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Nursery dresser makeover!

It  really feels like things are moving at a snails pace these days [myself included], but things are finally getting ticked off my to-do list. One of them being the nursery. Between appointments and classes and endless lists of what to do and get, there's so much involved in getting ready for a baby. And once you get everything struck off your list, you start thinking of more things you should do. My lists are reproducing. Or sometimes you just want to lay the hell down and nothing gets done for a day or two. Do I sound complainy? I really don't mean to, I'm just glad things are finally starting to fall in place!

Back when I first put some ideas together for transforming our spare bedroom into a nursery, I wanted to source as many secondhand items as possible. So when we were looking for a dresser / changing table, I took to Adverts.ie and found a perfect sized one for €45 ...

It  was a standard dresser in relatively okay condition. I knew I'd be painting it as there were already a lot of different wood finishes in the room - walnut crib, faux pine floor, some other faux wood on the built-in wardrobes and then the chicken-fat orange wood around the windows, the combination of them all together just wasn't working.  

Since our spare bedroom / nursery is a fairly dark room and the dresser would be going under the window [potentially blocking more light from the room], I didn't want to go with anything too wild or dark on the dresser. When it came down to it, I wanted to keep it light and bright. I still had some leftover white Rustoleum paint from updating our bedside tables this time last year, so on went 5 even coats of plain white paint all over. I thought of doing a faux marble effect again, but quickly changed my mind as I didn't want to overdo it.

As for the details on the dresser, I kept it relatively simple. I spent about 2 weeks looking for the perfect hardware for the drawers. I found these black rose knobs and backplates on Etsy [which I don't think is a genuine Etsy seller and is probably a warehouse of sorts, but welp. I couldn't find them elsewhere and I really wanted them so I got them]. I thought they were a perfect mix of whimsical, dainty and a little bit gothic. I decided to order just two knobs for the top drawers and went with very simple knobs for the rest of the dresser  as I didn't want to overkill it [I found perfect budget-friendly untreated pine knobs in Woodie's that I painted matt black]. 

Since getting my hands on Emma's Tangled Hawkmoth wallpaper, I immediately knew I'd be lining the drawers of any future nursery dresser with it. Unfortunately we can't hang wallpaper in our apartment [boo, renting], so into the drawers it went. It works so perfectly and I love seeing peeks of it underneath all the tiny baby clothes. I want to line ALL OF THE THINGS WITH IT NOW.

As for the feet of the dresser, I've not done anything just yet with them. I've left them unpainted as they were, which in a way kind of makes it look like the dresser is floating [I know, a stretch] but I'm hoping to either swap them for different feet or just take them off entirely. 

I should also say sorry for all the tightly cropped nursery pictures - it's really to spare your eyeballs from seeing the madness that lurks to either side of the nursery. Soon, though. Soon it should be finished! Considering baby is now finished cooking and I'm 40 weeks [and 4 days], but I think [see: hope] later this week baby will make her debut. Fingers crossed - but not legs. Legs are anything but crossed ;)

Storage cupboard spruce up

If a good storage or organisational before and after blog post doesn't float your boat, I totally understand you scrolling past this one because this is going to do nothing for you. It is however something I've gotten ridiculous levels of enjoyment from, so I really wanted to share it. As of yesterday I finished giving our hallway storage an upgrade and so felt inclined to share. It didn't cost me anything extra to update our cupboards [as I used leftover paint and supplies I already had] - it just took some time and considered planning. And ridiculous levels of nesting hormones. 

We have a number of storage cupboards in the hallway of our rental. Over the past two months I've slowly updated our coat and immersion cupboards [we have a third cupboard, but I'm saving updating that for a rainy maternity day]. Yes, they're storage cupboards and no one really cares what they look like on the inside, but I do. I do. And I know. I know the horror of what lies behind those doors every time I walked past them. Those cupboards caused my nesting hormones to be personified [or animalised?] as a wild bear trying to get out of a shirt and tie. It was time. I wanted pretty storage cupboards so I got down and made them happen.

