How to: make sense of decorating a whole house

Our project in Kensington is proceeding at very good speed and is now the time to fine-tune the decoration scheme.  This stage is always quite daunting for our clients, but we are here to help. The best way forward is approach the job step by step.

Step 1: is to reflect on the brief and understand the challenges.

The brief in this case is deceptively simple. The client likes neutrals – with a preference for cold greys – and she wants a modern, welcoming interior. The floor has been already chosen: a pale grey continental oak by Ebony and Co. It will be laid as parquet tiles on the main floors and as wide floorboards on the basement and bedrooms. The amazing Sabrina at Ebony customised it for us and even gave it a name: Faded Silvergrey Glossy (Poly)!

The challenge is to put together a scheme that is not bland and feels warm and elegant.  Every room must have a special atmosphere but the house has to feel homogeneous in style.

Step 2: using the right tools for the job.

Decoration is a hands-on process. We do not rely on drawings – as with do when designing layout and spaces – but on the real materials. Paint sample pots, swatches of fabric, small pieces of floors and objects like handles and switches.

We use mood boards as working tools, to check that all the materials we choose for a room work together. It is never about the beauty of a single piece – even though some time a favourite can be the starting point of a project– but how every piece works with the rest.

Step 3: putting together the team.

In this case a “team” of trusted brand we use over and over and we know we can rely on.

As all aspects of the décor must work together we chose brands that have a similar style and will be at ease side to side. For this house, we found natural to use Farrow & Ball paint (heavy pigmented and complex, therefore great to give body and depth to neutrals), De Le Cuona fabrics (a great choice of neutrals, interesting textures and finishes, clever ways to play with yarn and weave sizes for a sophisticated and modern approach to textiles) and Tabu veneers (their attention to trends and their way with wood grain, finishes and colours is superb). The extravagant touch in this case is the De Gournay hand painted silk wall paper: a favourite of our client and a great way rock the boat of such an understated elegant scheme.

We will be working on the colour scheme for ceiling walls and woodwork, on the window dressing (24 windows!) and on the furniture and decorative lighting layout.

Stay tuned as we will be posting about every aspect with information on our method of work and tips.

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