Cwtch up cariad!
You really wouldn’t believe how small our lounge is, which is why we have aptly named it the 'snug'. I think you’ll find it inspiring to see what magic you can make in the tiniest of spaces.
We struggled when it was originally the dining room because it was too far away from the kitchen. I can’t cook, but Martin and I love entertaining and having little soirees with friends. The trek from the kitchen each time, laden with plates, was incredibly inconvenient; having the dining room next to the kitchen made much more sense but I couldn’t see how a room swap could work, although Martin had suggested doing so several times. It was quite by chance that our little snug came about when a damp proof course was necessary in the original lounge, which forced us to move the furniture out and into this much smaller room. To our surprise, our gold sofa was a perfect fit beneath the window and looked stunning against the dark, leaden walls. I finally agreed with Martin that this might just work! And it did! So now, our snug is tucked away in its rightful place and the dining room is exactly where it should be! Sometimes, wonderful accidents do happen!
“I see a red door and I want to paint it black”. The Rolling Stones.
I can safely say this is me – not always black of course, but rich and dark. I love the sultry, moodiness that dark colours bring to a room and I think I’d lived here a year or two before I painted the room this way, and it has stayed like that since 2010. I had already been seduced by this vintage look long before the ‘dark interiors’ trend became really popular. I chose Little Greene’s ‘Dark Lead’ on the walls combined with Cole and Son’s ‘Metallic Cow Parsley’ wallpaper. I use the Little Greene Paint Company a lot and their ‘Intelligence’ range is fabulous – the application of paint is of a very high standard and you will certainly notice a big difference in quality when spending a little more on the right materials.
As I’m not a fan of traditional carpets, I’ve used seagrass to dress the floor with, giving it a rustic look that is also warm and hard wearing. Seagrass is a versatile floor dressing in that it will go with any taste whilst maintaining its own, unique identity. It will last for years without you tiring of it, so I thoroughly recommend splashing out a little more on seagrass or a similar, natural flooring if you’d rather not have tiles and like the cosiness that carpet normally provides.
There is nothing I am more passionate about than dressing a room once the first layer of my canvas is complete. Despite the snug being the smallest room in the cottage, I have still found the space to fill it with interesting and unique artefacts. Some were bought new, some treasured, second hand finds, but all are special to me in their own way. Sometimes I’ve put items in storage because I haven’t found the right situation for them, but they always reappear when my ‘eureka’ moment comes. Take my Captain’s Chair for example. It now sits right at home in the corner of the snug, but it’s ancient and has been in and out of storage I don’t know how many times! It cradles an Ian Snow blanket and I’m glad I didn’t give up on it because it looks lovely where it is now. If you ever feel reluctant to let something you love go, my advice is don’t, because you may live to regret it when the right time and place arises.
The window blind was made from fabrics I bought from a small, local business in my home town of Haverfordwest and it’s been there since I first arrived. It just goes to show, when you love something enough, it stands the test of time.
Many ask me about my huge, heavy, ornate silver mirror. It is an eye-catching piece and as you probably know, a well-placed mirror will add fictional space to a small room and this certainly applies here. I bought ‘Beth’ ten years ago from Laura Ashley and I still adore it, but sadly you can’t get hold of it any more.
Standard lamps are timeless beauties and light up a room’s corner with a gorgeous, warm glow. It’s rare to find one that isn’t striking in its own way and they can suit all tastes, from vintage to 70’s/80’s retro to new, modern day designs. I’ve had this one now for about 20 years and it just works so well in this room. I find overhead lights can be a little intrusive with their glare so lamplight and fairy lights provide the ambient answer for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love chandeliers and pendant lights; I just make sure they’re beautiful to look at, even when the light is off!
You would think a little cottage would lend itself to real, open fires, but unfortunately we have found it impossible to accommodate them. We nearly convinced ourselves to try a log burner in the snug and even booked somebody to come and measure up, but we realised in time that it just wouldn’t work. They give off such heat and as the room is so tiny, we would surely melt! In the end, we found a lovely electric stove – it took a lot of persuading to entice me down the electric route – but after a lot of searching, we found a lovely one online from Stoves Are Us. It looks fantastic and was worth every penny!
There is a hammered, ornate metal angel that hangs from the ceiling in the window and many enquire about it, but unfortunately, I can’t tell you much at all! I bought it over a decade ago, when my friend Sally had a shop in Haverfordwest. She had a few one-off pieces for sale and I bought this straight away. I still absolutely love it. It compliments my two cherubs that sit either side of the mirror, which were from an antiques dealer in Haverfordwest. These are the real deal and are, in my view, really gorgeous. For me, they make the room.
Talking of angels, I once opened a pop-up champagne and cocktail bar, called ‘Angel’ with my friend Allyson. We had to buy items on a shoe string budget, so we travelled all over the place, Carmarthenshire mainly, to explore the junk shops! We knew we had to buy things we liked because we’d end up keeping them. So, we purchased items that we’d love to have in our own homes. When the bar closed, we did sell a few of the pieces but kept others, one of which is the cabinet in here, which has an original, mirrored back to it. Inside I’ve placed a Madonna and I’ve prettied the whole thing up with fairy lights to give the room some added light.
The rug is from a company called 'Fyi'. They have some truly amazing wares for the home and I was so lucky when they asked me if I would promote their business on my Instagram page. I was allowed to choose any item I wanted in exchange for a photograph! - so I picked out this beautiful, grey rug.
A heavily Kohled lady, fag dangling from her mouth is hanging on my wall. It’s a large print I bought from Abigail Ahern when I attended her masterclass in London a few years ago. I think there’s a cheeky irony to her mingling with my angels and she looks fantastic, so never be afraid to colour over the lines! If you dare to take a risk from time to time, you can achieve fabulous results by simply opening your mind to unusual possibilities.
I took a slightly larger risk recently and ordered a Chesterfield sofa in ‘cocoa mauve’ without actually seeing it in the flesh! I was certain it would live up to my expectations, but there were a few nerve wracking moments before it arrived! Thankfully, Cocoa Mauve proved there is such a thing as love at first sight and she settled in beautifully as if we had known each other for a lifetime. Phew. 'Moi? Je ne regrette rien'….
So, that's the snug! If you step across my little hallway you will enter my favourite room in the cottage; the dining room