take your broken pieces and make them beautiful again….

Well thus endeth another year, this year has been interesting but the latter part of 2014 was not great…not only because it culminated in a rather painful stay in the Southern General the week before Christmas. Fun times!

It has taken me months to want to write this blog again, because while I write about chairs and interiors, I also write about myself. These two go hand in hand, I cannot write about one without the other. So I couldn’t bring myself to wax lyrical about the joys of upholstery (and believe me when I say, it does bring me joy) when a recently broken heart can feel nothing but hurt.

Whilst I do not deem this an appropriate forum to divulge the hideousness of the initial couple of months, I will write about it the way I know how. Through the use of chairs. Bear with me, it will make sense.

I came to the conclusion that heartbreak has a lot in common with upholstery. You buy a fancy new chair and oh my goodness, do you love that chair. It becomes your favourite thing, stands pride of place in the living room and you build your room around it. Its gorgeous and you love it. No one else gets to use it and you protect it from the advances of everyone, perhaps too much! ( in the case of chairs I mean pets and small children!) Then somehow, without you even noticing it, something changes. You barely see it but the colour of the fabric fades, it becomes just another piece of furniture in the room, damaged and unappreciated. You love it still but cannot imagine a time when you thought it was your most prized possession. Then one day, without warning the chair gives way, the thing you loved so much breaks.

You take a step back and realise that whilst you loved it, it has been neglected and you vow that you must fix it. You feel you must fix all then damage that has been done, you need to. So you strip the chair back, you remove all the damaged parts and see what you are left with. You must find out whether what you have left is worth working with or if it is fundamentally broken. Does what lies underneath have enough structural integrity to be pieced back together? It will never be exactly the same again but by repairing it, you could make something beautiful again, if you want to. You have to hope that something good will come, but recognise that if it is broken and can’t be fixed, why would you hold on to it? You take the broken pieces and do with them what you can. Whether it ever resembles the thing you loved so much remains to be seen, but something different but no less wonderful can come from it. You may discover that you still love it, just not in the same way.

I think that pretty much sums it up. A lot of hurt gives way to hope and general happiness and the notion of new ‘chairs’ catching your eye doesn’t seem so bad… in fact its kind of awesome!

2014 was not great but also the year my gorgeous nephew Isaac James was born. Does life get better than holding a tiny, plump little baby in your arms and knowing you will love him forever? I think not. Roll on 2015. Not a new year, new me but a new year, hopefully slightly happier me doing the job I love.

Happy new year.



I have seen the light

So, much is occurring in the world of madebybracken. The Etsy shop is open, yes its not brimming with goods right now but I am a firm believer in just doing things even when you are scared they will fail..ha, who am I kidding? I am the worst for that! I am a right scaredy c(K)at! However if the past couple of weeks have taught me anything its that you actually have to try and work on things before you know you have failed! So go and take a peek, only 2 cushions there just now but they are awesome believe me, I made them! http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/madebybracken

Here is a wee peek at the cushions for you…






Sitting with a pile of cushions that I love and keep being told other people like but not actually making any attempt to sell them is slightly a self fulfilling prophecy. I am scared they won’t sell & they never do coz they are sitting on a shelf in my house!

I am also a perfectionist so I thought that my iPhone pics just weren’t up to the mark and thus talked myself out of putting them up. Yes the pics aren’t great, but the cushions are!

Thank goodness for seeing the light. I have had few realisations about myself in the past little while and let me tell you, I didn’t like what I saw.

I love upholstery, I love my cushions, I love making things, I like being busy. Yet I convinced myself I couldn’t do it. I have that rather nasty habit. A mirror has been held up to me and my self sabotaging ways though and no more.

So in the interests of actively pursuing that which I love, I finally completed my website. The thing I spent so long on due to procrastination and self doubt. I actually think it looks rather lovely! You will find it at http://www.madebybracken.com

Obviously I am based in Scotland but even if you aren’t from here, take a gander at it, I think the more people that look, the more Google recognises it or something like that..not a clue. Computer illiterate!

Anyway, I have also signed myself up for the Handmade Show in Perth in November so I shall be selling my wares then too. Best get on with making more really.

til next time,

madebybracken x


Down to business

It’s been sometime now since I last wrote a blog post, about 6 weeks! Where is the time going? I tend to like to write only when I feel I have lots to say, so as you can tell I was stumped for rather a long time. Actually that’s not entirely true, I have just been rather busy…working. Oh yes people, actual upholstery related working. I have registered as sole trader of my wee madebybracken, have been frantically working on my website and have been doing actual chairs for actual paying people!
If you have liked my page on Facebook or found this through Twitter you will be forgiven for thinking this is what I have been doing all along but I was primarily focused on passing my course and learning as much as I could. Having passed and now feeling marginally more confident, I am here and I mean business.

