MY OFFICE – A WORK IN PROGRESS (GIFTED)

Blinds were gifted for review purposes.

Yesterday was a thrilling day for @athomewithegg (yes, that is an unsubtle plug for my new home related Instagram account). Having become a floor based nuisance for the last few weeks, and an extra hazard for this clumsy first time home owner to trip over, my Make My Blinds wooden blinds are finally up.

It’s striking how much they’ve brought the room together. As soon as they were fitted the progress of the decorating of my office/second bedroom appeared to have accelerated considerably. But it’s not just gone up a few notches in terms of style and aesthetic, the functionality of the room has been vastly improved too.

We constantly marvel at how bright this flat is in general. When we viewed it the first (only) time before putting in an offer, we agreed that it’s light and airiness was one of it’s biggest selling points. It wasn’t one of the biggest flats we saw, but it didn’t matter because the space it did have was very happy space. It just felt like an uplifting place to be in which as someone who suffers from SAD and depression is a very important attribute. Whatever the opposite of dingy is, this is what this small but perfectly formed flat is.

While we wouldn’t give up the sun trap credentials for anything, there are some instances when it can be slightly inconvenient on a practical level. Our lounge is currently without window furniture and as a result it can be very hard to see our TV screen, which is very close to the large window that has zero interruptions or obstructions. It feels like the sun is like one of those Anglepoise lamps and our lounge is the fascinating book. While I save up for blinds/shutters for the lounge I have started to fashion some blankets as makeshift curtains. They look absolutely terrible flung over the curtain rail (I won’t say what my friend Holly said, but Trainspotting is a clue) but at least I can watch my latest series obsession without distraction – I’ve just started watching Billions, and loving it so far.

Before we installed the blinds in the second bedroom/office the light was particularly stunning, casting decorative shadows created by the various indoor plants I have in the Joshua Tree inspired room. The newly fitted ivory berber carpet reflecting the light more than the previous poo brown shade. If I was able to block out the sound of incessant hacking cough from the guy in the flat below I could almost Imagine I was back in our blissful Air b’n’b in the desert. However at some points during the day it was so startlingly bright it makes the work I plan to do in the space a tad difficult. When we don’t have guests to stay on the sofabed, I will be using this room mainly to film my YouTube videos. The sofa bed which I’ll sit on to film is pushed against the wall which is directly facing the large window, which is great because it means I don’t have to use my studio lights anymore and I can utilise natural light instead (better for the environment too, as well as reducing filming set up time), but it just needs some taming at some points during the day.

The beauty of these Real wood blinds (light beech) that I chose is that it doesn’t completely block the light that we have been so charmed by. You can decide to what degree you want to stifle it at different times during the day. How you tilt the slats or how how far you pull the blind up means you are at the helm of customising the light input into your room, and I already absolutely love the flexibility I have to create different moods in the room.

While I like to believe I’m young at heart, the following bit of information doesn’t apply to me as much as it might some of you parents reading, but I thought it was worth mentioning that all of Make My Blinds products are sold with built-in child safety mechanisms. They adhere to the guidelines set out by the British Blind and Shutter Association and all blinds come with the relevant child safety instructions and warnings.

 

It took me quite a while to pick which blinds I wanted due to the huge array of option they site has. I knew I wanted wood, but I still then had to decide on whether I wanted tapes or not, what shade of wood was right, but also which slat size I wanted (I went for the chunkier 50mm option). As well as all of the many real wood options, there’s also a slightly more affordable Faux wood versions. But there’s also roller blinds, vertical blinds, venetian blinds, skylight blinds, Roman blinds, Conservatory blinds and perfect fit blinds. I’d be very surprised if you didn’t find something right for whichever room your looking to kit out. In fact I’d be willing to bet my new blinds on it.

I’ve found buying certain things for my new home a bit stressful as a complete DIY/Homeware purchasing novice. I’m suddenly having to buy things that my parents have always made decisions on. I would always just enjoy the results of the family home purchases and wouldn’t ever have to worry about whether the were the right product, whether they were safe, whether they were a good investment, whether they practical, not to mention whether I’d be able to install them.

From the start of my blind choosing process the Make My Blinds website made it easy for me. They have filters that allow you to define your browse, whether it’s by colour, whether you need them to be waterproof/blackout, or by what room they’re intended for. If you’re torn between a few options, or just want some reassurance before you go to checkout you can order samples. I don’t know about you but I always feel more confident about a purchased if I’ve seen something in the flesh – it can be very easy to be fooled by well lit and flattering product photography. As a stylist I think I am all too aware of all the tricks of the trade used to make products look as good as possible in online stores.

