Mad About . . .

Monday Inspiration: Beautiful Rooms

17th January 2022
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For today’s stroll through some beautiful rooms to give you your weekly dose of inspiration we start off here and end up in roughly the same place in a neat circular route – always better than having to go miles in one direction and simply retrace your steps no?

skirts on kitchen cupboards via devol

skirts on kitchen cupboards via devol

So it’s kitchens. Now many of you may have noticed the proliferation of the sink skirt on social media and even creeping into the print magazines. Of course it’s not for everyone (side eye to The Mad Husband here) but I like it and not just because it’s pretty. It’s also a great solution for renters and/or first time buyers or anyone whose budget is limited (exactly) and who doesn’t have, or want, integrated appliances. Regular readers will know that I wrapped my fridge in vinyl to try and make its hulking stainless steel bulk more attractive but if you have a washing machine or dishwasher that is spoiling your view then a curtain is an affordable solution.

vinyl wrapped fridge at madaboutthehouse.com

vinyl wrapped fridge at madaboutthehouse.com

Above (over my fridge) it’s part of a colourful rustic country look that has no doors at all, but if that’s a bit much you can either remove a single door to get the look or hang a curtain over an offending appliance. If you rent and want to remove a door then you will need to find somewhere to store it but they are at least flat so you might be able to slide it under a bed or sofa. Sewing a curtain is straight lines and you should aim for about one and a half times the width of the space for a little fullness. Hang it on a net curtain wire which you should be able to screw into the sides of the cupboard and remove when you leave.

kitchen cupboard skirt via eastlondoncloth

kitchen cupboard skirt via eastlondoncloth

Above is a single curtain made by Gemma Moulton, who has just joined me at Create Academy with an online course on How to Make Your Own Curtains. As you can see she has made one to hide a single cupboard in her kitchen. I have no idea what’s behind it but it could be a washing machine or some shelves. If you want to do the latter then you can also buy baskets to store things in so they are organised and look nice. It can also be a great way to store food like potatoes and onions – especially if, like here, your chosen cupboard is next to an outside wall which will keep them cooler so they last longer.

neutral kitchen by devol

neutral kitchen by devol

Above is another Devol kitchen with open shelves. You can decide if you would prefer a curtain or not. Obviously this is a fabulous room with high ceilings and a feature window, but adding a curtain might bring more colour and texture into a room that tends to be all hard edges and surfaces. Vintage wood goes a long way towards softening that and I’m not saying you should all rush to add curtains, but that image is a great example of being able to imagine one in place to see if you like the idea.

myrtle green by mylands on kitchen cupboards via lisa dawson

myrtle green by mylands on kitchen cupboards via lisa dawson

Staying with kitchens and we come to the newly decorated one of Lisa Dawson – she paints her cupboards all the time and I have to say this colour is one that keeps popping up all over the internet. She has used Mylands Myrtle Green and it’s a strong contender for a sleeper colour of the year if you ask me. It loves natural wood and cream as well as shades of burgundy and terracotta for warmth. I used Little Greene Aquamarine in my bathroom last year with Arras (a rich rust shade) and here Lisa has paired it with fashionable rattan – on design classic chairs – and a vintage rug.

shower room at madaboutthehouse.com: walls in little greene aquamarine mid with window and radiator in arras. Bamboo Tiles by Otto Tiles and toiletries by Buly 1803

shower room at madaboutthehouse.com: walls in little greene aquamarine mid with window and radiator in arras. Bamboo Tiles by Otto Tiles and toiletries by Buly 1803

Below, it turns up again, this time Aquatic by Edward Bulmer, in the Sisters Renovation. This hallway is classic with its black and white tiles and sisal stair runner. Warm and classic yet contemporary. But the table completely elevates the space. Found on Facebook Marketplace, they painted and added the scallop detail to bring it right up to date.

hallway decor via @sistersrenovation

hallway decor via @sistersrenovation

On the basis that your entrance is the first thing anyone sees when they come to your home, this simple table upcycle has changed this hall from tasteful and classic to something more fun and intriguing. I immediately want to see the rest of the house and meet the people who live there. Does your hall say that about you? How can you change it to make sure it does?

Below more scallop detailing but this time on a vintage desk. This is probably the result of hours of searching. You know that saying that if you run out of time you have to throw money at a problem (usually when it comes to organising kids’ parties or buying Christmas presents?). Well, the opposite of that is if you haven’t got the money you will have to invest the time. It’s one or the other and you will have to choose. Setting up google alerts, taking a few minutes each day to look over the new arrivals on your favourite sites and asking your favourite sellers to keep an eye out for you will reap rewards – eventually. Good interior design can be a long game and you can find bargains if you invest your time.

workspace designed by albion-nord.com - scallop detail

workspace designed by albion-nord.com – scallop detail

Now we come back to the lovely warm burgundy from the first image with the dressing room of the fashion journalist Louise Roe. It’s a gorgeous space and that arched mirror is very clever as it looks like a door doesn’t it. Of course not everyone has room for a dressing table but don’t despair. I have stood up to do my make-up for so many years (I have a mirror over the fireplace) that when I was last in a hotel with a dressing table I stabbed myself in the eye with the mascara as I was so unused to sitting down.

