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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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…)

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…)