We like to House Crash at least once a month but somehow it has been nearly two since our last one, so we’re sorry for the delay, but we hope that this awesome one all the way from the UK makes up for it! We knew as soon as we saw this place that it was primed and ready for a crashing, and since it’s a little too far for a road trip, we had a lot of fun getting all of the virtual details (and photos) for you guys.
Meet Kimberly. She’s married to Wayne, and is an American who has been living in Manchester, UK for over a decade.
This is her charming Edwardian home that was built in 1906. They’ve lived here since June of 2010, and have been having fun putting their stamp on it since the day they moved in. It might not be giant, but it’s packed with style, personality, and feel-good vibes. Can you see that dragonfly door knocker? She got it here and I’m in love. The geometric doormat from Ikea is also doing things to me, along with that cool transfer film door number over the glossy black door (from here).
Once inside, let’s start with one of my favorite spaces – her dining room, which is a rich royal blue color (it’s a UK paint called Dulux in Wild Water 1). I really like how Kimberly mixed in those great textured chairs, a big brass mirror, and a lot of fun patterns. It’s a space that feels upscale but also doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I think is a pretty amazing mix. And a fireplace – even a non-working one – in a dining room is a major score. Makes me want to get an old reclaimed mantel and plop it onto the back wall of ours…
The dining chairs were thrifted from ebay and then painted/reupholstered – and she also found that brass mirror on ebay while the brass light fixture came from Habitat. On the other wall there’s a big frame collage full of even more pattern and color. I love how it goes right up to the crown molding and has everything from words and letters to colorful images and maps.
Kimberly also painted the art above her secondhand bar cart herself. Here’s a close up.
She did another big painting across from the fireplace over the thrifted console table that she found, which she also painted and added new hardware.
Behind the dining room is the light and airy kitchen. Kimberly and Wayne did a ton of things themselves in this room, like tiling the backsplash and laying the slate flooring (which is heated!). They even ripped down a false (lowered) ceiling, and then plastered to add nearly a foot of head height.
How sweet is that big glass door with those two half-windows on either side? The shiny brass cabinet hardware that she found on ebay is pretty amazing too.
Both Kimberly and Wayne prefer casual and easy-access storage in a kitchen – so a lot of their stuff is housed in doorless cabinets. Once again Kimberly wasn’t afraid of a mix of textures and patterns, so it was fun to see how she layered swirly wallpaper behind lots of kitchen storage and lined up all of their cooking utensils so they hung right within reach from the counter.
Now let’s check out the living room, where there’s a really cool dresser that Kimberly made over with wallpaper. And it’s not just any wallpaper, it’s the same stuff that she used on the wall across from that gorgeous fireplace.
Everything from the marble table to that pretty branchy paper (it’s Cole & Son’s Cow Parsley in Yellow) is elegant but interesting. Kimberly just has a way of pairing things that I’d never think to put together.
Her master bedroom is another moody space like the dining room, with dark walls (they’re Dulux Night Jewels 1). I’m so into the splashes of yellow and gold along with those stunning blue side tables. Can you believe those are Rast dressers from Ikea that Kimberly hacked with new paint and hardware?
I really like how that she paired that shapely headboard (she splurged to have that custom made) with everything from leopard pillows (which she found on Etsy) to those royal blue dressers and dark walls.
And here’s Kimberly’s dressing room. One thing that really struck me was how many special pieces there are in here – like that statement making mirror, the gorgeous wallpaper (it’s Osborne & Little’s Grove Garden in Green), and the secondhand dresser with brass hardware that she painted herself. I never would’ve had the guts to put them all together, but the result is such a charming and personality-filled space to get ready in the morning. And when it comes to function, she has two Billy bookcases from Ikea in there with painted backs for storing lots of shoes, bags, and other accessories.
So a big thanks goes out to Kimberly and Wayne for so thoughtfully allowing us to peek in on their lovely little UK home! You can see more and follow Kimberly over here on her blog – but first let’s play the favorite part game. I’m loving the wallpaper in the dressing room and the living room along with those dining room chairs – and John really likes the navy and yellow color combo in the bedroom. Your turn.
Boom, there it is.
Yes, this is a story all about how
my life got twist turned upside down I made our little man a mobile. It’s kinda rustic (it’s made from a manzanita branch) and kinda modern (there are fun circles in a bunch of colors and sizes that hang down at different lengths) and most of all it makes me smile. Is it weird that hanging this actually made me feel more ready to have the little guy in my arms? Like “OK, the mobile’s up – now the baby party can start.”
Much like the mobile I made for Clara’s room (that one was comprised of little floral orbs made from wire, faux flowers, and glue)…
… this one was pretty simple to put together. Clara even helped!
First I dragged my decorative manzanita branch out of the storage room (what? everyone doesn’t have a decorative manzanita branch standing by? well, that needs to be remedied). It was sold by West Elm a few years ago, so it has been bleached and debarked and it’s nice and solid – so there’s no worry of anything flaking off like old bark and falling into the crib. I thought leaving it this raw color would be a nice counterpart to the colorful round disks I wanted to add. As for the dangly strands, I had two paper banners from Target that I picked up for $2.18 on clearance a few months ago without any earthly idea of what I’d eventually use them for.
