If you are thinking about renovating your living room, you don’t have to go the traditional “four walls and a flat floor” route. Using different levels within the same space can give your living space a whole different dimension, and can give a feeling of coziness – especially when creating seating areas. It is particularly useful if you have a living space with dual purpose, or an open plan home, to define different areas. So how can you create this in your own home? Try making a conversation pit. Here’s what you need to know before renovating.
The sunken conversation pit
Back in 1959, the first conversation pit appeared in Homes and Garden Magazine, in the home of J.Irwin and Xenia Miller – celebrated patrons of modern design and interiors. The pit was designed by the architects Alexander Girard and Eero Saarinen, and was 2.5 foot deep, covering a 15 foot squared section of their living room. Each side of the conversation pit was lined with sofas and cushions. This unique idea created an intimate and cozy space to spend time with friends and family, focusing on each other. The same design was then used in New York’s JFK Airport in the TWA terminal.
Building a conversation pit
Due to the construction logistics, building a conversation pit is not a simple procedure – it involves digging a hole into the foundations in order to create a space large enough for your seating arrangement. It will be a financial investment in your home. The process is very similar to installing an indoor swimming pool. It is certainly advisable to get a professional to deal with the construction. You will need to keep track of the measurements though so that you can install sofas and cushions that fit perfectly in the space.
A retro comeback
Conversation pits are making a comeback in home design. Maybe we are getting tired of staring at computers and televisions all evening. It is certainly a refreshingly sociable living room feature, celebrating the importance of spending time with family and friends. The women’s club, The Wing, based in Dumbo, Brooklyn has recently installed a conversation pit, looking strikingly modern – a great space for intimate conversations. And architect Craig Steely installed a beautiful purple sofa pit in one of his home designs that took Instagram by storm.
The conversation pit is back on the interior design map. Rather than looking like a 1960s gimmick, it is a modern way to move the focus of your home to the people that live there.
This isn’t the type of post I enjoy writing. Especially because one of the products I’m disappointed with from a brand that champions cruelty-free beauty. But I felt compelled to share my experiences with these two products – particularly because one of them has already received rave reviews.
The products I’m talking about are: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops (in Light) and Superdrug’s Calm Skin Hydrating 2in1 Serum and Moisturiser.
Isle of Paradise’s Self-Tanning Drops
When I saw this luminious liquid on the shelves on the cusp of summer I was so excited. Not only was it £10 cheaper than my usual facial tanning oil but there was a shiny new range too – all of which is cruelty free and vegan! Absolute touch.
I tried these drops for a whole month and applied them as recommended by mixing them in with my usual facial moisturiser. I added 3-4 tiny drops and gently rubbed them in to my face. I was pleased with how quickly my face “tanned”. What I didn’t enjoy was the weird, wishy-washy, almost wood stain effect that kept congregating around my hairline and my eyebrows. Despite me ensuring an even spread of the drops, I would always end up with a patch of brown around any hair follicles. It meant I had to literally scrub at these patches to get rid of them, but even with pressure, these stains weren’t budging.
I was so disappointed that Isle of Paradise didn’t work out for me, especially because the brand is so fresh and utilises organic ingredients. I have got on well with the gradual tan body moisturiser which I use for my hands and feet when I’ve done a full-body tan. So in a way, we’re kind of on OK terms.
I ended up going back to my favourite facial tanning oil which is Vita Liberata, an anti age serum. This is more expensive but doesn’t give me the weird wood stain effect. I love it because there’s no animal derivatives, no parabens and no weird fragrance that you always get with self-tan products.
Superdrug Calm Skin Hydrating 2in1 Serum & Moisturiser
It pains me the most to write negatively about this beauty product.
I always switch up my daily facial moisturiser because I tend to use the more robust and targeted products at night. So when I saw this new 2in1 moisturiser serum from Superdrug at a very purse-friendly price I was super excited.
I can’t applaud Superdrug enough for it’s cruelty-free stance and product range. If I’m ever in doubt about any make-up or skincare you can guarantee that own brand superdrug hasn’t been tested on any bunnies. So it’s a safe choice.
