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Grand Designs viewers slam couple who built ‘ugly’ home

Grand Designs viewers hit out at a couple who knocked down an inoffensive bungalow to create ‘the worst house ever’.

Davi and Matt bought the house in Hertfordshire for £800,000 – but decided to knock it down to make way for a contemporary family home with a black flint-clad exterior.

Local residents were furious with the plans but permission was granted – with the couple initially hoping to pay £550,000 for the radical build.

Instead, they overbudgeted by £160,000 and took 17 months to finish their dream home.

Twitter users were left unimpressed after the repeated episode on Channel Four, questioning how they got permission to build it in the first place.

One wrote on Twitter: ‘Why knock down an £800,000 house, build something that overshadows both neighbors and totally knocks them off too? Bet they’re not very welcome there.’

Another wrote: ‘Crikey. It’s a bit ugly. Not really in keeping with the surroundings at all, a bit of a gaudy big lump.’

Another wrote: ‘Worst house ever’, while another wrote: ‘But it’s so ugly.’

Viewers have also generally criticized Grand Designs and the people who go on them.

One wrote: ‘Another oversized ugly monstrosity. Here we go again.’

While another wrote: ‘I’ve never watched #GrandDesigns before. Do these people often run out of money before they put up curtains?’

When the episode first aired in the fall of 2022, it explored the couple’s dream plans.

They wanted a house that represented their nationalities – from Zimbabwe and Australia – with the house featuring a black flint-clad exterior and a projecting skylight.

Davi and Matt bought the house in Hertfordshire for £800,000 – but decided to knock it down to make way for a contemporary family home, complete with a black flint-clad exterior and eye-catching skylight

Grand Designs viewers were left reeling by a couple who knocked down an inoffensive bungalow to create a 'monstrosity and eyesore' property for £710,000 after going £160,000 over budget.

Grand Designs viewers were left reeling by a couple who knocked down an inoffensive bungalow to create a ‘monstrosity and sore’ property for £710,000 – after going £160,000 over budget.

As is usually the case with a Grand Designs building, the project did not initially go to plan - including two weeks of bad weather at the start which washed out the site

As is usually the case with a Grand Designs building, the project did not initially go to plan – including two weeks of bad weather at the start which washed out the site

But their plans have “freaked out” residents who insist they are “too different” to their own homes.

Even as construction began in the picturesque suburb, one neighbor told presenter Kevin McCloud: ‘It doesn’t [fit in on the street]. I think it just looks awful.’

The construction work also – perhaps not surprisingly – did not go according to plan. Bad weather at the start of construction washed out the site. The couple also made mistakes – buying windows before the walls were even built.

Parents of two Davi and Matt decided to project manage the construction themselves – even though they were city office workers – and constantly encountered problems.

The property eventually managed to include a bay window, a modern open plan kitchen, a private sculpture garden and ground floor offices.

Yet Matt admitted the stress of the project was ‘still pretty raw’ when he spoke to presenter McCloud after the build was completed after 17 months.

In the end the build cost £710,000 – £160,000 over budget.

The finished house was also slammed on Twitter.

Viewers were very critical and dismissive of the design, which according to one was the worst house ever

Viewers were very critical and dismissive of the design, which according to one was the worst house ever

The couple wanted to build an 'Australian and Zimbabwean inspired' home to reflect their nationalities

The couple wanted to build an ‘Australian and Zimbabwean inspired’ home to reflect their nationalities

However, permission was granted and the duo hoped to complete the new home within nine months, at a cost of £550,000. However, they went £160,000 over budget and took 17 months

However, permission was granted and the duo hoped to complete the new home within nine months, at a cost of £550,000. However, they went £160,000 over budget and took 17 months

Even as construction began to take shape, one neighbor told presenter Kevin McCloud (pictured left): 'It doesn't [fit in on the street].  I think it just looks awful'

Even as construction began to take shape, one neighbor told presenter Kevin McCloud (pictured left): ‘It doesn’t [fit in on the street]. I think it just looks awful’

Parents of two Davi and Matt decided to project manage the construction themselves - despite being city office workers - and were hit with problems throughout.  In the photo: one of the bedrooms

Parents of two Davi and Matt decided to project manage the construction themselves – despite being city office workers – and were hit with problems throughout. In the photo: one of the bedrooms

They had to deal with increasing costs, while incorrect dimensions meant that at one point the structure was out.  In the photo: another bedroom

They had to deal with increasing costs, while incorrect dimensions meant that at one point the structure was out. In the photo: another bedroom

Twitter users were left unimpressed after the latest tour of the property, with one writing: 'Feel sorry for the neighbors who live next to that monstrosity.  The bungalow they knocked down looks a lot nicer.'

