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Be careful which door you choose; it may not be the exit!

This afternoon I’m pleased to share with you an article from a guest writer, US designer Oliver Milo Davis – an interior designer who loves to play with spatial designs. He likes being practical in his concepts and at the same time, he likes things that are pleasing to the eyes. He grew up rearranging his home’s furniture and accessories. He likes writing too as a way of expressing and sharing his many ideas. Here’s his post on furnishing studio apartments – enjoy!

First there were sofas, then sofa beds and now storage sofas; not the kind that you dismantle when your guests leave only to have to reassemble them when your next guests arrive. No, I’m talking about storage sofas – saving space for condo living.

Studio Flat

I once had to design what used to be called a condo – short for condominium – but which I now refer to as a studio flat because there was no bedroom, thus no bed as such but it was still a home. The price I paid for it which was the main reason for buying it I have to admit, was such that it could never be a one bed flat but I did not let that put me off.

Firstly I drew up a list of the key essentials and the first unit on the list was a bed. Without a bedroom, I still needed somewhere to lay my head down, complete with a mattress and pillows. What options did I have without a bedroom?

Sofa Bed

studio apartment by Kevin Krejci via flickr
Image by Kevin Krejci via flickr

Well, of course, there was the ubiquitous sofa bed so loved of designers throughout the 60’s and 70’s because of its dual purpose usage and space saving usability. With flexible and easily foldable mattresses, sofa beds were one of the most popular ways of providing comfortable seating in the living room while doubling up as a bed when guests retired for the night. Leather sofa beds were by far the most popular as not only did they not increase substantially in price but they also provided the smartest unit of furniture in the home and were equally adaptable when expanded into a full sized bed.

Even sofa beds did not seem to be an option since it would have added to the number of units in the room, taking up space, which I did not really have since the key thing to remember was that I had to save space not add to it with different units of furniture.

Then I came up with the idea – well I say I came up with it but if the truth be told I had actually first seen the idea – on the stage in a production of Streetcar Named Desire, even though I did not have the best view in the house. Much of the play took place in the bedroom but because of the scene changing, they had to store the bed somewhere when the stage became the kitchen. Some stages revolve in order to make scene changes but this stage was static and the props all had dual purpose uses.

Out of sight

The answer was quite ingeniously to have the bed collapse upwards into a cupboard, complete with a proper door where it could be stored out of sight and no one was any the wiser that the door was anything but another room. Thus the sofa bed was safely stored out of sight while the actors portrayed the next scene in the living room. Ingenious eh!

Well not quite as this, of course, has led to several slapstick moments in music halls and theatres throughout the world with several plays – or perhaps we should call them farces – featuring the stored away sofa bed collapsing and reassembling at inopportune moments; the main protagonists exiting through what they thought was the way out; errant husbands/wives slipping unseen out of the room when their other halves returned unexpectedly or just hiding while their other halves were exited stage left.

But in design terms, sofa beds are the answer to saving space for studio living.

Thanks for this interesting interior design post Oliver! Check out his author profile here Oliver Milo Davis


Dream a little dream ~ for the little ones

With all the attention I’ve been lavishing on my bedroom during the sleep challenge combined with the interior design ideas I’ve been researching for bedrooms, I thought I would write a little blog post focusing on the cute decor ideas I’ve found for the little ones in your life. I’m a proud aunty with another little niece or nephew on the way, so I couldn’t help being drawn into the adorable design ideas that are out there for babies’ nurseries! Here’s my moodboard of miniature bedroom ideas:

Baby nursery bedroom design inspiration ideas from my crib rocks website

Images courtesy of My Crib Rocks

I love how these bedrooms from My Crib Rocks look like proper grown-up rooms, just with smaller furniture in them! It will be super-easy for the child to grow into the space without the need to redecorate or replace the furniture regularly. I especially love the plum-coloured walls: they are so classy and I’d be happy to have them in MY bedroom! A moses basket is always the cutest accessory and it’s so exciting when a family introduces a moses basket into their interior design, because that means a little bundle of joy has just arrived! My husband enjoyed my nephew’s moses basket so much that he considered buying cream waffle sheets for our own bed because it looked so cosy in my nephew’s crib!

