A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

Magnetic Office Wall Part 3 – My Blogger’s Office Revealed

Rooms Made For You Magnetic Plaster Office Wall Reveal

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this space, having a room of one’s own is one thing, having a room that functions exactly as you need it to, plus a magnetic office wall, is something else entirely. When my son moved out of this room for a bigger room, and I moved my stuff in, we had already moved 5 rooms around in one day, arranging my office was low priority. For years the stuff has just stayed where I first plonked it, you can see the before here. Now I have an incredible space complete with a magnetic office wall.

We might pretend it doesn’t, but as a self employed person I think your work space really matters, of course I do like to work from far flung places while travelling, or from cafes, or the kitchen table, but I also need a space where all my stuff is on hand and I feel inspired. Without an employer to provide a workspace, you have to think about how best to work and what motivates you to work. You’re responsible for making sure that your working environment is ergonomic, well lit, comfortable and conducive to creativity and productivity. Gulp!

I cannot wait to share this, it is so exciting! Continue reading

A Magically Magnetic Office Wall – Part 1

Office Inspiration

You would be forgiven for thinking this is my office, in reality I am a much messier creative, who can’t cope with minimalism. My office is much ‘busier’ than this. Today my arm has been forced twisted and I am going to have to show you the real office, because the lovely people at British Gypsum asked me if I would like to revamp a room in my house using Thistle Magnetic Plaster by British Gypsum’s Rooms Made For You Range, and we all know seeing the before is part of the process. You will see why a magnetic office wall sprang to mind for this makeover, although in my defence, one of the joys of working from home is not having to suffer a clear desk policy…

Magnetic plaster sounds fantastic, quite simply it lets you create a magnetic wall in your home which you can stick magnets to. As you can imagine the possibilities are endless, and then some! I’ve been gathering inspiration for my office wall from British Gypsum’s inspiration gallery.  I love the chalkboard look, I love the zoned areas created by paint, I love that you can attach magnetic strips to your picture frames and create galleries without nails.

A magnetic office wall feels like a great way to keep on track of everything – I always mean to create a great office noticeboard/mounted clipboard system, but then it is so hard to predict what you need where until you have experimented and have nails in the wall in the wrong place, which is why I love the idea of magnets.

Magnetic Plaster Office Wall Ideas

Continue reading

Home Inspiration: Oh I do love to be beside the seaside!

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside - lovely ideas in yellow and grey for a seaside themed bedroom or home

Spring feels like it is here, I came home from a week by the sea in Wales to daffodils. That burst of yellow, and the week by the sea, collecting treasures and beach combing, started me thinking about a sea themed home inspiration. You can also take a proper tour of the lovely cottage we stayed in, and see my driftwood art projects, part of Happy And Home this week.

I’ve been trying to find a way to ‘say seaside’ without too obvious nautical touches. I really loved the yellow and grey living room of the house we stayed in. So I’ve picked this yellow and grey bird duvet. The Lloyd Loom chair in the office was beautiful too, so I chose this modern grey tub chair take on that.

I loved collecting bits of driftwood, rope and fishing net with my kids, and this blanket reminds me of that. As does the rope on the mirror, but it still has an elegant shape and look too.

The seagrass baskets all over the cottage we stayed in had a lovely sea worn look to them and reminded me of the texture of rope and driftwood. They were great for displaying beach finds.  Kilner jars (without the rubber seal) are another great way to display sea glass, pebbles and shells.

On the walls, this  Hannah Cole Cornish Sea Dog picture reminds me of a harbour town we visited, Aberaeron in shape. Although Aberaeron is much more brightly coloured, I like the muted pastels for this look. There has to be a little bit of seaside humour too, I love this “I do like to be beside the Seaside‘ wall art, it makes me smile.

There are lots more lovely ideas on my Beside the Sea Ideas Board.

#MyHomeRocks: Making Spaces Edgy

Gold and Black head plant pots


I am really excited to have a My Home Rocks home that was featured in the Sunday Times recently, you saw it here first though right?



We’ve been in our home for 2.5 years now. It is a modest 3 bed semi and we’ve worked hard on making it ours. It reflects my love of mid century and contemporary design mixed in with some traditional features.

Our living room has a bold off-black feature wall, giving this traditional space a real edge.

living room with bold off-black feature wall

The exposed brick inside the fireplace was hidden and blending in with the existing wall colour. By painting the surrounding wall black it brought the brick to life. The black makes the artwork really pop and the warmth of the oak furniture stops the room from feeling stark or too monochrome.

The black feature wall makes the artwork really pop and the warmth of the oak furniture stops the room from feeling stark or too monochrome.

I have a slight obsession with skulls and creepy things. My Skull cushions and my doll head planters were added to “punk” up the room a little. It’s a very grown up space, so these just add a bit of quirk and personality.

