We’re lucky enough to have two matching reception rooms – we use one as a play room with all the toys, and this one is a slightly more grown-up room where I like to relax away from the Lego. It’s not the sunniest room, and like all Edwardian and Victorian terraced houses it can feel a little dark at times. It does get the afternoon sun though, and I like to sit in here with a cup of tea after the school run.
When we moved in four years ago it was a very plain room, with cream textured wallpaper and a few oddly placed shelves. We stripped off the wallpaper and painted the room a soft grey. We had a new bay window installed – the old wooden sash windows were long gone, so we replaced the ugly 1970s casement windows with new sliding sashes.
We replaced the old shelves with new bookshelves on either side of the fireplace – this was a necessity as we own a lot of books!
Sadly the fireplace is not currently in use. In our old house the fireplaces had been stripped out and we lovingly re-installed original period fireplaces. In this house both reception rooms still have their original fireplaces, but sadly not in working condition. This presents a bit of a conundrum for me. I’m a romantic and I can’t bear to rip out the original fireplaces and surrounds. I love the idea of the builder choosing them from the pattern book over a hundred years ago, and it would be such a shame to lose them.
They look great, but are in quite poor condition and it wouldn’t be safe to light a fire. So we’ve left them for four years. We’re now inching closer to either having them repaired (a painstaking and quite expensive process) or having wood burners installed, whilst trying to retain the original surrounds and perhaps part of the tiles. We keep mulling it over, but both options are pretty expensive, and I can’t help wondering if it’d be better to hold off a bit. We love it here, but I’m not sure this will our forever home and we’ve already spent quite a lot of money on it.
But anyway, the fireplaces still look beautiful and they give me somewhere to display my treasures. Pictured here are some little dogs I bought from the market years ago, along with some little birds and a tiny sheep from our local antiques centre. I also keep my few bits of Wedgewood Jasperware up here. The over mantel mirror was one of the first things we bought when we moved here. We tried to find an old one, but in the end this one from John Lewis ticked every box.
A favourite corner of my room is this one…
Here we have a glass fronted bookcase, filled with yet more books. On the floor is my vintage sewing box, which my mum bought me from Ely market. I love its shape – especially how its legs match the sofa very well! We bought the sofas from John Lewis when we moved in. They are so comfortable, although the one in the window has faded quite a bit which is a shame.
The curtains are simple ones, from Oka. I sometimes wish I’d gone for patterned ones, but getting them made would’ve been very expensive and I found it impossible to choose. Instead, I like to change the cushions and throws regularly. The current cushions are from Habitat. The yellow really lifts the grey. The little cushion is from Melin Tregwynt, a present from James on our last trip to Pembrokeshire. The coffee table is an old blanket box and the standard lamp was made by James’ granddad in the 50s.
Here is where we keep the TV. I should really have cleared away the mess of wires and baskets! We could do with something different here, although I do love this table.
One part of the room that I can’t get right is behind the door…
Currently, I have this old tea trolley sitting here, serving no real purpose other than gathering dust and clutter. I am quite sentimental about it as it is the first thing I ever bought at an auction (£5!). But nothing really looks quite right on it. Answers on a postcard?
I still really like the colour and style of this room but I would like to make a few changes. I’d love to get some houseplants and perhaps phase out some of the brown furniture. I don’t think Aspidistras on Edwardian plant stands will ever come back in – although maybe I could lead the trend on that one? I would also love to get a more grown-up lampshade. There are too many cheap paper lanterns from Ikea in this house, which needs to change!
Now I’ve introduced you to this room, I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my latest updates with you!