by Rose McClement
The Makings Of A Grand Entrance:
It’s time for a room reveal! Furthermore, what makes this reveal extra special is that this space is in my own home. Yes, I am finally doing it! I have gotten to the place where I am ready to show “myself”. This was especially difficult for me because a room reveal cannot be done outside of revealing a part of who you are.
As I have said so how many times: “Your home speaks to who you are, your character, your values, your preferences, etc.”Tweet
So, let me kick-off be saying: Welcome to my home, my world! Grab a cuppa because it’s a long-ish story. Long-ish but hopefully light, easy and fun. I want to reveal the journey of getting into it and doing it. You could say “share the processes” – but that sounds so officious.
Just before I get into the nitty-gritty, I think I should mention something about how I “play this game called Interiors“.
On the one side of the coin, you have designers and decorators who prefer a more structured game plan. They lean towards a more methodical and linear creative thinking (technically-inclined Architects come to mind). On the flip side of the very same coin, you have the designers for whom a more organic and spontaneous game plan is a better fit.
Yours-truly fits into the latter category. Does this make the organic decorator someone who flies by the seat of her pants, or is all over the show? NO – hardly. We still follow a pattern and structure but are open to changing lanes and move into it with a bit more ease. So, this room reveal won’t really be a “5 steps to get to the goal” kinda story.
Before: Working with the Basic Shell
Our home’s entrance foyer had been a thorn in my flesh for a long time. As the foyer had solid wooden doors no light penetrated it, making it a dark space that always needed to have the light on. The central light was a nasty ceiling-fixed downlight that did nothing but irritate me spitless. The walls were painted a lifeless whitish colour and the floor – terracotta tiles. This was the basic shell I had to work with.
As I look back on all the years that we lived here, I am reminded that this space upgrade, has indeed been a slow evolutionary process.
Before: Shedding Heirlooms & Sentiments
In the early years, to bring some life into that space, I plopped four very traditional oil paintings onto the walls. These were pieces that I had inherited from my parents, coupled with two works of art done by my husband’s grandmother. Somehow, I could not let go of those for sentimental reasons, even though I often wanted to yank them off the walls. Furthermore, I was stuck on the thought that if I did that – what would replace those? Clearly, I wasn’t ready for such a move evident by those type of thoughts. So, I put up with them (putting-up-with… worse thing you can do)!
About two years ago something moved inside of me. I decided “to hell” with it! While I do respect the sentimental value of the four inherited paintings, it was time to bring it down. That was the first move in the right direction. I discovered that in doing that, I had given myself permission to begin hatching the plans for the upgrade/makeover. About a year later, I detached from some more sentimental items that were on display in a cute Mid-century Modern low bookcase (also inherited, mind you). I can’t quite recall what I displayed on the walls after the disappearance of the inherited paintings…
You know as I write this, I’m struck by the fact that this entrance belonged to the Past. Just about every item in it had a connection to the past, by way of one family member or another. I felt like I was dropping an old skin, little by little. As each vintage item left the space, I was also freeing myself up for what potential was possible, waiting to be expressed here. It’s liberating! Something I really haven’t realised until now.
Deciding what to keep:
Hold on – pause here! I didn’t let go of everything. There are two chairs that I bought for my mom moons ago. They had made their way into my home when my mom came to live with us, and I saw their potential straight away. I knew then that a reupholstery job and a lick of paint could do wonders for them.
Searching For The Ideal Wallpaper:
Next, I began considering the wall treatment. Wallpaper was a given. Initially, the intention was only to paper one wall to create a feature wall. As time marched, I found myself pondering the space and visualizing what it would look like to extend the feature wall to include the adjacent wall. Yes – it would work.
Wallpaper needed to evoke a sense of pleasure as a feature of that space. Since wallpaper as a décor element had once again landed (after going into hiding for many years) the selection was extensive. What to do? I love bold, oversized, colourful wallpaper and was heading in that direction. Believe me, I played with many patterns in that genre. They make fabulous entrance statement pieces. But I had a niggle going on which needed to be accounted for. Since we sadly intend selling our house to sail off into a countryside sunset sometime in the not so distant future, I had to take into account the fact that what I liked would not necessarily appeal to a potential buyer. I was wary of marginalizing potential buyers.
