Browsing Tag

downsizing home

An amazing spa bathroom for any age

June 7, 2017
Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse bathroom sink ageproof bathroom

I was at a location house a few weeks ago, owned by interiors stylist Catherine Woram and architectural designer Michael Bains. I was captivated how beautiful the entire house was. Every room. But it was the bathrooms that did it for me – I need one of these! Each bathroom was full of beautiful, clever details all in perfect harmony. A perfect retreat from the stresses and strains of the world, your own private spa.

small moroccan bathroom

The flat whiteness of the walls and painted floor are fresh and uplifting. The huge over mantel mirror bounces light all around and by painting the ornate frame white it looks perfect over the basins. The sense of light in this room is perfect for anyone with weakened eyesight: details are crisp and defined.

Catherine Woram has used an shabby and ornate console table as a basin stand. Its fun and its chic. Complementing the shabby paintwork and wooden top is a rustic copper basin.. and a very modern chrome u bend. It looks fantastic and this basin stand is in fact ideal for anyone who needs to pull up a stool when using the sink. Wouldn’t it be perfect if an ornate basin stand like this was wheelchair friendly too!

The basin and tap styling is Moroccan French rustic chateau meets modern, sleek chrome. These levered taps are easy to use for anyone with reduced mobility, the narrow console table/basin stand also means that you wouldn’t need to stretch forward to reach them. This is exactly what Build Mum a House is all about. You shouldn’t need to compromise the look of your home for ease of use.

TAPS AND MIXER

White floor boards, pale flat greys shades, chandeliers, copper basins. I took some photos on my phone to try and capture the magic… and then as I turned to leave the room I noticed the bathroom door lock. Absolutely beautiful, inspired, on theme AND completely up my street.

In 1970 I was 8. I got stuck in a Hayling Island beach car park toilet. As I had gone to leave, the catch on the big brass mechanism was so fiddly, the old penny dropped down inside the brass mechanism.  I was left behind in the locked cubicle. I wailed. Finally, a very kind lady heard me and put another penny in the lock. Released, I ungraciously ran out, humiliated, in tears, to join my sister who had already got back into our parents’ car!

That’s why I like a nice and easy privacy lock on a bathroom door.

It’s not about lack of mobility and everything with being a bit clumsy. I am not alone on this one. I know I’m not.

And do you know what this bathroom features as a door lock? It’s light and easy to use, large handle that is good for a weak grip and very pretty. The lock on the door is a Moroccan Aldrop and latch. No, I didn’t know they were called that either. This is a very nice decorated version of a metal sliding bolt, that you can see when you wander round the souks and admire the ancient Moorish buildings and their intricate front doors.

bathroom lock

Buildmumahouse is all about finding chic interiors that are perfect for age proof living, for aging at home, for anyone with mobility issues, young or old. This beautiful bathroom is perfect, it’s a visual feast and it addresses many practical issues. Proof that a beautiful interior can be ageproof.

If you would like to see more of my photos fof inspirational interiors then follow me and go to my Buildmumahouse Instagram account, click here  And for more well designed and easy to use bathroom locks go to my bathroom Pinterest boards at Buildmumahouse.

 

 

 

 

 

Craft books review: Fat Quarter Home & Fat Quarter Quick makes

May 31, 2017
fat quarter, home, fat quarter, quick makes buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska, downsizing, crafts, sewing, home, downsizing, decorating ideas, crafts, new home, recycling

If like me, you have helped your parent downsize, moved a child to their first home and have uncovered some beautiful fabrics that have been squirreled away over the years …you need these two books!

Fat Quarter Quick Makes and Fat Quarter Home are two books that are

part of a fantastic new series of stash-busting sewing books aimed at beginner to intermediate crafters.

Every project in Fat Quarter Quick Makes and Fat Quarter Home can be made from a fat quarter. What’s a fat quarter? I didn’t know either. It’s a short length of fabric that’s about a half a yard. There are two books in the series that I’m reviewing today and both are full of really good ideas. Across the two books there’s 50 good ideas.

In Fat Quarter Quick Makes there’s a really good range of decorative projects such as fabric flowers or an owl brooch.

