Tag Archives: diy

New adventures, Devonshire Way

So what a hiatus! I am so sorry. Life took over. However, I am back now and about to start a new series of posts about a new and exciting family adventure. We have moved to Devon! Ilfracombe to be precise. Don’t all rush here! It’s my little secret. So how did we get here? It’s been a dream of Mr G and mine for quite some time now. We independently fell in love with the West Country as children. Me… so many holidays I have lost count spent with my parents and siblings in Cornwall (mainly the Helford area) and Devon (all over). Mr G… Padstow, Rock, Pentewan, Croyde, Woolacombe… So we spent last summer in Woolacombe and visited Ilfracombe – the home of Damien Hirst – and fell in love. Like proper, proper, passionate love. I have been here before. Many years ago and during another lifetime when I was married to my ex husband. Nothing was tarnished though. It was like coming home. My heart soared. The light, the lush foliage, the craggy nature of the rock face, the smell of the sea. Ilfracombe beguiled me. Literally. And also Mr G. We stopped off at a parking stop on the cliffs between Hele Bay and Combe Martin and looked over at Ilfracombe, held hands and said to each other… ‘let’s do it’. We went home to East Sussex. Put the house on the market. And waited. Bloody Brexit. Nothing happened. Still nothing happened. Then I was offered a job of a lifetime in Brighton so I said yes. Started in January of this year and then sod’s law we had buyers who were uber keen. What to do? The dream was calling. But I had this incredible, challenging, creatively exciting job… So I kept the job and we sold the house and bought a vast doer-upper in the heights of Ilfracombe. It’s a four-storey Victorian terrace. The ceiling height is bonkers. The views are sublime. Out the back is the sea, Capstone Hill, Hillsborough, Wales, the Bristol channel, and all the ships and boats, tall ships, fishing boats, vast floating hotels and canoeists, ribs, life boats that you can imagine. At the front is a stunning Norman church that is bathed in brilliant red/pink light at the end of the day. Everywhere I look is replete with light and nature. The sunsets are out of this world. There is something incredibly spiritual about sitting in our living room by the huge bay window and seeing the sun set over the sea. Turner springs to mind. The colours are incredible. It feels like God’s own country. I tell you honestly, I was pretty low at the end of last year. This place has elevated my spirit beyond belief. And that of the whole family I think. Mr G is far more animated and is taking photos left, right and centre. The house has become a passion of ours. She is a she and we are going to breathe a whole lot of new life into her. She has a soul. Palpable. I run my hands over her banister, marvel at her huge doors, feel the warmth bouncing off her walls. This home is smiling. I hope you join us on this adventure and enjoy the ride.

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The front of the house. 
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Photos when we just moved in. I am in love with this staircase. Clarence the cow is happy in his new home. 
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Watermouth harbour just along the coast before you get to Combe Martin. The boat cafe here is amazing as is the heated outdoor pool by the sea where I take my morning swim. 
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My morning swim destination. Tis a hard life. 😉 
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The kitchen with sink ripped out, tiles removed and paint samples on the wall. New tiles are bottom right-hand corner.
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OSB in the kitchen. Love OSB! New obsession. 
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The light in the living room. 
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Ilfracombe’s incredible coastline. Sea, lush green and craggy rocks. It makes one feel alive. 

Revamping the humble foot stool

Breathe some life back into a sad-looking charity-shop find and create a stunning conversation piece for your home.

Today I am going to show you how to quickly and easily transform a tatty old foot stool into a quirky, unique object of beauty for the home. A foot stool makes a great little punch of detail in a room if you don’t feel confident yet to reupholster a whole chair or sofa. Kids love sitting on them too! So let’s get creating… I hope you enjoy it.

What you will need:

-A foot stool

-Fabric

-Staple gun plus staples

-Hammer

-Pliers

-Upholstery tack strip trim plus tacks (you can use just standard tacks, but strips save time)

All photography by author and photographer Chris Gatcum.

A tower of foot stools. What the foot stool looked like originally.
Step 1: A tower of foot
stools. What the
foot stool looked
like originally.
Original foot stool stripped of old fabric and any tacks and staples, and with legs already painted, distressed and waxed.
Step 2: Original foot stool stripped of old fabric and any tacks and staples, and with legs already painted, distressed and waxed.
The length of upholstery tack strip needs to be long enough to work around the whole of the edge of the top of the foot stool.
Step 3: The length of upholstery tack strip needs to be long enough to work around the whole of the edge of the top of the foot stool.
Step 4: You will need sufficient fabric to cover the top of the foot stool plus an inch for turnover. I’ve used a vintage-style tea towel to cover this foot stool.
Step 4: You will need sufficient fabric to cover the top of the foot stool plus an inch for turnover. I’ve used a vintage-style tea towel to cover this foot stool.
Step 5: Start by stapling each edge in the centre point of the fabric, creating a smooth seam by turning the fabric back on itself by about and inch.
Step 5: Start by stapling each edge in the centre point of the fabric, creating a smooth seam by turning the fabric back on itself by about and inch.
Step 6: Once you’ve secured each edge you can start stapling along each edge fully. You will need to pull the fabric taut in order to avoid an uneven finish, but do not stretch it so much that you the pattern if the fabric has one.
Step 6: Once you’ve secured each edge you can start stapling along each edge fully. You will need to pull the fabric taut in order to avoid an uneven finish, but do not stretch it so much that you the pattern if the fabric has one.
Step 7: Next attach the upholstery tack trim by bending it around the edges of the foot stool to cover the line of staples. Use a hammer and watch out for your fingers!
Step 7: Next attach the upholstery tack trim by bending it around the edges of the foot stool to cover the line of staples. Use a hammer and watch out for your fingers!
Step 8: The finished foot stool transformed into something really rather lovely. Definitely something to be proud of!
Step 8: The finished foot stool transformed into something really rather lovely. Definitely something to be proud of!
Alternative trims and finishes: You don’t have to limit yourself to upholstery tacks to finish your foot stool off. Pom poms, braiding, ribbon, and even buttons can be glued or stitched around the edge of your foot stool to cover the staples and create a unique trim. You also don’t need to use one whole piece of fabric. A great way of using up remnants of fabric is create a patchwork foot stool. This is a great way to mix up print styles.
Alternative trims and finishes:
You don’t have to limit yourself to upholstery tacks to finish your foot stool off. Pom poms, braiding, ribbon, and even buttons can be glued or stitched around the edge of your foot stool to cover the staples and create a unique trim. You also don’t need to use one whole piece of fabric. A great way of using up remnants of fabric is create a patchwork foot stool. This is a great way to mix up print styles.
The finished stool! A foot stool makes a great little punch of detail in a room if you don’t feel confident yet to reupholster a whole chair or sofa. Kids love sitting on them too!
The finished stool! A foot stool makes a great little punch of detail in a room if you don’t feel confident yet to reupholster a whole chair or sofa. Kids love sitting on them too!