Monday, 28 May 2012


Who would have thought that choosing paint colours would prove to be such a challenge.  I know what I want but I can't seem to find it anywhere.  Furthermore, I've learnt an important lesson: A paint colour swatch and what the paint looks like on the wall seem to be two different realities.  Sometimes it's quite alarming how something called Hay Bale ends up being more reminiscent of a tangerine. That's why it's always best to buy & try a colour tester before you commit yourself to an 10 litres of mistake that you may have to look at for a while.

Not a Kazimir Malevich artwork but the testing wall


If you are using wallpaper for a feature wall or a feature colour, you need to think about how this is going to tie in with the rest of your colour scheme and that includes flooring, furniture, upholstery etc.
Beiges, Creams and Hints of White seem to fall into various categories: Red hue, yellow hue, green hue, etc.  Some Off-Whites seem to be very off.  Dulux Almond white sadly seem to be more brown that white.  Overall I'm finding a lot of colours to be darker than they suggest. I prefer rooms to be light, bright and airy or elegantly muted in dusky pales.  B&Q's Soft Cream was really an Apricot trying hard to pass for a cream.  At the opposite end, Dulux Jasmine White seemed to be practically non-existent.  You have to look really hard to work out that it isn't white.

If walls had ears that would blush at the language used...

The bad photograph above doesn't reflect what's really going on here!   I'm hoping for Ivory walls with a muted green - somewhere between moss & olive as an accent colour or maybe something more vivid.  The feature wall will be papered to provide a textural finish.  The black lines represent picture frames.  Woodwork will be brilliant white. Will it work, who knows?

Take the rough with the smooth

Dulux Natural Calico for walls; suede-like wallpaper for the feature wall; with the inset back wall of the TV recess in a vivid purple (which mistakenly looks blue here).  The accent colour is a very small area and will also be echoed in the choice of fabric colours.

It's good to come back to your testing wall at various times of the day so you can see the paint in different light.  You also need to see how it will look at night with electric light.  Most importantly you need to think about the space:  Will it make the space appear smaller / larger / brighter / darker?  How will this colour effect my mood?   The rest is down to personal tastes...

Monday, 21 May 2012


Several people have asked me about the bowl-like lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling, in the bedroom photographs. 

These are actually ceiling fan lights with their blades temporarily removed.  Nobody likes a hot, muggy bedroom at the height of the summer (not that we have too many of those!) when they are trying to sleep.  During the winter you can use the reversable blade action to circulate warm air around the room.

These fans come with a remote control which allows you to select one of  three speeds, as well as allowing you to dim the lights to a comfortable level when relaxing and watching TV in bed.

Bedroom Two

Bedroom One

For the ultimate in ceiling fan lights, Litecraft have launched the innovative and supremely stylish 'Fanaway' featuring the unique design feature of retractable blades which tidily tuck away leaving you with an Art Deco style lamp.  But you might need more than a fan to cool off after looking at the £400 price tag - sadly way out of my budget.

Fanaway available from:-

Sunday, 20 May 2012


Bedroom Two has been plastered and painted with a white base coat (Flat Matt Emulsion).  It's exciting to see it start taking shape although it still has a long way to go... but it also has come a long way from the previous owner's decor and tastes.

Original chimney breast & alcoves after dado rail ripped out

Building out the TV recess and alcove wardrobes.

Plastered and white washed.

A blank canvas

Paint and wallpaper swatches

Bamboo wood floors

Design ideas: The room will probably have one feature wall in wallpaper as this provides texture and contrast and breaks up the space.  The second complimentary shade of wallpaper will be used to line the wardrobe interiors, while the walls will be painted in a neutral tone (still undecided).

Of course the real fun will start with furnishing the room and the finishing touches!

Due to lack of space and logistical problems, Bedroom One is only half white washed as it is currently occupied but I should have some pictures soon when it becomes empty and the painting is finished.

One of the joys of home renovation is kissing goodbye to woodchip wallpaper and ugly artex ceilings.  With a bit of hard work, dedication and perseverance, it can be done!

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Yesterday, I received an email complaint from a 'Pepper Kitty' about the lack of kitty photographs on this blog namely featuring herself.  She needs to work on her typing skills, spelling & punctuation as it was really bad and hard to decipher.  She's much better at posing for the camera. 

So here she is, trying to kill you with her cuteness:-

Me! Me! Me! Meow!

Don't mess with the paw

Incidentally what she is reclining on is my dressing gown.  The black and grey stripes have confused her into thinking that when I wear it, we are somehow related and she becomes especially clingy and follows me around:  I wonder if she sees me as a larger version prowling around the house?

Sunday, 13 May 2012


It's amazing how much everything has grown in just 10 months, especially the box hedging around the patio which will be pruned next month.  There have been some more additions to the garden which is beginning to look fuller.  I'm also trying to introduce more varied foliage colour and shape - although there is still a long way to go...

July 2011

May 2012

Phormium tricolor, Escallonia Iveyi & Choisya Ternata

Clematis Cardinal Rouge & Weigela

Rose Trellis

Dicentra & corner of Rose Trellis

Sambucus Nigra


For some weeks now I've been thinking about wallpaper to line the insides of the two wardrobes I have in bedroom one.  Since the newly plasterered, smooth walls will be painted in a neutral colour, I think it's quite interesting to slide back a door and find a different surface /colour /contrast behind it.

Not wanting to spend a great deal of money on wallpaper that would be rarely seen, I couldn't believe my luck when 4 rolls were found in a B&Q clearance bin by my favourite interior designer, Kelly Hoppen, reduced from £19.99 to £5 per roll.  Naturally, I bagged the lot while practically howling with glee! 

This gorgeous wallpaper has very subtle textured lines in contrasting colours. Washable and with a slight lustre to the texture.  The colour is more of a cream / ivory than in the detailing below.   


Kelly Hoppen Wallpaper at Graham & Brown

One of the things I love most about Kelly Hoppen's interior designs is her palette of neutrals and the calm, relaxing and understated elegance that they create - almost Japanese and Zen-like.

Saturday, 12 May 2012


Tuesday, 8 May 2012


The second bedroom is currently being plastered and should be finished by the end of the week.  All the prep-work has been done as shown in the photos below. I can't wait to see the transformation, although it doesn't really emerge until you start painting a couple of white 'mist' coats: 

I've found that a 10-20% Emulsion paint to water mist coat works really well as it get absorbed into the dry plaster and stops the paint just forming a skin on top that can easily be scratched off. 

Ceiling after Artex removal

Alcove wardrobes with TV recess

Door cavities filled

View with window