Slatted wall?

I’m still gathering inspiration and ideas for that bare wall in our house. While drooling over pegboards last week, I stumbled upon a few images of walls lined with wooden slats – some just for decorative purposes, but some for that same versatile storage as pegboards offer.

The sleekness, that warm wood and those repetitive straight lines really speaks to the Scandinavian in me. I found myself quite smitten! These have an entirely different look to the pegboards, and remain decorative whether kitted out with shelves and/or hooks, or completely bare. It adds interest to any room.

I’ve never built one of these before, and I’m thinking of attempting one for my bare wall – simply for the opportunity to try something new.

It has certainly given me something to think about. Pegboard or wood slats??

Sporty Corner

I have been working with a lovely family for years now, gradually transforming almost every room in their house. They have two boys, and live in a 4 storey town house a stone’s throw from Sloan Square. On this occasion they called me in to help them control the masses of sports kit that was slowly taking over the dad’s home office. There was tennis kit, cricket kit, golf clubs, helmets and bicycles. The reason it all ended up in the home office was that it’s the first room off the entryway, and so a natural spot for the boys to dump it all before heading downstairs to the kitchen for dinner. The problem was – there were no other area of the house that lent itself well for this type of stuff. The dad graciously offered up a corner of the office, but it was narrow, and small. I knew I’d have to make the walls work double-time, and looked to extend the storage upwards. All kit also needed to be easily accessible, and easily tidied away. Enter the pegboard:

I decided to clad the entire allocated corner with bespoke pegboards (I made them to size in my workshop). There is a vent high up on the right hand wall which I didn’t want to cover, hence the varying heights. I painted them in black cupboard paint – a self-levelling and extremely hardwearing paint that won’t show every scuff or mark, but can be easily wiped down if dirty. I then kitted the pegboards out with everything they needed to hold all the sports kit.

Trolley

There were three large sports bags that needed housing in this little corner: two cricket (if memory serves) bags and one golf bag with clubs. These were too bulky and heavy to hang from the pegboard itself, but still needed to be accesses frequently and with ease. I designed and made a purpose-built platform trolley, with high sides on one long and one short side, and more like a lip or threshold on the remaining long and short side. This trolley holds the cricket bags, and allows for them to be grabbed quickly from the open sides, and rest securely against the tall sides – meaning they wouldn’t fall off when the trolley was moved. Behind the trolley, in the very back of the corner is the golf bag – easily accessed by swiftly moving the cricket bag trolley out of the way.

Bicycle racks

The bicycles are mounted on two double hooks intended for this purpose. I mounted these hooks onto small boards of plywood to allow for multiple anchor points. For extra reassurance, I put one screw through each small board to secure it to the pegboard behind. With the amount of not just weight from the bicycles, but also movement involved in taking them down and hanging them back up again, it made sense to add a fixed anchor point. The height of the bicycle mounts can still be easily adjusted by loosening the screw, and tightening it again when it’s in the desired position.

Pegs

Pegs are the heroes of pegboards. I made 12 of them for this family, as I believe you can never have too may hooks. Anything from helmets, to bags, to tennis rackets – hooks can hold it all.

I think it’s important to see solutions like this in real homes, serving real families. We all get so easily seduced by the crisp beautiful photos on Pinterest and other social media, but the reality may be slightly less crisp. This brief was about function, easy access, and utilising a small space to the max. A bespoke pegboard met this brief very well! This project was completed almost 5 years ago, but the family is still using this corner for sports kit in exactly the way it was intended back then. It goes to show that made-to-measure yet versatile solutions can certainly stand the test of time!

Pegboard Obsession (help!)

I know they have been around for years, so it’s hardly big news. However, after finding myself with a bare wall here at Casa Del Anna (an extremely rare occurrence) I’ve been sinking some serious time into researching how to fill it. Because leaving it blank I cannot. So, I’m finding myself pinning picture after picture of pegboards onto my Pinterest ‘Must-build’ board. Although I haven’t chosen exactly what to go for yet, I’ve selected some of my favourites here for you!

