Friday, 5 April 2013

Green (and Caragheen) is the Colour

When our house was being renovated the builder asked us what colour we would like the rooms painted. 'Say wha'?' was our response. We had absolutely no idea. It's virtually impossible to decide what colour you might like your bedroom, living room, snug, hallway, small boy's bedroom, office, etc to be when you've never lived in the house, let alone spent barely any time there without gaping holes/sweaty builders/piles of rubble getting in the way. It's all well and good having pages torn from magazines of beautiful homes and paint charts by the dozen, but until you live in a house and see how the sun (or more likely rain/clouds/dirt-streaked windows) affects the light/shade in each room, how your furniture fits, what colour scheme develops from your general tat and other belongings, I can't imagine how anyone can choose a colour or colours.

And so we told the builder to paint everything white.

And we have lived with an all-white house from that moment until the weekend just gone (well, it was a Bank Holiday weekend, and what else does one do but DIY?), when we finally went colour-crazy and painted three walls (or parts thereof); woo to the hoo.

While I popped to Homebase (15% off everything, not to be sniffed at) for paint of a certain make and colour, hubby was busy slapping paint of another make and colour up on the chimney breast in the snug.

Back in February when we put the wooden fire surround up (as discussed here) we also put a couple of tester colours behind it - Caragheen by Fired Earth (left) and Twilight Cinders 2 by Dulux (right)
At the time we gave both of them the thumbs down, Caragheen for being too dark and Twilight Cinders for being too 'modern'; however, after living with them both for over a month, we decided to give Caragheen a chance. Et, voila, a terrible photo of the colour in place.
We used three tester pots rather than buying a large pot, which would have given us lots left over; the only trouble is that now the colour has been discontinued, so unless we can get hold of another tester pot we won't be able to do any touch ups when/if it gets marked. Oh well, never mind. Truth be told, I'm not sure either of us is 100% sure of the colour anyway, and we're certainly stuck on what colour to paint the rest of the room, so who knows what's going to happen here.

Over the rest of the long weekend we set about adding some colour to the dining area. This was all sparked by the new curtains we put up at the dining room window - oh yes, new curtains, we're all about the fancy round here you know! Having lived with a variety of hand-me down/pre-loved curtains that either didn't fit or didn't suit the room or were just plain ugly (or all three at once), we decided that we really needed to get on and buy some proper, grown up, made-to-measure ones. A trip to John Lewis for a look at the bazillions of fabrics left us a bit bedazzled, but we did come away with several samples - all of the same pattern but in differing shades, so we had narrowed the choice down a little.

The bottom two were recjected for their background colours, which left four. Our favourite was the one on the right in the middle - you might be able to make out from this dreadful photo that it's in various shades of green against an off-white background (here's a link to a cushion on the John Lewis website if you're particularly interested in seeing a better photo of the colour/fabric.) Fast forward a couple of weeks and we took another trip to John Lewis in Bristol; it was a pitstop as we made our way home from a weekend in Staffordshire rather than a specific shopping trip. Because I am an avid bargain hunter (ok, you can read that as 'cheap' if you like), I always have a look in the section of the haberdashery department where the reduced-price blinds are kept (because there are still windows in this house that have no blinds after 18 months of living here...); and this time I thought I'd just have a wander into the curtain dept and see if there were any bargains to be had. Well, I'll be darned, my heart nearly skipped a beat when I saw some curtains in THE fabric; I hurried on over and had a gander at the size label; another heart-beat was skipped when I realised they were an almost perfect fit for our window (just slightly too long), and then another moment when the paramedics nearly had to be called out - the price tag... Reduced from £350 to £175. And even better - yes, it actually gets better - we had £120 of John Lewis vouchers to put towards them. Can you see why I was a little excited? Go on, humour me.

Here's a close up of the beauties.
 And here they are in situ. Prepare for more bad photos.
And that was when it struck us that they looked a little 'lost' against the white walls, and an injection of colour was going to be called for. Hence my trip to Homebase for a tin (or two) of Farrow and Ball's Vert de Terre. [And without looking like I'm trying to plug F&B, can I just say what a pleasure it is to paint with? This is the first time we've ever used it and, although it's *rather* pricey, it goes on like a dream and the coverage and colour are fantastic.]

And so the painting began.

Allow me introduce the lazy person's guide to painting a wall: don't bother taking the curtains down, just move them along the track, allow the paint to dry and then move them back again. You may or may not want to stand on a rickety old dining chair to reach the high spots. You may or may not wish to put a dust sheet down to protect your lovely floor from paint splatters. It all depends on just how lazy you are.

 Here are couple of very poor photos of the finished wall. I really must get the camera out instead of relying on my iPhone for snaps.

 And with the lovely new curtains drawn.

Now, what shall we paint next?


  1. I love the colour and your choice of curtains. I love the & on the bookcase, is it wooden? And in my diy experience standing on a rickety dining chair is definitely the way to paint; sometimes I balance a laundry bin on top of the chair for really tall bits!!

    1. Hi Jay,
      The '&' is made from heavy-duty card. I bought it when I was in London last year (from Selfridges, don't you know! It was about the only thing I could afford...) I'm in two minds whether to paint it.
      I'm glad I'm not the only one who practices lazy decorating!

  2. Love the curtains and that shade of green is among my favorites, good job.

    1. Thank you! The curtains are especially lovely since they were such a bargain!

  3. Hello name twin, I don't often meet another justine so I'm really pleased you left a comment, thank you! I love the soft green, it's a colour I use a lot. Do you go by justine or jus? I prefer jus, but hate just...

    1. Hello!
      I tend to be called Justine by people who don't know me, or dont know me very well(or else they call me Justin, which I find VERY annoying - do you get called that too?) People who know me well call me Jus. And I hate Just too; I usually say, in a haughty tone, "I'm not Just anything" which is a marvellously unwitty response.

  4. Verte de Terre is one of my favourite colours. Looking good...

    1. It is lovely, isn't it? I think we are F&B converts now (as long as Homebase keep having 15% off days!) And since the company is based in our neighbouring county, we are at least supporting local businesses, sort of...


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