On the site you can also see examples of blinds from customers who have posted pictures of the blinds in their homes. I always think these shots are particularly helpful as it’s easier to imagine how it’ll look in yours. I think this is one of the major strengths of Instagram home accounts, as you can get a feel for how products really are in real life, and you also have people you can reach out to who will give you an honest insight how they got on with them, not just in the short term but having lived with the product for a while. I made a point of looking at the Make My Blinds Instagram feed as well as tagged images to see if I could find the exact product I was thinking of choosing. I found a shot which confirmed that the Real Wood Light Beech was definitely the right choice for me.

Once that decision was made it was time to measure up, the part of the process I was really dreading. Luckily the site has really thought of ill equipped people like me, embedding really useful and easy to follow videos which ensure you’re obtaining all the information you need to guarantee a blind that will fit perfectly. There’s also a chat option for those that want live help. This sort of access is such a comfort for someone like me who suffers with cognitive issues.

I recommend you follow the video when you come to fit your blind, but to measure your recess fit blind all you need it a metal tape measure, a pencil and a pad of paper. Work out the width measuring three places – top, middle, bottom (record the smallest) – if there’s any obstructions use that as the smallest measurement. Do the same with the length. They make a 12mm deduction to the width to ensure a snug fit, but won’t make any amends to the drop length. I had to Dad by my side just to help hold the tape measure, and if you have a wide window like me I’d recommend you do the same just to ensure accuracy.

The blinds arrived in a matter of days. It was a huge package and if I’m honest I was very panicked that I’d made a huge error so manically checked over my email invoice to check that I hadn’t accidentally added a 0 to any of my measurements. When I finally got it over to the flat, the first thing I did was measure it against the window, and thankfully all was right. I’m not totally incompetent, who knew?!

In hindsight we realise that we should have done things differently when measuring up. It turns out that the ceiling that we would need to drill into to secure the brackets, was too solid to do so, so we had to find a way to drill into the side recess instead. Luckily my dad’s a bit of an engineering whizz-kid and fashioned a block that would enable us to complete the fitting without too much aesthetic sacrifice. But I wanted to mention as this is something you should consider when deciding whether to go for a recess or exact fit blind. Properties from different eras and styles will be made differently, with structures that make impact your ability to hang or drill things, so keep that in mind.

But they’re up now, and they look amazing. I genuinely couldn’t be more pleased with them. This room is now the only one in the flat with privacy now so it’s already become even more multi functional. Not only where I do my work and filming, but where I dress and put on my make up.

That leads nicely in to showing you some other pieces that are already in the room. If you’ve already seen my Bargain homeware haul on my channel you will have seen this orange Habitat Kota sofabed. In stores it’s selling for £395 but we managed to win one in an eBay auction or £150 which we picked up from a house a mere 20 minutes away. It was meant to fate or the frugal gods were looking down on one of their most faithful worshippers that day. We haven’t had a guest sleep on it yet, but I’m sure it’s going to be fine for the odd sleepover, and it’s the perfect punchy coloured place for me to sit and do my chatty videos.

This bamboo shelving uni was a found in my local Princess Alice Hospice charity shop, which is a treasure trove for preloved furniture. It was only £15 and is ideal because it fits neatly under the window ledge, making the most of what would be potentially wasted space. It’s currently being used as a museum- like display, showcasing various instagrammable artefacts and artwork.

One of my favourite things in the whole flat is my Dad’s old school desk. I love that it’s weathered and rickety, with scratches and a stained ink well, pencil mark scribes of historical thoughts, and with fractions of splintered wood clinging on for dear life. I adore that I have a bit of my Dad childhood memories embedded in my home, and that it’s getting a new lease of life having been hidden in the humid loft my whole life. I also said that one that I would have that in my own home, and that day is finally here and it looks perfect in that corner nook of the office. I thought it would lend itself perfectly to being a beauty station. I could neatly store my straighteners/hairdryer/tongs and my everyday make up and start my morning sitting their facing that wonderful daylight I have spoken of, giving myself a few minutes of head pampering to get ready for the day ahead.

I think I’ll save some of the other bits for when I can do a ‘finished office tour’ kind of post on here. But I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into how I’m getting on so far. The next stage is kitting out this room with lots of storage and really making use of the Flutterby Earthborn walls with some shelving units. Even though we have been blessed with a shed, loft, and garage with this flat, there’s only one non kitchen cupboard in the whole place, so finding some storage solutions is my focus from here on in. As you can imagine a blogger and an ex- touring musician have a LOT of stuff, even after months of decluttering and clear outs.

So if you don’t mind I think I’ll have a little sit on my orange sofa now and enjoy basking in the striped light leaks of my new and improved office. Thank you Make My Blinds.

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