Archives for posts with tag: Cat

Would you like to see some of the sights from the Ideal Home Show Manchester? We went last month: all sorts of exhibitors congregate there, from one-product entrepreneurs with innovative new gadgets, to established retailers with glamorous room displays.

Going to design shows is great fun (not least for the generous freebies to be snaffled at the food stalls). I don’t think events like this exactly set interiors trends — furniture, colours, decor. To identify burgeoning creative ideas you really need to keep an eye online and all around you: Pinterest, Instagram and magazines; quirky blog pages and house tours. But exhibitions can show you what has passed the consumer test — a place to check out which products and designs are proven or emerging commercial successes in the interiors market.

So here are just a few of my favourite discoveries:

Lighting was still big, glitzy and sparkling.

Lighting was glitzy and sparkling. The statement pendant is certainly not going anywhere for a while.

The statement pendant is certainly not going anywhere for a while

Populate your sofa. The tidy way.

Don't have time for a pet? Got allergies? Now you can live the sofa dream with these endearing cushions. (They don't bring in unidentified small mammal body parts to your house, either).

Don’t have time for a pet? Got allergies? Now you too can live the cat lady dream with these endearing cushions. (They don’t bring in unidentified small mammal body parts to your house, either)

We loved the nautical rope lamp from Arrighi Bianchi.

Aye-aye cap'n. We loved the nautical rope lamp from Arrighi Bianchi

Aye-aye cap’n

On which note…

I love Macclesfield furniture store Arrighi Bianchi's picture. Like a dolls' house, only real

I love Macclesfield furniture store Arrighi Bianchi’s picture. Like a dolls’ house, only real

When your furniture is multi-purpose and cute.

On the lookout for flexible extra seating/tables? Goat Hide Stool from Rockett St George would fast become one of the family

On the lookout for flexible extra seating/tables? Goat Hide Stool from Rockett St George would fast become one of the family

We just can’t stay away from wallpaper.

We just can't stay away from wallpaper. This clever stuff from 1wall.com can be applied in A4-sized sheets in whichever layout you choose. Clever

The Creative Collage range from 1wall.com comes in A4-sized sheets to be applied in whichever layout you choose. Clever

Another 1wall.com Creative Collage design: empty frames. Would you keep them empty? Pin postcards inside them? Let your kids go wild with crayons?

Another 1wall.com Creative Collage design: empty frames. Would you keep them empty? Pin postcards inside them? Let your kids go wild with crayons?

Taking the safer path to relaxation.

There's something a little endearing about these flickery fake candles. Surely a breakthrough design for so many health and safety nightmares

There’s something a little endearing about these flickery fake candles. Surely a breakthrough design for so many public event health and safety liability reports

What do you think of my little list? Anything here you’d go for?

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I have executed a stealth interiors move.

It looks like this:

Well hi. I bet you weren't expecting me.

Well hi. I bet you weren’t expecting me.

This little chap is now resident on the light pull in our downstairs loo. He was given to me by my friend (for some reason they didn’t need it in their house, possibly because her husband is allergic to cats) and I’ve been plotting my move ever since.

This is because, whilst we haven’t talked about it, I am almost 100% sure that cute cat light pulls are not top of Tim’s design plans for our home. Sleek, modern, clean lines — yes. Cat figurines as decor — not so much.

Oh but it’s only a light pull! And in the cloakroom — that tiny room where you have full permission to exercise daring eclecticism. I snipped off the old grubby white cord and plastic cone and quickly binned them.

Rejected

Rejected

There’s no doubt the tatty plastic had to go. It feels cheap and lightweight.

Now there’s some substance at the end of the light pull, and the solid feline holds sway over the room.

The boys like him very much, and even Tim was mutedly positive.

Win win. The cat stays.

Win win. Kitsch cat stays.

So if you’re planning some stealth improvement work of your own, in the words of a certain sportswear brand, just do it. It’s unlikely anyone will have the energy or antipathy to take action against it. You never know, some may even be converted….

