I visited a potential new client at the weekend. They live in a beautiful period property in Roundhay, Leeds, and I was taking a look at reconfiguring the ground floor and making the best of the space. When I got home, I told Jon that I was feeling some serious home envy! His face was one of fear. What’s wrong with our house? Does this mean I’m thinking of moving again? Of course, the answer is that there is very little wrong with our house having renovated the majority of it in the last 18 months, and I definitely couldn’t face the thought of moving again. However, it got me thinking about what it was that I was envious of and what that means for our home and for any of our clients.
If, like us, you’re a family with small children then your home can sometimes start to feel like it’s not your own. Toys, high chairs, plastic crockery and other paraphernalia ends up cluttering your space. You end up craving a space where you can go and hide away from it all. One where you can close the door on all that ‘stuff’ and feels like a grown-up zone! This house was all grown-up (they had a very friendly dog but no children), and it made me realise that we’d lost our grown-up zone over the Christmas period. It needs to be reclaimed and fast!!
That space for us is our front living room, the one with the dark blue walls and orange sofa. But what is it that makes that space work so well?
It feels different from the rest of the house
There is a lot of colour, pattern, time periods and styles going on in our home (I think the official term is eclectic!) but we wanted to have a proper play with this space. It needed to feel darker, moodier even. Something that felt distinctly different from the family spaces that we’ve designed and created at the back of the house.
It’s a west facing room with a large bay window, so the light coming in at the end of the day is amazing during the warmer months. That meant we could play with colour without it feeling too dark or making the room feel pokey.
Once we started playing around with colour combinations, we realised that if we took the plunge and went with a bold colour for the walls then we had carte blanche to have fun with other colours, shapes and patterns too.
So, rather than having one fabric for all the roman blinds in the room, we went for a geometric pattern from Fabrics Galore for the main bay window, complementing the main light pendant which is a black geometric pendant from Ocean Lighting. We then went to town in the opposite corner of the room where we decided on the Clarke & Clarke monkey pattern fabric which we bought from Textile Express. But we’ve placed a geometric side table from Dunelm in that corner, which ties the two themes together.
It still feels a part of the family space
The final interior design colour scheme that we agreed on was a combination of Dulux Heritage Oxford Blue, burnt orange and green. You could say that it’s quite a bold choice, but it’s clearly a combination that we’re drawn to. Our kitchen and dining area have a blue and orange palette, and so it felt like it was a natural continuation of that theme across the ground floor.
There are double glass doors that open from the living room into the dining and kitchen space at the back, so having a theme that runs through both means that on the occasions when the space does get opened up then it looks like a coherent space. Both spaces also have exposed wooden floorboards so that also helps with having a consistent look and feel.
We’ve treated ourselves to some more luxurious items
Dedicating this space to grown-ups and not allowing the kids’ paraphernalia in means that we’ve allowed ourselves more luxury than we normally would. We’ve gone for a Habitat burnt orange velvet sofa, the least practical thing when you have a family, but boy is it beautiful and incredibly tactile! It also sits beautifully with our Sofa.com green armchairs and footstool which we chose for our previous home.
We’ve also embraced the gold with Industville wall lights and a Dowsing & Reynolds gold dimmer switch. But these are combined with mid-century charity shop finds like the sideboard, record player and TV unit, making it feel down to earth and rustic rather than glamorous and high-end.
So, now that Christmas is over and the toys are again banned from the living room, we’re falling in love with this room all over again. It’s made us realise that there are a couple of specific pieces that we need to find, like a gold lamp and a large vase to replace the Poinsettia in the fireplace. But the main thing it’s done is helped us to realise that although most of our home has our kids’ stamp all over it, there are some safe havens where we can take a glass of wine and hide from it all!!
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