My Dining Room Furniture Makeover

My Dining Room Furniture Makeover with Valspar paint

My dining room has been begging for a makeover. As in most houses, rooms evolve and so has this dining room. We bought the table about 9 years ago and I was adamant to get a big table plus additional extending leaves to make the table bigger when needed, well we used the extension leaves twice! Too much hassle if you ask me. I also have a problem with natural wood – I just don’t like brown, interesting if you work in interiors…  Up until now, I’ve always covered the table-top either with a fancy oilcloth on regular days or with linens when we entertain. The chairs started off well, plain Ikea white ones that was perfect at the time, but as time passed, I would see lovely chairs along the way and wish they were mine. So one day the temptation was too big, these two dark wooden tapestry chairs shouted out from my local charity shop to be snapped up for £5 each and obviously I couldn’t resist! For ages they just stood around as they didn’t fit in anywhere and we had no space for them. I even put them on e-bay to sell, but with no buyers, they eventually ended up in the garage to be stored. Then one day Peter came back from the rubbish dump with two more chairs, or rather, chair frames. This was a clear sign that now is the time to start my dining room furniture makeover.

Below: The “before” furniture.

Valspar painted dining table & chairs, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B


Below: Valspar colour swatches to match up with antique tapestry and vintage Sanderson fabric

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

Above: Choosing paint to match vintage fabrics, Valspar paints;  ‘Sugar leaves’ R144E (sulphur)  and  ‘Mountain Ridge’ R282B (grey)


Choosing a paint range was easy, I’ve had my eye on the new Valspar range that B&Q stocks. I love the vast colour collection and cute colour cards, yes, I’m easily swayed by pretty colours! I knew that I wanted the table legs grey with a whitewashed top ( Table top: Valspar Interior Wood varnish, colour ‘Silver Fox’) but choosing the chair frame colours was a bit more tricky. Grey had to be in the mix, the sulphur yellow came naturally and I was desperate to include turquoise too. I narrowed it down to a deeper grey and a punchy sulphur yellow, the turquoise had to wait for now. I had a few old fabric cuttings that I could easily use to make simple seat pads for the two chair frames (foam glued onto mdf-board and stretching the fabric over, securing by stapling the fabric to the back). In the end, I decided to use a very special vintage Sanderson fabric that were the cute little curtains in the kitchen when we moved here 10 years ago. I always kept the curtain fabric in the hope of using it one day, and here they are, the perfect match with the other two embroidered seats. Now I love my new dining room furniture, the table with white washed top never needs to be covered again and the eclectic mix of chairs adds so much more personality to this room and of course the vintage Sanderson has a great story to tell.


Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B


Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B



Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B


Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B


Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B


Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B


Styling, feature & photos by Theoda Solms Iles

An Effortless Floral Masterpiece – Friday Flowers

The next stop on my flower journey through South Africa brings me to my parents home. In my eyes, my mom is the master and oracle of all things floral! From fresh flowers to floral prints, designs and art – she knows and loves them all. Gerda Solms has the ability to arrange  flowers in such an effortlessly way, she makes it look so easy as if everyone can do it. It might sound like I’m showing off with my mom, and I unashamedly am, because it is my mom, so do forgive me.

Foliage & Fruit flower arrangement

A green and autumnal foliage display gets a lift with fruit and red love-lies-bleeding.


Lily, fern, aster, rose hip arrangement

Green foliage, fern, white lily, rose hip, white asters and trailing jasmin looks great in this urn on the side table.


Below is another corner that doesn’t get left out, here fragrant rose geranium, lavender, grey dusty miller, red love-lies-bleeding and a selection of exotic red plants from the bromelia family, dress this antique chest by the window.


Fern, lavender, grey leave, amaranthus arrangement

Above: Love-lies-bleeding or amaranths.  Selection of foliage, dusty miller, rose geranium, fern, lavender. Two red plants are types of the bromelia-family.


Here my mom and my little girl are picking the flowers for the above arrangement.


My Mom Gerda and Dad Theobald Solms.

Untitled x

Feature & photos by Theoda Solms Iles

All flower displays by Gerda Solms in her home at Bredasdorp, South Africa.

Vintage Pastels for Christmas

Christmas is such a sentimental time of year, reflecting back on happy memories, old stories and feelings of nostalgia. Generally, Christmas is coloured with red and green, gold, silver and white; so seeing Christmas dressed in pastels makes for a lovely change. I fell in love with these vintage pastels that have been revived, they certainly make me smile. I think any colour addict will agree, this pastel Christmas is absolutely beautiful.


Pastels for Christmas

Pastels for Christmas, a vintage house and bauble wreath are the show-stoppers of this display.


Pastels for Christmas

A white tree with pastel decorations and wrapping.


Pastels for Christmas

Dress white china with pastel glasses and accessories, topped off with pastel honeycomb balls


Pastels for Christmas

Vintage decorations and paper bells make for a stunning chair corsage.

These images was beautifully photographed by Mark Scott. Just note the lovely lighting and how the blue walls appear to come alive.  This shoot was styled by myself, together with Alison Davidson and assisted  by Wendy Salmon, while working for Woman & Home magazine UK.

Photography by Mark Scott for Woman & Home magazine UK.

Styling by Theoda Solms Iles, Alison Davidson, assisted by Wendy Salmon.

Feature by Theoda Solms Iles


A White Christmas

Christmas 2014, for me, started way back in May. I was lucky enough to be commissioned by Dobbies to shoot one of their Christmas collections. So early on a Saturday morning in East London, the team ascended on a  fascinating (and scary) old location in Princelet Street, to create a beautiful Christmas. I immediately fell in love with all the porcelain and ceramic decorations, little light-up houses and paper stars that this white collection included. While I styled the shots, the very talented photographer, Sussie Bell, worked her magic and photographed these beautiful shots to create the magical Christmas we all dream of.

A White Christmas, Dobbies, Styled by Theoda Solms Iles

A White Christmas

Above: Paper star string lights, £19.99, Wild Life sketched tea light holders, £2.99 each, Sherwood Stag cushion, £38.99, Knitted stocking, £12, Decorations from £2.99, all Dobbies.


Dobbies Leaf Glitter Wreath £15 Dobbies Porcelain House £20 Dobbies Wooden Chapel £9.99, styled by Theoda Solms IlesDobbies Leaf Glitter Wreath £15 Dobbies Porcelain House £20 Dobbies Wooden Chapel £9.99, styled by Theoda Solms Iles

Leaf Glitter Wreath, Porcelain House & Wooden Chapel

Above: Leaf Glitter Wreath, £15, Porcelain House, £20,  Wooden Chapel, £9.99, all Dobbies


Dobbies Aluminium Deer £24.99 Dobbies Large Porcelain Snowflake £3.99, Styled by Theoda Solms Iles

Aluminium Deer head

Above: Aluminium Deer, £24.99, Porcelain Snowflake, £3.99, all Dobbies.


Dobbies White Porcelain Light Up Table Lamp £20 Dobbies Small Porcelain Snowflake £2.99, styled by Theoda Solms Iles

White Porcelain Light Up Table Lamp & Porcelain Snowflake

Above: White Porcelain Light Up Table Lamp, £20, Small Porcelain Snowflake, £2.99 each, all Dobbies.


Dobbies 20 Star String Lights £19.99 Stag Jaquard Cushion £12, styled by Theoda Solms Iles

Star String Lights & Stag Jacquard Cushion

Above:  20 Star String Lights, £19.99, Stag Jacquard Cushion, £12, all Dobbies

All images Photographed by Sussie Bell, Styled by Theoda Solms Iles for Dobbies.