The cottage is in need of some serious love. So far our list of to-dos include a broken loo, broken shower, fraying carpet, new curtains, damp in the hallway….. I could go on, dear Reader. After water poured through the ceiling during last year’s storms, we set about sprucing things up a bit but the novelty of decorating every weekend quickly wore off! Now as we hurtle towards Christmas, I keep thinking that I must declutter, paint and sort out the broken spindles on the staircase after the great indoor sledging competition of 2015. Sadly, we lost 3 to that game one afternoon!
With colour charts and wallpaper samples littering the dining room table, I marvelled at the haul from my latest little find, the English Stamp Company . A family business through and through, the English Stamp Company has specialised in making high-quality, bespoke rubber stamps for over 20 years in their workshop in Dorset. Choosing just the one stamp is pretty much an impossible task as all the designs are unique, beautifully drawn and cut and utterly irresistible to me. I came away with a few…. These fabulous stamps can be used for almost anything from stationery to crafting, wrapping paper and lampshades to tablecloths and walls. I hadn’t thought about using a stamp to decorate the cottage with but the lovely Sasha from the English Stamp Company explained to me that when they first started making stamps, they were used to create bespoke wall patterns – a cracking alternative to wallpaper.
Keen to get a move on with the next phase of cottage interior design, Jerry and I armed ourselves with Little Greene paint (perfect for old houses and the colours are simply stunning too) and set to work transforming our tired old bedroom. With Slaked Lime Deep as the base note colour on the walls, we used French Grey Mid as the accent colour for the design. Our choice of stamp? A rather natty pheasant feather. Perfectly ‘country’.
Working with the stamp was much easier than I imagined it would be. Paint can be applied to the stamp with a sponge and I worked from top to bottom evenly spacing the stamp in a pattern of five, just like the face of a dice as it gave me a bit more of a guide. Some of the feathers have a fainter appearance than others too as the stamp started to run out of paint before being reapplied but I think that it adds a bit more interest to the wall. When finished with stamping, simpy wash the stamp in warm soapy water and leave to dry. All the beauty of wallpaper and none of the sticky mess and mismatched patterns!
After dyeing the curtains a soft grey too to blend in, our bedroom feels so wonderfully cosy and I am now a complete stamp convert, dear Reader. The room almost resembles one of those fabulous double page spreads on period properties from Country Homes and Interiors – all 17th century wooden beams and shades of grey (not 50, steady on dear Reader). I have already bought a fabric inkpad in gold and intend to go mad with an acorn stamp and some lampshades for the guest bedroom, the girls have been badgering Jerry and I to cover their bedroom top to toe with stamped woodland creatures and best of all, both my mother and my mother in law thought that we had used hand printed wallpaper – the effect is so stunning. I would have shown you the whole room in its glory but it was its usual chaotic state and I thought I might just spare you a glimpse into our life of untidiness, dear Reader – piles of books by the bed, pens scattered on every surface, rogue Lego, clothes draped on an armchair and a cat, trying to look inconspicuous, curled up on the fur bedspread. Another time.
With Christmas a few weeks away now, I shall be making some hand printed wrapping paper too. You MUST go and take a look at the Christmas Collection from the English Stamp Company – perfect for cards, wrapping, hand printed napkins and tablecloths. It’s a wonderful way to put your own stamp on things, so to speak! I might even get my own Margot stamp drawn up….now there’s an idea, dear Reader.