Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

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

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Interior design inspiration ~ photowalls

When I wrote about the interior décor of Hollister stores last week it was pretty clear that I was really inspired by the design. Ever since my visit to the Cambridge shop, I’ve been trying to work out a way that I could inject a bit of Californian holiday atmosphere into my own home and I think I’ve come up with a plan…

The design element that most impressed me was the ocean view windows above. The ‘windows’ were made from screens which projected a wrap-around view of the ocean and coastline, giving the impression that you really were shopping in a tropical hut, possibly on a pier out in the sea. I loved the immersive atmosphere this created and I want to do something similar at home. Okay, I’m not considering installing a TV wall but I AM researching the possibility of including a photowall in my bathroom design.

I’ve gathered design inspiration and have researched companies that can print large-scale posters and I’ve decided to order from StressFreePrint. They are able to take a photo and divide it into posters which can over-lap and be pasted together to create an image the size of any wall up to 8m high! So my little 1.8m x 1.4m space above the bath should be no trouble at all ;) It’s basically like having wallpaper custom-made but without a hefty price tag.

There are different grades of paper quality available and the photos are printed with dry toner inks which are waterproof and UV stable so the image won’t run or fade - pretty good, huh? I’m still planning to varnish the wall after the posters have been hung, just to be certain that the moist bathroom environment won’t damage the image. Here are some interior spaces that have used a photo-wall effect to add a false window or to change the atmosphere of the room:

poster wall art ideas

So now all I need to do is choose an image. I want to use a photo of my favourite coastline, with beach huts and a gorgeous blue sky – but I’ll have to be there on the right day and at the right time to get the perfect weather conditions. I’d rather spend a bit of time creating an image that I’ll enjoy looking at, because it’ll be pretty hard to ignore once it’s pasted onto the bathroom wall! I’m hoping to create the illusion of looking into the distance so that the wall adds depth to the bathroom, rather than over-powering it. It’s a tough decision to make but I’ll share my chosen photos with you as soon as I send it to print!


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Interior design inspiration: Hollister

I’ve never been into a Hollister shop before. I know some of you will be regular shoppers and this whole blog post will be old news to you but for me, my visit to the Cambridge store was an adventure in terms of marketing and retail display. I’d never even seen the exterior of a Hollister store so it was the Californian beach hut façade that first lured me into the cavernous store.

I was intrigued by how dark it was inside. I fought my way through the palm tree foliage and into the interior of a tropical beach hideaway. The darkly painted wooden shelves and rails displayed the clothes under spotlights, but the product seemed to take a backseat compared to the decor – richly patterned wallpaper, leather armchairs and old industrial light fittings made the interior feel warm and exotic. The darkness and the plantlife combined with the beach sounds and music made me feel relaxed and just like I was in a spa on some tropical island.

The ‘windows’ (projector screens) showed views of a warm blue sea and beach scenes along with the sounds of crashing waves and birdsong. It was possible to believe that you really were surrounded by the ocean because looking out of the ‘window’ ahead was the sea and to the left and right you saw the corresponding coastline – a very well thought-out design to trick the imagination. Perhaps it was to make customers feel like they are on holiday because we all know we’re more likely to shop and spend more on holiday than we are at home. Kind of sneaky but it worked – because I’d only gone into the shop to investigate the intriguing décor yet I soon found myself looking at the products and feeling like I wanted to stay in the shop all day.

There were so many elements of the shop design that I wanted to take with me for my own home décor, such as the old industrial lighting illuminating the denim section, the mini metal clipboards displaying product information and definitely the cosy armchairs with snuggly rugs. In terms of decorating, I am quickly becoming obsessed by dark patterned wallpaper and I’d love to have a false sea-view window in the bathroom – or even go the whole hog with coastal landscape wallpaper covering an entire wall.

If you’ve visited a Hollister store before you’ll know all about it but if you’ve never stepped inside one, please do check it out – not necessarily for the products (though I can’t stop you shopping while you’re there!) – but for the design inspiration and for the relaxing, holiday-esque feeling it evokes.

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My little vintage caravan project ~ I’ve found the perfect shop!

It’s called The Caravan Trail and you can imagine how excited I was when I first stumbled upon the website after spotting a link on Twitter last week. It’s a website full of gorgeous homewares, with beautifully decorated crockery, pretty teapots and picnic items. And most importantly, there are caravan patterns everywhere! I ogled the ‘Festival’ collection for ages with its floral caravan designs and pretty bunting print before I decided on a pair of mugs. Obviously, I chose a caravan design for me – with multi-coloured campers and one just like my blue vintage caravan - and it was equally easy to chose a mug for hubby because there was a bright beach-hut design in the collection and my husband was a beach-hut builder – perfect!

