In the dark

The Telegram (St. John’s) - Home Buyers' Guide - - DEBBIE TRAVIS -

There are a few bold dec­o­rat­ing steps that take an ad­ven­tur­ous spirit and a de­cid­edly per­sonal sense of style to ex­e­cute. One ex­am­ple is mov­ing to a dark pal­ette - lay­er­ing walls, floors and ceil­ings in deep, rich hues, and in­clud­ing fur­nish­ings that share the same shad­owy na­ture. It’s dar­ing, but it also presents an ex­cit­ing, the­atri­cal at­mos­phere. Done right, it’s calm, not bor­ing, ex­pres­sive, not dis­mal. I hear from readers who want to take that big step to­ward a den with black walls or a bed­room drenched in mid­night blue. Their hes­i­ta­tion em­anates from the neg­a­tive vibes oth­ers in the home are send­ing. And I get this. It is not for ev­ery­one. But what dec­o­rat­ing choices are uni­ver­sally ac­cepted?

I came across a book that rev­els in the un­ex­pected. Ex­tra­or­di­nary In­te­ri­ors, show­cases rooms and homes that are bold, pow­er­ful and mostly clothed in dark­ness. And yet the pho­tog­ra­phy by Debi Treloar and text by Jane Rock­ett and Lucy St. Ge­orge cap­ture how light­hearted and stylish a char­coal pal­ette can be. The au­thors are self-ac­knowl­edged de­sign junkies who travel far and wide to stock their eclec­tic house­wares store. Their par­tic­u­lar brand of dec­o­rat­ing rooms that al­ways have the ‘Wow’ fac­tor is mapped out on the pages. Pre­sented as a dec­o­ra­tor’s 101 class, their solid fun­da­men­tals are listed.

On the im­por­tance of light­ing ñ ev­ery light should have a dim­mer switch, never in­stall a flu­o­res­cent light in any part of your home, and light can­dles ev­ery day.

Tips for ar­rang­ing a space: max­i­mize nat­u­ral light, take down heavy cur­tains; never ar­range your seat­ing around a TV; cre­ate a stylish spot and plan for ev­ery seat to have a view; creative stor­age is es­sen­tial.

How to make it per­sonal, make a list and if you are liv­ing with a part­ner do this to­gether. Write down five words that de­scribe your per­son­al­ity (en­er­getic, thought­ful, mu­si­cal etc.). Write down five words that de­scribe the way you dress (slick, mono­chrome, boho, se­duc­tive). Fi­nally, write down five things that make you happy (be­ing with friends and fam­ily, soli­tude, and con­sider smells and tac­tile ex­pe­ri­ences).

Stun­ning ex­am­ples of iconic fur­ni­ture pieces, per­sonal col­lec­tions, and eclec­tic light­ing choices heighten in­ter­est in ev­ery space. There is al­ways a mix of mod­ern and an­tique, spare de­signs along­side re­fur­bished flea mar­ket finds. The au­thors stress that dec­o­rat­ing a home is al­ways evolv­ing as you grow, as you travel, as you ex­per­i­ment.

Back to the dark pal­ettes that are so prom­i­nent in the book. Pic­tured here is a sit­ting room that is cloaked in char­coal grey and black. What up­lifts the mono­chrome look are the many changes in tex­ture and shape. The im­per­fect plas­ter walls are sub­tly shaded in dark, chalky grey. Boxy leather chairs shine, their silky smooth black cov­ers mak­ing a strong con­trast against the walls. A tra­di­tional oval mir­ror framed in gold pro­duces a shot of colour that glows. An ir­re­sistible spray of pussy wil­lows adds an­other di­men­sion of shapes. Sub­tle ac­cent light­ing en­sures a calm and tran­quil mood. The sur­prise is the white painted floor, and white ob­jects fea­tured in the book­case. These bring bal­ance, and a light­hearted touch.

Black and white is a strong theme that is of­ten uti­lized in a mod­ern space. It can bor­der on clin­i­cal. Again, it is the con­trast that pro­vides in­ter­est, and with thought­ful plan­ning this dy­namic duo is wel­com­ing. In this bright kitchen, the home­owner wanted to be part of the ac­tion as she prepared meals for fam­ily and guests. The large cen­ter is­land houses the stove top, with plenty of space to toss to­gether sal­ads and snacks. A black brick back wall and black floor to ceil­ing book shelves frame the open kitchen. The shelves hold per­sonal trea­sures, plants, books and signs that bring the fam­ily’s per­son­al­i­ties and pas­sions into full view.

Kitchen and book shelves: A wel­come dis­play of per­sonal and fun fam­ily ob­jects bal­ance a clin­i­cal white and black kitchen.

Sit­ting room: Nat­u­ral and ac­cent light­ing high­light the tex­tu­ral con­trasts in this re­laxed sit­ting room.

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