Sunday, 17 June 2012

Renovations and how to create a vintage floral arrangement

Renovation requires epic amounts of patience! The little man and I are moving back and forwards from Grandparents and at each stage when we hope to return, something in the new house decides to pack up and refuse to work. This week it's the boiler. Poor hubby is enduring the inclement June, wrapped in woolly duck egg windowpane rugs and brisk cold baths at home. We are very lucky to be enjoying the home comforts of spoiling Grandparents and beautiful gardens. Whilst our nascent plot is ravaged by slugs and hubby's stalwart midnight gardening forages are keeping it going, it has been lovely to sit back and marvel at the fruits of more experienced gardeners and more mature gardens. I am really inspired to tackle our plot and the lawn which, I am reliably informed, has reached gargantuan proportions. In a humble way to thank my parents whose hospitality we are currently trespassing on, I have been arranging their abundant flora, which happily for me has a strong vintage feel. Heavenly scented tea roses, heavy lavender heads and frothy peonies. With this in mind here are some Duck Egg ideas on arranging vintage posies perfect for weddings and thank you's (I hope!).

After a beautiful summer wedding of a great friend of mine last year, I was struck by the vibrant and simple beauty of their homegrown flowers. It is now becoming an exciting and blossoming trend for smaller business to grow their own flowers for events and in particular support British blooms as well. Meadow flowers are flourishing and decorating spectacular bunting festooned marquess and also encouraging our own fauna too. Particularly poignant as our butterfly and bee populations dwindling.

My favourite arrangement has to have roses in. They remind me of my own wonderful grandparents who would tend to their roses in summer afternoons and bring armfuls into the house and I still remember the scent of roses as we all traipsed up to bathtime. Roses and their heavy and yet delicate petals are full of nostalgia. Choose tea roses for maximum visual effect and scent and for a traditional posy simply incorporate lavender. Lay the stalks diagonally in your hand and build the posy in a circular motion. Remove thorns where the posy is held, if you wish. Finish the arrangement and make it suitable for transporting by tying the posy with vintage stripy ribbon - we like Susie Watson's thick ribbon for tying and to also protect from any thorns.  

For displaying a posy in a vintage style, choose a china bowl. I like blue and white ones, or find a pretty floral one in a car boot sale. You will always use it! Perfect for a table display. Think about what colour scheme you are going to go for. Cut a piece of oasis to fit the bowl (florist's foam) soak. 
The 'greenery' or foliage you wish to use will go around the base in a circular fashion. Have a play with using different foliage and look for different subtle shades. I love sage for its silvery appeal and mint, using herbs for foliage adds a depth of scent and the variety of their leaves adds interesting texture.

For a vintage look there should be a slight height in the central arrangement, but not too high or it risks becoming formal. Then build in your flowers. Think about shapes and sizes. It will have maximum impact if you place smaller flowers alongside larger blooms. For this time of year sweet peas and elderflower heads can look very striking, cornflowers and roses, peonies and sweet peas too.

Or if you only have a minute nothing is more effective than a beautiful lilac head in a vintage cut glass bottle.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Duck Egg's Top 3 Vintage Decorative Solutions

Duck Egg has been hatching some exciting new plans recently! In our quest to transform our new country abode we are taking part in a TV interior makeover programme. With no running water downstairs our little man and I have retreated to the ever-patient grandparents. I am sure we have far out stayed our welcome. This is my first experience of proper building work, so in order to distract myself from the deadlines long gone I am furiously creating mood boards. I am in the middle of planning our attic room at the moment, which is a guest room and a study. Currently we have been wading through the eclectic paraphernalia that seems essential yet has remained untouched in our attic, after filling the eaves to bursting point we have been left to a motley collection of lonesome golf clubs, single pairs of socks and ancient handbags filled with receipts, as well as my huge collection of books! This is the one room in the house that needs the least work, but is more challenging on the decorative front. One side of the room lacks light and although the pale magnolia walls are in good condition the rooms needs a big injection of personality. So on my quest to revamp the one room we can at least get into at the moment here are our top 3 Duck Egg vintage decorative solutions.

Problem 1: Small rooms with little light…

A great way of introducing light into a room is of course using a light colour, Farrow and Ball ‘All White’ is a wonderful bright backdrop. Emphasise any natural light coming in with a large mirror, avoid the room being dominated by it by choosing or painting a pale frame for the mirror. Add a more vintage and a less harsh feel by finding a vintage treasure and the more foxed the mirror, the softer the focus. - Has some great mirror tips. We also recommend Annie Sloan paint for painting over an old frame, to give a textured and chalky effect.

Problem 2: Room lacks personality

The quickest and easiest way to update a room is to change the fabrics used in the room. If you don’t have time to paint your room, which can also transform a space, try adding some interest with beautiful vintage inspired fabrics; faded rose patterns give a gentle country feel, deck chair stripes in pastel shades are great for a bedroom or go for more bold patterns in bath rooms and dining rooms. A pattern can add texture and interest to a room, co-ordinate cushions and curtains or choose a similar colour palette for furnishings. (Duck Egg is also very excited to be launching our vintage inspired fabrics)

Vintage mangle cloths are a great way to add personality through furnishings.

Cream walls can be a wonderful backdrop for showing off wall art. I have a commitment issue with placing things on my wall, but I am beginning to enjoy adding my vintage finds on the wall. I love architectural sketches found in antiques shops placed alongside family snapshots.

Problem 3: Bathroom flooring

This is something I often come across in interiors. Stone floors are fabulous especially with the added benefits of under floor heating. However structurally and expense wise this is not always possible. Carpet often suffers with the wet of a bathroom, especially if there are little fish that escape when out the bath. We have white painted floorboards which were great until our house became peppered with white recently and we discovered the floor had been peeling off and sticking to our feet and so we decided to re-address the issue of bathroom flooring. Keeping the floorboards is the most economical solution, but to add some vintage style and fun to bath time we are creating a checkered effect across the floor. Reminiscent of 1920s tiled washhouses, mask off the required areas and the colour choice is yours. We are, of course, going for white and Duck Egg!

 Example of painted floorboards

We will keep you updated on all our new adventures and the launch of our fabric range coming very soon. Duck Egg Designs