Making money from your spare room

You might remember that last year we refurbished a bedroom, installed a hidden ensuite bathroom and turned it into a guest bedroom gem. Since then I was left wondering how the lucky guests enjoy it.

It turns out that the new bedroom is now the warm, cosy Monday-to-Friday home of a lucky lodger earning the owner some rather welcome extra cash, how brilliant!

If you too are considering boosting your income by hiring your spare room here’s how to get started:

The colours: according to ‘The Colour Psychology Guide’ white has represented purity, innocence, cleanliness and space for a very long time … and with good reason. White walls make the room feel welcome, less cluttered and help any potential lodger to see themselves living there.

I certainly encourage my clients to use white in light starved places, especially if combined with mirror and reflective surfaces. For many new home owners and lodgers alike, it often means a fresh start in a new place.

To make sure your new room doesn’t look sterile and hospital like, its wise to look for off whites with a hint of warmth. It will give a lovely background to whatever furniture or furnishings you might like to combine it with.

Some of my favourite off whites have hints of warmth or a secondary tone of colour. Farrow and Ball have a great selection of colours that go beautifully well together, as does Little Green (their Grey Palette is lovely!)

That said, its worth having an accent colour that can accommodate both genders, after all, your lodger could be a lady as much as a lad so keep your options open when adding character and colour to your new room.

The furniture: The room is painted and now it’s easy to get excited about furnishing it but before starting the shopping spree it’s important to make sure the new furniture is not only comfortable but also of the right dimensions.

The furniture needs to feel good, be of a decent enough quality, not cost too much AND look just right. Sounds like a mission impossible? With a little research and careful planning it can be done to perfection.

There are plenty of specialist companies providing versatile pieces that can be adapted as and when the circumstances change. Some companies even specialize in renting out furniture on temporary basis.

Here are some common tricks of the trade:

Dress curtains & blinds – these are window dressings that although look great don’t always function on their own therefore are layered for effect. For example, a pair of full length curtains can be fitted outside the window opening but are not wide enough to cover the whole window so a roman blind is used as the main window dressing instead.

Smaller than average beds… aka ‘Queen Bed’ and ‘Small Single’ these will give the impression of a full size bed when in fact they are great for a single person but a little ‘snug’ for sharing!

Space saving furniture… items such as bedside tables, wardrobes, desks and chairs are available in a huge variety of sizes. The ‘Scandi’ ranges are often great if you like simple lines and want to cater for small spaces.

As for the ensuite, there is so much choice out there! Electric showers, space saving sinks, etc. Choose wisely and make the most of the variety!

The finishing touches…

There is no escaping the fact that we live in a connected society and, for that reason, I strongly suggest you make sure there is a desk in your spare room that can be used for remote working.

With so many of us working around the clock to meet deadlines or simply working away from home, its important to provide a space dedicated to it. Your guest will be able to sit in front of their computers to work, play or simply catch up with distant friends on Skype.

The Wifi needs to be strong and make sure your guests have plenty of USB plugs too.

As for the last year’s client, here is what she had to say about the work we did for her

” I’m pleased to tell you that our lodger is extremely happy with the bedroom and ensuite that he is using. Thank you for such a clever conversion to include the ensuite which has enabled us to make this spare room in our house so attractive and self-contained.  Everything works really well and although the shower, basin and loo are a snug fit, the space is not squashed and the bedroom remains well proportioned.

We are really pleased with the result, thanks so much for your clever planning and sophisticated eye for colour and style”

I am delighted to hear the revamping of the spare room was worth it. If you too are looking to do the same, give us a call for an information discussion.

Thanks for reading,

Paula, x

Guest bedroom with a hidden ensuite bathroom, what a great idea!

Designing a hidden ensuite bathroom

When I was asked to design a cosy, inviting, practical guest bedroom with a hidden ensuite I was thrilled with the challenge. It had to be comfortable, clean and spacious, of course, but space was somewhat a little tight. It was clear to me that the entrance to the ensuite would be crucial to the design.

It didn’t take me long to come up with a layout that included a bespoke wardrobe that would conceal a sliding door to the ensuite. The Décor was to be kept light and airy to promote clean, easy living.

The inspiration for this project cames from simple, uncomplicated hygge with a hint of Scandinavian living.

With the builder on board, the design signed off  we started to gutter the room, divide the space with sliding doors and create a seamless entry to a ‘hidden ensuite’ bathroom.

We needed to make sure the client’s budget was well spent and here is how we planned her refurbishment:

Space Planning:

Where space is limited, it pays to be clever when picking sanitary ware. There are great ranges specialising in slimmer furniture, corner toilets, shower baths, cloakroom size sink, etc. If you pick it carefully and combine it well it can help you make the most of your space.

White is a good choice for a cozy, space challenging ensuite and we need that a blend of light grey and white would be the right choice for this project… with a splash of colour where possible, of course.

Savvy Spends:

With certain things there is no compromising, for example a good shower! This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive and water hungry, I can assure you there is plenty of choice in the market and researching is the key to picking your best of the rest.