Oh yes and I became Auntie Kat to my gorgeous, perfect & beautiful nephew, Isaac James.

I also had this rather gorgeous bespoke stamp made for me which I will use as my letter head, on cushion pricing labels and maybe even stamp into my chairs so in the future, the next person to strip my chairs can look me up and marvel at the wonderful job I did!!


stamp by Hunter&Co, Etsy

And it was all going so swimmingly until Otto, the extremely large and powerful family pet, took me for a wee turn down the stairs and pulled my fingers back with his lead. Not his fault he weighs over 10 stone and my fingers tend to snap like twigs! Fortunately this time the fingers aren’t broken but potentially damaged the voler plate which holds your knuckle joint. Needless to say really rather painful, didn’t hold me back from bowling at my sisters birthday though..I used my left hand and rather embarrassingly, the metal slide that kiddies use.
Back to upholstery though and this week I have this little number to work on.

newest project

newest project

This little gem was discovered at the rather wonderful furniture shop in Glasgow near where I live. They literally have furniture in piles and piles and you have to climb up and over things to get to see the piece you want. The chair is such a nice shape and my client (ha..love saying that!) would like a cosy seat that she can curl up with a book in. Her fabric preference, floral. Marvellous because I do love me some flowers! It has been interesting stripping as it stank to high heaven and uses something I haven’t seen before, a spring unit in the back. Plus it has a very interesting shape. Also the fabric has been stitched together and then tacked on and I have taken about 3 million pics because they appear to be put on in a rather complex manner.


sprung unit with horsehair

stripped unit

stripped unit

teeny tiny wings which aren't used as wings at all..strange

teeny tiny wings which aren’t used as wings at all..strange

I also found 3 half pennies dating from 1971-1981 which I reckon dates this chair from around mid-60s….this is a guess, if anyone knows then let me know!

1971, 1/2 penny

1971, 1/2 penny

I am pretty excited about this chair and making it look as beautiful as I can. I reckon it will look pretty gorgeous when I’m done.

In the meantime and while my hand heals, I am going to complete my website and write my own guide to antique chairs. Very sad, I know, if you have no interest in chairs, hugely rewarding if you do!

my research..exciting times!

my research..exciting times!

til next time, which will be much sooner.

madebybracken x

that’s just how eye roll

Sunday the 29th of June was my graduation/open day for my Level 3 AMUSF upholstery qualification and I was nervous. We all knew we had passed but not what our mark was and after having got Distinction last year the pressure was on. To be fair, this year was very hard so maybe shouldn’t have had the expectation but I did. I did however get Distinction…yay!!! I was pleased for myself but also that I hadn’t let anyone down. My entire family were there, I think I had the biggest entourage and I didn’t want to have to put on a brave face if I was really disappointed. To be honest some of the marks are given based on the examiners personal preference so if I had got a lower mark then it may just be down to them not appreciating my style! It was really a lovely day and I was extremely happy I had basically everyone I love in one room with me when I got my certificate!

As it was an open day of sorts, we also had a table where we were displaying and hopefully selling cushions that we had made. As keen readers of this blog or followers on Twitter/Facebook will know, I am working on my newest range and having only received the fabric the day before, I only had time to make one. It is a departure from the Harris Tweed and when I open my shop I wanted styles that would appeal to a broad range of people. It is bright and colourful and stands out..the kind of cushion I would buy. I think that its important to love the things you want others to spend money on!! Anyway, I saw a woman admiring it and then she looked at the price tag…. and quite literally rolled her eyes like she couldn’t believe the expense. I can tell you right now that when I saw that my heart dropped. I always feel like the things I do may not be any good and for me this seemed a little like I was being proved right. Then I thought about it. She was wrong.On many levels. First of all, to roll her eyes in the first place. If she is at a prize giving for students whose work is being displayed it is probably most likely that person will be in the room, watching you. Oh yes, yes I was.

Secondly, I hand drew and designed the print. I had the fabric printed and have spent many an hour with the very patient man in Centre for Advanced Textiles, getting exact colour matches and print size. I have designed my own labels and had them printed. I then made the cushion from scratch and had put it on that table because I was proud of it.

Thirdly, it is not expensive. The many pieces of advice I have read about making and selling your own things, is not to undervalue what you make. It wasn’t made by a machine, it was made by me and the price reflected that.

For the record, it was £36 pounds and that was me taking around £6 off what it should be. If I am completely honest, it has irritated me perhaps more than it should but because in that moment when I should have been happy about the things in the room that I had made, she made me feel small and like I was valuing myself too highly.

