When we bought this house, it was sort of a given that we were going to tackle the kids room first as we wanted them both to feel settled in the new place as soon as possible, surrounded by familiar things from their old room but with a few new and exciting additions too.
The room itself is on the whole really light, so we wanted a clean, modern space with accents of grey-blue (check out my inspiration in this post). We knew it wasn’t going to be a quick job as four out of the three walls needed re-plastering and we’d decided to sand back and paint the wooden floors, but it took longer still to finish whilst navigating the chaos of moving and settling in and every day life. Aside from the plastering and replacing the radiator, we did everything ourselves and its been a great starting point for the rest of the house…although I won’t be painting any more floorboards.
Essentially, everything needed stripping back so we could get a better idea of what needed attention. The carpet came up really easily (no underlay underneath either) revealing the hearth plate on the fireplace underneath and beautiful, really dirty floorboards. Seriously exciting. The walls were a little tricker as we had to remove the shelves from the alcove which had more or less been screwed in and painted onto the wall. Years worth of gloss paint to hack off to get them off. And then there was the polystyrene coving across the top of the ceiling which had to be chiselled off at the same time as the lining paper. The other delightful thing about this house is trying to locate and remove all the strange cable and phone line ports which have been added over the years – there were a few in here too.
The floors were given two coats of Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball which gave great coverage and I have to say is holding up well to the sort of everyday abuse wooden floors get from small children-toy car traffic, chairs dragged across the floor etc. If you’re tackling a similar project and are as clueless as we were when we started, take a look at out (almost) definitive guide to sanding and painting wooden floors.
Rob did most of the fiddly painting such as a fresh coat on the ceiling and the cupboard doors were really his project whilst I focused on the walls and skirting boards. After weeks of umming and ahhing over the perfect shade of grey-blue for the woodwork, I picked ‘Celestial Blue’ by Dulux. The paint didn’t need thinning at all and only two coats were needed.
The original Victorian cupboard is my absolute joy. I’m honestly so chuffed I took a gamble and decided to paint it. There’s so much orange stained pine in the house which I find a little over-powering, so I overcame my fear of painting original features and jumped in with both feet. This is generally a really bright room, although typically it was cloudy on the day I shot it, but I love the way the tone of the blue changes at different times of the day. The beautiful minimal door handles are a bespoke design by Chocolate Creative (listed on the source list below) from plywood and birch and give a very traditional cupboard a more contemporary feel. It also means the kids can easily access all their books, games and clothes inside and I plan to restore and decorate the inside properly a little further down the line.
The only feature we decided to leave as was is the fireplace.You can see there are layers of paint underneath which over the years have been rubbed off in places. Much to my mother’s dismay (she wants us to restore it) we love how rough and patchy it looks against the otherwise quite polished decor.
We replaced the old radiator with a new column and chrome pipes. I much prefer this style in keeping with the age of the house, but without the inefficiency which comes with original styles. Rob also wired in new white metal fronted sockets with black inserts, a new black toggle light switch and black ceiling rose from Dowsing & Reynolds. Small details make all the difference is a space this small.
It was only when we put their new bunk bed together and moved it into the room that we really saw it all pulling together. This was the bed I’d had in mind for this room before anything else and I knew the kids would love the novelty of sharing it. The pale oak details tie in with other wooden details in the room and its fun, contemporary shape brings the room up to date. We bought two organic cotton mattresses that are curved to fit with the bed and are made from a combination of coconut coir, natural latex, natural fleece wool and unbleached cotton. They’re a dream to lie on (which we’ve had to do several times) and the covers are completely removable in case they need to be washed.
The little kitchen was given to us by a friend whose daughter had outgrown it. It was pink and green then, so I took it apart and gave it a monochrome revamp
because I can’t help myself. My daughter still isn’t quite into playing with it yet, so if she’s still not keen after a year or so, my plan will be to build a plywood box desk into this alcove that they can both sit at and be creative together.
And there we have it. Room one down. Only the rest of the house to go…
*White and oak bunk bed – Oliver Furniture, Nubie.
Organic cotton mattresses – Little Green Sheep, Nubie
*Dulux ‘Ultra White’ emulsion paint – Homebase.
*Dulux ‘Celestial Blue’ wood paint – Dulux, Homebase.
Two column radiator – Wickes.
Porcelain wall hooks – Anne Black DK.
*Bespoke ‘bench’ cupboard door handles – Chocolate Creative.
Oatmeal linen look roller blind – Homebase.
White ‘A’ Stool (used as side table) – ByAlex.
White ‘Cohen’ table lamp – MADE.COM.
‘Socker’ greenhouse – IKEA.
Cacti, from a selection at The Hendersons.
*Black and white sockets and vintage style toggle light switch – Dowsing & Reynolds.
Black and white vintage stool – charity shop find.
‘Rast’ chest of drawers – (painted) IKEA.
Mini bedside shelves – (painted) Bekväm spice racks, IKEA.
Pink, orange and blue rag rug – Zara Home (discontinued).
‘Bison’ illustration poster – Gretas Schwester
Black and white grid bedding – IKEA (discontinued).
Pink and white star bedding – H&M Home.
White paper lotus light – Bungalow DK.
‘Miiaaw’ cat poster – Michelle Carlslund Illustration.
Mask poster – Wild Boys & Girls.
* Indicates where product has been gifted as part of this collaboration.
Photography & Styling © Tiffany Grant-Riley