Some of us are clinging onto summer while some of us are eyeing cosy jumpers and woolly socks and are ready to move into the new season. For me this is one of those “how it started… how it’s going” posts. As regular readers will know I have traditionally not been a fan of yellow. But during the long months of lockdown I started to fantasise about a yellow kitchen. Now let’s be clear on this – there is a long way between fantasy and reality but let’s just say I enjoyed looking at pictures without ever being in danger of actually following through. Secondly let’s be clear that, for me, the only acceptable of yellow is a warm buttery, ochre type shade – begone lemony primrose shades. However, at some point over the summer there was a slight shift from the fantasy…
It started during the summer holiday in Italy with the bedroom in this house, a converted olive mill, that we rented. There was something about the afternoon light streaming through those simple yellow linen curtains that stopped me in my tracks.
A few days later we visited Turin and the house of the designer Carlo Mollino and while these curtains are more tobacco than yellow, I also liked how they frame the view into the room beyond. I’m wondering if it’s time to bring back curtains in all those knock through sitting rooms we created to make rooms bigger… Obviously it’s expensive to install doors and we don’t necessarily want to put the walls back up but some heavy, gorgeous curtains might be just the thing? Solves draughts and might even work to hide a work from home space meaning you don’t have to tidy it all away at the end of the day but can just draw the curtains across it.
Anyway, back to the subject in hand, look at how much these pale yellow (pale but still slightly dirty in shade!) bring to this simple striped wallpaper. Yes the doors could have been white to match the walls and wallpaper. They could also have been blue, although that might have have been a little nautical. Instead, the woodwork has been covered in this cheery disrupter shade and it looks clean, minimal and joyous all at the same time. It goes without saying that it doesn’t have to be yellow.
I have spoken before about how painting the window frame in yellow can make a room feel bright and sunny even on a dull day. This is in Skye McAlpine’s house (click for a house tour) and this window is at the other end of her yellow kitchen so there is a link. This is, I think the reason why I haven’t done it as I have no yellow in my house and I think just painting the window frames might look a little random. If you are going to do this there will need to be some yellow accessories in the room to make sense of it all. That said, it’s another picture that I look at and admire on a regular basis.
But here, look at the cleverness from Jess of Clueless Renovators (hardly clueless). This is a combination of the ultimate paint effect coupled with a very modern trompe l’oeil effect. I have painted the inside of my front door in a deep burgundy that matches the stair runner and gives a focal point in my pale hall and there are plenty of examples of yellow and colourful front doors on instagram but Jess has taken it one step further and created the impression that the sun is flooding into her hall.
Note also that her hall is narrow – there’s no room for furniture here so the only way to add impact and style is through colour. This makes the dark blue even more dramatic but if you visit her account and swipe across you will see that rather that continuing the dark shade all the way to the room at the back she has changed it to pale pink – floor and all, which draws your eye from the dark space you are in to the the light at the back of the house. Conversely, when facing the other way your eye goes through the dark to the sunshine beyond. And, for those of you who feel this might be a little dramatic for your own spaces, just note what you can achieve in a small space with the power of paint and no furniture and plot your own decor accordingly.
Now to kitchens and bathrooms and both these have used yellow as an accent colour rather than the main event. Above, The Plain English kitchen is mostly painted in the deliciously named Burnt Toast, but the island (just scene) is in bright yellow. Their three paint collections have two yellows; boiled egg is too much for me (but great name) whereas the controversially named Nicotine is, as the name suggests, a much murkier shade that suits me better and speaks, as the blurb says, of storied interiors where the fug of tobacco has long since faded . And I have to say that 22 years ago when decorating our first flat The Mad Husband and I spent a long time trying to find that particular shade of Parisian cafe wall that started out white and was smoked over furiously for about 20 years. We chose Farrow & Ball Citron in the end, which is lovely but not remotely cigarettey.
Or what about this cheery yellow bath in an an otherwise plain white room? In real life you might remove the stool and co-ordinating flowers but this is a product shot so it needs to all be there. This would work really well with yellow window frames that are perhaps only revealed when the shutters are open rather than the more obvious whole shutter look.
And in a return to the theme at the top – how it started and how it’s going I can say only that I have been asked to work with a company making window dressings to promote their new collaboration. Reader, we are going YELLOW. Watch this space….
And, before I go, this isn’t yellow but let’s stretch to tobacco and this fabulous bobbin leg bench designed by Hannah Pemberton at WandaLust, made by Jess at Pohmaluna using the Ginger Dalmation fabric by Poodle and Blonde. It’s perfect in this spot. Prices start at £477 for the small, £577 for this medium and £677 for the large. There are seven glossy leg colours to choose from and dozens of fabrics.
Have a lovely day everyone whether you’re home alone for the first time in ages now schools have gone back, or enjoying a return to the office. I’ll be back on Wednesday.