Early last year when I repainted the doors and skirting boards in our hallway, the only place I didn't paint was the inside of cupboard doors [because they aren't immediately seen]. De-yellowing and repainting the inside of the door and trim was at the top of my list. I then repainted the inside of the cupboard with leftover basic white paint, I tidied and donated some coats as well tackled the storage on the back of the door. At the time, everything was hanging from those three hooks on the back of the door - our bags, my bike bag, shopping bags, a bag of canvas bags and a plastic bag chute thingy. I decided to cut down and use the few hooks we had for things we use every day [umbrellas and bags]. We also added a medium sized freezer to the cupboard which will be perfect for lots of emergency / pre-made meals for over the next few months. And years. Until baby is 18, basically. 

p.s. See that Hudson's Bay Company coat? I found it in our local charity shop for €5 last year [for those not familiar with HBC, their point (aka, stripe) blankets and coats are serious triple figures]. I've never worn it but I'm never, ever getting rid of it. Ever. Even if there's a fire.

The original puke-green [actual technical Pantone shade] of the immersion foam alongside the yellowed door and trim really appealed to my eyeballs. I Googled it and Google said it was fine to paint this type of hardened insulation foam, so I grabbed a tub of leftover grey paint and added two coats. I also repainted the door and surrounding trim white, the door hook grey, inside the cupboard basic white and finally got around to hanging everything up properly. Our plastic and canvas bag storage was demoted to the immersion door along with a bag of Dyson attachments. 

I know this is barely pretty enough to be blogging about, but there's something my sick mind finds therapeutic about making a neglected storage area pretty, functional and as much a part of our home as the rest of it. 

Picking paint for the nursery - Pantone FTW

A few months ago the lovely people at Fleetwood Paints offered for me to try their new Vogue and Pantone ranges. They didn't have to ask me twice! I unfortunately couldn't decide on a paint for a long time thanks to suffering from a serious case of indecisiveness my entire pregnancy [hence things being so quiet around here too]. After much thought I decided grey would be the best hue for the nursery. Grey not only goes with every colour, but when it comes to us eventually moving out, grey is neutral so I won't have to repaint the nursery. I headed to our local Fleetwood stockist, MRCB Paints on Thomas Street, and got started. 

I took my time picking a grey. I have to say, the staff in MRCB were so helpful, especially re: my constant indecisiveness. It's no wonder they won best Home and Design Shop for 2016! They deserve a patience award solely based on all my visits.

Our apartment is north-east facing so it gets very cold and unusual light throughout the day which I had a feeling wouldn't make choosing a paint easy. I'd visit MRCB, pick a few tester paints, paint some patches throughout the nursery, let them dry, view the paint in the morning, afternoon, evening, good and bad weather and if I wasn't 100%, I'd go back to MRCB, pick a few more testers and do it all over again. I think it took me 4 weeks to pick the right shade of grey, but I was fine with that as I didn't want to rush into anything. Here's one corner of samples to give you an idea of my thought process ...

1. ORIGINAL WALL COLOUR - it doesn't look half bad here, but the original wall colour was a weird washed out pink / brown / beige disaster. It complimented absolutely nothing about the room. So, no. 
2. PANTONE 'NIMBUS CLOUD' - I was so excited to get started I nearly bought a 2.5L tin of this paint. Luckily I didn't as Nimbus Cloud turned out to look quite cold and blue in the nursery due to the light the room gets. It's hard to tell from this picture, but trust me. Paint doesn't act normally in this room. 
3. VOGUE 'KENSINGTON DEEP' - I wanted to see what a darker grey would look like, and for this room, a darker grey didn't really work.
4. PANTONE 'LUNAR ROCK' - just one tone deeper than Nimbus Cloud, I was hoping this would be the right mix of warm and neutral grey. And luckily, it was perfect!
5. VOGUE 'GOTHENBURG DEEP' - we grabbed a tester of Gothenburg Deep along with Lunar Rock to see what a pinker hue would look like, but we both loved Lunar Rock once the final testers went up. 

Throughout the room I had at least 3 more test patches in different grey hues, but I didn't want to bombard you with very slight differing increments of grey. So I'm not going to. The important thing is that we got there in the end. Pantone's Lunar Rock = perfect. 

That weekend I put two coats of Lunar Rock on one wall in the nursery. As I was finishing, my parents called and offered to paint the rest of the room / save me and my hips [yay PGP :/], so thank you Mom and Dad DIYer for painting the rest of the room!

I'm beyond delighted with how Pantone's Lunar Rock turned out. It's such a warm hue without leaning too heavily towards a specific colour. It goes so well with our second hand walnut crib [more details on the rest of the room soon!], compliments the flooring and wooden wardrobes, and works beautifully alongside burgundy, pink, green - basically every other colour I've added to the room. A huge thank you again to Fleetwood for offering for me to try your new collection and to MRCB for all your help and copious patience. 

