And just like that it was half term. A quiet palette for you today as I spent last week travelling (two days in Milan ad one in Glasgow) so am feeling the need for something restful today. Fortunately it’s half term and while the boys will be doing their own thing, it does mean that for a week there’s no need to get up at 6.30am so that already feels like a treat.
So in my virtual house of quiet inspiration this week we have this rather lovely cloakroom by Maggie, of @our_edwardian_home proving that you will never go wrong with a monochrome palette. The black and white tiles not only look pretty but their pattern will hide the dirt and the vintage wardrobe adds character and warmth.
It’s the same principle in the room below designed by Mink Interiors where the patterned tiles work beautifully with the warm wooden furniture. Antique sellers have been predicting (trying to encourage?) a return to the so-called brown furniture of old and while this isn’t antique, there is definitely a move towards dark wood and the slightly pinkish tones of walnut.
Panelling is another huge trend but it can be expensive to install if you can’t do it yourself (I know this because I asked the builder last year) so we chose Anaglypta wallpaper panels and it cost about £21 for a roll that did the whole room (bottom half only). We are in the process of painting them so I’ll show you when it’s done.
If you do have panels, or a are looking for a strong neutral to go with your wood and monochrome scheme the Pigeon or Treron by Farrow and Ball are good options that fall into the green end of the grey spectrum – a little bit warmer than most greys.
Having said that, there’s nothing cold about Laura Highham’s sitting room in shades of grey (to coin a phrase). I still love grey but feel at the moment that it needs warming up a little from the traditional pared back, and more architectural look that has been fashionable for the last few years.
If you have swathed your house in grey then don’t despair. It’s easily influenced and the addition of lots of texture – velvet, sheepskin and wool are a grey start followed by wood and plants. And note you don’t have to add strong colours if that’s not your bag. The palette here is very simple but the room looks cosy and inviting.
The next two are images by Malcom Menzies, an interiors photographer (he shot this house for EKBB magazine last year) and has just finished redesigning his own house, which is used as a location venue for shoots and videos. Panelling again and it’s just sumptuous in the dark colour don’t you think?
But then again it’s pretty nice in a pale colour too as this rental cottage in the cotswolds shows. Note also how the wall colour – think about Schoolhouse white by Farrow & Ball – and the wooden beams work to warm up the grey once again. I say this because I get lots of messages from people worrying that grey is over and what should they do.
I would say firstly that it’s not over but the current mood is moving towards something a little warmer and if that’s how you feel about your grey then just do as Laura has done above and add in lots of texture and different materials and see how it well it responds. There’s no need to redecorate. Unless you want to, of course.
I leave you with a couple of images from the Villa Necchi, in Milan, which I visited last week. Built by a wealthy industrialist in the 1930s, the villa was used in the 2009 film I am Love starring Tilda Swinton, and has been perfectly preserved by FAI (the Italian equivelent of The National Trust). The wooden doors (and their handles) are all exquisite – as are the high ceilings, wooden panelling and parquet floors.
But it was the bedrooms I loved most. This pink one belonged to one of the daughters, Nedda, who never married, but lived with her sister and her husband. She wanted a romantic bedroom and the blush pink and dark wood scheme feels so modern now.
But then look at her bathroom. A single bed but two basins? The shower is at the back on the left and in front of the solid marble wall is a bath, also encased in marble. In her wardrobe, which I didn’t manage to get a picture of her collection of bags by Hermès and Gucci still sit alongside a collection of scarves printed: to Nedda from Christian Dior.
I hope you have enjoyed these rooms from new to old, luxurious to simple and I wish you all a wonderful week.