Antiques & Antiquing, Art, Inspiration, Interior Style

A restoration of colour

I am sitting in the sunshine writing this, casting my mind back to the Winter months when I began consulting on an early Victorian house restoration in Dublin. The new owners had a fab sense of style but really wanted to do justice to this, their forever home. It had been broken in to flats in its previous existence and now needed to be brought back to life in a new chapter of becoming a home for a young family.

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I came in at the stage where paint colours were being chosen and decorative details were being considered

I remember we were numb with the cold, walking around trying to imagine how it was all going to look  as all the windows had been taken out.

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The owners were great, they wanted to push the boundaries with their choices of colour and be brave. They understood that how they painted their walls was going to dictate the atmosphere of each room. This was their chance to put their own mark on the house.

Spring has come and the house is now a home….

The outer entrance hall is a fresh pale green echoing the vert de gris in the reclaimed coach lantern.

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The entrance hall is a deep and dramatic colour.

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…. with the owner’s quirky papier maché deer head to greet visitors with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

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This leads to a lighter hall, stairs and landing with all the architraves becoming features by being painted in a darker hue to the walls. The owners fell in love with this painting  a few years ago after seeing it in a bidding raffle. I think they were destined to have it.

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A mirror with gorgeous mercuried glass waits to be hung

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The newly built boot room fulfills its function but is also a nice place to sit. The graphic poster advertising a sheep auction dating back to 1919 is a favourite of the owners and sits well in the ‘downstairs’ space.

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In fact all the artwork already owned by the family has found a place that seems right for it – throughout the house, the family’s personality shines through.

The dining room, which is mostly used in the evenings, is richly atmospheric with the artful details popping out of the rich clay colour of the walls.

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The chandelier has unexpected copper shades.

When viewing the house at its skeletal phase, the doorway from the hall was being closed off, I suggested creating a butlers alcove in the dining room keeping the bricks of the doorway exposed and using reclaimed planks as shelves, the terracotta adding warmth to the room, but also the feature is reminder of how far the house has come. This now houses a gorgeous copper & silver cloche bought by the owner for a song!

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The dining room leads to a sunny kitchen with airy high ceilings

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This fine gentleman observes life from above, he was sourced from Enniskerry Antiques through my Emporium of Decorative Detail  The ladder was sourced by the owners from Drew Pritchard architectural antiques

 

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Upstairs in one of the bedrooms, a beautiful little oil is the star.

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The new greys from Lilttle Greene work fabulously with the textures of the wooden mirror and the concrete tiles.

 

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When considering paint colours there was always a thought to how rooms would look as they lead to the next

 

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The guest room is pale and fresh – a haven for visitors to feel spoiled with a very thoughtful peg rail for their overnight things.

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The round mirror came from the previous home and fits in with the style of the new.

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A pale pink echoes plaster in the children’s room.

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When it came to moving in stage, I came back for the fun bit – to curate where the decorative pieces and artworks would go, the final piece of the jigsaw. It is these details that set off the carefully considered hues.

The house feels fresh and very now, while it has an awareness of it’s past. It is grand yet homely and quirky, therefore very much a home to relax and entertain while a young family have room to grow and enjoy it with friends.

A colour consultation is very worthwhile in making sure you really make the most of a space and the atmosphere there is the possibility to create.

For your own consultation focusing on either paint colours or decorative details, I can be contacted on niamhtheprintmaker@gmail.com or tel: + 353 (0) 87 911 8236

 

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Inspiration, Interior Style

Who doesn’t love a before & after?

A favourite aspect of my Creative Services is giving Colour Consultations in peoples’ homes.

The words ‘safe’ & ‘neutral’ are used a lot for existing paint colours and there is usually a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the rooms as they are at the ‘before’ stage.

In the case study below, I was dealing with clients who had just bought a gorgeous Victorian terraced house close to the centre of Dublin. The house had been cleverly extended & restored but was painted, almost throughout, in tones of magnolia (my favourite!). The young couple were eager to put their own stamp on the house and make it their home. They called in my help the same week they had moved in! The couple are quite artistic themselves and wanted that to be reflected but they just needed suggestions and support in going ahead with colours, I was delighted to find they embraced all my ideas and within two weeks the house had been transformed! I selected a number of artworks from my Home Curation Service for the walls to really show off the colours as an effective backdrop to one’s own decorative details. In this post I am concentrating on the rooms where I suggested strong dramatic colours.

