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My home plans for 2019 (and why it's okay to take your time)...

My home plans for 2019 (and why it's okay to take your time)...

It’s a New Year and although it’s just another arbitrary day, I find it a great opportunity to reflect on last year’s experiences and take a moment to look forward to the year ahead with new gusto. The rest and rucuperation of the Christmas holidays and time well spent with family always reignites my passions and motivation so it’s always a good time for me to set goals/intentions/habits (I hate resolutions!) to help me move forward. Even as a young girl I remember reflecting on the year, going into the future with a deeper perspective and how I survived and negotiated the difficulties that went before and of course being grateful for the things that brought me joy.

This year I am really looking forward to some really big breakthroughs across my whole home and for the first time in 7 years having actually finished every room. Last year was a marathon of getting the finances together to make real progress on the kitchen after the huge extension work at the end of 2017 (we’ll get to the real reasons why we procrastinate in a bit) but as we near the finish line of the kitchen (I am beyond excited to share it all with you in the next couple of months) I’m already planning and looking to the next project! If you need a reminder of our renovation process then you can have a read here.

Autumn 2017 and our renovation action…

Autumn 2017 and our renovation action…

I really felt that I wanted to share these plans to inspire you and also to motivate myself to get them done. But I have another reason. I felt that so many people around me, even clients with clear visions for their spaces still struggle to get motivated to really make that room happen. So after I’ve shared my room plans I’m looking at some of the reasons decorating get puts on hold and some ideas of how to overcome them.

Mad Men Reception Room with a 60s/70s feel

Okay first up is the reception room which will really complete the downstairs. It’s situated between the dark blue living room (which needs a repaint after 6 years of children putting their grubby fingers on matt paint!) and the new dark green ktichen. And herein lies the problem - it needs to connect and compliment both rooms and has no windows so I have been debating over whether to go neutral or colourful in here. This middle room will have the function of being a piano and reading room and I’ve had my heart set for a few years now of it having mid-century mad men theme. Even when rooms don’t open onto each other like this space it’s still a great idea to consider how spaces are connected across your home. If you are pretty clear on your own style this can happen quite naturally. For me I have some greys that are echoed across my rooms and antiques of some description in most rooms. I also love that my new knurled knobs in the kitchen echo the toggle light switches in other spaces and that there is an industrial feel to all the hardware and details throughout my home. For more information of my plans for this colourful room check out my Pinterest Board here. I’m pretty keen on a strong orange presence in this room after seeing my burnt orange coat over a chair and glimpsing how it looked from the kitchen. This orange Lohko wallpaper from Scion is real contender and I am thinking about putting it on ALL the walls…

60 Retro Reception Room - Donna Ford.jpg

Master Bedroom

The next room to tackle is the master bedroom (a new room thanks the extension) which isn’t even plaster boarded or skimmed yet. I cannot wait to do this room. It’s going to be dark and opulent and I really think will become a haven for me and my husband to crash into every evening and to wake us up with joy. Our current bedroom was decorated about 5 years ago and has just the worst dark brown built in cupboards that cover the whole wall and although there are amazing storage, they have to go eventually. Anyway, exactly a year ago I blogged about the plans for this room and I sincerely hope (and believe) that we will have the bedroom of our dreams by the end of the year. Here’s one of the wallpapers I fell in love with back then and now I am clear that that fringed lamps and some indulgent sophisticated wallpaper will definitely feature in there.

Limerence wallpaper by  House of Hackney . I may only be able to stretch my budget to one small wall of this gorgeous design!

Limerence wallpaper by House of Hackney. I may only be able to stretch my budget to one small wall of this gorgeous design!

Bathroom Update

On the subject of wallpaper, I am keen to update quite a few rooms this year and get my wallpapering mojo on. This is a new skill for me to master and one that my husband has made clear that is his least favourite DIY task! The downstairs bathroom (a delicious quirk of a 1930s house) is the first room we did in the house when we moved in (I vividly remember peeing in a bucket whilst pregnant!) and although it’s in pretty good condition, I realised that the addition of the black Bamboo wallpaper by Farrow and Ball would add some depth and textural interest to the space alongside the mint green crackled glazed tiles and other vintage accessories. Long term I may get rid of the slipper bath (as we have another bath upstairs) and make this into a little boot room.



