From grey to black in a day

Today should be a working at home day instead I am painting the hallway black. Have 10 hours to complete it as Graham has just left the house and he is not in on the plan (Maud is pretty good at keeping secret’s)! Having just had the outside painted black its been bugging me that although my hall is dark grey its not quite dark enough.  I need it to harmonise perfectly with the outside so that when you transition from inside to out it flows beautifully( and when I say bugging me I mean keeping me awake at night – its a bad affliction this design perfection bug have been pacing the house wondering why its not working as I want in the small hours of the night).

Now Graham won’t understand this nor will he agree with all the pain of painting the hall yet again another hue so its best not to tell him and surprise him with it this evening. Fingers crossed hey I can pull it together.

My inspiration I adore this hall home of Jenna Lyons and her partner. Now if I could look like Jenna all would be well with the world.

Open plan spaces yay or nay

The trend for open plan living has been with us for some time now and what baffles me than anything is why or why so many of them are so under decorated, bland and boring. Vast empty spaces with furniture shoved up against walls like some doctor’s waiting room and no feeling of intimacy or snugness what so ever drives me crazy.

The key I feel is even though the space is open plan each area needs to hold its own. A dining room butting up to a kitchen needs to feel lived in and loved – sling a pendant over a dining table, perhaps soften the space with a rug, flowers, candles. Also make the kitchen feel less like a kitchen, stack heaps of books on the counter, put oversized table lamps on the island, or super sexy bar stools against  the counter for a bit of added glamour and texture.  You can of course also create visual screens with storage walls or screens –its all about defining each area and in so doing creating a constantly evolving, yet indefinable style.

My pad – lower ground floor where the dining room and the kitchen are one. I’ve linked the two together by painting the cupboards a deep water blue and picking up the colour in the dining chairs. The counter has an oversized vintage light and super sexy bar stools (as uncomfortable as hell but who cares) flank the island.



Finding inspiration

So stiff this morning it’s proving quite difficult to do anything. Graham and I planted about 40 balls of varying sizes of buxus (or box to you I) in our new front garden yesterday. Apart from one major domestic (I wanted them planted a fist apart for that instant immediate wow garden kind of look Graham being more practical and budget aware (otherwise known as a tight ass I think I may have screamed) wanted them planted about 20 feet apart!  Anyway fight over I pointed out that neither Maud or I could live in a house with a front garden as bland and boring and migraine inducing as that so now we are all back to being happy – yay – except we are about another 20 balls short of box so more planting on the weekend – great!

I digress what I wanted to focus on is inspiration and finding it. If you are stuck in a rut, you’ve gone thru back issues of magazines, flicked thru a zillion interior books and still haven’t come across a style or colour palette that appeals then take inspiration from some of our greatest artists. If I am stuck then my mini art library is my first port of call. Time and time again I get inspired by Matisse by the heady colours so prevalent in his paintings think bright green, watery cyclamen, lilac, violet, turquoise pretty much the colours of nature. If it works in a painting you can be darn sure it will work in your pad. My signature look as you all know is dark, sludgy inky hues but I am constantly wanting to ramp these up with some pretty intoxicating combinations and Matisse time and time again inspires me to do just that.

I came across this very lovely interior (walls painted red so not my thing) and yet I adore and as I was flicking thru my big old art book recently it occurred how very similar the palettes were to the image shown below. To quote Marie Antoinette  “There is nothing new except what has been forgotten,” Bravo to that.

A beautiful palette especially clever as it feels relaxing even though the walls are painted fiery red.

A painting by Matisse very close in hues to the interior above. Again deepest darkest red is juxtaposed with some soft neutrals to balance the impact.

I leave you with one more quote for the road which cheers me up no end especially if you run your own business or are thinking of starting one up.  Spoken of course by the fabulous Mr Trump who may have dubious taste but it when it comes to working hard – hats off to him.

If you’re interested in ‘balancing’ work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.

Paint it black

A recent trip to Amsterdam inspired me to paint all the exterior woodwork and masonry on my house black. For some strange reason in this country we are not too keen to leap over to the dark side when it comes to the exterior of our buildings and yet I think it looks and feels fantastically chic. New York town houses look super sexy when alt the trim goes dark  it gives one’s pad an instant upgrade from the normal beige haze of graciousness to something very elegant and sophisticated.  Not only that but the contrast between the brick and black trim looks phenomenal. Photography by Graham Atkins Hughes

How beautiful is this – white, cream or any other neutral would look way to wishy washy

If its too much of a leap to go dark outside then how about in – window frames painted out in a deep dark hue look so much more sexy than the lighter options.