of breath from our decorator. It brings me back to what I harp on at all the time, if it doesn’t work or you hate it you can paint over it, it’s that simple. Live a little folks!
Then came the exciting part, the lighting and in a room with no windows, it’s truly important. Those of you that follow my Instagram will know that I’m rather partial to a touch of neon. Actually I lie, to me there is no space that cant be improved with a dash of it. I’m obsessed and would have a subtle flash of it in everywhere if my budget allowed. Thankfully I raided the bin lid’s piggy bank whilst they were sleeping and put it toward quite frankly one of my all time favourite pieces within these walls. My ridiculously cute neon peach from Bag & Bones a light that makes you feel like you’re OUT out on a big night even when you’re simply doing you’re early morning business. It’s pretty much like I always feel that whatever time of day it is, this mildly middle aging body is totally working it and perpetually ready to fire out a twerk or two. Disclaimer, by firing out a twerk I totally mean creaking whilst gingerly elevating myself from the throne on the way to the kettle and the biscuit tin (via a handwash at the peach marble sink obvs).
As much as I love neon, it needs a little sensible lighting to add to its mix which meant a trip to my ‘go to’ lighting destination. I adore Yorkshire and one of the reasons I do is the amazing Red Brick Mill. This huge converted mill houses some of the Norths most stylish interiors concessions which includes a Heals (the only one North of London). As much as I want to keep this info to myself I feel it’s time to share. This concession has THE most amazing bargain lighting department, it seems there is always a Tom Dixon bargain to be had which I have taken complete advantage of. These gorgeous cell lights were bought for a fraction of their full price and they cast amazing patterns next to the rose tinted junk shop find mirror. To compliment the rest of the lighting the room needed a statement pendant. This gorgeous beaded chandelier was from Debenhams and I think it does a rather lovely job of well, shedding light and holding its own in a rather loud room.
A few faux botanicals and a ‘peachy’ print from Atelier Big Jon complete the room and that my friends is just about it. I get that this space is pretty marmite, I understand that you’ll either love it or hate it but if you can’t go bold in one of the smallest rooms in the house then where can you?
So, after banishing the colour from every other room, I’m safe in the knowledge that when pantone announce Peach as colour of the year (which in my totally under qualified opinion I’m predicting btw) I at least have this one to hang out in.
I’ve never been a trend setter, the one that stands out, nor have I been that person with the enviable style. The past 39 years have seen me very comfortable nestled well and truly within the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had my talents. In my younger years that included just about getting away with wearing purple Doc Martens and an army jacket. I also managed to vaguely rock the natural curl pre the invention of frizz ease although looking back on photos of myself I’m not quite sure I pulled these off as well as I remember.
More recently there are quite a few things I’ve found myself insanely good at, these include
Being at least 12 minutes late for everything. Having a permanent snot/food/unidentifiable substance stain on my left shoulder and not being able to do the top button on my jeans. I’m also great at only dressing in supermarket bought clothes and not turning heads.
In total contrast I grew up with a mother that oozed style and effortless glamour. Whether it be fashion or interiors she just knew how to work it.
Seriously, imagine growing up with a glamazon like 👆🏻as a mum.
What I’m trying to say is that I’ve found this small sprinkling of insta interest quite a shock. When I started my Instagram account less than a year ago it was purely an outlet for me to document the enormous Peachy project we were undertaking. A bit like a baby’s memory book but for bricks and mortar. And dust, lots of dust. I never thought it would be popular and I certainly didn’t think I’d be bothered about the opinions of strangers. I never imagined that the affirmation of people I’d never met would matter. It turns out that it totally does because you know what, it’s given me all kinds of happy feels.
The interiors insta community is the next level in positivity, something which I feel is missing from other social media platforms. On the whole, if you’ve nothing nice to say on Instagram, nothing is said at all. Encouragement and support is overflowing and the amount that I have received has been incredible. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like most days I’m just winging it. This applies to most apsects of my life but with no interior design training or experience, in the interiors world I quite literally have NO idea what I’m doing. What Instagram has done is given me the confidence to do whatever the heck I feel like. A few years ago there is no way I would have clashed patterns and painted woodwork dark, not a chance I would have rescued old furniture from skips or paint a room with no windows black, yet here I am, interiors obsessed and totally confident in following my own path. Here are a few examples of interiors decisions I would never had made B.I. (before insta).