Chat to a competent, experienced plumber, they have more experience than any showroom staff and are the perfect person to give you impartial advice. Make sure you check the water pressure too.

In our case, the water pressure isn’t the best so we opted for an electric shower with water booster technology to guarantee it delivers enough pressure and water at any time.

bathroom accessories

Keep it light:

There are two ways to deal with small spaces, either you add a dark, dramatic colour or you keep it light and airy. Julia chose the latter so we opted for off-white on the walls, white sanitary ware, off-white shower panels (great for keeping the shower walls clean and the area leak free) and plenty of LED lighting (cool lighting might be your best friend here).

For that extra touch of luxury, we shall add fluffy Egyptian towels, a few carefully selected accessories and a bathroom with a demister pad.

Oh, let’s not forget that no bathroom is ready to be used until we have added a few lovely smelly items such as diffusers, candles and air sprays.

I must confess, I am a huge fan of Jo Malone fragrances and would have nothing else in my bathroom. What luxurious item would you not go without in your ensuite?

As for this particular guest bedroom and ensuite refurb, we’ll be done soon and will publish the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos for you to see.

Thanks for reading,



The ABC of Kitchen Design

The ABC of Planning our great new kitchen

A is for Appliances

When it comes to best allocating your cash, you need to be careful when choosing appliances. An integrated microwave, for example, might look good but does it justify the cost?

kitchen design, kitchen planningI always suggest spending that little extra on dishwashers! They will be used more frequently and need to be solid, strong, durable and as quiet as possible. Sometimes going for the known brands will not necessarily get you the best appliance.

If a working horse is what you are after, then German makes are the brands for you because Italian appliances are often about sleek design.

American style fridge freezers are also an expense to consider. For the larger family, it is worth buying a fridge freezer that accommodates everyone’s diet requirements. There are some integrated options that, when you look closely, are just as big but cheaper than the American counterpart.

B is for Budget

kitchen planning, kitchen design, quookerIt is tempting to trying to keep the budget down by getting a mate to do it over many weekends or even doing it yourself with ‘that friend who can turn his/her hand to anything’.

I have seen budget kitchens look amazing because they were fitted property. Unfortunately I have also seen gorgeous kitchens that lost their sparkle because they were so poorly fitted.

When planning your new kitchen it is important to decide where to spend your hard earned cash. There are plenty of choices for affordable flooring, wall coverings and even kitchen accessories. Choosing to save in the fitting is not a good option. Get your chosen kitchen company to fit the kitchen for you. It is worth the money!

 C is for Cabinets

Let me be straight here. Your cabinets may have come from Germany or may have been produced in the UK but either way chances are they are chip board. Yes, even your expensive bespoke wooden kitchen is put together in combination with chipboard carcasses.

 kitchen design, interior design, kitchen planning, contemporaryThe more robust cabinets will arrive assembled and are easier for the fitters to deal with whilst the flat-pack variety can be a bit less robust and fitting can be more fiddly.

 “What if I choose cheap cupboards but use expensive wooden doors?” I hear you cry… well, the danger is the weight of wooden doors. Some of the more budget cabinets might not cope with the weight of certain wooden doors.

Make sure the fitting accessories (hinges, etc) and the fitters themselves are up to scratch when dealing with your cabinets because, in some instances, the carcasses can be easily damaged en route.

Consequently, I strongly recommend good quality MDF doors! Richmond Kitchens offer a great choice with fabulous prices and I can tell their fitting is great too. Their new acqua colour is gorgeous!

What kitchen doors have you got? Did you fit it yourself? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Paula, x




How to choose the perfect kitchen worktop

How to choose the perfect kitchen worktop

Choosing the perfect kitchen worktop is a key part of buying a new kitchen and it will depend on your requirements.

Some buyers will choose their worktop based on durability, but for others the most important thing will be the price or indeed the design.

Here is a rundown of the most popular kitchen work surfaces around at the moment:

nobilia, laminate worktop, arizona pine,
By Richmond Kitchens

Laminate: Nowadays laminate worktops come in a variety of colours, sizes, materials and thickness. The price of laminate varies too.

I strongly advise you to keep well away from cheap offers and stick with the high-pressure laminate instead.

A good quality laminate is hygienic, easy to clean, durable and affordable (prices starting as cheap as £60 per square metre).

Choose the right finish. It will ensure your kitchen will look the part without breaking the bank.

Pick the wrong laminate however, and you will be left with a work surface that is prone to scorching, chipping and won’t last long.

Wooden: Natural materials will always add that warm, cosy feeling to your kitchen. Couple it with the right style and you certainly have a winning combination.

Some kitchen advisers say that wooden surfaces have natural, anti-bacterial properties. I can’t confirm that, what I know is that they look amazing but are hard work to keep.

These worktops require regular care, oiling about twice a year and the occasional reseal. It is also worth mentioning that it scratches and scorches easily. Scratches can be removed by sanding it down tho.

corian, worktop, composite, worksurfaceComposite Stone: This is a man-made option that looks like stone, feels like stone but it doesn’t cost the same as stone.

