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Our bedroom about ten years ago

Welcome to my 200th post! When I started this blog last August I had no idea what I would write about.  I was encouraged by Fiona Ferris at www.howtobechic.com and by readers of her lovely blog, and eventually I decided  to write a blog myself.

Indeed, I have been a writer, of sorts, all my life. I loved to write letters, even as a child.  I gathered an array of penfriends both at home and abroad,  I wrote to my cousin in Lancashire, and to various aunts and uncles, and friends of the family.

And so, after years of letter-writing, and feature writing for magazines in the past 20 years or so, I now focus my writing attention on my blog.  What I enjoy most is, through the blog, I ‘meet’ all kinds of people from all over the world and the lovely thing  is that no matter where we are, we all seem to enjoy many of the same things.  I feel this blog draws us together; it is like a virtual coffee morning or tea party where we can chat about the things we enjoy and sometimes even those things we don’t enjoy.  Yes, there are troubles in the world and we all have our ups and downs; we sometimes have to cope with illnesses and other upsetting times – just because I don’t write about such things doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge their existence.  But rather than dwelling on these things and even though I’m certainly no Pollyanna, I prefer to encourage our virtual conversations on things which are, hopefully, uplifting. Therefore, this is somewhere we can chat and relax and exchange viewpoints.

And so I would like to thank each and every one of you who read my blog and especially for all the kind comments you have made.  You are all very much appreciated.

And now to this post …

I was thinking about my reply to Eloise who had commented about having a vase of flowers close to her fireplace, and how I thought this a good idea as we tend to sit facing a fireplace and therefore the flowers would easily be seen.  I think corners are a good place not only for flowers but also things like small tables, chairs, lamps … items which command attention in the far corners of a room.  I have put as the leading photo (above) our bedroom as it was about ten years ago.  We then had two old tables which I covered with dark brown clothes and then had white lacy cloths on top.  This was simply a make-do effort as we could never see any proper bedside tables that we liked well enough to buy.  I liked the tables as they gave me, especially, room for all the things which I tend to have on my bedside table – books, magazines, a glass of water, flowers, lamp, pillow mist, etc.  But for this photo I made sure that there were flowers on both tables, visually extending the width of the room.

One bedroom upstairs in our dormer house is now a bed sitting room (with sofa bed) and again, this is a cosy corner, with lamp and flowers on a small japanned side table (husband constructed the bookcase under the eaves.)  Full use has been made of the corners in this room, as in all our other rooms in the house.

Again,  I took this photo about ten years ago, this corner remains much the same (although the sofa has had new covers since then).  It is a difficult corner to get just right, with the bookcase making anything more permanent than a small next of tables impractical, but the nest of tables is very useful.

I hope that this corner of our hall looks welcoming.  It’s a very small entrance hall, just room for this table and chair.  I don’t care for what many call ‘nets’ at the window (these are actually voile) but I had these made to screen a rather ugly window frame. A hall should be functional, somewhere to put the car keys and so forth, but I like it to look like a room, somewhere that is pleasant to be even if you are only moving from room to room.

I have used the above photo several times, I’m sure, as it’s a favourite corner of mine, next to the ‘arch’ which divides the sitting area from the dining area of our main living room.  Any large piece of furniture would obstruct the walkway to the door leading to the hall, and so this table with lamp is just the right size, I think, for this small corner.   I would add that the photo has changed the colour of the carpet, it’s a very pale biscuit colour rather than the shade here, which looks pink (which it  is most definitely is not.)

In 2015 we decided to turn what used to be our younger son’s bedroom (and which latterly had become a work room) back into a bedroom, and it is now our guest bedroom.  It previously had wall-to-wall bookshelves but husband, handy with wood and a saw, made the wardrobes and drawers, but in doing so he also kept the book shelves which fit into the far corners, spaces which might otherwise have been ‘wasted’.  I love this room, it’s one of my favourites in the house.