So I now find myself in this strange position, just outside the crowd and nowhere near as uncomfortable as I thought I’d be. People are actually reading what I’m writing and liking what I’m showing and I’m not going to lie, that feels great! I am so grateful for this amazing community that we have and I genuinely do a happy dance every time anybody likes, comments or messages. For any of you questioning your posts or your style please don’t. Whatever your style you will find your tribe, the people who will love what you do, go for it! Paint you walls whatever shade makes you feel happy, surround yourself with quirks that floats your boat, hell even paint it floor to ceiling peach if you like, we want to see it. who knows where it will take you………..
As always, thanks for reading (still cant believe anybody does) if you’ve enjoyed it I would greatly appreciate a cheeky little vote for the Amara IBA awards just click here
Let’s face it, I never assumed that the battle for the pink bath would be easy but being more determined than my kids when they want cake, I was quietly confident it was a battle I would eventually win. Let’s just say that mine and Mr Peach’s idea of a perfect bathroom is somewhat different. Whilst I’d spent months dreaming of brass fittings and roll tops, he would be totally thrilled with an echoey white tiled shower room with perhaps the ‘luxury’ addition of a urinal. You see Mr Peach is no interior risk taker, he’s still stuck in the grey black red combo off of 1980’s boys bedrooms and that’s a colour palette that was going nowhere near my bathroom when I had this in mind.
The room that was to be our ensuite was originally a bedroom so we had to start from scratch. Whilst redesigning the upstairs we had the option of having a smaller ensuite and letting the twins keep a bigger room. Obviously we didn’t do that! I considered sacrificing my bathroom of dreams for all of 4 seconds and then remembered the last 7 years of sweeping up cheerios and the lack of size 10 jeans in my floordrobe and immediately decided against it. I was totally worth it.
This was our floor plan before. A long dark corridor upstairs which my mum kindly likened to an institute. A family bathroom to service the Liliputians and a coffin sized ensuite, all just crying out for a big lump hammer.
And thus, project bathroom began. Much to my shock, very little resistance was shown by Mr Peach after the initial shock. I showed him the mood board and dare I say it, I think there was a flicker of a smile. Of course I waited until 9pm on a Friday evening when he was already half a bottle of red down but still, I totally took that as a win.
I started with what proved to be the hardest bathroom challenge known to mankind. The hunt for the ever elusive brass fittings. Five minutes on Pinterest and you’re drowning (fnar) in gorgeous brass taps and showers, my hopes were high but my budget was tight and each click lead me over the Atlantic meaning enormous shipping costs and the dreaded customs charges. It’s got to be said, the USA are killing it in that department with a huge range as standard but here in the UK it’s like searching for unicorns. Taps weren’t an issue, Bert and May do some corkers but I wanted taps, bath mixers and a shower and getting a set to work together proved as rare as getting a full nights sleep in our house. Then it happened, I stumbled on British company Living House who sold stylish ranges of brass fittings. Let’s be real, at no point did I feel I’d grabbed a bargain but neither did I have to sell a kid to fund them #win.
I chose the the coco range which you can find here. FYI if I did manage to sell a kid I would also add the coco antique brass towel rail. Trust me, I tried to sneak it on the dreaded spreadsheet but it got instantly spat back out. I was half expecting the computer program to actually do a little lol.
I covered my tile obsession in my last post but the undisputed winners were the moonrise cement tile in ash from Marrakech Design and a version of the subway tile laid in a herringbone pattern and dark grouted. The latter came from an Italian company called SELF. If your wondering they are 5cm x 20cm (I searched for hours for the perfect tile ratio).
Now I never saw myself as a panelling kind of gal but the hallway of the Peach Palace is smothered in it and that’s the room that got me hook line and sinker. Steve our Yes man joiner was totally on board and literally within a day the panelling was up for less than the cost of fancy pants wallpaper #nonamesmentioned. I wanted a colour that ‘manned up’ the pink bath so went for a dark denimy blue called Kigali by Paint and Paper Library
Which brings us to my marmite pink bath. Love it or hate it it was the first piece of my bathroom jigsaw and I reckon it’s a keeper. Ok, there was that time during fitting when I walked in and thought it had morphed into a dead pig but that was just a minor blip……….