Hi there, stowed followers: guest blogger Lotus here today with some feline wisdom on surviving the guest season.

We have had many visitors to stay over the past few unsettling weeks; a tree was brought in from the outside; there were ribbons, roast meats (none for me, I discovered) and more wrapping paper than even I could possibly shred.

I have endured the attention and unprovoked cuddles with admirable fortitude, but one of the greatest challenges I faced was the mindless occupation of all my favourite nap spots. Kitchen sofa: taken. Kitchen armchair: taken. Living room sofas: taken. Even the small spinning desk chair with a comfy seat: taken. I have had to rely on my wits and my ingenuity, and can now give you a handy list of alternative rest spots for the displaced cat.

Number One: the kitchen stools. Close enough to the sink to observe all manner of interesting things going on, and yet innocently far enough away from the worktop not to invoke the wrath of the water spray.

I can't believe I haven't discovered this one before, it suits me so well

I can’t believe I haven’t discovered this one before, it suits me so well

The proud statement position: my pedestal

The proud statement position: my pedestal

A disapproving frown may free up some sofa space, if you have discerning humans. I don't

A disapproving frown may free up some sofa space, if you have discerning humans. I don’t

Number Two: the bin. I know, it’s a precarious, sloping position to maintain for long, but what it lacks in comfort it more than makes up for in pathos.

A subtle reference to what you feel you have been reduced to. Sadly subtlety rarely works on humans

A subtle reference to what you feel you have been reduced to. Sadly subtlety rarely works on humans

A soulful pose could go some way to expressing your annoyance

A soulful pose could go some way to expressing your annoyance

Failing that, a hard probing stare to induce guilt

Failing that, a hard probing stare to induce guilt

I call this one "La Miserable"

I call this one “La Miserable”

Number Three: the garden fence. For when there are more small children than is fair or advisable.

Sitting on the fence is apparently a human position of indecision. Find an appropriately spiky and uncomfortable fence and you may portray an attitude of resolve and stoicism

Sitting on the fence is apparently a human position of indecision. Find an appropriately spiky and uncomfortable fence and you may instead portray an attitude of resolve and stoicism

Number Four: a soft toy ‘bed.’ Looks so perfect, but not without its pitfalls.

Beware the frivolity of the season. When you do finally secure a comfortable space....

Beware the frivolity of the season. When you do finally secure a comfortable space….

....you can be sure that someone will tuck a soft toy under your paw and label you "cute"

….you can be sure that someone will tuck a soft toy under your paw and label you “cute”

Do not despair. You can take it out on the soft toy later

Do not despair. You can take it out on the soft toy later

Thanks for having me on the blog, stowed! I’d love to come back some time to impart more helpful advice to your readers.

This title sounds like it should be accompanied by banjo. I admit overuse but I feel like I have got it out of my system now, so normal service will be resumed with the next post.

We had, as I mentioned in my previous post, many storage goals for the utility room. Coats, hats, scarves and countless sport-related items all need a home, and each person needs to know where they can find their own without too much rummaging and general panic. We had experimented with various boxes of items in previous homes, and I feel we may have achieved pretty much optimum access-storage at this point.

Coats live on hooks. And we have some excellent, chunky, practical hooks in the utility room (sprouting from dark blue boards) from Ikea, which are called Bjärnum.

We mean business: utility hook for a utility room/ Bjarnum from Ikea

We mean business: utility hook for a utility room/ Bjarnum from Ikea

Having two different-length hooks is very useful. Each member of the household has a Bjärnum for all their coats and jackets, and remainder hooks host bags and other useful hangable accessories.

Will you hook at that? Coats hanging out

Will you hook at that? Coats hanging out

Honestly, however many coat hooks you have never actually seem to be enough. We do fill these completely, but look at how many there are! It’s not as if we are impulse shoppers. I think you do generally just have more stuff than you like to think, and it’s important to make space for it.