And finally, this is our bedroom after husband decorated it a year ago.  We had already bought a new bed with the pale taupe-coloured bedhead and so needed a scheme into which this colour could be incorporated.  The bedside chests of drawers which replaced the original old tables with lace cloths have now received a coat of Farrow & Ball paint (eggshell finish) in a colour called House White even though this shade is more clotted cream than white.  But that’s F&B for you, with their quirky names for colours.  The two matching chests of drawers fit the spaces on either side of the bed perfectly – no wasted space in any corners in this room.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few corners in our home, and I hope you put all your corners to good use.

Until next time.


About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. Beautiful flowers Margaret. My husband came back from the allotment with enough flowers to fill ten vases! Not that I’ve have ten vases,had to utilise tall drinking glasses.We have an allotment each as our back garden is not big enough to grow fruit and veg. I have fruit trees and cut flowers on mine with a small salad bed and he has an enormous fruit cage with raspberries blackberries gooseberry blackcurrants and redcurrants in it. Also four raised beds with rhubarb,asparagus,potatoes,sweet corn,beans of various types! Last but not least courgettes and there is only two of us!! I’m constantly scouring the internet for courgette recipes! Talking of recipes,in one of your previous postings,you have a recipe for a toffee apple cake which looks delicious,what size tin would you use for that? It’s a very grey day here,rain beckoning I think.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      My goodness, you are serious gardeners, and well done on having so much wonderful produce! We aren’t very good gardeners, and have only a small back garden but we have grown runner beans in past years, sometimes with success, at others best forgotten! For the toffee apple cake I use the one and only large round tin that I bake our Christmas cake in, approx. 20cm tin. It is too deep, really, for the toffee apple cake, but it always comes out OK. You can serve this cake hot as a dessert with custard if you wish, or with whipped cream, or cold with a sprinkling of icing sugar (just to make it look prettier, only a smidgen of sugar, we all know it’s not good for us), and then shipped cream or just as it is.

  2. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Beautiful corners in a very beautiful home, it’s just stunning.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Marlene. Apart from our bedroom we’ve not done much decorating for a very long time, but it’s nice to make the most of corners, they are often neglected areas.

  3. Margaret you have a flair for decorating, and I would call your style elegant-charm

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, that’s a lovely way of describing our home, “elegant-charm”! I am flattered, Ratnamurti! I love the country house look, but of course, don’t have a country house, ha ha! We live on the outskirts of a coastal town, in suburbia, in a 1985 house, but the look which was generated by decorators Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler is the look which I love.

  4. Happy 200th post 🙂

    Your house looks so pretty and welcoming, I have very little flair for decorating or colour schemes, I think I’m a bit too cautious. I love how yours looks but I wouldn’t have the confidence to try for that myself.

    I’d like to say I’m good at something else but I haven’t yet discovered what that is!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I smile when you say you must be good at something but you haven’t yet discovered what it is! Several years ago a friend and I decided we’d have a little exclusive club, the non-achievers club! We both felt we were unable to do many things – neither of us could swim, we couldn’t ride a bike or a horse, we couldn’t knit, sew or embroider, indeed the things we couldn’t do far outweighed the things we could do! Another friend wanted to be a member of our exclusive club but we decided she would be an honorary member only as she was far more accomplished than either of us!
      Or course there were things we could do … we both enjoyed writing, my friend was researching her family history, and we were both fairly proficient cooks but we felt cooking just didn’t rank highly enough to be included in ‘achievements’.
      Maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to hone your interior decorating skills? Indeed, I don’t do the actual work, oh dearie me no, husband does that and I’m very fortunate he is very proficient in such things. I would suggest if you want to try to be a little more adventurous, then work around colours you like (bearing in mind that perhaps some colours you like don’t always go with each other!), study interior decorating books (borrow them from the library), visit historic houses, whether very old ones, Elizabethan and Jacobean, right up to mid 20th century, so that you can see the styles of house and interiors you like, see how these house are ‘put together’, make mental notes of how things are displayed and so forth. If you want to branch out into more colour rather than the cream, brown and taupe which is the mainstay of many a home these days, then start in small ways with throws and cushions, even flowers. You would be surprised how a cheerfully coloured throw, even a tartan one, or seasonal arrangements of flowers can ‘lift’ a room. Also, the books that have been published by the paint and wallpaper company, Farrow & Ball, such as Decorating in Colour and Living with Colour, might be useful to you. It’s cheaper to buy a couple of good books on the subject and study these first than splashing out (pardon the pun) on litres of paint and shedloads of wallpaper or even a jazzy carpet before you know what kind of look you wish to achieve. Always bear in mind, too, the aspect of a room, the direction it faces and how the light alters the colours in the room during the day, and also respect the style of the house – in the 1960s so many houses were ruined by having mouldings and so forth ripped out in a bid for ‘modernity’ – I can remember my father, in the hotel my parents bought in 1962, painting over a marble fireplace with white glass paint. I cringe when I think about that. We have all made mistakes. This wasn’t his finest hour!
      But thank you for saying our home looks pretty and welcoming. I couldn’t have wished for a nicer compliment.

