One of my most favourite things that I did when I moved to this house, was to invest in a summerhouse/she-shed. Our summerhouse has given us so much pleasure, not only in the beginning when I effectively had another room to decorate and dress, but also for nearly four summers. I’ve sat in with with friends for G&T’s, I’ve worked on my laptop, my daughter has sat and read in there, and I’ve used it as a mini studio. It’s like a mini blank canvas that I can try out new styling ideas and change around to my heart’s desire!
For a while now it’s needed a bit of a refresh, an injection of colour and fun! So when AXA got in touch and asked if I’d like to give my summerhouse a makeover, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands! At the recent Grand Designs Live in London, AXA sponsored the first ever Grand Shed Project. They ran an open competition to transform five sheds, and four interior designers and one garden designer got through to the final with their shed makeover designs. AXA then challenged some interiors bloggers (me included!) to have at go at redesigning their own outdoor spaces, inspired by their themed sheds. Challenge accepted!
I decided to pull everything out of my summerhouse, and to make a reading nook for the children and I to sit and enjoy the garden. I had such brilliant fun sourcing all the items for my design. I really wanted to go for shades of greens and teals, and mix slightly industrial pieces, softened with velvets, and vintage florals. The finished look is definitely eclectic, and my heart jumped for joy when I pulled it all together – I absolutely love it! Here’s a breakdown of the pieces I sourced, and how you can find similar.
I fell in love with this mini button back sofa in soft velvet, and knew its would be perfect for my reading nook. With it’s slightly mid-century vibe, it might seem an unusual choice for me, but I’m a recent convert to mixing pieces from different era’s together for a truly boho, eclectic look. I got this one from Homesense, but there are tons of online shops that sell similar.
I pulled together a mix of velvet and floral cushions. Check out the high street for velvet, and make your own cushions from vintage Sanderson fabrics – I made the the cushion on the right from some fabric I found on eBay. Throw a brightly coloured throw into the mix to wrap around shoulders as the sun goes down!
This old tool box/trunk had my name written all over it and I practically pole vaulted across the room when I saw it in my local vintage emporium! The colour is utterly gorgeous, and some might try to remove the paint splatters but I’m embracing its imperfections. Brilliant for storage and for using as a little coffee table. Look out for trunks on eBay, at auctions and at car boot fairs.
The chair is another find that I absolutely fell in love with. With it’s industrial vibe it could be used as a side table for a lamp, or a bedside table. When I saw it the first time, the stall owner had two dozen of them, but when I went back the second time, he only had two left! Lesson number one folks – when you see vintage items that you love, get them! Six of these would have looked amazing around my garden table – apparently they were shipped over from Thailand. Anyhow, it fits in perfectly with my little nook, especially when softened with a floral cushion.
This was dark brown when I bought it, so I gave it a repaint to freshen it up. I layered green paint under the white paint, so when I distressed it the green would show through. Perfect for storing books and jars of sea shells from our trips to the beach. Vintage wall cupboards are in plentiful supply, you just have to use your imagination and some paint to bring them back to life!
On the wall
I found the rose print and crystal wall sconce in some of my local vintage shops, and I knew they would a touch of shabby chic boho prettiness to my nook. eBay is yet again a good place to source items like these if you don’t have good vintage shops or markets in your area
I really hope this has inspired you to clear out a corner of your outdoor space – how would you design yours?
This post was sponsored by AXA, all views are my own.