I’m a firm believer in research when it comes to interior design. To get a look right requires a shameful amount of time spent on the tinternetweb, or “tinter” as it shall now be forever known and not to be confused with its middle “d” equivalent. I have been known to get lost in many a research darkroom on tinter! You don’t seem surprised?
In my previous post I talked about the research I did before embarking on my bedroom fantasy fest. I mainly used five interiors books for inspiration along with photos and memories of time spent in Cape Cod.
Our entire home is modelled on the simple coastal architecture of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s a weatherboard clad home with a colour palette of cool whites and muted greys and both inky and cool blues.
The only room in our house that didn’t get this look is our master bedroom. It was the last room to be decorated by me and I really just lost my mojo. Last year I decided to give it a revamp and got carried away by a dusty pink colour. The problem was that once it dried it had a decidedly peachy quality to it and I’m not a fan of the warmer end of the speculum, I mean spectrum.
There is a balcony off of this room, which I remodelled and styled last year successfully using muted greys and whites and rustic wooden furniture, mirrors and lanterns. However, as I’ve said before, the bedroom didn’t talk to the balcony. In fact, they were estranged! They had a relationship not dissimilar to Betty Davis and Joan Crawford. Balcony had been seen on more than one occasion showing her resting bitch face to Bedroom and quite frankly it had really taken its toll on Bedroom. She’d been seen popping the Xanax a little too often! So it became my mission to make them the best of friends, or at least to be civil in public.
My main inspiration came from a book by Sally Denning called Relaxed Coastal Style. Sally is a freelance interiors stylist and creative director and she has a beautiful Instagram account, which is how I first came across her: @blackshorestyle
My favourite home in the book was the home of designer Hannah Childs situated along the shoreline of Long Island Sound. She deliberately wanted to use very little colour, with each room flowing effortlessly into one another using softly shaded White Dove by Benjamin Moore. The entire home has a bright, airy feel and is beautifully uncluttered. Accents of rattan blinds and bamboo shades, with muted grey, blue and tortoise shell colours in the furniture, cushions and sculptural objects. This was to be my mood board.
And so my tinter journey began – a quest to find all things rustic coastal. I have a weakness though; I’m not very good at “settling”. Once I’ve seen what I want then it has to be exactly that or nothing – ask Mr C, my hubby! The trouble is I have very expensive taste, but often without the means to fund it. I don’t actually mean to, it just seems to natural occur, like it was hot-wired into my dna at birth.
You know the “Basic, Better, Best” part of the Antiques roadshow? I win every time! Without Fail! If the TV had smellovision all I’d have to do is give each object a cursory whiff with my large snout to root out the pricey item. If you took me to a fabric shop and showed me 30 fabrics without telling me the price And asked me to choose my favourite I would pick the most expensive one, without fail. The same happened with the master bedroom makeover when I found out that the rattan lampshades I wanted were the cost equivalent of a small flat in Bermondsey!
The trouble was we just didn’t have the budget for expensive decor this time around. Luckily, I am also a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to decor and I am also quite partial to a bargain. TK Maxx is one of my favourite places – nothing like a good rummage. I think it comes from years of helping out at church jumble sales as a child.
I managed to find the perfect basket for our room makeover at TK Maxx. I’d seen a similar one for £100 and I got mine for £16.99! I also found a replacement for the extortionately expensive rattan lamp shades in Flying Tiger. They had these little rattan shades on a stand, which could either be a lamp or a plant pot, sounds strange I know, but the shades were just perfect and at £3 each they were a bargain!
So, from the outset, this bedroom makeover would be achieved by making things, fashioning bargains, shopping our home for things we already had and finally by plucking up the courage to approach a few brands to see if they wanted to collaborate.
There are a few things I wasn’t willing to compromise on, like the paint. I’m a fully-paid up member of the Farrow and Ball club. I love their paint, the richness of the pigments and how the painted walls change with the light. Rooms come alive when you use it and it can pull a whole look together. After much deliberation I opted for Dimpse in Estate Emulsion on the walls and All White in Estate Eggshell on the new tongue and groove-effect panelling. The reclaimed and up-cycled bedside cabinets were painted in Railings Estate emulsion, all by Farrow and Ball.