Since painting the nursery last weekend things have been moving quickly and I'm so excited the more it comes together. After all, T minus 3 weeks until bebe arrives! 

DISCLOSURE - while this blog post is not sponsored, I did receive this paint free of charge from Fleetwood via MRCB. I only work with brands and companies that I like and of course, think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer. 

I just want to live in Stars Hollow

I had every intention today of writing about [FINALLY] picking a paint colour for the nursery, but as of yesterday, things might be changing.  

After weeks of waddling to and from our local paint supplier picking up sample after sample of tester paint pots, only on Wednesday did we happily decide on the perfect warm and neutral shade of grey for the nursery. I was planning on picking up a full tin today and get two coats down this weekend, but then yesterday I got a call from our landlord. 

We're stuck in an awkward situation. Our landlord has since said they may not sell. They're still going to have the place valued and are instead going to increase the rent to reflect Dublin's, quite frankly disgusting, rent levels. I've been in contact with local residential rights boards and there are some awkward facts; mostly to our favour. One being that our landlord increased our rent this time last year and thanks to new legislation, a landlord can't increase rent more than once in two years. I'm hella glad the new legislation is retrospective which means he can't increase the rent until late 2017, but I'm nervous to tell our landlord as this will more than likely push him in the direction to sell. 

Another thought my beautiful mind plagued me with today - have I shot myself in the foot with all the work I've done to the apartment over the years? Our landlord has commented numerous times on how much better the apartment is since we moved in. Have the improvements I've made increased the value of our apartment? I've repainted, repaired, scraped, updated and de-fuglied our entire apartment over the past 6+ years we've been renting and living here. Have I increased the value of the apartment, which will further encourage our landlord to sell? Brains. 

Last night we loosely entertained the idea of buying somewhere. After 5 hours of looking, we were left feeling worse. We like where we live and call me a lush, but I'm not too keen on commuting 2 hours to and from work every day because that's how far outside of Dublin we can afford. Oh, and did I mention I'm due in 5 weeks? I, rather selfishly, would rather be focusing on getting ready for our new arrival instead of worrying about whether we'll have to move to an apartment we can't afford in the coming months. A first world problem, I know, compared to some of the people living across Ireland who are homeless because of the housing crisis. I've come up with a please-for-the-love-of-science-meet-us-halfway plan that our landlord will hopefully be on board for. Fingers crossed.

Yeah, I probably shouldn't verbal diarrhea this all over my blog until we know more. But this is real life and real life doesn't have a filter and I'm all for sharing the shit and the wonderful equally. Because life is both shit and wonderful. 

For now, I just want to live in Stars Hollow and be a librarian. And have a giant G&T. Is that too much to ask? [Answer: YES].

UPDATE: I forgot to mention above that as we hadn't heard from our landlord in almost a year [we only contact each other when it's necessary to do so], he didn't know we are expecting. He took this into consideration and actually offered to postpone selling the apartment for another while. We know we won't be living here forever, but for now we can exhale. Hell yes for landlords with souls. 

Amara Interior Blog Awards - European Blogger nominee

If you were brought here thanks to the Amara Interior Blog Awards, welcome! My name is Alex and as you will soon find out, I am very awkward in these situations. 

For the second year in a row, I got an email from the IBAs to say my blog and I had been nominated for an interiors award. This segues nicely into an introduction as to how awkward I am because I don't even know what to write after that sentence. This year I'm in a different category [Best DIY Blog last year vs. Best European Interior Blog this year] and I'm kinda not sure why the change as there are fellow Irish bloggers in other categories. Regardless, I know I haven't a hope in fresh hell of even making it to the shortlist [just being realistic]. But in the spirit of awards and all that comes with them, I will attempt some annual self promotion / light begging so here goes. Please, only if you want to ... 

Genuinely without this trying to sound like a stereotypical speech, it is very humbling to even be nominated under such an award like the Amara's. I'm happy enough to have just been nominated; end of. Thank you for your vote [that is if you did choose to vote for me - you should check out the rest of the nominees - srsly talented bloggers], and thank you to whoever nominated me in the first place.

Normal sarcastic and unprofessional blogging shall now resume as normal. 
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