Time for a change, time for entertainment

With New Year comes the obligatory New Year’s resolution.

I’ve made a few “promises” to myself and one of them is to entertain more (aka stop being a cave-dweller). I would like to have our friends over much more often, maybe throw a few more dinner parties and in general be more sociable. To achieve it, I need space. So the question becomes: What do I do?

Currently, we have a kitchen / dinner with a table set for four and a front room designed around our family entertainment – large sofa, space to play jumpy console games and to chillax in general. I think the front room will have to stay as it is simply because it is our family space and besides I don’t know how to tell Mark his front room is about to change. Now the dining room part of the downstairs area might just be the subject of a make-over.

My Dining Room

In order to entertain I will need space. If we have more than two people visit us be are quickly reminded of a major drawback to us entertaining. Sitting for hours on little wooden stools is not very comfortable, no matter how good the food, the company or even how many drinks you have had 😉 and there is no room to add full size chairs as the table just isn’t long enough, oh and it has very fat legs that don’t help.

So, what to do now?

The easiest solution would be to just buy a new set of slim chairs, but as our furniture’s quite old I am not able to find anything to match it nicely.

I like dark wood; solid wood, heavy furniture is very me but they make the space seems smaller and darker than it actually is. The more I think about it the more I feel I might be ready for a change.

I had a look around for some inspirations and I have a few ideas for my new dining room. I think I would still like to stick with the wood and keep the same rectangular shape of the table, but maybe this time we should get something lighter, with a more modern look…

Carlton Copeland Rodgers of YorkCarlton Derwent Rodgers of YorkClemence Richard Massive Rodgers of YorkKettle Stamford Dining  Rodgers of YorkQualita Goliath Rodgers of York

What do you think about my choices?

Would you attempt a make-over just to satisfy your need for fulfilling a New Year’s resolution?

Do you think I should just stick with my old furniture and maybe invest in some soft cushions to make long evenings by the table more comfortable?

I know this is a long list of questions but I am quite in the pickle and unsure what to do next.

* Post written in collaboration with Rodgers Of York

My sofa hates me

My sofa hates me

There was a time when my sofa would welcome me with warm hugs at the end of a long hard day and I would willingly flop down into that embrace. The time would happily drift by as I entertained myself with some distraction till bed time and the inevitable repeat of my day. Happy times…

Yet now, I am drawn to the conclusion that my sofa wants a divorce or it’s going to kill me, or at the very least debilitate me to such an extent that life becomes impossible. Now after even a brief stay I find that my back has seized up and my legs ache, venture to stay too long and the headache will arrive as sure as day follows night, what other conclusion can I draw except my sofa doesn’t like me anymore.

So I have decided the best form of defence is attack and the old sofa must go whilst I am still physically capable of removing it.

The sofa has served us well for many years and was by no means a lifelong investment; we bought it just after we bought the house as we needed one, and it wasn’t very expensive as money was tight at the time.

We considered fixing it by re-stuffing the cushions but we aren’t sure if this will fix the problem.

So now I am searching for a fresher younger model to replace our old friend.

Our front room is an L shape and as such an L shaped sofa would be ideal fitting into the corner of the room and allowing one of us too adopt the customary position of laying flat out during our evening’s distractions. If it comes with a futon then that would be even better so then we can both adopt the optimal position!

I have a few of my favourites…

MelbourneLexington CNChelsea CNAnd my personal front runner:

Panama CN

What do you think about them?

Would you like to see any of these sofas in your front room?

* Post written in collaboration with Newman & Bright

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

Getting your own house is hard but getting it furnished is even harder, especially when we talk about the kitchen.

When we bought our house we wanted something different; we wanted something which will have the “wow” factor, something which would make us smile every time we enter the kitchen… mainly because for us the kitchen is the heart of the house but also because it is our home and we wanted it to be perfect and reflect a bit of “us”.

This task proved to be very hard.