And a result, this option is great for those who need a worktop that look amazing and can be made to almost any shape.

Composite surfaces are bonded with heat and as such have a seamless finishing with no joins visible.

In addition to that, its choice of colours and finishes, it is endless! And it is heat & stain resistant too, plus any scratches can be sanded down.

The only downside of it is that it needs to be fitted by an experienced fitter or the joins will be visible and the worktop spoilt.

Natural Stone: This product is usually associated with the ultimate luxury in high end kitchens. Natural stone is and always will be a great choice of worktop. Whether you go for granite, quartz or marble their glossy properties are a great feature.

granite, kitchen, high gloss, interior design, kitchen design

It is durable, water resistant and can withstand high heat very well. Moreover, it’s unique features mean not 2 pieces of worktop are ever the same.

Most noteworthy, natural stone worktops such as granite, marble and quartz can be installed in a modern, traditional or eclectic kitchen. They never goes out of fashion.

With so many great worktops to choose from, it can be hard to make a decision but hopefully this article will help you pick the perfect workshop for you new kitchen.

For more information on how how to design your perfect kitchen please get in touch and call us on 97788 275 451. We’ll be delighted to help.

Thanks for reading,

Paula, x








Kitchen design and how to choose it

Choosing the best kitchen design is easier than you think:

kitchen planning, kitchen design, kitchen
By Richmond Kitchens

Selecting the best kitchen design for a new kitchen is something we all do at some point in our lives, but many people wonder what the right kitchen design and layout are.

That is why I’m sharing these kitchen design and kitchen planning tips with you covering the 4 most popular kitchen layouts around.

The L-Shaped Layout:

It has units on one side and a peninsula on the other. It offers a flexible worktop and storage that could easily be accessed from both sides. This is a great choice for open plan spaces that need zone definition.

This is not, however, the best layout for larger kitchens as the appliances can end up too spread out. The cooking area can feel a bit cramped as well because this is a design that suit one cook at a time.

kitchen design, kitchen planning,
By Richmond Kitchens

The Galley Layout:

Makes maximum use of a long, narrow room by using a combination of wall and base units. This can be a tricky layout as some of the units might have to be shallower on one side to create extra space.

The downside of this layout is that there is only one space for one cook. In addition to that it can feel constrained and like a corridor.

The U-Shaped Layout:

This is a very popular layout. It can work extremely well with or without an island, after all who needs an island when you have a peninsula large enough to incorporate storage as well as a seating area?

For smaller spaces, however, this choice calls for careful unit planning. If the space is tight the cupboards could be awkward to access.

kitchen planning, german kitchens, kitchen design
By Richmond Kitchens

A Kitchen Island Layout:

This design is becoming increasingly popular with families, not to mention that it is a great option for spacious areas.

The open plan living provides storage as well as space and plenty of opportunities to keep the kitchen a social area.

The downside of this fabulous choice is that it isn’t suitable for small kitchens, not to mention that, with the island fixed into position, the cooking mess is permanently exposed!

What kitchen do you prefer? What kitchen have you got? Let us know!


Paula, x


Interior decorating ideas for a small home office

home office, interior design, home decor, interior decoration
Source: Pinterest

Interior Decorating Ideas for a Small Home Office

With most of us working from home or with kids who need a work station, a home office in a spare bedroom is the latest item in the wishlist of every home buyer up and down the country, but what if we don’t have a room to spare? Follow these interior decorating ideas and make the most of the space you have.

a) Identify a working area:  find a spot for your desk that doesn’t intrude into your living space. For example, a desk by the media unit may not be the most practical of places and if you do a lot of printing keep it away from the baby bedroom too. A house with kids might benefit from an office desk within your kitchen area that way you can keep a close eye on their homework, internet surfing and gaming!

interior decorator, home office, kingston, refurb, house renovation
Source: pinterest

b) Decide who will be using it: think carefully about who you will be sharing the work space with. The kids and teenagers will typically need the work space after school or at weekends. Storage is vital, make sure you get plenty of dedicated storage for everyone so you don’t lose those all important presentation notes or the kid’s homework! You need everything close by BUT need to put it all away orderly at the end of the working day or the clutter will drive you insane.

It’s also worth noting that those working form home, studying or using a desktop computer means larger working areas which leads us to the all important task of selecting home office furniture.

interior design, surrey, kingston, interior decorator
Source: House to Home

c) Find the right furniture: Think compact, dual-purpose.

The market has plenty to offer in terms of flexible home office furniture with lots of space-saving pieces and foldaway desks (these can be painted in the same colour as the wall and you will hardly notice it’s there. Look for features such as pull-out drawer or keyboard shelves, computer tower stands and under filing cabinets.

