An upcycling workshop with The General Office

So, I’ve got this chest of drawers. It’s second hand and painted duck-egg blue, which is a fine colour, but a colour I do not have in my house.

I’ve been thinking I need to freshen her up a little bit, but taking the plunge is a bit of a commitment for me. I’m keen to try chalk paint, but having never used it before I was a little apprehensive.


Thankfully, The General Office was on hand! I noticed Nina was holding some chalk paint workshops over at Milk & Moss, so I decided to head along to her intermediate class to learn how to make a good job of it.


Nina was a great teacher! We all started off with a wooden chair which was in desperate need of some TLC. Nina had prepped each chair to make sure none of the natural oils would seep through the paint by sanding and sealing with Grand Illusions’ Shellac. Then, we got to work choosing our colours!

Nina went through how to achieve various different effects by layering the paint. Some of my fellow classmates took bold yellows, greens and blues to their chairs but I had fallen in love with the wooden seat of mine. I decided to keep the seat plain, but highlight it by painting the rest of the chair in an antique white finish.


 First, we painted on our base colours. These were the bold colours we would reveal at the end through sanding to create a vintage finish. I didn’t want mine too bold, so stuck to creams and greys. Once these had dried, which only took a few minutes on such a hot day, we moved on to painting our main colour over the top.


 We used Grand Illusions chalk paints, and the colours in the range are beautiful! I was originally torn between the yellow of or the dark Nordic Blue, but once I’d chosen my chair I stuck to the Sel De Mer white. The paint brushed on easily and covered well, although some of the deeper colours came out lighter than the swatch.

Lunch was provided by the lovely Sophie of Milk & Moss whilst we waited for our paint to dry, and it was delicious! After a few helpings and a few glasses of fruit water and a cup of tea it was back to work.


Now that the paint was dry, it was time to sand back the top coat to reveal the colours underneath. A lot of my paint came off to also reveal the wood, but as I’d left the seat this added a really great texture. The lady beside me had gone for a bold red, and as she sanded a gorgeous yellow colour came through. Please with my work, I chose a clear wax to keep the white bright but opted for the deep brown wax for the seat to add richness to it. Those who chose a deep colour found that the darker wax really added a depth to their colour, making it closer to the original swatch.

The day was brilliant fun, and as Nina was so knowledgeable I learnt so much! I definitely have the confidence to paint all my old furniture now, and have stocked up on Grand Illusions’ paints and waxes ready for my chest of drawers!


The General Office paint workshops are held at Milk & Moss in Norwich, costing approx. 60 for 3 hours of tuition, lunch, drinks, supplies and a piece of furniture to paint. Bargain! You even get a tin of paint to take home, and 25% off other Grand Illusions’ products.


I Love… Izzi Rainey


Having decorated two rooms now, I’m starting to look for some great accessories to really bring everything together.
I love to support local businesses and there are some amazing little brands popping up in Norfolk. One of those brands is Izzi Rainey.


Pencil Case, 14GBP

Izzi and Lara started the brand in 2014, and from a farm in Norfolk they now supply printed homewares to local stores including Jarrold’s. Izzi’s great eye for colour was honed at Glasgow School of Art, and inspired by the farm she grew up on. I would definitely recommend checking out their blog; not only are the girls running a homeware business, but they’re busing feeding cattle and upcycling an old caravan, too!

Lampshade, 70GBP

Lampshade, 70GBP

I’m thinking of getting in to print-making myself, but before I get the hang of it I’m definitely going to be buying some Izzi Rainey bits and pieces. I’m loving the Aztec print, and think this is going to be the base for my white-and-geometric home office. I think I’ll have to buy some notebooks just to decorate my desk! I also love the bunting – I think it will look great hanging above my pegboard to inspire me to be more creative. I’m getting really into lighting at the moment, so I’m definitely going to be after one of the lampshades!

Bunting, 25GBP

Bunting, 25GBP

There are also some great gift ideas in their range, and with my mum’s birthday coming up I’ll definitely be treating her to something. I’m thinking a cute apron will be perfect for when she holds her charity coffee mornings – she’ll be get lots of compliments on it I’m sure!


If you like the look of these gorgeous prints, pop down to The Granary on Bedford Street or check out the online shop.

Colours – June

If you know me, you’ll know I’m a big fan of colour. Whether it’s teaming bright pinks with greens, yellows and dark blues or oranges with purples I love a good colour combo. Even if I’m going neutral I love a specific mink shade or a tonal grey-on-grey ensemble.

It doesn’t really come as a surprise then that I’m addicted to Design Seeds.  If you’ve never been on, I’m warning you – it’s amazing! It’s all about finding inspiration in the every day, and is a great source for unusual colour combinations.

Here are some of my favourite seeds from this month.




I love dark blue and yellow. Love love love. I’m hoping to incorporate this somewhere in my home – perhaps the bathroom or the kitchen?




I have a bit of a thing for pineapples. I think this colour combo is the type of thing I’m after in the study; bold, edible tones. Yum.


This is definitely one for the living room. We have most of these colours already incorporated, with grey walls, charcoal and ox blood sofas and green curtains. I love the really light kinky grey as a cool element.




I’m really liking this salmon colour, and I’m thinking with our blue, white and gold bedroom it would really liven the place up a bit.



Okay, wow! The tones of these colours but their contrasting hues really makes an impact, like someone has toned-down the contrast on an autumn day. It’s colourful without being bright, bold and brash. Great for a calming spare room, maybe?


imageFinally, something maybe more classic and floral. I love a purple and green combo and these vintage tones are elegant but bold against the dark backdrop. Perhaps this is a good bathroom combo, with the neutral tiles but bright accessories.


