Looking At The Dark Side
By Linda Parker
Happy New Year to you all … and with no wish to be gloomy at all, we are entranced by dark colour schemes. We’re welcoming Ultra Violet of course, as Pantone’s colour of the year, but also lusting after black as a focus shade.
To vegan or not to vegan …
I’m not ignoring the fact that we’re all supposed to be eating healthily, especially as we’re barely into January. Of course, many of us have had far too many roast dinners in the last month or so, and need to repair the damage somehow. The daughter and eldest son have been eating vegan for the last few months, but managed to break the regime during our get-together just before Xmas – a beautifully roasted chicken (Waitrose, organic) became irresistible. However, they did serve it with a stunning vegan nut roast. Which kind of makes up for it. At the end of the day the general consensus was that a jolly good ‘roast’ dinner with all the accompanying veggies, greens, vegan stuffing, vegetarian ‘gravy’, and a good non-dairy bread sauce was completely acceptable and that the meat or fowl could be missed out without anyone feeling too hard done by. And to keep in the vegan spirit (too many beans and pulses for my liking!) I’m going to make up some batches of these wonderful vegan soups from clever cook and writer Anna Jones. Not-Chicken soup is one of my favourites, although to be honest I can live without the tofu (nick-named toadfood in my kitchen!). See her recipes and details here. Her Lemongrass & Peanut Broth is going to become a firm favourite I think. Especially as I’ve had so much butternut squash and sweet potato soup recently that I’m in danger of developing a slightly orange glow!
Ultra Violet has been announced as ‘Colour of the Year’ by Pantone, so expect to see lots of vibrant purple accessories bounding into the shops over the next few weeks and months. It’s a great colour to use as a contrast, and as ever, even just one wall or one item of furniture can add depth and focus to an otherwise plain and (shhhh… bland) scheme. We adore this purple kitchen island, created by the Rencraft bespoke kitchen team; see some of their other designs here. And for an even deeper purple, try Plush Parlour, from the English Manor colour range by Crown Paints. It’s deep enough to replace a navy or forest green shade – adding a sense of sophisticated fun to an otherwise very traditional colour scheme, or a blast of bravery to a modern colour scheme.
BACK TO BLACK
This matt black Classic radiator from Bisque looks absolutely stunning – especially against a black wall. I have long recommended that radiators are painted to match the wall colour (unless they’re a feature radiator in chrome or steel, of course). It works, just do it! See the rest of the Bisque range of both classic and ultra-modern radiators here.
Perk up a light-coloured room (this is a study, but there are very many similar kitchen and bathroom schemes out there!) with a bold blind. This is the Spot Flower Dark Marine Roman blind, and proves beautifully that navy and black can look amazing when used together. Find the rest of the designs available from Blinds2Go here.
I had to bring a Galerie wallcovering to your attention! They have such fun and interesting designs (as do Cole & Son, Sanderson and Rebel Walls along similar lines). This is from the Façade Collection, and features rows of potted plants. Far more economical (at £29.95 per roll) than the endless trying and failing with real cacti, which is what happens to me! See the other designs available from Galerie here.
I’m helping to re-design a couple of kitchens, one is full of ‘golden oak’ fitted cabinets, the other is a bit more eclectic, featuring lots of white cabinetry, but needs a few touches of contrast. So, I’ve been looking at retro and reclaimed individual items, which can add emphasis and a change of pace. The Shimu collection of iron and mango wood pieces is currently of interest; every item has that ‘discovered’ look about it (and it saves me having to rummage around in salvage yards and antique markets when time is of the essence). Take a look at these two pieces, the Chari chair is £140 and the Mansu large chest, which is ideal for cutlery, table linen and other dining-room bits and bobs, is £1200. See the rest of the range here. I won’t be able to resist the bull’s head decoration, although I’m not sure what the clients will think! Perhaps I’ll just show them a picture first! It’s from the new Spring-Summer range at Debenhams. Shop for it, and other snazzy ideas, here.
Although our focus is generally on kitchen design, I thought this beautiful bathroom interior was worth a second look. It’s by Rebecca Hughes Interiors, and is a great example of dark shades working well in a bathroom, without taking over and still keeping an airy feel. Of course it also ticks the navy, concrete, stone and ‘jungle green’ boxes as well. See other inspirational designs from Rebecca Hughes Interiors here.
The balance of colour and texture is absolutely on the ball here; black walls, touches of greenery (real plants and motifs on the crockery), plus a mix of industrial and glam-style furniture and accessories. Zamora Palm pendant light, £115; Leaf bowl, £16; Farringdon stool, £59, plus all glasses and candle holders etc, by Dunelm. And for a golden-mustard colour scheme (which contrasts brilliantly with black walls) check out the latest J by Jasper Conran dining collection, available from Debenhams.