Essentially our living room needed repainting and some new furniture. While the original scheme was quite pleasing, it had not stood the rigours of two cocker spaniels and two spoilt cats. The upholstery had become tired, and the animals just didn't like it. We needed a room that we could all share. This is our room to relax in, watch TV and eat casual meals.
We did an audit of what worked and what we liked and then developed a new scheme that would be more animal friendly. Twenty or so years ago when we built the extension onto our modest Californian Bungalow, we created a room that gave us garden views that would open onto a kitchen. We used similar elements and scales that were in the original house . We originally painted the new timber floorboards as we had original boards elsewhere and couldn't match the patina. The idea of painting things was that you could easily change your mind about colours. This room opens directly out onto the garden, and our first cocker spaniel stayed on the garden paths as he didn't like the great outdoors, these ones know no boundaries and bring the whole garden in on their paws. We decided that some sisal rugs that could be hosed down if they became soiled and they would limit the amount of floating dirt, and cut the grit from scratching the floors too much. A leather sofa that you could sponge down and repair the scratches with black shoe polish, was a practical choice. A classic styled two seater would work along with two ottomans which the cats like to sit on, or provide extra guest seating.
Inspired by our European travels we have refurbished the room to reflect our adventures. Starting with the chequerboard floor reminicent of Italian Palazzos and Renaissance paintings, we selected Porters Paints, flooring paint in Chai, Cardamon and Peat to create a grid. This exagerated the perspective of the room and makes a great base to pull together our eclectic furnishings.
We then selected colours reminding us of Venice, our favourite city. Taking an old reproduction of a Canaletto painting,(tacky but sentimental) we chose a dark murky green for the walls and ceiling.This makes a great background colour for the assorted items on the walls and contrasts with the gilded frames.
Porter Paints mixed the colour especially for us and called it "Boyd's hemlock". We used "Chai" a deep taupe to paint all the joinery including windows, skirting boards and case pieces of furniture, as well as the background border on the floor.
An antique Japanese screen is the focal point behind the sofa. It reinforces the garden concept and adds to the exotic furnishings of the room. Sentimental items from our travels, including Florentine marble paper pieces, top horizontal surfaces and our favourite books fill the shelves. An old counter chair from the department store Georges inspired the use of metallics.
Furnishings and additional details
Fabrics featuring gold stencilling inspired by Fortuny textiles are used for blinds. Cushions soften the practical leather sofa. The glint of gold reflects into the room, particularily at night when this room now gets most of its use. A row of bronze hedgehogs inspired by William Burgess sit just inder the ceiling line in leiu of a cornice. The lamps are styled after Fortuny lamps from the early 20th century, he is one of my design heros and fits with the arts and crafts theme of a Californian Bungalow.
We spent two weeks painting the floor, walls, woodwork and furniture. I had lots of fun selecting fabrics to make new cushions and spent a day sewing. We then rearranged many of our treasures so we can get pleasure looking at them through new eyes and remembering our enjoyable travels. This room now fulfils our design requirements: It is practical for our fury family and we get pleasure from just being in the room!