Malmo & Moss House: Making Over the Spare Room
Shall we really go hard at it in the spare room on Saturday night would, in my twenties, have been an offer to Mr Malmo that included matching lingerie, Marvin Gaye and massage oil. Three kids in he knows that these days it is much more like to involve removing my knickers from the drying rack that is semi permanently erected in there, hearing through the grapevine instructions to rationalise the underbed storage drawers and massaging shampoo into the carpet to try and remove evidence of a #babysudocreamrampage. When we moved into the Malmo & Moss House 7 years ago we started by turning this room into my eldest son's nursery. Because we didn't get the keys until 3 weeks before he was born, my husband had to pretty much carry out that transformation solo, heroically wallpapering up a ladder at 2am. Although, if I am honest, even if i didn't have a 7 pound baby eager to get out of my clunge I would probably have still just stood around decoratively holding a wallpaper brush.
When we knew baby number three was on the way we decided to move the two older boys into what was then bigger spare room with this room, after a lick of Cornforth White (has a more middle class phrase ever been uttered) assuming a new identity as a temporary offshoot of the Big Yellow Storage Company. I am going to spare you a shot of it buried underneath a mound of maternity knickers, tea towels, baby toys, dismantled furniture, tins of paint and coats because you probably have a room like that of your own that you can go into if you want an interiors reality check. When someone was coming to stay all of that crap got temporarily shoved into the wardrobe and it looked ok but it was a bit like the maternity knickers it so often played host to in that it was a bit drab and tired.
After a particularly steamy session in there one Saturday night when Mr Malmo went wild with the nozzle of the hoover (attached to the entrance to a vacumn bag rather than something else I hasten to add) it was enough of a blank canvas to start thinking about how we could add a bit of personality into it. The first step I took was to try and break up the wall behind the bed a bit by stringing up some festoon lights using command hooks. I got my festoon lights from Sainsburys homeware range. I think they were £13 in the sale and they stock them all year round. They are definitely not the same quality as say a set from The White Company (they are about as sturdy as an eggshell) but I think they pretty much do the job.
With that job done I turned my attention to the bedside tables. They were a couple of fairly non descript numbers that we bought for our first flat back when I was a #Living EtcVirgin. They were, brace yourself, originally a shade of pine that I would describe as akin to Dale Winton just back from a week in Marbella. Once I had popped my Living Etc cherry I hastily painted them Pavilion Grey in a bid to Farrow & Ball away the Winton. However, because I am the kind of impatient painter that dips a paintbrush in without a second thought to masking tape, dust sheets or priming I managed to paint the drawers shut. Consequently retrieving anything from the drawers was the kind of challenge they liked to set people on the Crystal Maze when they wanted to watch an accountant in a jumpsuit try and restrain himself from saying the words cunting hell on pre-watershed television.
Having finally jimmied the drawers open using the type of tool favoured by teenager car jackers, and disposed of the contents (which included some aged condoms which if used would almost certainly have led to the birth of our 4th child) the #DuluxWeldedDurexDrawers were taken to the tip. Does anyone else's husband enjoy a trip to the tip almost as much as a blow job? In their place on the left hand side I brought down from our bedroom a dressing table which was the first piece of furniture we ever bought together. Although Mr Malmo has never been a very big fan of it because apparently in his words it has shades of something Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would have sat at whilst powdering his wig. I think it works really well in the spare room though with the style of our Loaf bed (and am sure Amadeus would have sided with me on this one inbetween whiping up preludes). On the otherside of the bed we reconstructed the desk that used to be downstairs before Project Partition happened (future blogpost coming on that one!).
My attention turned next to a subject in which I could complete a doctorate: cushions. I wanted something which created a bit of texture and drama so when I was on a work trip in Cardiff I thought all my Christmases had come at once when I popped into TK Maxx and spotted two of their divine Mongolian fur cushions in the sale for half price. Unfortunately they are each the size of a small Mountain Yak so the only carrier bag that would contain them was a pink bag for life plastered in pictures of dogs in camp spectacles. I think it is probably the first time the security guard at the Welsh Government Building has had to X-Ray scan soft furnishings for explosives in a bag that looked like something Dame Edna Everidge might take with her to the lauderette. Having wrestled the Yaks all the way home from Cardiff on the train I realised when I got home that they are in fact not the smokey grey I had intially thought they were but had a distinctly greenish tinge to them, a bit like a Yak that had fallen a pond....However I have actually really come to like the colour and it fits really nicely with the rustic wood of the tables and bed.