Pegboards in the kitchen

Due to their insane versatility, pegboards lend themselves well to most spaces, but I am particularly fond of them in the kitchen. Hang often used utensils on them for easy access. Pop a shelf on so your favourite coffee mugs can remind you how to start your day as soon as you enter the kitchen in the morning. Display your impressive curry collection, and let those fresh herb pots brighten up your cooking space. I especially like the idea of placing a little radio on a top shelf, safe out of the way from water or cooking splatter!

For the home gym

Now, personally I don’t have the space in my house for a proper home gym setup. My other half works out in the bedroom (he’s got a fold-down weight lifting bench and free weights tucked away in there) and I do my resistance training work outs in the lounge on a yoga mat that I store rolled up behind the sofa – very glam. However, this doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t LOVE to have the space for a proper home gym! Especially since home workouts has become the norm over the last year. These gym pegboards make it look so attainable – space saving like nobody’s business! In addition to them being easy on the eye, I also like that the easy access to all training paraphernalia in all likelihood makes tidying up equally easy. When designing children’s rooms, the rule of thumb is to make it easier to put things away than they are to get out – to encourage organisation habits and making tidy-up time a breeze. There is something to be said for bringing this concept into every room of the house, children or no.  One thing to bear in mind though: if the pegboard will house any free weights at all (I would probable recommend against this), do make sure the wall anchors can cope with the weight…

Full wall hallway solutions

Oh, now, be still my beating little heart! Hallways are another obsession of mine (I know, I’m perfectly normal) and these large scale pegboard solutions are just brilliant! With any small space, and especially in high traffic areas such as hallways, getting things OFF. THE. FLOOR. is key. Utilising walls to their fullest extent in anyway possible –  hooks, shelves, baskets, pull-outs, etc – will allow even the busiest and tiniest hallways to function properly. These walls are so versatile they can change and grow with the family as needs change. Love love love!

Quite a few years ago, I was asked by a client to create storage for their two sons’ sports equipment. We’re talking tennis kit, cricket kit, bicycles – the lot. The space they wanted to use for this was a corner of the home office. Using large scale pegboards, I managed to cram it all in for them, but I realise I haven’t posted anything about it. I’m gonna dust off the photos and share the project with you. It’s not quite as stylish as the photos above, but goes to show just how hard pegboards can work for you! 🙂

Box Room Heroes

We currently live in a small terraced two bed house. We are gagging for more space, and dream of future homes with four or even a luxurious five (FIVE!) bedrooms. But in more realistic moments we agree that even just a modest upgrade to a three bedroom home would be amazing. I’m constantly watching the property market for reasonable priced (in Surrey – HAH!) suitable properties, and in doing so, have become increasingly familiar with the concept of the ‘box room’. Albeit a term no estate agents would EVER use, it’s a reality for most three bedroom properties that one of the three is significantly smaller and a quest begins for ways of making the most out of this small space. Whether utilised as a bedroom either for guests or a child, or as a study, dressing room or den, storage will be necessary – and challenging. Here’s one of my all-time favourite Box Room Heroes, and five ways to use it.

IKEA’s Trones £22 / pack of 2

Source: IKEA

This is becoming a bit of a classic in the small living community. Originally launched as shoe storage, it has since been put to many uses:

  1. Bedside table – put reading materials, charger cables, hand cream etc in the fold out compartment, wall mount a reading lamp, and there’s plenty of room for a glass of water and an alarm clock (or, let’s face it, your phone) on top of the unit.
    Source: Apartment Therapy

    Source: Apartment Therapy

     

  2. Filing cabinets – line a wall with 4 or 6 of these little friendly guys, and watch your paperwork pretty much organise itself.

