It was time for a change. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my old bedroom. One of the very first things I wanted to do when we moved into our new old house 7 years ago was to paint at least one room black and it was my bedroom that turned to the dark side. Unfortunately impending renovations mean that my spacious bedroom is about to be chopped in half to make way for an upstairs bathroom. Yay! Much smaller bedroom. Boo! What to do? Why move across the landing and convert my office into my new bedroom. Quite a change as the new room is white. What to do? Where to start? Well I started with a rug.
It was as if the design gods were smiling the day the came into my life via email a few weeks ago with an offer to review their extensive range of handmade rugs. Think Turkish and Persian rugs, kilims, vintage, distressed, over dyed and patchwork. They are a small local producer trying to keep a traditional craft alive. Their rugs are fashioned from original handmade and organically dyed wool and cotton blend vintage Turkish rugs. The edges are hand sewn and they are responsible for the shaving, bleaching, colorization, over dying and drying of the reworked carpets. The exciting news for me here in Australia is that they ship worldwide. Yes everywhere. Think of it … thousands of rugs and worldwide shipping. I was in heaven but how was I to choose? Luckily the website was easy to navigate and soon I had narrowed it down to a handful of rugs. This is the beauty that was the genesis of my new bedroom design.
It’s a beige over dyed vintage rug. The takes Turkish carpets at least 40-50 years of age which then undergo a unique process of colour neutralisation before being over-dyed in an exciting new colour. The result is a mix of traditional Turkish carpet design fused with a contemporary vintage style with each rug unique in size and colour.
I wanted a bright neutral colour scheme, white walls, natural wood floors, caramel leathers. The room faces east and morning sun streams in. After years of sleeping in a black as night bedroom I was ready to celebrate the light. With my new rug laid before the fireplace (ooh can’t wait to light a fire when the weather cools) it was time to shop my house for what I needed to furnish the room. I did mention we have major kitchen and bathroom renovations in the pipeline didn’t I? Money is painfully tight. With my new vintage rug as the hero of the room I pulled together what I could, bought a few pieces I didn’t have like sheers for the windows and some new sheets (that’s all I had to buy believe me) and slapped some paint on old boards to create large art pieces for the walls. And yes I’m an art dilettante. I create paintings to match my colour scheme.
Luckily I am blessed with a large room with two huge windows and french doors onto a verandah. With my rug looking so good on the floor I thought it would be a shame to cover it up with furniture. I dragged in an 80’s glass and marble coffee table I had used in the sitting area of my old bedroom and paired it with two Robert Dunlop Tanderra chairs from the mid 70s. The glass top and the wide open legs of the chairs allow the carpet to shine through. I love it. The depression era chair in the corner I found in a secondhand store covered in layer after layer of homemade upholstery. I stripped it back to its bare bones and love its primitive honesty. An Eero Aarnio Parabel side table, found on eBay years ago and more than likely a reproduction despite the seller’s protestations that it wasn’t, sits beside. On the mantel is a piece I painted in a hurry for the spot. Something abstract to contrast with the 150 year old fireplace. On the other side is an old homemade workshop cupboard topped with various retro pieces and a mirror I picked up in the 90s at a local artisan market. I stole the bead chandelier from my dining room. Which reminds me I have to find something for there now. Bugger!
At the other end of the room is our bed, simply dressed in white. Above is a painting of mine that started off as another abstract but somehow evolved into a floral. Weird. I’m not that sort of girl. It still needs a frame but considering I pulled together this room in a week I think you can cut me some slack on an unframed artwork. The screen is a student piece from my design school days. Not my design unfortunately.
So there you have it. My transformation from dark to light, from old bedroom to new and the rug that set the scene for it all. A big thank you to for my fabulous new vintage over dyed rug. I love it.
P.S. The hemp over dyed kilim runner at the foot of my bed is also from the . It’s actually for my new bathroom whenever it is built. But you’ll get to see more of it when I reveal the new bathroom in all its black glory. What? You didn’t expect me to leave the dark side completely did you?