      • Thank you so much for such a detailed reply, it’s kind of you to take your time 🙂 My husband doesn’t do anything around the house, he used to do a little decorating when he was younger but no more and I do all the housework and the gardening. The only room waiting to be decorated at the moment is the hall, stairs and landing and that has to wait until our cat passes on. She has wrecked the carpet but there is no point replacing it while she is still here. She is 19 and senile but otherwise seems perfectly prepared to live for ever! She gets me up at least six times a night, every night, to let her in and out and point out her food dish. She is deaf and shouts really loudly so you can’t ignore her or she will have all the neighbours up too. Sometimes just for a change she stands behind the settee and shouts.

        Never mind.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Perhaps your husband doesn’t do anything because of his age, Alison, or infirmity? I consider myself very fortunate that although my husband is now in his 80s, he helps me a lot and always has done. Right from when we married (as long ago as 1964) we have always shared the housework, considering it not just the woman’s job, simply tasks that need to be accomplished. Not all men thought like that in those days. And this state of affairs has continued to this day.
          I’m so sorry to hear your cat is senile, but what must be so distressing is having to get up to her so many times during the night. I’ve never heard of a shouting cat before, but there’s always a first, ha ha! But animals can be very demanding, we used to have cats, so I do know that!

  5. Your home is lovely Margaret, and I agree with Ratnamurti, it certainly does have elegant charm.
    Of course, our homes are a reflection of those who live there! X

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It is very kind of you to say that, Dot. Thank you. Right now downstairs is a bit upside-down as we’ve had our hall, stairs and landing carpet cleaned today and while we can walk on it (with bare feet as socks soon become damp) we aren’t meant to return the hall furniture to the hall until the carpet is completely dry or the furniture might leave marks. But I’m delighted with how clean the carpet has become. It is 17 years since it was laid and we have cleaned it with a Rug Doctor machine hired from the supermarket, but having a professional job has really made a difference, it looks lovely. I still haven’t changed the arrangement on the mantel in the sitting room, but that’s on my list of ‘pleasant things to do’ as opposed to jobs that need doing!

  6. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Hahaha! I love the concept of your non-achievers club and the fact that your more accomplished friend was excluded from full membership. Brilliant. I have a good friend who claims to be good at nothing and is always telling me that I am so good at this or that. But she is not just good, but outstanding at being a fabulous friend. She has been there for me to talk to in some very dark times and has given her support unwaveringly even when she felt that the decision I was making was the wrong one.

    I like the cosy look of your home and the fact that you love it and love being in it comes through strongly in your posts. I love my home too. It is my safe place in times of stress. I’d never have thought of writing a post on corners but it works very well. I like lamps in corners and looking around my sitting room I can see that I like to make something of my corners too!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      So glad you like the idea, in theory anyway, of the non-achievers club, membership just two! Yes, we all need a good friend like you have in times of stress and I’m glad your friend was such a strength and stay, as the Queen called Prince Philip all those years ago.
      Yes, corners are often neglected areas. I once read in one of my many décor books that to make a room look larger (especially when a home is on the market), one should be able to see as much skirting board as possible, which means having furniture that you can ‘see under’ such as sofas on legs, or tables with nothing lurking under them.
      I love lamps in corners, too. What a shame that TV sets aren’t more attractive, but I dislike the 1950s/1960s way of dealing with them, i.e. putting them in a cabinet. As was mentioned in today’s Daily Telegraph, when a journalist was talking about David and Samantha Cameron’s ‘cottage’ (i.e. large country house) which has recently been shown in a magazine as well as in yesterday’s paper, they unashamedly have a TV in the corner of the room. I think trying to disguise a TV, even thought it is a rather ugly necessity of modern life, is tantamount to putting a little crinoline lady over the spare loo roll, as some misguided souls used to do when I was a girl. Now this habit might be considered decidedly retro, adopted such as having lots of crocheted knick-knacks about the place, along with kitsch prints 1950s’ flower paintings, and the ‘green lady’ portrait, and the Oriental prints of the paintings of Sir Gerald Kelly. Truth to tell, we had one of his paintings (a print, I mean!) in the 1960s and I loved it and wish I had it now! I suppose the next generation-but-one will have Jack Vettriano’s Singing Butler as a piece must-have of kitsch! Admired by some now, hated by their offspring, loved by the grandchildren in umpteen years’ time!

