Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Little Piece of Escapism.

It seems all but a distant memory now when hubby spent several days concreting 21 supporting posts into the ground of our very sloping site and we dreamed of creating our little bolt hole at the end of the garden...

Together we put up the panels of the small beach hut design and negotiated the unwieldy roof panels onto the top.
In the meantime, we watched our next door neighbours-but-one call on the professionals, and within a day they had a new shed erected at the end of their garden! Hmmm...but then they don't have the satisfaction of doing it themselves, do they?! ;-))

The very orange wood was our next task to tackle and several tins of paint later and a fair few days of activity were required to turn it from this...
To this...

There is a large old dog rose that rambles to the left of the summerhouse, which we intend to drag up over the roof, so that hopefully within a year or so it will all look as if its been there for years...
The new path that hubby laid now leads somewhere...
And its somewhere very inviting...
At first we weren't totally sure if we would make proper use of our new outside addition, but we've soon got into a routine of sitting after our evening meal with a cup of tea and switching-off from the hectic home life.
With having that detachment from the house, we don't seem to have the distraction to make us think that we should be doing this or that and not taking a ten minute break...

We wanted to make it as homely and welcoming as we could, so I've added bits and pieces from the house, or bargain buys from various sales. The little iron table came from the flea market a couple of weekends ago. I gave it a coat of 'Hammerite' paint for protection and it now provides a spot for a pretty potted pink pelargonium.

Would you like the grand tour? (Ha! If you can have a grand tour of a space approx 8' x 10'!!)

Here's the bamboo table that I made-over recently...

Home to the radio, my candle from Kelly, and a table lamp with a shade that I covered in a vintage Sanderson fabric. The dreamy cottage print hangs above, which used to be on a wall in my daughters bedroom when she was a little girl.
The shelf below provides a storage place for some of my old gardening books.

Just to dress the windows a little, I used a narrow length of another Sanderson fabric, printed with roses and birds, which I also picked up at the flea market.

They are simply pinned into place with these decorative flower pins. I bought them from Kelly last year and had been using them for my bulletin board, but I believe they originally came from America and are actually designed for pinning up curtains...

I'm really pleased to be able to put them to their intended use now; something I couldn't do before, as we don't have wooden window frames anywhere in the house. The colour of them couldn't be better either...don't you just love it when things come together?
Ideally I would have liked 4 Lloyd loom or basket chairs inside, but being realistic, there is comfortably only room for 3 of them. The blue one below had been relegated to the shed a year ago, when we no longer had the space for it in the house. I had already covered it with a fabric slip cover, which can easily be removed for washing, so is ideal in the garden.

I've been trying to achieve a 'summer-all-year-round' kind of a look, so have gone for flowers and lots of greens in a big you shall see...
As space is tight, I added this folding chairs for an extra guest, softened by a cushion that I made from a section of vintage hand embroidery.

Other gift items about the place offer reminders to me of friends and their thoughtfulness:
The lovely purple daisy print cushion below that I had from Sue at Christmas.
A retro jug from Teena...

The wall pocket posy holder from Helen and a crinoline lady embroidery from Maggie were recent Birthday gifts.

My charity shop leather flower mirror, that I tried to sell at the flea market recently didn't find a home with someone else...thankfully now, I'm glad I came back home with it, as I love how it looks in one corner, reflecting the garden.

As a lover of vintage and nostalgia, I was torn between various accessories. Did I go for Victorian roses, retro or kitsch graphic designs, comfortable 1930's styles, or more rustic country items? the end, I went for a little bit of all of them!
The vivid red Lloyd loom chair was pilfered from our kitchen. (I'm actually enjoying the space its now freed up in there!) I added my daughter's old patchwork quilt to make it a bit more inviting, and of course another floral Sanderson cushion. The quilt makes a lovely picnic rug too, so can be spread out on the floor outside to extend the space during the summer months.
A £2 car boot sale table from a couple of years ago was painted in a turquoise eggshell paint found in the cellar. The ideal spot for a cup of tea and a vase of garden flowers.
One of my most favourite 30's prints hangs above, which will add some summer colour during the colder months.
More gardening books squirreled beneath, to enjoy during relaxing moments.

The other basket chair with my handmade French fabric slip cover came out of our laundry room - it always got used as a dumping ground by certain members of the family, so I'm glad to have removed the temptation!

The pièce de résistance is the painted cupboard at the back of the summerhouse. I really wanted it to be welcoming in here, so pretty things to look at are important, in my view, to create a homely feel and a place where we want to spend time.

This old cupboard has been in our kitchen in the past, also in my husband's office, and now here. (Its OK, hubby has the cupboard that was in our living room...The living room has a new (old) one that is waiting for a paint job from me! - nothing sits for long in our house
;-)) heehee!
I've gathered together all sorts of bits and bobs from around the house to display on the shelves - perhaps you recognise some of the items from past blog posts about my thrifting trips?...

The French wallpaper border adds a splash of colour to the shelf edges.
Reminders of days out are provided by some of the mementos on display...

Such as the pair of violet baskets from Ashburton in Devon...
My parrot from This n' That in Totnes,
And these two tiny teddies were bought for me by my girls when they were a lot younger.