Fat Quarter Home also has 25 projects, making great new things for your home such as cushion covers or giving those vintage Ercol 70’s chairs a spruce up. There are instructions how to re – cover a drop in chair as well as customise and freshen up bathroom towels. All of these projects are good for all 3 generations in my family.

The photography, interesting projects, the lovely styling and really easy to follow instructions have renewed my passion for sewing and making things. Love it!

Here are a few projects that got me fired up for each of my family’s generations:

Fat Quarter Home: Living Room

Fat Quarter, Home Amanda Russell, Juliet Bawden, living room, projects, buildmumahouse, Jola Piesakowska, cushions, downsizing, craft, crafting

Fat Quarter Home Amanda Russell & Juliet Bawden living room projects

 

Cushion Covers.

No zips, no hassle.

An instant refresh for downsizers, feature your treasured fabric from the 50s, 60s or 70s and make your new place look like home. I have, of course, found some 80s fabric. I think this cushion project is great for my garden cushions that are looking a bit faded this year. It’s also a really fast and easy project for young home makers who are happy to raid mum’s or babcia’s stash… or as the pattern is so economical, happy to buy some fabulous modern fabric, without breaking the bank.

 

Fat Quarter, Home Amanda Russell, Juliet Bawden, living room, projects, buildmumahouse, Jola Piesakowska, downsizing, craft, crafting

Fat Quarter Quick Makes Juliet Bawden & Amanda Russell Workroom projects: patterns weights project.

Fat Quarter Quick Makes: Workroom

So many of these projects are fantastic if you have a little one to sew for, this book has the cutest dress, bibs, shorts or flags and tent tidies for festival going teens.

But don’t despair if you don’t. I don’t. However, the workroom projects are right up my street, I’m an empty nester and now I have more space to establish my own space.

Pattern Weights

Now, why did I never have any of these? Up until now I have missed out on having something to hold down paper patterns while I’m pinning or cutting a pattern.  When I make these I’m going to use an assortment of fabrics so that they will look really cute and I can store them on display so they will decorate my workspace.

Other things I want to make that I think will cross all 3 generations of my family:

 Fat Quarter Quick Home: Bathroom

downsizing, storage, bathroom, craft, buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska, Fat Quarter Home Amanda Russell and Juliet Bawden, craft, sewing, home,

Fat Quarter Home Amanda Russell & Juliet Bawden

Storage Bucket

Love this, so happy to get the instructions and pattern to make storage buckets. This is a brilliant project for all 3 generations of my family. The key to downsizing is creating a space for everything. The key to moving into a small first home is having lots of cheap storage solutions and playing with your look. The key to claiming your workspace are work buckets for anything from usb cables to crafting odds and ends. Make some of these, use up your cherished old fabrics and make lovely things  for your home, buy some new fabric and colour co-ordinate your bathroom. Be happy you’ve got the keys right here.

These books are the keys to unlocking the Alladin’s Cave of your fabric stashes its written and styled by Amanda Russell and Juliet Bawden.

Juliet is the author of over 60 different craft books so she really knows what she’s talking about. If you would like get inspired to see how recycling and salvaging crafts can be exciting, follow this link Juliet Bawden Creative Colour or follow Juliet Bawden on Twitter ‪@julietbawden to get and keep up to date on the latest colour and pattern trends. When you mix these skills together you can feel confident to dig into your fabric stash, follow the projects in Fat Quarter Home or Fat Quarter Quick Makes and make your house your home.

Fat Quarter Home and Fat Quarter Quick Makes are coming soon, they will be priced at £12.99 each. Amanda Russell and Juliet Bawden are R&B Designs. You will find more information here https://randbdesigns.co.uk/books/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buildmumahouse Guide: How to make Roman blinds?

April 19, 2017

I’m taking you through a step-by-step guide to making Roman blinds with or without a kit. Roman blinds transform your windows, are surprisingly quick to make and use very little fabric compared to curtains so you can really splurge on the quality or the fabric design or work to a tight budget. They can be used on the own or with curtains for a decadent layered effect. Roman blinds can be lined or sheer, thermal or blackout. Either way they are energy efficient even with double glazing and give you instant privacy.