Before starting to paint you must do the hard graft of preparing the walls. We had holes to fill and then sand, but other than that they were smooth as we had only had them plastered a few years prior, but your walls might need more work. There’s no point spending lots of money on expensive paint if you don’t do the groundwork first. The paint will, in fact, highlight any blemishes on your walls and ceilings, so make sure you spend the time on this.
I’m a bit of dab hand at decorating. It’s years of having to paint everything ourselves as there was never any money to pay for a professional. Now, I’ve done it myself for so long I can’t justify paying anyone to do it for me. I absolutely hated doing ceilings, totally kills your arms, but then I discovered the spray painter! If you have a thing for jet-washing like me and love seeing things becoming miraculously clean, then the spray painter does the opposite by adding colour, but with the same addictive pleasure!
The decorating costs for our current home once the renovation and extensions were complete was going to be over £20,000 if we had paid a professional. So, paying £90 for a spray painter seemed peanuts and turned out to be one of the best buys of my life, I kid you not! I couldn’t find the one I bought, but a very similar one is available from Wickes. I did a white mist coat on every ceiling and every wall in our home with this bad boy, over 2500 square feet of it! I then set about a second and sometimes third coat of matt white emulsion on the walls and ceilings, but it was a breeze with this device. If I knew the finished walls in a room were going to be dark, then I didn’t bother with the second and third white coat, but instead, added a second coat of a darker undercoat first. This has to be done by hand though using a roller and brushes as you need to get straight lines between walls and ceilings.
For the master bedroom makeover I knew my final colour on the walls was very pale, so I did two coats of white matt emulsion. The paint needs to be watered down for the spray painter, so your paint goes further too! I only spray painted down to 10cm below where I knew the panelling would be going, pointless painting for no reason.
As far as the final coat of my chosen colour was concerned, it had to be done by hand. The finish on walls and ceilings will be as good as the tools you use and the amount of practice you have done. Everything I’m telling you here is just how I do things. It might not be the professional way to do it, but it has worked for me for years. The right brush and roller is so important to me. I use an angled brush for cutting in, which is painting the areas on a wall which are too tight for a roller, or require a neat straight line such as the ceiling line, corners and along skirting boards.
I’m also not a fan of masking tape. I find it takes ages to apply and then however much you spend on it, it still peels paint of the walls and there are always dribbles. I prefer to go straight in with the brush in a very manly assertive and confident manner. This takes practice though, both the painting and the manly bit. In my experience the slower and more careful you are when cutting in, the worse the straight lines get. It’s about fast, confident strokes and believing in your ability. The angled brush is a godsend too. The tip allows you to get into corners and create neat lines. I always use an angled brush by Harris, which I usually buy from B & Q – this isn’t an advert, its just the best brush I’ve ever used. Have a practice when doing your next room. What’s the worst that can happen, you put colour on the ceiling? If that happens, then just wipe and if need be paint over with white and wait to dry, its not the end of the world. A very good way of practicing is by getting a relatively large cardboard box, preferably a rectangle and cutting one long and one short side away. Turn the box upside down and you then effectively have a mini ceiling and a mini corner wall – stay with me on this!
You can paint your mini ceiling white, then practice doing the cutting in the way I have explained over and over to your hearts content. What’s not to love? You’ll be surprised how quickly you get used to doing it by hand and not bothering with the masking tape. Once you know you can do it then its easier to feel confident and really go for it on your walls. Straight, clean lines are everything when it comes to the finished look. I’ve been to so many peoples houses where they have great taste and style and then they go and ruin it with the cutting in and a slapdash finish. That’s me off the invite list from loads of my friends then! Seriously though, it’s so important if you want your room to really pop. I can’t pretend to be straight for love nor money, but I can paint you a straight line for days!
I’m going to finish this post on that note. The rest of the blog on the makeover has been written, but its way too long as one post, so I’ve split it in two. Next week I start by chatting about the tongue and groove panelling and all the beautiful finishing touches. In the meantime if you fancy a little more inspiration then head over to my Pinterest page at: jpslifeandloves or my Instagram page at @jpslifeandloves
Hope you enjoyed this. Till next week, by for now, JP. xx