Once righted, it stood well against the deep tones of the panelling and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief. The bath in question is from the Salcombe from the Cast Iron Bath Company and I’ll admit, there was a slight mistake in the shade of pink that was delivered. I requested the pale pink shade from the previous moodboard but CIBC delivered this much ‘pinker’ shade. Mistakes are only a problem if not dealt with correctly and thankfully this has been. The company has offered to come and re paint the bath in the perfect pink which I will do once the dust had finally settled. Couldn’t be happier with how I was dealt with. A company that you can recommend even when it hasn’t gone smoothly is a true 🙌🏻🙌🏻.
Our wash stand was an old Edwardian chest of drawers which came from our last house. It was stripped and painted and topped in a cheap marble offcut from our local yard. Couldn’t resist a bit of Buster and Punch for some luxe glam in the handle department which I think totally makes that unit. It was then crowned with a stone basin from Lusso Stone and Fanny was your proverbial Aunt.
I had a mega lighting lust list which which we clearly couldn’t afford. First and foremost my bones ached for a Klay Life chandelier. Obviously that was never going to happen so an understated bead chandelier from good old M&S was on the sub bench. It stepped in to compliment the Cedar and Moss wall lights that totally give me all the happy feels every time my weary eyes catch a glimpse of them.
The Brucey Bonuses of the room (God rest his soul) come in the form of an amazing wall hanging from Whisker row a cracking Silence print from French for Pineapple, and an ibride tray from House of Sloane. The hunt for a heaxagonal mirror was nearly as fruitless as the brass fittings but Fern and Grey came up trumps with this saucy little number. The bloomingville brass circular shelf was actually meant for the living room but I think it looks just peachy in here and makes the view of a bog look well, a little less toilety.
So there you go, in the battle of the pink bath Queen Peach totally triumphed and whilst Im not one to lord it above him, I totally do. Everyday. I’d like to say there went on to be more interior battles that Mr Peach won but we all know that’s not true right?
Emily from @pinkhouseliving totally winning the brass fittings game. She’s only gone and got the towel rail too. I wonder if she used to have 3 kids………….
Beck AKA @malmo _and _moss and her herringbone tiles gave me all the heart eyes. I’m also going to ask her for a lesson in effortless flannel styling. Moss! Where’s your towel with mascara stains and foundation sludge?
I remember this shot from @rvk_loves stopping me in my tracks. Just perfect and I love how they did it themselves too. Total inspiration right there 👌🏻
It’s all about the money, it’s all about the dum dum du du du dum…….. and if we had more of it I think I would have totally been led down this shiny path. This image from Pinterest is a boat I’d like to float in.
So again, thank you for reading, please don’t be shy would love to answer any questions. I’m also blown away to have been nominated for an amara iba in the best diy and home improvement category. If you think I’ve improved the Peach Palace it would be peachy if you’d take 2 seconds to vote here THANK YOU!!
#Ivechanged I used to be the person that flicked through Vogue and Elle and drank up the fashion, lusting over what I’d love to add to my wardrobe. Ok, I’ll admit it, it was totally Grazia and the Next catalogue and that wardrobe I spoke about is actually a ‘floordrobe’ covering the entire surface area of our bedroom but you get it right? Never did I think that it would be a copy of the Fired Earth brochure on my bedside table. It reminds me of the time I was making the bed, reached under Mr Peach’s pillow to feel a magazine and horrified at the thought of what it could be. It turned out to be a copy of Autotrader, seems we’ve all changed.
I’m not sure how it began, how the tile obsession trickled in but it did, it has and it’s here to stay. I look back at the bathroom in our last house, clean (sometimes), neutral (bland) and functional (uninspiring) and I chose it. Yep, be it 8 years ago, I picked every piece in that room. Like I said, I’ve changed.