    Source: HeartHandMade

    Source: HeartHandMade

  3. Dressing table – stack two of these and mount a mirror onto the wall above. Hair dryer and curling irons (once cool) fit neatly into one, while the other can house tall bottles of hairspray, body lotions etc. To store smaller product inside the unit, put them inside a toiletry bag and slip it in next to the bottles. Leave the top free for your makeup bag/case, favourite perfume and a dish for earrings, hair pins and other nicknacks.

    Source: Inredningsvis

    Source: Inredningsvis

  4. Children’s storage – a general rule to apply when choosing storage for a child’s room is that it should be easier (or at least as easy) to put things away than to get things out. This will make tidy-up time far quicker and a lot less painful. Line one wall with a single row of these units (next to each other) at a suitable height for your child, and fill them with books, games and puzzles, instruments, toy cars etc. Put nice large picture labels on the front to simplify tidy-up time further, and to make it easier for your child to find what they are looking for. Leave the top of the units for favourite toys, or the ones you find most appealing to the eye!

    Source: Pinterest

    Source: Pinterest

  5. Music storage – for those of you who end up using the box room either to house a teenager or as a den where music is made or consumed, these units are amazing. Stack three or four on one wall, and fill them with LP records, cables, headphones and other music paraphernalia. Easy to find what you are looking for, and easy to put away when done.

    Source: IKEA

    Source: IKEA

Keep an eye out for more Box Room Heroes post moving forward! This is one of my favourite topics, and I am forever on the lookout for new great storage ideas. AS and when I come across them, I will share them here with you. Until next time!

Crate Table

Seeing The Potential – Blog post series…

As much as I’m all about promoting falling in love (or maybe staying in love) with the home you are currently in, there are times when our circumstances force us to move house. We will soon be in that position ourselves (our 1 year old is still sleeping in our bedroom, and his toys are slowly taking over our entire house). Like the savvy girl I am, I’m very keen to make sure we make a good investment with our next house, and that we will have in it everything we want/need – without breaking the bank. Daunting. It’s at this stage I believe it’s really important to be able to see the potential in a property, see what could be and not just what is. This is the thinking behind my new blog post series called ‘Seeing The Potential’ where each week I will find a property currently on the market here in the UK, and give you ideas as to what that property could be. Move a few walls, add a couple of windows – you know what I’m getting at. I have to put a disclaimer here – I’m not an architect nor a surveyor, so my suggestions and thoughts would be subject to building regulation and structural assessment by professionals. I do however have a fair bit of experience when it comes to property remodelling (I have been in the interior design industry for years and have been involved in a few of those 🙂 ) , so any ideas I will be presenting to you won’t just be taken out of thin air. Keep your eyes peeled!

DreamPlanDrawing

 

Re-launch: HomeAnnAway – turning To Do into Ta Da!

*deep breath*

I’m back! Hello! Hi!

During my extended break from blogging I have been working on plenty of shop windows, interiors and furniture (will blog about it all!) but most importantly – Mr Man and I have had a baby! 🙂 Well, he’s 13 months now, so not really a baby anymore, but still the cutest thing in a pair of soft-soled shoes! I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to stay at home with Peanut for a whole year to really soak in everything that motherhood entails. It’s been bliss (and very little sleep). But now it’s time to come back to reality. Peanut is with a (fantastic) childminder two whole days a week, and even though I feel as though I have lost a limb on those two days, it’s nice to get a chance to be creative again, to use my brain for other things than nappy changes and sleep schedules. The fact that Peanut LOVES his childminder makes it all the better. So, here I am, re-launching HomeAnnAway. The blog has expanded to also hold my interior and furniture business that previously went under Anna Ostman Designs. I have chosen to focus on small space living and bespoke solutions as that’s the niche I seemed to end up in no matter what previously, and frankly it’s what I most enjoy. Designing large spaces can be fun and satisfying, but it is in the small, awkward, seemingly unusable spaces the real challenge lies – and that’s the challenge that really makes me tick!

I’m so excited to be back! I’ll be sharing everything about on-going projects, ideas and bespoke solutions completely unique to HomeAnnAway. Here I am, ta daaaaaaaaa! Come, share my journey!

