Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??

DIY country floral bedroom ideas from House to Home


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Just how house-proud are you?

If you’re anything like me, your home is your hobby. People like us have been flicking through homewares catalogues since our teens, planning out our ideal bedroom (yes, I did this – it was all black ash and hot pink in those days!), and browsing interior design magazines whilst daydreaming about our ‘dream home’ (“I’ll have that rustic bedroom but with a four-poster bed” etc). Nowadays it’s even easier to find home inspirations – you can barely go online without a gorgeous interiors photoshoot or DIY blog post jumping out at you! We’re interested in interiors, cookery, crafting and getting the look for less so we wander down the homewares aisle at the supermarket and always end up bringing home another candle or vase. If this sounds like you – read on! coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

One of my many ‘dream home’ mood boards!

I found out about a fun survey that Carpetright are running on their website until the 13th November which gives you the chance to win a £250 Virgin Experience voucher so of course I entered the competition and took the survey. As I progressed through the survey I was a little surprised by my own answers and it turns out that I’m not quite the clean freak that I thought I was! The survey asked a lot of cheeky and funny questions about dust on your plug cables (guilty), pets (yes, mine ‘rule the house’!) and even how often you clean the toilet! I’ve previously written about a survey on Netmums about how often people change their bed sheets and I thought that I had a rather clean routine but not according to these results, haha!

DIY country floral bedroom ideas from House to Home

It turns out that I am a ‘Nester'; somewhere between fairly house proud and clean but without much time to do it so I prioritise other things. The survey results hit the head on the nail when it told me that I spend a lot of my time searching for inspirational home updates – have they been watching me on Pinterest every evening?!

So what level of house-proud do you think you are? Would you dare shove your hand down the side of the sofa?! What do the treats you buy for yourself say about you? Take the fun survey to find out and don’t forget to enter to win the Virgin vouchers at the end!


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A cosy country cottage of my very own – and how to get it!

Last weekend I went to a wedding fair and it completely changed my outlook on life. Yes, I know I’m already married and, in truth, the wedding fair itself didn’t have much to offer me. But while I was at the venue I had a nosy around the honeymoon cottage and that’s where everything changed. As I wandered from room to room in this gorgeous converted bakehouse I realised that this was the home I needed to live in. It was like that annoying moment in the Sex And The City film where Carrie says ‘Hello, I live here…’ while viewing an impossibly expensive apartment in New York. I felt like I was at home like never before and I finally realised something; I want to own my own home. the-bakehouse

As a serial renter, I’d never been bothered about buying a house or getting a mortgage and I quite liked the freedom that renting brings; the choice to move house at the drop of a hat, you can live in any type of home –I’ve lived in a dolls-house-esque Georgian flat, an old mill duplex apartment, a farmhouse, mews house and a bungalow, to name but a few – and you don’t have to pay those pesky upkeep expenses when the roof needs fixing or the boiler blows up. I’ve been very happy with my lot, that is until I saw this house! I need to live there. Okay, maybe not in the honeymoon cottage itself, but definitely something similar!

Of course, my very own Mr Big wanted to make this happen for me so he immediately started searching on property websites for similar homes and added up the costs using online mortgage calculators. Some of our friends are currently in the process of buying their first homes too so they pointed me in the direction of the Experian Facebook page. I read a very interesting post on their blog about buying a house and having no real idea how our finances stack up in terms of credit rating I looked into this too while I was on their website.modern cosy home period cottage

I know what it was about this house that I loved so much: It was the period features combined with the fact that it was a holiday cottage – therefore it was pretty-much empty. It was only a one-bedroom home (I don’t have over-inflated aspirations!) but it was beautiful. There were exposed beams – a feature I’d never particularly cared for before – and an entire wall of the living room was the bakehouse’s ancient brick oven. Even though it was a small home, it felt cosy and was decorated perfectly: all the colours and fabrics were just to my taste. I could have moved in then and there and been perfectly happy for the rest of my life.

living room

The Experian Facebook page not only helped with my plans for buying a house, but I also spotted a link they had shared about just how much a wedding actually costs in the UK which I forwarded onto my friends who are getting married next year – it’ll give them a target to beat haha! I also entered the competition to win £1000 by sharing my end-of-year goals so fingers-crossed I win one of the 3 prizes because this will be a nice addition to the deposit savings fund! In the meantime, I’m going to be keeping an eye out for a wreck of a house that I can turn into the holiday cottage of my dreams myself, as I’m sure that a ready-made period house would be out of my reach financially but it’s definitely something to aim for in the near future, and that excites me!


