Danica’s Interiors: Part 1 – The Beginnings of My First Home!

Hello there my lovely readers!

It’s been a long time hasn’t it? I’ve been extremely busy with work and due to now being on lock down (thanks coronavirus), it seemed like the perfect time to settled down and start sharing with you all some rather big news and what I’ve been up to when I’m not at work designing kitchens.

 

If you follow me on instagram, then you probably already know that my partner and I after 11 and a half years took the plunge and bought our first home together!

We were so excited to start looking and thought it was going to be a lot of fun. Let me tell you, the search was NOT easy.

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 20.06.41.png(Image credit: Luff & Wilkin)

Long story short, the estate agent that was selling the property we ended up buying were useless and didn’t know how to do their job properly. We found this place which was a dream come true for us and made a conditional offer if we can get the lease to allow Sam to run his business from home. The agency didn’t even tell the seller that we were interested and told us it wold cost us £7,000 to get the lease change or even have an amendment attached. We ended up pursuing it through another agency, who told us the seller had no idea we were interested, and that the management company can just write a letter of consent, free of charge, to allow Sam to run his business from the premises. What!? However, because we saw our future home with the original agency, we had to unfortunately buy it through them, even though they BROKE THE LAW and didn’t inform the seller of our interest and offer. This was extremely frustrating as we could have moved in sooner if they did their job properly.

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Anyway, 8 months later (yes really) and we get our keys!

(Images above: Waterfords Camberley and Prospect Camberley)

Over the next few days I’ll be able to show you guys what I’ve been up to in our new home, including product boards and colour combinations. For now, I wanted to show you the before images of our apartment and the beginning stages of redecorating. All images of the apartment above and below are the estate agents photos. We got to see the apartment four times before we got our keys, twice whilst the previous tenants still lived there and then twice once they had moved out and with the apartment being completely empty.

(Images above: Waterfords Camberley and Prospect Camberley)

I moved in first to get started on the redecorating. Virtual tour of our new home before for you to see below:

We needed to get the bedroom liveable so I could start sleeping in our home and get the second bedroom turned in to a studio so that Sam can move in and start working from home straight away. This was the fun part that I had been waiting for. The decorating!

We first started off ripping up the old carpets in both bedrooms as they really needed to go.  Below is a small time-lapse of me being a strong independent feminine power house and ripping up the carpet! I love love LOVE DIY! Give me some wood and a saw, and I will get crafting!

After that I sanded down all the skirting boards and door frames in both rooms. I then wiped them down with a damp cloth and sanded them all over again to ensure I got a nice smooth finish. I did the same thing to the windowsills as well. When I’m redecorating, I like to make sure that I’m giving everything a bit of TLC.

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I was so excited to start unleashing myself on what was essentially a blank canvas! Goodbye ugly magnolia walls! HELLO COLOUR!!

Before I could pick the carpets for the bedrooms, I needed to think about what colour was going to be on the walls because that was going to influence what we then have on the floor.

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I am a nightmare for picking a colour because I am such a huge colour fanatic and I wanted the paint to be eco friendly with little to no VOCs. I wanted to be sure that my home will be in keeping with my values of living as responsibly and sustainably as possible.

So I ordered samples from the following companies:

  • Earthborn Paints – Made from clay and natural colours.
  • Farrow & Ball – Low to no VOCs and they are really high quality paints.
  • Little Greene – Also low on VOCs and a great selection of colours to choose from.
  • Lakeland Paints – Eco-friendly and no VOCs, as well as lots of colours to pick!

I had an idea on what colours I’d like to use where, but it’s hard to choose the one on a computer screen. So of course I ordered as many samples as I could!

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I painted each colour on to a piece of paper so that I could hold them up in the rooms I intended them for to see how they look in different lights. I pretty much had all the colours of the rainbow on my living room floor at one point! What do you think about these colours? I loved them all and found it very difficult to choose! But I managed to narrow it down to the following:

Living room – Shrimp Pink from Little Greene and Delilah from Earthborn Paint

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Sam’s studio/gaming room: – Can Can from Earthborn Paint

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Master Bedroom – Lily Lily Rose – Earthborn Paint

 

I even started collecting a few plants along the way… I couldn’t help myself. I have since bought 3 more plants for the apartment, but you’ll get to see them later on in the process. I have 12 plants in our apartment at present, and I have 6 plants still at Sam’s parents house waiting to come home… Don’t judge!