I guess it started with the subway tile, the subtle, versatile, trustworthy subway tile that we’ve been drip fed for a while now. They are everywhere and being a pattern junkie I’m drawn to them. More importantly they are in copious amounts of bars and restaurants and it seems I frequent these establishments too often. If subway tiles were narcotics, they’d be the at the booze and fags end of the scale, easily accessible, affordable and entirely acceptable.
My obsession saw me quickly make my way through the Class Cs and Bs of the tile world, the ceramics and limestones, the stone and mosaic until I stumbled on the Class A, the cement tile……..
As mentioned in my last post I live pretty close to the Yorkshire Bert & May yard. Cue persuasive tactics on Mr Peach to accompany me in the drizzle one Friday morning. I will admit to promising him a number of things during this build that I just haven’t followed through with. Let’s just skirt over that and hope he’s not waiting over my shoulder with an enormous list because I’ve definitely got a headache. Anyways, I got him there nonetheless and while Mr Peach sat in the car browsing webuyanycardotcom I obsessed over the unimaginable loveliness that was the selection of cement tiles.
The look the feel the provenance just had me totally hooked and there I was, eyes all agog knowing that I would do anything to make these mine! My first class A’s were promptly ordered for our fireplace and the hunt began for more.
We had 4 bathroom floors and a kitchen splash back to adorn so the hunt was on. I’ve no idea how I stumbled upon Marrakech Design but I did and I fell for their hexagon tile like I did for Vincent the French exchange student a la 1992. My love however has already proved longer lasting as my tiles have yet to dump me by the end of the Summer #stilltime. So here they were, a ridiculously lust worthy selection of hexagons with a pattern lay combination that literally blew my tiny mind.
Along with the empty promises to Mr Peach lies a whole load more teeny white lies that have been told about the price of materials. The tiles are no exception. Despite a decent deal being negotiated in my perfect Swedish (fnar), I definitely sacrificed a small portion of the twin’s university savings to fund my obsession but they were delivered and to return them would cost even more so they were here to stay.
I chose the dandelion blue and moonrise ash for the bathrooms, the kimono monochrome for the Peach powder room and the kimono shades of grey for our splash back. I also made the sensible choice of some cheaper ceramic tiles from Walls And Floors for the utility.
Then, along came Ned. Ned was our tiler in a shining transit. He came and there was no teeth sucking and no head shaking (a little scratching mind) but he didn’t run for the door like the first tiler. Ned is the Dumbledore of the tiling world and literally performed tiling magic on our surfaces. Now, I’m convinced that beneath that smile he secretly wanted to punch me in the face for choosing such complicated tiles but he trooped on through and under the dulcet tones of heart FM, he tile pimped the Peach Palace. Whilst I’m pretty sure I’m not on Ned’s Christmas card list, I am 100% sure that I would recommend him in a heartbeat.
The cement tiles feel lovely to walk on but I’m not going to lie, they are extremely sensitive. Something which isn’t helpful in a house of 5 willy wielding boys. I’m forever shouting at them to aim perfectly. They also require a special cleaning product and will mark permanently if even a drop of regular detergent gets on them but I’ve never been one to make the most practical choices and it’s definitely worth the end result. So here I am now, a little sad that I’ve no more surfaces to tile and reluctantly the Fired Earth catalogue has been replaced by some more high brow bedtime reading (OK magazine). I will do a full reveal of the bathroom very soon but for now, there you have it. My name is Katie and I’m a tileaholic.
Again, thank you so much for your support and kind words about this blog. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read please consider voting for me to make the shortlist at the amara iba’s 👇🏻👇🏻
The living room is a special room to me, it’s the room where the reinvention of the Peach Palace began. It’s the first room where I was bold enough to take a few risks which in turn gave me the confidence to do the same throughout the house. Despite resistance from Mr Peach we tackled this room before any of the major build began and as transformations go, I’m pretty darn pleased with this one. It’s on a par with the time I caught viral meningitis after a holiday in Ibiza and left hospital 2 stone lighter and with a healthy tan making it look like I’d spent 3 weeks at a Mediterranean Juicing retreat. I had never looked better just like my living room.
