welcome, wooden benches

Our blue IKEA Tobias dining chairs have served us well over the past few years, and are still in good condition. They’ve stood the test of time, often sitting in a room which has resembled more of a builders yard, than a room we’d choose to eat in. The Well Room – as we call the room above because we inherited it with a working internal well, slap bang in the middle of the room, but now drained and relocated outdoors – has developed over the years, and has had quite a strong look, when it’s not being used as a building site. The stone floor above was painted a deep navy, to match one of the feature walls and the concrete table had a resin coat applied. Rather than a pure concrete look, it took on a very different appearance – kind of marbled, but not quite. But, it did dominate the room, both in its style and finish. And recently, we decided we didn’t really like it, after all.

We also decided that in order to sell our house, we had to present it more neutrally. The decor has been quite bold in places – and although we’re sure that most viewers will see beyond a painted wall if it’s not to their taste, we weren’t doing ourselves any favours in showcasing what could be a fabulous holiday home for someone. So, this spring, our focus has been on stripping back the decor and colours and gradually beginning to introduce lighter, calmer tones, with a neutral palette and more natural accessories. The bold navy blue has been whited-out in most rooms, the Well Room being one of the initial ones we tackled. The floor is now white, and the blue rugs are now down in The Snug, replaced by big natural coloured, jute rugs. The wall (opposite the windows) which was Hague Blue (like the kitchen), is now the same soft grey that we repainted the kitchen in, bringing consistency between the two areas. New furniture has been introduced – gone are the bog standard IKEA cubes, replaced by a couple of very funky white cupboards. Still IKEA, but with a bit more design and style to them.

And, the concrete table has been painted white – giving it a whole new lease of life. It was at this point, that the Tobias chairs just looked too out of place, and we felt that wooden benches would suit the look we were attempting to create, so much better. Wanting to support local tradespeople whenever we can, we did get a quote for two handmade benches. Unfortunately, the price came in just a whole lot more than we were budgeting for, and so I had to turn online. I had found a small company, just outside Newcastle, who specialise in bespoke wooden furniture – and although the prices for benches weren’t too bad, once we factored in courier delivery and post-Brexit fees to receive goods from outside the EU, inside the EU, the price became too steep again. But perseverance pays off, especially when you know exactly what you want, and I found a company in Germany, which in terms of their products and ethos on the website, ticked our boxes. An order was placed for two acacia wooden benches, and less than a week later, they were assembled in The Well Room.

The room now feels much lighter and brighter, with a definite nod to those dreamy Mediterranean homes, much posted on Instagram. I think now that we have got used to our surroundings, being fairly close to the Adriatic, it feels a bit more authentic to live in a space filled with natural tones and colours. So, we’re taking it a bit further. The pale blue woodwork (and the grey beams above the window) are all going white, too. The first window in this room has been done, and the difference is quite incredible, as everything now seems to blend, rather than stand out. The front door, which I have always disliked, is much less offensive to me, now that it painted in a soft white satinwood. The handle, which is also not to our taste, but too difficult to replace because of its shape and size, is now also white, so a lot less in-your-face. As with every room you start to make-over, the finish line always gets further away, as one change inevitably leads to another, but it’s something we feel we need to do…

Published on 29th March 2023