Tag Archives: colour

Utility room reveal

DroolSome time ago I published this post revealing our plans for the utility. And then it happened and Oh. My. God. It may just be the sexiest utility room you have ever clapped eyes on.

No, seriously. You’ll be drooling – get something to wipe that up before you click any links below. The Matthew Williamson wallpaper is incredible.

The sexy was added to thanks to the exceedingly kind folks at Samsung and ao.com who kindly bestowed a top-of-the-range Ecobubble washing machine and dryer upon us.

I’m honestly not just saying this but we LOVE everything about the appliances and are especially looking forward to how much use they’ll be getting when our daughter arrives in a few months. I suspect their super large capacity may come in handy…

We gladly offered our formal reviews for the machines and even more gladly welcomed Samsung and AO into our home to take pics. You can read the resulting blog piece here which also features some amazing pics of our kitchen and the cake I made for our visitors. Before we all devoured it – let it be known that I make a damn fine sponge.

So, once you’re done reading all that, head on over to my ‘after’ page and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments section!

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Back bedroom – reveal

The main guest room is the second smallest bedroom at the back of the house – peaceful and quiet. When we moved in it had been a little girl’s bedroom, hence the pink in our before photo:

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We realise how privileged we are to have a space that truly is a guest room and doesn’t need to double for anything else so we wanted to create something calming and tranquil yet fittingly elegant.  And we think we’ve pulled it off:

Elephant's Breath bedroom Dimity Slipper Satin

 

farrow and ball bedroom

Elephant's breath bedroom with dimity

There was never really much doubt what colour we were going to paint this room – we fell in love with Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath as soon as we tried the tester pot (and Oly stopped laughing at the name). Yes, it’s the colour everyone goes on about, but really – there’s a reason for that. In some lights it’s grey, in others taupe, in others a hint of mauve. A very pleasant chameleon and a perfect backdrop to the various objects in the room.

We chose to bring out the mauve undertones of Elephant’s Breath with the ready made metallic damask curtains, which are a decent weight for the price, and are from Next.

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We knew we wanted a black iron framed bed – to tie in with the fireplace – but, given this is just the spare room after all, we couldn’t justify spending a fortune on it and so we picked up a total £99 bargain from Dreams – surprisingly sturdy and well built!

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The mirror is from Achica. It sets the room off beautifully and really emphasises the height of the ceiling. It has an antique feel to it and yet manages to avoid the Shabby Shit look that we’re really not keen on.

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The little chair was my mum’s. It was always her bedroom chair – I’m not really sure where it came from originally, whether it was an heirloom or was made by grandfather for her, but I’ve always known it. We had it restored and reupholstered a couple of years ago – in a colour that perfectly compliments this room. It’s almost as if we knew!

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Furniture is actually cheap pine Argos furniture, painted up and with new knobs. And a great solution for some shoe storage (yes, there are more shoes in other rooms…)

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The fireplace was already painted and, after the mammoth effort of restoring the one in the sitting room we just decided to just repaint this one, and very smart it looks too.

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Chipping off the paint from the tiles revealed a pretty design that works well with the room – highly doubtful they’re originals but very pretty.

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And our beautiful chandelier was from Laura Ashley. The crack in the newly plastered and painted ceiling came courtesy of the loft insulation chap!

P1040150And finally, if, like me, you’re a paint geek then you’ll want to know that – alongside the Estate Emulsion Elephant’s Breath walls – woodwork is painted Dimity eggshell, ceiling is Slipper Satin and the coving and ceiling rose are All White. Furniture is painted in Off White eggshell.

Farrow and ball bedroom colour scheme

So would you be happy to stay in this room if you were our guest? We’ve certainly had no complaints thus far!

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Bedroom colour schemes

We have four bedrooms and – for now – we’re ignoring the smallest one that is a bit of a dumping ground/study. So there’s three that have had the full makeover.

