Our Sitting Room

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We’re lucky enough to have two matching reception rooms –  we use one as a play room with all the toys, and this one is a slightly more grown-up room where I like to relax away from the Lego. It’s not the sunniest room, and like all Edwardian and Victorian terraced houses it can feel a little dark at times. It does get the afternoon sun though, and I like to sit in here with a cup of tea after the school run.

When we moved in four years ago it was a very plain room, with cream textured wallpaper and a few oddly placed shelves. We stripped off the wallpaper and painted the room a soft grey. We had a new bay window installed – the old wooden sash windows were long gone, so we replaced the ugly 1970s casement windows with new sliding sashes.

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We replaced the old shelves with new bookshelves on either side of the fireplace – this was a necessity as we own a lot of books!

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Sadly the fireplace is not currently in use. In our old house the fireplaces had been stripped out and we lovingly re-installed original period fireplaces. In this house both reception rooms still have their original fireplaces, but sadly not in working condition. This presents a bit of a conundrum for me. I’m a romantic and I can’t bear to rip out the original fireplaces and surrounds. I love the idea of the builder choosing them from the pattern book over a hundred years ago, and it would be such a shame to lose them.

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They look great, but are in quite poor condition and it wouldn’t be safe to light a fire. So we’ve left them for four years. We’re now inching closer to either having them repaired (a painstaking and quite expensive process) or having wood burners installed, whilst trying to retain the original surrounds and perhaps part of the tiles. We keep mulling it over, but both options are pretty expensive, and I can’t help wondering if it’d be better to hold off a bit. We love it here, but I’m not sure this will our forever home and we’ve already spent quite a lot of money on it.

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But anyway, the fireplaces still look beautiful and they give me somewhere to display my treasures. Pictured here are some little dogs I bought from the market years ago, along with some little birds and a tiny sheep from our local antiques centre. I also keep my few bits of Wedgewood Jasperware up here. The over mantel mirror was one of the first things we bought when we moved here. We tried to find an old one, but in the end this one from John Lewis ticked every box.

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A favourite corner of my room is this one…

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Here we have a glass fronted bookcase, filled with yet more books. On the floor is my vintage sewing box, which my mum bought me from Ely market. I love its shape – especially how its legs match the sofa very well! We bought the sofas from John Lewis when we moved in. They are so comfortable, although the one in the window has faded quite a bit which is a shame.

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The curtains are simple ones, from Oka. I sometimes wish I’d gone for patterned ones, but getting them made would’ve been very expensive and I found it impossible to choose. Instead, I like to change the cushions and throws regularly. The current cushions are from Habitat. The yellow really lifts the grey. The little cushion is from Melin Tregwynt, a present from James on our last trip to Pembrokeshire. The coffee table is an old blanket box and the standard lamp was made by James’ granddad in the 50s.

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Here is where we keep the TV. I should really have cleared away the mess of wires and baskets! We could do with something different here, although I do love this table.

One part of the room that I can’t get right is behind the door…

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Currently, I have this old tea trolley sitting here, serving no real purpose other than gathering dust and clutter. I am quite sentimental about it as it is the first thing I ever bought at an auction (£5!). But nothing really looks quite right on it. Answers on a postcard?

I still really like the colour and style of this room but I would like to make a few changes. I’d love to get some houseplants and perhaps phase out some of the brown furniture. I don’t think Aspidistras on Edwardian plant stands will ever come back in – although maybe I could lead the trend on that one? I would also love to get a more grown-up lampshade. There are too many cheap paper lanterns from Ikea in this house, which needs to change!

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Now I’ve introduced you to this room, I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my latest updates with you!

Lizzie x

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16 thoughts on “Our Sitting Room

  1. a touch of domesticity / katie sparrow

    Lovely photos and lovely room Lizzie! I really love looking at other peoples’ houses. You should see me when we walk through villages (including my own) looking into every window! Some may call it nosiness, I like to pretend I’m just inquisitive and eager to be inspired! I was going to ask about the lovely yellow cushions; Habitat, of course! And I was going to say don’t write off handmade curtains (just a tad biased: I make them!), they can often be more affordable than you think, though I expect they’re more expensive in the south than up here. Lastly (!) that table behind the door: I think it needs something tall on it. A lampstand could be problematic with the door, but a tall sculptural vase with/without stems? Candlesticks? Hmmm.

    (ps Don’t ask to see my living room. Half-finished would be an exaggerated statement!)

    Reply
    1. marmaladepie

      Thanks! I love being nosey too – reading blogs is definitely the online equivalent to peeking through people’s front windows! Something tall for the tea trolley is a good idea – I’ll have a look out for something big. Or maybe a biggish houseplant? I did, of course, have a big tidy up for these photos! Quite often my husband has a maddening habit of putting his folded up Bromton bike in the fireplace…. x

      Reply
  2. Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely

    I think it looks perfect! I love the shelves on either side of the fireplace. We live in a new build and it’s absolutely lacking in character so I’m always on the lookout for things to give it a bit of cheer. Have you come across and American blog called I Heart Organizing? The aesthetic might not be entirely to your liking but there’s so many wonderful tips and little projects that amaze me. You might like it too x

    Reply
    1. marmaladepie

      Thank you Rachel! I often dream of a new-build – no grubby little corners under old skirting boards or creaking floorboards! Also, after a lifetime spent in these kind of Edwardian houses I am really craving something more open-planned and modern. I’ve never come across that site, thanks for the recommendation, I will check it out! 🙂

      Reply
  3. travelingchristie

    Lizzie I love it , just so stylish and I just love the vintage sewing box, my Nan used to have one just like that. I would love to know where it is now xx

    Reply
    1. marmaladepie

      Thank you so much! A man on the Ely antique market always has at least one of these kind of sewing boxes for sale every week – I’m tempted to buy more 🙂

      Reply
  4. mummyofboygirltwins

    It is stunning. What a grown up space. And so FULL of character. I imagine you reading and playing chess in here! Love the old pieces and shelves full of books. We have a cottage and it is has some small rooms that are dark so I know what you mean. What a lovely space. Thanks for linking up, much appreciated – Jess x #HomeEtc

    Reply
  5. Caro | The Twinkles Mama

    I love it. And I’m totally with you on the fireplace conundrum. We’ve always lived in period properties and the thought of ripping out some of these beautiful features pains me. That said, repairing and updating them to fit with modern living can cost a small fortune!

    We have a ‘smart’ grown up sitting room too!!! IT’s SO nice to get away from all the plastic toys isn’t it?! Thanks so much for linking up with #HomeEtc x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

    Reply
    1. marmaladepie

      Thanks Caro! I really love the separate rooms – it’s one of things that really sold the house to us. I wish I found it easier to change things – I bet some people are much less sentimental! It’s probably the cost factor that is mostly to blame though – I nearly fell over when I read the quote for installing a wood burner! I’m looking forward to reading more of your lovely blog x

      Reply
  6. Tracy

    I have serious house envy!! I love the bookshelves next to your fireplace and the yellow and grey combo! We are just doing our living room up and I am in the pattern/plain curtain conundrum too! Maybe just give the tea trolley a lick of paint and you may re-love it? 🙂 xx

    Tracy ~ http://www.thechimneypot.blogspot.co.uk

    Reply
  7. acornishmum

    I love this room, I know you said it can seem a little cold but it looks light and gorgeous in your photos! Beautiful and I love old houses. Stevie #HomeEtc

    Reply
    1. marmaladepie

      Thank you Stevie! I took these photos when the afternoon sun was streaming in – it makes such a difference! I also love it when it’s all cosy with the lamps on in the evenings! x

      Reply

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