I had a few little patch tests on these window panes for at least 2 months before I decided to take the plunge and go dark. The conservatory in our house is such a beautiful feature, however the white paint was very tired and needed some serious TLC, so it was a choice between a fresh coat of white, a pale grey tone or a significant leap to black where the change would be difficult to reverse. I have always loved the more industrial look of Crittall windows and as this space is very traditional, I felt going dark would give it a more up-to-date feel while simultaneously accentuating the classic design of the doors.
The dark won my heart in the end. I wanted the finish to be as matt as possible - to get that Crittall window feel – so the paint choice was extremely important. A friend of mine had recently been raving about Fusion Mineral Paint as it doesn't mark up and is easy to clean (unusual for a matt finish), however the colours were either too dark or or very blue. Eventually, I did a little tester using sample pots of the Navy and Ash Black and mixing them up in equal measures. This created a beautiful dark blue/grey tone, very similar to Farrow and Ball railings, just a tad darker. I found the perfect colour!
- The paint colours mixed together equal measures - Before
The window frames were all sanded down then painted with 3 coats of the Fusion mix, no primer or sealer were needed, this paint is amazingly smooth to apply and a little goes a long way, I had bought a total of 12 paint pots, as they look small and I only ended up using 6 of them. The instant change in this room was unbelievable, it immediately framed the garden drawing the greenery inside and creating a sense of fluidity.
Originally I was going to paint the pillars dark too, but then decided in order to compliment the glass ceiling they needed to be light, so opted for Farrow and Ball ‘Wevet’ instead, along with the rest of the wood work and walls in this room. The dark paint did mark up a little initially with dust and a few tiny chips in some places, which at first was a concern, but a paint specialist confirmed that unlike other paints it takes a few weeks to harden and once it does will be stronger than normal paints. Four months later and this appears to be correct.
This colour change is even possible on uPVC as discovered by my instagram pal Jess, thehoppyhome.co.uk. When Jess saw the finished result on my page, she did a similar paint over in her uPVC conservatory. Firstly, she primed all the frames with two coats of ‘Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Primer-Sealer' then followed with a coat of 'Johnstone’s Trade Eggshell' colour matched to the Farrow & Ball Railings for a similar effect. The result was amazing!
I am a great believer that a lick of paint can completely enhance a space and this room says it all. At night, it does feel a little vast, absorbing into the dark with no defined colour to differentiate the two. However, during the day it emphasises the greenery beyond, beautifully framing the garden while seamlessly blending in with the greens. Unexpectedly, the effect is a lot more subtle than the white, yet still offers a gorgeous contrast between the inside and outside of the house. The transformation is dramatic and I love it, proving it sometimes pays dividends to take a risk and experiment.
With a house full of pets and children, a question friends often ask me, is how despite the inevitable bits lying here and there and everywhere, can a room look stylish? Firstly, I try to avoid anything too bright/plastic and garish for the kids at home, obviously we have a few items of this very description, but when not being played with they tend to be hidden away in the most subtle baskets/toy storage I can find. I love a challenge and to think outside the box in regard to the way I style the clutter in our home. Whether it's about accessorising, storage solutions, a splash of colour or up-cycling , I try and maximise every existing item that is visible to the eye so the house looks its very best. This is achieved through clutter being styled or completely hidden!
I love the above baskets with pom poms for the children's areas in the house. They add an instant splash of colour, hide all the toys when not being played with and look stylish at the same time, I found these on Etsy who have lots of different colour options. I used fruit storage units below these from Cox & Cox, they are great to store all the little bits such as lego, wood blocks and puzzles. Wall stickers are amazing at making a dead space instantly look more characterful, I got this rabbit from Bell & Boo. Little details such as flowers, ball lights and neon lighting also add an element of fun to a space and I love having picture rails along the walls in family areas with family pics, though I have to admit I am very behind on updating these as the kids get older...
Storageboxes are a decluttering must, stacked neatly along with book racks and sectioned magazine storage. Canvas baskets are ideal for throwing the soft toys in at the end of the day and the above (along with the Teepee) are from Wildire Teepees. I usually keep the walls quite neutral in these areas, so the fun colours and patterns can speak for themselves. Chalk paint on certain walls is great to avoid writing anywhere else, these two areas are painted in Eico Chalk Paint, they have loads of colours to choose from, this is a lovely blue toned grey that the kids can draw on to their hearts content.
The more stylish clutter, a mixture of sentimental items, plants, books, candles and photos, are arranged on shelves around the house (the above two photos were featured in a Rockmystyle blog). This provides a homely and lived in feel, however, keeping them contained to specific areas allows other spaces to beclutter free creating a sense of equilibrium.
It’s not just the kids’ areas that have baskets, they are literally everywhere around the house. Whether containing umbrellas by the door, loo rolls in the bathroom or dirty laundry, there is always a basket to hide a multitude of clutter creators. Plants look wonderful when popped in them too - John Lewis, Cox & Cox, TK Max and OlliElla always have a great selection to pick from.
A splash of colour on the inside of doors not only adds a fun focal point to any room but also distracts from the clutter. Hooks on the inside are always a useful way to hang special items that would usually be discarded into a basket or on the floor. Decorating the walls with pretty shelves and toys also helps avoid too much chaos on the floor and I love stacking suitcases on top of each other as they’re ideal for storing puzzles, books and Lego.
The above doors are painted in Farrow and Ball Nancy Blushes (pink) and Babouche (yellow)
Desk storage has suddenly become a necessity for my 5-year-old daughter. I made this desk using an Ikea work top cut down to size along with two of the Eket range units either side, adding pretty handles for a colour splash. The vibrant shelves are again Ikea spice racks that I painted. I always keep nice simple gift boxes such as those from The White Company, JoJo Maman, Bebe and Jo Malone as they’re great for storing little bits.
I tend to put pin boards up on hidden walls that we walk past regularly but are not a focal point in the house, such as outside the downstairs loo. These are great to pin memories, things to do and reminders. Cute hooks on the children's walls are also very handy to hang pretty outfits that are usually hidden away in the wardrobe.
I hope this helps give a little insight on how I style the clutter. The bottom line is that certain clutter can work if presented correctly, you don't have to be minimal to have a clutter free home, it’s about the right storage and making it appealing to the eye. There’s so much more to share so I can’t wait to post my next blog for you!
Style the Clutter
Interiors By Leoma Harper
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'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'