Our Interior Design Story: The Drawing Room
Once upon a time…
…in a land far, far away (like Australia-far), a little girl became a hairdresser and realised she had a harmless obsession with colour and style. That little girl got a *little* bit older (almost 40 is NOT 40), married a lovely lady and bought a bed and breakfast in the fairytale village called South Queensferry.
Blah, blah, blah now let’s talk about my Mustard Sofa. Her name is Charlotte. As in Queen Charlotte. She is the centrepiece of our Drawing Room at The Queens, so her story - and the story of our Drawing Room - deserves to be told!
Imagine this: You’ve bought a lovely B&B, ready to go - just open the doors and start taking guests. Could you do it? If you’re anything like me, the answer would be no. No matter how much business sense that would have made, I just couldn’t do it.
You may have sensed in my other Telegrams that I am *ahem* quite particular about style and taste. I just don’t think I could have put my heart into it if I couldn’t splash my own colour palette all over the walls and furniture.
I needed that blank slate. So once I got it, I looked around the room and knew I wanted 3 things:
A cosy seating area.
A communal table.
I had my mission. I had my blank slate. Now I needed inspiration. And by inspiration, I mean help in transforming my 150 Pinterest boards into B&B reality.
WARNING: What follows might sound like a paid advertisement. But I can promise you, it’s not! I’m just SO happy with how the Drawing Room turned out, I just need to talk about it. Like, a lot.
Did you know if you just turn to your family and friends, you’ve probably got a whole team of experts waiting to help. I didn’t. But I do now.
I was SO lucky to have the generous advice and guidance of the Lady-Wife’s cousin Michael (he was also our flatmate in London) right from the beginning. He’s an interior designer with out-of-this-world contacts in the trade. He even helped us change our floor plan and make all our rooms en-suites! But that’s a story for another time. (Here’s Michael’s website so you can check out his other work.)
Sofa, so good (see what I did there?)
Meet ‘Charlotte James Edinburgh’. They work exclusively with interior designers (like Michael), architects etc throughout the UK and overseas. That means they’re trade-only. So we probably wouldn’t have found them if it wasn’t for Michael.
Michael took us to their workshop in Edinburgh where we met the Managing Director Ross Dempsey. He and the Lady-Wife got on particularly well with their endless chat about the tennis.
The final result is a 3 metre long mustard masterpiece (with velvet from Designers Guild) inspired by a design I saw on Rue Verte that I am SO proud of. I’m not entirely sure how we finally got it inside, but it’s in and waiting for you to come and sit on it.
7 chimney stacks. Seriously.
Nothing was going to stop me getting a fireplace. Everyone told me “no, it’s impossible, they can’t be unblocked”. Come on! There are 7 of the bloody things. Surely we can have one?
So we were pulling out a built-in cupboard upstairs when we discovered that actually, it might be possible after all.
It took 3 tries before we found a company who were happy to get on the roof and get to work. I hope Don from Living Fires realises that without him, the Drawing Room might not have had the warm welcome only an open fire can give you in those cold Scottish winter (which we love by the way).
Ping Pong or Breakfast? It’s up to you
Michael met District Eight at a trade show in Singapore while we were renovating. He sent us a link after seeing the quality of their work, confident their designs would push my buttons (in a good way). So much so, I ended up buying A LOT of stuff from them. You’ll just have to follow us on Instagram to see it all.
District Eight are a Vietnamese company based in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam is a VERY special place for the Lady-Wife and I. We went there for her 40th birthday and had an amazing time. The food, the people, the history. We loved every moment. The design, the brand, the story, it all felt right. So we went for it. And by “we”, I mean Michael.
He organised the whole thing - ordering, shipping, import taxes, delivery. Seriously, we can’t thank Michael enough!
The table weighs about 100kg and is both our breakfast table AND a Ping Pong table. I’m not joking - we have bats, balls (oi!) and an olive green leather “net”. That’s how neurotic I am when it comes to design detail. That net HAD to be leather. Didn’t it?
Now I swear it was pure accident that I had put my back out when the table finally arrived. Thankfully we were able to entice our neighbour Gordon with a bottle of wine to help the Lady-Wife get it into the house. It was totally worth their sweat and tears.
Like one big DIY tapestry
I am so proud of our Drawing Room. It’s functional, it’s cosy, it’s inviting and matches the vision which was swirling around in my crazy brain for so many months. I could talk about it for hours, but I won’t. You’ll just have to come and stay to see it for yourself. Don’t worry, I’ll give you the guided tour.