Twitter users were left unimpressed after the latest tour of the property, with one writing: ‘Feel sorry for the neighbors who live next to that monstrosity. The bungalow they knocked down looks a lot nicer.’

Previously, when the house was first shown, viewers attacked it in a similar way.

One wrote: ‘How the hell did this get planning permission? It’s huge, blocks out light and view completely for the neighbors, it’s really oppressive. It looks nothing like the surrounding houses.’

Another added: ‘They have devalued their neighbours’ property with that gigantic, extravagant, light-blocking, privacy-invading eyesore. Flat roofs are also a nightmare. They always leak in the end. Epic fail.’

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12 cozy corner ideas for your home to curl up in

Small nooks, crannies and awkward corners in a room sometimes present a design challenge, but turning them into cozy, self-contained spaces can be a great way to make them work. Whether you want a cozy corner to sit with a coffee, read a book or work in, there are many ways to make these spaces work.

And of course every room has corners, so there are opportunities to include these cocoon spaces in bedrooms, the dining room, the kitchen or the living room. Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi is an experienced house writer and editor. She has written hundreds of articles for various international titles to help readers make the best home design choices, and spends her days interviewing interior industry experts to bring the latest ideas to her readers. For this piece, she spoke with the world’s best designers to learn ways to decorate and make the most of corners.

12 cozy corner ideas

1. Turn a corner into an indoor/outdoor space

a dining room under a skylight

(Image credit: Timmins + Whyte. Photo credit Tatjana Plitt)

Some nooks are hidden in back corners, while others are located with a view to the outside. In this project, architects Timmins + Whyte designed this glass addition to create the perfect nook to relax in, overlooking the backyard. ‘We introduced a semi-outdoor space, along with a large glass window cut from ceiling to floor, all of which draw light deeper into the house,’ says Sally Timmins, founder of Timmins + Whyte (opens in new tab). “A small sitting area has been created to help enjoy the views while it’s warm inside.”

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At Home Austin! Ballard Designs Opens Furniture & Décor Store for Decorating & Design Enthusiasts in the Lone Star State, Again

National furniture and home decor store Ballard Designs is opening Austin this weekend at The Arboretum open air boutique shopping mall, Garden hills.

AUSTIN, Texas, January 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Home decor and furniture design company Ballard Designs announces its fourth Texas store opening this weekend. Austin’s Space of 11,500 sq.ft. foot now becomes Ballard’s eighteenth retail location nationwide, and follows a Houston store location opening in 2021.

“Wash excited to open Austin,” says Dominic Milanese, VP of Retail for Ballard Designs. “From the great reception our stores have received Dallas, Fort Worth and Houstonwe know the people of Texas LOVE Ballard Designs.”

Milanese adds, “Austin decor is evolving to embrace more transitional design, and Ballard is a perfect resource for creating that layered, sophisticated look.”

Ballard’s new location, 10000 Research Boulevard, offers decorated vignettes of furniture, art, lighting, bedding and accessories as well as personalized, complimentary design service. Austinites will also find everything they need for year-round outdoor decorating.

“With builders around creating more open-concept home designs, the ability to customize and coordinate your decor is more important than ever,” notes Milanese.

“We offer hundreds furniture frames and more than 300 designer fabrics, so you can create a completely personalized look. Our expert design consultants are always there and always ready to help, whether it’s color and material selection or decorating an entire house.”

Opposite The Domain – Easy access and ample parking

The new Ballard Designs store promises to attract interior designers and passionate home decor enthusiasts who frequent The Domaina nearby shopping mecca filled with unique shops, high-end fashion and luxury goods.

Regular store hours will be 10 am7 p.mMonday through Saturday, and 12 pm18:00 Sunday. See Ballard Design’s stores and products online.

