Tuesday, 14 August 2012

when 50 shades of grey is good...

My sister is in the process of buying a house. It is what an estate agent would describe as 'having good bones' and a 'fixer-upper.' What that means is that the layout is good, the rooms are large, but it's a shit tip.

The small mindedness of the vendor in not doing any work beforehand has allowed my sister and husband to get a huge property at a great price - but with the massive discount comes a whole lotta work.  Mainly involving bleach, stripper, paint and elbow grease.

So much so that I'd suggest if you were worried about the atmosphere and climate change, you might want to have a few deep breaths into a big ol' brown paper bag considering how many solvents are going to be involved in this reno...

Anyway, as big sister and design consultant, I have a huge job ahead of me. Mainly in persuading my family clients family that I actually do know best. It's one thing to have the trust of real clients, but when it's your baby sister it's much harder. 'Because I say so' comes with thirty-something years of drama behind it, and I'm not sure it'll go down too well. (On the other hand, the supernieces think anything I say is gospel, so I'm expecting an easy ride of them when it comes to their rooms!)

Low on my sister's list of priorities is their master bedroom. 

However, I think maybe we should move it up. A bad night's sleep isn't going to motivate anyone to get any further on any other part of the house, right?

The master bed currently looks like this:
I warned you. 
(Superniece number one was thrilled to be able to report she made 28p by picking up coins in the house on the first viewing. Clever kid.)

Thing is, the room is dark. The window opens onto a small side path before rising to a bank of vegetation. It's not going to get a whole lot lighter. Particularly since it's in Yorkshire, which God forgot to light. So here's the hard part - persuading G&D that if the room is dark, you gotta just go with it. White won't make it whiter. Embrace it. Learn to live with it. It's a fact*. Painting light paint in a dark room simply accentuates the shadows, making a room gloomy.

So I've been trawling some images that hopefully will inspire them, and get them onside.
I couldn't have got luckier over the last week - 
This pinterest image looks brown, rather than grey I was looking for, but it shows how right I am in thinking that light linen against dark walls = luxurious & cosy. And just about any art, lamps & decor is set off nicely...

John Jacob Zwiegelaar is a Cape Town based designer. This is his OWN room. Surely you don't need much more to persuade you than the fact that this is what professionals do in their own rooms?

Except I probably do.
Ok, keep going:
A West Elm catalogue picture continues to prove my point. Except it's not really my sister's vibe. That carpet is a bit too officey, the sheepskin a bit too Ikea, and the desk is too far from the bed to look like a bedroom table. This isn't proving my point so much as throwing up obstacles.

Um, hello luxury. 
I do worry that my Zimbabwean brother-in-law won't see past the bust of a man with a top hat on, and all those pillows - men *hate* pillows - but what's key here is the painted panelling effect, and rug anchoring the bed.

I had to find some bedrooms that are closer to how my family live - no bolsters and busts!
I remembered Erin was a fan of grey:
Boom. Point proven. The Zimbo might like the leopard print too.
Except that room is a bit light to prove anything. Three windows? Lucky!
Try harder.
Erin's old home had a darker bedroom:
Turns out that wall was black. I like it. Not sure the famdamily will.
Try harder still. 

I think I need a slightly lighter colour for this to be taken seriously...

And then I remembered the Mr Boy Room that Naomi at Design Manifest has been working on, which she showed us a while back. Perfect! 
The walls are in Benjamin Moore's Van Deusen Blue. The shape of that beautiful West Elm lamp, the ruggedness of the nail heads on the upholstery and side table, and the tonal caramel in the white linen all sets off the moodiness of the blue grey paint.  Not too chick, not too masculine, not too heavy. There are loads of other images at Naomi's blog.

And then, I found this, which I'm hoping this might seal the deal.
Erin at Design Crisis is the master (mistress??) of dark walls - she's mamma to Ike and creator of the best nursery ever, twice!
Anyway, Erin showed the results of her bedroom makeover (visit here for the moodboards) - walls in Benjamin Moore Dior Gray, hardwood floors and traditional carpet brightened by white linen. Well, and coral linen. Erin called it her 'slutty master bedroom' - as she freaked out about the fur & coral sheets. Whatever. I like it.
And better yet, pretty sure my brother-in-law might be swayed by 'slutty' as an idea for their bedroom! 
And I might get another superniece or nephew! 


*facts on dark rooms - aka 'I told you so' section:
Maria Killim - color consultant on light & dark 
Farrow&Ball paint specialists, color recommendations
Mario Buttas color secrets at Elle Decor


Lou Chennells said...

Carly I want to paint my room dark too now and I will even consent to throwing out my veneer fake french drawers and side tables if you can help connect me to some upscaled furniture I can covet (pay) and collect! There is a deal! You are so good at this!!!

Dermott Beverley said...

Skylight for the master bedroom + skylights for the lounge Carly - we have plan! But yeah this is a good read. Gillian may have to translate some of it for me though - there's far too much interior decorating for me to keep up ;)

Patsy said...

The "before" pic of G's bedroom is amazing! I can't wait to see the end result.

Gillian said...

I keep on coming back to this again and again - now that we're in the reality of organising the house I purposely shut the door on our room whilst I try to figure out the rest of the house .... and yet this post has got me soooooo excited about the possibilities I'm too busy daydreaming of my new room to worry about all the others!

Now I just need to convince you to blog the solution to all the other rooms ...

Post a Comment