As usual the four day week has caught me by surprise and I was initially just going to show you the final tweakment to the house which is the panelling in the library. Then I thought I would expand it a little to show how we have decorated the walls in this house for those who want to add a little interest and character but don’t necessarily want the full wallpaper shebang.
And don’t get me wrong. I love wallpaper and have used it plenty but somehow it hasn’t really made its way into this house with the exception of the secret door bookcase paper which I still love despite it being rather tatty now – it’s been there for 10 years and I have no desire to change it.
Firstly the last – or most recent – addition is the panelling in the library. Now I know that panelling is a massive Instagram trend. There’s barely a wall in that digital room that hasn’t been touched with some design or another from the ornate Georgianesque frames to the Jacobean boxes and everything in between (or, to be historically accurate) afterwards.
For this reason I was very slow into this. I watched and waiting wondering if it would be a passing fad or more a lasting look. Crucially I didn’t want to jump into something that I might end up feeling was just a trend and I had been influenced into (yes it happens to the beset of us).
So I sat back and watched. And when I felt it was properly right for this house and that I could do it in a way that might make it feel that it had always been there and was properly part of the fabric I went in.
But I came to it via textured wallpaper – more of which below. And so the last room first. We installed the bookshelves (painted mdf) when we moved in 10 years ago and instinctively felt that the wrap them round the third wall would bring the room in too much and make it feel oppressive rather than cosy. The ceiling is very high in here and it would have felt a bit like sitting in the bottom of a bucket.
So we left it white and gradually the trolley filled with dust and junk and the overspill of books piled up behind the chair and and we searched in vain for the right piece of art to hang on the walls. In short, it never felt finished in there.
When I first suggested panelling to The Mad Husband he wasn’t against the idea but it never went any futher. So when I did my office I decided that this room was perfect as it was, to coin a phrase, a room of my own. And like that he was sold.
Both colours felt, to me at least, a little Victorian – deep red and dark chocolate – which added to the sense that they could have been uncovered during a renovation rather than added in the 21st century. And I appreciate this may be nonsense but we all have our own personal decorating fantasies to justify what we do. If I had wanted a more modern colour I might have chosen a wallpaper or, to come to the other rooms where I have used a similar decorative flourish – painted textured wallpaper.
I love anaglypta and have written about it before. I know that for some of you it has a bad rep bringing back memories of dingy student digs and old fashioned granny flats but I have always felt that if you take this, essentially old fashioned, idea and modernise it with a contemporary colour of finish that it will work.
First up was our bedroom. This false wall hides the wardrobe and while this is its third paper it will never feel right to to panel it as it’s clearly a modern addition. The Albert paper, however, adds interest and character to what is basically a giant cupboard. If I didn’t have the velvet bedhead another trick I would like to try is upholstering the wall with fabric and foam stretched over batons. In fact if we ever sell that bed that’s definitely what’s happening there.
When it came to my last office with the gold ceiling, I returned once again to wallpaper and this time the panelled version – it’s been a long lead in… This room was painted in pale pink eggshell with the same colour in matt emulsion above. This didn’t detract from the gold ceiling but meant it was more about texture and finish than pattern.
As you may know I moved out of this room when the 17yo and I decided to swap. I had originally offered him this room and he refused to move from his tiny one. Until he changed his mind. He happily kept the gold ceiling and hadn’t really noticed the patterned paper below. I’ll admit I was a little devious and didn’t point it out as I could see the decorating costs spiralling if we had to strip and make good.
Instead we painted it in emerald green gloss and a few weeks after moving in he asked if I was aware of the pattern on the wall and how much he liked it. That’s what happens when you live with an artist – they notice everything or nothing.
So those are my walls. We are done with panelling now. My next mission is to get a wallpapered ceiling somewhere. It may be a long wait. Where do you stand on panelling? Yay or nay?