Those of you who are new to my blog and insta might wonder why I call this place the Peach Palace. Well, here you go, trust me, this is a fraction of it’s full peachiness and here is how the living room used to look. Have to say though, maybe they were ahead of the times in painting the ceiling darker even if it’s is still Peach.
The Smith family had been using the room as their formal dining room which was likely to be its original use. There was entry via a serving door from the pantry as well as the hall and no real focus to the room. Seeing as though dining in a house with 4 kids is an experience akin to feeding pigs on a farm I was confident we wouldn’t be requiring a place to formally dine so nabbed it for our living room. After a quote to replace the windows made me do a little bit of sick, we decided it would be way cheaper just to keep the heating on constant until we are finally taken out of the house in a box. Wanting to do our small bit for the planet we thought installing a fire might be a little less excessive. Thankfully it was a relatively straight forward process seeing as though there was an external wall. False chimney breast, external flue and a wood burning stove all done in a few days. We also bricked up the doorway from the pantry as this was to become our new office.
Then came the fun bit. There was always going to be blue and it was always going to be dark but committing to the actual shade and brand cost me a small fortune in samples and nearly a husband. Little Greene Hicks blue got the ticks and Mr Peach was finally happy I’d stopped haemorrhaging money on tester pots. On our decorators advice due to it being scrubbable we colour matched with Valspar. Wrong choice due to the whiff but don’t want to bang on about it too much as still hoping Valspar will answer my emails and put it right! Until then it may look lovely but in the hot weather it’s like relaxing in a litter tray!
I committed to 5 treat pieces, things that I knew I would never fall out of love with.
Treat 1 Pink neon
My birthday and Christmas present to myself came in the form of an amazing neon sign from @bagandbones. Gigi was a pleasure to work with and the result is a corker of a sign that transforms the look of the house from the outside from ‘vicarage’ to the site of a secret rave. It’s definitely a rubber necker for passers by and I love that it probably means diddly squat to anyone else.
Treat 2 The Loaf Bagsie blue velvet sofa.
Now, Mr Peach is extremely sensible, he’s the kind of guy that keeps the protective film on his iPhone and he has actually lined the seats in our VW transporter with old carpet to protect them from the attack of the kids in the form of yoghurt, snot and Happy Meal grease. As you can imagine, velvet ain’t the most sensible choice with 4 kids 6 and under so I literally had to put the thumb screws on to persuade him on this one. I can’t tell you what he was promised in return but safe to say, I succeeded and I ‘bagsied’ myself a gorgeous sofa. Seriously though, i don’t really believe in waiting for something you love because it’s not practical, you’ll probably have gone off it by the time it’s suitable for your lifestyle so just go for it and settle on the fact your kids will get yelled at more!
Yorkshire has many things, puddings, rain, the best tea bags in the actual world AND a Bert & May yard. I got to go and have a proper mooch, I totally think this is where my tile obsession began. I’d seen a few fireplaces tiled but the majority were on the hearth or around the mantel. I wanted something that would that would make you look make you stare, make the barber cut yer hair as my kids would say. I chose the Flecha tiles in black and Brighton stone which I think look the bomb.
Treat 4 Colour pop chair and footstool
There isn’t a thing I don’t love about the colour pink, millennial, fuschia, calamine, I’ll take them all. Thankfully I have another half who is totally in touch with his feminine side and doesn’t mind a splash off any shade of it so happy days. The pink needed a friend though and MY friend @mayskiesstudio convinced me that emerald green was to be it’s buddy. So there I am again attracted to inappropriate velvet like a wasp to jam so sod it I thought, we can make the lounge child free yah? Well, the pink came in the form of the Descartes chair from sofa.com and its amigo the green ottoman from footstools and more. The fabric is a clarke&clarke green velvet and before you say it, yes I know I should’ve take my shoes off.
Treat 5 Bar Cart
As the invoices came flooding through on this whole project, a bar cart seemed a decent investment. It was clearly going to get used a lot whilst we got bat faced to forget about the cash flow right? I convinced myself it was a necessity and here she is, my 5th baby. Still got a way to go with the styling but with a one year old whose favourite game is let’s smash mum’s favourite things. It’s low on the priority list!