About Ballard Designs

Since 1982, Ballard Designs® has offered a unique collection of home furnishings and decor from all eras and origins. Its designers travel the world for inspiration, translating the latest trends in fashion, color and style into finely crafted products found nowhere else. Ballard Designs is part of Qurate Retail GroupSm which includes QVC®, HSN®, Zulily®, Frontgate®, Garnet Hill® and Grandin Road®.

Contact:
Ann Bailey, [email protected]
678-488-6516

SOURCE Ballard Designs

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These Interior Design Tricks Will Make Your Home Look More Luxurious

Do you want to give your home a luxurious, luxurious look? Whether you’re remodeling or just redecorating, there are some simple and easy interior design tricks that can make your home feel like a luxurious retreat. From the furniture pieces to the decorative accents, these tips will help transform any room into a luxurious oasis. With the right touches, it’s possible to create a space that looks and feels expensive without breaking your budget. Here are some of the best interior design tricks for a luxury home.

1. Indoor waterfall or fountain

A beautiful fountain or water feature adds a touch of sophistication and luxury to any space. Choose from an indoor waterfall, tabletop fountain, or wall-mounted water sculpture for an elegant look. When considering luxury indoor waterfalls and fountains, look for those made from high-quality materials such as copper, bronze and stone. If you don’t have room for a large feature, choose a small tabletop fountain that can be placed on any flat surface. Although water features can be expensive, they will make your home look and feel more luxurious. They can also be used to create a calming atmosphere.

2. Invest in quality pieces of furniture

Quality furniture pieces can make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your home. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but investing in well-made pieces that are sturdy and stylish will give your home an air of luxury. Look for classic pieces with clean lines and timeless finishes that won’t go out of style anytime soon. When choosing furniture, avoid anything too trendy or gaudy as it can quickly become outdated. A few well-made pieces can go a long way in changing the look of your space. If you need help choosing furniture, consult a professional interior designer who can help you choose pieces that will make your home look more luxurious.

3. Add texture to area rugs and pillows

Adding texture to your home can make the entire space look and feel more luxurious. Consider investing in area rugs made from natural materials like wool or jute for an extra touch. You can also add texture by adding throw pillows with textured fabrics like velvet, linen, silk or even faux fur. Investing in some high-end pieces can really elevate a room, making it seem more opulent than it really is. In addition, adding texture with different materials such as metal, wood and glass can also give your space a more luxurious feel. It also adds depth and interest without looking overdone.

4. Choose statement lighting

Lighting is an important feature of any room, but in luxury interiors, statement lighting can really help make the space feel unique and special. Opt for designs made from luxurious materials such as copper or crystal, or opt for a modern take on classic styles with sculptural shapes and bold colors. Not only will statement lights provide a focal point in your decor, but they can also be used to layer your lighting design and create various interesting looks throughout the day. Furthermore, well-placed statement lighting can help create a luxurious atmosphere that makes your home look more luxurious.

5. Upgrade your fixtures and fittings

The small details can make a big difference in creating a luxurious look. Invest in quality materials, such as solid copper and bronze rather than plastic or chrome. Choose faucets and handles with interesting shapes that stand out from the rest of your bathroom or kitchen. Use wall screens to create an inviting atmosphere in any room. Upgrading these small elements can give your home a subtle yet impressive touch of luxury. If you can’t afford to replace fixtures, try giving them a fresh coat of paint or switch out the hardware with something more elegant.

6. Hang artwork to add a touch of class

The right artwork can really bring a room to life. Choose works that reflect your personal style and showcase your creativity. Invest in quality pieces that will last, and don’t be afraid to mix different sizes, colors, textures and styles. Large paintings or photographs hung over the couch can create an eye-catching focal point that draws attention away from any flaws in the room. Try combining several smaller framed pieces of art for extra visual interest. And try hanging them at eye level so they become part of the conversation when people visit your home.

7. Soften hard surfaces with curtains and drapes

Curtains and drapes can soften the look of hard surfaces, such as a stone wall or tiled floor. Not to mention, they add instant luxury. Choose thicker fabrics in opulent color palettes like jewel tones and rich textures like velvet or silk for a sumptuous feel. You can also go light but still allow light into your space while adding elegance. Also, don’t forget to layer your curtains and drapes properly. This means hanging them at different heights and adding a nice valance or pelmet to draw the eye and add visual interest.

