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.
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'