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside ~ Fitting the bath

I’ve been worrying about fitting my new bath for a while now. When I first ordered the new bath I was confident that we could easily do a DIY bath replacement and I was sure that it would look amazing after we’d finished it. But ever since the bath arrived, my confidence began to disappear and worry took over. First, it was the fact that I took a second look at the bath and realised that it didn’t have any tap holes. Is that a deliberate mistake? Where do I put the taps?! I look at the item specifics on the website and this is completely normal – the tap holes were to be drilled by the installer. This reassured me, as I thought I’d made a stupid rookie DIYer error and ordered the wrong thing! But thankfully, as an acrylic bath it could be easily drilled to accommodate the taps – although I was already thinking about other options for this!

From investigating the tap situation online, I started looking into DIY factsheets about how to fit a bath. And that’s when I really started to get scared. The DIY instructions were far removed from my initial imaginings that I would just unscrew the existing bath panel and simply swap the old bath for a new one! There were all kinds of details for shutting off water supply (which I’ve never needed to do before!), earthing the pipes, and something about water supply contamination – scary stuff! I worried on my own for about an hour as I read up on bath fitting techniques and then I asked my husband whether we’d bitten off more than we could chew. Absolutely not, he reassured me. He’d installed sinks and showers before and told me that a bath is just a ‘big sink’, so he’s be more than capable. However, I insisted that he called his father for help and we decided that the three of us would tackle the job together with a bit of common sense and a lot of following instructions.

I’m pleased to report that all my worrying and wobbling was completely unnecessary. As soon as we began to fit the new bath, it became clear that I’d fallen into the self-diagnosis-online trap and had become a plumbing hypercondriac. It wasn’t the massive week-long job I’d imagined it to be and we managed to fit it within a day. There was much more siliconing than I’d imagined (did you know that even the bath waste plug hole needs to be siliconed in?) but at least this ensured that nothing is leaking!

Our fabulous new bath from Bella Bathrooms

I took another day to finish off making the bath panel using the last of the shuttering wood that we’d rescued from the skip and hubby built us a much-needed under-sink storage cupboard to complete the ‘fitted’ look.

Photos of the Suffolk Coast - beach huts at Southwold


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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside: beach inspiration for the whole house

Earlier this week I wrote about my ideas for a creating coastal bathroom and shared my moodboard of nautical and Scandinavian influences. Today I’m taking inspiration from beach houses and have been pinning the best images of coastal homes on my Pinterest boards. Beach houses are famous for being bright, cheery, and breezy inside, reflecting the seaside views outside. It’s the use of natural materials, fresh colours and beach textures that really capture the essence of a coastal home so if I can combine these elements within my own bathroom design, I should be able to replicate the feeling of being in a seaside property even though I live about 3 miles away from the coast!

coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

Natural Materials

Beach homes tend to celebrate simplicity and many of the images I found on Pinterest included furniture crafted from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, and unfinished wood. Interior designers tend to chose these textures due to the neutral tones of the raw materials and using roughly finished wood or seagrass for flooring (or even just a rug, such as in the bedroom above) can be more cost-effective. I intend to use rough sawn timber on my bathroom floor, sanded down and white-washed in order to give a beach-hut feeling underfoot.

White Walls

Rather than investing time and money on painting a room in colours that may quickly date and need repainting, I’ve found out that coastal homes often keep the walls white. This makes rooms appear larger and creates the airy feeling that beach houses are famous for. Downlighting can help create the illusion of a the bright light from a clear sky and this will reflect well off white or pale walls. I already have walls that are painted cream in the bathroom and I intend to keep them as they are for now and see what it looks like with the white-washed wood before making a decision on repainting the walls.

Out to Sea

The seemingly infinite view is a cherished characteristic of the coast and this is what I was hoping to achieve with my photowall in the bathroom. Along with artwork of seaviews, it is possible to emulate this visual effect by paying attention to the scale of chairs, tables and lamps throughout the house, drawing attention upwards and outwards rather than towards imposing furniture. Finding small chairs from retailers such as swiveluk.com, choosing simple sideboards and using short accessories such as vases and lamps will all ensure that visual attention isn’t away from outside views or your seascape artwork.

seaside design inspiration

image source 

Stonewashed

The ‘stonewashed’ effect is the ideal way to bring the beach into your home – imagine grey pebbles washed smooth by the ocean and you’ve got it! This can easily be incorporated into kitchens and living rooms with concrete and limestone, such as on tabletops, kitchen surfaces or fire surrounds. These stone textures will complement natural wood and earthy tone, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get this look in your home. I’m considering pebble-esque stone accessories for my bathroom – soap dispenser, toothbrush holder etc – and these can be picked up from places like the Factory Shop for under £5.