I was not. My work is good and I wouldn’t have put it out if it wasn’t. So woman I say to you, please continue to buy your cheap cushions wherever you can get them, and I will continue to make a quality, unique product and sell it for the price it deserves. Put that in your rolled eyes and smoke it!

Oh how I love a good rant. So in the spirit of paying for quality I thought I would share some of my personal favourite recent interiors style finds, primarily from Scandi chic websites! They are not all handmade nor are they all expensive but they are all gorgeous.

If you want to eye roll at the price, feel free. I will just be here, admiring the beauty and ignoring you!

Diamanti & Domericoni Half time cuckoo clock  £200

Diamanti & Domericoni Half time cuckoo clock

I am not partial to a clock, that sounds weird but I just don’t like them that much. Most of the time people just have them because they are practical, obviously, but no care has been taken to choose it.. I am thinking the hideous plastic ones that adorn many a classroom wall. This however is a delight. It is a pared down, simple yet elegant design with a wee added fun bit of the cuckoo popping out. Lovely stuff.

Grey rattan chair, HouseEnvy £325

Grey rattan chair, HouseEnvy

Ever since I started typing ‘Scandanavian Interiors’ into Pinterest I have a new love and appreciation of these chairs. Especially lovely and cosy looking when paired with sheepskin below. As I type this it is clear blue skies and boiling here in Glasgow but I am thinking for the future, mentally planning where to put this in my flat.

Mint green Mongolian Sheep skin HouseEnvy £179

Mint green Mongolian Sheep skin

This is the rug. I love the colour of it. I think it would look gorgeous paired with the grey and add extra texture and depth to a simple wooden chair.



Incase anyone actually doubted me, here it is styled on the HouseEnvy website. I am in love.


Nordic House £119.95

Nordic House

Sticking with this entirely unseasonal blog I point you to Nordic House. Oh its beautiful. I love a good throw and these are good throws. Chunky yet elegant and in this girls favourite shade of grey!

Colour washed stool Nordic house £49.95

Colour washed stool
Nordic house

Ever since doing my Level 2 project on 20th Century furniture design I have been slightly obsessed with The ‘Tube’ chair by KiBiSi and  the ‘Handle’ chair by Peter Johansen. Both of these chairs have the natural pale wood with white on the legs and I just think they are so simple yet so effective and this does the same job, for a fraction of the price!

Skagerak Georg console table Hus & Hem £399

Skagerak Georg console table
Hus & Hem

In a similar vein I love this pale wood table and chair which would be perfect in my imaginary hallway. Just classic and clean to be dressed up or down.

Oni glass cabinet HouseEnvy £32.95

Oni glass cabinet

I really really love the clear glass frames you get to put pictures, photos, postcards etc in, so it stands to reason that I really like these. Perfect for displaying tiny trinkets that may otherwise be lost.

Natural World Dessert Plate Anthropologie £16.00

Natural World Dessert Plate

I think I wrote a while back about my new found love of plates on walls. If displayed correctly, of course. This one is just so pretty and yet weird and slightly ugly at the same time. Tyra Banks might call it Ugly Pretty..hmm I may watch too much ANTM! All the same I real like it and they have loads of other ones so you could have the whole collection on the wall. Or I suppose you could use them to eat off!

Tapestry chair Anthropologie £700

Tapestry chair

Now I included this not because I love it but mainly to show that while hand made things can be expensive for the reason that they are one off and unique and handcrafted, I am a tad bewildered by the £700 price tag on this and I don’t think its a one off! I mean…really?? Now I am all for a bentwood style chair but this slightly looks like a half completed craft project. To each their own.

White Lilac Flower Ceramic Tile White Earth Studio £110.80

White Lilac Flower Ceramic Tile
White Earth Studio

This however is made up of individually hand crafted petals made from white porcelain clay and its gorgeous. I can see this propped up on the mantelpiece of my new home. Yes in my mind my flat will have a glorious, real fire with gorgeous surround!HA!

CeramicaBotanica £105


Another Etsy find which I love, grey and white pattern serving bowl. Just simple but really beautiful.

Jute Rug HouseEnvy £35

Jute Rug

This one is for my wee sis really, she loves this kind of thing and I saw it and thought of her. Its a very nice sentiment too!

I have many more but I think I have popped enough up for today. Oh wait, my cushion. Here you go..

navy fern madebybracken price tbd (to be determined!)

navy fern
price tbd (to be determined!)