Last but not least, make sure you get an adjustable chair that is comfortable and has a footrest. Your back will thank you for it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Paula Trovalusci, x

Living Room Makeover Ideas on a Budget

Living Room Makeover Ideas on a Budget

We all want living room makeover ideas on a budget and guess what?  It’s simpler than you think. The first to do is to take a good look around the room and identify which pieces are working and which pieces must go! Here’s a few tips to get you started.

furniture, interior design, living room, makeover
Source: Pinterest

Furniture: does the armchair need a new cover? A throw perhaps? Do you really need that large coffee table? If you must buy any new items go for those with dual purpose! There are plenty of footstools that double up as occasional seating and even side tables.

Nesting tables are also an excellent choice as they can be neatly stored and brought out just as you need that extra space for your guests drinks.

roman blinds, interior design, home styling
Blinds by Curtain Lab

Window Dressings: Do you really need new curtains or can you dry clean your existing ones? How about dusting off the venetian blinds? Do your window coverings allow enough natural light in the room? To make your room feel immediately more spacious it’s important to allow a much natural light as possible in the room. Sheer roman blinds are the obvious choice here! As are sheer curtains… and I don’t mean net curtains!

Carpets: keeping carpets looking pristine is an almost impossible task, especially for those with small families and pets (I should know I have both!) so every so often it’s important to give them a good clean. You can either hire a professional carpet cleaning company to do it or hire the equipment and have a go yourself. The latter is  cheaper but will the result be the same?

home styling, home improvement,
Source: Pinterest

Picture Hanging: we all love our old holiday snaps, but have you hung one picture too many? Is your collection of pictures beginning to look less of a cluster and more of clutter? Be ruthless, review the picture arrangement and perhaps swap the old photos for the newer ones to help update your living room.

home accessories, interior design, living room makerover
Source: Pinterest

Accessories & Finishing Touches: the right accessories will be the finishing touch to your new room, choose them well. Bookcases are great for storing all manners of personal items but don’t be tempted to fill every little space. Try to balance the look grouping items that go together, items that have something in common, it can be colour, height or style.

What ever you do, remember this…. it’s your home, fill it with the things you love because fashion will come and go but your home is a reflection of who you are.

Thanks for reading and do come back soon if you want more living room makeover ideas on a budget.

Paula,  x

5 Interior Design Ideas for a Clutter-Free Home

Five Interior Design Ideas for a Clutter-Free Home

With so many of us living in smaller spaces (flats, newly built houses, etc) keeping our homes neat and tidy seems almost impossible, but with these 5 interior design ideas for a clutter free home we can all make the most of the available space as well as keep our houses a little more organised.  Here’s how we can do it.

1) Hide Away pieces: interior designer, kingston Upon thames, clever ideas for the homefurniture that conceals large items or have dual purpose are great always a great buy for small homes.  We all love our flat screens TV but do we really need to see it when it isn’t in use? By placing it behind a sliding screen allows you to be more versatile with the room. The same applies to hidden bureaus, guest beds, sofa beds, etc.

We are all guilty of buying furniture because we love the look of it, but next time you buy new furniture consider all the different purposes it might serve. You’d be pleasantly surprised with how you can transform your room just by buying clever items.

furniture, interior design
Upcycled Furniture by Petit Miracle Interiors

2) Don’t use it, lose it: January is the perfect time to be ruthless with your beloved furniture, ornaments, pictures, paintings, etc.  As you put away the Christmas decoration, have a long hard look and think… “if I was shopping today, would I really buy this? Do I need it? When did I last use it?” If the answer is “No” then perhaps is time to take it to a new home and donate it to charity. Charitable organisations such as Princess Alice Hospice and Petit Miracle Interiors will be delighted with your donation.

Not sure to part with it? Move it into storage for a few months and see how much you really miss it.

3) Layer your furniture:peekaboo-clear-nesting-tables-set-of-three when we talk about layering furniture, it’s easy to think about the bedroom isn’t it? The sheets, the duvet, the bedspread. A similar philosophy can be applied to the rest of the house too.

Take the living room for example, instead of using a coffee table, how about using nesting tables?Clear nesting table sets offer a great, contemporary look.

If you are set on having a coffee table, be sure to pick one with a self and preferably a glass top to avoid the ‘over furnished’ look in the living room.  Trunk that are used as coffee table are also good buys as the can double up as storage. A final tip of layering furniture is to use the space in front of cabinets you hardly open!

Beautiful-use-of-ladder-shelves-to-create-contrast-in-the-room4) Think vertically: you may be short of floor space, but how about wall space? Consider using the space above eye level where possible, this is particular handy if you are lucky to live in a house with high ceilings. There are great shelf solutions in the market at the moment, I particularly love the modern, contemporary look of high gloss modular shelves.

Another great tip is to use ladder shelves.  It allows you to display pretty much anything from photos, books, vases, etc.  Combine it with a couple of wicker baskets and you can install a ladder shelf in pretty much any room you like.