Skull Cushion

Gold and Black head plant pots

The open plan kitchen/dining room was a big project we did last year. We took the dividing wall down and reconfigured the entire space. It changed the way we used our home as a family and we now spend most of our time in here.

White and Blue Kitchen

The dining room chimney breast wall is my favourite feature in the whole house. The existing wallpaper was stripped and left this distressed plastered wall (which if you look closely you can see Superman flying and a Scottie dog.) We love it, but a lot of people still ask us when we’re going to paint it. Always makes me smile. Definitely a Marmite wall.

dining room chimney breast wall - distressed plastered wall

We have a lot of art in the house which I find is a really good way of adding something of yourself to a home. Our kitchen, although all whites and neutrals has plenty of colour added through books, accessories and artwork. Easy to change if you’re a colour changing fanatic (like me).

I’ve always wanted a bedroom big enough to have an armchair. This chair with its mid-century style wooden frame is perfect for keeping the space open. The feature wall behind the bed is slate and the light fitting is styled with a nod to Mr Messy.

Bedroom with armchair


The feature wall behind the bed is slate and the light fitting is styled with a nod to Mr Messy.

Combining traditional with more quirky contemporary elements and mixing high street with more hard to find items can really lift the overall look of a room. Find ways to add your personality to a space so it reflects you and what you love.


Who is behind today’s My Home Rocks?

I’m know I am really inspired by this home,  I love the top tip about mixing it up, so it really is time to meet the home owner. Karen is the interior designer behind Making Spaces – affordable, achievable interior design goodness and creative home solutions by the red-headed perfectionist. She is a mum of two, to a son and Chooch the cat.

For more great home inspirations, check out Karen’s blog, follow her on facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Get the Making Spaces Look From Wayfair


Making Spaces Picks from Wayfair

Clockwise from top right:

Graham and Brown Midnight Skulls Flock Wallpaper, Emilio 3 Seater Sofa, 3 piece side table set, Graduate Collection Cushion2 Drawer Sideboard

To feature your home email Penny: alexanderresidence@gmail.com

My Home Rocks at A Residence

Why 8 year old bedroom makeovers need to break the rules

She wanted to keep the butterflies, she wanted more blue, and a Tardis, and owls and a splash of Wonder Woman. She wanted that stupid cupboard and shelves to not be green and pink flowers anymore…it was making my brain ache trying to pull it all together.

8 year old girls bedroom - 11

At the same time, I didn’t want to inflict my ideas on her or over style her space. I think it is really important to design kids rooms alongside them, to reflect their tastes and interests, even when all you want is for them to be tidy. We shopped together, planned together and painted together. Now she has space to play her guitar, make up songs, draw at her desk, read, dream and play.

There are colour and style clashes, but there are also lots of consistencies, themes she loves and storage solutions that work.

She inherited the wallpaper on the chimney breast, as this used to be our bedroom. The walls were white, but we used Dulux Niagara Blues 4 (seen above) behind the wardrobe and on the facing wall,  with Dulux Mineral Haze 4 on the other two walls. We used endurance paint so it can be easily wiped clean.

Mineral Haze 4 is a greyish white, which really complements Niagara Blues 4. You get a sense of that here, the wall is Mineral Haze, and the wave shelf below is Niagara Blues (It was pink). The Dr Who poster, from WayfairUK, ties in brilliantly with the Tardis Wardrobe.

8 year old girls bedroom - 04

The wave shaped shelves, which had been long forgotten in a cupboard, are perfect for small trinkets, which we had a little sort through.

We repainted the shabby chic dresser, using the same paint as for as the walls. We looked for planet knobs (they had flowers on) to match the Dr Who theme, but in the end we decided it was easier and cheaper to just spray paint them gold. You can see her desk area on the facing wall reflected in the mirror.

8 year old girls bedroom - 01

We had so much fun with the Tardis wardrobe.

How to make a Dr Who Tardis Wardrobe

How to make a Dr Who Tardis Wardrobe

This solar system mobile looks great against the Tardis. We kept above the picture rail white, which I think works best for high ceilings.

8 year old girls bedroom - 12

We also repainted this chest, which she had outgrown. If you use Zinsser first, you can then use any paint over the top, we had plenty left from the walls so it was a great way to use it up and make the room match. Bye bye babyish cupboard!

green kids cupboard

So now the chest co-ordinates with the black desk she chose. It is also blackboard paint!  And we repainted the other pink wave shelf with Zinsser followed by Mineral Haze 4, to co-ordinate with the Niagara Blues 4 on the wall.

8 year old girls bedroom - 03

We managed to introduce a bit of an owl theme, this blue owl lamp from WayfairUK was the perfect thing to sit on her dressing table which also doubles up as a bedside table. I couldn’t believe how perfect it was when I spotted it and it is reasonably priced. It is available in dusky pink too.

