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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. 

Nursery plans - part 2

I've managed to somehow not accidentally spill the beans on the gender of little bebe-to-be. Yet! Seeing as I'm sharing some design ideas today, spoiler alert: we're expecting a little girl! We were completely surprised when we found out as I was utterly convinced it was a boy [shoddy early mother instinct]. I wanted to avoid obvious choices for the nursery like pink and flowers etc. Maybe because I was convinced for so long it was a boy? This was one of the reasons I fell into a bit of a rutt ... 

There are two reasons we hadn't started the nursery until this week. For some reason [hormones], I had it in my mind that all the unfinished projects in our apartment had to be resolved before I could start the nursery. I made an 8-page list of things I had to do before we could begin. This ranged from cleaning the oven, painting the immersion, recaulking the bathroom, painting the ceilings and everything in between.

The second thing stopping me was the design of the nursery itself. I don't know how or why [hormones], but I was under the impression [again, hormones] that the nursery had to be wildly different from the rest of our home; a different colour scheme, style and be gender neutral. I don't know why. Did I mentioned hormones?

Luckily, over the past week I shook myself out of both mindsets. I realised I just want a cute and fun nursery [groundbreaking, I know]. We're having a girl. Yes, I like burgundy. And pink. This isn't new. I also like green but I'm not going to reinvent the wheel with our nursery by trying to make it something wildly different to what we already like. I'm hoping to make it fun and cute without it screaming 'A LITTLE GIRL LIVES HERE ZOMG CAN YOU TELL THROUGH ALL THE HOT NEON PINK?'. A little bit fun and a little bit Grand Budapest Hotel with gothic accents.

Less typing, more visualising! Onto the design we're hoping for ...

- A lot of the artwork for the nursery will be from what we already have [Bill Murray print, cardboard monogram etc.], will be second hand or from independent artists as much as possible.
- As for wall colour, I'm aiming for a subtle and cheery light grey paint. Fleetwood Paint sent me a gift voucher a few months ago and I'll be excitedly picking up some tester paints this week. Yeah, grey is a safe shade. I decided on it because it goes with every colour [and I'm hoping to have a bit more colour in the nursery than the rest of our apartment], but also when we eventually move out, a subtle grey paint won't need to be painted over compared to the living room and our bedroom. Forward thinking.
- Going with my mostly second hand theme, we picked up a standard pine dresser a few months ago for next to nothing on Adverts. I'm hoping to repaint it white at the very least; maybe something a bit more fun. We have yet to find an armchair to re-cover, but im hoping to find one soon. SOON.
- I'm also just hoping to put a lot of fun and cute things in here; hopefully appealing to both babies and adults alike. Some amigurumi creatures, alternative pieces and a handfull of cheeky things that'll surely make our nursery a lot less worthy of appearing in a magazine [ahem, poo pillow and my 'Even Katy Perry Poops' cross stitch #KeepingItReal].

I don't have an entirely set design in mind so we're mostly going to see what we find and do a bit of winging it. But the above are the basics and I'm hoping to build on it as we go. It's exciting now that we're about to start, but we better hurry up as we have T minus 9 weeks ... ZOMG :)

The Interior DIYer featured on Houzz + a giveaway!


Much excitement was had over the weekend as an exciting feature for me went live on Saturday morning; back in early June I photographed our apartment to be featured as a Houzz UK and Ireland home tour. Much pinching. Big wow. 

Not only that, but alongside the feature of our apartment, Houzz UK and Ireland are running a GIVEAWAY where you can be in with a chance of winning a beautiful cabbage leaf serving bowl from one of my favourite Dublin design shops, Article! It's very similar to my own beloved leaf bowl which was gifted to us by my parents after their last holiday. 

Want to know how you can be in with a chance of winning this beaut? All you need to do is comment on Houzz's feature on their site ... 

Please note this giveaway is open to UK and Ireland residents only. Closing date for the giveaway is midnight on Saturday August 13th. Full T&Cs can be found in the above feature. Good luck! ;)
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