La dolce vita!
The stained glass door into the dining room matches the door into the snug. We found this gorgeous pair in a huge, antique shop in Narberth, Pembrokeshire called ‘Bazaar’. It is jam-packed with every kind of curiosity you can think of and when we set eyes on these, we just knew we had to have them. If you ever come to West Wales, be sure to visit Narberth and its unique, small businesses; I often find real treasure there.
As you know, the dining room was formally the living room and I'm so delighted with the exchange that it's now my favourite room in the cottage for several reasons. Firstly, it’s location in relation to the kitchen. Finally it makes sense, particularly when we’re hosting our little get-togethers with friends. Secondly, I adore the colour combination of green and black and thirdly, I’m in love with my House of Hackney, floral wallpaper and matching, velvet blind. I’m obsessed with florals; they’re pretty much part of the design in every room. I originally had ‘Spanish Olive’ Zoffany chevron wallpaper in here but it died a sad, soggy death from the damp seeping in prior to the damp proof course and sadly, it had to go. It was a very different look to what I have now, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. I have to confess that I ‘stole’ the current floral wallpaper from Pearl Lowe after visiting her beautiful home in Frome. The ‘Midnight Garden’ paper adorned the walls of the room we were in and my heart skipped a beat. I knew I had to have it. I’ve since apologised for stealing her wallpaper and my two, animal print, bolster cushions are from Pearl Lowe’s collection, so all is well! They add a touch of vamp to the dining room’s already sultry vibe and they are firm favourites of mine. Walls and ceiling have been painted in ‘Calke Green’ by Farrow and Ball – a rich, period green based on the colour found in the breakfast room at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire. Its traditional masculinity courts the floral femininity of the wallpaper and it’s a relationship that really works.
Again, we chose to decline the option of a real fire in here, despite it housing the original chimney breast. The amount of wall space we would have lost was too costly to us, but what we did gain in making this decision was a bigger canvas on which to hang my art. In here, you’ll see examples of three of my favourite artists, one of which - Janet Stocker - I fell in love with on Instagram via my buddy Jaz's (Jasmine Rosten-Edwards) art gallery 'One off to 25'. Instagram is an inspiring platform crammed with talented artists, designers and creators and here, Rebecca Leigh's work also caught my eye. I have been a collector of third artist, Gillian MacDonald’s work, for over 25 years and while Janet and Rebecca paint the sassy, female form, Gillian is a landscape painter.
Another fabulous Instagram find was Lisa Lampshades, where I purchased my two, bespoke standard lamp shades. I highly recommend a regular browse on Instagram, the perfect thing to do on a lazy day. I will guarantee you’ll find plenty to fall in love with and right now, supporting our makers and independent, small businesses is more important than ever.
The dining room is filled with pre-loved purchases, which then leaves more in the purse for splashing out with on that extravagant piece you’ve really fallen for. For me, that really special something was the House of Hackney ‘Midnight Garden’ range. I lost sleep yearning for the wallpaper and blind, so for health reasons, obviously, they had to be mine! My dining table though was bought from an antique dealer and I upcycled the table top myself. The chairs were purchased from flea markets, along with the two standard lamp bases and the cabinet, all of which were upcycled by yours truly, bar one of the chairs. The jewel in my junk shop crown has to be the table top chandelier. It’s an original but had to be professionally rewired as it was feeling a little sorry for itself when it came to actually doing what it was supposed to do! It came home with me when the champagne bar closed and now it’s back to its shining, former glory, taking centre stage on the top of my cabinet.
The little grey, velvet, fringed chair was purchased from Abigail Ahern and although it’s more of a ‘bedroom’ style chair, I bought it with the sole intention of positioning it here in this little corner. I have spent many an hour sitting in this chair, reflecting. I love to think outside the room; it’s really refreshing when something works fabulously where it wasn’t originally meant to be.
We will head now to the kitchen, which is located just off the rear hallway. I think you'll be surprised to see the colours that await you in there.