8. Incorporate plants and flowers

Adding fresh greenery to any room instantly gives it a touch of luxury and class. Large potted plants can make a big statement, while smaller flower arrangements scattered throughout the room will also brighten up your home. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of low-maintenance options like succulents that require minimal care and maintenance. Not only do they add color and texture to your space, but they can also help purify the air in your home! In addition, incorporating scented candles or potpourri into your interior design will help create a soothing and peaceful atmosphere.

These interior design tricks will help you create the luxury home of your dreams. By investing in quality materials, choosing statement lighting and artwork, softening hard surfaces with curtains or drapes, and including some plants and flowers, you can give any room an elegant and stylish makeover. With just a few simple changes, you’ll be on your way to achieving a high-end look in no time.

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Inside a British Expat’s Cozy Colorado Home

Decent tea, temperate weather, universal health care – everything an English transplant might be homesick for while living in the US. But for a client of Salvesen Graham in London, the thing they were most after was window treatments. “That was the first thing she said when we spoke to her. “I just want curtains on my window,” recalls Mary Graham, who founded the interior design firm with Nicole Salvesen.

The clients, a British woman and American man, contacted the decorating duo — known for their thoughtfully layered and quintessentially English interiors — a year after the pandemic after deciding to move from California to Boulder, Colorado. “They wanted to live somewhere a little more relaxed,” says Salvesen. “And Boulder definitely is! There would be days when a contractor would say, ‘Oh, I’m going snowboarding today. I can not help. The snow is just too good,’” she laughs.

Boulder also offered plenty of nature to explore (key for the clients’ active children) and a charming historic neighborhood, where the family decided to settle. “When you’re up [there] “When you look down on the town, you just see trees, and then this little enclave of historic houses,” explains Graham. The family’s Arts and Crafts style home is preserved as a historic building and features intricate millwork and original flooring. “It’s always funny to look at different perspectives of what’s old and what’s not old,” says Graham, nodding to the house’s relatively short history compared to some of their Georgian and Victorian projects in the UK. “But because it’s a listed house, there wasn’t a huge amount we could do structurally.”

The original floor plan presented a number of quirks for the designers to make sense of, including a continuous formal dining room. “It could never be anything other than a walk-through, so we turned it into a library, somewhere you can sit and open a book,” says Salvesen. “In the UK we often have a hallway with a round table that can double for intimate dinners or a place for stacks of books and a large flower arrangement.” The solution works well for the clients, who are “incredibly academic,” says Salvesen. “They are the kind of people who sit down and open a book – something interesting and probably a little scary for most of us.”

One of the first floor’s two lounges presented a similar challenge. “Before we configured the flow of the rooms, they didn’t really use that living room because it felt quite dark,” says Graham. “So we really embraced it and made it so cozy, cozy, where you can just curl up with a book.” While most of the rooms are semi-open plan, this is the one room where the homeowners can close the doors and retreat, enveloped in a rich mix of textiles. In contrast, the more formal living room is light and airy, with a wall of windows. Art, acquired by Salvesen Graham and Anna Kirrage, along the walls. And an antique writing desk doubles as a liquor cabinet, making it an ideal place for entertaining.

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tan yamanouchi completes sweeping home studio for artist in tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL complete home studio in Tokyo

In central Tokyo, JapanTan Yamanouchi & AGWL complete an introvert at home and studio for an up-and-coming manga artist, her partner and two pet owls. Deriving from ancient Japanese thought, the compact dwelling is envisioned ‘floating a few centimeters above our daily lives’, creating a space that remains connected to our tangible daily life, while evoking a sense of fictional narrative.

Amidst a streetscape of plain geometric dwellings, its sculptural facade emerges from the ground in one continuous sweep, interrupted only by a dramatic tunnel leading to an entrance. Inside, the architects rearrange the existing program to accommodate all the family’s private living needs while creating spaces for the artist to complete her work and network. A variety of public and private spaces are distributed and unified over a system centered around a continuous ‘void’ that meanders through the space’s dynamic split levels, characterized by contrasts of dynamic sequences and plays of light with shadows.


all images by Katsumasa Tanaka

a meandering void system separates living spaces from work

The project began with the height that, according to the client’s request, had to ensure an introverted front for the house. Along the street, the house dynamically emerges from the ground and takes shape as a fluid deformed earthquake-resistant wall, just like the image of the earth rolling up. A dramatic hollowed-out tunnel leads to the entrance, inviting visitors to step away from the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Inside, Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL redesigned the overall plan to make efficient use of the long, narrow lot with an existing split-level floor plan, rearranging the sequence to create significant differences in height. Further, the architects significantly limiting the number of openings to create a contrast between light and dark in a ‘void’ that spreads throughout the house — with the exception of a small light court integrated with the north of the house.

