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Posts Tagged ‘Blink Towers’

The Blink London kitchen redesign: the concrete worktop

Thursday, November 26th, 2015
The Blink London kitchen project, the concrete worktop, DIY, poured concrete, industrial inspiration, interiors trends

The Blink London kitchen project, the concrete worktop. Love it with this Liv Interiors bowl and the Target Tiles floor tiles.

So we have set the scene already with our earlier post which I hope you enjoyed. I was truly fixated on carrara marble for the worktop, but there was no way the budget would allow for that (or we could just have a worktop and no kitchen maybe??) so I spent lots of time researching stone alternatives. Whilst trawling Pinterest for inspiration I noticed how gorgeous concrete worktops were. I was a bit conflicted as isn’t that a bit ‘done’? Well, it seems its all in the execution and combination of materials, so I decided to set aside concerns for ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ and instead focus on whats beautiful, budget appropriate and also (shockingly) what’s practical. I have to admit that I also got really in to all of the online tutorials and decided that the lovely Stef, my kitchen fitting super hero, could do with a sidekick on this job.

After lots of research, hours of YouTube videos and a couple of test blocks, we went for it.

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project, DIY, poured concrete, interiors trends

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project, DIY, poured concrete, interiors trends

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project, DIY, poured concrete, interiors trends

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project

Because we poured it upside down the melamine sheeting and shuttering, combined with the weight of the concrete and Stef’s time spend ensuring there were as few air bubbles as possible, all means that the surface was really compacted, level and pretty clean. There was some polishing to do, but nothing like what I was expecting. We used several grades, but nothing too severe, before treating the worktop with a sealant.

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project, polishing concrete, poured concrete, DIY

Concrete worktop: work in progress. The Blink London kitchen project

Once in situ (boy was it heavy to shift!) I then gave it a further coat of sealant and a subtle polish. Partly because I had a hand in the process, but mostly just because it is awesome, I am now officially utterly in love with my concrete worktops and couldn’t recommend this option highly enough. Carrara who?

Concrete worktop complete. The Blink London kitchen project, polishing concrete, poured concrete, DIY

Concrete worktop complete. The Blink London kitchen project.

If you love that Liv Interiors bowl as much as I do, check out their full collection. And Target Tiles were a joy to deal with. For more of our interiors posts, just look here and there’s more from our kitchen project to come.

This post is not sponsored (sadly).

“Blink” Interiors: Inspiration from Columbia Road Flower Market

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

If you follow our instagram, you’ll know that I have been reworking a few things at Blink Towers. I have turned my design skills from fashion to interiors, starting off with a kitchen redesign and refit. I learnt so much during this process and I cannot wait to share the journey with you. Before we get into the cut and thrust, dust and very gritty nitty gritty, I have this rather more accessible and easily translatable post to share with you.

We live in a Victorian terrace house conversion, connecting to our neighbours on the right in an ‘L’ shaped layout. This means that our kitchen window looks out over the space created. This is lovely in that we have natural light etc, but the view ain’t much to write home about. Additionally, it means that we have our neighbour’s window pretty much looking at us too. When I get up in the morning and make my first coffee looking like some sort of walking dead, I don’t want to freak the neighbours out too much. Therefore I needed to come up with some sort of window covering.

My kitchen herbs and I love the light too much to choose a curtain or any frosted glass, so I decided to go for something far more partial, transparent and decorative. I collect Mid Century glass, and it always looks better with the light shining through it. I also love fresh flowers. Combine those elements and this is what you get. You get a trip to Columbia Road Flower Market followed by some artful arranging.

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen, Columbia Road flower market, cut flowers, Mid Century glass, interior decor

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen.

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen, Columbia Road flower market, cut flowers, Mid Century glass, interior decor

Flowers in my kitchen

Now I do realise this isn’t quite enough cover to enable utterly privacy (i.e. some clothing is required…) but it does give some coverage, as well as enhancing my view as well as theirs no doubt. And this looks totally different throughout the day and evening which just adds even further to my delight.