My personal make-up travails aside the first point is that Louise has just launched a collection of vintage inspired wicker furniture at Sharland England with a very pretty scalloped (yes again) console table (for £450) and matching chair as well as lots of other vintage chairs and cushions so if you have a dressing room, or space for new bedside tables have a look there are lots of very pretty things which feel just right for now.

dressing room by Louise Roe

dressing room by Louise Roe

The other point I wanted to make is that her striped ottoman is gorgeous and then I found this at Oka and am gnashing my teeth as I have no space for it and what you also can’t see is the fabulous red tassel.

upholstered trunk by oka

upholstered trunk by oka

Finally, some of you may remember back in 2018 when we launched the podcast and Sophie insisted that grey was dead and I said it was merely having a lie down? Well according to Kat Burroughs in The Sunday Times it’s back. She, being a colourful sort of person, isn’t happy. I can only imagine what Sophie’s reaction will be but, to bring us back to the beginning as I promised, look at it with these soft pinks and burgundies.

As I said in my first book, grey is the friendliest colour on the spectrum and the most easily influenced. The Scandinavian cool look of grey with more grey and shades of white may look cold and minimal these days but throw in some greens and pink, wood and wicker and it will instantly warm up and look modern and fresh again.

how to do grey this time around

how to do grey this time around

So are you back to grey or moving on out? I hope this has inspired you and I’ll be back on Wednesday with a Reader’s Dilemma….


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  • Vicky 17th January 2022 at 10:55 pm

    Another grey-dodger here. It can have a permanent lie-down as far as I’m concerned.
    And I just can’t cope with the concept of curtains in a kitchen; simply too twee for me. I’d sooner look at a washing machine. Also, I just imagine them getting grubby and sticky….ugh.
    Love the greeny/aqua shade, though, and it pops up a lot here. I’d call it celadon.

  • James 17th January 2022 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Kate,

    I’ve only just discovered you and your website today but you are just outstanding! I love that sisal stair runner. My partner will be shocked that I’m the one suggesting pink in the kitchen!

    Take care

  • Pia 17th January 2022 at 2:24 pm

    I confess.
    I am from Sweden and I really and truly loath gray interiors. Rooms painted Elephants breath makes me want to barf. Yes, I am in the minority. I should have a support group! It would most likely be only me…
    So if gray is back, moving out or having a lie down I really don’t care just as long as it doesn’t do any of it near my home. It doesn’t matter how friendly and easily influenced it might be.

    • Kps 17th January 2022 at 3:43 pm

      I’m the same! It just always feels like the opposite of an invigorating colour for me. I sometimes use deep charcoal as an accent but pale grey does nothing for me! I have lots of colour in my home and grey would just deaden it I think

    • Carolyn E 18th January 2022 at 3:51 am

      Totally agree

      • Pia 19th January 2022 at 1:02 pm

        KPS and Carolyn E: We can now know that we are not alone!
        There are others that don’t agree with the friendly gray!
        Thank you!

  • Pamela Zelman 17th January 2022 at 1:38 pm

    “Good interior design can be a long game and you can find bargains if you invest your time.” Exactly true and if you’re a little flexible, a perfect bargain piece can pop up even faster.

    Also, I love a good, deep grey (my front parlor) but my husband and I are restoring another old house and there’s going to be a lot of pale pink. 😊

  • Pen 17th January 2022 at 12:58 pm

    So much inspiration as usual Kate! Coudn’t agree more about putting in the time hunting down vintage furniture, it’s defnitely a long game. And that stunning striped ottoman is now giving me inspiration for the next revamp of my old Lloyd Loom blanket box…

    How is the vinyl-wrapped fridge bearing up, by the way? We’ve recently had a hulking stainless steel one installed and I’m pondering doing the same thing, if I can decide on a colour.

  • Allison 17th January 2022 at 12:06 pm

    With curtains in front of shelves and appliances I know it is pretty and easy to put them on a wire with gathers, but it really is impossible to pull the curtain across – it sticks and bunches and really you have to lift it up (and how do you load a washing machine like that?). I think it’s better if at all possible to get a little rod and use rings.

  • Gill 17th January 2022 at 9:43 am

    Going off the grey a bit….. moved house last year and painted our bedroom in a soft grey last summer and it looked so smart. Now the winter is here it feels drab and slightly miserable even with good lighting and nice bedding. It’ll be gone in the Spring and guess what? It’s gonna be yellow!! The soft dusty type though, nothing too bright. I’d forgotten how much I like it and find it uplifting so I’m going for it. It’s only paint so if it’s not right I’ll try something else!

    • Sara 26th January 2022 at 6:16 pm

      I found my own grey living room quite gloomy especially in the winter. The Husband picked the colour. I was pondering changing the lighting tweaking a load of things to avoid having to paint it again. Not to mention switch out the wallpaper. But the addition of a large, silky, light reflecting,yellow rug really transformed the rokm. It’s just bright enough and cosy. But definateky not caving to the grey trend again. We did it because we couldnt decide on an actual colour.

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