Reading by candlelight...


Time to contemplate the crossword...
Vessels to arrange a few posies...
And a granny-squares blanket for cosy knees.

There we go...I'm sure I've bored you enough now...please excuse me while I enjoy the view for a few minutes...give me a nudge if I start to snooze...
I have a cupboard I should be painting really you know!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend,
Niki x


  1. Julie - Oxford.6:18 pm

    Im in a trance, my hubby has just knudged me and said I look as if I have been hypnotised LOL, bloomin gorgeous Niki. x

  2. Un rincón precioso. Muy bonito.

  3. Very pretty, can I join you in your little Escape? It looks so tranquil.

  4. what a lovely place to sit and chill out, it looks great!
    Josie x

  5. What a lovely summer house, it looks so tranquil and relaxing.
    Have a goos week.
    Love Sophie xxx

  6. Beautiful indeed:)

  7. Great tour Niki! What a job, putting that little house together but it is just adorable. xo, suzy

  8. I'm in awe! It's absolutely a dream, you lucky thing. You've obviously worked so hard on it,well done.

  9. What a beautiful little garden house. You must be so pleased with your effort. I think it is just fantastic. I hope you enjoy many hours in your special little place at the bottom of the garden.

  10. It is so cute and welcoming Niki, Id just sit in there all day and daydream! I used to have a spot like that, and didnt get much work done, but now it is filled with junk!

  11. You should be charging entrance fees to visit this 'house'. It's all so lovely and full of so many treasures.

  12. It's gorgeous, you are so lucky!

  13. Just the thing to satisfy the inner child in us all!
    Thanks so much for sharing your cozy nook. Enjoy! :)

  14. You are a marvel. To create something so beautiful in such a small space! I want to live in it! It's such timely inspiration for me as my partner and I are building (okay, confession - using professionals but we're not clever like you!) to build a small office shed. I am going to use this post as my inspiration for it. Bless you! A gorgeous job Niki! xx

  15. Wow Niki!! Your husband is so so sweet to build you such a lovely retreat. It looks so inviting and such a lovely little place in your yard. My great grandmother used to have a summer kitchen where she had a little table and stove .... I loved being in there when I was a kid. This reminds me of that.

    simply stunning! xoxo

  16. Oh I'll just move right in!! It is so lovely!
    Hugs, Lisa

  17. And another plus for you, Niki. You don't have to worry about spiders in the yard as we do with our shed. Our next door neighbour found 30 redbacks and we're in the city! Plus those large huntsmen!
    But in winter you will be pretty chilly even with that granny rug! Sigh, a really lovely job!

  18. Nikki, can I come over and just set for a while? What a lovely perfect spot to just reflect and are so fortunate to have such a blessed place...Sharon

  19. niki, this is stunningly beautiful! now you can sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
    xoxo, Tiffany

  20. It's absolutely gorgeous Niki. Not sure I've ever seen such a beautiful summer house. Enjoy it.

  21. Oh Niki it turned out so so so wonderful *swoon*

    Congratulations although I'm green with envy!

    I absolutely love your color choice! Makes me want to run home and paint my garden shed at once. Of course I would have to throw the mower and all the other garden tools out before lol My mum has a glass house in her garden that she uses as her tea house in summer and it reminds me at yours.

    What a heavenly space you and your hubby have created to enjoy, lucky you!!!

    I use Hammerite too btw to paint and protect my iron garden furnitures, it's great stuff and can even be used directly on rust!

    Sending you happy summer wishes!
    Carola xoxo

  22. That is gorgeous. Absolutely lovely. I hope you get many happy hours of relaxation out there in your little oasis of prettiness. (Or alternatively, you could just sit there sewing, it's a perfect little sewing room.)

    Sue xx

  23. Ooooh, it's too gorgeous, Niki, well done. I've been waiting with baited breath to see the transformation and it certainly doesn't disappoint, it's stunning. The question is, how do you manage to drag yourself out of there?!
    Hen x

  24. Anonymous11:49 am

    How wonderful! What a lovely place to sit down and reflect the day, to read, to relax and to dream! (dream about next projects ofcourse...).
    Ciao, Helena

  25. Wow, Niki, it looks fabulous!!
    How beautifully you have styled the space to make it welcoming and cosy and dreamy. I love it!
    I am wishing my garden room looked as lovely, but it has to be my workroom for all my sewing commissions so it's rather more functional than dreamy!
    Have a lovely week
    Denise x

  26. Oh Niki I cant tell you how much I love your beautiful beautiful little hide-a-way...the lovely garden and all the treasures inside, i would love a garden big enough...I tried to make Pete's shed more country living but it lasted only a few days ...he thought it was too girlie! I will have to go back and look again...its just a H

  27. Anonymous1:57 pm

    Niki, your summer house is stunningly gorgeous...and so very you!
    Well done on an amazing job. Totally lovely...
    I hope you have many happy and restful hours there in the weeks to come.
    Love and best wishes
    Amanda (Shabby Chick) xxx

  28. Sue S2:21 pm

    Oh how lovely! we used to have a summerhouse a few years I want one again!!
    Love Sue X

  29. My goodness, what a gorgeous little space!! Wonderful retreat!! You did a great job with all the finishing touches...

