Hotel Heritage : Ljubljana : Slovenia

Hotel Heritage : Ljubljana : Slovenia

According to the website, the recently renovated Heritage Hotel is…

…one of Ljubljana’s finest boutique hotels. It combines the rich cultural heritage of a Renaissance bourgeois building from the 16th century with the luxury of modern architecture and the prestige of residing in a listed building within the cultural and historically-protected part of the old city.

The building is on the riverside, nestled behind another amazingly renovated heritage building, and is close to everything you’d want to explore in the centre of the old city.

Image : https://hotelheritage.si

Image : https://hotelheritage.si

The restoration and renovation of the building is really quite beautiful. The integrity of the building has been retained, but enhanced with contemporary features and heritage colours.

Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

The reception area is more like a cool lounge, with funky, but understated, seating areas and window seats, coupled with clever lighting to create a welcoming vibe. Forest green walls, tangerine orange and baby blue soft furnishings and gold accessories create a feel of opulence. And, it also helps that when you are checking in, you are offered a complimentary drink. Great attention to detail.

Reception area

Reception area

The hotel has twenty unique rooms. The Atrium style room is a cosy and quiet room in the heart of the house with a view of the internal atrium or, if you look up, the starry sky. The Old Town Rooms have views of the medieval buildings which line the river and The Superior Rooms are spacious and exquisitely furnished, with a views of the old town, Ljubljana Castle or the Ljubljanica River. We’d booked an Old Town View Room and were delighted with the facilities and the decor.

Old Town View Room

Old Town View Room

The deep, heritage colours of the communal areas give way to softer colours in the rooms. Crisp white walls and beddings are complemented by the deep mulberry and plum shades of the velvet chairs and woollen bed throws, complete with the hotel logo. The original ceilings and beams, and the parquet flooring, add a touch of heritage to the contemporary design of the rooms.

Bedroom & ensuite bathroom

Bedroom & ensuite bathroom

The large ensuite bathroom is behind a glass wall – perhaps not ideal if you don’t like seeing yourself, but a really good way of bouncing light around the room and creating a feeling of space. The bathroom itself is well though out, design wise, and with marbled walls, a white floor, a wooden ceiling with beams and matte gold taps and rainshower, creates a feeling of luxury Like the bedroom, the bathroom is also scrupulously clean.

Sleek & contemporary styling in the ensuite bathroom

Sleek & contemporary styling in the ensuite bathroom

Matte gold

Matte gold taps

Heritage & contemporary styling

Heritage & contemporary styling

Breakfast area

Breakfast area

A very substantial breakfast fare is served in the room through the crittal doors, but we chose to eat in the atrium. Light and airy, because of the glass lantern ceiling, it’s not only well designed and very tastefully decorated, but full of nods to the history of the building. The wall display of hexagonal shapes takes you through the historical owners and events over the years, rooting the hotel firmly in its past and present.

Historical details...

Historical details…

Heritage details...

Heritage details…

Everything about Hotel Heritage oozes class and understatement. From the decor to the staff to the soft furnishings and bedding, to the colour palettes, nothing is showy or over-the-top. Whilst it’s not overly expensive either, you do see exactly what you are paying for – and with its location, right on the banks of the river, on the cobbles of the old town of Ljubljana, it’s definitely somewhere to go when you want to just decompress, and breathe. And not pay silly money.

Hotel Heritage : Čevljarska Ulica 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Exterior : Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

Exterior : Hotel Heritage, Ljubljana

 

 

Small Steps…

Small Steps…

Over the summer, when we were averaging two or three house viewings a week and had some very serious interest in the house, if someone had told me that by October, we’d have taken it off the market, given up on The Printworks (and in the process, lost a lot of money) and be embarking on a whole new plan, I’d have thought they were crazy. Especially when we had accepted a firm offer and contracts were drawn up. But, things take turns you don’t expect – which at the time, seem just so awful, but often turn out to be the right thing.

So, two months on, we feel very differently. We could have stayed angry and upset and all “woe is us” – but what’s the point? We’d just have got more and more miserable and more entrenched in living in a house we no longer wanted to be in. Instead, we decided to own the situation. That woman from Germany, who pulled out, was not going to dictate our lives. She was going to have no further impact on us. A final email, articulating all of my thoughts, very politely, was sent, with the request that she never contact me again. That chapter is now closed and another has opened.

