Grey Walls, the reveal.

Repainting two of my living room walls, from pure white to charcoal grey, was just the boost my home and myself needed.  So, what have I learned from painting my walls?

1. I should have done it earlier when I had the idea about a year ago! I wait way too long before I do something in my own house. Part of that reason is that I get bored quite easily so I feel that I really need to be in love with the new look before I commit to it – but don’t we all feel like that?

2. I share my home with a husband (fortunately, he leaves all interior choices up to me!), a five-year old daughter (that has quite an opinion on ‘pretty things’) and a dog, better known as demolition-dog (a 16 month old very bold pup).

3. The interior choices I make, needs to be hardworking and wearing – no white floors, fluffy rugs or Kartell Ghost furniture for me, thank you very much!

As with many things in life, now that I’ve painted the living room walls, I wish I’d done it sooner. It has also become apparent how badly the rest of the house needs a re-paint, next job on the DIY list, so watch this space.

Charcoal Grey Living room walls painted in Valspar 'Wetbar R1E'

 

BELOW, The ‘Before’ Walls:

Although I’ve always liked the white walls with my aubergine velvet sofas and colourful gallery of paintings, I felt this room needed a change. There was only ever one wall colour in the running – charcoal grey, but finding the right tone of grey, took a lot longer. Until I came across the Valpar ‘Wetbar R1E’, charcoal grey paint.  This shade of grey matched the rest of the room perfectly. Other greys that I’ve considered, tended to show up either too mauvey-purple or too blue, but this tone worked perfectly in this room.

Top-Tip: It is so important to test your paint swatches in the room you are planning to paint. The colour might look perfect on the card or in the tin but appear totally different on the walls in the chosen room because of light reflections and the existing furniture and accessories.

Before; white walls

 

BELOW, The ‘After’ Walls:

Charcoal Grey Living room walls painted in Valspar 'Wetbar R1E'

 

Charcoal Grey Living room walls painted in Valspar 'Wetbar R1E'

 

Charcoal Grey Living room walls painted in Valspar 'Wetbar R1E'

 

SORTING THE COLLAGE, Below:

Vintage, Antique and special paintings

I knew that re-arranging the paintings would be quite a job. Before I painted, I filled in the holes and prepped the walls to get a good finish as I knew I needed to re-arrange my ‘gallery’. If there was ever a fire, apart from grabbing the living creatures in my house, some of these paintings would be the first on the list. Not because they are valuable, but priceless in terms of sentiment. Some are vintage finds from here and abroad, an antique one my parents gave to me, and a few lovingly painted by my sister Nelia. My favourite has to be beautiful big dahlia one in the middle that I got on holiday in France, I adore it so much.

Knowing that I wanted the big one in the middle, I started to lay them out on a flat surface. Once happy with the configuration, I took a photo of the layout and started to replicate the layout on the wall. Starting with the big one in the middle and flanking it with two on wither side, completing the bottom row and working my way up. I didn’t measure the gaps as I don’t mind that the don’t all line up perfectly, as they all differ in shapes and size anyway. This might drive some people mad, so it’s up to you how perfect you want them. Measuring is a good idea if you do a collage creating a perfectly symmetrical pattern. In my case, as they differ so much, I just wanted them to look balanced and loosely symmetrical – and besides, I like a bit of imperfections!

By the way; if the idea of hanging pictures in a collage style seems a bit too daunting, fear not, Ikea have this super cool system where you buy a template called Matteby (£2.50) with four different collage options. All you do is stick this template on the wall, it shows you where to mark for the nails. Then hang your frames to this guideline template. As it’s by Ikea, they cleverly suggest which of their frames to use too, making it a perfect pairing – but I’m sure you can just improvise by using your own pictures – genius! Why have no one thought of this before?

 

Charcoal Grey Living room walls painted in Valspar 'Wetbar R1E'

 

Feature, Styling & Photos: Theoda Solms Iles

 

My Dining Room Furniture Makeover

My Dining Room Furniture Makeover with Valspar paint

My dining room has been begging for a makeover. As in most houses, rooms evolve and so has this dining room. We bought the table about 9 years ago and I was adamant to get a big table plus additional extending leaves to make the table bigger when needed, well we used the extension leaves twice! Too much hassle if you ask me. I also have a problem with natural wood – I just don’t like brown, interesting if you work in interiors…  Up until now, I’ve always covered the table-top either with a fancy oilcloth on regular days or with linens when we entertain. The chairs started off well, plain Ikea white ones that was perfect at the time, but as time passed, I would see lovely chairs along the way and wish they were mine. So one day the temptation was too big, these two dark wooden tapestry chairs shouted out from my local charity shop to be snapped up for £5 each and obviously I couldn’t resist! For ages they just stood around as they didn’t fit in anywhere and we had no space for them. I even put them on e-bay to sell, but with no buyers, they eventually ended up in the garage to be stored. Then one day Peter came back from the rubbish dump with two more chairs, or rather, chair frames. This was a clear sign that now is the time to start my dining room furniture makeover.

Below: The “before” furniture.

Valspar painted dining table & chairs, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

 

Below: Valspar colour swatches to match up with antique tapestry and vintage Sanderson fabric

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

Above: Choosing paint to match vintage fabrics, Valspar paints;  ‘Sugar leaves’ R144E (sulphur)  and  ‘Mountain Ridge’ R282B (grey)

 

Choosing a paint range was easy, I’ve had my eye on the new Valspar range that B&Q stocks. I love the vast colour collection and cute colour cards, yes, I’m easily swayed by pretty colours! I knew that I wanted the table legs grey with a whitewashed top ( Table top: Valspar Interior Wood varnish, colour ‘Silver Fox’) but choosing the chair frame colours was a bit more tricky. Grey had to be in the mix, the sulphur yellow came naturally and I was desperate to include turquoise too. I narrowed it down to a deeper grey and a punchy sulphur yellow, the turquoise had to wait for now. I had a few old fabric cuttings that I could easily use to make simple seat pads for the two chair frames (foam glued onto mdf-board and stretching the fabric over, securing by stapling the fabric to the back). In the end, I decided to use a very special vintage Sanderson fabric that were the cute little curtains in the kitchen when we moved here 10 years ago. I always kept the curtain fabric in the hope of using it one day, and here they are, the perfect match with the other two embroidered seats. Now I love my new dining room furniture, the table with white washed top never needs to be covered again and the eclectic mix of chairs adds so much more personality to this room and of course the vintage Sanderson has a great story to tell.

 

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

 

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

 

 

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

 

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

 

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

 

Choosing paint and vintage fabrics, Valspar 'Sugar leaves' R144E & 'Mountain Ridge' R282B

 

Styling, feature & photos by Theoda Solms Iles