I realised we hadn’t yet shared our chosen paint colours, so thought I’d do that now as I still haven’t taken photos of the finished rooms. (Sorry! I keep meaning to but need to get some shots in daylight but as we’re at work throughout the week and busy at weekends I never seem to get round to it.)

So, for now, you’ll just have to make do with the colours.

Back bedroom

I really didn’t want to love Elephants Breath – it seems to be the shade that everyone associates with Farrow&Ball – but, oh, one little tester pot and I was hooked. It’s such a lovely soft neutral with surprising hints of purple. Calming, elegant and serene. It had to happen.  Our chosen woodwork colour, Dimity, doesn’t seem to be chosen often for woodwork but it’s a lovely pairing due to it’s very slightest hint of pink – in some lights. Oly is smug because he picked this one out.

farrow and ball elephant's breath

Elephant’s Breath on the walls

farrow and ball dimity

Dimity on woodwork

Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin

Slipper Satin on the ceiling

Farrow and Ball All White

All White for the cornicing and ceiling rose

Music room

We knew we had a few bright accents for this room so wanted to keep it a fairly neutral backdrop. Plus, as Oly has insisted on calling it HIS room we wanted to keep it a little masculine.  So, we turned to the delicious grey palette.

farrow and ball Lamp Room Gray

Lamp Room Gray below the picture rail

farrow and ball Pavillion Gray

Pavilion Gray above the rail

cornforth white

Cornforth White on the ceiling

Farrow and Ball All White

All White for the woodwork, picture rail and cornicing

Master bedroom

This one was the most contentious and Oly needed a fair bit of persuading – what would I do without Pinterest? But, in the end, we opted for full-on drama with the utterly fabulous Hague Blue. Perfect white woodwork was the obvious choice but – as with the rest of the house – we didn’t want to use white on the ceiling (and lose the focus on the cornicing) so we went for the softest of blues in Cabbage White.

farrow and ball Hague Blue

Hague Blue on the walls. Yes, that’s right on the walls!

farrow and ball Cabbage White

Cabbage White on the ceiling

Farrow and Ball All White

All White for the woodwork, cornicing and ceiling rose

So, there you go, that’s our bedroom paint colours. Each room is deliberately quite different, but they don’t fight with each other as you cross into them.

What do you think of our choices?

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Hallway, stairs, landing and lobby paint colour scheme

Would you like to see another colour scheme? Sure you do!

When we tried to work out this area one thing was very clear – we had a lot of wall and a lot of wood.  We also realised we’re so blessed with such great space that we didn’t need to comply with the usual requirement to make a hallway feel larger by keeping the colours light.  With this freedom, we were surprised at how quickly we settled on paint colours.

Ready? here goes:

Farrow and Ball French Gray

French Gray on the main body of the walls

Farrow and Ball Old White

Old White on the walls below the dado and the inner door from the lobby and screen

Farrow and Ball Slipper Satin

Slipper Satin for achitraves, doors, dado, ceilings and the picture rail in the lobby

We’re also going to use Slipper Satin on the stairs – on the large original side panels as well as on the spindles and sofits. The newel posts and banisters will be stained (mahogany) and either varnished or waxed.

Farrow and Ball All White

All White for the cornicing and ceiling roses

Farrow and Ball Mouse's Back

Mouse’s Back (such a great name!) for the body of the walls in the Lobby

Farrow and Ball Brinjal

Brinjal in full gloss for the back of the front door.

And that’s it! We were advised to choose colours that make us happy. Oly loved Brinjal when I first started waving F&B colour charts at him so we’re glad to have found it a home.  We’ve got all the paint and now, as with the rest of the place, just need to get it on the walls!

We’re really happy with these colours and hope they will transform the house and its entrance way back to a  more elegant past, without making it feel too dated.

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Sitting room paint colour scheme

We’ve finished plastering. Woohoo!! Just now need to patch up the gaps and clean up the mess. Then it’s onto sanding, mist coating and finally  – be still my beating heart – painting!