We’ve decided that we are going address the main issue which seemed to come up with viewers – namely, that they often weren’t sure where our boundaries where. Despite being demarcated by conifer trees at the rear of the house and the the front, big wooden planters. Supported by official documentation. But, I suppose some people just need a great big, thumping wall right in front of their eyes to believe what we tell them. So, walls will be built, but that’s a future blog. This one is about starting to document the small steps we are taking, which will hopefully get us right back on track and in the positive frame of mind to get the house back on the market, next year.

This cabinet goes back quite a way, with us – and probably a bit further back. When we lived in West Didsbury, our house was behind a beautiful interiors shop. called David Gavin Design and the owner sourced furniture. This piece, for whatever reason, didn’t make the cut, and it was put outside his shop, with a Free to A Good Home sign. I was lucky enough to be walking past and offered that good home, to take it off his hands. It wasn’t the prettiest – a kind of varnished brown veneer and plastic handles – but I figured we could do something with it. And, after sanding it back to the original wood, it has gone through a number of transformations and has moved from West Didsbury across to Istria. Quite the life, for something which was consigned, potentially, to the tip.

As well as moving to Istria, it’s also moved around our house. It’s been in the living room, the Well room, all of the bedrooms and last place being the upstairs landing outside outside our bedroom door. But it’s never felt quite right, anywhere. And, the deep navy paint never took to it, as I imagined it would, so it was on the list for finally tipping. Until I remembered that we still had some duck egg blue chalkpaint, which we’d used on the other bedroom furniture, and it was given a reprieve over the weekend. The plastic handles had been replaced long ago by silver handles from IKEA, so these were sprayed matt gold, to match the handles on the wardrobe and other cabinet.

OK, so it doesn’t completely match the rest of the furniture, but it does in terms of colour. It also provides us with more storage, especially as I took the opportunity to bin most of the contents. Much of which had been inside since we unpacked in 2017 and never used. So, definitely not needed! The main bedroom is also large, so a bit more co-ordinated furniture is always welcome.

There’s also a long IKEA floating shelf, which I’d previously covered with the pages of a book (“Ulysses” – totally unread! – if you’re interested), which had been above the bed. But since the bed was moved to the other side of the room, it just kind of, well – floated. It was going to be taken down, until I decided to cosy it up, with faux plants and foliage and tealight holders. Much better than taking it down, filling the holes, repainting and storing the shelf. Proper cosy, as us Mancs say…

So, whilst what we did at the weekend certainly isn’t renovation, it gave us a massive lift, in terms of the house. It’s fair to say we’d fallen a bit out of love with the house, which is ridiculous as, even though we say it ourselves, it is gorgeous and we have achieved so much. But, with small steps, we’re getting back on the horse, loving the house and gearing ourselves up for some BIG renovation work. Just need to find a team of builders now…

 

 

the snug reno : update2

the snug reno : update2

When we viewed our stone house in 2016, we found a very sorry looking room – a cellar, of kinds – down the stairs from the living room. The stairs were treacherous to say the least. Very thin pine treads, on a steep vertical with no handrail. These hinted at what we were going to find at the bottom of them.

Bare light bulbs hung from flexes, and stuck out of their fixings on the walls. The walls were half plastered, half bare stone. Original beams – a potential plus point – were in a very poor state of repair. They were untreated and the wood was rough and splintered. The ceiling, although plaster-boarded, was unfinished. Woodwork was unpainted. The concrete floor was rough and powdery. A far cry from the polished concrete finish I’d been visioning. It was also obviously a bit of a dumping ground. Window frames propped up against the walls, tins of paint, bags of concrete, and a deflated plastic swimming pool. All in all, a pretty depressing room. BUT – and we just couldn’t get this out of our heads – a room with a whole heap of potential, in a house with a massive amount of potential…

It does make me shudder to look back on these photos, as this room remained in this state, for quite a long time. In fact, it probably got worse, as it became our dumping ground, for packing boxes, furniture, everything which we didn’t unpack immediately because we didn’t know where things would go. Gradually, as we renovated rooms above, it did begin to empty out, but our focus was on the main house and to be honest, with so many rooms above, we weren’t actually sure what we were going to use this room for. So, for a good two or three years, it remained unloved, as we devoted our attention to the rest of the house.

