This was a very old kitchen. It is orange wood, is really tired and the expense of the recent roof-light saga has put a replacement total replacement kitchen on hold. So I had to do something to make it less hideous for a minimal cost and which was less brutal on the eye.
It is amazing what a lick of paint can do to jazz up something in the meantime. Cue two pots of very dark grey paint – one eggshell version for the cupboards, and another tough kitchen wall paint. Add some new handles, and nearly done. New Stainless steel wrapped shelves and hanging rails from Ikea add an industrial vibe to the wall by the sink area. Total time 2 days, and that was because I was waiting for paint to dry mainly and trying to hand the shelves straight.
But those leaded effect glass doors had to go as they looked so dated – so I took off the doors , (that’s down to my friend Rita who told me to do it – Ta Rita!). I then painted the interiors of the open units white as they were also lined in garish orange effect wood. I used a trompe l’oeil metro tile wallpaper on the backs, and marble sticky-backed plastic paper to wrap the shelves. It looks a TRILLION times better now, and I can relax. Plus the sticky-backed plastic reminded me of Blue Peter and making things when I was small so I got a nice bit of nostalgia thrown in.
Metro tile wallpaper
Marbled adhesive paper
Total Budget for paint, paper and shelves came in at less than £270. The handles came from my favourite ironmongery shop Nu-Line in Notting Hill and can be re-used when I get the kitchen of my dreams one day in another house.
Ta Dah! I am so pleased with the results. Hope you agree….
I had no idea that Conran had a paint range until today when they started following me on Twitter.
So I went over to their site and had a good look around, and they have some lovely colours, mainly in emulsion for the strong tones. These ones from the Highland Range are my favourites, I love the Broken Heather and Rainy Slate.
They also have a lot of neutrals, and these greens in a range called Kitchen Garden which is mouth-watering:
All the more reason to redecorate a room I think…! I have a spare bedroom awaiting my attention, it is very light as south facing, and I think it could take some of these darker tones well. Plus look how pretty the tins are!!!!
I have spent the last two days clambering around my breakfast room with paint in hand, and turning it from a very sedate and calm green into a zinging, intense deepest blue. It all started with some botanical prints that I spotted online at vintage printables.
These were really intense botanical images against dark backgrounds, and I fell in love with them. I sent them off to be scaled up into large prints for the princely sum of £27, and then framed them into the existing frames that I had for my paler versions… here is the room before:
It is nice, but I have lived with Farrow and Ball tasteful pale shades for too long! I chose a really intense colour for the walls, skirting and cupboard surrounds called Basalt by the Little Greene Paint Company. It is a really dark, dark blue, like squid ink:
I wanted to leave the original Victorian doors, floors and cupboards in their natural state. As one end of the room has pale painted panelling, plus the door frames and window frame, I though these would be too dark in the Basalt, so I used Lime White by Farrow and Ball for these areas to freshen it up. The rest of the room was painted in Basalt, and woe betide me if I ever have to paint it out again with a paler colour as it is very dark indeed!
I upcycled the old picture frames with the new prints, (I had 6 printed), and first of all hung them as they had originally been. But then I decided to make the wall more exciting as the dark background is a great foil for artwork.
Here are final photos of the completed room:
All that is left to do now is to is to overhaul the painted wood cupboard with the lamp on top, as it looks too pale for the room. I am thinking a zesty green or something similar would work, and I may repaint the table legs to compliment it.
So following my recent post about Paint Storage, which showed pastel paints looking great like the below, I spent the afternoon decanting my own paints into jars.
I made some sweet labels for the lids, and put them into my own mason jars (free download at bottom of post which is editable). I got rid of 4 large bags of old paint tins and was feeling super tidy, if not a little worried that I am developing OCD.
I am realising from the below photos that the colours in my house look like the insides of various babies nappies, all except one vivid aubergine. Hmm, feeling that I need to up the ante on stronger colours now… Hurrah, another reason to redecorate!