The bedroom was a small simple room with a nice feeling and we were working with the existing curtains which were a lovely thick oatmeal tweed with a blue ticking stripe. Image

Now the architectural details like the gorgeous little fireplace are brought to the fore. It has become a really special ‘wow’ room.

The artworks on the wall in the after shot on the right are by Jean Bardon and Grainne Cuffe.Image

The hall was like any other hall but now, using some the new greys by Little Greene, it has been transformed in to an inviting and dramatic space that draws you in from the outside world. Decorative details now pop out from the walls creating areas of interest where there was none.Image

As you can see, Lexie the dog loves the new house as she poses beneath a fabulous Springtime Still Life by Brien Vahey.Image

The hall follows down the next level to an in-between room which is used as a home office with a flip down desk.It is now cavernous and peaceful, a place to get lost in one’s work.ImageThe cabinet in the corner was going to be discarded but instead I suggested painting it Atomic Red – a lovely orange red that works with the brown greys.Image

The dining room is in a modern part right at the back of the house. It is used mainly in the evenings for entertaining, so we chose an ambient daring colour for the walls. At night the space changes its mood and already, it has been reported that many successful dinner parties have been enjoyed there. Image

If you fancy your own Colour Consultation either in Ireland or in London feel free to get in touch with me to arrange.

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London Bridge c.1600

A tour of Old London Bridge

I have set this particular etching circa 1600.
It looks towards the East side of the bridge.

Towards the Southwark end we see the Great Stone Gate complete with the infamous traitors’ heads on poles designed to serve as a deterrant although actually recorded as seeming to be more of a tourist attraction.

At both ends of the bridge there were water wheels serving two mills. The South end mill, with its wheel in one of the arches, drove the waterworks – London’s first supply of pumped water from the Thames, while at the other end four water wheels, built a few feet away from the bridge upon the bases of a few of the arches (known as starlings), served the cornmill that was provided for the poorer citizens to grind their own corn at a moderate charge.

Towards the middle we have the incredibly ornate building known then as Nonesuch House – literally ‘no-other-such-house’. It was actually a prefabricated building that had been shipped over in sections from Holland, where it had originally been built. Its construction spanned two years, commencing in 1577. It is recorded that it was fitted together with only wooden pegs, without the use of a single nail – such was the immense precision in its design. It was decorated heavily with ornate woodcarvings and onion shaped cupolas and was apparently painted in brilliant colours. It stood for almost two hundred years but was in quite a state of decay when it was finally demolished in the eighteenth century along with all the rest of the houses on the bridge.

There had been a chapel in the middle of the bridge originating from the late twelfth century. This was dedicated to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury and a native Londoner. It had become the setting off point of the pilgrimage to his Canterbury shrine – where he had been murdered. In 1538 Henry VIII ordered all representations of the saint be defaced and later in 1549 it was stripped and allowed fall into decay, eventually turned in to a grocer’s shop. It is recorded that there was originally an entrance above the starling on which it stood. It seems that wherrymen and fishermen would tie their boats up and enter this way – a convenient access for them visit daily to seek a blessing on their day’s work. In this etching it is unrecognisable as a chapel with makeshift scaffolding built around it.

A major fire in 1633 destroyed most of the houses featured at the Northern end of the bridge. It is written that “On the 13th day of February, between eleven and twelve at night, there happened in the house of one Briggs, a needlemaker near St Magnus Church, at the North end of the Bridge, by the carelessness of a maid-servant setting a tub of hot sea-coal ashes under a pair of stairs, a sad and lamentable fire, which consumed all of the buildings before eight of the clock the next morning” There was an extreme scarcity of water as the Thames was almost frozen over at the time. Forty two premises were recorded as destroyed including: eight haberdashers, six hosiers, one shoemaker, five hatters, three silk mercers, one male milliner, two glovers, two mercers, one distiller of strong waters, one girdler, one linen draper, two woolen drapers, one salter, two grocers, one scrivener, one pin maker, one clerk and the curate of St. Magnus the Martyr. As the majority of these buildings were not replaced any time soon, the gap in the bridge prevented the Great fire in 1666 from spreading on to the bridge.

Antiques & Antiquing, Art

Old London Bridge c.1600

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