So all was looking good until my pattern itch just didn’t feel scratched. I’m a pattern junkie, I would love to be all scandi hygge and feel calmed by being bathed in whitewash walls. The opposite is true for me, I literally can’t get comfortable unless there is print around me so House of Hackney stepped up to scratch that itch. The Palmeral midnight did it for me, the perfect shade to go with the Hicks Blue (valspar colour rip off) so that was put in the alcoves.
The windows were a little trickier, the peach swags that had adorned those windows nearly decapitated the decorator on the way down and there was almost a ceremonial burning of them in the garden after I struggled to even give them away. Those beasts are now gone thank goodness but that left a budget busting problem. The windows are 4m x 2m and blow a gale through them as if they were made of cling film. Whilst I would have loved floor to ceiling curtains the sheer amount of fabric and the costs meant dress curtains and blinds were marginally less crippling. Without being able to resist a bit of pattern I went for this subtle gold toned animal print for the blinds and a deep blue silk (disclaimer totally not silk) fabric for the curtains.
My lovely lighting pal lovefrankie (yes frankie, I really do love you) sorted out both the pendant and the camouflaged print on print drum lampshade. Some Abigail aherne toucan lights and swing arm wall mounted lamps finish off the lighting.
Without realising I have become a hexa-addict and couldnt resist this hexagonal mirror. I’d initially planned to put it above the fireplace but it just looked too much with the wallpaper and tiles so moved it to the opposite wall.
Throughout this renovation I fell a little bit in love with my joiner. Not in a fanny gallops kind of way, just in the PHWOAR, how can you make no job unachievable way. Go check out my secret bookshelf door on Instagram and you’ll get the picture. Anyways, after knocking up a fireplace from a quick sketch on the back of some mdf I asked him for some shelves in the other alcove. Contrary to Mr Peach’s belief we genuinely don’t have enough ‘stuff’ to fill them so these remain empty right now. I’d love to fill them with all of my books but I’ll be honest with you, a tattered copy of a Marian Keys novel and Adrian Mole isn’t the shelfie dream so naked shelves are the way forward for now.
So there you have it the, there is the kid free living room that the kids go in ALL of the time. They go in there with chocolate all over their cute (said through gritted teeth) faces. They bounce on my velvet sofa and probably wipe bogies all over my cushions. And yes, I yell a lot but oh my it’s worth it.
Thank you to @melissaphotographyleeds for the photographs and to @mayskiesstudio for all the help and advice.
Now if you’re still reading THANK YOU! If you enjoyed it please consider voting for me in the Amara IBAs. I’m totally honoured to be nominated and I’m up against the big guns here. It only takes two seconds and you can cast you vote here 👇🏻👇🏻
Apologies for my absence recently. After hitting the ground running with this blogging business, it turns out that there is only so much one human can do. My job, the renovation and having more kids than the old woman who lived in a shoe all seem to have got in the way. Seriously though, WHAT a shoe this old woman has now though. I won’t lie, it’s not been easy, I have walked very close to the edge on a number of occasions. I have cried, tossed, turned and gone fully bat shit mental at people I shouldn’t have but now the dust has settled (hmmmmm, I’ll get to that later) I can honestly say it was totally worth it. We entered into the renovation with an actual spring in our step, here we are now limping and hobbling somewhat, wiser, poorer and far less naive than we were a year ago and it got me thinking. What did I really wish I knew those 12 short months ago?
There will be dust.
Obvious right? Yes, but no one warns you about the ever appearing dust, the dust that you find down your bra at the end of the day weeks after the builders have gone. Dust really is the gift that just keeps on giving. Don’t get me wrong, I love a present as much as the next person but I’d choose any scented candle or bunch of flowers (even garage carnations) over dust bogies and perpetual grimy surfaces. I’m pretty sure there is no cure for this problem just be prepared for its onslaught!
You need to start at the end.