A pleated or Roman blind folds into soft accordion pleats when it is drawn up and hangs straight when down. Roman blinds give your window a simple classic elegance and also make the most of subtle fabric designs.

There are two ways of making a Roman blind: with or without a kit.

Without a kit the blind is held in an up position by securing the cord to a cleat. Using a kit the blind pulls up using a chain loop, which is good for heavy and wide blinds. A kit can also be safer with children as there is not a long cord hanging down when the blind is pulled up. With a kit the blind will sit in any position you pull it to and the metal headrail will only need cutting to size and adjusting.

Making a Roman Blind without a Kit.

This is the most diy and the cheapest option. Making your Roman blind the old fashioned way.

Materials for a Roman Blind without a kit:

  1. Wooden batten depth 25mm and width 50mm measured to the width of your window recess (A)
  2. Velcro tape 25mm wide the same length as the batten
  3. A staple gun
  4. 4 screw-in eyelet hooks or pulleys
  5. Cord. Calculate 3 x 4 times the drop of the blind, at least
  6. A cleat
  7. A breakaway cord connector
  8. One length of narrow a flat bottom bar: a batten about 0.5 x 1.27cm for the bottom of the blind or a flat aluminium or plastic bar 2.5cm wide from Merrick Day
  9. Narrow tape with pockets for rods – Roman blind tape
  10. Roman blind rods or dowelling to fit into Roman blind tape
  11. 12mm split brass or plastic rings for cording available from www.merrick-day.com
  12. Matching sewing thread
  13. Tailor’s chalk
  14. Sewing kit including big sharp scissors and long pins
  15. Steam iron and ironing board
  16. Sewing machine

Measuring up Roman Blinds

  1. Attach the wooden baton to the top of the window recess and measure up the inside of the window. Staple the furry half of the 25mm Velcro tape to the front face of the batten.
roman blind, how to make a roman blind, measure a roamn blind, buildmumahouse

Measure the inside of the window

2. Measure the inside of the window for the width and the drop.

Use this measurement for the lining, if you plan on using one.

 

 

 

 

 

Seam allowances

Add 2.5cm on each side of width for side hems. Add 1cm for top hem and 5cm at the bottom hem. Cut your fabric to size on the straight grain. Lay the lining on to the back of the curtain fabric covering the window area using this photo as a placement guide. Pin in place.

 

 

 

3. Cut your fabric looking out for pattern repeats, its nice to get a shape to be centred. Press the side seams in to place. The side seams are double so turn in on each side 0.5cm, press in place, then turn in 2.5cm. Press, pin in place then stitch. Now turn down the top edge and press.

Turn in side seams and top seams.

4. Press the side seams in to place. The side seams are double so turn in on each side 0.5cm, press in place then turn in 2cm. Press then stitch. Now turn down the top edge 1cm and press.

5. Sew the Velcro tape to the back of the blind, 0.5cm from the top edge covering the raw edge. Sew both edges of the Velcro tape. This is going to attach to the Velcro stapled onto the batten.

For lined blinds make sure the lining is flat and all edges are all covered into these seams and attached behind the Velcro.

Turn in side seams and top seams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Make the bottom hem, turn over 1cm and press, turn it up again to make a 4cm pocket to fit your dowelling or batten.

For lined blinds make sure that your lining is lying flat, tucked in neatly and covered by this seam.

roman blinds marking out folds

 

 

 

7. Work out the width of your pleats so that they are even across the blind, 10cm is an average width or divide by 6. Mark each pleat with tailors chalk. Sew Roman Blind tape across the back of each pleat, one by one. Insert the rod or dowelling in each tape pocket.

This tape has a guide for the split rings, push a split brass curtain between the tape and the guide. Line up the rings  to the top of the blind.

 

8. Trim the rods 2cm shorter than the width of the blind. Insert the rods and the bottom batten, slip stitch by hand the ends of these “pockets”.

9. On each rod pocket mark the centre point of the blind and slip a brass ring in place through the guide in the tape. Repeat 5cm in from each side edge of the blind on each pocket.