I still feel that the landing area needs some wallpaper to give depth and texture to some of the walls as it’s a big area with quite a neutral feel which has never really felt right even with the addition of bright neon art work. I have my eye on a wallpaper (inspired by a dress too a similar pattern that accidentally got hung on the wall and gave me this idea) and feel that it will add a slightly more grungey feel that will feel right at home once I have painted the banister dark grey.

Siouxsie wallpaper by  Anna Hayman Designs

Siouxsie wallpaper by Anna Hayman Designs

And finally, the guest bedroom

Once we have moved out of our current bedroom into the new sexy en-suite, then it will become a guest room/craft art room where we can paint, craft, leave the sewing machine permanently out and do air-fix models (that’s Mr Skirting). I am not completely sure how this room will look like but will probably strip back the floorboards (the only room in the house we will have done this) and find some fab way to highlight and celebrate the gorgeous round bay window in there! Maybe a nice window seat with hidden storage. And around the house there is a need to get some artwork framed and up and get tons more plants to breathe some life into every room.

But is it actually achievable?

This may seem like a long list of to-dos but the reality is that the impotence for writing this blog is a great motivator for me getting things done but also writing goals down makes them more likely to happen. It is a greta time commitment, especially when we do ALL the work ourselves but that gives us an even greater sense of achievement when we start enjoying those rooms. But it can take us a while and sometimes it feels we are constantly living on a building site and I also want to acknoledge that it’s OKAY to not move quickly with renovation and DIY. I’m speaking from quite a personal place here considering our long kitchen saga and how difficult it has been. But also it’s something I’ve encountered with my Room Service clients too. Sometimes it can just feel like…

“Why the heck does it take so long to complete a room?”

If this sounds like you, I am here to encourage you. Don’t despair! It can appear that it only takes other people on Instagram a single weekend to do up their entire room but as we know those little squares can be deceiving and there is often a long journey to that shiny new room. I’ve really been considering what are genuine reasons that we procrastinate and delay over interior design in our homes. By understanding these factors I think can it give us insight and ignite a renewed motivation and drive to get it done. This is especially important when you have a clear idea on what the room will actually look like, even down to the last details and yet it doesn’t ever seem to get completed anywhere near as fast as you want it too.

What actually holds us back?

I had to do a little soul searching here and be really honest with myself at what holds me and my clients back from getting on with the task at hand when the ideas are there staring us in the face. These are the things that hold us back when we have a clear concept on how to move forward with the room but maybe not all the individual details yet.

  1. Finances. I can say, hand on my heart that this is the key reason that it took us so long to complete our sought after kitchen. We ran out of money after the renovation work which ran over budget (such a cliche) and we had to save up to buy the big ticket items. Kitchens have got to be the most complicated and expensive rooms to ever complete and we had to get everything from scratch.

  2. Time. We are busy people and life is crazy when you throw children, work and pets into the mix.

  3. Inspiration for final pieces. Sometimes you can’t get the right art work or mirror to complete the space and that puts everything on hold. This really is procrastination at its finest!

  4. Waiting for larger items to arrive and doing nothing in the meantime. Sofas and other furniture can take weeks to arrive and maybe it’s hard to chose other details until you have it in the room to get a real sense of what is needed and what will compliment well.

  5. Indecision on small parts of the concept you have and so remaining frozen. (So guilty of this!)

  6. Not sure what’s missing but knowing something is and instead of doing a little bit more research you are stuck in inaction.

  7. Life getting in the way. We can’t predict what will happen in our personal lives that might take up a lot of our time.

I’ve found some unexpected benefits of waiting!

