Why you need art in your home (and shouldn’t be scared of choosing it)

front foor in lilac with yellow chest of drawers and ls lowry art

AD – This blog post has been kindly paid for by King and McGaw but all opinions and words are, as always, my own.

Art on the walls really does make a house a home. It’s the finishing touch so to speak, and leaving all your walls empty can make your home feel stark and unfriendly.

You don’t need to install gallery walls on every inch of your home, but a few collections of art here and there will really bring your rooms to life and give them a beautiful and unique personality (which you can change up relatively easily as and when the mood takes you).

Displaying art on the walls is also a fabulous way of bringing rented accommodation to life or for injecting colour into a neutral scheme. It can be a great conversation starter when you have friends round, it can make you chuckle, marvel, daydream, think, become pensive, nostalgic or even inspired. Art is a multi-faceted accessory in your home and shouldn’t just be an after-thought.

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How to use tile stickers

Naff. That was the first thought in my mind when I came across tile stickers.

But then we moved to this house with a lime green kitchen and my opinion began to change. I knew we needed to come up with a quick and cheap solution so we could transform it (or at the very least, make it ‘liveable’) before all the major building works began.

You can find tile stickers on eBay and Amazon, but after heaps of searching, we personally struck gold with moonwallstickers.com. It’s an unassuming website, with limited and rather uninspiring social media activity but, my oh my, some of the tile stickers on there are gorgeous! (This is NOT an ad by the way!) There are also multiple size options available for every design making it compatible with the tiles you already have.

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A quick budget kitchen makeover

After a long drawn out moving process, which had many setbacks along the way, we were absolutely itching to crack on with the renovation as soon as the keys were in our hands. We plan to extend the kitchen and utility room one day, so whilst we’ve invested in replastering and new electrics in the rest of the house, this temporary makeover was always going to be about being simple, quick and super cheap. We just needed to make it liveable for 3 years or so.

The only proplem there is…

There was lime green EVERYWHERE.

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Limepaint – what went wrong and why I won’t be using it again

Limepaint or limewash is a natural eco-friendly paint which, when applied with a brush, creates a beautiful textured finish and thanks to modern companies like Bauwerk Colour and Kalkliter, comes in a wide range of stunning colours. So why did it all go so wrong?

I have loved the look for awhile, whether it be in Moroccan décor or in more contemporary settings and I felt this paint might just be the ‘piece de resistance’ needed in our bedroom. I like the calming nature of an all-white bedroom but felt by injecting some texture it would help give it depth and interest.

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Our small family home: A full house tour

Our small family home: A full house tour

The time has finally come to say goodbye to our first home, our beautiful little Victorian mid-terrace house with the yellow door. We have had so many wonderful memories here, including bringing our youngest daughter home at just 6 hours old, hosting parties, working together on DIY projects, watching both our children learn to walk and talk, and, of course, I am very grateful to have been able to call it ours. However, it is almost two years to the day that we decided to move on so, honestly? My heart has not been here for a while. It has been with the other three houses we’ve tried to buy along the way, it has been dreaming of driveways and downstairs toilets and space for dishwashers. We were completely content with our situation, but as soon as our head was turned by something different, I’m ashamed to say our patience for the little niggles mentioned above started to wear thin. Family life grew and two active children (potentially more one day?) require more than a couple with a baby who doesn’t move.

And so, to sign off our adventure in this home on the blog, I have curated a mammoth house tour for you full of all the juiciest before and after shots! We have learnt so much from the renovation – we made a lot of mistakes and compromised more than we would have liked to due to budget (we spent approx. £6500 in total for the whole house) but overall we have both really enjoyed the process. I hope you like it!

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Moving house as part of a big chain – the saga continues

Moving house as part of a big chain - the saga continues

I am writing this in utter disbelief, with tears rolling down my cheeks, splashing the keys on my laptop and moistening my angrily tapping fingertips.

Six months ago, I shared with you all how our house move had fallen through at the last moment. Whilst heartbroken and raw, I read it back now with shock at how positive I was, even then, in what felt like a very dark moment. Of course I could write then with the hope that this sort of thing never happens twice? Surely that is unheard of? Surely the next house we find will be THE one? Turns out I was wrong. I know I’ve lost all perspective, but honestly, right now I feel like moving house is impossible.

This time around we were in a chain of six, but we’d got even closer. A few weeks ago everyone was talking about moving this very Friday (22nd June). We had a date! We had started arranging childcare, received quotes for removal men, cleared out the loft, the kitchen and the under stairs cupboard. My word, I’d even cleaned the oven in preparation!

However, today we found out that #3 in the chain (our buyer’s buyer) has pulled out. Our buyers are no longer proceedable. Therefore we have to put ours on the market again, which for one reason or another, will be the fifth time in 22 months. We have spent close to £2000 on trying to move and we are back to square one. Except now we lack the innocent, giddy hope we began the process with – we just feel cynical, jaded and powerless.

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#ourkidslivehere: A new family and interiors Instagram hashtag challenge

Interior and Family Hashtag Challenge

Do you love stylish interiors but also have kids? Do you know they can actually be compatible together?!

Sometimes it’s just a case of seeing how others do it, to inspire you to do the same. What hacks do they use? How do they make the shared room for the kids work both practically and aesthetically? Where the heck do they put all the ugly toys?!