10. Line up three of the the screw-in eyelets or pulleys on the top batten with the rings attached to the blind.
Fix the fourth eyelet or pulley to the right of the blind on the window recess. Lower down attach a cleat and an acorn near the bottom of the cord.
11. Hang the blind: Attach firmly the Velcro strip on the top of the blind to the matching Velcro strip on the batten.

12. For the cording stage I found this drawing – it explains it all really well.

c) Michael A Hill www.idealhome.com

Starting at the bottom ring with a knot, thread the cord up vertically to match the corresponding eyelet on the batten and over to the eyelet on the side of the frame, down to the cleat. Repeat this with each row.

 

 

The cleat should be positioned as high as possible so its well out of the way of children. Consider attaching a breakaway cord connector at the end of the cords and for safety don’t knot all three cords together to form a loop.

If you buy a Roman Blind Kit choose one that is fully child safe and that the control chains are adjustable length, not a continuous loop. Breakaway string controls and Parts can be purchased from www.merrick-day.com

buildmumahouse, interiors, lifestyle, windows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Now?

It’s important that you do visit my Youtube channel to watch the safety film about Roman Blinds, especially if you have children or if kids visit your home.

Roman Blind supplies can be found at www.merrick-day.com

Roman Blind Kits can be bought at Merrick Day

murtra_deluxe_roman_kit_instructions

Or from Terry’s Fabric’s https://www.terrysfabrics.co.uk/

Terrys_Cassette-Roman-Blind-Kit_Fitting

So now you have been introduced to Roman blinds and how to make them, go over to Buildmumahouse Pinterest for lots of inspirational fabrics and looks. If you would like to consider other window decor ideas visit Buildmumahouse guides to making curtains or my blog post about automated roller blinds.

If you have any tips, questions and would like to share your Roman blind projects leave me a message on my comments board. Love to hear from you.

 

 

Buildmumahouse Guide: How to make curtains?

April 13, 2017
how to make curtains, sewing, craft, diy, curtains, buildmumahouse guide, jolapiesakowska, lifestyle

In 1981 my mum bought me a book, “Sewing” by Ann Ladbury, the Mary Berry of Sewing. This has been my bible of curtain making ever since and I am now sharing Ann’s brilliantly simple book with a few tips from me and my mum.

In my previous Buildmumahouse guide I explained how to measure up for curtains. Once you have all your measurements and you’ve got your fabric here’s how to make them up.

Making a curtain is simple, the only sewing skills that you need are cutting a straight line and sewing a straight line. Add to that using a steam iron: my top tip is press every seam as you go.

Now you’re ready, let’s go

What equipment do I need to make curtains?

IKEA BUILDMUMAHOUSE SEWING CURTAINS

IKEA sewing kit has most things you need to make curtains

  • Pair of long, sharp scissors for cutting fabric
  • Steam Iron
  • Long Pins
  • Tape measure or a metre long, wooden ruler
  • Loads of matching thread
  • Loads of basting thread in a contrasting colour
  • Seam unpicker
  • A big space to lay everything out

I prefer cutting and pinning out curtains on the floor, especially if you have fitted carpets (so the fabric doesn’t slip around) …but remove rugs before cutting the cloth! Otherwise find a big table to lay the curtains out.

Making Unlined Curtains

curtains, sewing , making curtains, how to make curtains, Ann Ladbury, BUILDMUMAHOUSE BUILD MUM A HOUSE, Jola Piesakowska

C)Mitchell Beazley 1976        MAKING UNLINED CURTAINS STEPS 1,2,3

  1. Measure your window following instructions here and cut your fabric to size. Fold in a double hem 1.25cm down each side, press into a crisp fold and baste or pin into place. Machine stitch the edges down but hand sew velvets and satins. Measure and double fold up the bottom hem. Press and pin in place, stitch by hand or machine.
  2. For a crisp look on soft fabrics, stiffen the top of the curtains with iron- on interfacing. Cut a strip 1,25cm narrower than your top hem and don’t overlap the side hems. Iron the strip 1.25cm in from the raw or cut edge. If  you are not gathering the curtain using heading tape, turn down the raw edge 1.25 cm over it and then turn down the top hem, press with the steam iron and pin or baste in place. If you are using heading tape for the gatehring then cut the interface the same depth as the top hem and iron in place it along fabric edge.
  3. Stitch the top hem by machine. If the heading of the curtain is not to be gathered so that you can show off the fabric design  sew hooks or rings to the top edge.