My friend Anne-Marie has been given a piano, and although it is in tune and plays well, it was a bit battered around the casing and woodwork. It is also very dark brown and stood out like a sore thumb in their living room which is very calm in design. So she asked me to have a go at painting it to make it blend better into the room. The room has pale creams, greys and a sage green in it, so I took those colours and used them on the piano. We ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about using decoupage, but as the piano will be situated next to curtains with a strong and graphic pattern, so we felt it better to leave it simple.
The piano was sanded back to get a really good key, especially on the lids and music stand which would get heavy use. Then a base of Country Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloane was applied all over the piano:
Certain areas were picked out in Olive chalk paint, such any as rims and edges with horizontal lines on the lids and legs:
Finally two coats of clear wax were applied and buffed heavily to create a soft sheen, and then the original candlesticks were re-attached. They have an aged patina which works very well against the new colours:
Here is the finished piano, which now looks great against the colours of the room and lifts the piano into becoming a stylish piece of furniture in its own right:
I love curio cabinets. The Victorians excelled at collecting things, (which are now non-PC or probably extinct), on their Grand Tours around the world. My Great Great Uncle Bernard was one of these, and in the family we still have his amazing cabinets filled with butterflies and eggs that he collected voraciously. Nothing came in small measures, he would collect 50 perfect specimens of one type of butterfly rather than just one, plus the caterpillar of the insect as well. The smell when the cabinet is opened is overwhelming of camphor still, and when I was a little girl I would spend hours inhaling the smell and coveting the butterflies. I have quite a few little odd bits such as fossils, animals and coins, and wanted to group them in some sort of display case together, following the Victorian cabinets which are so inspiring:
My last post talked about buying at auction, and one of the items I purchased was a very cheap little oak wall storage box from, I think, an old power station/railway box. It is made of oak, and has the original sticker in the box. As it is plain oak, I decided to paint the exterior in a distressed grey/green effect using chalk paints. I left the interior oak as I wanted the items to stand out.
Once it was dry, I hung it on the wall and popped in my little items; a skull, a pickled lizard, vintage smelling salts, fossils, coins and my grandfather’s lead toy soldiers. Here is the finished cabinet:
A tired pair of silver plate candlesticks had seen better days, and to re-plate them is expensive. So here is a DIY refurbishment to make them look like old verdegris versions, and they look very realistic. It is really simple to do, and these took about 40 minutes start to finish, (with cups of coffee included!).
Before and after:
You will need acrylic paint in black, green, turquoise, white and bronze. Also a really scruffy old paintbrush (ie. a tatty one such as an old child’s school paintbrush), and a wider household brush. Varnish is optional at the end, and if you do use it you will need a clear matt one. This is a fast process once the base coat is done, as there is so little paint in each stage that it dries really fast between layers.
Cover the entire candlestick with black acrylic paint using the household paintbrush, amazingly it sticks to metal well and I did not prime it. You could also use a paint formula like milk or chalk paint if you have it in black Leave to dry completely.
Starting with turquoise, dip the scruffy brush into the paint and then wipe off most of the paint onto some kitchen towel. Very gently start stippling the paint randomly over the candlestick so that the black undercoat is still visible, leave to dry when finished. In the picture you can see how dry the brush needs to be:
Repeat the process with the green acrylic paint all over the candlestick using the same technique. Leave to dry. Then with the white paint, and again using the same technique, gently brush over just 3 or 4 areas on the candlestick, it will look a bit like dust. If you think you are lacking any of the colours in areas or they are too dense, you can repeat the stippling with all of the paints until you are happy with the results. You can also work it with the brush when it is dry to blend the colours a little.
Finally, using the dry brush technique again, take some of the bronze metallic paint and almost gently tickle and lightly run the brush over the raised areas of pattern so that paint just highlights certain areas. For flat areas gently brush on, and using your fingers smooth it into the surrounding paintwork.
That is all there is, and it looks extremely realistic and antique. Brilliant!