Once the mobile idea popped into my head, well, they seemed perfect. Except of course they were colors/patterns that didn’t really fit into the nursery scheme thus far. But it wasn’t anything a little craft paint couldn’t solve. So I laid them out on a few old cereal boxes from our recycling bin and Clara had fun helping me paint them. They needed two coats to cover those patterns underneath, but it was pretty easy to get done – even with a wiggly three year old assistant. Mostly it was one of those we-both-hold-the-brush-so-we-don’t-get-paint-all-over-the-strings projects, but she has a lot of pride over the mobile she made for “her baby” and it was a fun thing to do with her.
While those freshly painted circles were drying, I realized they probably wouldn’t be enough to fill out the entire branch (even if I snipped them into smaller 25″ strands). So I broke out some white embroidery floss and decorative paper. Using a few round items around the house I traced multiple versions of three similarly sized circles to the ones in the pre-made banners onto craft paper in similar colors to the paint I used. For the smallest circles I used the base of the craft paint that was still out on the table, the middle ones were from tracing the bottom of another slightly larger bottle I had, and the biggest circles were from the base of a small cup. Then I just cut them out, making sure I had an even number of each.
The even number was important since I used them to sandwich my white embroidery string with some Aleen’s Tacky Glue. Just pressing them together over the string after dabbing them with some glue dots seemed to do the trick, and I spaced them by eye, using the spacing of the Target banners as my guide (those were around two inches apart).
I made each strand around 25″ long, just like the pre-made banners that I had snipped apart to make sections of that length. When everything was dry, it was time to tie them firmly onto the branch at different increments for a nice dangly effect. I hung the branch over the back of two chairs so there was room for my strands to dangle while I tied them on, and I just randomly spaced them so they were all slightly different widths from each other.
At this point Clara was over the project and happily putting stickers on the window nearby (that’s a really nice look from the curb, by the way), but Burger did mosey on over for a peek as I went.
On the topic of hanging things over a crib, we’re definitely paranoid with a side of neurotic. For example, in Clara’s nursery we hung a mirror over her crib, but we actually drilled directly through the frame in multiple places to secure that thing to the wall so tightly that even John couldn’t yank it off the wall – even though it was out of Clara’s actual reach.
So although this mobile weighs a fraction of a pound, we relied on three heavy duty brass plated plant hooks (they each support 10+ lbs and have extra long screws so we could be sure they were either hitting a ceiling beam – two of them did – or a heavy duty anchor that we added) along with extra strong fishing wire that’s almost invisible, so it looks like it’s floating. We just knotted the fishing wire to the branch in three spots that needed some support (both ends and the triangular middle branch area) and connected them to the plant hooks that we secured to the ceiling, directly above those points. And that’s how this pregnant lady found herself chilling in a crib.
I really loved this way of hanging it since it’ll always be out of baby’s reach (this method makes it really easy raise if we ever think it’s within grabbing distance – although once the baby is more mobile we’ll drop the mattress so it’ll be even further away).
It’s amazing how much sweeter the crib feels now. Like it’s saying “bring on the baby!”
Once we got it hanging there was a split second where I wished it was a little bigger, just to fill up that wall more, but it’s almost three feet wide and around 16″ deep and 25″ long, so if it was any bigger the function of it might hinder us since it’s a real-life 3-D object that’s hanging there (we feared we’d hit our heads on it every time we leaned into the crib if it were much bigger). So after staring at it for a while I’ve come to peace with its size.
John actually ordered two samples of Spoonflower wallpaper that he thinks could be fun to further fill out that wall between the built-ins (a complete surprise to me!) so maybe we’ll end up layering in some sort of interesting color or backdrop behind the mobile. It takes 12 business days to arrive, so I can’t wait to get it. Might be a total “nope that would look crazy” moment, or something that we’re both enamored with, so we’ll keep you posted. We’ve also talked about some sort of accent color with paint, just between those two built-ins, so we’re definitely open to seeing where this thing goes.
Either way, it’s pretty cool to see a room that used to look like this…
… looking more like this these days.
As for what’s left on the list in here, there are just a few outstanding items.
- possibly tweak the wall behind the crib with wallpaper or some sort of accent color
- add an overhead light on a dimmer (nothing’s there at all right now)
- redo the closet for little clothes (paint it, add a second hanging bar or some cubby storage, etc)
- finishing touches (some other small art/accessories, etc)
- just add baby
It’s nice to be in the home stretch! Both for this pregnancy (I’m still having morning sickness at 33 weeks) and for the room. Most of all we’re just excited to meet the little guy who’s doing the macarena in my tummy right now. I think he’s a very good dancer.
Oh and since a few readers have passed along an awesome tip about making sure to look at a mobile from below to check that it’s interesting from that point of view, here’s what the bun will see when he glances up. Little spinning slices of color and a nice branchy background. Although I don’t think his eyes will focus that high up for a little while…
I contemplated adding something facing him to the bottom of each strand (ex: a small animal-shaped piece of paper that would look flat from the side, but read easily from his in-the-crib perspective) but since his bedding has elephants marching all over it, I wondered if it might be more soothing to just see some dancing disks. We’re definitely open to evolving this little creation as he grows though. So if he’s really into some sort of creature (remember how much Clara got into worms and dragons?) I can work those in later. Just don’t want to stimulate him too much since it’s a spot for sleep.
And just because it might be more fun to see a grown man lying in a crib than a pregnant lady standing in one, there’s this:
Is anyone else making mobiles? Or putting the last few touches on a different room that you’ve been working on? What about hanging out in cribs? I’m telling you, it’s kind of a good time.