With the soft furnishings in hand I turned my attention to the bed linen. One of my absolute favourite instagram accounts belongs to @teawithruby who has the most beautiful antique bed and really gorgeous slubby (is that even a word?!) linen bedding in smoky colours. The charcoal linen set I chose from Piglet In Bed fitted the #SlubbySleeping bill perfectly! They do a lovely range of durable low maintenance linen bedding that gets softer and softer with wear and most importantly of all doesn't require me to iron it for it to look good!
It was all coming together nicely but I wanted it to have a bit more of an industrial/boho edge inspired by some of my favourite instagram bedrooms. Although I don't have bare bricks to work with (unless I start tearing chunks of plaster away from the walls which I suspect would be about as popular with Mr Malmo as my cauliflower burgers) I really like the earthy industrial feel they add to Reena of Hygge for Home's bedroom. I decided to add that feel through the use of rustic reclaimed wood instead like the gorgeous bohemian bedroom of Kate Young. A trip to our local salvage yard resulted in us returning with some suitably distressed planks and the owner 22 Stone Tony laughing all the way to the bank as he took our cash for what transpired to be the bench he used to saw up wood on to sell to yuppy renovators.
I also decided to keep all of the artwork black and white to create a crisp, clean impact with prints from Desenio doing the honours. I can't quite decide whether to have some more artwork above the bed and if so whether to go with one big print, a mini gallery wall or a picture shelf with a small selection of different size prints or alternatively whether to go with a bit set of vintage antlers there instead to provide a further nod to the nordic. Would love to know your thoughts. Would it look too busy? We were originally intending to turn our #YuppySalvageHaul into shelves in the alcoves but that would mean the festoons couldn't hang down the sides so I think I have changed my mind about it.
I have added a real olive tree in beside the bed whilst I continue the search for a faux one which doesn't require me to take a bridging loan to afford it. I have recently received a tip off that Ikea may have one so I am hoping that there has not been a middle class stampede to my local branch since this faux foliage rumour started doing the rounds.
On the right hand side of the bed in these pictures are a set of vintage pegs that are displaying a throw and a lovely cage light I got from Of Special Interest. In reality my husband has an infuriating habit of using these pegs as the resting place for a waterproof coat he has which makes him look like a cross between a 1990s indie band member and a bird watcher, sort of Bez meets Bill Oddie. The trunk below them is one of my favourite vintage finds from Newark collectors market, where I also got the old French Railway Station clock which adds some extra monochrome interest.
Completing the industrial touches on the other side of the bed are some old Mars tins which have been outside until recently so picked up quite a bit of rust although I personally think that just adds to their character. I bought them about 5 years ago from a man at Newark who had literally hundreds of them so I am always kicking myself that I only came away with three which was the most I could fit under the pram at the time. I think Bugaboo are really missing gap in the market by not designing a pram with a huge undercarriage for vintiquing mums on the go.
The final touch I added recently after a rock n roll Thursday night trip to Enfield Town B&Q, was this Scandi inspired carpet runner which was a total bargain and neatly disguises where my middle son went rogue with his freshly sudocreamed bottom when 18 months old. Sudocream and wool fibres go about as well together as Theresa May and chocolate brown leather trousers. Oh and am also very happy that we no longer have the 1980s doors that were all over the house when we first moved in which were reminiscent of doors the Corkhills used to slam during arguments on Brookside circa 1988. This beautiful reclaimed one came from 22 Stone Tonys yard aka Stoneage Salvage on the way to Cuffley.
To the left of the bed as you walk in the door are a set of Ikea wardrobes constructed by Mr Malmo to which he added bespoke chipboard doors. They are a very marmite feature of the room with my dad surpisingly numbering amongst their fans despite them being decidely non cluttered gothic, his signature interiors style. They tend to create what I like to describe as the "shit why the hell did they do that face" in most guests. I can't decide whether I want to leave them like that, paint them, or wallpaper them with tin effect paper like the panel hanging on the wall that caught my eye on the Rockett St George website. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below whether you are #TeamChipboard or #TeamTin.