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BEST LAID PLANS, CHANNEL FOUR - EPISODE 2
BEST LAID PLANS
As seen on TV - Best Laid Plans, Channel Four with architectural designer Charlie Luxton.
My biggest design challenge yet, my own home and it was going to be on TV, to be viewed by all and critiqued by architectural designer Charlie Luxton. No pressure then!
Exciting, challenging and nerve-racking all at once. I was excited to be able to explore and showcase my desire to design and up-cycle. We had a budget for the build but nothing extra for decorating or furnishing the interior. It really was a case of mend, change, paint and upcycle to make it look special at minimal cost.
And so ready for the grand reveal and Charlie Luxtons comments.
Hope you enjoy the photos and managed to see the show. It has been an amazing experience and I have been very privileged to work alongside people that are true craftsmen and women in their field.
Special thanks to:
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Finally the dining table. Wanting to go for up-cycled steam punk style but not wanting to pay the price I managed to find a very old rusty saw mill base at the car boot. Sandblasted and spray painted, then attached my 15 year old dining table top. Very happy with my not so new dining table. The chairs are hand polished steel and were also purchased at auction. A few sheepskin throws to add some texture and warmth. And off course I had to have an item of hand painted furniture in the kitchen. So an antique pine sideboard in grey effect painted and waxed. I also found some old victorian bench ends in our garden with rotten wood attached, so I brought some oak, sanded and stained it to make a unique warm dining bench. The lighting was a big thing and I really needed it to make a statement and also fill a very large space. I wanted large industrial bell style lights which I knew were very expensive to buy at the moment. I found one at a car boot, sprayed it, new electrics and an edison bulb. The larger two I brought at Salvo fair.
Finally my kitchen dressed and ready to use.
With my love for saving the old and mixing the new together I started salvaging from the very beginning.
I removed the old slate roof tiles and cotswold wall stone. Lifted and sold all the old garden paving slabs, so it began. My husband thought I was nuts but when I started getting money for these old things he started to get interested.
The painstaking process of removing the render on the old cottage wall which exposed a gorgeous detailed wall that would become our hallway.
I decided to project manage the build and being on site everyday meant that I could answer questions and make quick time decisions (of which there were many).
It was a great experience working closely with the builders and acquiring new skills along the way (and a lot of tool envy). Lots of digging out later and so the footings began.
The filming had begun and so had my hunt for salvage finds and ideas to fill this house upon completion. Car boots, auctions, endless internet searching, oh and lots of pinterest.
The steel frame’s up and its starting to take shape.
I insulated along the original cottage wall with lime to allow the cottage to breath and even learnt new skills screeding.
The new extension was to be an upside down house due to the garden levels at the rear being much higher than the cottage. We wanted the kitchen to have views and access to the garden. There needed to be steps leading from the courtyard up to the main garden. I had my heart set on reclaimed granite kerbstones. I managed to salvage some for free and my lovely builders had the unenviable task of laying them step by step. I now have some very grand steps which frame the entrance to the garden and are completely unique.
To save money I foolishly opted to do the decorating, after all I love to paint, right? Little did I know the decorators list is an endless task of filling, sanding, priming painting and so it goes on. A professional spray gun, four coats on all the walls and ceilings, two weeks later and the colour went on.
Just to add to my busy schedule I decided my love for dark wood would run throughout and that mean’t staining the beautifully handcrafted staircase. Then the doors and plinths all needed to match.
Theres nothing like a grand reveal date to help motivate you to get it all done.
Finally this was the fun part designing and dressing the home, but I literally had days to finalise everything and hoped all my bargain finds would go together and look great. I managed to convince my husband to have bespoke bunkbeds for the boys bedroom as I wanted to give them extra space to entertain. These were hand built on site, I then painted them in little green eggshell paint. I added recess shelves for them to plug in their Ipads. With an accent of little green ‘marigold’ to add a splash of colour to a grey bedroom.
In the guest room I wanted to give a lush chic feel. The room was dark anyway so I decided to paint an accent wall dark and make it more french boudoir. I opted for little green ‘Livid’. I wanted to make a statement with the headboard and used wallpaper with a wooden frame. I can now add a mixture of different pictures within the frame. I sourced a french style bed frame to compliment my existing wardrobe. I searched for some original french bedside cabinets, these are expensive to buy so I found some needing repair. I painted the areas where veneer was missing and kept the beautiful original veneer drawers. I love the contrast between the black paint and brown veneer. Just to add some brightness I used a mustard accent of pillows and throws.
The lights to me were very important, not wanting simple pendants I was lucky enough to source these amazing original halophane glass pendants at a great price (just a long drive to Birmingham but well worth it). I love the way they project pattern light onto the ceiling through he halophane glass shade.
The hallway finally dressed and I love all the detail, there's so much history on these walls.
The beams now exposed and the bricks with all their knocks. I even love the contrast between the new modern door and the old back door to the cottage they just compliment each other.
The pew was brought at auction and painted in Annie Sloan French linen. The tree hall stand was originally a dark brown imposing item of furniture and now transformed to a beautiful unique piece which adds character to the entrance hall.
The photos on the wall reminisce the build process and the amazing craftmanship that is now hidden beneath the plaster and walls of the new build. The wall lights were designed by me after being inspired by something similar, I love the light reflection around all edges bouncing off the beautiful brickwork.
Finally the kitchen. I have been dreaming about this for most of my life and to be honest my style really hasn’t changed. I worked closely with the kitchen company as I knew the style I wanted to achieve, they were amazing at listening and adapting to my needs. I wanted a bespoke shaker style kitchen in a chic grey so I opted for little green ‘french grey’ on the main units.
Then I needed to add colour, I couldn’t find a dark grey I liked so I hand mixed a dark grey and the kitchen company matched it. The kitchen island was important as this would be the hub of the home and everywhere I had been just wanted to design a big block in the middle. I needed something a little different and unique. I managed to source an enormous piece of cedar of lebanon wood with a lovely natural edge. I bought it home and the sanding and oiling began. I did worry at one point that this huge heavy worktop wouldn't work but now I am so pleased I did because I love it and it already has become a big part of our family life.
You can see the bar stools here that I managed to find and spray alternate colours adding a hint of wine red to match with my gorgeous new Smeg cooker. I made a shelf out of a scaffold board and stained it to match the stairs.
Due to the ceilings being curved I couldn’t have wall units or an extractor, this was rectified with a build in larder designed into the curve and a discrete downdraft extractor that recess's behind the cooker. I had one accent wall so decided that I needed something really special to go there. The problem was my husband likes to play it safe and I was feeling the pressure from Charlie Luxton challenging me to come up with something different. I saw a gorgeous old ox cart wheel at the auction and immediately thought it would look fantastic as a clock on the wall. Hubby said ‘No’. So I took a gamble and brought it anyway. Hours of sanding the rust off and oiling it. Then to find hands for such a big clock not such an easy task. The grand reveal when Charlie showed Neil the clock he really had no idea, I had spent months hiding it from him while I worked on it. Thankfully he liked it. PHEW