8 year old girls bedroom - 08

The old toy box was already painted exactly the same shade as the walls. The owl bag we bought in a gift shop on holiday, and it is perfect for storing teddies.

8 year old girls bedroom - 06

Another little trick that made a big difference to the room was this broderie anglaise valance from WayfairUK, it hides the ugly divan base and drawers under her bed. The bed base was from free cycle, we just added a new mattress. I know I could have ironed it before I put it on the bed, but shhhh sorry,  I don’t iron.

8 year old girls bedroom - 10

Thanks to Dulux for supplying the paint, and to WayfairUK for some of the items featured.

My Home Rocks: A Grown Up Space

chimney breast painted Crown Night Fever black

The minute the blogger behind today’s My Home Rocks posted a picture on Instagram of her black feature wall, I had to ask if she would share it here. Black feature walls look amazing. I also think this makeover is like a ray of hope to anyone battling with a living room chock a block with plastic toys. We overhauled our playroom last year – which the kids had stopped using – it is so liberating to create a more grown up space once more.

Over to today’s mystery blogger, I know some of you like to play ‘through the keyhole’, so I will reveal her identity at the end!


Hi and welcome to our living room, which is also our latest decorating project:

 chimney breast painted Crown Night Fever black


This front room used to be a playroom for our children for a while, but as they are growing up now and have moved on from the large, bulky plastic trucks and play kitchen-type activities now, it is very nice to be able to reclaim the room as a grown up space!


bay window


This room is probably my favourite one in the house.  It has a large square bay window, a cosy fireplace and exposed wooden floor boards.  I like the proportions of the room, too – not too big, not too small.

Recently, I was inspired by a dark feature wall I had seen on an interior designer’s website (Karen Knox of Making Spaces).  She had used a paint by Crown called ‘Night Fever’ to great effect and I was really keen to try the look in our front room.  I would never before have thought of such a dark paint colour, but I thought our room could take it, because of our large bay window there is lots of natural light and the fact that our fireplace on that wall already had a black marble background, it shouldn’t clash with anything.  Also by keeping the rest of the walls light, it wouldn’t feel gloomy, but instead make a striking feature.

Nevertheless, I was nervous about putting black paint on the wall and especially about not getting a crisp line at the edges!  So I was very careful about using masking tape.  I used the green Frog tape you can buy at DIY stores which is supposed to be very reliable and I’m glad I did as it gave a nice clean paint line at the corners.


Painting a wall black - I used the green Frog tape you can buy at DIY stores which is supposed to be very reliable and I’m glad I did as it gave a nice clean paint line at the corners.


I was a bit tired of our chrome light fittings, so simply spray painted them copper for a different look. This was a quick and easy, as well as inexpensive option.

The rug is a new addition; it is a Louis De Poortere ‘Fading World’ rug which gives a lovely vintage look.

a Louis De Poortere ‘Fading World’ rug which gives a lovely vintage look.

Some bronze and gold accessories, such as candle holders, add a further warm metallic touch.

bronze and gold accessories, such as candle holders, add a further warm metallic touch


The room is still a work in progress, I’m deciding on a new pendant light for the centre of the room and would like to add some new artwork and cushions – the beautiful vibrant butterfly one is a new addition to the room (I noticed Wayfair stock this Curio Butterfly Cushion and other Graham & Brown products).


vibrant butterfly cushion from Graham & Brown at Wayfair UK


The tallboy cupboard belonged to my husband’s grandmother and it is probably from the 1930s or 40s and complements the original features in this room, for example the 1930s handles on our doors.


1930s tallboy cupboard and black walls

1930s black door handle


We’ve got a couple of old chests in the room which are great for storage and act as a coffee table and a place to stand decorative candles.  I love candles and they – like the colour palette – help to define the room as a grown up space.




You need to know more about the person who lives here right? This is a beautiful room and I love the way this grown up space has come together. It might use moody and dark black, but feels so welcoming, grown up and has drama which I love.

The owner of this gorgeous home, is Antonia Ludden who lives with her husband and three sons in Sale, Cheshire. You can find more of Antonia’s stunning interiors and ideas at Tidy Away Today and do follow her on Instagram & Twitter.


Get Antonia’s Stunning Look at Wayfair


My Home Rocks - A Grown Up Space


Dar Lighting Pineapple Table LampFirefly-Moroccan-Cutout-Metal-LanternHomestead-Living-Martel-ArmchairGraham-and-Brown-Curio-Butterfly-CushionHome-Essence-Sincerity-Vintage-Black-Tufted-Rug

Would you paint a wall black? What inspired YOU about today’s home? Please share in the comments or join the conversations #myhomerocks @pennyalexander_ @WayfairUK @tidyawaytoday

To be featured on #myhomerocks, please contact me using the email/social icons at the top of the left sidebar.

My Home Rocks at A Residence