I have a small balcony accessed via some arched doors from my living area that is an absolute sun trap, so in the summer months I spend more time here than in the garden. Last year I created a really kitsch miami-pink style space here, which although was fun for one summer, it did not work at all with the living space and felt completely disjointed. This year I really wanted the area to be an extension of my living room as I felt it would work better than as a completely separate area to it. I wanted the furniture to be really good quality, while also fit in with the stylish pieces I had indoors. My living room is a warm blue hue, so when I discovered that Marks & Spencer were focusing on Artisan Blues for Spring/Summer 2018, I just had to check out their Alfresco range of garden furniture and accessories.
If like me you are addicted to property programmes, you'll no doubt be very aware of the words 'kerb appeal'. For those of you who are not an avid watcher of Kirstie & Phil, 'kerb appeal' is the term given to the instant appeal of your home as you look at it from the street. The more kerb appeal your home has, the more desirable it will be (and more value will be assigned to it if you are looking to sell). Even though I'm not looking to sell my property (we brought the 'dream family home' two years ago, and you'll have to drag me out of it) I try and keep the outside of my home looking as good as the inside. I love to return home and think "yes, I live here, and it's bloody lovely". It's also not that much hard work to take it from looking 'OK' to 'charming'
This week is British Flowers Week - but did you know only 10% of flowers sold in Britain are grown here? To highlight this fact, and to celebrate our home-grown flowers and foliage, New Covent Garden Flower Market launched British Flowers Week in 2013 to promote British flowers, their growers and the independent florists working with them. One of those independent florists is Agent F, whose bouquets are a riot of colour and who I first met just before Xmas when I made a festive table centrepiece with them.
Hello and welcome to my post as part of the summer #UKHomeBlogHop! If you are joining me from Season's In Colour's post and have never read this blog before, then let me introduce myself. My name is Melanie and my blog is all about doing interiors on a budget with a bit of creativity and some DIY. For those of you who have come directly to this post just to check it out, then a huge thank you for coming by! If you enjoy this post then please do have a peep at the other blogs in this summer's Hop, all about styling our homes for summer. There are 27 amazing interior bloggers taking part in total, and it all starts here with host and organiser Swoonworthy's summer style.
It's dark at 5pm, it's suddenly really cold - yep - winter has arrived! Along with your winter gloves and scarf, the welly boots need to be on hand for those really bleak days. Although a necessity, I really do hate welly boots in the house. They are bulky, flop over on their side, leave dried up mud bits around and generally just get in the way when left by the back door or in the hallway. Earlier in the year I was watching a C4 Kirsty & Phil 'Love It or List It' property programme. Kirsty showed the participating couple a 'space saver' house with welly pegs on the wall by the back door to house filthy wellies, rather than store them inside. Inspired, the next morning I knocked out this simple welly boot holder to hang on an outside wall on our house.
The back door to our house was needing a little bit of love. Its paint was peeling and it was just generally uninspiring. It also still had a bloody Christmas decoration on it which I had been meaning to take down in like forever. Instead of just giving it a new lick of paint, I decided to add a few more features to really jazz it up properly and give it a bit of 'wow-factor'.
How much would you expect to pay for one garden bench made out of a beautiful thick piece of oak? £100? £200? We made four large garden benches that now seat 10 people in our garden for a minimal amount of money, although it was quite the effort. I have to say before I delve into this post that this piece of DIY was not easy! The wood is heavy and it was a joint effort of three people (me, my husband and my dad) to create them. However, if you have people to help and you are determined you can save yourself so much money creating bespoke beautiful outdoor benches yourself!
It all started when we moved into our new London 'burbs home with a gorgeous garden. Our previous Central London home only had a small piece of shaded garden, which you got to by going down some iron stairs, so we didn't use it much. On the list of things to get for the new house was 'garden furniture' as we did not have any. The previous owners of our current house had landscaped the front of the garden in their time living here, and had left four long pieces of left over sleeper wood in the back garden. This lovely wood was just sitting there untreated getting mouldy and eaten by woodworm, but it would be perfect to transform into garden seating.
When we moved into our current home last year, one of the great things about it was a balcony you accessed from the living room. As we live on a hill it has great views (especially on Fireworks night.) It is also a total suntrap, so I want to utilise it this summer.
Yet before it could become my evening wine drinking haven, this balcony needed some proper DIY love. Its decking was worn and faded, the paint on the balcony doors weathered, but the worst problem was something I couldn't do anything about - wood-rot and damage to the neighbours property that was clearly visible. The balcony needed a tart up, and I needed to cover the neighbours wall damage from view....
Hooray! My favourite part of May is here - Chelsea Flower Show week!!!! When I really got into interiors, I also found myself really getting into plants and flowers. A pot of flowers always adds to a room as the finishing touch, and I guess if the inside of your home is really important to you - why wouldn't you want the outside to be just as fab? I started really taking notice of what was growing in peoples gardens when I walked past, and poured over all the details that made up bouquets in the florist or supermarket. When I visited Chelsea Flower Show in 2012 and saw Nikki Tibbles' window box displays I was HOOKED. Her displays were just so beautiful, I wanted my outside space to look just like that! Nikki is still my absolute favourite florist (her Instagram account is worth a follow for the most opulent displays she creates @nikkitibbleswildatheart), although luckily I didn't discover her before my wedding otherwise I would have literally blown the whole wedding budget having her flowers everywhere...
I was window shopping in H&M Home recently when I saw the cute little hanging planter below. As I've previously mentioned, I'm currently doing up my balcony at home for the summer and initially thought this gold number would be a good addition. After contemplating it for a few minutes I decided this planter would not work for several reasons. Firstly it was made of glass, making it perfect for an inside terrarium, but a disaster waiting to happen as a hanging planter outside swinging against a brick wall. Secondly at £24.99 each they were far too expensive, especially as I wanted two of them..
I'm currently re-vamping my tired looking balcony (full reveal coming in a few weeks!) Since the sun has been shining in the past week (even though it's now pouring as I write this) I decided to get out and get some Vitamin D and work on part of the project which was to build a tall planter trough ready for summer flowers. To build and paint the planter takes no longer than a day, so it is perfect for a sunny Sunday DIY project. First stop was to get some load-bearing wood. My top tip if you are going to build a planter like mine is first check if there is anyone in your area selling used scaffold boards. Building regulations state that builders scaffolding boards have to be changed regularly, so you often get scaffold and building companies selling off their old scaffold boards for cheap on Ebay and Gumtree.