With our kitchen which feels like the slowest room in the history of the world (believe me there were many moments of despair) but now with a little hindsight (remember we are still not 100% finished) I can see the benefits of taking so long. If you are fussy or particular then you have plenty of time to search every shop for the right door knob or shade of floor board and know that you have made the right decision. When you have a tight schedule and choose things quickly for a room or try and source everything from the same store, then I know from my own experience that this is not as rewarding and you are unlikely to have the room of your dreams at the end of it. Sometimes you need something particular fitted in the space before you can make the next decision. Another thing I’m finding at the minute is that if you spend a long time creating a room, then you really see if your original concept stands the test of time which is a great indicator that you are creating a space that is really you. Although there have been a few changes to some details the overall feel and direction of our industrial green kitchen has remained the same. Here’s a reminder of the kitchen plans and some tips to where to even begin designing one yourself.

Another thing to consider and remember is that moving slowly towards your goals is better that standing still. I’m sure that’s a metaphor that stands for a lot in life actually! But it’s good to remember that if you even only spend a few hours every weekend either working on the room or deciding on paint colours or researching sofas, then you are still moving in the right direction. And it may take a while but in some ways there is greater joy in perservering and receiving your reward. Rushing is not the goal, completing it IS and by setting time aside you will get there. Like small children (talking from experience here) we don’t like to wait and live in a digital world of instant gratification. Waiting is sometimes good for our minds and spirits and the joy of completion even greater in my experience. I feel I’m going off on a tangent here but I actually really believe that DIY and decorating is a huge metaphor for mental health and growth and that the aesthetics of our homes has a massive influence on our well-being. Maybe more about that another day!

What to do to leap into action!

  • If money is an issue then use your time wisely as you wait. Declutter and get rid of stuff you really don’t need (try the new Marie Kondo programme on Netflix or read her book) and sell stuff on local Facebook groups or on Ebay. Also consider doing some of the work yourself. Painting a room will save you a few hundred quid. I’ve wrote my best tips on how to do it yourself here.

  • Just make time! This past year I’ve discovered that if I really want something to happen, I can MAKE the time by sacrificing TV time or getting up early etc. It’s tough to get motivated but it is possible.

  • Keep track of your ideas by saving web links on google Docs and write your ideas in an notebook.

  • Mood board your ideas so you can visually check if what you’re thinking will fit with your original concept. This is easy to do on Canva (free online design software) or in a scrapbook using magazine cutouts

  • Budget and break down how much you can achieve each month and make a plan for the year. Then you can really see what is realistic and what you can work towards.

  • Set goals but be realistic with what you can do with your time and kind to yourself. And remember there really is more to life than interior design (even for a fanatic like me)! I’m planning a DIY night every Tuesday when I am going to touch up some paintwork and get out the polyfiller to fix all the annoying snags around my home. I have all the paint and bits I need so no excuses to finally get round to those little jobs!

  • Try to shift your mindset and enjoy the process. This is a great opportuity to get to know yourself and be creative as you discover your own style! This is one of the reasons I love working one-to-one with clients.

  • Get help! Alongside Room Service I’m offering some emergency call-outs (visits by the hour without mood boards) and phonecalls so that your DIY dilemmas can get sorted and you have no excuses to hold you back! Starting from £30…

  • If all else fails, just take your time and don’t feel bad. And I already mentioned, making small steps in the right direction is better than doing nothing at all.

“Dreams don’t come true. Goals do!”
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Next year will be the year (mark my words) when we have finished every room in our home. Not only so we can say that we have done it but so we can start enjoying the rooms more in terms of their function as well as their aesthetics which will bring us joy. And I’m writing down in because I know that by doing so it will help me make it happen. Hold me to it!

I know more than anyone that material things do NOT bring happiness but I also believe whole heartedly that tranforming your home to reflect you through colour and by embracing the creative process has the power to bring well-being, purpose and a sense of achievement to your life. Out of curiosity, are you guilty of any of these procrastinating methods and do you have any other tips to help overcome them? Thanks for reading as always and looking forward to reading your comments below.

Yours in colour and creativity,

What’s all this fuss about tidying up? And who is Marie Kondo?

What’s all this fuss about tidying up? And who is Marie Kondo?

Dear Santa… An interiors lover’s gift guide 2019

Dear Santa… An interiors lover’s gift guide 2019