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo
the house dynamically emerges from the ground as a deformed seismic wall

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lifestyle of manga artists has seen a notable shift. Increasingly working from home due to online production becoming the new mainstream norm, artists have begun dedicating spaces in their private homes to serve as meeting spaces and studios for media interviews. As a result, to ensure that the client has enough space to keep this public and private function separate, yet easily accessible, while ensuring that every corner sparks creativity and comfort, Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL designed the interior and program as a ‘void’ with contrasts of highs and lows and lights and darks to create unbounded yet defined areas.

Refer to ash ‘dams and banks’ by the architects, these zones accommodate the need for a variety of public and private shades throughout the space, and allows for subtle and flexible use of space in a very compact dwelling. Furthermore, a wooden staircase ascends through the void, creating a three-dimensional composition that sparks a narrative experienced through the body.

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

project information:

name: A Japanese manga artist’s house

location: Tokyo, Japan
architecture: Tan Yamanouchi & AWGL

chief architect: Tan Yamanouchi

structural engineer: Graphics Studio / Yuko Mihara Construction

construction: Taishin Kensetsu / Yasuhiro Ikebe, Keisuke Nishide

building area: 44.16 square meters

designboom received this project from us DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: ravail khan | design tree

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8 TikTok Trends That Will Shape DIY and Home Decor in 2023

Scott predicts that limewash will be the paint technique to watch in 2023. “We will see unique applications of limewash such as the cloud technique to create the appearance of old worn walls,” he says. “Laying whitewash in different ways can give you the look of 200-year-old walls – in just a few days.”

5. Plaid patterns

TikTok Content

This content can also be viewed on the website from which it originated.

Proving that simple patterns can have a big impact, check prints are having a moment – and that moment will continue into 2023. Lisa Buhler, the founder of the fashion line Lisa Says Gah, believes that people are drawn to check prints because they all is about joy. She describes it as a “feel good print” that is symmetrical but fun. Haustile takes it a step further with a curved checkered tile that looks like something out of an MC Escher illustration.

Interior designer and DIY expert Emily Shaw, known to her TikTok followers as @emilyrayna, is a proponent of this trend. When working on her “make-ready room,” she opted for a gold-bar and white check print—with a budget-friendly twist. “Checker prints have become popular all over TikTok in different ways, so I wanted to find a way to make the trend functional,” she says.

Shaw bought a wooden box at Michaels and painted it the same shade as the gold squares. Then she attached it to the wall, creating dimension and a clever ring mount angle. “Emily, this is genius,” said a TikTok follower. Agreed.

6. Combination of various design themes

TikTok Content

This content can also be viewed on the website from which it originated.

According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) 2023 Design Trends report, one of the new trends this year is the combination of various design themes to create a unique style. For example, organic meets modern, or farmhouse meets modern.

Boston-based DIY expert Julie Sousa of @the_avantgarde embraced this style-mix trend in a recent apartment redesign with her assistant Gigi Rodriguez. Sousa says that the main style they were looking for was contemporary, so they opted accordingly for the larger pieces—the couch, the chair, the coffee table, the floor lamps and the mirrors. As Sousa further explains, “The eclectic elements come from smaller pieces like the wall art, the gold frames and the use of bold colors in the space.” Together, the complimentary styles make the space feel updated and personal.

7. Create spa-like bathrooms

TikTok Content

This content can also be viewed on the website from which it originated.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the collective stress has increased and has yet to be reduced. It makes sense that people are inspired to create soothing, hotel-like atmospheres in their own homes, especially if they still don’t travel as much as they used to. NKBA found that spa-like bathrooms that “enhance homeowner experiences” are one of the biggest trends for 2023.

