Finally happy about the living room

Sunday, 28 December 2014

If anybody is still reading this blog, I apologize beforehand for yet another "living room" post. Seems like most of my blogging over the last two years has focused on that particular room. Not that there isn't anything changing in the other areas - on the contrary ! But once I get something in my head, it's apparently very tough to let go off.
And basically that meant that I wouldn't rest - or stop spending (!) - until I wasn't feeling happier about that room. Early this year, I had gotten to the point that I really didn't like anything in here anymore. I stopped spending time in here and, for several months, the living room became the dumping room of my flat. Everything that I didn't want in another room got discarded in here, making matters of course much worse ! For a while, I felt like selling everything off and starting over. But luckily I came to my senses. I mean, imagine if I had actually sold my bookcabinets or my Cadovius shelves or my Nathan sideboard... Ugh, I would soooo regret it now !
But anyway, the basic problem still remainded : there was way too much stuff in here (and not just all the crap that got randomly dumped in here); everything was too retro (never thought I'd say this, but there you have it); all the wood was just too much ... and overall is was all too dark and stuffy ! I think this post from last November gives you a pretty good idea.

Maybe I'm just exagerating and it wasn't all that bad. But I think, in any case, I had outgrown the full-on retro look and was looking for something a bit more adult, fresh, modern and personal. So back in April, I started tuning things down in here. I also spent a long weekend in May painting over the black wall with Farrow and Ball's amazing Stiffkey Blue. Still in May I also brought home an Ikea classic in an attempt to mix things up. And then during my summer holidays things really started to get serious : new sofa, new furniture, new layout... And now the icing on the cake...

Ta-da you guys ! I also bought a new dining table !

I went down the (kind of) contemporary route again in choosing the Hay C44 table. It's a recent production, yes! But it's also a relaunch of a Danish furniture classic designed by Jørgen Baekmark and originally made for FDB, the Danish Consumers’ Co-operative Society. FDB’s furniture production started in the 1940s and their main idea was functionalist and democratic design for the people. Well, I can only thank Hay for this truly wonderful table. It's beautiful, it's sturdy, it's very well made and - in true modernist fashion - it's fairly affordable.

Best of all, it comes with a melamine tabletop that is very easy to clean, generally cat resistant and even reversible. It's black on the other side ! I haven't tried out the black look yet - for the moment I'm craving as much light as I can get - but I'm looking forward to experimenting with it in the coming months.

Ok, ok. I admit. That wasn't my only recent purchase for the living room... Yes, the wicker chair is also new. But I have an excuse. Or at least an explanation for this spending frenzy. Ikea recently relaunched - in a (very) limited edition - some of their incredibly awesome designs from the fifties. I mean, look at them ! Don't you want to buy them all ? I certainly wanted to. So all things considered, I think I stayed incerdibly level-headed in only buying one tiny little chair...

Also, Ikea here in Brussels only had a grand total of 12 of these chairs. So I was told by one of their managers when I was trying to figure out if I could reasonably postpone my purchase (I couldn't, these chairs were selling fast !). A lovely chat it was. Indeed the lady thought I should come work for them, since I'm such a big fan... Ha ! Anyways.

Look at it ! It's soooo cute !

It's the cats favourite chair. And mine !

Sorry can't help myself. Just one more.

With all this gushing, I almost forgot to mention that the new-ish sofa is - albeit in serious danger of being scratched to death by the kitties - holding up very well. As you can see, I switched the sitting area around. I had to make room for the new table format (I went from round to rectangular) - and my new Ikea Gagnet chair ! And the old layout just wasn't appropriate anymore.

I really like this. The room looks much more open now that the sofa isn't sitting in front of the window anymore. And has you can see from a few photos back there's also space enough now to indulgence in a cool little 1970s inspired plant jungle.

So to sum up this already very long post. I guess you've guessed it : I'm finally happy with my living room ! So happy that I love chilling in here in the evenings or having a snooze on the sofa during the weekends. And I'm also really looking forward to hosting some lovely dinner parties with friends and family in here.

One thing's missing though. Don't know if you've noticed, but I don't have a light source (yet) next to the sofa and in the evenings it can get hard to read in here, with the closest light being next to those white vases.

I'm thinking : wall lamp ! Any suggestions ?

Summer switch-a-round

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Bloody hell, you guys! Do you know what happened to 2014 ? Spring came and went. Summer came and went. Three weeks of summer holidays came and went.

Pooof. All just gone...Scrolling down on this blog just four posts (four !), I was getting ready for Christmas... 2013.

Man. I've been a truly terrible blogger this year. And it hasn't even been for lack of changes around here. Back in April I repainted the bathroom. Then I changed the bedroom layout. Then I also painted my black walls in Stiffkey Blue. And finally during my last week of summer vacation, I moved a "few" things around in the living room... And maybe added some stuff...

Case in point. A new sofa.