5) curtains blinds interior designUsing colour:  nothing makes a room feel instantly small and cluttered like the wrong colour scheme. Whilst I am a great advocate for a splash of colour I cannot emphasise enough how this is best done by keeping the wall colours muted, simple, plain even minimalist. A room with more than 3 colours is instantly made busy, even small before the furniture is in place!  If you like an accent wall (I do too) keep it to one wall only!  Whatever colour you choose your room will work better with an off white with a hint (and I mean a hint only!) of your chosen colour to balance it out and to give your accent wall a chance to shine

By keeping the colours muted and understated, it will be much easier to give the room a fresh look later on with new accessories, cushions, etc without having to spend too much money or time repainting everything.

Well, I hope that by following these 5 Interior Design Ideas for a Clutter-Free home we can all live in a more organised, spacious home even if we don’t have much space at all!

Paula, x

Loft Conversion Part 4 – Interpreting the architect’s drawings

Loft Conversion: Know what you are looking at!

In my last post we talked about whether or not a space is suitable for a loft conversion, the pros & cons of hiring a Loft Specialist company versus appointing a builder and project managing on your own. In this article, I wanted to point out the almost obvious things we should look out for when assessing architect’s drawings.

It sounds almost silly but do take your time to check your drawings carefully! If you are unsure what to consider, here’s a checklist for you:

loft specialist,
By Landmark Lofts

Layout: Does it give you exactly what you want? Does it give you room to comfortably move around? If your loft is to be come a playroom think about the space for kids to play! If it’s an office, does it have enough space for storage? Your layout needs to work for you and make the best possible use of your space.

Proportions: think about how the space works in relation to the rest of the house.  Furniture will play a big part in this room, plan it according to the proportions you have.  There are plenty of companies around making space saving furniture, these can be great buys as it will allow you to use every inch of your space, though they can come at a price!

velux windows
Velux Cabrio

Light: have you got enough windows to fill the space with natural light? There’s nothing less inviting than a low ceiling, dark loft room! On the other hand, the size of the windows might dictate how much wall space you have, choose wisely and make sure they are positioned well and that their size will give you adequate natural light. Juliet Balconies have long been a popular choice for loft rooms but they have a tendency to occupy a fair amount of wall space.  Velux’s Cabrio Windows make excellent use of loft walls by allowing you to have both the balcony and the space.  Some say it’s well worth the extra pennies, I might agree!

Staircase:  is it positioned in the best possible place? Does it work with the new space as well as the existing one? Does it block the natural light in the landing? Does it suit everyone? I.e. kids, adults, elderly? Remember, your conversion is more than an improvement, it’s an investment and one day someone else will look to buy it and you won’t want to miss that sale will you? Nor will you want to compromise on the selling price.

loft specialist
By Landmark Lofts

Storage: this is paramount! Have you got enough storage? Eaves are often overlooked but can provide excellent storage.  Discuss this with your architect and remember one can never have enough storage space!

Finally, after considering all of the above if you  still have questions, ASK THEM! No question is too silly when it comes to your loft conversion.  You shouldn’t agree to the drawings until you are 100% happy it is the best layout for your space.

Next week we’ll be talking about how to make sure your project adds value to your home, stay tuned! Meanwhile, if you want to get in touch just email me on

Thanks for reading!


Paula, x

Loft Conversion Part 3 – where do I begin

I want a Loft Conversion – Where do I begin?

loft window paula trovalusciMost of us will know if we have a suitable loft space and what we want from your loft conversion but where do we begin? I would strongly suggest you begin by hiring a loft specialist company.  If you are unsure about who to call, why not have a drive around your area looking for properties having work done? Talk to the property owners, ask them what they like and dislike about the company doing their conversion – Did they begin on time? Did they help dealing with the council? Visit at least one loft done by the company you are thinking of appointing to do your work.

Hiring an specialist: The best thing about hiring an specialist loft company is that they will have project managers as well as labourers who are used to dealing with loft conversions. An experienced, reputable loft specialist will take you through the entire building process seamlessly from planning permission, designing the space through to the finishing details.

Do it yourself: If you are feeling brave and want to handle the project yourself, of course you could engage a good architect (preferably one who is local and have a good relationship with the council’s planning permission department).  Hiring an architect is important when dealing with potentially challenging spaces such as lofts they will work with your ideas to provide you with maximum use of the space.  With your plans in hand and while waiting approval you can then start looking to appoint your own builders. There is as much demand for loft conversions as there are builders offering to do it, so it’s important that you get at least 3 quotes, ask to see examples of their work, agree a schedule for the job and ALWAYS check that your chosen company/builder is insured!

Good building companies will usually be members of the Federation of Master Builders, if you are unsure if your company is a member of the federation take a look at

Whether you decide to work with an independent architect or an specialist loft company, the initial visit is usually free and you might even get a very general idea of cost.  A longer, more detailed survey will be conducted once you have appointed your chosen professional.

I’m having my loft converted now and have chosen the safer option of a loft specialist company.  What ever option you choose, let me know what your final decision is! Meanwhile, stay tuned, I will be talking about how to assess your architect’s drawings in my next post.