Unfortunately, that’s all I have from the very beginning stages. I’m really excited to show you what we’ve done with the apartment so far! Keep an eye out for more posts to come over on my blog. But, if you can’t wait that long, there are a few sneaky peeks on my instagram @danica_interiors where my all too impatient boyfriend has posted images.

The next post will be about his studio room as that is the only room in the apartment that is actually totally and completely finished.

Let me know what you think so far!

Please keep safe my lovelies! Stay home, stay inside and I’ll speak to you all soon!

Danica x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A colour lover’s kitchen: Why you should be brave to go bold with colour in your Kitchen!

I’m not entirely sure if you all know that I currently work for Wren Kitchens as a Kitchen Designer. This has been an amazing opportunity for me to design kitchens and utilities for people of all walks of life no matter what their budgets are.

 

Majority of the time, most of my customers go for more neutral or grey colours within their kitchens. This is due to the belief that if they go for a grey, white or beige kitchen design, it will make their home more attractive and easier to sell in the future.

However, there are many designers, as well as myself, who don’t believe that to be true.

Of course, with more neutral cabinetry, you can accessorise with lots of colourful objects, go for a bolder worktop, splash back or even paint the walls in a bright colour as a way of bringing in your own personality. But, they would always shy away from adding colour to their cabinetry for fear of falling out of love with the colour within a year of installation.

Every now and then however, I meet kindred spirits, colour lovers like myself who want to be brave with colour and really make a statement within their kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the space you probably use the most without even realising it. You make your 3 meals a day in there, as well as for trips to the fridge for a midnight snack. So, why wouldn’t you want it to reflect your personality and sense of style by experimenting with colour? It’s a huge investment, so why not go for something you know you are going to love?

 

Enter my customers: a lovely couple that live in Hampshire. Their original kitchen was white cabinetry with red and terracotta walls and lime green tiles. Just by looking at their original kitchen, I knew that they are colour lovers and wanted to freshen up the space, however I wasn’t entirely sure whether they were going to be brave with the door colours.

 

When talking to my customer’s about what they were looking for within their kitchen and creating a brief with them, they were leaning towards a pebble grey colour on all of the doors, with Quartz in “Highland White” and a Luxury Laminate in “Italian walnut” being used as the worktop surfaces, and they wanted a wow factor on their peninsular island with a feature colour. My customer had expressed that she loved the colours at Wren called “Midnight” Blue or “Bumblebee” Yellow to go on the island but she couldn’t choose between the two.

We spent about 2 to 3 hours creating the design together, coming up with a layout that works for their space and meets their needs. Quartz is a very expensive worktop material, so we agreed it would be best to save that for the island as it will also add to the wow factor and statement of the peninsular they were looking for, and have the luxury laminate on the rest of the run of units.

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(Not my own images. Images are illustrative and created with Wren Kitchen’s online kitchen planner to represent colour combinations.)

We played with trying one or the other colour on the island with pebble grey around the rest of the kitchen, but my customer just didn’t feel like it was giving them the dream kitchen feel.

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(Own design)

At this point, 2 and a half hours in, her husband had to excuse himself for a little break and a little walk around to get some more inspiration. Me and my customer were sat there having a chat, trying to figure out a way together to make these colours work. I had an idea and pitched to them to paint their walls a light grey instead, and have both the blue and the yellow used in their cabinetry. I suggested that they have midnight blue around the whole of the kitchen with the Italian walnut laminate worktop, and the bumblebee yellow on the island with highland white quartz worktop. Although my customers were colour lovers, I think they weren’t entirely sure whether this would work.

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That was until I showed her how it looked in 3D and in virtual reality. She loved this idea! We waited for her husband to return, and we discussed what we had discovered. Funnily enough, he had the same idea whilst he was away from my desk, except with yellow around the whole of the kitchen and blue on the island.

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(Not my own image. The image above is illustrative and created with Wren Kitchen’s online kitchen planner to represent colour combinations.)

We tried his idea out. I thought it looked awesome, but he did not seem to keen on having yellow everywhere. So I showed him my idea, and he also loved the colour combination with blue on all the units and yellow on the island.

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(Own design)

However, it was when they saw the design in virtual reality that they absolutely and completely fell in love with the layout and the colours used within their space. They could really see themselves working within and living with this kitchen, and the island gave them that really unique feature they were looking for within the space.

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(Own image: Colour palette and product board created in Photoshop)

Fast forward a few months and I went round for a visit to see the end result. I thought I loved it when I designed it for them, and I fell in love with it when I finally saw it in person:

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(Own Photography)

The view from their dining room is absolutely breathtaking. They made the wall with a view in to the kitchen a feature wall by painting it in the same colour as their peninsular, which really ties the two rooms together and has such an amazing visual impact!