  7. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    A great response, Margaret. All so true! I remember going to my first teenage birthday party at a school friend’s house and seeing the green lady painting. I was so impressed at what seemed to me such sophistication. At home we had what I considered to be very old fashioned pictures. As for the awful crinoline ladies, my aunt had one!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the green lady was everywhere in the 1960s, along with those white horses galloping out of the waves … fortunately, my family, especially my mother, were too busy to faff with little covers for loo rolls, ha ha!

  8. Congratulations on your 200th post !! I have read every one (and possibly commented on each) and enjoyed them all. A wonderful achievement and I appreciate the huge effort.

    I love the idea of the non-achievers club. I think there is such a strong culture to be superwoman or to ‘have it all’ or whatever. My argument is that for someone to be ‘ahead of the curve’, someone has to be average. I’m happy to be average in many things. I can swim but didn’t learn properly until my 20s – which is very unusual in Australia. I can’t catch or throw a ball so am hopeless at sports and was never picked for any teams at school ha ha. I loved Eloise’s comment about being a good listener and a good friend. I try to be that.

    I like having a solid bedside table with drawers, too. It took me many years to find just the right pair and I’m glad I waited. On my bedside table I have two lamps (one is a bedside lamp which matches that on hubbies bedside table and the other is a reading/task light from IKEA which produces an excellent narrow beam of light so I can read in bed without disturbing him), two framed photos, lip balm, a coaster (upon which my morning cup of tea sits) and one or three books. Drawers hold various creams, emery board, earplugs and other necessities which don’t need to be on show.

    We have several corners in our house which could do with a sorting through and clearing out. Our house lacks adequate storage space but then we also have a lot of stuff. We could never do the minimalist look !

    Congratulations again xxx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much, Lara, for such kind comments and having read all my posts since I started my blog last August. I have really enjoyed having a blog, it took me ages – years, in fact – to decide to have one, and now I have, I really enjoy it.
      I like the idea of that reading lamp. I could do with something like that, so will investigate getting something like that. As for aft work. We have far fewer pictures on the walls now than we used to. Way back in 2002 when we re-decorated our sitting room, I felt a change was in order and we removed all the paintings and stored them in our small loft space (we have only a very small loft over our sitting room as, having a dormer house, the upstairs rooms are in what would otherwise be loft space in a conventional house.) But I think the time has come to bring them out again and perhaps hang some of them again. They are all original watercolours (many of them inherited, a couple at least bought by ourselves) and they are mainly landscapes and seascapes.

  9. Margaret, I have ‘googled’ and my reading lamp from IKEA is called ‘ Jansjo’ and is classed as a work light. $AU$29.99. Mine is white (only other choice is black). I’m sure homewares stores probably make similar. What I like about mine is that it has a ‘gooseneck’ which means you can twist/turn to face any angle. The LED bulb produces a beautiful crisp, clear light which is also energy efficient.

    ps do I need to add a declaration that I’m not an employee or shareholder of IKEA 😉

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you so much for that information, Lara. Do you know, I’ve not one item from IKEA in the house, or anything by Cath Kidston or Orla Kiely, both of which are becoming ubiquitous in the UK, it would seem, a bit like Laura Ashley in the 1980s. But a reading lamp would be lovely. I shall certainly look this up, thank you for that info.

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