When it came to renovating The Pink House, the first job was to knock down the wall between the kitchen and living room, to make a big family room. The rooms run north-south, so as well as gaining the opportunity to keep an eye on the kids (break up fights) while cooking (heating stuff up), the knock-through also means the north-facing kitchen area benefits from the daylight streaming through the south-facing living area windows.
We then got to work, smothering the once-white walls with a bold Farrow & Ball Manor House Gray, picking out the skirting, shutters and mantlepiece with White Tie. It was a revelation to see how the grey allowed the emerald green of the IKEA sofa (best buy ever), and the vibrant oils in our James Hawkins painting above the fireplace, to shine out.
The now-redundant door into the living area we covered with blackboard paint, and the frame with gold paint. The idea was for the gold to serve as a frame for the chalk masterpieces created by our little Degases. However, I soon realised these masterpieces wouldn’t be confined to the blackboard, and were destined to adorn the walls and furniture. The blackboard has been in situ for four years now, but ne'er so much as a fleck of chalk has whitened our door.
What the door DID do, though, was provide the starting point for the kiddies’ art corner. The initial plan was they would do their painting, etc, in the playroom. But like all plans I made before actually having children, this never came to fruition: ‘but I no WANT go upstairs do painting, mummy’.
So an art corner in the ground floor living room it was. I didn’t want plastic storage messing up my space though, so instead we (‘we’ merely suggests lack of veto on the Pink House Husband’s behalf) went for this wooden alphabet chest from Graham and Green. The 50s school chairs came from Very Vintage in Edinburgh. The fabric picture was made by the incredibly creative Pink House Mother out of fabric scraps she had used over the years to make clothes for the family, and was a present for my 21st birthday.
And the felt tip marks on the side of the green sofa are by ‘it wasn’t meeee’, apparently.
The James Hawkins mountain painting inspired the colour scheme for the living room. James is an old family friend who lives in Ullapool in the Highlands and uses a kaleidoscope of colours to render the stunning natural landscape that surrounds him. Green and blue were the key colours, as seen in the sofa and Harlequin’s Arkona Velvets blinds in Sky, and the cushions. As usual I was tempted to add some pink, but the painting said no. Instead I went for orange accents with the bespoke Jennifer Manners ikat circles rug, and funky-but-practical Kartell Masters chairs. I find the odd touch of yellow also works well in here, hence the yellow six-arm Jielde floor lamp, a birthday present - after I banged on about it for a year - from the ever-patient Pink House Husband.
I wasn't after a matchy-matchy look for this room - more playful, friendly and eclectic (if you like matchy-matchy sophistication just WAIT till we unveil The Pink House's latest renovation project: The Den AKA The Grown-up Playroom - not long now). So in addition to the sofa, sitting options include this William Morris fabric covered armchair from The Sofa Workshop (despite its pale background, its remarkably kid-proof), and, for now, the Eames rocker, although this is ultimately destined for the kids' playroom, which is next in line for renovation. I've lost count of the number of times a child has fallen off it due to overly enthusiastic rocking, but hey, that's all part of the fun, right?