You need a lot of skills if you ever want to create what we wanted to achieve, but we have negligible skills when it comes to building our own furniture; therefore you need a lot of money, if you want to buy something original that is standing out from the crowd, but alas we didn’t have the money and still don’t have the money so what is left, luck, you need a bit of luck… yes, we got that one right…

A few years after we had bought our house we decided to take down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. This seemed to us like #Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island a no-brainer decision – our kitchen was small (in our opinion, most of our guests however tended to disagree with us) and the dining room being also on the small side was never really used. We had a second smaller table in the kitchen and this is where we tended to eat all meals. So making one huge room from the two smaller ones was the perfect idea. The building work progressed pretty fast and we no longer had a kitchen and a dining room, now we had kitchen-diner. We had this huge room filled with nothing… none of our old furniture looked any good in this new space, mainly because they were just too small.

There was only one thing for it… We had to go shopping!

After hours on the internet and endless trips to all the furniture shops near us we still had nothing. We knew that our budget would not allow us to get what we really wanted so the time was coming to make some sacrifices; we knew we would have to compromise on our dreams… but then something magical happened… fortune did decide to smile down on us and we were able to buy the furniture of our dreams (more or less) from friends of ours who were downsizing. We purchased an awesome solid wood table. It is huge and could easily seat 6 people though it only came with 4 chairs unfortunately. We also snapped up a triple fronted sideboard and few other bits like coffee tables and lamps… all of them for the fraction of the cost, mates rates are the best rates.

#Kitchentales – My tale of a forgotten island

It was great to see our empty space finally taking form.

That said all the furniture was placed in the dining room part of the kitchen-diner. Thus we still needed something to fill the kitchen part. We had always planned on having an island. We wanted the extra work surface space for food prep and ideally some more storage, but all island are always very expensive. To add to our dilemma we had now surrounded ourselves with dark solid wood furniture, so the island would have to match, which we knew would be very hard to source with our budget, so the search continued…

Then by chance one day we visited a furniture store in a town close by. A few people had mentioned it to us in conversation – it is full of handmade solid wood furniture from the Far East we were told. We had a strong suspicion that the contents of the shop would be out of our price range but curiosity overcame us and so we drove to have a look anyway. The store was and still is amazing; the furniture in it are like pieces of art, most of them are unique and just one off mainly due to the materials they were made from (mainly old fishing boats). We were over the moon with this shop, yet we couldn’t buy anything as the prices were as we suspected, a bit too high. Still, we loved it so much; we kept driving there over and over again just to have a look once again in the hope of some great bargain or the sale of the century. After few trips we knew most of the pieces in the store by heart, but still it was a pleasure to be there even if they were not ours.

One time during our trip around the store (the shop has 3 floors and a lot of small corridors, so it is like a rabbit warren) we spotted something we had never noticed before… in the corner behind some huge doors was an island… dark wood, hand carved and looking extremely dusty was an island. It had no price tag and 100s of other items stuck on top of it and a huge tarpaulin. We instantly fell in love with this dusty, dirty piece of abandoned, neglected wood. We contained our excitement as we didn’t even know if it was for sale, and if it was would we even be able to pronounce the price. As it ended up it was indeed for sale, one concern laid to rest. The shop keeper, a wonderfully enthusiastic man admitted even he had forgotten about it. As he recalled the piece he told us the story; apparently someone had ordered a whole kitchen matching the style of the island but alas for them the island was made in the wrong size, it didn’t fit in their kitchen so they refused to buy it. Their loss, was about to become our luck! The island was perfect for us. We just had to have it! We negotiated hard and a bargain was struck with the owner in order to help us afford it; we figured out that he would be happy just to let it go especially as he had forgotten about it.

A few days later our beautiful island arrived. It took six grown burly man to carry it in – the wood part is one solid piece and it doesn’t disassemble into smaller parts; the only thing that they could remove in order to make it lighter were two granite work tops, thankfully.

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

Once the island was delivered, and placed in its new setting that was the moment that our kitchen finally took its final form. We had a wonderful kitchen! We were so happy!

So you see, sometimes all you need is a little hope and a lot of luck!

#Kitchentales A tale of a forgotten island

* This post is an entry for the “My Kitchen Story” Linky Challenge, sponsored by Fairy Platinum.