Boudoir

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This room is my private sanctuary. A restful retreat when the day’s chores are over and a place to write on my blog, email or create my handicrafts. My husband relinquished his right to veto when he was given his study and so my boudoir is unapologetically feminine with images of birds and shades of pink. :)

Some months ago, I blogged about the task of creating the headboard (see post) and promised pictures of the room when the bed is in place. Well, I finally got my act together today since there was a nice stream of sunlight coming through the window (last days of summer!).

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Embroidered and sequined peacock pillows for a touch of glam

I put a cluster of wicker ball lights in different sizes at the foot of the bed. The biggest ball is 60cm (24″) across. I could have put just one as I’d seen in some magazines but I wanted something more dramatic with visual interest so 3 balls, it is.

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At the other end of the room is my dresser and vanity cum work table. I especially like the gracefully curved ‘Queen Anne‘ style of legs on this Ikea table. I moved an Eames DSW chair from the dining room to double as my work chair. Propped against the wall is a teak wide framed mirror and suspended above the mirror is Tord Boontje’s Icarus light shade. The wall is wallpapered in a light shade of pink by Eijffinger “Carte Blanche” (see post).

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Some of my prized finds in China are these lacquered pieces. The red vanity box has a retractable mirror perfect for transforming the use of the table from work to vanity instantly. I found the 3-tiered black lacquered box on a weekend trip to Beijing. I love the dragon and phoenix that are intricately carved on the top. In Chinese tradition, the dragon and phoenix (龙凤) symbolize the happy union between a husband and wife; they are also metaphors of yin and yang.

That’s all. Thanks for reading and a great weekend to all! :)

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Lounge area

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The living area is long-ish with a fireplace on one end.  Instead of placing the sofa against the wall and a tv on the other end, like what the the previous owner had done, I decided to create 2 spaces within the living room – one for the couch-potato-tv-watching me and the other for lounging with a good book and drink.

To that end, I’ve placed the sofa right smack in the middle of the room and the tv mounted on the wall. There’s space to walk all around it because flow is so important. Now back to the lounge area behind the sofa, the raison d’etre for  this post.  I have open bookshelves flanking a pair of old Chinese doors and taking pride of place is our Eames Lounger. There’s a glass side table for drinks or books beside the Eames. I like the fact that since it’s made of glass, it doesn’t really feel like it’s there. The table is actually part of a set of 3 nesting tables but I’ve used the 2 smaller glass tables as night stands in our bedroom.


An old Chinese bench of the Ming style (I’d hesitate to say it’s a Ming dynasty bench because then it’d mean it dates back to pre-1644!) I was told by the antique/vintage seller in Chengdu that Qing dynasty benches are narrower in width and are joined by a single pin visible on top; this bench has 2 pins. My pot of orchids need a place to get the sun so there.

Adding a dash of color to the setup is the bright red wool and white silk rug I got from a Pakistani dealer last year.

Strangely enough, it took me, an ethnic Chinese, to live in China for a period to appreciate traditional Chinese furniture. I’m such a fan of it now. The traditional way of furniture making does not use nails or glue. The reason is because nails rust over time and contracts/expands at different rates compared to wood. Their complex mortise and tenon joineries of Chinese furniture also supposedly allows disassembly to aid in the relocation of its owners. Check out the various joints here. Chinese hardwood furniture are also traditionally not lacquered bright red as some furniture sellers would have us believe nowadays ;)

This pair of doors was a real find. Tucked away in a dark little shop in Chengdu’s Antique market, the doors were lying against a wall nearly forgotten. The owners of the shop were an old brother-sister pair in their 60s. It was difficult moving around with old chairs, tables and old window frames propped against one another. There was nothing gleaming or not covered with dust so I knew this place was a gem. Besides, there were no red lacquered pieces with butterflies or hanging silk lanterns.

The motifs on the door were heavy with symbolic meaning. Bats, contrary to Western connotations, are considered auspicious in Chinese folklore. Bats (bian1 fu3 蝙蝠) sound like the word for prosperity (fu2 福). Peonies, considered the king of flowers by the Chinese, are also symbols of luck and happiness.

Love birds

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I got a twig heart last year at a post Christmas sale. And finally, after being in storage for half a year, I had the chance to hang it on the door. I thought it was only alright… Felt a little country which wasn’t my thing.

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So I embarked on a project that I had wanted to do for a long time. I made 2 birds, strung them up and tied them to the heart. The colours were experimental but I’m glad they turned out well :)

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As an aside, meet my Prince Charming!

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Birthday cake

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It was a hive of activities at the house for the last few days culminating in my elder kid’s birthday party yesterday. I’m so glad life regains some normalcy after running around like a headless chicken. Finally finished wallpapering the last wall in the entryway and moved furniture to their rightful places (more or less) and put up a couple of pictures. And for the rest of the stuff yet to be hung or installed, they have been conveniently swept under the sofa, stuffed into boxes or just put behind sliding doors. Lol!!

Anyhow for this year’s birthday cake, I decided I’d make a beehive. After all, it’s summer ;)

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Lemon madeira cakes are baked.

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Assembling the hive with buttercream & iced with homemade strawberry jam

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The beehive :D I decided to cover the cake with chocolate fondant instead of using half a bottle of brown coloring gel to make a brown hive; it tastes much nicer too. Made 10 bees in all for the 9 kids expected at the party. It was a hit!

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Going green with the kids’ room

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I am not a fan of permanence. I abhor nails which is why I try to use 3M’s stick-on or Velcro picture hooks whenever I can. In theory, non-woven wallpapers are easy to remove and shouldn’t damage walls; in practice though, I can’t imagine changing my wallpapers every 2 years to change the look of a room. Wall stickers however, are a boon to my fickle-mindedness. Just make sure they are removable without any damage to the wall paint.

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I thought the vast expanse of brown in the boys’ room was crying for something. So this morning, I dug out my stash of wall stickers that I have amassed – tree, world map, planes & hot air balloons. Which one? With the rich brown and lime green prevalent in the room, I think it was a foregone conclusion. The forest colours almost dictate that I plant a tree in their room.

I think the tree looks great against the dark chocolate brown wall :) It gives a more rooted (pun intended) feel to the table and chairs.

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The kids’ room

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It is a long time coming but finally, I deem the kids’ room almost there. A couple of days ago, I put up the pictures on the wall with 3M picture hooks*. Then today, I finished making the cushion inserts for the covers. So just before I had to rush off to get the kids from school, I had time to snap a few pictures.

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I made these cushion covers for the boys. The main cover is hardwearing yet soft cotton canvas while the front is quilted giving it a slightly raised feel. I would love to get some feedback from anyone! :)

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On the other side of the room is an Ikea storage for holding the boys’ trucks, Lego, train set, arts supplies… And a little table with 2 chairs also from Ikea that I had painted in lime green and white to match the colours in the room. In the center of the room is a washable plush carpet in a light shade of green.

However, the brown wall looks a little bare imo.

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* I swear by these 3M hooks. No nails for pictures anymore and removing the adhesives is a cinch. Great for repositioning pictures without leaving unsightly holes in the wall!