With its wood paneling, calming lighting and lush plant wall, Sousa’s guest bathroom makeover went viral on TikTok, garnering over 2.1 million views. “I really wanted it to feel like a spa, a place where I could go at the end of a long day and unwind with a bath,” she says. Because the bathroom was windowless, Sousa felt that green was the perfect way to contrast the moodiness of the black ceiling, not to mention distract from the lack of windows. “We often associate green with a sense of freshness, especially in combination with water and what better area in the home than in a bathroom to create that perception of freshness and cleanliness?” she asked.

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‘You can get away with craziness in the hallway’: at home with colour expert Annie Sloan | Interiors

In Annie Sloan’s front room there is a small wooden table that she picked up at a flea market for next to nothing. The carved legs are painted black, but the top has the appearance of dark marble mottled with orange. “I’m very happy with that table,” says Sloan. “I took a sponge, cut more holes in it and used it to apply paint. It’s funny – sometimes I spend ages trying to get something to work and it just looks awful. And then something takes me 10 minutes and it’s like, ‘Oh wow!'”

Sloan, 73, has been experimenting with paint and color for more than 50 years and shows no signs of slowing down. “When I left art school, I realized that conceptual work doesn’t really make me happy,” she says. “It was color that people needed most in their lives.” Half a century later, in this age of greige and perma crises, we probably need color more than ever.

Riad Terracotta was used for the corridor. Photo: Rachael Smith/The Guardian

Not surprisingly, Sloan’s own home – a late-Victorian four-bedroom terrace in Oxford, which she shares with husband David Manuel – is a masterclass in how to use it. From piano to splashback, there is hardly an unpainted surface in the house. The entrance hall is in a sun-baked orange called Riad Terracotta, and the floorboards in Antibes Green. Like all the paints in the house, both are from her own Annie Sloan collection. “You can get away with large amounts of craziness in the hallway,” she says, “because it’s not an area you spend a lot of time in.”

From here several green stairs descend to a mezzanine garden room. Here the walls vary from orange to green to pink, the latter inspired by the interiors of a Cuban cafe. “The pink is wax,” says Sloan, “a product I developed to protect our paint. It gives the walls this beautiful soft finish.”

On another half level is a basement kitchen and dining room. The kitchen has been expanded to include a damp, underutilized corner of the garden, now a bright breakfast room with wooden planters adorned with architectural salvage — fragments of chairs and moldings “that have just been glued and painted.”

The same creative approach applies to the kitchen splashback, which is painted with bright, joyful figures that contrast with gun-metal painted cabinets. In the adjacent dining room, a hand-painted piano sits against bright red wash walls that have the sheen of Chinese lacquer.

Annie Sloan
Annie Sloan surrounded by finds from her travels. Photo: Rachael Smith/The Guardian

On the ground floor, two separate living rooms have been joined together. On one side, ornate stucco stands out against grass-green walls (Schinkel Green, named after the neoclassical German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel). “I knew I wanted something strong and bright here,” says Sloan. “It had to be a color that could carry the strong artwork we have. If you put those colors on anything too neutral, they just die, so it had to be bright, but not warm.” In the alcoves on either side of the fireplace, shelves are painted in a variety of colors that “make the objects sing.”

On the opposite side of the room, the walls are a more muted warm gray (French linen), chosen to reflect the quieter art and objects in this part of the room. (Although she couldn’t resist a sunset streak of Barcelona orange above the picture rail.)

The kitchen
The kitchen splashback is painted with bright joyful figures. Photo: Rachael Smith/The Guardian

After a degree in fine art, Sloan branched out into interiors and began working for private clients. “It was in the days of marbling and woodcarving, so I did all that and ended up writing a book about it,” she says. The Complete Book of Decorative Paint Techniques was published in 1987 and sold more than two million copies, establishing Sloan as an authority on color.

Three years later, when shabby-chic and upcycling emerged as interior trends, Sloan launched her own paint company, producing colors designed to transform vintage furniture.

“I ended up working with a factory in Belgium that was willing to experiment with me,” she says. Together they created a formula for her Chalk Paint range, which can be used on almost any surface without preparation.