BusinessCardFrontBack

Ps. Logotype, website and business card all designed by the super talented Erik Östman over at Pixelbruket.se. His website alone makes me homesick for Sweden!

Sweden – ye old and ye free.

The title refers to the Swedish National anthem. Sometimes I miss my native Sweden so much it almost hurts.

Today is the Swedish National Day (Glad nationaldag alla svennar!) so I suppose it’s fairly appropriate that I’m missing it especially today. I was browsing a few Swedish blogs earlier, and paid Underbara Clara a visit (Underbar means wonderful, and Clara is her name). I was scrolling randomly through her archive and found this picture from a post many years ago.

SwedishWinterClara lives in Northern Sweden where they still get winters like this. Where I’m from, we used to get them when I was little, but the climate change has definitely changed that (pun totally intended). But this picture struck a chord in me. Having grown up with snow and ice, sledging and ice skating, with schools being shut because people just couldn’t get there, and serious tutor time talks about NOT throwing snowballs at each other’s heads… Well, you kind of end up missing it when it’s not there anymore. I miss the winters. Most of all, I miss Lucia (read about that here). Being little miss involved-in-everything when I was a child, I sang in three different choirs. And Lucia is a big deal for any choir. With the school choir we first performed in the school in the morning, and then visited the local nursing homes to perform there as well. Just after school, the swimming team (which I was also part of, of course) did a swimming Lucia performance with lit candles in the pool. The evening performance with the church choir was my favourite though. The entire church was lit up only by candles, and we sang all the songs a capella. It was magical. Magical. That’s exactly how I felt about Lucia and that time of the year. The days were short and the nights were so much darker. But Christmas was around the corner, and looking out my window in the evening the white snow made every tree branch shimmer in the street lights, or moonlight, whichever was the brightest. The air was cold, but smelled of promises of more snow (yes, snow has a scent) and, I suppose, hope. And excitement. Mum even used to light candles at breakfast. Magical.

Mr Man, Bean and myself have been to Sweden in the winter quite a few times now, but a couple of years back we were really lucky – it snowed about 40cm on our 3rd day there. I got to show them a little bit of my childhood magic, whether they felt it or not. I took this picture on our way home from sledging one evening. That’s the house where I grew up, and where my parents still live.

MaPasHouseWinterThe quality isn’t great, I admit, but it’s taken with an old iPhone and it was dark. I look at that picture and I can feel the cold on my face. I can feel how rosy my cheeks are after hours spent outdoors. I can smell the snow. And I can feel the magic. Crazy huh?

And then I look at Clara’s picture, and I get this weird sensation in my tummy. Is it longing? Am I home-sick? Is this expat actually admitting to missing her home country after 12 years in London? Maybe. May be. May well be. I think about what it would be like to live in a red, snow covered house like the one in Clara’s pic, and I try to picture myself, Mr Man and Bean there with me. How we’d have a wood burner in the kitchen, mis-matching chairs around the kitchen table, and a drying cabinet (torkskåp hallå!) to shove all our outdoor gear into as soon as we get in the door. And it almost works, in my head, I can almost see it. Could we? Would they be happy leaving their home and relatives behind? Would I be happy to come back to a country that, sure, I grew up in but, let’s face it, I have no idea how to lead an adult life in? I mean, whenever I go to Sweden, I can’t even make sense of the grocery store layouts, and I end up darting back and forth through the entire shop. But the quality of life… We could buy a four bedroomed house in Sweden for a fraction of what it would cost us here. But is it even an option? Most likely not. But the thought is appealing, so very appealing. Hmm…

It’s funny really. Today we had 25 degrees here and beautiful bright early summer sunshine, and tonight I am reminiscing about snow and my childhood winters. I guess no matter how far away you go, and no matter how long you stay, you can take the girl out of Sweden, but you can’t take Sweden out of the girl.