In the meantime,  I thought it was perhaps time to share another colour scheme, this time for our sitting room.*

Farrow and Ball Pigeon

Pigeon for the main body of the walls

The computer screen doesn’t massively differentiate the next colour from Pigeon, but it really is different (lighter) in real life!

Farrow and Ball Blue Gray

Blue Gray for the frieze (above the picture rail)

Farrow and Ball Off White

Off White for ceiling, skirting, window woodwork, architrave, doors and picture rail

Farrow and Ball Pointing

Pointing for the cornice and ceiling rose

The idea is to create a cosy, calming, neutral backdrop, though not too neutral. We have some lovely bits to go in this room including a family heirloom – a painted corner cabinet from 1710 – as well as framed ivory fan set against fuschia felt. And, of course, we have a wonderful original cast iron fireplace – a post about that little beauty will follow soon.

We need to crack on with painting as soon as poss so we can get the radiators back on before we start to need them. Then it’s just carpets, curtains, furniture etc and we MIGHT stand a chance of being done by Christmas. That’s the plan anyway.

Oly has been known to become one with floor...

Oly has been known to become one with floor…

* I refuse to call what will be our new beautiful room a lounge.

In the little flat I grew up in my mum always used the term ‘sitting room’ – and I find it much more elegant and fitting for our darling house.

There will be no lounging on settees in this room, there will be sitting on sofas.

And, ok, after a few drinkies there may possibly be the occasional touch of sprawling on floors……

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When we fell in love with a map

The Future Mapping Company shop

Small but perfect shop

When we were in the very early stages of planning our dining area we knew we were going to paint it a shade of grey (in the end we opted for Farrow and Ball’s Cornforth White) and we also knew we’d need to inject a pop of colour. On a rainy day last January in East London we found the answer.

It was peeing it down  and we were at Columbia Road Flower Market – we’d made a special trip back there to replace (as far as one can) stolen wedding jewellery after we were burgled.

There’s a great vintage shop called Glitterati which is where we were heading; treading the steps my beloved mum used to when she nursed in that area back in the 1950s.

However, partly because we wanted to escape the rain and partly because Oliver is a huge map fan, we dived into a tiny little shop called the Future Mapping Company.

On the back wall of the shop – which was, incidentally, about the width of the shop – was a fabulous 2m x 1m world map in shades of green.

Future Mapping Company's world map

Future Mapping Company’s world map

After gazing at it a while we got chatting to the seller who told us how it is drawn using equal-area projection to represent countries in their correct proportional size. It’s then printed using a lithographic process, with special colours, including silver metallic for the seas. The print is finished with a sealer, to protect the inks, and a gloss UV varnish is applied to the landmasses – for contrast.

Oly was sold, he wanted it and we knew – instantly- which wall it was destined for.

To save lugging it in the rain we ordered it when we got home (free shipping!) and it then spent several glum months in a cardboard tube.

The talented Robin Taylor then did a superb job of framing it for us – not an easy job on something this size, particularly when we didn’t want glass so’s not to obscure the print perfection.

And now, finally, we have been able to hang it.

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Perfect against the Cornforth White walls, – ceiling is in Strong White and it’s All White on woodwork and cornice

Future Map

Litho print with metallics and gloss UV

Map

Looking good with DownPipe cabinets in the background

Pretty as a picture – what’s not to love about a map?

The size of our wall somewhat dwarfs the 2m x 1m map in the pictures but, in real life, it looks very impressive and achieves the shot of colour we wanted.

Oly has already been lost to the wonder of the map, idly gazing. I suspect he won’t be the last.

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A 32 hour lesson

We both work in corporate communications. A large part of our day is spent clarifying messages, aiding understanding and making sure everyone knows the score. Clearly, we can’t be arsed to do that outside of work or the disaster that was last weekend would never have occurred.