However, as pieces of furniture were moved upstairs and boxes emptied and our belongings put in their new homes, we realised that we could do with this room, what had done with the ones above. We had brought with us, from Didsbury, our Dovre Vintage woodburner and it quickly became apparent that this dinky retro burner, wasn’t large enough for the main living room. A new, much bigger, one was sourced, but it meant we had to find a new home for the Dovre. We considered the big bedroom, but the reality of keeping a fire going in there – and moving logs upstairs and cleaning it out – was pretty unrealistic, and all of the sudden we had the lightbulb moment. Why not create an additional living space, under the main living room, which could house all of our books, vinyl records, CDs, hi-fi system and a big sofa? So The Snug idea came about – named as such, because we wanted to create a room for the winter which would be a cosy hideaway. It’s actually a really big space, and we were able to create an area under the stairs which is now curtained off, but houses essentials such as a condenser dryer, a chest freezer, storage cubes and household appliances such as the ironing board, hoover etc.

We decided that all of the walls, ceiling, beams and floor should be painted white to maximise on the feeling of space and make it lighter and brighter. There are two windows which are quite unique – as this room is under the main living space, the the two windows open out onto ground level outside, giving us a very different perspective. Our two gardens – front and rear – are at eye level from The Snug, and this makes it feel even more cosy. To contrast with the all-white room, we painted the woodwork in the same pale blue satinwood as we have throughout the house. The stairs were also tackled – a safe back was attached to the treads, and each tread was pulled forward, giving more depth and therefore making them safer. Chrome plumbing pipes and brackets were used to create vertical grab rails, meaning no more looking into a void over the side. And finally, like the stairs leading up from the living room to the first floor, these were painted in the Farrow & Ball Railings, which we’d brought back from Manchester on one of our roadtrips.

In the winter this room really is snug – and as we stayed in Istria over Christmas, we decided to really utilise this space, and create a hygge haven at the bottom of the house. And finally completing the renovation.

New throws and cushions, and two chocolate brown furry rugs, were introduced to add more layers of warmth and comfort, and to increase the seating, without going to expense of buying more chairs, the garden chairs which have been in winter storage were moved down here. A Christmas gift of money was put towards a new Smart TV and an additional TV box, linked to our wi-fi, was also bought, meaning we can now access all channels in this room, as well as the living room upstairs.

Although this room may not be to everyone’s tastes, we think we’ve created a very cosy room. It’s a great additional living space and we think that once family and friends start visiting again, it will be well utilised as it will mean that guests will have a living room of their own, if they want some privacy.

In terms of our house being for sale, this room is an added bonus. As well as an additional living room, there is the potential to adapt it and create a fourth bedroom. There is ample space to install an en-suite bathroom, and the window which overlooks the rear garden, could easily be opened up and a doorway fitted, creating a private entrance and easy access into the garden. For anyone with bigger design ambitions, the space is sufficiently large enough to create a small self-contained apartment, with an en-suite and a kitchen area. In fact, if were staying here and not planning on embarking renovating another property, I think we’d be going down the self-contained apartment route.

This room has been the final piece of the renovation jigsaw. Now that it is completed, we’re turning our attention to the the gardens at the front and rear of the house to create two very different, but very beautiful outdoor spaces, that we can use throughout the spring and summer, and into the autumn. Watch this space…

 

 

 

A Bit of Bling

A Bit of Bling

In the olden days, when I wanted to up-cycle something, out would come the paint pots and brushes. Faffy and fiddly and usually waiting ages for the paint to dry. And because I am ridiculously impatient, I’d try and pick up or move whatever I had painted, too soon, and I’d smudge the paint. I don’t know why spray paint had never occurred to me before, but since we’ve been out, these cans of colour have been my saviour. Nothing pleases me more than spinning the rack in our equivalent of B&Q and going for pops of colour I would normally never choose – hot pink, zingy orange, sunburst yellow and vibrant turquoise, along with the beautiful and much used anthracite, have featured in various places around the house and garden. Nothing escapes the spray paint. The garden tables and chairs and wooden sunbeds have all been sprayed in my beloved anthracite. Wooden crates have been given new leases of life. Three Habitat plastic garden stools, originally black, are sprayed in different summery colours – one is orange, one is yellow and one is turquoise. White IKEA cube shelving has had the spray paint treatment – a great hack.

The metal cover for the well had a make-over, and the deep, deep blue now looks so much better and complements the very soft pale blue exterior woodwork.