Along with all of these design ideas, I’ve thought about another way that you can achieve the ‘beach house’ feeling within your home – simply by opening windows and letting the fresh air flood in! Of course, if it’s too cold to open the windows now that the weather is turning, perhaps use scented candles to bring a fresh smell into your home. Let me know what you think and whether you too will be following this trend. Have you already given your home a beach house makeover? If so, I would love to see the photos and possibly get more inspiration for my own home! Please get in touch cassie@casseiefairy.co.uk or tweet me @Cassiefairy.


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Exercise for the mind – dreaming about my ideal home

Do you sometimes find your mind wandering off to a place far away where it settles down on a comfy sofa to take in the stunning coastal view from your seafront property? When I’m daydreaming about my dream home, that’s exactly where my brain takes me and sometimes I can even do a tour of my imaginary home in my mind without ever leaving my desk. Hours of fun, huh? Well I’ve decided that my dream home shouldn’t be confined to my mind any longer and that sharing it on the blog will reinforce what I’d like to achieve in life. So, as a little exercise in projection and ambition, I’m going to research the realities of my dream home to give me a firm focus for the future and maybe you can do the same too!

I’m not saying that I’m unhappy with where I live at the moment – it’s in an idyllic village, on a peaceful road and is well-located (we have a train station nearby and an A road linking to all the big towns nearby) but it’s a small house and is unlikely to grow much bigger over time! This is precisely why I needed to renovate a vintage caravan to create my workshop and office space and we’re currently working on the garden to turn it into another outside room. I’m sure that I wouldn’t need to expand into the garden in my dream home because in my mind it’s already big enough inside!

coastal seaside house inspiration moodboard

Perfect seaside homes via Pinterest

I watch regularly Escape To The County on BBC (mostly when the lovely Alistair Appleton is on!) and have no trouble choosing which of the half-a-million pound houses I’d like to live in, but realistically I wouldn’t be able to afford a mortgage on a stately pile or sprawling modern luxury pad! So I’m researching where I’d like to live, what it would look like and how much this would cost me. And I’m starting with location: it needs to be near the coast, preferably with a sea-view, but more realistically it would be in-land but no further than half an hours drive from the sea. I think I prefer this kind of coastal location because as a child I lived more centrally in the country and holidays were always at the seaside so I associate the coast with happy times and relaxation. I know I wouldn’t be on a lifelong holiday if I lived in a seaside town (and I know I’d probably get naffed off with summer tourists!) but I feel sure that I’d spend more time outdoors and live a slightly slower pace of life.

So that’s the location sorted, so what about the house itself? I’d love a barn conversion. In fact, any kind of home which features large open-plan spaces and vaulted ceilings. It’s the sense of space that I’d like to achieve which, after living in bungalows for most of my life, would be a luxury. I do like the Georgian features of pretty doll’s-house-esque town houses; high ceilings, picture rails, tall windows and shutters etc, but I think a large home with these kind of period features would be way beyond my price range. I used a mortgage calculator on the Principality Building Society website and was surprised that I would be able to get a decent mortgage that I could actually afford to pay back but it wouldn’t stretch to my Georgian mansion on the seafront so I’m going for a small barn that I’d like to be able to convert myself.

I’m in no hurry to move, so my dream would be to buy an old farm building with planning permission and turn it into the home of my dreams over the course of a few years. It would have a big brick fireplace, woodburning stove or an Aga with back-boiler and solar panels on the roof because I’d like to be self-sufficient in terms of electricity and heating, as well as having a large enough garden plot grown our own veggies and be self-sufficient in the traditional sense too – although how much digging I’d actually do is anyone’s guess! I’d love to have a sun-trap walled garden that the cats would enjoy lounging in, with a hammock and alfresco dining area, then a ‘secret’ kitchen garden beyond that.

dream home barn conversion inspiration moodboard

My dream home inspiration moodboard on Pinterest

The interior of the house would look just like all the perfectly-staged houses in Country Living magazine and I’d throw in a few of our favourite mid-century pieces of furniture to make it more like the kind of home we would live in. Of course the most important thing in any house is space for a Christmas tree, so the ceiling would need to be open to the eaves so that I can fit in a massive spruce and loads of fairy lights!

This little exercise has been fun (especially hunting out images in Pinterest!) and I hope you’ll give it a go too. It’s really helped me to visualise what I’d like my future home to be and I’m interested to discover that my dreams are fairly realistic and quite possibly achievable n a few years time, which has given me something to strive towards. Can you envisage your own dream home? What would you choose and why? Let me know if you make up your own dream home blog post and I’ll share your links!

In association with Principality Building Society