baby bedroom desing babycrib01-dosfamily1

I also love the idea of DIY decorations for your baby’s bedroom, to make it even more unique. This DIY bedroom idea was shared by the Dos Family blog and it features a cool tree design over the crib cut from vinyl. The same vinyl has been used to make wildlife decals to decorate the furniture, and animal accessories complete the forest theme. This is great to inspire your child as they grow up, with stories coming to life around them – imagine reading them the Animals of Farthing Wood while they sleep in a bedroom like this – what amazing dreams they would have!

It’s lovely to make personalised things for your child’s bedroom, such as these hand-crafted mobiles and letter frames below. These items can be easily crafted as a gift to celebrate the new baby, and they will be likely to be kept as heirlooms, which can be passed down to the next child, or even to the next generation – imagine your baby hanging the same homemade mobile above his childs’ cot, how cute is that?! Check out my children’s Pinterest board for image links and more inspiration.

baby bedroom design handmade mobiles and artwork


Dream a little dream… of a bedroom makeover!

I don’t know what it is about this time of year but I always seem to look around the house in October/November time and start dreaming about the possibilities for making-over my home. I seem to get the urge to ‘Autumn clean’ with the aim of getting my home ‘ready for Christmas’. I started with a thorough clear-out of my bedroom at the weekend (the kind where even the curtains get cleaned) and I’ve started thinking about (dangerous, I know) and worse still, making plans to makeover my bedroom before the festive season starts. I’d better get a move on! Having lived in this house for nearly 18 months now without doing anything to the bedroom (apart from squeeze our old ill-fitting furniture into it) I’ve decided that it needs to be sorted out asap. I can’t live with magnolia walls and a broken bedside lamp anymore.

So I’ve started in the usual way by spending far too long looking on Pinterest and to find additional inspiration I’ve even been browsing online catalogues. I’ve been specifically looking for inspiration for bedrooms and can’t wait to put my ideas into action. I think that flicking through catalogues or looking on retail websites is a great way to see what’s on trend for the current season – they have basically done all the interior design work for you! Here are some of the bedroom images I found:

manhatten amazon new alderley style bedroom design littlewoods

The first thing that needs sorting out is the storage (who says that under the bed is not an acceptable place to store everything?). We have alcove space either side of a chimney breast that would be the perfect place for wardrobes, but at the moment we only have 1 wardrobe between myself and my husband – I know, nightmare right?! There’s a great range of wardrobes at Littlewoods that I’d like to get my hands on but it all depends of what hubby thinks  – yes , he still gets to voice his opinion on design from time-to-time – and really it all boils down to the cost.

Is it a good idea to look around for second-hand or vintage storage or should we just go for it and buy a pair of quality wardrobes that actually match? Decisions, decisions. We all know now the real reason way I’m no desperate for a bedroom makeover – I simply don’t want to have to throw out any of my clothes to make space for hubby’s gear! I will keep you updated on my progress and in the meantime, give in touch to let me know how you made your house into a home :)

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Creating the perfect retro look for your living room

If you’re looking to create a welcoming, stylish and homely look in your living room, giving your home décor a retro twist is a great place to start. The versatility of the retro look means that you can make your interior design as subtle or as all-out as you want. Plus, as it’s easy to add personal touches you can easily make your home reflect your unique personality.

The wallpaper in my retro living room

The wallpaper in my retro living room

As they form the backdrop to your room, creating effective wall décor will be important to the overall look of your room. If you can, buy some retro-inspired wallpaper and transform one surface into a stunning feature wall. Alternatively, use a rich paint colour to add a luxurious and warm tone to the room.

If you’re not able to alter the colour of the room, or just want to add a little extra detail, keep an eye out for retro picture frames and posters to enhance your walls. You could even frame vintage-style pieces of wallpaper and create your very own retro art.