Excuse the rubbish photo. Any thoughts gratefully received. Just not negative ones!! Im joking, seriously I would love to get feed back before attempting to sell.

til next time

madebybracken x


Level 3…done!

Its the end of an era, the dawning of a new age..blah blah..in short I have finished Level 3. No mark yet as we are still awaiting the examiner who I believe may have been marking my chairs and project and portfolio and t cushion today! Scary stuff. Lets just say I am not overly confident. Not because my chairs don’t look good because well, they do, but because it just seemed so much harder this year. I know, its Level 3 its obviously going to be more difficult but there is an expectation put upon you after having achieved a great mark last year that I didn’t feel fully qualified to live up to. I completed a button back chair as my exam piece. It was hard. Now who in their right mind does something for the very first time to be marked in an exam that decides our fate? From that point of view it becomes hard to believe that I can have achieved the highest standards that I set myself, let alone the AMUSF.

However the chair does look rather marvellous (she says modestly!). The hope is to sell both of them because I have literally a million chairs requiring my attention and having just been told we need to move out of our rather fabulous and huge flat, we have no room. The flat moving is a story for another day. Suffice to say I am angry and upset. We will leave it there.

So to the chairs, well here you go… the before on this rather dashing little tv/nursing chair. Cute little seat but sadly lacking in any sort of personality or individuality.

mustard velvet with fringing…hmmmThis was to be our creative piece and to be reupholstered using modern methods. I decided to make a little ‘madebybracken’ chair ,as you do, and used my own fabric and Morlich tartan woolcreate a unique and individual chair. 20140617-174134-63694128.jpgSlightly different I hope you will agree. ( the small postcard greeting you is my creative inspiration written for the examiner to see).

20140617-174131-63691673.jpgFor a point of difference and uniqueness on my wee chair I also added one of my cushion labels, after all it was the designs I did for my cushions that inspired this chair. I hope you like!

Next up, the bad boy button back, although to be fair we would probably have to say its a girl now! This is it in its original state without a feather cushion pad.

20140617-173951-63591769.jpgPerfectly pleasant but I had big plans for this chair. I fell in love with Jessica Zoob and her art work and imagine my delight when she teams up with Romo and prints her work on velvet. A dream come true. I wanted this chair to be bold and beautiful and the perfect squishy, boudoir chair. I hope I have achieved this. It was hard work but I think, I hope, worth it.


This is the pair of them together. They are both for sale and looking for a good home!I would love to know what you think, so leave me a comment or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook.

I mentioned briefly last time my new cushions, waiting for them to be printed and have the backing fabric ready and then I will reveal. So excited about these ones, not that I don’t love my originals but they are perhaps more traditional that I myself would necessarily have in my house. We shall see.

til next time,

madebybracken x

ps. While I attempt to create a website, this blog my stand in. I haven’t quite decided where, how or even if I can make one myself. Watch this space. x

two’s company

Finally I am writing a blog and boy does it feel good to be back! Basically I went away on a lovely holiday and then came back and something/someone managed to smash my entire iPad screen. My iPad being my favoured blog writing device. My laptop annoys me and the house computer, I just don’t understand how to work properly. Getting my iPad fixed was one of those things I kept putting off because it is so ridiculously expensive and I didn’t want to pay for it. A really pointless waste of time procrastinating about it because no matter when I did it, it would cost the same. Needless to say Paddy (the iPad) is now fixed and raring to go. Perhaps more so than I am.

We are nearing the end of our Level 3 course and thus real life and business beckons, oh dear me. This level has been challenging not least because of the slight issues I have had with the chair fabric. Long story short I fell in love with a gorgeous fabric from Romo. Tis a velvet with Jessica Zoob’s impressionist art work on it and I love it. I was meant to get it for trade price, something occurred and I didn’t and I ran out of time and had to buy it at retail. Oh my. Not good, doubly not good when you buy too little fabric and have to buy another metre. Ooops. I say oops jokingly now because if I don’t laugh about it, I will cry. I will weep buckets because this is not the only money I have had to fork out for this chair, I have a different fabric for the back, a feather cushion pad and obviously I had to purchase the chair in the first place. I have just done my monthly outgoings and lets just say, next month will be a lean one in my household.

On the plus side, the fabric is fabulous and I am hoping it will look amazing. It will be for sale so keep your eyes peeled for its reveal on my Facebook and Twitter and of course on here. The main aim with this chair is to use the Jessica Zoob velvet for the chair seat and cushion pad and use a cerise velvet for the piping and the back of the chair. This is still the plan and got me thinking about how effective a chair upholstered with two fabrics can be. So I did some research and found ones I love and thought I would share with you.