 

Curvy Chick(en-yellow lamp)

Bold colours seem to be finding their way in to most peoples homes, lives and hearts at the moment. For some time now, I have been developing an obsession. Nothing dangerous, nothing scary, but an obsession none the less. My obsession is the colour yellow. Now, I’ve done quite well in restraining myself so far, and only allowed this obsession of mine into our home in the form of two chicken yellow Tolix bar stools for our breakfast bar – but my scrap books are full of yellow wallpaper samples and magazine cuttings… There’s just something so happy about yellow, don’t you think? I’ve wanted to pick up the yellow in my bar stools elsewhere in the diningroom, and thought a chunky lamp would do the trick, but despite serious research (and I mean s-e-r-i-o-u-s) I’ve not been able to find one. And that only means one thing: I’d have to make one.

I picked up this lamp base at a carboot sale about 5 minutes walk from our house. We got there late and it was the hottest day of the summer. I’m amazed that there were still stalls there, and even more amazed we managed to make it around the market! The lamp was £2.50. For that price the lady also included the pink horrific shade with tassles. Jeez, thanks… I think?

LampPost1

Anyway, after a bit o’ magic – aka one can of spray primer…

LampPost2

…and one can of bright chicken yellow  spray paint later, the base of the lamp looked like this:

LampPost6

Check out the yellow on that thing!!! Waaaaah – to die for! Oh, be still my little heart…

As I had the shade on hand, I decided to see if I could strip it and recover it.

LampPost3

Underneath the stained, faded and smelly pink fabric, this beautiful frame was hiding.

LampPost4

I’m not sure I’ll keep it like this – I’m struggling to find lightbulbs weak enough to not need a shade – but for now, I quite like the industrial feel of this lamp. It’s like our very own happy, industrial chicken!

LampPost5Budget break-down:

Lamp (base + brothel style shade): £2.50

Spray paint + primer: £3.99 (special offer) and £4.99 – £8.98

Total: £11.48

 

Further dining room thoughts…

In my recent trawling on the internet (I may or may not have obsessively been trying to find white Wishbone chairs at bargain prices. Who needs sleep, anyway?), I’ve come across images of dining room sets that combine chairs and benches around the same table. I’ve always really liked benches – they say ‘family’ to me – but have felt trapped in the choice of either or. Either benches or chairs. And then people say benches are so uncomfortable to sit on for long. So I’ve been put off. But look at these examples:

ChairBench2See, if that table had been surrounded by chairs, it would have looked so much more cluttered, and would have limited the visual flow through the room. And even if you could squeeeeeeze 3 chairs in in place of one of those benches, you could easily fit 4-5 kids on a bench, as opposed to 3… 1-0 to benches.

ChairBench3Are words even necessary here? I mean look at this set up… If this had been our house, it would only look like this for about 10 seconds – 5 seconds from when I finish setting it up and getting the camera ready, 3 seconds while I snap a pic or two, and another 2 seconds to enjoy the view. But it would be 10 seconds of bliss, I tell you. Tulips should always look like that.

ChairBench4Again – four kids on this side vs. two adults on the opposite side. 2-0 to benches.

ChairBench5Ooooh, benches. Beeeeeeeencheeeeeees!

ChairBench6Our current dining chairs are very similar to these, in style. They are white, but have the same spindly chrome legs, and bent wood seat/back. It’s nice to see this type of chair paired with a bench – maybe I could simply just replace the chairs with a bench on one side of the table and leave the other side as is.

ChairBench1OMG – now we’re talking!! Note the layered rugs, people – we are bang on trend here! But instead of those Eames chairs with sheepskins, imagine they were Wishbone chairs. With sheepskins. I’m Swedish – sheepskins are more than welcome at my table!

WishboneSheepIt would have to be the inexpensive, washable fake ones from IKEA, but I’m fine with that. And then a couple of cushion and another sheepskin on the bench… Can you picture it? I think I can. I think I like. I think I want! 🙂

I’m home alone this weekend so I’m planning a few little projects and tweaks at home. Big and small, you know I’ll post all about it on here 🙂