Our dark bedroom

I’ve been waiting to show pictures of our bedroom until it was finished, but I’ve learned that a room is never really finished, and at the moment I have it looking as close to finished as a bedroom in a rented apartment can get. 
Do you remember last year when I picked paint for Cora’s nursery? Fleetwood Paints very generously offered for me to choose two tins of paint from their new range to add to our home. Along with picking Pantone’s Lunar Rock for Cora’s room, I selected a tin of their Vogue range’s very moody and deep 1830 Rue Chapal for our bedroom. Our room gets a very poor amount of natural light, so I figured painting our room even darker would add to it. It was a big step for me painting an entire room such a dark shade, but it was the best nesting-fuelled choice I made. 

Fleetwood’s Vogue paint, much like their Pantone line, has to be one of the best paints I’ve used to date. It took two coats to paint our room and still had loads left over for touch ups. Speaking of, one deal breaker for me that separates low quality and high quality paint is the touch-up test; if you touch up a patch of wall and it’s so obvious that it looks like you might as well have painted red arrows towards the now seething blotch, that’s how I can tell a paint is truly a good quality or not. With both Fleetwood’s Pantone and Vogue range you couldn’t tell where I had made touch ups the following day. For me, that’s a deal breaker because I will go out of my way and repaint a wall just to avoid a haggard touch up blotch. But it wasn’t necessary [TG] with this paint. 

I painted our room in 1830 Rue Chapal the night before I was due to be induced [in hindsight, not a great idea], but once we had our new dark room, I thought about a theme I’ve long wanted to design with. 
I’ve had a long fascination with Russian history, its architecture and the [dare I say] dark, romantic, luxe feeling that comes with it [recent news and political stuff aside of course] …

– My best friend and I were fascinated with Russian history when we were in high school.
– I taught myself [basic conversation] Russian 13 years ago and the first conversation Robert and I had when we first met was me teaching him how to say hello in Russian – здравствуйте [zdra-stvooee-tyay]
– The happy coincidence behind the Russian watercolour my mom bought me. 
– At our wedding I found out from my grandmother’s sister that my grandmother always had a fascination with Russia and always wanted to go. Something I never knew. It particularly blew my mind as we were going to Russia for our honeymoon a few days after our wedding [we visited again two years later].
– My dad’s first name is Russian and so is mine [Alexandra]. My grandmother’s fascination with Russia may have had a part in my dad’s name [and maybe mine?], but that’s just a guess. 

I took my theme and adding a few things from our travels. I printed one of my favourite photos I took when we were on our honeymoon in St. Petersburg as well as a photo I took of our Karlsson flip clock of the time and date of Cora’s birth, and framed them side by side. The frames I used are a now discontinued frame from IKEA which I love the look of, but there was plastic in the frame in stead of glass, which never sat flat in the frame and always looked warped, so I took out the protective pieces of plastic. It made for better photo taking too. 

I also framed a letter I sent home to Robert while he was in the shower one morning on our honeymoon. I sent it along with all our thank you cards after the wedding из России с любовью – from Russia with love. A very small detail, but something so many people bring up when they see us. James Bond or wha. 
It’s illegal to take Russian currency outside of Russia, but I was able to sneak two metro tokens home in my change purse. One of which I’ve stuck up on our wall with blu tac. 

Our room doesn’t look truly finished and it’s not perfect nor does it have essential flower arrangements to top it off, but this is what it looks like for now. For anyone out there thinking about going dark with their bedroom, I would say don’t walk but run to your nearest paint store. Come over to the dark side.

Master bedroom makeover Part IPart IIPart III – Reveal[?]

Also featured – pink dresser updatefaux marble bedside tablesour engagement storylove dove lampsmall watercolour

DISCLOSURE – while this blog post is not sponsored, I did receive this paint free of charge from Fleetwood via MRCB. I only work with brands and companies that I like and of course, think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer. 

Baltic Cruise – sweltering St. Petersburg

The next destination on our Baltic Cruise was St. Petersburg, Russia. We had been there before on our honeymoon, close to 2 years ago. Our honeymoon was in late October it was a lot colder than we had anticipated. We adored St. Petersburg. Wandering the streets, heads constantly gazing up, drinking chili infused hot chocolate, and adjusting to the unusual social hours [before I start reminiscing too much, you can read and see more about our honeymoon here]. 

