Colour makes a home

A mod­est home that cel­e­brates big colours? This east Lon­don flat’s owner, in­te­rior de­signer Laura Ful­mine, has glee­fully thrown away the dec­o­rat­ing rule book

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents - Words TESSA PEAR­SON Pho­tog­ra­phy MICHAEL SIN­CLAIR

This small east Lon­don flat has a big per­son­al­ity

Liv­ing room The green walls, painted in ‘Crocodile’ from Colours by B&Q, com­ple­ment the an­tique and vin­tage fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing a Dan­ish rose­wood tall­boy from Chase & Sorensen. The ceil­ing pen­dant, bought on Ebay, is a 1960s model by Ger­man de­signer Flo­rian Schulz. The wall lamp is also Ger­man, from the same pe­riod, dis­cov­ered at a lo­cal mar­ket Stock­ist de­tails on p185 ➤

THE APART­MENT

It’s hard to pic­ture this now char­ac­ter­ful two-bed­room apart­ment as an all-white space, but that’s ex­actly how it re­mained for two years while in­te­rior de­signer and stylist Laura Ful­mine fig­ured out ex­actly what she wanted to do with it. Laura, who lives with her part­ner, pho­tog­ra­pher John Short, moved into this mod­est east Lon­don home four years ago and spent a year do­ing it up. ‘I think it helps to live in a home for a while to get a feel for it, rather than rush­ing to dec­o­rate straight away,’ she says.

The 57-square-me­tre apart­ment is lo­cated on the first floor of a turn-of-the-last-cen­tury man­sion block near Dal­ston, which im­me­di­ately piqued Laura’s cre­ative in­ter­est due to its red brick façade and large sash win­dows. ‘The lay­out of the flat it­self is beau­ti­ful,’ she adds. ‘It has a spa­cious cen­tral hall­way, around which the var­i­ous rooms are spread, like the branches of a tree.’

THE IN­SPI­RA­TION

Laura’s home was hab­it­able when she moved in, but needed to be shown a bit of love. ‘I didn’t have a plan for the in­te­rior, it just evolved over time. I’m drawn to min­i­mal­ist houses, but I could never live in one.’ The first task on the to-do list for this project was strip­ping the lay­ers of paint from the orig­i­nal wooden doors, floors, skirt­ing boards and win­dow frames. ‘The win­dows in this apart­ment are amaz­ing, but they seemed less strik­ing when painted white. The nat­u­ral wood makes a fea­ture of them, and the neu­tral tone was eas­ier to work with when de­cid­ing on colours for the walls.’ Deep, strik­ing shades were, in part, cho­sen to bril­liantly com­ple­ment Laura’s cu­rated mix­ture of an­tiques. ‘I have a love of Ital­ian de­sign from the 1950s to the 80s, and I like pair­ing pieces that may not ob­vi­ously go to­gether,’ she says.

THE COLOUR SCHEME

‘De­spite this home’s small pro­por­tions, I was keen to use dar­ing colours to de­fine the var­i­ous spa­ces,’ Laura ex­plains. ‘Par­tic­u­larly as the flat is on a cor­ner, so the sun trav­els round to each room through­out the day.’ To this end, the kitchen is painted bright white to make the most of the morn­ing light, while, in con­trast, the bed­room, that only gets the sun at the very end of the day, is a moody mid­night blue. ‘Pale shades can feel cold in a room that doesn’t get much day­light. This blue makes more of the dark­ness, and it’s very calm­ing and ther­a­peu­tic,’ she says.

This bed­room was, in fact, painted a to­tal of three times be­fore ‘Hicks Blue’ by Lit­tle Greene was de­cided upon, and just as many va­ri­eties of green were de­lib­er­ated over un­til the per­fect chalky, mossy hue of ‘Crocodile’ from Colours by B&Q made its way onto the liv­ing room walls. ‘I’m ob­sessed with green. I have a lot of mar­ble and brass, which it pairs with per­fectly,’ adds Laura.

The her­itage-in­spired ‘Café Pink’ by San­der­son Paints, used in the study, was se­lected after a trip to Lon­don’s Vic­to­ria & Al­bert mu­seum, when the land­mark’s style struck a chord. ‘I think that colour makes a home invit­ing and you be­come more con­scious of mov­ing be­tween dif­fer­ent zones,’ says Laura. ‘It can ac­tu­ally make a place feel big­ger.’ lau­ra­ful­mine.com

HOW TO USE UN­EX­PECTED COLOUR TO EN­HANCE SMALL- SPACE LIV­ING

In­te­rior de­signer Laura Ful­mine shares the es­sen­tial things to re­mem­ber when us­ing state­ment shades EX­PER­I­MENT You don’t have to get it right first time. Rec­ti­fy­ing an un­suc­cess­ful paint job is much eas­ier than it might seem, par­tic­u­larly when there’s less wall to cover. LOOK TO THE LIGHT As­sess the ef­fect of nat­u­ral and ar­ti­fi­cial light on the colours you’re con­sid­er­ing. Paint swatches on pa­per and place them in ar­eas of sun­light, as well as shady al­coves. CRE­ATE A VIS­UAL PALATE CLEANSER Too much colour can be over­whelm­ing in a com­pact home. Bal­ance out bold shades with calmer ar­eas dec­o­rated in whites or soft neu­trals. DECLUTTER What­ever colour you choose, fill­ing a house with lots of stuff is go­ing to have an im­pact on how big it feels. In­vest in built-in stor­age and only dis­play favourite things. CON­SIDER COLOUR PSY­CHOL­OGY Your cho­sen pal­ette can af­fect how you feel, which is in­ten­si­fied in a small home. It’s worth look­ing into the emo­tional ef­fects of dif­fer­ent shades be­fore choos­ing, tak­ing into ac­count how you use your space.

‘PALE SHADES CAN FEEL COLD IN A ROOM THAT DOESN’T GET MUCH DAY­LIGHT. THIS DEEP BLUE MAKES MORE OF THE DARK­NESS’

Bath­room This peace­ful room’s mar­ble floor and wall tiles are from Fired Earth. A slen­der, wall-mounted cabinet from Ikea keeps clut­ter hid­den away, while the vin­tage ‘But­ter­fly’ stool by Sori Yanagi for Vi­tra adds to the calm look Bed­room Painted...

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