Monday, 31 October 2011

Five more rooms at the painted house

These paint effects are not for everyone. I spent years building up colour on walls with at least three different shades, to provide something luxurious and akin to wallpaper, but without the joints. My current clients love the uneveness of a simple one colour colourwash. In fact the more uneven the paint is on the walls, the more they like it. In the photos this seems to be emphasised even more.

The hall, stairs and landing. My client chose a high quality laminate for the whole of the ground floor, that tones perfectly with the carpet and I painted all the walls in the grey/blue shade of the stripy carpet. I absolutely love this colour - I think it is the nicest one I have ever mixed up. It doesn't feel cold atall but cool, fresh and light. (Bearing in mind this was a grey day in England !) At the bottom of the walls I painted the same glaze twice more up to 16" high to build up the colour and basically to give the walls more punch so that they weren't lost against the flooring.

The kitchen. I stone blocked the mantle around the cooker. If there was an upstand then a colourwash would have worked but as there isn't I felt it needed something more. I tried to tie together the colours of the granite worktop with the glass splashback which is a bit green for my liking. I do try and advise but at the end of the day I'm not an interior designer, just the decorator and when I've finished and walked away my clients need to feel comfortable in their own home.
Entering the kitchen there is an annex which now has a bureau and is used by all the family. I wanted to give this area definition and they took a chance on my idea of horizontal stripes. As you walk into the kitchen the stripes can only be seen on the right, so they don't compete with the stone blocking etc.
When you look back the other way you get a different feeling. Once again they were highly delighted and it definately gives the wow factor they like.

The tv also works well against the stripes, which won't compete with much else when they sit down against the opposite wall on the leather sofa they have ordered. Above the sofa are four paintings I did years ago and which originally hung in my cafe. They are on permenant loan - which means they can stay here for as long as they want unless I feel I want them back. We're all happy because I have no room for them at home.

I painted the spare room with a simple effect that I have done before. I just leave about a 6cm gap at the corner of each wall and around the ceiling, skirting and door frames, so that there is a white border, which I then emphasise with a tiny painted line on the edge of the colour. It works in really simple rooms and this is literally a box with one window and one door (and as, yet no proper furniture).

In the sons bedroom in the loft I didn't do too much. I wanted to keep it light and painting the sloping walls would have meant painting the ceiling, just because of the way the walls are. I did a simple border - grey ( the colour of the ensuite tiles) and then blue and then a putty colour to match the carpet.

So, the last of the five rooms - the dining room. My client bought the furniture years before, for a house that they lived in, that was partly built in 1789 !  The style went well there, but in the new house seemed too old fashioned and my client had actually gone off it. She told me she wanted to fall in love with it again. I wanted to do something richer than all the other rooms, but not dark and not too full of colour. I chose wall panels, and made a stencil from the patterns in the carpet. The colour has more yellow ochre in it but still ties with the other rooms and the furniture now doesn't feel out of place. My clients were once again happy people !

Before and after !

So, the house is nearly done, only the cloakroom and the lounge to show you. But in the last few weeks I have also painted the kitchen tables and chairs, the furniture in their daughter's room, an occasional table, a mirror, a candle sconce, a watering can and the walls of the summerhouse ! There is no other house where I have done so much, but I am indeed grateful and happy with the results.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

4th time around

For the last seven weeks I have been working on a house for some old clients. This is the fourth property I have done for them, and one which I have really enjoyed. Basically, they had a house re-modelled and extended and painted top to bottom in white - already for me! It's a dream job because I know what they like and they completely trust me and really let me do what I want !
When I first arrived there were about 10 tradesmen there so I 'just painted some furniture white'!  While doing this the client showed me the colours she wanted and we discussed ideas. Basically the whole colour palette comes from the carpet which is on the stairs and landing.

 The colours range from ecru, through beige and greys to charcoal with a grey blue stripe. It's not very easy to see but they are really all neutrals apart from the blue and charcoal.
The main objective was to keep the house feeling like their property in Spain - quite fresh and light !
We decided early on that the hall should be the grey blue colour, right from the front door up to the son's attic room. The client mentioned baby blue for the daughter's room but I felt this was wrong so came up with the following solution.

I painted blue around the windows and door frame and ran a border connecting them. Around the blue I left about an inch of white then the rest of the walls are colour washed in a shade from the stripy carpet. The carpet in all the bedrooms tones with the hall carpet perfectly so it also connects with the walls. In the ensuite I reversed it - the neutral border around the window and rest of the walls in blue.
Then I added a daisy in various random places along the blue border.