The master bedroom is painted Aubusson Blue.
The master bedroom is painted Aubusson Blue. Photo: Rachael Smith/The Guardian

Sloan was born in Sydney to a Scottish father and a Fijian mother. When she was 10, the family moved to Kent. Sloan recalls spending six weeks on board a ship traveling to the UK via Fiji, Tahiti and Panama. The experience instilled in her a lifelong love of travel, and her home is filled with objects from her globetrotting: a sacred head from Brazil, maquettes from China, ceramics from South Africa, a collection of jugs from the south from France – “only things I really like the shape or color”.

Throughout the house, one-off finds jostle for space, and picture frames hang slightly askew. “Things move around quite a lot,” admits Sloan. “People tend to think that the house is finished now, that I’m not going to do anything else. But I think it’s a good idea to keep our homes running. Everyone is creative in one way or another – I’m just really keen to help people find that creativity.”

Annie Sloan’s first online interior design course, How to Fill Your Home with Color, is available at createacademy.com

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What color should you paint a home office? |

Hybrid work is here to stay, and it’s more important than ever that we create workspaces where we actually want to spend time. An important part of this is decorating with the right colors.

It’s hard to overstate the impact color has on how we feel in a space (for us, yellow can make us irritable if we’re exposed to it for too long, while pink is supposedly most flattering under candlelight). Consider whether you want to coordinate your home office paint colors with the rest of your home’s palette or make it completely different, drawing a firm line between work and play.

Working from home frees up a lot of time – a study by the University of Chicago showed that American workers saved more than 9 billion hours in 2020 because they no longer had to travel to work. To make those hours at our desks count, interior design and painting industry experts shared their advice on what color to paint a home office.

dark navy blue home office with desk in center and large globe

(Image credit: Future PLC)

What color should you paint a home office?

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Tour a Brutalist Home in Zurich That Embodies Tranquility
| Architectural Digest

When Victoria-Maria Geyer was offered an opportunity to design a house in Zurich, it felt like a dream come true. That the house was a Brutalist masterpiece by renowned Swiss architect Ernst Gisel was – for the Hamburg-born, Brussels-based interior designer – a career-defining moment. “When the homeowners asked me to come on board, I had to,” Geyer says, squeezing her own hand. “They sent me pictures of the house, and I was immediately seduced.” The gravity of the house lured Geyer from Brussels to Zurich with the task of adding warmth and texture to concrete and steel.

Located in Küsnacht, a wealthy enclave about 15 minutes by car from downtown Zurich, the house was purchased by the clients in 2021. While the shell of the structure was a Brutalist marvel, the interiors left much to be desired. “The previous owners lived in the house as it was built,” explains Geyer. “There is a term in French, dans son propre jus, which means soaking your juice. That was the problem with the interiors. So I had to go in and really change the atmosphere.”

What makes interior renovations difficult is working within a predetermined space. What makes it even more difficult is when that predetermined space is cast in concrete from the hand of an iconic architect. “Because Gisel’s design was so unique, I couldn’t just go in with the material I like to work with; silk, velvet. I had to use whatever magic the space allowed me to use.” This meant that Geyer implemented a palate of blues, grays and whites. “I used metal, but then contrasted it with rough textures such as fabric, stones. It was a challenge not to use the materials I typically gravitate towards, but what a rewarding experience it was.”

While the end result was one that the designer and homeowners loved, getting to that point was a logistical nightmare. “It was my first project in Switzerland,” explains Geyer, “and I didn’t know what hoops I would have to jump through to explain every little thing I brought in from different parts of the world.” The interior designer is now working on several more houses across Switzerland, and has vowed not to make the same administrative mistakes.

But for Geyer, the headaches made the final results all the more meaningful. “My favorite part of the house starts and ends with the kitchen,” she says with a smile. “I love the curtains because they bring such a textured splash of color to the room. I had to be measured with these moments, so as not to cannibalize the artwork on the walls. But really, for me it’s really the green table that anchors the space.” Geyer designed the table, along with a variety of other pieces of furniture throughout the house. “The fact that I could bring my own designs into the house made it all the more meaningful.”

The clients are serious art collectors with two kids running around; a recipe for disaster, some would argue. “The homeowners are very down to earth and have a great sense of humor,” says Geyer. “They have very beautiful art on their walls, but they want to live in a house, not a museum. I mean, look, their philosophy is: Don’t stop your life because you have kids. They have a white carpet in their house. If that doesn’t sum up how relaxed they are with kids running around, I don’t know what will.”

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