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Not to mention the ingenious use of the bright pink on the archway and back wall, adding in another colour to the mix. This colour really highlights the architecture of the space along the archway and carries your eye around the room.

 

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(Own Photography)

When I expressed my love for using such a vivid colour, my customer’s said that they were going to paint all of the walls a light grey, but that I inspired them to be even bolder with their choices. We had joked in the appointments about having a pink kitchen and when I created the visuals for them I had styled them with bright pink placemats as a nod to our conversation and little inside joke. They loved it so much that they decided to paint the walls in the same colour and it works perfectly with their design!

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(Own Photography)

I also love that they didn’t stop there with their colour choices. They bought their own splash back that has a picture of a bright green lime on it which adds another pop of element to their colour palette.

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(Own Photography)

They also incorporated the lime green colour within their blinds, which you can’t really see due to the sunlight coming in through their window, but you can see the light reflecting the colour on to the ceiling. This also tied in perfectly with their parasol outside in the garden. I love that it is also a little homage to the lime green tiles they had in their previous kitchen.

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(Own Photography)

The sink they chose is a black glass top sink with stainless steel bowls, which matched perfectly with the appliances they chose. As their island isn’t exactly a traditional island and more of a peninsular (meaning it comes off a run of units from a wall in to the middle of a space), they didn’t want one colour cabinetry to intrude too much on the other. So we designed the peninsular and the corner where the colours meet to be mitred so that they got a clear line going down the centre between the two.

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(Own Photography)

To add to the uniformity of the kitchen, we made sure that the worktops were the same thickness and the upstands for each material were the same height, so that it was one continuous line along the back of the worktops along the walls. As the feature unit on the end of the island has a frontal on both sides, I advised that they place false doors underneath the breakfast bar to tie it all in together. The customer chose to go for open shelved feature units in the same colour as the laminate worktop to carry it throughout the space. The use of the dark wood effect worktop, the dark grey flooring and the light grey walls work really harmonise with the brighter colours and help ground them.

 

When I asked my customers if they are happy with the end result, they replied,

Absolutely! Every morning when we come downstairs, the kitchen really brightens our days and it’s so inviting. We wanted to be more brave with the colour and we’re happy we chose went for brighter colours in the space. Whenever we have visitors round, they always compliment the design and say how well all the elements work together. We are really pleased and were lucky to have you as our designer.

I (obviously, because I am a colour lover and am biased) honestly loved the end result! I think even though it’s a country styled door, it is still quite a modern kitchen, with a fantastic mixture of traditional and contemporary. It makes me happy when my customers want to express themselves within the design and, trust my vision and ideas. If they are happy, then I am happy!

 

I feel it’s so important to experiment with colour in the home and that it doesn’t have to stop at just being in the living room or bedroom, that you should experiment with colour in the kitchen, too. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy a whole brand new kitchen. You can easily update the space just by painting the doors or buying replacement doors if you know where your current kitchen originally came from. Colours in the home can really lift our spirits and affect our moods, and that is no different in your kitchen!

 

However, if you are looking at buying a whole new kitchen and changing the space, why not go bold with your colour choices? It’s a complete myth that going for plainer, simpler colours will affect the resale value. Chances are, if it comes to you selling your home and you’ve fitted a white or grey kitchen, the person buying that house will most likely rip it out anyway. A Kitchen is a HUGE investment, so why not choose a colour that you love? Even if you are living there only for 3 or 4 years and plan to sell, you will always feel better about going for what you want and spending your time in a space you love, than going for something safe and wishing you had invested a bit more in your kitchen.

 

It’s easy to be bold, you just have to take that leap of faith with a colour you truly love! Why not try creating a design with your favourite colour? Or secondary favourite? This can be on the doors and drawer frontals, the walls, the worktops, the splash backs, the ceiling, you name it! Trust me, once you’ve added some colour, love and care to your kitchen, you will love it so much and not want to go back!

Additionally, if you are in to monochrome, then that’s absolutely fine, too! You do you, do what makes you happy and not what you think society and everyone else will want. If you love dark cabinets with white worktops, and lots of contrast, go for it! High contrasting kitchens are sexy and sleek no matter what the style is!

 

What do you think of this kitchen design? Has it inspired you to go big and bold? Or do you prefer more calmer colours? Or are you in to monochrome colour schemes? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Danica x