OMG – eventually I decided on black and white paper. Thereafter, I decided on the pattern that I liked very much – a contemporary botanical palm leaf design. This wallpaper design from Hertex, was actually no stranger to us as we had applied it in different colourways in a few of our interior design projects. I thought a feature wall with a contemporary pattern would appeal to most folk (but mainly the hubby and myself). An added bonus – it worked out to be the perfect backdrop making way for other decorative items to stand proud as well.
Adorning the Walls:
Thereafter, I moved on to sourcing some art pieces. These were not originals like the traditional predecessors, but affordable prints.
Frida Kahlo appeals to me – her wild and colourful sense is something I resonate with. I picked up these prints as I went along, finding them in unexpected places at unexpected times. The quirky parrot print by Sammy Sheppard I found at Kamers Makers last year. I kept the framing minimal and contemporary so the prints could shine.
Finding the Fabric for the Chairs:
But now – onto those two chairs. Once I determined the wallpaper and the prints were on hand, I drew the colours from the prints. They are colours that speak to my inclination towards warm strong colours, plus they speak to my personality.
Getting to the fabric that finally landed on the seats and backs of the chairs was also quite a process of elimination and visualization. Like with the wallpaper I played with a good many patterns within my colour range.
First, I found the patterned fabric for the seats. Thereafter it was easier to match the plain vibrant teal colour for the backs. Lastly, I wanted contrast piping as a trim. It had to be a watermelon colour to tie in with the floral pattern. Now, at this stage, we were already in the throes of lockdown. I could not go out to the fabric houses to source a fabric. I had to work with what is on our office remnant shelves. It’s not as if these shelves are stocked with watermelon colours! LOL – but after scratching around, I tell you – it came outta hiding. To my delight and surprise. Perfect.
Playing with Paint:
Now the paint colour for the arms and legs. More OMG – the initial paint I bought was along the lines of the watermelon shade. However, once painted on it looked so unappealing to me. At this stage, I checked in with Marica and a friend. Both suggested black. I really didn’t want to do black – kinda the expected colour – but I did, and boy, am I glad I did! Again, with the black arms and legs, the fabrics were given full opportunity to make their own statements.
Lighting the Space:
Next lights – I needed to lose that central downlight faster than lightning can strike. Yet I did need to have as much artificial light as possible. While sourcing lights for a project, I took the time to source the light fitting and voila – I found what I liked. It is simple and effective with the looped /draped cord leading from the centre of the ceiling, into the corner above the one chair and next to the art. Again – Perfect. The large light bulb throws more than enough light into that space. My husband calls it “the moon in the corner“.
The Finishing Touches:
The décor elements that followed thereafter came about almost effortlessly when compared to the exploration that the wallpaper, fabrics and paint had needed. The metal table, a plant with leaves like the pattern on the wallpaper and the right height all seemed to land simultaneously. Plus, I managed to find the exact colour planter I had wanted – it was the last one I looked at and the only one of its kind at the nursery, with a favourable price tag.
Then I felt that with the black metal framed light fitting in the one corner, I needed to bring a bit of balance against that wall. Nothing overbearing, just something complementary. Hence the hanging plant in a black macrame holder in the other corner. Wanna know a real funny secret? Until one week before ordering the macrame, I had an absolute aversion macramé. Why? I had lived through the time of its first appearance into the décor world and I did not want to go near it. Not for love or money! Well, I had a change of heart. Now, do you understand why I am an “organic” decorator! I can flip when the need arises.
That was it! I had dotted the ‘i’ and crossed the ‘t’. It had been a very enjoyable, longish and totally fun journey of exploration. Both the Hubby and I are happy-chappies. Thus far the response has been favourable and a pleasure to watch the expressions of our guests.
I’ve spoken enough. Taken your time for which I thank you if you have managed to stick it out to this point. I hope that you draw inspiration from my journey so that you too can just do it.
Until next we speak. Cheerio