So, you tell yourself not to get carried away. There are more important things than soft furnishings, lighting and furniture right? WRONG, you couldn’t be more wrong. I was told by Mr Peach not to get too excited, to stop designing every room but the first fix of the electrics happens way sooner than you think and I found myself making big decisions in a rush. I never realised that at first fix you have to make final choices on the position of every socket, light fitting and for us, radiators. This means you need to have planned where your furniture will be positioned, where you will keep your small appliances in the kitchen and where your lamps will go. Think about whether you would like wall lights, once walls are plastered it’s pretty hard to then add them. At first fix for our bathroom wall lights, our electrician asked for the mirror that was going between the two lights so he could position the cables correctly. Obviously I hadn’t chosen a mirror, or the lights, or the basin at that point so felt like a right wally
You will likely want to punch your spouse in the face.
Or divorce, or dismember them and bury them in the foundations. Ok, I only thought about that once but seriously, this has been a whole other level of stress and pressure. Over the last six months despite having a really solid relationship we have always been ten seconds away from a row. Looking back now it was entirely ‘build related aggression’ or B.R.A. Finances, lack of quality time together, stress of choices and just the general strain of dealing with problems all contribute. This lead to a typical conversation about what we wanted for tea easily spiralling into I want to rip your limbs off and feed them to the dog. Ok, I’m exaggerating but you get the point. B.R.A. is the bad friend on your shoulder always pushing you toward that argument, be aware of it before you find yourself needing to dig a hole under the patio.
If it’s less than a grand you’ll think it’s a bargain.
I’m trying to remember that point at which my concept of value changed, the point at which I felt relief at something ‘only’ costing £900. Even if you don’t have expensive tastes, the costs of renovating is eye watering. Everything seems to be ‘about a grand’. Now I’m not being all ‘I remember the good old days when a curly wurly was 11p’ but seriously, when did stuff get so expensive? Which leads me to my next point…………..
You will consider selling an organ (or a child).
You know the feeling, you open up a copy of living etc and immediately covet every gorgeous piece on the page. I used to get a similar feeling about babies when we were first married. I’d see a newborn and my ovaries would immediately start clanging. Now it’s an internal interiors bell that goes off when I see something that I know would look great. Some of those extras will make your home but if buying them means an argument or any other sacrifice then wait. I wrote a (long) wish list with my most lusted at the top. I’ve only ticked a few off but you can’t have everything. Besides, I’m unlikely to get much for my gin pickled kidneys and grubby kids anyway!
You need to LOVE your builders
I have spent more time with our builders recently than I’ve spent with my friends, family and maybe even my kids. It’s no good just getting a recommendation, when you meet them you need to really like them. You will need to have difficult conversations with them, you’ll need to ask favours of them and you’ll need them to be on your side when dealing with other tradesmen. All of this is really tough unless you have a great relationship to start with. We totally lucked out with our builders, so much so that I genuinely felt sad the day they finished, hell, they even came to Mr Peach’s 40th party. Just choose wisely or you’ll be digging a bigger hole under that patio!
Happy renovating everyone
It’s been a while since my last post, possibly because I am so densely covered with dust that it’s difficult to move or perhaps its because I’m too busy looking for my sanity that seems to have been mislaid under a pile of rubble somewhere. Either way, Ive got approximately 4 free seconds so here i am, dust and all.
It has begun and by IT, I mean the epic project that is seeing our lovely house pretty much being beaten up. If houses could talk it would be weeping right now, only thing keeping me going is knowing that in a few months it would be saying thank you. Branco, Aleks and their team from www.aboutthebuild.co.uk actually started externally in early December. They started with a bang and so far they are still banging. Plenty of bodies on site every day including weekends and much to the delight of the 3 blue mini peaches a vast array of machinery. Being December the diggers were met with excited squeals of ‘look what Santa bought us for Christmas’ Erm, manage your expectations lads, Santa’s skint this year!
And yep, it happened THAT quickly. I literally just went to work, came back and it was like they’d been at it for weeks. Short break for Christmas (the ‘break’ for us actually meant packing up our entire house and shrink wrapping everything in sight) and then back on it at the beginning of Jan. At this point we admitted defeat and got the heck out of there. Besides, the builders were costing us a fortune in sugar, 4 spoons, really?