P.P.S. Want to see what my old bedroom looked like? And this room before the transformation? Here are couple of pictures for you.
… and a little later
The office before it became the bedroom …
I spent the afternoon stripping an old pine linen press I bought from . (Do I sound like a broken record yet? I by everything from Katherine because her prices are so crazy cheap and she finds the best sh*t.) If you scroll down you can see what it looked like before and during my little redo. I’m going to use it for a food pantry in the new kitchen. I can’t remember now but it wasn’t much more than $100 compared to the $1500 I was going to pay for a “new one from the kitchen shop”. Just some paint stripper, a couple of hours sanding (I lie … lots of hours sanding), a good wax or soap finish, change out the handle and I was done. Can’t believe it’s the perfect size.
Finished … except for an old wooden knob which I’m sure I can pick up (of course). This is just a little styled corner I put together because my kitchen is still half demolished. New ensuite first, then demolish old bathroom and turn it into a butler’s pantry and laundry, then repair old brick wall then new kitchen then new bathroom in the old stables. This will take some time 😜
Not sure how I feel about the white wax. Perhaps I should have used clear. Jury is still out.
P.S. The old cane industrial basket was picked up ages ago and the zinc topped bench is a hack I did on a thrifted display table.
Kitchen dreaming. First step on the road to my new old style kitchen.
Blurry photo sorry but I stole it from ‘s Instagram feed.
And here’s the after again.
Love it when the husband comes home with a huge vintage saucer pot from my favourite purveyor of fabulous things . It’s almost a metre wide and is from the Dinmore Pottery here in Ipswich. The pottery and brickworks were established in 1884 and finally closed their doors in the 70s. (I’m fuzzy on this and can’t find any actual date. I know that my brother bought one of the old kilns in the early 80s to dismantle and used the bricks to lay floors in his/a friend’s house.) The pottery is known for it’s distinctive brown glaze often with tiny black flecks. During the 60s and 70s it made retrolicious garden pots that are starting to have a bit of a renaissance on the local garden/design scene.
After we lugged it down into the garden, filled it with soil and planted it up with agaves and succulents here’s how it looked.
Old cane (rattan) furniture is my kryptonite. I love to take an unloved (and hopefully unpainted) piece and bring it back to life. I found this Art Deco era chair at or rather my husband did.
It’s amazing what a good wash, lots of light sanding, some gluing, replacing broken binding cane and a coat or two of shellac can do for a piece. Look at it now!
I know the easy way to give this chair a new lease of life would have been just to paint it and skip most of the tedious prep work and I have been guilty of doing that in years past but the challenge for me now is to restore pieces back towards what they originally looked like. The whole job took me about a month of off and on work every few days.
The second piece I’ve worked on took far less time. I brouught this old chest back to life in a weekend. As much as I love Mission Brown paint (and believe me I do love all sorts of brown) I wanted to strip it back and oil it to show the wood grain. The hinges, lock and nails on this thing are all handmade and the piece has some age but I don’t know its history. I slapped on some citrus paint stripper, scraped it back, washed it off and oiled and buffed it up with Danish oil.
I love the end result. Warm and tactile and full of history just like I like my old furniture. Can’t wait to get my hands on more pieces to work on.
It’s been months since I posted on this page. I know I have been crazy busy but honestly that’s no excuse. I promise to be better. I really do. Here are a few photos from around the house where things haven’t changed much. There are big plans afoot for starting to paint the exterior and install a new kitchen. I had hoped to stretch my renovation budget to include a new bathroom but serious rising damp issues have come up and money to install a drainage system must be found instead. More on my plans soon.
I sent my beni ourain out to be cleaned (h at Richlands – cannot reccommend them enough!) and it was only when I took these pictures did I realise that the rug wasn’t centred in the room. How did I not notice that there is a chair and a side table floating out on the tiles all on their lonesome? Needless to say that I got down on my hands and knees and dragged that bloody heavy rug back into the right position after I took these snaps. I feel so much better now.