George Interior design

George Interior design

I love the way you could walk into this room and think they were plain white dining room chairs but then the dark blue hits you and suddenly the room is so much more interesting and alive. This room has a slight beachy, nautical feel to it and the dark navy of the chairs adds a welcome contrast to the pale creams and whites of the room.

The Cross Design, Laneway House

The Cross Design, Laneway House

This is a perfect combination of girly and chic to me! If it had been covered entirely in the black floral fabric it would have had a completely different look and added a darker, dramatic look to the room. As it is the pink stops it from looking oppressive and heavy and picking out the pink tone from the floral border creates a sweet and soft look without being overly saccharine!

Whitney Lyons

Whitney Lyons

In the interests of honesty I have to say I actually don’t really like these, so why include them? Well I admire the craft and the concept. These chairs were ready for the skip but were lovingly reupholstered using material from old jeans and coffee bean sacks. To achieve such well executed fluting and a chair which looks expensive and well made is not to be sniffed at. Just because I wouldn’t buy them doesn’t mean they aren’t a thing of beauty!


Bosphorus Wing, namedesignstudio

This on the other hand I love. Such an elegant looking seat which I can imagine in a very plush, expensive hotel lobby. The dark of the velvet perfectly frames the scene on the back and the muted tones, of what looks like a painting printed onto silk fabric, add a certain calm and serenity to this sofa although it depicts a bustling river scene. Gorgeous.

Meriwether Design Group

Meriwether Design Group

Another favourite where the chair is saved from looking overly chintzy by the grey on the back and the border. The orange detailing coupled with the white and grey keeps this chair looking fresh and inviting and the stud detailing adds a harder edge to this floral chair.  A contrast that really works.

Erdreich Architecture P.C

Erdreich Architecture P.C

I love this chair. I love the fact that the contrast, patterned fabric runs down the centre of the chair and really pulls the eye in. This makes it inviting and striking at the same time and the cream fabric used in the rest of this wing back allow it to sit perfectly in this rather sumptuous room.



Another wing back but this time the contrasting fabric runs around the outside of the chair. This chair looks so cosy and inviting with the huge wings for privacy, the plump feather cushion and the soft corduroy fabric. This is the practical side of the chair while the outside provides the decorative edge. Once again the large floral print is counteracted with the studs to great effect.


Ikat, namedesignstudio

This couch is fabulous! It is neatly saved from being possibly too loud and in your face by the contrast fabric, this time on the seat. This allows the pattern to be broken up and creates a focal point for the chair, while neatly framing the exciting pattern on the back. I also like the way the blue has been used for the seat and red piping used around the couch. Notice also the way the fabric has been brought down onto the chair leg..I like this and may steal this idea for one of my own chairs!

Calico, Myriad Fabric Collection

Calico, Myriad Fabric Collection

In a similar vein as the first picture, this dining table arrangement has 3 different fabrics at play! I like the combination of plain fabric, stripes and floral. At one point it would have been unthinkable to put such contrasting fabrics together but with the correct colour coordination running through the scheme its looks great. I like to think (although obviously I can’t see) that both the end chairs are the same and the four in the middle are striped. This would be the most elegant and effective use for this room.

Gobelin armchair by namedesignstudio

Gobelin armchair, namedesignstudio

I have saved my favourite for last. I just love this and I don’t know why. Possibly because it looks cute and comfy. Or because I love velvet and florals and the break up of the pattern and the contrast piping….oh and the way the colours from the flowers on the back have been perfectly picked out in the chair colour and the bright chair legs. Yes thats probably why I love it.

For more of my favourite chairs, check out my Pinterest board ‘chairs I love’. I am constantly updating and sourcing inspiration for my blog.

I hope to chat about my new cushions in my next blog, yep I have changed my direction a bit on those and about the newly formed Scottish Chair Collective that I am excited to be part of. As we hurtle towards the finish line of our course we haven’t much posted yet but feel free to check out our Twitter @Scottishchairs and our Facebook page, Scottish Chair Collective.

Till next time,

madebybracken x

Button it!

Hello, I trust we are all well and waiting with bated breath for the ‘the list’. Keen readers will recall that I created a list of things I love a while ago and have since decided to delight you all with a blog about each of these things. So, drumroll please, today we have button backs. Is that surprising? I fear not. After all I am an aspiring upholsterer to be. On that front a small aside, I didn’t get my bursary as you are probably aware. If not, go and read ‘ A crushing blow part 2’, or alternatively gauge your eyes out with a spoon. Lets just say it wasn’t my most cheering or optimistic of posts and I swiftly wrote another to try to erase my melancholy drivel from your memory!