Let me know which is your favourite, and be sure to check out Design Seeds!


Ikea in Norwich?


Andrew alerted me today to some incredibly important information.

IKEA will be opening a concept store in Norwich, at the Sweet Briar Industrial estate, in the coming year. You have no idea how excited I am!

An IKEA spokesperson apparently confirmed the news to ‘Furniture News Online’, although no jobs have been advertised. It’s suggested it will be more of a market hall-style store, with their smaller items, although rumours of a click-and-collect or order point service are flying. Personally, I’m excited for a market hall because a lot of their best products are the cheap, small ones; their fabric is great value and their kitchen utensils are fab, not to mention the 1 quid flip-top jars!

I’ll be certain to make a shopping list for IKEA soon enough, let me know what recommendations you have!


Mid-century mash-up living room

I’m really into mid-century modern style at the moment. I’m wary that it’s going to go the same way as shabby chic, and be everywhere, but I can’t get enough right now. I’m loving the colours and the shapes, so I want to incorporate some into my living space.

I’m also into the colonial look, so I’m hoping I can mix the two styles together using the botanical, natural theme to tie them in. I’ve looked for some mid-century shapes, yet colonial textures. I’m crazy for the French Connection chair!

Find out where to buy below

Find out where to buy below


1 – The Fabulous Fleece Company

2 – Ikea

3 – Ikea

4 – John Lewis

5 – French Connection

6 – Kew Gardens

7 – John Lewis

8 – Fabrics and Papers

I’m really after a butler a table, or perhaps a fancy trolley for drinks and to put those glasses on. I’m also desperate for that French Connection chair with a fleece thrown over it for by-the-fire reading sessions.

Let me know if you spot anything else you think would go!



Progress update: The master

Hi everyone!

We’ve been super busy at the bungalow, so I haven’t updated you in a while. We took the last weekend off for Big Weekend and an important trip to London, then on Monday had to crash out to recover.

I caught up on Mr.Norrell and Jonathan Strange, though, which is amazing. I’m hoping it won’t distract me too much from here!

Our master bedroom is about 80% there. It needs dressing, and some new furniture, but the decor is done. It was hard work!

We started out with a room covered, and I mean, COVERED, in textured wallpaper. Now, we love retro but this was too much.

The main bedroom

The main bedroom

We did, however, like the grey carpet. It looks a little dull in this picture, but it’s pretty new. So our first job was to pull it up and shove it in the spare room to keep it clean. Then, we tackled the wallpaper.

Stripping wallpaper - fun!

Stripping wallpaper – fun!

It was messy, hot and stinky. We used a steamer to help peel it off, and with four of us working on it we had it done in the day. We had plenty of scrapers and had to keep the windows and doors open. At one point, it was like a sauna!

Andrew getting the hard bits off

Andrew getting the hard bits off

We went round after making sure all the tiny remnants were removed. As you can see above, we have a nice big hole in the wall. This was left by an old air brick which we removed. It wasn’t serving any purpose, so we blocked it up.

Andrew's handy work.

Andrew’s handy work.

You can also see the old burglar alarm dangling! We had to take this out. You can see where we had to fill A LOT of holes in the wall. There were a few cracks and marks left by previous decor. We also had to strip all the delightful lining paper from the ceiling.

That's not out of focus, that's steam.

That’s not out of focus, that’s steam.

By the way, Andrew’s not an enormous giant. He’s on a step-up stool. The ceiling paper peeled off pretty easy after spending the whole day covered in steam! We had the whole room stripped in our first weekend. The filling and sanding took way longer! We also had the job of adding a new double socket for our bedside table, which I’ll go into on another post. You can see them both here. And Henry…

The new socket, spurred off the old one.

The new socket, leading from the old one.

So, with a new socket and filled and sanded walls, came the fun part. This was about two weeks after we first stripped the walls and ceiling. PAINTING!

Finally painting!

Finally painting!

You can see where we’ve filled around the sockets (hard work) and cut in. Andrew rolls on the first bit of bright white. It took a good three coats to cover all the marks. We then decided to go for a blue feature wall, and settled on Stiffkey Blue by Farrow and Ball. The ceiling and coving we did first, followed by the walls then skirting.

Stiffkey Blue, City Break and Lost Lake colours (F&B, Crown and Dulux)

Stiffkey Blue, City Break and Lost Lake colours (F&B, Crown and Dulux)


After many coats, we finally got the colour we wanted!

After many coats, we finally got the colour we wanted!

We’ve moved in now, so I’ll share some final finished pictures soon. I promise!


E x

Bedroom Inspo: Navy and bold

So we’ve decided to go ahead with a really dark wall in the bedroom.
At first we were unsure; our master room is actually the smallest room, but it has the best view. We can sit in bed and watch the birds in the bird box, so it really beat the view of the driveway or the view of next door’s wall!
I’m really drawn to dark, dramatic walls, and when we first painted the bedroom it was entirely white. It was nice, but a little too clean for a cosy bedroom. We looked at a few different colours and ended up going for Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue, but had it matched by Dulux for a better application (more on that later!).
I’m trying to work out which colours to match with it – we already have grey and gold, black and white, but I definitely feel it needs a little pop of something unexpected.

I’ve been trawling through Pinterest for inspo. 



1 from Julia Ryan 

2 from Apartment Therapy

3 from NZ Home and Garden 

4 from NZ Design

5 from BSaz Creates 

6 from A Beautiful Mess 

7 from Fashionology

8 from Design Sponge 

9 from House & Garden UK
You can find even more ideas and keep up with what I’m loving at the moment on my Pinterest board, be sure to follow!


Follow Emma’s board Bedroom on Pinterest.