Sometimes it's hard to suppress the pangs of envy as I work with clients, especially as I have been trying to move home for a l-o-n-g time now and all home projects have been put on the back burner! I'm currently working on a master suite of three rooms in a beautiful 1860s house. The clients want a sense of flow and connection through the house, but have also picked out a vibrant orange for inclusion in the bathroom. The husband favours more modern design while the wife would prefer organic shapes, curves and a little bit of romance. This is by no means the end result, but I'm really liking the feminine finishes with some harder edges added.
This week, among other projects, I have been working at speed to develop a scheme for a guest bedroom as part of a whole house refurbishment. Guest bedrooms are often overlooked and end up as makeshift storage spaces, decorated with all the odds and ends of furniture that hasn't found a home elsewhere.
In some ways, this room started off in much the same way -- my clients were keen to reutilise some of their existing pieces from various rooms in their previous home, while creating a fresh and coherent look. While this can be a tricky starting point, I often find it much easier to work within restrictions rather than having a completely blank canvas; 99 per cent of the time, the problem is too much choice, rather than struggling to find the right thing!
The items that we had to work around were: a cube stool, which my clients were willing to have reupholstered, a simple large drum shade in neutral linen, a clean-lined oak wardrobe similar to that shown and a dark leather upholstered bed frame. The windows of the room benefit from beautiful architraving and original Victorian shutters, which we had taken the decision to maximise by painting a very punchy colour - Little Greene Yellow-Pink. The clients expressed a desire for a mirrored console / dressing table, but I encouraged them instead to make the oak wardrobe look like a more definite choice by choosing additional oak pieces. If you have a piece of furniture that you know you are going to replace imminently, by all means ignore it as you're planning your room, but if it is a quality piece with some mileage left in it, then embrace it, even if it's not your favourite item. It will look a lot better this way!
The most significant decision from here was the wall treatment. When you've got such a strong colour on one area of the room, as we had with the shutters, the temptation might be to go pale and understated with the rest of the room, when what is actually required is something with enough punch to hold its own but nothing so crazy that it will compete. This wallpaper by Neisha Crosland, with a simple but bold pattern in a deep, muted colour way is ideal. We chose a fabric to upholster the stool that co-ordinates with a small pattern to add a bit of energy to the subdued colour and some faux shagreen bedside tables as a bridge between the leather and the lighter elements. No wiring has been added for bedside lights, so slim lamps were chosen that will leave space for books, flowers and water, and the final small details repeat the yellow-ochre colour around the room. The result is a space that looks elegant and sophisticated in which all elements have a role to play.
1. Capri oak double wardrobe, Bentley Designs. 2. Little Greene paint, Yellow-Pink. 3. Caterpillar Leaf wallpaper in Mughal Mud, Neisha Crosland. 4. Samantha ceiling light, John Lewis. 5. Moss stitch throw in yellow, Joules. 6. Hana II oak console table, Habitat. 7. Large cube stool, Roger Oates Lifestyle. 8. Kendal 03 fabric, The Dormy House. 9. Avallon faux leather sleigh bed, Julian Bowen. 10. Shagreen Sovana side table in Champagne Ivory, RV Astley. 11. Classic Stork bedside lamp, Oka.
Having problems incorporating existing pieces into a fresh new look? Contact me for advice.