I mean, I finished the chaise…I actually finished it and I wrote about 3 lines and didn’t really acknowledge that this beautiful piece of furniture had been done, by me and it looks GOOD!! It was delivered back to my mum and dad this week and they love it, at least my mum does. Father hasn’t said a word. Anyway, my bursary…ahh yes I didn’t get it. However this has done nothing to deter me and if nothing else literally lit a fire in me and I am now more determined than ever. I cleaned out my spare room (i.e. the work space) and made room for all the sundries and equipment I am going to buy, began writing my Etsy policies, took some photos of my cushions, set about planning my new line, began to make a window seat and start on a covered ottoman for my sister. Busy bee. Should get rejected more enough!

Back to button backs. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that my Level 3 chair is a deep buttoned tub chair and I have loved the process of the buttoning and how gorgeous it make the chair look. Even though it is only covered in calico, I love it and want to keep it already. So it made sense that buttoned seats made the grade. Here are some I love.


D Swift Interiors

D Swift Interiors

This was one of the first couches I added to my ‘Chair’ folder in the Houzz app. Think it is because I really enjoy the contrasting piping and buttons. The gorgeous buttoned front and the cushions which are made in the same pink fabric with contrasting blue piping.

Photography- Werner Straube

Photography- Werner Straube

At night I go to bed and when I can’t sleep, think about how much I want a proper window seat with table. Some people count sheep, I redesign our flat. Isn’t this just the perfect deep buttoned and window seat combo? No answers required, I know it is!

Optimise Design

Optimise Design

Taking button back literally, I love the playful nature of these chairs, the style of them and basically addicted to everything about this pic.

H Studio

H Studio

This is amazing. Think it may be a love or loathe effort though. I am not sure I’d have it in my house but can picture it in a sumptuous hotel bedroom or a very nice bar somewhere! I have included it because it combines deep buttoning with a fluted back. I have not done fluting yet but it has a great effect and this is a great example of it.

Last Detail Interior Design

Last Detail Interior Design

I completely love this. Rather than having a couch/sofa this circle of AMAZING chairs creates an inviting space, ideal for actually conversing with people. I want them so much. I mean look at them…such a gorgeous colour as well.

Nichole Loiacono Design

Nichole Loiacono Design

This beautiful dusky pink, vintage, curved couch just sit so beautifully in this room. It brings a softer touch to an otherwise monochromatic room and the plump deep buttoned back adds elegance and softness.

Meijer tufted upholstered chaise

Meijer tufted upholstered chaise

There is no escape from the chaise. This one is gorgeous, I like the way the buttoning and pleated fabric goes round the whole seat. I also really like the arm, it seems almost as of the scroll arm its self has been deep buttoned. Very effective and inviting.

Susan E Brown Interior Design

Susan E Brown Interior Design

Not everyones cup of tea I admit but I think a deep buttoned wall is just the height of luxury and extravagance. This one though creates a cosy corner that you can imagine curling up in. I am aware we are heading into summer but I’m thinking hot chocolate, roaring fire, a book and my head resting on this gorgeous wall.Bliss.

Bellagio Beige Linen Button back

Bellagio Beige Linen Button back

I have included this because of the beauty of the workmanship and the continuity of the line. Resembles a chaise but actually an ottoman and seat. The buttons look so deep and  I love the curve of this chair.


Last but not least this splendiferous ottoman/coffee table. Lovely size, sturdy, practical and gorgeous. Added this to the wish list for ‘Kat’s Dream Home’.

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did researching and writing. I love this blog writing malarkey!

Til next time

madebybracken x


the (interior)freak in me!

If you are an interior design geek like me, then you may well hoard all your house magazines in a massive pile that you will probably never look at again but cannot bear to be parted with. I have a pile of miscellaneous interior magazines and an entire woollen bag type thing full of Living etc…with whom I have a subscription and literally never throw away.
It is bizarre to me that I won’t throw them out, I pretty much always cut out the pictures or articles that inspire me and then leave the tattered magazine in its pile. Weird.