Paula, x

Loft Conversion Part 2 – Is my loft suitable for a conversion?

Is my loft suitable for a conversion?

From the moment we first saw our house, before we even put an offer in we knew we would eventually convert our loft to accommodate our growing family.  But how do you know if your loft is suitable for a conversion?

It’s worth noting that not all lofts have enough space to make the conversion work.  Yes, it can be structurally possible but does it add value to your house? Does it make it more appealing to the local area? Would it make your property too ‘top heavy’?  Remember, this is much more than an expense.  It’s an opportunity to live in a larger, better planned space that will not only pay for itself but also make you money in the long run.

loft conversion

It is generally accepted that ceiling heights in the 1st floor should be approximately 2.30m, however, this will depend on how steep the pitch/slope of your roof is.  Unfortunately for us, our pitch isn’t very high and we have to lower our ceiling to gain the head height needed for our loft conversion. For those with roomier places (I envy you!) and who have a steep pitch you could even have a mezzanine, wouldn’t that look fabulous?

The more generous properties tend to be 1930s or older, sometimes dating from the Victorian and Edwardian era. They often have rather large loft spaces and high pitches but that’s not to say it’s always the case!  The more modern houses, however, have much shallower pitches and may not even be suitable for a conversion… even though they can still provide excellent storage for those seasonal decorations that we only need once a year.

It took us 4 years to find the right Loft Specialist Company and many, many hours spent going over drawing plans and making sure that every space was made useful!  This type of project can be very disruptive indeed but, in my opinion, it’s well worth the effort.

To find out whether or not your space can be converted too, do your research. Contact at least a couple of local, recommended loft companies who know your area and preferably have undertaken similar projects and completed them successfully!  They will be able to tell you rather quickly whether or not you can convert your space.

Stay tuned. In my next blog I’ll talk to you about the first steps to take before you too get started with your loft conversion. In the meantime, if you have any questions for me or want to get in touch please email me on, it would be lovely to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Paula, x

Loft Conversion Part 1 – Why do we convert our lofts anyway?

loft conversion planning portal

Why do we convert our lofts anyway?

There’s great hype about Loft Conversions these days and I’m really happy about that! As more and more of us crave bigger spaces, but can’t quite afford to move up, it makes complete sense to stay put and enlarge our houses. But what exactly do we gain from a loft conversion apart form the lovely furnishings?

1. We increase the value of our home: it is believed that a standard loft conversion starts from £25K (finishing and extras not included of course!). Whilst this is a sizable expense, it is also a sure way to ‘save’ money in the long term – it would very possibly be spent as stamp-duty if you decided to move house instead. Besides, the amount invested in the loft conversion is likely to turn into a nice profit eventually when you decide to sell up and move on.

2. We simply to gain more space: take a family with young children for example, the children will be growing fast and the need for personal space will become almost a necessity as the teen years approach. That goes for the parents too, doesn’t it? Having the loft converted into a master bedroom with ensuite is dream come true for most couples.

3. We can have a home office: another reason to convert the unused loft space is to turn it into a home office. Flexible working hours, remote working and advances in technology come hand in hand with the need for secluded space, away from the buzz of family life.  Loft conversions seem a very viable option indeed.

4. We can have an extra Guest Bedroom: another good reason is that the world has somewhat become ‘smaller’.  Our family and friends travel more and with relations scattered around the globe, the loft space (yes, that dark, dusty old place we used to store our junk) can be turned into a fabulous haven of calm and tranquility for our guests to enjoy.

I have even heard of people turning their lofts into study rooms, gyms, home cinema and even a playroom, all of which sound great!

As for us, we are very lucky to live in an idyllic spot and moving isn’t an option so converting the loft into a master bedroom with ensuite wetroom, at least for us, was the perfect solution. Unfortunately, getting it done isn’t always as simple as it could be. That’s why I started this series.  I want to share with you what is like to have your loft converted… the good, the bad and the ugly will be revealed right here!

We’ll begin our ‘Journey to the Loft’ next week.  Fasten your seat belt, keep reading and take notes.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride!


Paula, x





Giving Sash Windows the ‘wow’ factor with the right window treatment

Giving Sash Windows the ‘wow’ factor with the right window treatment

sash window, roman blindAverage-sized sash or casement windows seem to be standard in many houses today, but just because they are standard doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a gorgeous window treatment. The fact is that, sash windows are great for trying out many styles.

They lend themselves very well to recessed roman blinds, shutters, floor-length curtains (watch out if you have bay windows though) and even roller blinds.  The latter is especially true in less leisurely rooms like kitchens, bathrooms and utility areas.

Blinds always look best set into the recess of course, especially if the window frame is attractive, has recently been restored or is newly painted.  But if curtains are your preferred option, you can create an understated style by choosing curtains n a plain fabric with a simple heading and hang on a slim curtain pole to keep the look bang up to date.


bespoke curtains

Sash windows are most common found in period properties such as Georgian & Victorian houses where there’s great tendency to use the most elegant structures.  In some cases the windows can be layered to provide privacy during the day, yet the heavier layer can ensure the heat doesn’t scape during the cooler months – these windows are notorious for being drafty, especially the original ones!