Within what seemed like minutes after we moved out, the peach was being extracted from the inside. Along with the peach came plaster, ceilings, the news of a re-wire and any sniff of a contingency fund we thought we had. At our last visit Mr Peach and I were trying to hide the worried looks from the kids as it dawned on us just how big a project it actually is. No wall floor or ceiling has been left untouched. Couldn’t worry about it for too long though, too busy stopping the kids from falling through the floorboards to the kitchen below. No need to call social services though, crisis averted and we’ve decided the Peach Palace is no longer child friendly and shan’t be bringing them back until it’s done. Besides, don’t think the twins share the vision as us. When asked what they thought of it Felix’ exact words were ‘they’ve basically trashed it’
So where are we now? I am mainly doing an average job multitasking the heck out of life. Imagine kid feeding, bum wiping, story reading, teeth drilling, bathroom choosing, nappy changing, tile selecting, budget managing and all of this whilst I’m simultaneously fishing down the back of the sofa in the hope I’ll find enough spare change to fund this project. Basically I’m the frazzled looking one you’ll see at Sainsbury’s with too many kids, often with a snot smear on my shoulder, always with bags under my eyes. Mr Peach is the one with a furrowed brow constantly with his head in the finance spreadsheet. You’ll hear him muttering the word budget a lot alongside lots of head shaking. But hey, this is fun right? Right? At least we can finally say goodbye to the 50 shades of peach. I’ll leave you with a little Peach tribute while I go and make myself a nice cuppa. With no sugars!
Why hello, Queen Peach here. I had wanted to be wowing you all with before and after photos of the peach lounge transformation. Instead I’m sat here eating revels trying to convince Mr Peach to put up ournew curtains for the final photos, he is pretending not to feel my eyes boring into the side of his head. If I could crunch these revels harder to get his attention I would but I keep getting blasted coffe ones! I give up, instead let me share our ideas.
Although we well and truly love our new house, deciding to buy the Peach Palace wasn’t a simple decision. The financial commitment was huge and it would take us further from our beloved Chapel Allerton and the space although vast just doesn’t work for a growing family. Add into the mix three cheeky littlies on the outside and one on the inside desperate to make her appearance. The upshot was a serious case of mum brain rendering me incapable of making any kind of decision. Luckily help was at hand in the form of a man with a plan. In swoops Ed Park from www.parkdesigned.com who totally made us feel that anything and everything was possible. SOLD
The plans started instantly and rapidly evolved to us not being able to think about anything else. We knew we wanted to create an open plan kitchen living are at the back but also totally rearrange the space upstairs also.The house was built in 1901 when the requirements of a growing family were somewhat different to ours now so knew that extracting what we need from the house whilst retaining its core was going to be tough. This is what we started with.
There were a few decisions that came pretty easily. The garage at the back of the garden needed to be demolished before it demolished itself on someone’s small head, so it made sense to re site a new garage integral to our house.
And for the ground floor simple, knock down the honky conservatory and create a light bright kitchen diner with a new door providing direct access to the playroom. Convert the pantry into an office and add a boot room/utility and new shower room at the back of the garage to hose down the dirty kids and muddy woofer. Simples!
Ed has convinced us to pretty much go large or go home and designed us something with 10m x 2.8 m of glass doors and a pretty blummin cool grass roof to go on top. We are crossing our fingers and hoping that after such a financial commitment the said home will still belong to us and not be in the greasy hands of the bank! You gotta take risks right?
Upstairs we have deliberated for a longer than necessary amount of time about what to do and settled with the entirely selfish plan of treating Mr & Mrs Peach to a particularly indulgent master suite. Pretty much stealing the bathroom and a spare bedroom for our space. I like to think that it would be a kid free zone. Yeh, who am I kidding? Reality means that as a sub 7 year old human the favourite room to pee all over the floor in is the one closest to your ma & pa hence our coffin sized ensuite, we all know what the future holds but hey, a girl can dream right? So here we are, claiming back the upstairs.
Easy. Said no one EVER when dealing with Leeds City Council planning department. I shan’t bore you with the intricacies of our application, just rest assured that the battle to obtain planning has been a tough one but here we are six months later with a piece of paper giving us the green light, yay! I shall celebrate with some chocolate. Damn another coffee one!