Living Room

Our Custom Industrial Bookshelf

Custom industrial bookshelf | Hello Victoria

Victorian properties are known for having amazing character – detailed coving, stained glass windows, etc. You know what they aren’t known for? Storage! I’m guessing that the Victorians really loved free standing wardrobes, because they definitely weren’t fans of closets.

Our flat isn’t exactly spacious. Don’t get me wrong, it could be smaller, but the only storage we have (besides our bedroom wardrobe) is one tiny closet in the hallway.

I wanted someplace to store books, computers, cables/cords… and plants! I wanted more plants! Oh, and whatever it was had to fit perfectly between our living room doorway and tv cabinet.

Custom metal and wood shelving | Hello Victoria

Measuring out the height and shelf spacing

I started hunting around for a perfect bookshelf – something visually open, interesting and tall. Our flat might not be big on square meters, but it has really high ceilings – why not make the most of them? Since this bookshelf was going beside the doorway, the shelves couldn’t block sight lines into the room. Hence my ‘open’ requirement.

The perfect bookshelf was the helix from CB2. But, not only did I want it to be cheaper (international shipping and all), I also wanted it to be wider and taller. I figured that it couldn’t be too hard to make something similar myself – after all, it’s just a couple of metal poles and wood, right?

Well… nothing’s ever easy, is it?

I found a website that not only supplied the metal I needed, but would even cut the mitre corners for the top! Cool right? They also had metal lugs that I could get welded on as shelf supports. Now, all I needed was someone to weld those 16 joins (for the corners, and attaching the lugs).

I started asking local metal fabricators but the quotes I got were insane! I mean, the metal was going to be delivered to them, already cut to size – they just had to weld it. They were trying to charge £200 to make 16 weld joins. Bat-shit crazy…

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Simple Art Ledges

Simple art ledges | Hello Victoria

Now that I’m back to being my productive self 😉, I figured I should really post a few projects I made last year that never made it onto the old bloggity blog – like this one! Queue the endless ramblings…

Do you ever look around your place and think that something’s missing? You have all the essentials (furniture etc.), but for some reason, the room lacks personality. For me, there are two ways to solve this problem – plants or artwork! Or both! Ooooooohhh…

Our flat was seriously lacking in the personality department for a while, so I started to remedy it through an assortment of items (juju hat, abstract paintings, baskets, an old flag), but the wall above our tiny dining table still needed help.

Antique dining table and chairs | Hello Victoria

Now, I’m a big fan of gallery walls (done them 3 times in previous apartments) but I wanted something ‘looser’ this time. Something that I could adjust when the mood struck. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling inspired by everything that Jenny Komenda does lately, or maybe it’s the fact that I feel loath to fill a million nail holes someday.

Art ledge inspiration | Hello Victoria

image via

Enter the art ledge! Dun dun dun… The perfect option for those feeling a bit lazy in the whole hanging-a-gallery-wall department. Not to mention – is it just me or are we all getting a bit tired of gallery walls?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, when they are done right they are amazeballs… but they just feel a bit overdone these days. Since I didn’t feel like I had the right wall or a great collection of pieces to display as a gallery, it didn’t feel like the right move here.

Back to the art ledge!

Art ledge inspiration | Hello Victoria

Art ledge inspiration | Hello Victoria

images via

Aren’t the above rooms gorgeous?

The space I had in mind for them wasn’t huge, but when I looked around at ready-made options, they were all too short (or not solid wood – so cutting them down wasn’t an option). I wanted something the same length as the table itself, so figured why not make my own? (more…)

Modern Rosewood Media Cabinet (and Other Living Room Updates)

Modern rosewood media cabinet from Swoon Editions | Hello Victoria

We finally got some new furniture for our flat! Isn’t she beautiful?

Before moving to England, I googled some alternatives to IKEA for finding affordable furniture. As much as I love IKEA, it tends to have a “look” to it, don’t you think? Maybe that’s just me (because I know their products so well), but I didn’t want an entire place that said “IKEA”.

Modern rosewood media cabinet from Swoon Editions | Hello Victoria

fern, and wood planter from Flower & Glory // cement planter from the Red Mud Hut

I’ll definitely shop there (and already have for the flat), but I want to have furniture from all types of places and styles, so that our flat feels like a true representation of our eclectic tastes.
One of the shops that came up in my search was Swoon Editions. It’s an online store with a cool concept – ditch the store front, middle men, and everything else that jacks up the price of furniture, and just connect directly with the people who make it. All of their items are online only, which poses a bit of a problem – you might end up waiting months to receive a product you have never even seen in person! (more…)

Installing a Plaster Ceiling Medallion

One night while discussing the flat, I mentioned to Richard that I thought it would look reeeaaally cool to have a ceiling medallion in the living room. Something that looks like it’s always been there, and then contrast it with a really modern chandelier. Surprisingly to me, he actually agreed! We both thought that it would tie in very well with our 1920’s building, and seeing as how they took out the original fireplaces etc. to convert this all to flats, it would be nice to add back some character.

We found our medallion at B&Q, and thought it would be absolutely perfect. It’s technically a few years older in style than our building, but it’s pretty close to being historically accurate. We really liked that it was actually plaster, rather than the plastic/foam ones you find most of the time.

Installing a plaster ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

The plaster, however, created some problems with installation that wouldn’t be there if we had picked a simple foam one. This thing is heavy!! Unlike the other kind, we had to actually screw this into studs while the adhesive cured.

Studs eh? In a converted building from the 1920’s? Good luck finding those, while missing all the random electricals… (more…)

Updating the Flat with Colour

One of the first things that I wanted to tackle with the flat, was the paint colours. Almost every room had some sort of a blah colour – beige, cream, and purple everywhere. The colours weren’t doing anything for the lack of lighting in some spaces. The hallway was the worst culprit, with the mauve above and dark purple below making the whole space feel small and dark.

Updating a dark hallway with paint | Hello Victoria

the hallway before

So, when Richard and I were both off for a couple weeks, we decided to tackle painting the hallway and living room. To be fair, we had aspirations to paint the bedroom as well, but just ran out of steam. While all the moldings and trim in the apartment add such wonderful character, they also add an insane amount of time to paint. The trim and door colour in the apartment was a gross yellowish cream colour (hard to capture in photos, just trust me), so we decided to paint everything, doors included, back to a nice white.

Updating a dark hallway with paint | Hello Victoria

look at all the trim we had to paint… yikes!

After researching colours for a few days, and even getting some swatches mailed to me, I was having a hard time picking. From my limited experience, painting in the UK and North America is very different. Back home, the hardware stores carry a huge assortment of swatches and tend to have other colour brands on file to match. But in the UK, colour matching is a bit more new, and the brands they carry offer a limited selection. (more…)