That’s why Coral Atkinson (@coral.atkinson, founder and creator behind the beautiful Velveteen Babies) and I (@theottohouse), have decided to start a new hashtag challenge which we hope will encourage people to share, and be inspired by, stylish and creatively decorated homes which have our family lives at the centre. Our homes may not always look straight out of a magazine but they do have life to the fullest enjoying every inch of them. You will be able to find all this inspiration under the hashtag #ourkidslivehere and you can add your own pictures to the feed too by popping the hashtag in the caption underneath your picture. We would love you to feel free to include your kids in these pictures if you like, but without them is totally fine too (we don’t want anyone ‘styling’ their kids into a shot just for Instagram!) We will share our favourites on our Instagram stories and, at the end of each month, our favourite picture will win an amazing prize from an incredible independent interiors based brand! So, be sure to follow both our accounts so you don’t miss out on the news including which fabulous prizes we have coming up!

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Top 20 Toddler and Cotbed Duvet Bedlinen Sets

Stylish toddler and cot bed duvet cover sets

Recently a friend asked me for recommendations on where to find reasonably priced but tasteful toddler or cot bed sized bedlinen. It’s a question I’ve been asked before, and from my own experience looking for bedlinen for our girls, I knew it would be a challenge to answer! I opened up the question on my Instagram stories and was absolutely overwhelmed with responses from you all agreeing that there really isn’t much out there under £30… many people even made their own duvet covers as they couldn’t find anything which tickled their fancy.

If you take away one thing from this blog post though, I would suggest you find your bedlinen set(s) at the same time as choosing your duvet. Toddler or cot bed sizes vary greatly from one store to another and I feel it is harder to find nice bedding that will fit in with your style or scheme, than it is to find a duvet insert of that size, so to increase the amount of choice you have, choose the bedlinen set first.

So I went on a very long trawl across the internet and found twenty sets that I really like. I’ve split them into a budget category and an investment category. I hope it helps!

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Behind the scenes of a national interiors magazine home photoshoot (the tips, the secrets, the things I found surprising)

Behind the scenes of a national interiors magazine home photoshoot (the tips, the secrets, the things I found surprising)

Last year our home was photographed for a national interiors magazine. It was a something I’ve dreamt about since a teenager (indeed, I even photographed my bedroom and sent the photos to The Times Weekend Style Magazine with that goal in mind when I was 14,) and I count myself very blessed to have had the opportunity to tick it off my bucket list so to speak. It was one of the most fun, interesting, revealing and nerve-wracking days I’ve ever had.

Let me tell you about how it all works – the tips, the secrets, the things I found surprising.

Firstly it all came about through Instagram. Like so many people these days, a journalist saw pictures of our home on my account and messaged me to see if I was interested in being in a magazine. I googled the person like crazy I was so convinced it was a hoax, but once I had done enough research to convince myself – and the husband – that this person wasn’t going to come to the house and just pilfer our belongings (haha, as if there’s anything to pilfer) we organised a date and I set to work tidying, cleaning, rearranging and rearranging again. Oh, and again.

Suddenly all the imperfections your eye becomes oblivious to overtime, now stand out like a kid in uniform on a mufti day. ‘That skirting board isn’t quite flush to the floor, this walls a bit bare, isn’t it? That sofa is looking really tired and I’ve never really liked those cushions, why haven’t I updated them? Where are we going to put the plastic toys? Why have we got so many dvds again? Are you sure they haven’t made a mistake? They’re just gonna arrive, take one look, and walk straight back out the door.’ Over and over, repeat, repeat.

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Our girls’ shared bedroom with bunk beds

house bunk beds in girls shared bedroom

DISCLAIMER: These bunk beds were purchased by myself, with 50% off, in exchange for an honest blog post and pictures of the product. This is the first time I have collaborated on something like this so do let me know what you think and please ask me any questions you have about the bunk beds – all thoughts and words are, and always will be, my own!

As our youngest daughter began to outgrow her cot, it felt natural to look towards bunk beds as a solution for our girls’ shared bedroom. Not to mention our eldest daughter has been asking for them for a while now, and kept telling people, ‘when we move to the big house, we’re going to have bunk beds and I’m going to sleep on the top and Betty will sleep on the bottom…’ I’m not entirely sure where she got that idea from as we never promised anything specifically, but our hope was to have bunk beds set up in the new house as a surprise when they arrived.

Anyway, as regular readers of this blog will know, the house sale fell through at the last minute so we’re still in our old house for the moment (you can read what happened here), but babies carry on growing, and cots don’t grow with them, so we decided to find a new solution even if it meant building new bunk beds that we’d have to dismantle a few months later.

Due to our youngest being only 20 months old, we were keen to get a bed with the bottom bunk bed close to the ground, which this house bunk bed from House About Kids does perfectly. The ladder is also on a slant, has handles and wide steps, which is perfect for our girls who aren’t as physically confident as other kids their age. In fact, we visited a friends house at the weekend who have the Ikea Kura Bunk (another serious contender for us) but Darcey struggled to go up and down the ladder so I’m glad we didn’t go for that one just yet. As the years pass, I also think this bed has plenty of room to reinvent itself . I’m looking forward to making sweeping canopy’s, hanging plants, adding greenery and more fairy lights, maybe curtains of some sort for the bottom bunk, I could go on…! (**insert husband rolling eyeballs here**)

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