It's a "classic" Ikea Karlstad 2 seater with the grey Isunda cover. After the cats basically scrated my orange vintage sofa to death, I decided I didn't want to take any further risks or spend vast amounts on a designer/vintage sofa that would eventually end up in the skip... So Ikea it is !

Gettting a new sofa had the rather unfortunate side effect of triggering a series of other changes.

The Ikea sofa being way bulkier than the previous vintage one (which was more a bench really than a couch), there wasn't enough space to fit the Ikea PS metal sideboard between the Caodvius shelves and the window (under the Charley Harper 'ladybird' print).

So off it went to the other side of the room.

And since a single one of these sideboards on such a long wall looked a bit lost, I decided to get a second one ! Over here in Belgium, Ikea recently dropped the price on these cabinets (from 80 to 60 eur). So it was an easy decision to make. 

That massive cactus is from Ikea too, btw. 

I must be one of their best customers again...

And before you gasp at the the 'Eames' chair...It's a knock-off. But I found it at the Brussels flea market and I love it.

My sister-in-law helped me sand down the seat. The previous owner had started but not finished (very weird). Plus there was some water damage from being exposed to the elements at the Brussels flea for a while... But after sanding and oiling that chair is looking glorious.

For those of you still paying attention after all these months, you might have wondered what happend to my Nathan teak sideboard

Well, here it is. Looking fanatastic under the Cadovius shelves. And while I was at it, I changed the shelves themselves and everything on them around. I mean at this point, what's one more change ?!

Flo ! Showing off some of the details. And a randomly placed cactus.

Other big news on the homefront. After 3 years of neglect, I finally - albeit partially - replanted the front balcony. The kitties are at least as excited as I am.

I got echinaceas, a rudbeckia, a new clematis, a limonium and a "monk's pepper" bush. And I can't wait to plant more next spring !

So there you have it. The results of most of my last week of summer holidays.

How did you spent yours ? Did you get anything done ? Have you had some exciting thrift finds ?

Going modern

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Let me start by apologizing for this dreadfully lit picture. After a few days of sunny and warm weather, Brussels is back to its natural gloomy self and any interior photos might as well have been taken in November. Sigh.

Last month I blogged about craving more minimalism. Ok, this isn't it. Yet. Rather this is a first attempt to mix things up in the living room - material and style wise. To be honest, I'm a bit tired of the "all wood, all retro" look.

So bye bye Tomado shelves, hello Ikea sideboard ! It's sturdy, it holds a ton of stuff (so far mostly stuff I have to sell on ebay), it's beautiful, it's fairly cheap and it's amazingly easy to put together. And most importantly, it's made out of metal, it's white and it's a first step towards a brighter more minimal future...

My most faithful readers might remember that last summer I aquired an awesome fiber art piece for this corner. However in the long run it turned out to be just too brown for the living room. With all the wooden furniture, brown seemed to be the dominant colour in here... Anyway the fiber weawing thing has now moved to a happier spot in the bedroom. And here we are: room for new art !

Gosh, do you remember this fabulous sneak peek from Sweden back in 2009 ? I certainly do ! Please don't get me started on that fabulous bedroom or the awesome hall... Want, need, greed, drove me a bit crazy and I totally forked over an insane amount of money to this etsy seller to finally get my hands on an Olle Eksell eyes poster. Ok, it's not an original from the 1999 exhibition, but it's huge and it fits into a standard Ikea Ribba frame. Still the best kind of art, if you ask me.

Next step ? Find a new dining table. I'm dreaming of a sexy 70s smoked glass table. Or maybe a classic retro formica table ?

Decisions decisions...


Saturday, 12 April 2014

I don't know about you guys, but over here spring is definitely on the way. 

How can I tell ? I mean, besides the obvious sunshine, tempeatures in the low twenties and flowers everywhere ? Easy. When I get that tingly feeling and start moving stuff around, that's when I know for sure spring is here !

This season I'm especially craving a more minimalist decor. The first step will be to keep stuff on and around the sideboard to a minimum. So the red West German pottery collection has moved and made way for a more 70s style colour range. 
Of course, it's all still very much a work in progress. The Tomado shelf feels wrong and so does the rest of the art. And there needs to be a better transition between the earthy coloured objects and the bolder armchair and red vases. But it's a start.

I love how my mid-century tapestry looks over the sideboard. The cats however are unfazed by aesthetics and simply view it as a giant cat scratcher. Assholes ! I've doused it in cat repellent, but I suspect they're still having a go at it... So I might have to find a safer spot for it.

Speaking of cats. Hello Sammy !

New home for my red WGP vases. I'm thinking this corner can take a more maximalist approach. Also I'm seriously thinking about repainting that black wall... It needs a new coat of paint anyway. I don't know how, but the kitties have managed to leave paw marks all over it and the touch-ups are really showing.

I'm in love with Farrow & Ball's Stiffkey Blue. I tried it out already in the bathroom back in November, but it didn't really work out there. In the living room however... Uh oh. The teak bookcabinets would look soooooooo good against it. And those red vases as accent... I'm itiching to give it a go.

Should I ? Have you used it yet ? Any recommendations ?