This is that woollen bag, full to the brim with magazines. My subscription runs out in November if anyone fancies purchasing a new one for me….no?no takers?!
Anyway my point is that whilst clearing out my ‘madebybracken’ notebook I chanced upon the literally hundreds of picture I have removed from my house magazines because I liked them so much. I thought since I was thoroughly depressing last blog, I would lighten the mood by sharing some of my favourites with you. I have also just realised my tragicness (is that even a word?) knows no bounds as I have in fact labelled my scraps, one folder is called bathroom and florals…what a strange combo! I digress as ever. I also discovered a list I wrote probably around 3 years ago about all the things I love. Interior design wise I mean, don’t worry I won’t write a blog about my love of gherkins..which incidentally I gave up for lent and can’t stop dreaming of. Oh and I’m off again…basically it is a list that I think I will work my way through and blog about each one of them. I have written about a few of them already such as tartan, florals and scandi chic but there is a whole host of other delights to look forward to!
Now back to those scraps. Be warned, these are not high quality pictures as they are my photos of a photo. Also apologies for lack of photo credit but many of them I just tore out with gay abandon!
So to the picture that started it all, this chair. I wanted to recreate this chair and so took an evening class in upholstery, asked Santa for this type of fabric and look where we are now!!
photo 1-2
I still love this chair, though my version has had its buttons pulled off by some misbehaving cats.

photo 2-2

I actually can’t remember ripping this out but I am glad I did. There is something very girly about the room, with the tutu-esque look of the light fitting and the lacy throw but saved by the industrial metal bedside side table, the geometric (though still pretty) wallpaper and the mustard rug.

photo 4

Did I mention I love subway tiles?!!! I love the classic style of this bathroom and am seriously into floor to ceiling tiling in a bathroom.. though from personal experience they tend to attract dust…why is this?! answers on a postcard please.

photo 4-2

From one bathroom to another, this time in love with the tiles (obviously) but also the mirror. My parents have a similar one hanging in my sisters section of our old shared bedroom. When I have bought my own flat, I am stealing it.

photo 2

I do love a good hallway. A good scandi, beachy hallway in a glorious shade of grey with the dream console table. Yes I do literally dream of console tables. Perfect storage, perfect colour, perfect.

photo 3-2

Now with this picture you can probably see my reasons for loving white. Such a perfect backdrop to the glorious and sumptuous cerise velvet, the vintage style florals and the art work on the floating shelves. Yummy!

photo 5

Possibly not every ones dream kitchen but I live in an attic flat and I love the sloping ceilings and cosiness of it all. This galley kitchen has it all, wooden floors, the huge oven, sloping ceilings and leads on to a beautiful garden. Dreamy.

photo 5-2

Last but not least this picture. Spring has sprung and across my road I can see the blossom coming out. Its beautiful and inspiring and reminds me that while I may feel slightly down cast at the moment, summer is coming and with it, endless possibility!

On that slightly cringe yet upbeat note, I bid you good evening.

til next time,

madebybracken x

A crushing blow, part two!

Yesterday and today is one of those days when I feel it might be perfectly acceptable to lie under a mound of blankets and feel sorry for oneself. I was saving this post for this week because I wanted to be finished the chaise…which I am. This is today’s good news. I other news I awoke to a hideously sore throat, headache and constant sneezing. This bears no relevance to anything other than to serve as another reason why today is a big pile of rubbish and should disappear pronto. My common cold complaint for is possibly magnifying how crap I feel about myself having received word that my application for a bursary has been rejected. I am aware loads of people get turned down but it stings a little when I spent such a long time preparing my application and had all but convinced myself I should get it. Stupid I know but when you really really need something it becomes inconceivable that other people might not agree on your worthiness. Suffice to say I am gutted.
Might hurt even more when I review the list of successful candidates, last year a poet was awarded £15,000. Yep I am well aware I sound bitter but seriously, what does poet need £15,000 for other than to fund actual living expenses?! Well anyway,that has made this post entirely non triumphant even though the chaise is complete!!!!
I am very proud of myself. Perhaps not today when I feel like a total failure but completing the chaise was a challenge and one which finally completed. It has been sitting in my space room for a looooonnnng time. I was scared of it. It sat there awhile and I removed some of the existing upholstery and then panicked because I knew I wasn’t ready for such a huge project. So it sat there some more, staring at me every time I walked into the spare room, tormenting me with its scroll arm, of which I have only ever done one, and the frightening array of cuts I knew I’d have to make in every layer of fabric that went on. It wasn’t until this year really that I felt ready to take it on. And it was hard. I have literally done so many new, tricky techniques that it really does feel strange to see it sitting there so beautifully finished and knowing that I did it all…with no help.
So here it is in in former state, it belongs to my parents who have 3 cats that like to scratch furniture hence the reason the arm is shredded.

This is the couch now. I am thrilled. Those of you who follow me on twitter and facebook will have seen this pic already but I have since covered the couch to protect it and so this is the only one I have until it is in situ in my parents house. It has been covered in Ada and Ina 100% linen, ‘Astrid’, I think it is called. Not sure how long it will last as my mum and dad also own a very large and bouncy bloodhound who will love to climb all over it.

