As ever a collection of images that have caught my eye this week – some in relation to my own renovation and others just because they are, as the title suggests, beautiful rooms. We tend to think of rich russet, golden yellow and conker brown when it comes to Autumn but pink is also rich and warm and works perfectly all year round.
There is also, in many of these designs, an unexpected element. Something that creates the “ooh” moment and every room needs one of those. Obviously in this kitchen above it’s the strawberry pink kitchens units and what a joy. This is, apparently a small kitchen and many of us would think it best to stick to neutrals to try and make the room feel bigger. Spoiler – it won’t. It will look like a small room painted in neutrals to make it seem larger. Far better to go dramatic – as you can see this doesn’t automatically mean dark – and own the size. In a big kitchen this would be too much (see below) and wouldn’t need to be kept as an accent. In a small room go for it.
I have said this before – it’s very hard to hide features, shapes architectural bits and bobs that displease you. They will also look they are in disguise – the fancy dress person at the black tie ball – better to own them and that can mean by emphasising them in a colour or pattern that you adore and that will always give you pleasure when you look at it. So instead of wincing every time you see the beam, or the small space, flip the coin – drink in the colour you love and take pleasure in seeing it everyday – ultimately you will see and take pleasure in that far more.
Talking of those bright colours. It doesn’t have to always be about hiding something. They can also be used to draw attention to a feature – the joy of this method is that only you will know if you were trying to disguise or emphasise and therein lies the cleverness of this method.
This kitchen, above and below, by the clever design duo Salvesen and Graham, is big. Big enough to take strong colours but instead the bulk of the cupboards are painted in a barely there pale pink. So your eye is drawn to the fabulous burgundy dresser with its yellow lining. That’s a tonal contrast with the two shades of pink as the yellow is seen only when the door is open. A burst of joy when you’re reaching in for something.
Then there is the island – painted in dark green to link to the outside view but also to break up all the pink. All the colours sit well together but as a combination you have, essentially, two – pale pink and burgundy and the green. The yellow is occasional. The green of the island links back to the pink via the tiles in the chimney breast.This is a master class is using colour but not in a scary way. It’s bold yet subtle at the same time.
Staying with soft pink and this room below is painted in Fenwick & Tilbrook Dry Earth. This is a good example of why you must get a tester as it’s very subtle on screen but these pale shades intensify when they meet each other in corners and shadows and the light – warm yellow south or cool blue north – will make a huge difference to the end result.
Here the window frames match the wall but the coppery rail and curtains act to deepen the pink and move the colour needle more towards a warm orange than a burgundy so it’s teetering towards, and stopping short of, a full pink orange colour clash. I use the word “clash” with caution as I happen to think they are colours that go well together but tradition dictates that pink and red/orange shouldn’t mix.
Taking that pink deeper and darker (down, down, deeper and down – name that tune!) to this room where the rich pink on the walls and sofa, works so well with the dark reclaimed iroko wood. I took a trip to Retrouvius (who designed this room) only last week to pick up more reclaimed lab worktops to use as desks. I’d love to create shelves around a door like this but I don’t think we have enough room. Note though, the gold arm chair to break up all that pink and dark wood and how the lighter room beyond that is filled with plants draws the eye.
I included this room below partly because it’s just lovely but also because that patterned curtain is a real disrupter and it looks fabulous. This house was designed in the 50s and we tend not to see florals in this type of mid-century design but it provides the perfect link between the clean straight lines of the interior and the riot of greenery outside the window. This is that unexpected element I was talking about. And yes, it can be hard to do on your own, that’s why these people are designers, but take inspiration from their bold and daring schemes and see if you can gain the confidence to colour outside the own lines in your own homes.
Back to a more conventional space (it’s a bumper edition this week) and this is just a warm relaxing space. But perhaps it’s calling out for a disruptive element – a bold striped curtain, a ceiling painted in a very, very pale version of the terracotta sofa. A dramatic pendant light that acts as a sculpture. The greenery beyond the window is great but it might not be there in January and when that view is grey you need to find something inside to delight the eye and distract from that.
Sally Denning is a stylist who is always showing us how to do that. Here the half-painted wall acts as a bedhead and wraps the room in a warm rich colour that isn’t too overwhelming. The room above could have a touch of that – perhaps a pink to show off the sofa or a deep green to bring in the outside.
None of these rooms have used lots of colours but all of them have done something a little different within a minimal palette and all have been lifted out of the ordinary and given their ooh moment by the clever stylists and designers who have created them.
Roll on a week of inspiration. I’m hoping that the first room will be nearly finished in a couple of days – it now awaits its accessories of new French doors, radiator and the final touch, the flooring. On to room number 2.