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen, Columbia Road flower market, cut flowers, Mid Century glass, interior decor

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen, Columbia Road flower market, cut flowers, Mid Century glass, interior decor

Flowers in my kitchen

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen, Columbia Road flower market, cut flowers, Mid Century glass, interior decor

Flowers in my kitchen, creating a floral window screen

Looking forward to sharing more from our kitchen adventure with you very soon. In the meantime, just look here for more lifestyle posts.

“Blink” Lifestyle: Blink Towers Kitchen Refurb Project, the lights

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

As a detail obsessed nit-picker it’s been a trying time deciding on all of the finishing details for this kitchen project- but fortunately I am also a tireless researcher so I managed to track down what I feel are the perfect solutions to deliver the look as well as stay within our budget (with the odd splurge!). One of the elements that I wanted to get absolutely right was the lighting. This is key not only from an aesthetic perspective, but also critical from a ‘fit for purpose’ point of view too.

These are the points that drove out the final decisions:
1) nothing boring or ordinary
2) a bit industrial
3) some fun colour
4) would work with my beloved Plumen lightbulbs
5) not budget-busting!

I roamed around the interweb on a sourcing mission with these five things in mind and tracked down the marvellous Dowsing and Reynolds and all my lighting wishes were granted by this brilliant British company! Alongside lots of industrial inspired lighting there’s also a small but perfectly formed selection of home accessories on their website too. I had a good browse around and then came across the ‘Create Your Own Lights’ section. Dowsing and Reynolds have created a place for you to cherry pick all of the elements that you love the most to create your very own, unique light fixtures. They even have a 6 step guide to help you pick the right elements. Oh, and these for sure would also count as one of our ‘Stylish Steals’ too!

My first port of call was their selection of gorgeous colourful fabric cables. I wanted to share D&R’s video with you just so you can appreciate the art behind these Italian made beauties.

I went for the orange and white to get my colour in to the design. I teamed it with their ‘forgotten silver’ ceiling rose and the same colour in a simple bulb holder.  It was delivered quick-smart and I grabbed my toolkit (yes, I do own a toolkit!) and got to work, under the watchful eye of my builder, Stef.

Dowsing & Reynolds 'create your own light' delivered in lovely packaging

Dowsing & Reynolds ‘create your own light’ delivered in lovely packaging

I carefully wired up the lamp holder and decided on how long I wanted to the pendant lights to hand down from the ceiling rose.

Dowsing & Reynolds 'create your own light'  in progress

Dowsing & Reynolds ‘create your own light’ in progress

I then handed over to Stef to attach the rose to the ceiling and to wire in my lovely new pendant lights. Literally minutes later all three lights were up and ready to have the baby Plumen bulbs popped in and switched on!

Dowsing & Reynolds 'create your own light'

Dowsing & Reynolds ‘create your own light’

My unique Dowsing & Reynolds lights

My unique Dowsing & Reynolds lights

I’m a very proud Blink Boss right now and can’t wait to see you these beauties in the finished scheme. Thanks so much to Ally of Dowsing & Reynolds for all of the help and support and interminable question answering I put her through!

For more lifestyle posts, click here. For all of our ‘Stylish Steals’, click here.

“Blink” Stylish Steals: Pimp my Ikea, the Bekvam step stool

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

If you follow us on Instagram, you will already have seen a few  of our initial steps in kicking off the big Blink Towers kitchen redesign and refit. Well, it’s all happening and I wanted to share with you our first complete project. I’ll kick off with a disclaimer statement that we have not been sponsored by any of the brands featured. We have chosen every single thing because of several reasons: 1) we love it 2) it fits in with our shoestring budget 3) it works really, really well.