Even the microwave hasn’t escaped the spray paint. Our silver microwave was just too silver and shiny for the new kitchen, and not being able to find a reasonably priced dark blue one anywhere, I did the obvious…

But perhaps the colour that I love the best is the gold. It just brings warmth and cosiness and a touch of glamour to our stonehouse. It also works so well against the dark colours we have around the house. A couple of our feature walls are very similar to Railings by Farrow & Ball. The walls and ceiling in the kitchen are Farrow & Ball Hague Blue. Most of the wooden floors – and the original stone floor in the Well Room – as well as the two sets of stairs are a very deep indigo. And the gold just adds a little unexpected something. I’ve upcycled bottles which are now used to display faux blooms and branches. Vintage birdcages have been glammed up with the gold. A big IKEA floor lamp now gives off a golden glow next to my desk. Various candle holders, which were pretty ordinary, now look super glam. And, the best thing of all is our vintage French woodburner. Now, this sounds mad – BUT it was never used. It was originally a beautiful blue ceramic burner, but it’s spent a lot of its life with us, in the garden as an ornament and so was a little bit weather-beaten and the hinges and plate underneath the lid were very rusty. It would have cost a fortune to have it reconditioned – and even if we were inclined to spend the money having this done, we’d have had no idea where to actually get it done. So, I figured a coat of spray paint might just give it a new lease of life. What do you think?

The pink table has also been re-upcycled. This was originally a paint-splattered wooden work table, which went pink to give a bit of colour to the upstairs landing. It’s also had a change of look, and now sits in the living room – the perfect place for lots of candles and twinkling lights in the winter…

I try to do all of the spray painting outside, and especially with larger items, but if they have be done indoors, windows are wide open and masks are worn. But, when aren’t they these days? The thing I love most about using spray-paint is that it’s relatively inexpensive, quick and easy to apply and if I want a change, all it takes is a quick sand down and another colour from the carousel.

Window Shelving

Window Shelving

One of the things that we’ve always meant to tackle, but never got around to it, as there always seem to be other jobs which take priority, is the levelling of a number of our window sills. Some are level, but some, including one in the living room, are still in their Istrian stone state – therefore wonky. They are deep and recessed so perfect for a bit of accessorising, but anything that is placed on them, has a bit of a Leaning Tower of Pisa look about it.

So, after adding a window shelf to the kitchen window, it was decided that this could be a quick fix solution for the living room window. The intention is still to have the window surround and sill plastered, but it depends on how long we are here for. At the moment, we don’t really fancy doing messy work which will ultimately end up with us decorating, so the shelf it is. Another reason for this shelf, is to accommodate the broadband fixed line router. It can be temperamental and likes to be right in the line of vision of the pole in the garden from which the cable comes into the house – and we’ve found the higher up this router is, the less temperamental she is. But resting on the back of the sofa was never go to be a long term solution.

Where we live isn’t built up at all and without our garden lights, the house would look very dark at night time. The garden does look pretty magical when the green wall is up-lit – as you drive down the hill from the main village, it looks like a castle wall. Albeit a very small one. But it is eye-catching and we wanted the windows of the house to be a pretty. (“Top lights” are a thing in Croatia – a bit like Italy – and so we wanted to introduce a bit of lighting ambience…) Hence, another reason for the window shelves, to give us a bit of additional height and to create something a bit more interesting.

The shelves just lift off, so in summer they will be removed, so that windows can be open (they open inwards). But, in winter, there’s no chance of them being open, so we can be a bit over the top in terms of dressing the windows. Come mid-December, they’ll be Christmassed up, especially as it’s looking like we’re here for the festive season, but at the moment, we’ve gone for a slightly more subtle approach…

The shelf is just a piece of very inexpensive pine, cut to size and painted white. The router seems very happy in her new elevated position. A string of tiny LED battery operated lights add a bit of twinkle and a shelf not a shelf if it hasn’t got tealight holders for additional flickering lights. I’d love to have the green fingers to keep plants alive and thriving, but I don’t and so all plants are faux. But they never die, which is a result for me! Most of the accessories which currently sit on the shelf are from UK shops or are probably available in the UK :

  • Wooden fir tree & pink pillar candle : Søstrene Grene, Stamford Quarter, Altrincham
  • LED starlight in glass bottle : The Range
  • All plants, aluminium cream pot & gold candlesticks : IKEA
  • Green glass tealight holders : Dunelm
  • LED string lights : Jysk

We’re definitely not overlooked, so don’t need the privacy that these shelves offer, but when I think back to our West Didsbury house, these would have been perfect, especially at the rear of the house. I think what I love about them most, is that once the brackets are on, the shelf just sits on top and so can be removed as and when necessary. It also means that I can change things around quickly and create different looks and moods without spending anything at all – all I’ve done here is move things from different parts of the house. We decided against putting a shelf up on the opposite window, as it have just felt a bit too much – and the sill on this particular window has been finished so we do have a flat surface. However, I couldn’t resist a kitchen window shelf. And this one is perfect for pots of herbs, as well as a bit of ambient lighting at the front of the house…