In any living room, the sofa will play an important role both in the style and feel of the room and you’ll find a great selection of items in the range of sofas from Sainsbury’s if you’re looking for inspiration. Leather sofas, especially those with a vintage twist, will look fantastic in your retro living room. You could pair it with a matching foot stool for a great feature piece, or you can place a throw over an existing sofa to give it a vintage feel.

If you’re not replacing your sofa, you could always invest in a retro looking chair to add the character that you need to the room.

Choose bright cushions & throws in retro fabrics

Choose bright cushions & throws in retro fabrics


Changing your entire floor to match your new look, though great if you want to create a unified theme, may be a little impractical. So why not add a retro touch with a rug or runner instead? If you’ve got wooden floorboards hiding underneath your worn out flooring, you could add real charm and character to your home by revealing it in all its glory.

Changing the look of your living room is a great way to rejuvenate your home and let your personality shine through your décor. So have a look around your living room and see what you can do to give it some old-fashioned charm. Thanks for reading this guest post by Sainsbury’s. To find out more about selecting stylish retro home furnishings, check out the  Sainsbury’s website.

More retro articles:



My little vintage caravan project ~ Clearing out the old…

I am starting my new caravan makeover project with a clear out. If you didn’t see my first blog post about my new caravan please read back over my blog post a couple of days ago on 14th August and you’ll know why I need to begin with an excavation project! It’s a real mess inside and lots of the fittings are crumbling away so, although ripping things out would be an easy job, it was still a little bit gut-wrenching when I thought about all the history I was getting rid of. But needs must, and the caravan interior simply would not have lasted. Even so, every decision was difficult – “should this cupboard go?” hmmm *inspect it for a bit and realise it was broken* hmmm *have a cup of tea and think about it* hmmm. “Yes, I suppose it will have to go” *pull it off the wall in one tug*.

cassiefairys vintage caravan project original photos of sprite interior

You know how much I hate waste and things going to landfill – it’s usually me saving things out of skips! – but this time I had to throw some bits away, so the old wood and cardboard went into the recycling, metal and plastic headed to the household waste recycling site and I kept hold of as many fittings and hinges and screws as I could (you never know when you might need them!).  At least this way I have a blank canvas to start with and can plan the space for my own purposes. I’ve kept the two bench seats but there was no large table to fit between them to turn it into a bed, so I’ve salvaged a large piece of wood to use in the gap. When it’s not being used as a bed, it will be my office space, so I’ve saved the small table from the other end of the caravan and luckily it fits onto the same support bar as the big table, so I can use it at the bench end of the caravan. It’s just about big enough for my laptop and a cuppa! I’ve saved the canvas bunk bed and fittings, because eventually this will become the supporting structure for a work bench.

cassiefairys vintage caravan project interior clearing out

Looking around the space now, it’s a good size and should be plenty big enough for storing all my fabric and tutus! I can see where the walls are weakest from the old damp and I can strip off the loose bits and paper over the joins. I’m feeling quite optimistic about my little caravan and I think it will thank me for removing all the old crumbling interior in the end – it seems drier and warmer already! Watch this space for the next step – painting and decorating!

cassiefairys camper project shabby chic retro interior inspiration from pinterest caravan love board

Here’s another inspiring little caravan that I’d love to own and I expect it’s not long until I have an interior just like this! Check out my Pinterest Caravan Love board to repin this image and see many more of my inspirations for this project :)

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Top tips for spring cleaning

In our part of the world winter tends to get too long and depressing. We can’t wait for spring to come, sun to shine and butterflies to start fluttering in our belly. Spring brings out the best in us, inspires us to dress up and to feel pretty. There’s another kind of “dressing up” we like to do when the gloomy winter days are over; spring cleaning – sounds familiar? Maybe not all of us really like it, but we definitely need to freshen up our home in the spring and start enjoying its sunnier version.

