Not just beautiful rooms for you this week but some clever ideas too, including one of the classic – I wish I’d thought of thats… So let’s dive straight in with this Swedish kitchen and classic checkerboard floor below.
Some time ago when I was writing about Charlotte Perriand I pointed out that she had designed a tiny kitchen with sliding doors and pondered why that wasn’t a thing any more? It seems very pegged to the 1950s and yet, despite the fact that houses are getting smaller and sliding doors are great space savers I haven’t really seen a revival. I get that it might be trickier on the bottom as it relies on a run of uninterrupted units to give the doors somewhere to slide to and a set of drawers or an oven gets in the way of that but why not on the top?
I have open shelves in my kitchen partly for that very reason – if you open a wall cupboard you risk hitting someone on the head, or having to ask them to move if you want to reach for for something in the cupboard next to where they are standing. Sliding doors would solve that problem. I have a suspicion that Carrie and Big’s kitchen in And Just Like That had sliding wall cabinet doors but it’s fair to say they weren’t doing a lot of cooking so it’s hard to be sure.
This kitchen, above and below, has slanted wall units – which may or may not slide – but that means they take up less space. One of the other problems with wall cupboards is that there is a temptation to store things underneath them – the toaster, the mugs, the coffee machine which not only reduces your working counter from 60cm to about 30cm but also makes it harder to reach the things at the back as, one again, the cupboards are in the way. Sloping doors like this solves that problem. Now, I admit, as seen here, it looks charmingly retro rather than cutting edge modern but I wonder if the classic kitchen unit is ripe for a redesign?
Now for the idea I wish I had had rather than the one that I have just had which probably won’t take off! Wallpaper borders by Susie Atkinson, one of my favourite designers. Now, of course, borders aren’t new, but this is the first time I have seen them used like this rather than as a sort of dado rail to finish off a wallpaper that goes half way up a wall.
There are so many reasons why this is brilliant – one if you are nervous about papering a whole wall or room but fancy a little bit of pattern. This is me. But also, as you can see from the images below it frames the door – and therefore the view beyond it.
In addition to leading your eye to the room beyond – above with the yellow and below with the pale blue – it also frames the door and, again, that view and makes more of it. This can be particularly useful in a small room if you want to make the eye travel beyond the immediate space and to the area beyond. And if it’s on a door leading to a garden or outside space it’s a particularly useful device.
As Susie said on instagram: “Borders were such a thing in the 80s and we wanted to bring them back with a more vibrant and contemporary feel. They are less of a commitment than wallpaper costwise and are a great way to elevate a room – adding details around doorways, skirtings, cornices, or for creating panels within a room.”
I’m completely on board with all of that and am immediately hunting for a suitable door. The 10m rollscost from £64 and a standard door is just under 2m high and less than 1m wide so one roll should be enough. Of course, the yellow above is a double strand for more impact so you’d have to measure carefully if that’s your plan. I also like it sitting on top of the skirting board in the image below.
Another clever idea that costs nothing more than a tin of paint. These two alcoves in the picture below have been painted in differing shades of the same colour and what an impact they have. For those of you who like a bit of symmetry but don’t want everything too coordinated this is a clever way to do both. If you want to use the so-called designer paints then you can play with shades to see what works for you or, if you use Dulux, for example, their colour cards come in graded shades of six so you can pick one colour and decide whether you want the darkest and the lightest or a more toning pair. You could, of course, do the walls in one of the other shades if you wanted to keep the whole thing the same but different as it were.
Which leads me to this picture with its shades of green. There are three used here – one for the walls, one for the skirting boards, door and fireplace and a darker version for the dado and picture rail/cornice. You could repeat this idea with any colour you fancy and even bring the wall shade over the ceiling where it would be broken up by the dark green band. Or you could stick to two shades – one for wall and one for woodwork. The point being that it can never be overstated just what amazing things you can do with paint – whether you paint just one wall, or part of a four, all four and the ceiling or half of all of them. There are no rules now and you can do exactly as you please to create the effects you want to see.
This kitchen has taken the same idea with pale pink walls deepening to a rich burgundy for the cupboard and the red stool just adds punch of drama to the space. Yes it could have been navy to match the cupboards and that would have been very tasteful. Sometimes though you want a bit of a “hell yes” with the colour scheme and while the stool goes perfectly in the room it just brings something extra. It’s the feather in a great hat, the oversized buckle on the boot or even, remember these – the very visible zip on a Victoria Beckham dress. Doesn’t need to be there. Looks amazing when it is.
We’ll finish with checks because we all know that checks are the new stripes and having looked at Susie’s borders we come to this, which has been painted around a doorway. The door is a classic rectangle but the paint effect makes it look taller – always a good idea as it makes the ceiling look higher and the proportions loftier – as well as wider. It’s also fun and brings a sense of playfulness to the otherwise classical style of the decor.
Or what about this fireplace? I must admit since seeing this I have been eyeing my fireplace but it’s curved so it won’t work. Many period fireplaces come with tiles – often flowery – so this is a great way to bring a traditional look up to date with a modern twist.
So what do we think? Anyone for checks and borders of the decorative kind?