His n Hers mugs from The Caravan Trail

I couldn’t wait for them to arrive and they were actually even better in ‘real life’ because the mugs are larger and even better quality than I expected. My tea break now lasts for longer due to the larger volume of liquid in my new cup hurrah! Hubby loves his mug too - not at all fazed by the floral girliness! - and it’s nice for the two of us to have a his ‘n’ hers set. I’ve been taking my mug out to the caravan while I’m working in there and it makes me smile every time I use it. Plus when I’m drinking from it indoors, I still feel connected to my caravan and it keeps me in a happy-camper mood!

I sent the link to the website to my equally caravan-mad pals and now I’m sharing it with you too, because I know you’ll love it as much as I do! Check out The Caravan Trail and let me know what your favourite collection is. I’m definitely going back for more and have got my eye on the melamine set for summer ‘al fresco’ eating, so watch this space!

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Dream a little dream… Lighting up my bedroom

Last week I told you how I noticed all the things that were ‘wrong’ with my bedroom while viewing it through the eyes of my guests (see my blog post here). It’s funny how you don’t notice the odd cobweb or a tea stain on the carpet until you are opening up your bedroom for others to stay in. I cleaned the bedroom all day long and even scrubbed the carpet before my pals arrived to stay for the weekend! I knew that a light bulb in one of my bedside lamps had blown so I popped to the shops to buy the right size mini-screw bulb for the lamps in preparation for my guests visit. I changed the bulb and promptly dropped the whole lamp on the floor. Oops. When I picked it up, it wouldn’t turn on at all so I changed the bulb for another new bulb, thinking that it must have blown in the fall, but still the lamp wouldn’t turn on. After a fuse change and another new bulb – just to be sure - I concluded that the lamp was broken. Whatever damage I’d done by dropping it had broken the touch-on-touch-off mechanism.

dream a little dream - bedroom makeover series - bedside table lamps

No problem, I thought, I’ll get rid of the lamp and just use the second bedside lamp. I changed the bulb and, inexplicably, it stayed on. As in, it wouldn’t turn off. Again, the touch-on-touch-off mechanism had broken so the lamp would need to be unplugged for the light to turn off. As the plug socket was behind a bookshelf, I didn’t think this would be a practical solution for my guests. I imagined them prodding about for a plug socket just as they were drifting off to sleep. So out of the two lamps I had that morning, two were broken. And my pals were arriving any minute! There was only one thing for it… borrow hubby’s desk lamp for the weekend. It worked fine with it’s ‘normal’ on/off switch but the light was a little too harsh for us to continue using it for a prolonged period of time. It’s intended for task-lighting rather than soft bedside illumination so that’s understandable but hubby ideally wants it back on his desk soon, so I need to find new bedside lamps…

I don’t want to spend a fortune and ideally, I’d just buy some lamp bases and add my nice pleated lamp-shades to them but where do you get simple lamp bases from these days? They all seem to come with shades, and the bases all look a little too big and chunky for my tiny, delicate shades. So the best idea might be to choose something completely different this time and I’m even considering floor lamps because I really like the industrial look. I’ve been researching lighting options below:

 My favourite lamps from Homebase

I really like the soft, diffused light from the bird cage and house-shaped lamps which will be calming and subtle in the bedroom. Also, I really love the quirky design of the tea-cups lamp - you know how much I love my tea! – but is it more suited to a living room or kitchen? The tripod lamp is simple and the dark wood legs will match the rest of the furniture in the bedroom. I think the idea of using an industrial-looking floor-lamp beside the bed is unusual but with the right low-watt lightbulb I think it could work well – at least I’d be able to angle the light into the right position if I were reading – but two floor lamps either side of the bed might be a little OTT and take up a lot of room. I will let you know when I make a decision and will post photos of my newly-illuminated bedroom :)


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How to create the illusion of space in your home

Whether you have a large or a small home, it’s likely that at some point, you’ll bemoan your property’s lack of space. The size of your home matters to some degree, but it’s what you choose to do with the space available that really makes a difference. If you’ve lived in your home for many years, you will have had the opportunity to amass plenty of possessions and pieces of furniture, and the more cluttered your home is, the smaller it will feel. There are plenty of ways to create the illusion of space in your home with minimal expense, so don’t hesitate to try out these simple tips.

create the illusion of space with fgc-2

Optical Illusions

Certain patterns and materials will fool the eye into seeing a room as larger than it really is. A striped floor will make any room seem much wider and it’s a good idea to opt for pale colours. Glass doors that open out onto a patio, the garden or an adjoining room are wonderful for opening up your home and making it seem lighter and more airy. Glass doors can be purchased from a variety of retailers including Frameless Glass Curtains. Try glass-topped tables to trick the eye into perceiving a larger amount of space in a room, and enhance the effect with a large mirror. You can place decorative mirrors in any room in the house, and they will always make the space appear larger.

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