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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Finding the Light

I was chatting with our Project Manager this afternoon when she mentioned in passing that she had recommend a potential client look at my blog before she even thought to mentioned my website (which is lucky as it's not ready, yet...). 

A couple of things she mentioned liking about this blog are that 'it's generously spirited' and that I don't ever try to sell my work to my readers. Of course, it's always great when people get what you're about but it made me think about why I don't share my work with you, more? You know, chat about what I do and how I do it?

And so, earlier this evening I popped in to see a client who's project I had completed a while back (he has asked me to do other sections of the house, this time). It was such a pleasure to see the place in much the same state that I left it. I took this photograph of the bathroom storage area that I conceptualised (furniture designer & maker Claire Darwent designed and built it out of solid Iroko - this wood was once science school desks) and I wanted to show it to you because I think it's a very clever use of space. 

There is not a straight wall in this house and so Claire had a job on her hands getting it to work but doesn't it look great? I love the warm wood against the cool charcoal (metallic) wall tiles. 

What I love most about this project is how well it flows - you may have heard of this term. Flow relates to how light (and colour) moves through the home and it has everything to do with good spatial layout. Achieving a good flow is one of the most important things to get right when designing an interior.

A little known fact: for a year, whilst completing my studies at Saint Martins, I worked as a florist - much like interior design, it's not nearly as glamorous as it may sound but knowing how to arrange flowers is such a useful skill. In fact, I've found that there are a number of 'transferable skills' between being a chef, a florist and an interior designer. Working with colour is an obvious one but really, time management is king.


I selected and commissioned most of the art in this house. The architectural paintings are the work of Beth Louise Walker. Just how talented is she?! I love these paintings - she also did the life drawings, above. (Beth is a delight to work with and a wonderful friend, too.)

This handrail was originally painted white and once we stripped it down we found out why... (Luckily, it was nothing a little restorative work couldn't fix.) Now, it's a defining feature of the house. We also stripped the (yellow toned) Maple floors and applied a walnut finish.

Do you see the how the light and colour palettes, in each room, connect?  What do you think? Does it work for you? And whilst we're here, what hidden skills do you have? I'm curious...

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Designer Paint Palettes

Whenever I open a colour card, the first colour I look for is Grey. Rightly or wrongly, I decide whether a particular brand are any good by how they master these shades. (Reds are notoriously difficult to get right, too.)

The paint companies I use most often are Farrow & Ball and The Little Greene Company and, between you and me, I lust after Zoffany's range of colours. Of course, Dulux is the big brand but I refer to them less and less these days because the coverage of the designer brands is superior. It's as simple as that.

I'm going to show you the colours that I feel stand out from each of my favourite paint companies

1. Zoffany

Interiors fabric company Zoffany released their own brand of colours to support their range of wallpapers and it is a fantastic range of colours. I love it so much that I have their entire chart pasted up on my 'Great Wall of Thoughts and Inspiration'.

My one bug bear with them is you can't go into your local paint shop and pick it up - you have to pre-order it. Grrrr, you can just image what the painters make of that... (If someone at Zoffany is reading this, please sort this out. I'd buy your product if you made it more accessible. Truly.)

Vermeer Yellow Gorgeous!

Victorian Purple. I cannot wait to use this...

2. Farrow & Ball

 Farrow & Ball are the popular choice with my clients; they offer brand confidence and so, they are an easy sell. Due to the VOC ruling, F&B no longer produce oil based paints which means that painters (who know what they're doing) wont use the water based eggshell on certain surfaces. Read specialist craftsman, Andy Crichton's fantastic blog for more detailed information.

Now F&B have a number of colours that work hard for the money but the new colours for 2011 are amazing - I love them all! These are just 4 of my favourites:

Charlotte's Locks

Brassica Hardwick White Charlotte's Locks
  Brassica                Hardwick White          Charlotte's Locks

Which leads me to Hardwick White. This colour is an old favourite of mine. It has a strong green undertone but look how well it copes with these strong colours...

 Lonsdale Square 2007                                                        Elmwood Rd 2010 

3. Little Green Company
I love the palettes but the sample pots are too small!

I'm a big fan of Little Greene Company - they're all rounders: Great colours, great product, super customer service. They are also absorbing many disgruntled F&B customers looking for an oil based eggshell in a Heritage colour and they do not disappoint. I love their greys - French Grey never fails me. Great website, too - you can shop by colour 

Lately, I am loving these...

It is important to always sample paint colours, onsite, especially if you're living within an existing palette. To do so, effectively, paint individual colours onto large boards (preferably non-porous) so that you can move them around the room during the day to see how the colour is effected by the changing light.

All three companies listed have excellent websites so you can play around with these palettes before you sample. What do you think of these colours? Are any of the new colours rocking your world?
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