Choosing the right heading tape

c) Mitchell Beazley 1976 CHOOSING A CURTAIN HEADING

I can’t better Ann Ladbury’s instructions but my top tips are

Don’t knot the loose cords at the end of the curtain use a Ruflette Cord Tidy. If you take your curtains down to dry clean them, or wash them you will need to undo the cords and flatten out the curtains. Untying the knotted cords is a real pain.

how to make curtains, buildmumahouse, rufflette cord tidy, lifestyle , curtains, diy

Just remember to position the loose cords at the outside edge of each curtain.

Click here for a guide to width allowances for the different heading tapes and always double check with the sales person.

How to Make Lined Curtains

There are a lot of different weights for curtain lining, the heavy blackout lining is almost rubbery on one side and its also good with draughty windows. Because the blackout linings are bulky I always make them as a detachable lining, really handy when you take large curtains to the dry cleaners, see below. For a really simple explanation of how to make up a curtain just look through figures 1, 2, and 3. It’s all there…

sewing ann ladbury, sewing book, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, how to make curtains, lifstyle, forever home

c) Mitchel Beazley 1976   Anne Ladbury Sewing   HOW TO MAKE LINED CURTAINS

John Lewis in Kingston, London is the best department store for all things curtains an lots of valuable advice, Oxford Street used to be the best place for all your curtain and it’s still ok. Recently I have swopped my allegiance for Dunelm they have a really thorough haberdashery and their collection of fabrics is small but good value for money and a good selection of Orla Keiley. IKEA do a cheap range of fabrics in their Scandinavian styles and some simple haberdashery at hard to beat prices.

dunelm, buildmumahouse, how to make curtains, guide, lifestyle, diy

On my Pinterest page I have collected loads of fabric designs and curtains styles, click through to BuildMumahouse to look through and get inspired…

 

How to cure a slow draining shower plughole – fast.

August 27, 2016
buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska,shower, cphart, jee-o, slow draining shower

Shower drain slow? I installed a low-profile  shower for my mum and I didn’t have a clue what to do when it started to drain REALLY slowly. My sister’s on holiday so it fell to me to sort this one out.

This is how I did it. Bought the miracle solution my mum told me to buy and poured it down the side of the plughole to cure the slow draining (and now smelly) shower plughole

….It didn’t work.

Looked it up on YouTube: how do I cure a slow draining shower plughole?  How to unblock a shower trap… firstly, it’s called a shower trap and that’s what it does, trap hair and soap scum.

Next, unscrew the chrome top.

buildmumahouse shower trap plughole

Lift and reveal. What I saw next has been banned so I can only tell you one thing: that trap had done it’s job over the last year, and it wasn’t pretty.

buildmumahouse shower trap

This shower trap has been cleaned as the original photo have been “banned” LOL.

According to YouTube I had to now unscrew the plastic trap from the chrome dome top and clean up the mess. But the bloke in the demo had only a few stray hairs to contend with, plus today was a very hot day.

Buildmumahouse shower trap screw Buster bathroom unblocker

That’s the screw you are meant to undo to release the blockage, when you can get to it.

Don’t Panic! I knew how to clean this up. Or should I say, Buster knows. I had been working on the Buster advertising account since day one and knew that it dissolves hair, skin and scum. All I needed to do was bring on the Buster!

No idea why I hadn’t thought of leaving a bottle for my mum to use before now? 