Anyway, I gave this face cream a go for a whole month but it took me a while to work out where these strange white blobs kept appearing from across my face and on my hands. It turns out that every time I was rubbing my face this moisturiser was coming off from the top dermis of my skin and congealing into small blobs which meant that it wasn’t actually penetrating my skin at all. So this meant the ingredients probably weren’t working either. What a shame!
Have you used any of these products? How did you get on?
I’m going to write a post soon about products that I have loved this summer!
I’ve previously written about my favourite cruelty-free products for Autumn which will soon be upon us (bye summer).
Nestled within 80 acres of glorious landscape you’ll find Chicheley Hall. I had no idea this grade 1 listed building existed until this year but as I made the approach, this stunning mansion based just outside of Newport Pagnell commands attention.
You may have seen from my Instagram last month that I (and a friend) were invited to stay here for the evening. As I really enjoy looking around historic houses, I quickly accepted the invitation.
The mansion has 48 individually refurbished rooms, carefully manicured gardens, a restaurant, a bar and a resident peacock called George, who I was told sometimes wanders in and makes himself at home. That was the deal breaker for me; as soon as I heard George’s calls I knew I was going to enjoy my stay.
The building itself is something you would expect to see in a period drama. The impressive baroque facade is both dramatic and quintessentially twee. Which is why it’s been selected as a film location for many well-known tv adaptations and films such as Pride and Prejudice and Black Beauty.
The interior is light and airy with very high ceilings on the ground floor and a large sweeping oak staircase leading up to the first floor.
Each space has it’s own unique character with dark solid wood walls in the breakfast room as well as tall marble pillars lining the impressive hall where wedding receptions are held. This room is the most spectacular, with plenty of natural light and period features.
The Bedroom: The Appleton Superior Suite
I stayed in the Appleton Suite for the night. The room had an upside down lock which was fiddly to open but only added to the charm of the place. I opened the door to a bright, period style bedroom with tall ceilings and two gorgeous sash windows which looked out over the gardens and lake.
The furniture was in-keeping with the date of the building but also had individual touches, as well as all of your mod cons like a TV and hot drink facilities, including free wifi should you need to do any work (or ‘gram).
The bed made me feel like a princess – it was literally the comfiest bed I’ve ever slept in (and I’ve stayed in Westin hotels!). Even with a few gin and tonics I slept all through the night (a difficult feat for me these days) and woke to the sound of George’s calls at a very reasonable hour, I might add.
At first we did have trouble finding the bathroom but that was only because the doorway was disguised as a wall panel. Again all of these features add to the rooms character and made the experience all the more exciting.
Speaking of the bathroom, this was like five star luxury. Everything was totally modern with large marble effect tiling on the walls and floor. There was even complimentary toiletries which I enjoyed under the large shower head and felt refreshed.
But before I went to bed, we spent the evening exploring the grounds. The groundskeeper is definitely kept busy with the fruit and vegetable garden as well as tending to the trees that lined the pathway to the back of the house.
I couldn’t have asked for a better evening; the sun was shining and it was warm enough to sit outside in the garden and enjoy a glass of prosecco. The perfect way to finish off a stressful week.
I strolled down to the lake at the side of the mansion which had a resident swan. The grounds and the house are just so peaceful and tranquil. I can see why so many people get married here.
The Dining Room: Dinner and Dessert
Dinner and breakfast were both served in the intimate dining room. I adored this room the most as there were so many paintings watching over you and the large sash windows brought in a warm and delicate summer evening’s light.
All of the tables were neatly set for dinner with a a cute vase of freshly cut flowers.
We skipped the starter (even though they sounded delicious) and went straight in to the mains. Being the carb fiends that we are, we both selected gnocchi with feta, tomato and peas.
I’m not lying when I say my thoughts often drift back to this meal. Usually during work hours just before lunch time… it was so GOOD!
For dessert we opted for a homemade vanilla cheesecake, summer fruit cooli and a scoop of vanilla ice cream from the daily specials menu. Again, this didn’t stick around for very long.