Here’s an example of a gorgeous sash window dressed with full length, lined and interlined curtains.  For the best result is worth having your curtains made-to-measure by a reputable professional.  These are usually made with fade-resistant lining, good quality-medium weight interlining and finished off by hand and to perfection.

A true professional will come out, measure up your windows, source the most suitable track or pole, make your items, install and dress your windows.  You? Oh, you wont’ have to do very much at all apart from choosing your preferred fabric.

Want to choose curtains and blinds for your sash window but don’t know how? Get in touch and we’ll tell you how! Email us on

Thanks for reading!

Paula Trovalusci, x

Creating the right mood with colour when you get started with your inteiror decorating

interior decorating, farrow & ball paintTo inject a room with a sense of peace and tranquility you can begin by selecting serene wall colours in your interior decorating. Perhaps light shades of blues, greens, grays and off whites are always excellent choices. Think of the colours that make you fell comfortable and avoid strong colours such as red – it can create a more stressful environment.

Greens and blues are great choices for interior decorating because they are associated with nature’s own colours, tend to feel much calmer evoking a sense of ‘outdoors’, freedom, space.  Joa Studholme (Farrow&Ball colour consultant), when interviewed by Homes&Gardens, explained that green hues are both restful and refreshing, while light blues will encourage a peaceful night’s sleep and will still be easy on the eye in the morning.

The most serene colour family, however, is believed to be in the acqua group.  These will create a really harmonious scheme that’s particularly suitable for bedrooms and bathrooms. What you must remember though is that when trying to instill calm and harmony keep contrast to a minimum!

If possibly, try to use the same colour on both the walls and the woodwork so you can’t see where the walls stop and the woodwork begins. In case of whites, use one that’s sympathetic to the colour on the walls. Personally, I love Farrow & Ball and I think they have some great whites such as Stony Ground!


How about you? How do you like your colours? Email me on and let me know.


True Blues – Decorating with blue fabrics, wallpaper, etc

Did you know that the colour Blue is thought to bring tranquility indoors?  It is also said that, used in soothing collections of aqua hues, it evokes memories of the sea, calming waters and ocean tides which are often the base for creating restful spaces… I can’t help but wonder if this is the reason why we often use all shades of blue to decorate boys bedrooms… blue curtains, blinds, cushions, etc.

I have two boys of my own and God knows I’d do anything to bring a little calm and tranquility back into my home!

Blue is this Pantone’s colour of the month, here’s a few images I love showing the result of decorating with blue!

     decorating with bluedecorating with blue, fabrics, cushions, curtains

Now I know what you are thinking… “what lovely colours! Where can I get that?”

Very simple, check out and find your nearest stockist!  And once you have found your perfect shade of blue come back here and tell us!

Paula, x


Pantone Blue


What are my curtain heading options?

In my previous post we covered the Pinch Pleat, Pencil Pleat and Goblet Headings but what else is there? Think you know your curtain heading options? Have a look at this…

Tab Top Curtains:

Tab Top, curtain heading

You might recognise Tab Top Curtains – these are commonly found in many shops across the globe but whilst they look ok, I can’t say they are the easiest of curtains to open and close on a daily basis. That said, they can be very useful as dress curtains when paired up with a more practical and functional blind.

This style is both easily available as ‘ready-mades’ as well as very affordable, making it a popular choice for rental homes (can be inexpensive to replace).

Eyelet Curtains

eyelet, curtain headingThese have been used in more contemporary settings for a good while now and look best, in my opinion, as full length curtains.  Their unfussy look, combined with the tendency to stand elegantly straight makes this style a popular choice with not only for modern settings but also for more masculine schemes.  As with Tab Tops, these curtains can look really good when paired with roman blinds, roller blinds and even shutters.

I have made some fantastic looking eyelet curtains for the bi-folding doors of a modern kitchen using sheer fabric. The result was stunning but I was unable to take photos that day so I’m showing you a photo from instead.  In my view, these too look amazing! I like it so much I’d make it for myself!

Wave Curtains:

Ok I admit, I am a huge fan of this look!  It’s simple, stylish, easy to make, easy to care for and almost crease resistant!  It looks great in any room, colour, shape and size.

The only think to consider carefully before ordering your wave curtains, is what curtain pole or track you will need!  The mechanism that turns the fabric into ‘ripples’ or ‘waves’ sits inside the track/pole and has to be done correctly by the manufacturer.  Not all tracks & poles accomodate this mechanism either, be sure to discuss the options before making your final decision.

As with any bespoke product, this product can’t be bought off the shelves so allow a little extra time for delivery!  But worry not!  Good things come to those who wait and this is a product you won’t regret waiting for!

Surely we have covered every curtain heading possible, right?  Eeer, no!  In Part 3 I’ll tell you all about some other, less used but equally exquisite curtain styles!