The colour above the blue is the same as below but washed out so that the room doesn't look too boxy. There is no coving as the client didn't want any; and no ceiling light either, just lamps that all come on with the flick of a switch. These ideas she has brought over from Spain and really help to keep the look simple.  This is also the furniture I painted which last time we did cream and really distressed - now it's just white !
The clients were really pleased so it was onto the next room - the master suite.

In all of the properties we have done these stripes. The first time around was in the main bedroom, the next time in a spare room and last time in the daughter's bedroom in Spain. Here I have run thinner stripes in the hallway (which has a door to the en-suite) and then painted larger stripes in the main room and dressing area. Once again they tone with the carpet although there was more yellow ochre in the mix.

In the ensuite I just used the same colour allover, no stripes, as these would have been competing with the tiles. The client already had the pictures which look perfect.

Going in to take these photos (when I was painting there was no furniture or carpet) was like walking into a hotel suite- very luxurious, but still with a very cosy, homely feel and perfect for my clients !

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Sunday, 16 October 2011

three hours in Lewes

Yesterday we spent time in the gorgeous, historic town of Lewes, East Sussex. The weather was amazing for October and three hours just wasn't enough !
Photos from my phone don't really do it justice either - from the antique shops at the bottom of the hill across the River Ouse and on up the hill all the way to the castle, there is an endless amount of historical detail to view and beautiful individual family run shops to drool over.

The most inspirational of these is 'Flint' at the top of the hill. Beautifully displayed homewares interspersed with books, shoes, clothes and bags all laid out on my kind of furniture - painted, distressed, softened by time and very chic. The website is just a tiny taster of the objects on sale, but visit the shop to soak up the great ambience and subtle neutral shades. And if like me you would like to move in, they also offer an interior design service!

I also loved Wickle which was like a mini shopping experience, with coffee and cake being served at the back and every inch stuffed with colourful objects for all ages.
Next time I want to try out Bill's which has a great reputation but was too busy for us yesterday (three hours just isn't enough) and also the Ieko Cafe looked very interesting. Half way up the hill it seems to be a coffee shop together with an interior shop that specialises in selling eco friendly paints.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

a couple of photos

So here is 'the thing'. A little stand for a bathroom (for soaps bottles) or in my case a kitchen. Just for now it has a couple of salt and pepper sets (light bulbs and corn) and some Spode herb jars. The herb jars look so good that I am going to try and buy more and although I don't want a blue and white kitchen I do have a bit of a collection (many moons ago I used to run a Royal Worcester and Spode concession within a department store in Brighton) 
The stand was grey so I simply painted it white and rubbed it back a little. Behind are the unfinished tongue and groove walls !  (And yes I do like a few tacky/twee things - salt and peppers - can't resist if they look really cute. I'll stage them soon and show you how good they look !!!!! honest ).

Newly painted mirror originally pine, painted blue then gold (not by me) and slightly distressed. Very cheap candle sconces from Spain which although a nice grey, looked too shiny; so I painted and distressed them aswell. Now on the wall, I just need to paint the screws.
This is our hall which obviously needs a little attention - the wire hanging down, ceiling light replaced and I also want to paint the back of the door and woodwork. All this we hope to do in the next few months, although I am really pleased with the cabinet I have had for years, Laura Ashley lamp and little dish with bird ( from a friend's shop that has unfortunately closed).

So as the William Morris quote says I am on my way to making everything either functional or beautiful or both. Well as good as it can be on my budget, with our space and with a distinct inability to throw anything out !

Sunday, 9 October 2011

First post - everything is all white

Don't get me wrong I love colour. You can't spend your life training as a textile designer, working in a tapestry shop and then painting other peoples homes without using a lot of colour. But I love stuff. I especially love putting things on walls - shelves, mirrors, pictures, hooks, sconces, corbels and much more - so a white backdrop is perfect for me. Also we live in a small three bedroomed terrace and white walls always make a space seem larger.
I am going to try looking at our house as though it belonged to a client and see if there is any way I can use my home as a showroom for my ideas. But for now I am filling my creative needs by just painting things white, including the kitchen which we have done up the best way we can on a limited budget.
We had hoped to have an exposed brick wall but the bricks just weren't good enough and have ended up with tongue and groove everywhere except on the ceiling. This is actually the wall covering I love the most. My dream house would be a seaside shack all made from wood - Scandinavia meets New England. And it definately definately wouldn't be stained or varnished wood like a sauna - it HAS to be painted wood.
So the T & G is going white, as well as two mirrors, two sets of wall sconces, three corbels and a thing - which I have no word for, but pictures will follow I promise (as soon as I find out how to do it).