You’ll see more of the full kitchen as we progress, which will include us making our own concrete worktop (argh!) but firstly lets focus on a smaller, less challenging, but still key element to the overall look. You may know that I absolutely love Pinterest (already inspiring our bright yellow front door!), and when I started researching the kind of overall look and detailing I wanted to incorporate into the kitchen project I found so many great ideas on this super site (you’ll find them all on various of our Pinterest boards if you’d like to see more). One of which was this super cool pink step stool, originally shared on Cecilies Lykke ‘Made’ blog. As it happens I do actually need a step stool in the new kitchen as I have made the most of all the wall space and some if the units are set pretty high.

the inspiration, found on Pinterest and originally from Cecilies Lykke blog, Ikea step stool upgraded, Bekvam, neon pink

the inspiration, found on Pinterest and originally from Cecilies Lykke ‘Made’ blog

When tootling around Ikea looking for kitchen inspiration I spotted the very same stool, called Bekvam, kicking off my first DIY spray painting adventure. I bought the unpainted birch version- although if you don’t fancy any DIY, there are some pre-painted versions too. Ikea do have their own range of paints called Behandla that they recommend you use on their products, but none gave me that neon pink hit that I was searching for.

Ikea's Bekvam step stool

Ikea’s Bekvam step stool

So I went back to Pinterest to see if I could find some good ideas on products and how best to use them. This is how I found this great instructional blog post from In My Own Style. Love those chairs! She recommended Valspar spray paint so I tracked some down at my local DIY superstore and got to work…

Sanding prep- a mask if you're being very sensible, thick gloves, a sanding block, fine grain sandpaper.

Sanding prep- a mask if you’re being very sensible, thick gloves, a sanding block, fine grain sandpaper.

Stage 1, although the step stool was plain wood I still gave it a quick sanding over just to be sure the surface was best prepared to take the paint well. I did this before constructing the stool for ease. Follow the grain of the wood to create a smooth surface. You just need to give it a quick but thorough going over.

Construction! Ikea, Bekvam step stool

Construction!

Step 2, put this little baby together. My biggest tip here is read the instructions from start to finish before you begin. That way you will avoid all of the stupid back to front mistakes that I made! When all the pieces are in place then give all the screws a final tighten. When you have your step stool all made you must remove all dust etc from the sanding process. Spray paint isn’t like normal paint in that it is a very fine layer, therefore all rough patches or splinters will still be seen and felt. The better the job you do at this stage in having a smooth, clean surface, the better your overall finish will be.

The Valspar primer basecoat

The Valspar primer basecoat

As this is going to be stepped on repeatedly I wanted to ensure I gave my paint job the best chance of survival possible, so I started with a few light coats the Valspar primer. Again, pop on your mask as this is pretty toxic, and spray only in a really well ventilated space. I set up my ‘spray booth’ outside, knocked together using some cardboard boxes that the kitchen units came in, plus newspaper around and about just to be double sure I was keeping things contained and tidy. Once the primer was dry I double checked that the surface was smooth and flat, sanding a little more in spots and ensuring all was super clean before getting the pink spray paint out.

Going neon pink in the spray booth, Ikea, Valspar, colourful DIY project

Going neon pink in the spray booth

Wow, the pink colour is as bright and bold as I had hoped! I built it up with lots of thin layers applied in opposite directions, constantly moving around the stool and ensuring every angle was covered. As this stage the paint is pretty easy to just wash away if you do get spray paint somewhere you don’t want it…

The final finish with Valspar's clear sealer

The final finish with Valspar’s clear sealer

After 24 hours of drying time I then applied the final protective coat that also gave my step stool a really great sheeny look. The clear coat seems to pretty much be a spray varnish. I gave the whole surface several thin layers but went back over the actual steps several more times to ensure these are as durable as possible. This thing makes me so happy! Not just because of it’s super sunny colour, but also at the satisfaction that I did it myself- and it was an absolute bargain!

The finished neon pink painted Ikea Bekvam step stool

The finished neon pink painted Ikea Bekvam step stool

As the kitchen itself is still very much in progress, I can’t show you the step stool actually in situ, but here it is with some of the products it will soon be living alongside. Most of the kitchen will be black and white, like these Target Tiles patterned floor tiles, so the blue Plumen pendant lights (currently on sale!) and this stool really do add some much needed accents of colour. Watch out for more kitchen refurb news as the project continues.

For more of our diverse and inspired Stylish Steals, look here. For more lifestyle posts, look here.