Thank you for reading,




How to Choose Curtain Headings – Part 1

It often seems complicated how to choose your curtain heading but when it comes to deciding what to go for, remember to have a good look around you room. Think about style.  Is your room modern, contemporary, minimalist, traditional, funky? 

The heading style you choose should match the style of the room. Let me give you a few examples:

pencil pleat curtains
Pencil Pleat Curtains

Pencil Pleat: this is probably the most common of curtain headings and is often found in ready-mades.  Easy to use (all you have to do it saw it to the top of the curtains, pull the strings to the required fullness and you are done). 

Notice I said ‘most common’ curtain headings, I never said it was the most stylish! It can look a bit too full or indeed too flat. Sill Length Curtains in Pencil Pleat can fan out if used with tiebacks.



Pinch Pleat Curtains

Triple Pinch Pleat (aka French Pleat): this can be done with a tape though I wouldn’t advise!  The effect of the pleats work best if the curtains are made using good quality buckram between the layers at the very top of the curtains where you can gather three little folds (of equal sizes) and pinch it together to form the triple pleats.

This is often considered a classic style and if you like the pleats but not the traditional fullness of triple pleats it’s worth considering double pleats instead.


Goblets: if traditional is for you, then curtain headings don’t come much more traditional than this!  Goblets, aka Tulip Heading, are made in pretty much the same way as Pinch Pleat curtains but the tops open up to form a little goblet shape that is then filled with wadding or a separate curl with buckram.  This type of heading can look very nice in a more grown up room, grand houses, etc. 

Contrasting coloured buttons or trimmings add that extra finishing touch and design look to the curtains.  This is a great choice for even the most regal of settings!

How about you? Which style of traditional curtains do you like the most? Are you clearer on how to choose curtain headings now? Have you ever made any?

Let us know!  And remember that you can email me on if you have any questions.


Thanks for stopping by.


Paula, x.


Decorating with Roman Blinds

Decorating with Roman Blinds

It’s no secret that I am an advocate for Decorating with Roman Blinds. They are smart, versatile, contemporary and, best of all, use less fabric.

decorating with roman blinds
Blinds by Curtain Lab Soft Furnishings

Although they are more expensive than rollers blinds, they are also bespoke and can be confidently used in most rooms throughout the house including bathrooms and kitchens. They can be made in so many ways too. Take a north facing, utility room for example, a great solution for such room would be an unlined blind made up in a sheer fabric so whilst the window is dressed it does not block the light.

During the cooler months when we try our hardest to be energy efficient, a lined and interlined roman blind will keep your room cosy and help avoid heat loss. On the other hand, the opposite is true in the summer! On a very hot day, it might be worth keeping the room cooler by keeping the blackout roman blinds down.

But what if you really like curtains? Roman blinds can be very successfully paired with dress curtains providing the best of both world, the layered look of curtains and the functionality of roman blinds.

It’s worth noting that the old cliche ‘you get what you pay for’ very much applies to soft furnishings. If you want a good quality product that will last years it’s worth investing the money and not skimp on simple things like the lining.  Good quality lining will help your fabric retain it’s colour, shape and look good for years to come.

Designing your own Mood Board

Designing your own Mood Board in a nutshell…

Mood boardThe Base Colour: this can be the colour of the wall or the floor as this is the largest coloured area in the room.  How about adding samples? If you haven’t got the exact sample you can do it with a picture.  Flooring samples will help you think of other textures too.

The Accent Tone: if you choose an under stated base colour now is the time to add a little splash of drama, if that’s too much for you then just pick a similar tone a 3 or 4 shades away from your chosen colour. You can layer it with all sorts of samples like wallpaper, paint, fabric and trimming.

The Accessories: these can be anything from cushions to frames, rugs, cups, lampshades and even cupboard knobs!

Want to know more? Get in touch with me on

Paula, x

How to Dress Bay Windows – Part 2

Create a custom-built seating area and dress it with Roman Blinds

bay windows
Image by

I like working with bay windows. They vary so much in size and shape that no 2 bay windows are ever the same and this is precisely what makes dressing a bay window so challenging.

What ever window treatment you choose it is important to work with your windows and not against it. Don’t disguise or hide them in any way.

Make the bay area a focal point, bring it into the heart of your scheme and make sure that, as well as looking good, the bay provides comfort and extra storage space. Let’s face it, one can never have enough storage!

This type of project requires skill so I suggest you call in a professional!  A good carpenter or joiner should be able to build a good window seat for you that is both stylish and functional.  You can finish dressing the area with Roman Blinds for a tailored, smart look.  Add a few cushions to the seat, a small side table and all you will be missing is a good book and/or a glass of wine!

bay windows
Image by

How have you decorated your bay windows?  Perhaps you have questions about your bay window you would like me to answer for you?

Email me on, I’ll do my best to answer!

Paula Trovalusci,



Coming up in Part 3:  How to use full-length curtains to dress bay windows. If you can’t wait to find out more check out for your  tracks, pole systems and other curtain needs check out our online shop


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