HEART OF DARKNESS

  • This week has been a crazy week of painting, painting and photoshoots.  After months of trying to convince an interior design friend to paint her hated north facing kitchen dark grey she finally got a call for a magazine photoshoot. Not only did they want to feature her at home, they wanted to shoot later that week. Having recently had my own home featured in the same magazine I knew they’d make a feature of the kitchen whether she liked it or not.  I offered one last time to paint her kitchen dark grey and repaint it if she hated it.  This time she took the bait. The thing about dark colours is that they camouflage tatty things like furniture that needs reupholstering or large expensive to replace things like my friend’s tired navy chip board kitchen.   Rich, dark colours not only mask a kitchen’s age they add intrigue to dark pokey spaces, inject large rooms with warmth and give north facing rooms depth by accentuating features lost in lighter versions of the interior.  In my friend’s case dark grey accentuated her reflective silver ceiling lights, brushed aluminium handles and now directs your gaze to the gorgeous north facing Georgian window that overlooks her garden.

    Taking risks with your interiors is never easy.  Even for seasoned interior stylists and designers who know exactly why an unusually dark colour will work.  Even when you’ve nothing to lose but lacklustre beige walls and everything to gain (walls that look and feel like velvet, gorgeously framed original period features and a knockout photoshoot to boot) it’s still tempting NOT to take the plunge.  I laughed as my friend spent the morning standing nonchalantly around her kitchen offering me endless cups of coffee in a failed attempt to distract me from opening a paint tin.  I could feel her wince as the first roller of paint swept across her kitchen.

    Of course she loved it.  We were both secretly screaming with delight and couldn’t finish the project fast enough.  She then ditched her plan to paint the adjacent room off white and we continued painting her living dark grey too.  The finished effect is amazing, drawing the eye to the outside garden which was lost before amidst a sea of boring, beige nothingness.  Although we’ve barely rearranged the furniture, suddenly focal points that were lost before jump out.  Ceiling lights look bigger and brighter.  A white Georgian fireplace looks divine and the Georgian window and door leading to the garden looks like something from Alice in Wonderland or Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Suddenly the room envelopes you with it’s warmth, you want to curl up on the sofa and most amazingly of all both rooms feel bigger.

    I’ve long been a convert of Abigail Ahern’s call to paint rooms dark and painting out my friend’s kitchen and living room reminds me exactly why this luxe, masculine style of decorating is the only way to go when you want to transform a space on a budget.

    I cant show a photo of the finished room so instead, here’s a shot from Abigail Ahern’s new website.  I love this American tin wallpaper and distressed leather chair.  The thing about the distressed industrial vintage look is that it adds layers to a space more effectively than using shiny new things that look flat in daylight and dull at night.

    The other photoshoot I had this week was for a Huggies commercial.  A location agency suggested my dark grey bathroom and kitchen be used for website product shots so on Tuesday I had a house full of toddlers in tutus being photographed by an amazingly professional photographer.

    One final thing before I go. I’m adding more regular dates to Nordic Black’s Style School – the last Thursday and Sunday of every month.  Other dates are available on request but for now confirmed dates in March and April are:

    Thursday 28th March

    Sunday     31st March.

    Thursday 25th April

    Sunday     28th April.

    Have a great weekend.  And if you find yourself looking at your kitchen over Sunday brunch thinking it could do with a bit of a revamp, you know what to do!

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