A major misunderstanding with Kitchen Guy went something like:

“Just checking, you are doing all the painting in the kitchen diner, right?”
“Erm, no.”
“But we thought that was what we’d agreed – you do everything, we don’t need to touch any of it.”
“Except the decorating. I don’t do painting.”
“But you did the painting on the job you did for our friends, you did everything for them whilst they were on holiday.”
“No, they paid for a decorator to do the painting, I just organised it.”
“Ah. So, can we add it on to the job now?”
“No chance. That’s 2 weeks of a professional decorator’s time.”
“Ah.”

Head in Hands

Dawning realisation

So, it kind of explained our bemusement at the order of work thus far. We did wonder why they put spotlights into the ceiling before painting them and radiators onto bare plastered walls etc. Just kept putting it down to “Ooooo, I guess that’s how professionals do it. Isn’t it fascinating?”

We also wondered why Kitchen Guy gave an ‘am I meant to care?’ look when we told him the paint had been delivered and was stacked in the hallway.

As we marvelled at our incredible stupidity our choices loomed sharply into focus.

1) Pay for a pro when the job is complete. (Meaning the kitchen diner wouldn’t be finished for another few weeks and it would cost a fair whack, which we don’t really have left for this room.)

2) Do the painting ourselves when the kitchen was installed – being incredibly careful not to get paint on our new cupboards, floor, appliances, granite etc etc (Note: We are not incredibly careful people and masking up a job of that size would take FOREVER.)

3) Stop whining, refuse to believe it’s 2 weeks work for a professional decorator and that it’s totally beyond a pair of amateurs and get the f***on with it. It’s only painting after all.

Yes, dear readers, we went for option 3. Because we are stupid and stubborn.

So, in one weekend we:

      • Mist coated 2 ceilings (watered down emulsion to seal the bare plaster)
      • Mist coated all the walls
      • Sanded, undercoated and two 2 coats on the coving
      • Slapped 2 coats on the walls


At this point it seems only fair to remind you that the space we are working in is pretty big and the ceiling is about 3 metres from the ground. And, we had no light as the electrics aren’t yet wired up. Impressed yet? You bloody should be.

All in, this took us 32 hours. Each.

So, 64 hours – yep, Kitchen Guy was right: 2 weeks work for a pro.

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Cornforth White, All White and Great White

Did we do a great job? Well, to be honest, it wasn’t bad considering. We didn’t sand down nicks on the walls in between coats, we didn’t have time but, all in, we were pretty proud – especially when, this week, we were complimented on our finish by a very experienced tradesman. We still have woodwork to finish off but that’ll be much easier to tackle, even with everything installed.

Farrow and Ball greys

There was a lot of surface to cover

What we learnt:

      • Clarify exactly what is included when you hire any tradesman (yeah, yeah, basic principle, we know, we shouldn’t have had to learn this the hard way, blah blah blah)
      • 32 hours is a serious amount of hours to put into one weekend and it is not recommended, however keen you think you are. 
      • Painting on that level can make you hurt in places you had no idea could hurt that doesn’t subside for days and inexplicable bruising will appear
      • When rollering, small specks of paint make you look like you have the pox and will alarm the local shop keeper when popping out for a pint of milk
      • Painting high ceilings is undoubtedly the most evil job ever (especially when you’re only 5’3’’)
      • Farrow and Ball paint is worth every last goddamn penny as it goes on like a dream and the finish is amazing – we ain’t never looking back
      • A sense of humour, and a little whisky, can get you through just about anything
Downpipe cabinet

We’re really pleased with the colours

There’s also a slight satisfaction that whilst Kitchen Guy is doing an amazing job and we were quite happy to hand the whole lot over (and indeed thought we had) there’s something quite satisfying about knowing our own blood, sweat and tears are in that room now.

Above all, our 32 hour lesson has taught us that, if we put our mind to it, we can do it. So the rest of the house feels a tiny bit less daunting now.

Bring it on.

His n hers

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