Quick trip to Sainsbury’s.. A basin, rubber gloves, a bottle of Buster Bathroom Unblocker and I left the tangled shower trap to soak and the hair and soap residue to dissolve. Time to relax in the sunshine.  This afternoon the shower trap was given a good wash with lots of hot water and a brush – all clear – and no need to dismantle the shower trap.

buildmumahouse Jola Piesakowska buster bathroom unblocker chrome shower trap blocked sink slow draining shower

I told you it was easy!  By this evening, I’m happy to say that trap was screwed back in its place and the shower waste is flowing fast and freely. I’ve left a bottle of Buster Bathroom Unblocker with my mum and if she squirts a bit down the plughole whenever the shower is cleaned, then I don’t think we’ll be unscrewing that shower trap until next year.

I’ve heard some crazy ways of cleaning bathroom plugholes in my time – how do you clean yours?

 

The right LED can change your life!

August 14, 2016
jola piesakowska pot luck restaurant cape town led lighting buildmumahouse Build Mum A House

Do you find that you can’t see as well at home in the evening? Do you need to ask for help to change light bulbs? Would you like to make savings on your electricity bills? Would you like create mood lighting in your home?

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 23.11.03

LED bulbs may be the answer! I think that the right LED can change your life. There’s been a lot of change in light bulb technology and loads more choice in the shops since ordinary light bulbs started to be phased out. That’s why it can be tough getting a clear idea of what LED bulb to buy.

Long Life

For me LED bulbs were a no brainer. My mum can’t reach her ceiling light bulbs and the thought of her being stuck in the dark while I raced over to change a light bulb meant that I was delighted to buy bulbs that can have 25,000 even 50,000 hours of life. These new LED bulbs have a long life but always check the pack for life span – look at the amount of hours not days, after all you don’t know how many hours consitutes a day for some manufacturers! It seems that there isn’t an official standard for LED bulbs and reliability does vary between manufacturers

Energy Saving

Elderly people living on a budget could be tempted to skimp on how many lights they have on at home to make savings on the electricity bills. A combination of low light and poor eyesight means that tripping can become a real hazard. The good news is that LED bulbs use 90% less energy than a traditional light bulb (incadescent)… so you can make a saving on your bills as well as lighting your home well. Look out for bulbs that have gills on them – LED lights are cool to the touch and need to be kept cool. That’s exactly what those gills are doing: allowing the heat to dissipate.

Choosing the right bulb power can be confusing – I made up a chart that helps me decide which bulb to buy:

buildmumahouse jola piesakowska led lights lumens

This applies to UK power supplies

Next question… I’ve seen it on the pack. What on earth is Lumens? I found the chart below on a fact sheet produced by the Electrical Contractor’s Association website and it explains that lumens measures the amount of light radiated by the bulb. There is a further measurement and that is lux – but it’s not often a bit of information that is printed on a bulb box.

Build Mum A House Buildmumahouse

Quality of Light

When I was building my mum’s house she only had a few ‘must’ s and having a bright kitchen was vital for her. She was adamant that only a florescent tube would deliver enough light. However the plans had an open plan kitchen / living area. Florescent tubes are are white and bright and light up all the area around it, not so good if you want to create mood areas. LED lights have been fantastic, they give a directional light. I found that I was able to choose not only the angle of the beam but also the colour of light that is given off

  • daylight bulbs for the kitchen area
  • warm light for the sitting and relaxing area.
source: www.eca.co.uk

source: www.eca.co.uk

and finally there is the question of CRI I found this chart on the Philips website and it explains it quite simply that you should look for a CRI of 80-90:

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 22.55.50

Yes, its confusing and you need to shop carefully… but these are expensive bulbs, they should last a long time and they can make a difference to your quality of light in your home.

TOP TIPS to help you choose the right LED bulb

  • Check for lifespan for estimated in hours not years/days.
  • Look for a well built bulb case with gills on it to keep the bulb cool and last longer.
  • Check out the angle of the light bulb – LEDs are directional so pick a wide angle for a good spread and narrow angle for highlighting.
  • Daylight colour bulbs are good for hobby areas or food prep areas. Warm lights are great for a relaxing area and are closer to the look of traditional bulbs.
  • For hobby areas where accurate colour can help the definition of what you are working on, look for a bulb that has a CRI of 80 to 90

I’m looking at mood lighting on my Instagram account Buildmumahouse and would love to hear from you if you who have any experiences or advice to share of setting up mood and task areas in your home