I was admiring a picture ledge on the rather lovely Tales from a happy house. The only thing better than how lovely the ledge looked was finding out that rather than being impossible to replicate (“Oh, this? I bought it at auction years ago.” “Oh, this? I found it at this DARLING little flea market in Paris.” “Oh, this? My grandfather made it for me when I was born.” etc. etc.) it was in fact from Ikea. From the ‘Ribba’ range, no less, which I know reasonably well since approximately one million of the Ribba frames already hang on my walls.
So upon hearing the fabulous news that it was neither prohibitively expensive, nor impossible to get hold of, I did what any normal person would do. I bought two the next time I went to Ikea. And then I gazed at them in a pleased fashion for a minute or two, slung them under the spare bed, and left them there for at least six months.
I knew exactly where one of the ledges would go. The space above our bed, where I put up our sun mirror. There was only one problem. To put it up, I would have to use the drill. Because here’s the thing: I lost my drilling mojo, over the course of three pregnancies, and having three newborns. When pregnant, I didn’t want to use the drill. I wanted to lie down, eating Lindor chocolates, and watching trashy TV. When I was looking after a newborn, I didn’t want to use the drill. I wanted to have a bath, and a sleep (of course, what I actually did was to spend every hour god sent breastfeeding). So I stopped believing I could do it. And hence the flow of DIY in our house, halting and uncertain at the best of times, came to an almost complete standstill.
Until I decided that this was ridiculous. I OWNED a drill. I had previously used it. It was not rocket science. It was not frightening or mysterious. It was just a drill, and I was going to conquer this strange mental block, and drill holes in the wall if it either killed me, or took me all day.
And I did!
I got Oli to sit up in bed so that I could make sure I put it high up enough. I had an uncomfortable vision of sitting in bed, with a ledge at the exact level of the back of our heads. I wasn’t sure whether the worst thing about that image was the idea of always hitting my head on it, or the idea of constantly knocking pictures off. Either way, it was an image to be avoided. You can see above not only how high up it is but also how I was so excited once I’d actually managed to put the ledge up that I immediately balanced some pictures on it to see how it would look.
Great, was the answer. So I scoured the house to find some more pictures to put on it.
And in one of those weirdly serendipitous moments, it turned out that I already had a collection of frames which, after just a little bit of shifting around, moving forwards and back, looked pretty near perfect together. Some of these were frames that had been looking for a home for a while. Like this one:
This papercut vision of gorgeousness is a personalised family tree. I am very slightly obsessed with personalised prints and homewares, and spent more time than I’m prepared to admit looking at different family tree type prints online. The fact that this one combined a tree, a papercut, and serifed lettering makes it a bit of a holy grail item for me. I actually found it online before Persephone was born, and bookmarked it ready for when our family was complete. I then – ahem – bought it as a father’s day present for Oli from the girls. And the fact that I love it so much is entirely incidental.
This picture was a Valentine’s present from Oli. All the more remarkable (and appreciated) because he bought it all by himself, and I hadn’t even seen it or commented on it, or dropped hints about it, or told him to buy it for me, or emailed him the link, or anything.
This is a picture of my gorgeous sister on her wedding day. And next to it is – um – an empty frame. The colour and size of the empty frame are perfect for the space. All I need to do is put a picture in there.
More family photos at this end of the ledge, too. What’s funny about this ledge is that it’s ended up being largely white and silver, which I would previously have definitely said would not have worked in our room with its largely warm tones. But there it is, being white and silver, and looking lovely. And somehow it’s lightened the whole room up a bit.
There it is. I love it. I am hopelessly, stupidly pleased with myself for having rediscovered my ability to use the drill. It fills the space above our bed beautifully. And I do love a picture ledge. The rest of our bedroom is currently covered in stuff and full of boxes, as minor building work takes place downstairs, and every item we own seems to be in a box, piled on top of other boxes. But looking at this space makes me feel very soothed and happy.