Also. I kind of went wild on etsy this week... And spend an insane amout of money on the famous Olle Eksell eyes poster. Ehem. I guess if I need to take down the tapestery, it would look amazing over the sideboard...

Catching up

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Yes, things have been slow lately on the thrifting front. Mainly due to a self-imposed spending diet (more about that another time). But fear not ! In this household there's enough of a thrift find backlog to last us for a good long while...

Starting with my latest furniture buy, which I've been meaning to show off  for... uh oh... six months now. 

After loosing one of my favourite thrift finds to an unfortunate fall, I decided it was time to remove the open shelves from the kitchen and hunt down a display cabinet. I came across this cute little vintage number in an abandoned shop window. The new owners were trying to get rid of all the left-over stuff and were more than willing to accept a very reasonable offer and throw in a free delivery for good measure.

All my vintage treasures are now housed safely - and dust-free ! 

Side note. I had the interior glass shelves cut at a local diy-shop (the original ones were missing), but didn't think it properly through. So the new shelves are too thin and slightly sagging in the middle...  Oh well. 

Two "new-ish" Figgjo Flint finds. I think the little lady collecting mushrooms is particularly cute. I've never seen this design before. Do you know if it can be found on other Figgjo Flint objects ?

Another thrift find from last year. A cute little watering can from the Brussels flea market that was a mere € 1.

I'm also very happy to finally have found the right spot for the Krakatoa poster. I've owned this poster for years and had it mostly tucked away in a cupboard (except for one brief appearance in the living room).

I'm less happy however about the rest. As much as I love the Arabia year plates and the  Caroline Gaedechens drawing, I don't think the combination of them is working out. Art is soooo hard !

No new West German pottery vases. But I thought I'd end on some kitty love.

February already ?!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Wait what ? How did that happen ? Last I looked I was getting ready for Christmas... What a terrible blogger I've been ! And besides the occasional Instagram posting, I haven't really been up to anything in 2014 so far. No thrifting, no decorating, no rearranging... The blog is neglected, the kitties feel neglected, the plants certainly are and so is the whole apartment.

Ok then. Speaking of kitties, I thought I'd kick off the new blogging season with some furry animal cuteness. Ready for some cat pictures overload ? 

I don't know if you know, but I share my place with cat herd of six. Yep, that's right. Six little awesome rescue kitties ! Here they are in no particular order.

Sammy. The newest addition to the herd. I found her last summerHere's the before photo.

She and Woody have quickly become best buddies.

My little fluffy rascals !

Speaking of Woody. Do you remember the cat mummy and her newborn kittens my friend Laura and I found in the street in August 2012 ? Well one of those kittens, that's Woody.

Both Woody and Sammy love to snuggle with Flo on my desk, under the warm desk light.

Flo, my one-toothed vampire. And to think she was this tiny skinny kitten back in January 2011 when I found her.

Highstrung Watson. In his mind he's the topcat. Of course the other don't agree.

He loves to snuggle.

And this is Wally. Found in October 2011, but apparently I didn't blog about it at the time. The earliest post I can find is only in March 2012... She's still very, very shy. Ever since Sammy joined, she's been a little less timid though. She now occasionally allows me to cuddle her. 

And finally, my oldest cat. June. Now almost nine. She's been with me ever since I bought this apartment - nine years ago. I bet if you asked her she could still remember when everything was painted yellow and orange... 

Now living with this many cats in a small apartment isn't always easy. It's doable though and here are some of my favourite "helpers" to keep odors, fur bunnies and costs at a minimum.

Modkat litter boxes. What's not to love ? They keep most of the litter inside, are incredibly easy to clean and are super stylish. 
Only downside is of course their rather hefty price tag. But over the years I've managed to score four of them during various sales on the modko and zooplus websites.

And while we're on the subject of cat loos, I can't sing high enough praises to the Tigerino silica cat litter. That stuff is magic ! Just scoop the poo once a day, the rest is absorbed and stays fresh and odorless for weeks (even with this many cats). And again on websites like zooplus, they do regular sales on this litter. Like right now - less than 10 eur for 3 bags...

I also include a picture of my trusted Miele Cat & Dog hoover. Definitely not the sexiest thing to blog about, but what a life saver ! As you can imagine six cats can quickly amount to fur bunnies the size of grapefruits... I don't know how I managed before my Dad got me this one a few years back. Again this thing isn't cheap, but it makes such a difference.

And for those who have read this far and still aren't fed up, here are some pictures of various stray cats I feed outside...

Mostly this lovely cat...

... and her offspring.

Oh and I would also like to point out that in this household we don't discriminate. I also like to feed wild birdies... much to the enjoyment of Watson...

And if you still haven't had enough, check out these awesome internet kitties :

PS. I would also like to point out that this post has in no way been sponsored by modko, Miele, zooplus or Tigerino. But if any of these companies (or Royal Canin btw) would like to send some free samples, testers or donations my way... The kitties and I would be more than happy to oblige ;-) 

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