We were really looking forward to going back to St. Petersburg, but in the summer. Little did we know it ended up being the hottest day of the year. A great day to be dressed head to toe in black, yeah? We also didn’t know it was a national holiday, so thanks to everyone flocking towards the city centre, it ended up taking us almost 2 hours to get into St. Petersburg, leaving us only and hour an a half to reminisce. We covered as much ground as we could in the 35 degree heat. 

Since we had such limited time in St. Petersburg, we made sure to visit the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, wander down Nevsky Prospekt, and [attempted] to escape the heat by going back to one of our favourite cafes, Cafe Singer. Unfortunately, Cafe Singer, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, acted like a massive greenhouse and was hotter inside than outside. We still reminisced with carrot cake and this time, behemoth milkshakes. 

We begrudgingly walked back to the bus and back to the cruise ship. We felt a little robbed of what we were hoping would be our second honeymoon, but maybe it’s the perfect excuse for us to go back again. Third time’s a charm? We ate dinner and like the anti social introverts we are, we retreated to our usual evening spot – the lounge chairs in the adult pool that face massive windows so we can watch the scenery go by. After dinner, this area was always deserted. We spent every evening on these chairs, with wine, talking complete rubbish and reading books. 

We were treated to once again, a pretty awesome Baltic sunset. And to top it off? We passed a Russian submarine. No big deal. 

Stockholm – Helsinki – St. Petersburg – TallinnRiga

From Russia with love

Our honeymoon was everything we thought it would be, and more. St. Petersburg gave us perfect autumn weather, ridiculous architecture, incredible colours, amazing night scenes, and a side of culture shock – in the best way possible. Nothing we couldn’t handle.

We went on our honeymoon exactly one week after our wedding, in October of 2012. Having lived in Canada, I’ve sorrily missed proper autumns. Here in Ireland they’re just not the same. We had been told that autumn had passed in St. Petersburg, so we were prepared for grey. But, as we were landing in St. Petersburg, we were elated to see autumn in full swing. I’m so glad that person was wrong.

The Church of Spilled Blood. There almost aren’t any words. 

My fascination with this place goes back about 9 years. My mom gave me an incredible water colour painting of a mysterious Russian building. I treasured it for years. Then, a couple weeks before our wedding, I picked up said painting as I was dusting, and it clicked. It was of the Church on Spilled Blood. We were going to see one of my favourite paintings in real life.

The passing of time in St. Petersburg was very unusual. Shops stayed open until 11pm, and restaurants even later. So when we sat down for dinner at our usual 6pm, we got the distinct feeling this was very early. We took to taking afternoon naps to make the day stretch, and headed out for dinner at around 21:00, one night even sitting down at 23:00. This entirely ruined our body clocks once we got home, but hey, you’re supposed to get off your face on your honeymoon. 

Borscht, white Russians, chicken Kiev and beef stroganoff were on my edible list, and we ate them all. They were all incredible. I was particularly surprised with how much I adored borscht with a massive dollop of dill and sour creme. Oh god, I could go for some right now.

A bit of history – Peter the Great who founded St. Petersburg was always portrayed as a cat in caricatures due to his distinguished moustache. St. Petersburg is chock-a-block of cat statues, memorabilia, and The Hermitage museum {pictured further below} is home to not only the worlds largest collection of art, but stray cats as well. 

The above picture was taken on our last day while on a boat tour. There was a terrible storm the night before, and blew all the autumnal colours away.
The Hermitage museum. Home to almost 3,000,000 pieces of art. We took an overwhelming 4 hour tour, and barely skimmed the top. It blew our wee minds. 

Surreal. If you take the time to familiarize yourself with the language and alphabet beforehand, it is very manageable to get around. Husband and I have a very basic knowledge of Russian, and managed to get from point A to point B. It was really like being in a dream, with the juxtaposition of incredible architecture and interesting levels of health and safety. I would go back in a second. 

And on that note, I wish you all a safe and prosperous weekend! Happy Friday 🙂 xx A