Tummies well and truly full, we retreated to the lounge area and started on the gins. The room had an inviting fireplace and decor. This was the perfect place to wind down after a full on week and an evening of exploring.
Overall, this is the grandest place I have ever had the pleasure of staying at. When someone ‘puts a ring on it’ this will definitely be up there in my top places to have my wedding. The food, the atmosphere and the location were complimentary and yet still hit me with the wow factor at each turn. I can’t wait to go back for a longer break.
Have you been to Chicheley Hall? I’d love to hear about your experience.
It’s difficult to resist the urge to give your entire home a makeover, especially when you take a look at all those inspiring interior design trends that 2018 has brought. From intricate wallpapers and enchanting hues to rich texture and authentic designs, there’s a world of design trends that will help you transform your space and give it timeless appeal.
As your personal space, your bedroom should reflect your sense of style and enable you to truly relax away from the world. Thus, you shouldn’t neglect its design, but rather pick elements that will create an ambience of comfort and warmth. Start by welcoming a soothing colour scheme that will set the tone of relaxation.
Blue is definitely the way to go in 2018, bringing serenity to your space. The combination of grey and yellow shades is also a stylish choice that will create a visual balance in your bedroom. If you’ve always wanted a four-poster bed, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s one of the biggest bedroom trends for this year. For a truly comfortable vibe, decorate your bed with velvet cushions and rich bedding. Dark timber is a beautiful choice for introducing the warmth of wood, especially when combined with vibrantly green plants.
Although a stylish choice, all-white kitchens are left behind in favour of colourful and inspiring designs in 2018. In particular, two-toned cabinets are one of the hottest kitchen trends while stainless steel appliances will continue to enjoy their popularity. However, everything from appliances to faucets will embrace a pop of colour, creating a cheerful, vibrant look in your space. For instance, dark appliances can work perfectly with soft marble countertops and bleached wood flooring. Such an inspiring and authentic design will transform your kitchen into a modern hub.
Once again, your kitchen won’t be complete without a splash of green that beautiful plants will introduce. When it comes to kitchen storage, you can go with cabinets with glass doors and open shelves to create an illusion of spaciousness. Afterwards, you should store away unnecessary items and keep your counters clutter-free to create an atmosphere of organisation and order.
The living room
The trends for 2018 will give your living room a touch of opulence, bringing the Baroque influence to your space. As already mentioned, velvet should be your top choice when it comes to materials. However, you should create a stylish contrast by juxtaposing an accent cushion with an elegant couch, letting this piece of furniture take the centre stage in your living room. As for colours, you should go with vibrant hues such as rich green, passionate red, mustard yellow and regal blue. You can use them for the living room backdrop or introduce them through accent details, such as a chic area rug or decorative elements. Plenty of greenery is more than welcome in 2018, especially big leafy plants with intricate natural patterns.
Wallpapers are also one of the biggest trends this year, so don’t hesitate to welcome them to your home. You can use a wallpaper design with a metallic finish and accentuate its texture, or liven up your space by embracing botanical motifs. If you want to add a touch of luxury, you can go with a marble-inspired wallpaper design that will give your living room a luxe flair.
The bathrooms of 2018 are ultimately elegant and luxurious with a spa-like atmosphere. The colour palette of dusty blue, soft plum, brown, charcoal and dark green will create a rich yet soothing ambience where an elegant, opulent tub can work as a stunning focal point. You can create a play of texture by introducing inspiring finishes, such as rose gold, quartz, chrome and satin. Furthermore, you should aim at creating a fresh, open atmosphere with plenty of greenery and natural light and without any clutter. For a touch of warmth to a soothing, neutral design, wooden details and accents are the way to go.
The year of 2018 is the perfect time for you to give your home a complete makeover. Not only will you introduce a sense of novelty, but you’ll also create a truly authentic design.
Guest Author Bio: Cooper Klein is an entrepreneur with a degree in Marketing. He’s interested in real estate and home decor. In order to spend more time with his family, Cooper decided to take a break, and he’s currently working from home as a blogger for SmoothDecorator and several other sites. You can find him on Twitter.