Tips and tricks on making spring cleaning fun

Now, why not have fun while de-cluttering, reorganizing and reviving your home? There are ways to make this activity truly entertaining but you’ll need to clean the house first. In order to get to the more cheerful activities faster, you can rope in your family members to help with cleaning, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, window-washing, etc.

spring cleaningImage

Reorganization and redecoration

1. What’s most obvious about spring are the vibrant colours. The flowers are in bloom, the sun is waking you up with its almost unbearably happy shine. Spring is a good time to refresh your walls and if you want to make a change, think about painting your walls yellow, light blue or vibrant green. Adding new colours might improve the look of your existing furniture and soft furnishings or you could easily makeover an old unit with a fresh coat of paint.

2. Treat yourself to one new piece of storage furniture such as a TV unit, electronic device or kitchen appliance. Something new can improve the overall appearance of your existing items, and you can set about recycling and repurposing the rest of your stuff.

3. Renovating old furniture doesn’t have to be about getting a perfect finish – you cane make a ‘shabby chic’ effect by painting old chairs and tables using several layers of spray paint, sanding the last layer off so that the previous (white) layer is visible. You can find tutorials on the blog on how to do this and create a piece of furniture with a vintage look to it.

4. Get your whole family involved and organize a day of art with your kids/partner/friends, painting vases and photo frames to compliment your new decor.

spring flowersImage

5. Open up your home with new plants and flowers in your living room – here’s a blog post about how house plants can clean the air in your home. You don’t have to make a jungle out of your home, but the right amount of plants can make your home look fresh and elegant.

6. You might want to consider removing heavy curtains so that your home gets more light. You can also remove rugs (until next winter), because it will be easier to clean the floors and you’ll get a sense of living in a bigger space.

You don’t really need to spend any money on dressing up your home for Spring. It’s just important to come up with new ideas and to have the will to work on creating something pretty.  It’s amazing how little details can change the appearance of your home. Simply moving your furniture around can change the way your room looks. Putting up interesting photo frames and painting your walls an usual colour can be enough to visually improve your house.  Focus on details: pillows on sofas, small sculptures, lamps, flowers, wall stickers and posters, etc. Once you are done with this demanding job, you can sit back and enjoy your home’s new spring beauty.

Guest post by blogger Eva Stephen, author of fantastic interior decor articles for House to Home, DIY by Design and Mad About Pink.


DIY Furniture Project – Blanket Cupboard

Happy Saturday! I hope you are having a great weekend, we had some more snow here yesterday so its chilly again – it’s supposed to have been the coldest night of the year here so we wrapped up warm with lots of extra blankets and duvets and were nice and toasty!

blue blanket cabinet makeover diy furniture project paint wallapaper floral cassiefairy

I thought that today I would share with you a quick Do-It-Yourself project that I’ve done, making over an old storage unit into my funky vintage blanket cupboard. This cabinet was on its way to the household waste recycling centre when I took a second look at it and realised that, although the varnish was peeling and there were scratches and marks all over the unit, it was a perfectly sturdy piece of furniture and could be re-vamped into something much more pretty with very little effort.

blanket cabinet blue painted furniture makeover diy project

My hubby and I gave the whole unit a light sanding over, taking off any loose bits of varnish as we went, and then wiped down the cupboard inside and out. I then painted the whole unit with two coats of paint to refresh it. I chose blue wood paint because we had a spare pot in the shed but this kind of unit could be painted in any shade to coordinate or contrast with the decor of the room that it will be living in. After the paint had dried, we cut a piece of blue floral wallpaper to the size of the shelves and pasted it on with normal wallpaper paste and left it to dry. Again, we had some left over paper from our decorating, but you could even use a sample piece from the DIY store, depending on the size of your shelves, or buy an end-of-line discounted roll for only a couple of quid. If you fancy lining your drawers, you could also use the same wallpaper for this too!

blue cabinet makeover project painted furniture diy blog post

This now provides valuable extra storage space for all those blankets that only come out in the winter or when guests come to stay, and it would even be good in a child’s nursery with all the space for toys below and clothes in the drawers above. I hope that you’ll be able to see some potential any worn-out furniture you come across, and have a go at your own renovation project! Check out some of my other DIY upcycling projects below :D

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