  30. It's utterly charming Niki! Who wouldn't want to while away an hour or two on a summer's evening?



    HOLY CAMOLY GIRL! that is just awesome!!!

  32. Oh, my- that is all simply too fabulous for words!!

  33. Wow-I love it and I am so jealous!!
    It is beautiful and I aim to get one just like it -one day -maybe!

  34. Hi Niki
    I have only just had time to catch up in Blogland. the retreat is looking wonderful. Years ago we used to retreat to our "shed" to escape the phone.. and noisy boys with their computer games & music!
    Liz x

  35. Oh Nicki what a blissful place tp hide away from the world. I love the border - the whole place is elegant and homely at the same time. You must make youreslf some time to enjoy it this Summer. Go fot it girl (whoops and hubby as well)

  36. Suffering serious shed envy here... though your beautiful bijou summer house could hardly be called a shed..
    It is utterly gorgeous Niki and I know .. that if it were mine.. I would have moved in for the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter....

    Michele xx

  37. What a gorgeous retreat, congratulations

  38. spectacular in every way possible!!!

  39. A little piece of heaven right there! Not jealous at ALL... well alright, I admit it. Well done Niki. And can you come and sort MY garden out when you have a mo? LOL

  40. I am sitting here getting greener and greener with envy, you have got just what I want!!!! It looks gorgeous Niki you lucky, lucky girl!!!! Can I ask where you got it from? Jane xxx

  41. Hi Niki

    Looking good! But did we ever think it wouldn't?!!!!

    Love it!

    Sue xx

  42. I absolutely adore your little special retreat! It's simply wonderful. And I have that same Bush radio as you too!

  43. Well done to both you and your husband. What a mammoth effort but well worth it as the end result is wonderful. When I see other people hiring decorators or trades people for jobs around the house I tell myself the same thing ‘They aren’t getting the satisfaction of doing it themselves.’ It makes me feel a bit better about how long it takes me to finish projects :)

  44. This is absolutely stunnning!!! Right out of a homes magazine. You & your husband did an amazing job and you made it so inviting.

  45. HOw did I miss this?!?!! Thankfully I've been having a pootle and a catch up! So, where do you keep the cocktails?! Its perfect! I little bit of everything is not such an easy look as you make it sound and you've got it down to a fine art! t.x

  46. My dear, this is incredible gorgeous, lovely, enchanting. To me it´s like looking two magazines I love "victoria" and "countryliving", which I don´t have here in Chile.
    I´m enjoying your blog so, so much.
    Congratulations for the sweetness of your home.
    María Cecilia

  47. wonderful blog, I enjoyed all the photo's. I will need to stop by again. Mary

  48. What a dreamy Hide-Away you've created. The perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea with a friend for a chat with a lovely view of the garden, too. IMPRESSIVE!!!

  49. My idea of heaven! What a creation, well done, you must be so proud of it:)
    Lesley X

  50. Oh I just love your little darling get away!! How lucky are you!!! Was this a kit or prefab or did you design it?? I just love it, my dream to have a little place of my own to read and drink tea!! I love your blog it is sooo pretty. I will be back often to visit.
    If you get get the time please stop by my blog I am new and having a wonderful 3 gift give away. Have a great week.

    The Gilded Cherub

  51. I think your little place in heaven, I can't wait to get my painted inside and out............Have a wonderful day. HUGS MARY

  52. Nikki another beautiful project you've completed and given that special nostalgic look as always. Had we not just put one up ourselves I'd be sooo envious of you wonderful retreat.
    Ours is new this year, Dh didn't want my boring Dulux Egyptian cotton colour he chose a soft sunshine lemon which does look nice with the outside being seagrass. It's all painted, carpet down and curtain being made. I love mine already and hope I can make it look as beautiful and inviting as you have, thank you for sharing.

    Peg x

  53. oh this is what I need!!!!!!♥

  54. What a perfect place for some 'me time'! I love it. You are lucky to have a shop too. Oh and I watched Turn back Time so I bet that was interesting to see for real.

    Bath Bomb Creation

  55. Una MERAVIGLIA!!!!Una casina di legno favolosamente bella!!!!!Ottimo gusto per come l'avete arredata ....Seguo con piacere questo blog e traggo notevoli spunti per la mia casa e per ciò che creo... Un saluto dall'Italia e un grazie "..a tutto cuore"Patry

  56. It's lovely Niki, full of all the beautiful things that you are so good at putting together. I feel inspired to do something similar in my garden!

  57. Hello, I'm new to reading your blog and I must say that that is a lovely summer house! Its like something from an old novel, beautiful!

    Jerra xx

  58. The perfect place to spend some time with a cup of tea, a beautiful view and built with love. xo

  59. Love it! I have a hiding place too but not as beautiful as like yours. Your newest follower here! :)
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  60. just devine, I loved looking around here, fabulous job

  61. Wow! I really love your hiding place. Wishing to have a hiding place too with a lawn like that! You can be relax in here. :)

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Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx