Family friendly furnishings (Part II): It’s about resilience and forgiveness, and shitty stripes (literally)!


So, here’s the eagerly awaited (I’m sure) second instalment of my soft furnishings story and as promised this chapter tells all, well a bit anyway, about curtain fabrics and cushion covers. I know, the anticipation must be killing you!

Firstly, I have to admit that we’ve actually deferred the decision on replacing the curtains in our family room. Yes, even after all that effort wallpaper stripping, repainting and ruminations-re-rugs. This is mainly because they’re enormous full-length bay window numbers that are going to cost a small fortune to replace and the entire un-double glazed bay window probably needs replacing too. So I just got them ‘professionally cleaned’ i.e. washed rather than dry cleaned-less chemicals and about a quarter of the price; it’s not often you can save the planet as well as saving some pennies! DH* replaced the curtain tracks, with great manly ego-boosting success, and removed the hazardous child-lynching curtain pulley cords. Hey presto! Now you hardly notice the ‘interesting’ very pale somewhat washed out splodgy green patterned curtains, or at least they seem less offensive now that they’re no longer battling against the peach-pistachio-avocado wallpaper ensemble (see previous blog entry). Anyway, they’re vintage!

But the garish red curtains in both our living room and bedroom really had to go and replacing these went to the top of our pre-baby no.2 DIY to-do list (or at least I put it at the top of the list). Keen to invest in our area we thought we’d support a local business, which was a wonderful experience until we got their quote….So we ordered this Scion fabric ourselves (hilariously I seem to have gone for more green, but I’d say more of a sheepish sage than an assertive avocado in its tone) and sent it to the Granny sweatshop. Which, whilst markedly cheaper, has proved to be a somewhat slower process as unfortunately Granny doesn’t appear to have the same work ethic as third world sweatshop employees so we’ve been enjoying living with one incomplete, but beautiful, curtain for some time now (Mum, if you’re reading this…stop it…get back to work).  And to add insult to injury, or actually the other way around, I’m now suffering from draper’s shoulder; it’s like golfer’s elbow, but if your hobby is battling cumbersome cloth rather than a golf ball. Man vs curtain track did not go so well in this room, which means you have to practically dislocate you shoulder every time you pull the curtain. So from this point of view I’m glad I only have one curtain to close (always look on the bright side hey)!

Despite not matching the paintwork the dubious beige stripey carpet and shiny red floral curtain fabric weathered the newborn shitstorm very well.

Onwards with my curtains crusade…having successfully battled the anaglypta affliction in our bedroom and settled on another lovely tranquil shade of greeny paint (OK I’m realising that I may have a serious ‘green’ addiction, but with a beautiful name like botancial extract who could resist?) I then spent wasted many hours ogling lovely curtain fabrics. I even order several swatches-such fun (or possibly, depending on your point of view, such a loser!) Finally, I found this stunning ‘Bengal Lagoon’ fabric from Kai’s Paradise collection. However, I’d dithered in my drapery decisions for so long that baby arrived before I actually got round to measuring and ordering said fabric so I had to croon over a newborn rather than curtains. This did turn out to be for the best as it later transpired that our beautiful bundle of joy possessed stellar skills in projectile poo-ing and on multiple occasions decorated the curtains, walls and carpet in shitty stripes quite literally. Luckily, the red curtains and dubious stripy carpet proved very resilient and forgiving to this degradation, so we’re keeping them until the poo-nami risk has significantly lessened and for now it’s curtains (groan) for my dreamy fabric of bohemian jungle rhapsody in ‘cool lagoon inspired hues’ unless I want the Bengal tigers featured to become somewhat less regal-looking faecally incontinent jungle cats (imagined below…)

Looking rather less tranquil in the lagoon!

Oops, that’s three paragraphs on curtains. Short and succinct this is not. Must move on to a quick (I promise to try) note on cushion cover choices. So, we’re back in the multi-dys-functional family living/dining/play-room. There’s no room for a comfy sofa in here, but it’s where we spend a lot of our time, so the dining chairs have to do. They’re gorgeous Ercol Windsor “swan back” dining chairs-an amazing Gumtree find (I think I’ll have to blog on second-hand swag another time)-but the original seat covers were so tobacco-tainted we had to replace them. After much deliberating and obsessive compulsive checking of the Ercol Factory Outlet’s stock, I treated myself to some barely-bargainous but beautiful Ercol seat covers in ‘light grey beehive’ having convinced myself that the beehive pattern would endow this fabric with the aforementioned resilient and forgiving qualities necessary for family dining. I really don’t want to be one of those Mums who fusses over everything and makes everyone sit on tea towels, but I could feel panic rising when my friend’s child happily gobbled chocolate cake spraying crumbs aplenty. Predictably, one of my covetable cushion covers was almost immediately splattered with lurid orange paint; devastatingly, I couldn’t even blame the toddler-it was me! Thankfully the toddler’s palette is still strictly water-based and washable, having not yet progressed to making masterpieces in oils, and in this instance a damp cloth did remove said stain!

Ercol “swan back” dining chair complete with new seat cover; beautiful, comfy and as yet not totally covered with cake crumbs and/or paint! (Not pictured-crazy lady hovering nearby with damp cloth).

A quick plea…don’t let me become one of those crazy people who cover their beloved furniture in transparent plastic protective covers until they fade and became covered in undisturbed dust à la Miss Haversham-amen!


*DH-dear/darling/d*ckhead/desperate hubby-depending on situation. NB. Also stands for designated hitter in baseball…when I started reading various blogs via my social media scrollings I didn’t understand the acronyms. DH cropped up a lot. I googled it and initially thought why are so many mums playing baseball?!


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