This is a very exciting episode, not only does it kick off series 9 of the Podcast but Kate escaped London to visit me in the country for a tour of my newly decorated abode. It was so lovely to be able to record in person and not confined to our duvet dens, struggling with the joys of technology. I was so intrigued to see what Kate made of my colourful haven and whether she would remove her sunglasses – yes she arrived with sunglasses on a very overcast day – as she was ‘scared’ to enter the house! As always, you can catch the full episode here, and do head on over to our ever-resourceful Facebook book community to share and chat about all things interiors.
First, though we wanted to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you as we were over the moon to reach over 1 million downloads (and beyond) we are truly blown away and didn’t expect our cushion plumping chat would achieve this, so thank you!
On with the tour…
First up, the hallway, which Kate has seen before but this time there’s the addition of new blinds. I couldn’t decide on what fabric to choose for these and I hate to admit it – but it was Kate’s idea to go with a fabric that will tie-in with the blue and white theme and let my pink runner take centre stage. She does make a valid point though, if like me, you go for a bold scheme, it’s important to get the balance right, reign it in, otherwise you’ll be looking at a hot mess. The hallway is the perfect place to experiment with colour as it’s a room you tend to move through and choose a colour you really love. I have always been a huge fan of the intense blue and I will never tire of it and I don’t care if it’s ‘in fashion’ or not. Yes, I have used it in the hallway, up the stairs and the landing, I just love it and it links all my rooms together.
As Kate pointed out, when you come home from work, shopping or in from the rain you need a space that will welcome you and make you feel happy and I do feel that when I walk through the door.
I’ve had this House of Hackney wallpaper on my wish list when it first launched in this fabulous colourway, it made my heart sing and so I held on to it in the hope I could use it somewhere – much to my husband’s dismay. This is part of my philosophy, you have to listen to those heartfelt reactions and if you don’t have a place for it there and then hold onto it and pop it in your inspiration box. You have to listen to your gut and see it through – I should have listened to my own mantra when I first painted the office white. When you chicken out of something it’s usually the wrong choice and later down the line, you will wish you’d gone for the braver choice. One phrase that sticks in my mind is ‘in order to be confident you have to be courageous first.’
This isn’t a feature wall scenario – it’s on all four walls and it now has the thumbs up from the hubby. As I’ve said before, you have to really go for it, otherwise, it will look like you weren’t quite brave enough. Decorate for yourself and not to impress other people, I know that my decorating choices may not be Kate’s cup of tea but it won’t stop her coming over for a drink and recording the odd podcast – even if it is wearing sunglasses!
The key to a successful maximalist scheme is to keep to a tight colour palette and I say go for three hero colours and use them in different proportions. If you have a quick glance at my office, you’ll see pink, blue and white are the foundation colours, yes you’ll also see a hint of orange, lilac and yellow but these are in much smaller doses. So, find your own colours and then follow the recipe to get it right – I don’t believe in copycat interiors!
On to the living room and I wondered how the chintz sofa would go down! We got a thumbs-up as she liked the soft colour palette, even though they are my family of colours, they are against a neutral backdrop. As you will discover there is a bit of chintz in each room – my red thread if you like and although they are different colours they are similar in theme. You’ll also see stripes in varying form, the Ottoline blinds in the hallway, ticking stripe curtains in the office and my striped curtains here in the living room. As much I love the energy and movement of a floral I think a scheme needs the calming effects of a stripe to stop the space looking too crazy.
The bijou shower room features a yellow that Kate approves of especially the mustard tone of it and also the two-tone effect with the band of white tiles at the top. I put the band of white not only to break up the yellow but to also bring a little more light into the space. It is a very small room (1x2m) but by not having a glass screen it opens it up and you don’t feel squashed in a cubicle while taking a shower. You did need to think about the splash zone within a wetroom – I get a little splash on the sink but it doesn’t go as far as the loo. I think small rooms can really lack character so I always try and get a really bold pattern, preferably oversized and you’ll notice that the fab flooring features my colour palette, including the blue that links to the hallways and a hint of red linking to the room next door……
Having the wetroom keeps the loo and the shower out of the bathroom which has allowed me to have a room with a bath! Without those elements, I designed this room as I would a living room, with wooden floor. Do bear in mind most companies will not offer the warranty if used in a bathroom, but I’m confident about using here as there is no shower and I’m not bathing toddlers every night. I can get my pattern in with some fabulous artwork which I spotted at Ardingly antique fair and because I firmed up my colour palette very early on, I only had eyes for things in my colours. I got a message on Insta about the painting being off-centre, not only do I just like it that way but when designing a room I always think about the viewpoint outside the room – so the lesson here is don’t design a room in isolation.
In hush voices, Kate noticed that there is a rail around the sink ready for a skirt as I’m hoping the husband won’t notice if I just pop it on one day! I am on the hunt for a piece of vintage floral fabric to use here, a remnant is a perfect solution for small projects such as this as it will be much more cost-effective.
As you can see, Tom’s office is getting there, we added batoning to create some interesting detail and we can’t ignore the colour! Kate did question whether Tom actually likes it or was he coerced into having it in HIS office. I went the green as if he had his way he would live outside so this is the ideal link to nature plus it fits his Autumn personality. Kate did actually ask his thoughts and his reply: “Don’t judge a scheme until it’s finished.” I’ve trained him well!
Finally, we come to the kitchen and you will notice my red thread continues with some more floral pattern. We had white uPVC windows here which in themselves are a design crime on a Victorian farmhouse, but we stuck with them and painted them. We used an undercoat by Zinsser (Little Greene has since launched a primer) and then painted them in Lamp Black by Little Greene and as the wallpaper is quite dark the windows now disappear within the scheme and draw the eye to the view beyond – they no longer shout out for attention. Colour is such a great tool to distract the eye from things you don’t really like, especially when it comes to budget – replacing these windows would be a hefty sum so they’re staying.
So, in summary, I always abide by my room recipe – bringing together all your ingredients of colour, texture and pattern and stick with it. If you want to explore the colourful side, my latest online course Bold, Brave and Beautiful Interiors launches today where I share my design principles and help you create a beautiful home in your own way.
A huge thank you for listening to the show and please do rate and review, it really does help!