Today because I am feeling rather sorry for myself, I am going to attempt to cover this little sewing box. Belonging to my Aunt May, she allowed us to keep some of her belongings when she moved into a home in Edinburgh and I got this box. Hoping this it is simple enough to tackle in my current frame of mind as I really feel like throwing things at walls…or the people who decided my bursary fate. I think this would be frowned upon and thus I will channel my rage into something beautiful!! That is until it looks too hard to complete and I have a teary meltdown!!20140401-102024.jpg
I must apologise for this less than positive post, this has been a bit of a setback but 'chin up' and onwards I march…to upholstery glory and beyond!!

til next time,
madebybracken x

Wallpaper and paint and tiles, oh my!!

This week seems to have been an exercise in ineptitude, not from my good self (obviously!) but others. As I may have mentioned before we have a large hole in the plaster in our main bedroom and in the living room, water likes to stream from the ceiling onto the carpet, oh yes and onto the printer which it broke. It being a piece of electrical equipment and all. This was reported to our letting agents around 4 months ago, yep way back there in 2013 and they came round, took a couple of iPhone pics and we heard nothing more. Until I was informed this week they were going to replace the living room carpet and re-plaster and repaint both rooms. Marvellous I thought.. until I then had to spend 3 days in my flat waiting for workmen who turn up basically when they feel like it, oh and one who didn’t turn up at all because he ‘forgot’. Yep my time clearly means nothing. Extremely frustrating because while its good to get the work done, finally, I fear this is a sign of things to come and that I will be living in a decorating hell for the next month. The letting agent helpfully told me to go on holiday…yes thats right we will just jet off on a whim just because you finally got your arse in gear. Annoying doesn’t cover it.

It is also annoying because I obviously get no say in what goes on the floor or on the walls. This is why I hate renting. It also got me thinking about all the things I would love to see on the walls, all the amazing wallpapers and things you can do and this blog post was born. I think I have wittered on about my love of wallpaper a million times but today I will share with you some of my favourites. Not just wallpaper, oh no. You are in for a treat!


Now the plate on wall phenomenon is nothing new but I just love the way this one has been done. I once visited a house where every possible wall surface was covered in plates featuring either a teddy or the face of Jesus. It was slightly terrifying and put me off the idea entirely. In fact I am generally not convinced by it, seeming slightly dated to me. This has been done beautifully though, the shape, colours and size difference all adding visual interest to an often overlooked area of the home, the hall.


I think this is just gorgeous. I have often thought I would like wallpaper in my dream kitchen but I am also a clean freak so would like tiling round the cooking and sink area. This offers the best of both worlds and by using white tiling, any colour of wallpaper or paint could be put above. Just perfect.


This has also been done to great effect in this bathroom. The red bath, white tiles and stunning red and white wallpaper creates a cohesive, unique and practical space.


On the subject of tiles, my style favourite of the month, the subway tile. I just love them. As you may recall I love grey and white…look at this bathroom, like someone brought my imaginings to life!


Let’s not forget the navy subway tile, so chic, classy and timeless.


Those of you with an eagle eye may well recognise this designer from my floral post. I am obsessed by Suzy Hoodless designs. Striking and colourful, the wallpaper can be brought out as a focal point yet has a soft enough palette to be played down with fixtures and furnishings.


Another great example of a gorgeous wallpaper, this time used to great effect in a nursery. This room still looks like a baby should sleep there but will remain timeless without the need for a decorator when the child tires of a parade of animals, clowns or rainbows!


If you, like me, live in a rented flat then decals or sticky-on things(not a technical term) are the way forward. A simple white nursery is enlivend with the use of a blossom decal. Cheap and effective way of changing the room without having to get permission to repaint or damaging the walls.


Had to include this wallpaper because I love it. Erica Wakerly. Check out her website. Bold geometric prints which look amazing!


Taken from Pinterest but uploaded by a blogger called Bold & Bright, this is a perfect idea for what to do if you want bright, flowery wallpaper and your boyfriend/any other companion type, does not. Inoffensively on the side of the drawer so you get a wee ‘wow’ moment every time you go for some socks, and they don’t have to look at it!


Last but by no means least, love this idea. Again, white with a splash of colour and interest. Perfect idea.

That’s all for this week. My compressor hose broke so I have no chaise pictures….I’m guessing most who read this with any regularity will think there is no chaise longue such is the saga surrounding it. I will complete it. Evidence to be provided next week!

Til next time,

madebybracken x

ps. I saw a Twitter debate rage regarding credit for photos and saying crediting Pinterest is not good enough. The photos on here are not mine, where possible I have included the details on the photo as they come from Houzz. This is not always possible on Pinterest where I pin from someone else board. I will always try!