Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

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

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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Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside… Design inspiration for a coastal bathroom makeover

Over the school summer holidays I made a start on my bathroom makeover. As you may have already read on my blog, I’ve been inspired to create a Hollister-esque sea-view theme in the smallest room in the house, with the aim of making it appear bigger. So far I have pasted a large-scale coastal photograph over the entire bathroom wall (which took a lot of choosing, believe me!) and the perspective of the image lends an added depth to the room. Now my attention has turned to the rest of the bathroom, and I can’t believe I never noticed just how shabby it is!

Here are some photos of the bathroom in its current state – please ignore the tools! We’ve bee measuring up and making plans this week and I can’t wait to get stared on improving this tatty room. Okay, I’ve actually lived in worse bathrooms, and I have just been pleased to have a bathroom which is clean, isn’t mouldy (I’ve already sorted out that problem!) and the paint isn’t flaking off the walls. But now that I’ve made a start with the photowall, I want to add a little extra design flair to other parts of the room even though I’m on a super-tight budget.

I really like the built-in cupboards using rustic wood (image from House to Home) and this white wood panelling reminds me of a beach hut (image from John Lewis). I would like to combine these two ideas to clad the wall behind the toilet with white-washed wood. This will cover the exposed pipes and unsightly plastic cistern, and the depth of the false ‘wall’ will provide space for much-needed storage with internal shelves hidden behind the wooden façade. I really want to create the feeling of being inside a beach hut, looking out at the sea – so a wooden floor is a must! I’ve been pinning away on my bathroom decorating board so please check it out on Pinterest to get a good idea of the look I’m trying to achieve on a tight budget.

trend moodboard for a beach hut inspired coastal bathroom

It need not cost a lot of money to make over this small space – as long as I can get hold of some second-hand wood (maybe pallets?) and a tub of paint, I am confident that my husband’s wood-working skills and my slap-it-on-and-see decorating technique will make our bathroom much more appealing. I enjoy searching out a bargain using second-hand websites such as Exchange and Mart in order to find low-cost DIY and household items so I’m hoping to find much of what I need for the makeover there. If I keep an eye on the website, I might even be able to find a new bath panel and taps, which would be great!

I’ve created a moodboard using ‘Scandi’ and ‘Maison’ trend images from John Lewis to keep us on track with the ‘look’ for the bathroom and have included some products that have made my shopping wish list, including essentials such as the natural wood toilet seat and a porthole style bathroom light. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of luxury items to my shopping list, including new towels (love this ‘Stardust’ striped range!) and a bath tray. This item is actually what’s keeping me going with the bathroom project; the thought of relaxing in my bath with a glass of wine on my bath bridge tray and a good book is what’s urging me on to finish the makeover soon!

I will be hunting out the raw materials for the makeover ASAP and will post an update of progress soon, so stay tuned :)


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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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Weekend photos ~ a tasty afternoon treat

I thought I’d share a few photos of what I got up to last weekend because I was lucky enough to be treated to a day out at the seaside. After our lovely walk along the beach, hubby surprised me with a very special afternoon tea at an old vintage teashop – and when I say vintage, I mean the Cragg Sisters tea room has been there for years! 

cassiefairy lifestyle blog afternoon tea bon prix dress

Somehow, I’d never been there before so it was a lovely idea and I couldn’t believe the size of the cakes – all I wanted that day was a great big victoria sponge… and that’s exactly what they had! I loved the vintage decor and couldn’t help snapping away with my camera while we were enjoying our pots of tea (3 and a half cups in each pot!) – I had the delicious house blend and hubby chose the Turkish apple tea with actual chunks of apple and sultanas. I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos and I’m sure I’ll be pestering my friends and family to go there for every birthday and special occasion in the future!


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Thrifty fashion ~ Making denim look girly for summer

I don’t know about you, but I love denim for creating a cool, casual look – everyone has their favourite pair of jeans or denim jacket, but summer is a hard time of year to wear denim. Although it’s always comfy and practical (not forgetting always on trend!) it’s sometimes a little too thick or bulky to wear in this lovely hot weather. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t create a stylish summer outfit using your favourite denim wardrobe staples. When my family and I took a trip to the seaside last week, I decided that this would be my first outing in my new bonprix floral dress (yes, I know… I’ve been shopping at bonprix again!) and I dressed it down with my favourite denim jacket (also from bonprix!), my satchel (full of sunblock!) and a pair of my 1 pound pumps! My new dress was the perfect choice for such a hot day because the cotton fabric kept me cool and it was loose-fitting enough to let a breeze through! And when the wind picked up a bit, as it always does at the coast, I popped on my denim jacket and warmed up – whilst still looking suitably girly! Check out my photos:

cassiefairy lifestyle blog seaside fashion denim bon prix dress

In fact, I think I’ll be buying this same dress in one of the different colours (purple or black & red, which do you think would be best?) because it’s such a versatile dress – with the denim jacket, it looked girly and casual, but it can also be easily dressed up for a special occasion or posh afternoon tea with only a pair of cute heels. Let me know what you think about making denim work for summer – how do you wear yours??