A peg or two

A peg or two

Wide view of utility featuring coats and glazed door

Wide view of utility featuring coats and glazed door

Apart from the hanging items, we did have an amount of footwear and other accessories which needed a home. The aforementioned box system is now streamlined to two boxes each for the boys (footwear in one; scarves, hats, sunglasses etc in the other) and large baskets for Tim and I. Exiting the house involves a lot of “Mum!!!! Where’s my…” which requests are referred directly to these storage boxes for a satisfyingly quick resolution. We had a strange nib of wall (structural) which created a cosy nook ideal for shelving. I used the functional but brilliant Algot system of Ikea shelves with which you simply fix two vertical struts to the wall and slot in shelving at desired levels.

Top level storage

Top level storage

Even room for the cat bed below

Even room for the cat bed below

The big tall Ikea cupboard (in the foreground of my wide shot above) is home for Hoover, broom and other items, as well as cat food supplies and the more bulky items. Annoyingly the ironing board didn’t fit in but we found a snug spot for it next to the Algot shelves instead, so all was not lost.

Lotus is now fully cat-door operational and scoots in and out of her own little passageway through the wall quite happily. Initially we had struggled to find a location for her door since our kitchen doors and utility door are all made of glass. You can install cat flaps into glass, but it involves a lot of cost and replacing the existing glazing. I didn’t really want the tacky plastic on show in the lovely back door, either, because it’s visible from elsewhere in the house.

Having tripped over the cat bowls for a few months as they lurked on the utility floor, we decided to pop them up onto the work surface, to minimise spillage.

Prestige level cat dining

Prestige level cat dining

That’s when we realised that there was a handy access spot through the wall. We installed the little door into the cavity wall: Lotus now treats her passageway like a scouting post, hunched within to check that all is well before she leaps outside, fluffy tail remaining inside and sweeping sporadically over the leaves and footprints she brought in with the last visit. The little car mat we found for her seems to be a nice place to sit and eat, though she doesn’t wipe her paws on it on her way in, and invariably the sink is covered in muddy footprints.

Light at the end of the tunnel: cat access

Light at the end of the tunnel: cat access

For clothes drying I had imagined originally installing a large Kitchen Maid…

Suspend your smalls: Kitchen Maid can be a great drying solution

Suspend your smalls: Kitchen Maid can be a great drying solution

…suspended from the ceiling, but as the room came together it was increasingly obvious that this would block the light and make for a rather stooping journey from door to door. Then I found Ikea’s Grundtal drying rack, which fitted perfectly to the two facing surfaces above the sink, and can be propped up and down in a moment to provide all the hanging space we need.

Dry me out: Grundtal drying rack propped up for business

Dry me out: Grundtal open for business

Now this bijoux feline eatery is sometimes overslung with a few items of clothing drying in neat lines above, which I am sure adds a certain textile festival charm to the atmosphere.

Spot the difference: Lotus channels that holiday vibe with laundry drying above her dinner

Spot the difference: Lotus channels that holiday vibe with laundry drying above her dinner

 

Our cat Lotus is pretty self-assured. She has, in her short life so far, changed the feline right-of-way rules around our garden from ‘public’ to ‘keep out,’ refused to use a cat flap with the logic that humans are mainly there for door duty, and drinks from a glass not a bowl.

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However she does have a weak spot. Not of course that I would hold this against her….

The Hoover.

As soon as it appears from the cupboard Lotus slinks away, in reverse in dire cases, to find some excellent Ikea storage to hide in.

So far the Factum kitchen corner unit provides much sought-after stowage for the discerning cat.

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Then if the kitchen cupboard door is not obligingly left open, the Expedit shelf is feted for its depth and open-backedness. All of which are positives for the desperate fugitive.

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Of course with a tough neighbourhood reputation to uphold this chat noir demands that her bête noir is not publicised. I like to think that my ‘little and infrequent’ attitude to hoovering keeps her secret safe. Anyway, that’s my excuse.

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