Discovering Sanderson Paint

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely day at the Sanderson Hotel in London with Sanderson for a colour workshop and to check out their re-launched paint collection, including no less than fifty new shades. That’s right, fifty! Their new colour card is a delicious feast for a paint lovers eyes, and I found it tricky to narrow down my favourites.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - display of ceramic pots with paint colour range

In fact so much so, that I ended up needing a crazy number of tester pots to help me decide what colours I was going to use for my projects (and before you get cross with me, don't worry, I send all my no longer needed tester pots to the art department at my daughters secondary school, where it is much needed and well used).

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sanderson Paint Chart
Image: Sanderson

Did you know that the Sanderson Hotel is actually the original showroom of the brand? It's ridiculous to think that that I’d never put two and two together before this event, especially as I’d been known to spend a bit of time there propping up the bar before kids. Or maybe because of that.... Either way, it was lovely to know about the buildings history, and to be there whilst hearing about the new paint colours.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sanderson Paint Can with Floral Display

I was looking for a new colour for the front door - a job that had been on my list for over two years (eek!), a hall colour, and a deep rich colour for one wall on the top landing. A spot very rarely, if ever seen on my blog!

I’d originally been planning to paint the front door a lilac shade, but in the end pink won out, and I went for Rose Ash Light. A very pretty pale pink shade, that is really set off so beautifully by the new brass hardware. I absolutely love it. More than I even thought I would, and it makes me happy every time I come home. You can't argue with that now can you?

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - close up of brass door knob on Pink Ash Light paint
As with so many things that I take ages to get around to doing, it was actually a really quick job, requiring only a light sand, and a coat of primer, followed by two coats of the colour. I used the water based Eggshell which is suitable for interior and exterior woodwork, it's is a really great consistency and super easy to work with.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Pink Victorian Front Door painted in Pink Ash Light
I had heard good things about Sanderson paint, and they were all true, and the coverage was brilliant. I love the pink so much, that I'm thinking about doing the inside of the door too. Who am I kidding? I'm totally going to do the inside of the door - such a beautiful colour!

For the majority of the hall I've chosen Birch White, which is a really beautiful warm off-white, that is firmly on my list of brilliant light neutrals. I've said before that these colours are particularly tricky to get right, so I keep a list of the best ones.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - close up of pink front door painted in Pink Ash Light

This will eventually go on all the hall, stairwell and landing walls and I'll do all the woodwork in the same colour. However, as anyone that's taken on the painting of a hall, stairwells and landings in a three storey Victorian semi will tell you, this is not a quick job, so I'll be updating you when that's done in the new year. I'm looking forward to this brighter but still warm shade going on, as a fresh coat of paint in the hall is particularly satisfying!

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sofa on landing near stairs with gallery wall painted in Beech Grey

At the very top of the house on the landing, I wanted to create a little reading area and use a deeper shade on that wall to zone it and make it feel extra cosy. I chose Beech Grey, which is definitely more brown than grey to my eye, and I absolutely love it. This spot is flooded with light, so during the day it's anything but dark, but it has a beautiful richness, with the shade adding a definite air of boutique hotel chic to the space.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Sofa and Stella Vine gallery wall painted in Beech Grey

At night by lamplight it's deep and inviting. And in fact, again I'm thinking of taking the colour onto all the walls on this landing - seems a shame to just have one wall of such a lovely colour.

I'm super pleased with my colour choices, and the Sanderson collection of 154 colours is a great size. Enough so that it's not too limited, but not too many as to be completely overwhelming. As Goldilocks would say, this is juuuuuust right.

Do go and check out the range yourself here.

French For Pineapple Blog - Discovering Sanderson Paint - Stella Vine Gallery wall painted in Beech Grey

This post is in collaboration with Sanderson.

Room Repurpose: Studio to Family TV Room!

I'm SO excited to share these plans with you today, as they've been in the pipeline for a few months now.

Recently I wrote a post about my plans to repurpose, and breathe some life back into the top floor of our house, starting with moving my studio into what was a guest room. You can read all about that here.

My chaotic studio is no longer - I've had a HUGE clear-out, and my studio has now been relocated, with the overspill currently being housed on the landing. My studio is now an organised uncluttered calm space and I absolutely love it!

The big room that was my studio, is going to be a second living room where we can relax and watch films on the weekends, the kids can escape to watch their own movies, and hang out with their friends, and it will also double as a guest room when needed. I'm hoping that Baxter will want to make it a place to chill out after school and do some drawing whilst I try to sneak a bit more work in in my studio next door. It's a beautiful big(ish), light room, and we've never really used it well.

It makes so much more sense to use the space this way, as we just don't need a dedicated guest room 24/7. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to use the rooms this way before, but I'm so pleased it has now - we'll finally be using the whole house properly! It'll be so lovely, and will also make the perfect peaceful reading spot. I can't wait to get it finished.

I've never shared my old studio on the blog before, because it was always such an extreme mess - definitely not a pretty room. Not only was it a mess, but it had become a major dumping ground, and I was embarrassed it had gotten so out of control. But I have managed to drag myself back from the edge of no return, and I am SO pleased. So yes, go ahead and tut, gasp and judge me, for I deserve it.

I had actually already begun the clearing out process when these photos were taken. Prior to that, you could literally not get into the studio at all. Note the absence of a computer on the desk - I couldn't stand to be in there, so used to work from the dining room table instead!

Here's the moodboard to give you an idea of what I'm hoping to achieve; a serene, laid-back, multi-purpose room...

I had a piece of blue House of Hackney Palmeral velvet that I'd forgotten about, that I rediscovered when clearing the studio, and with it's beautiful blues it became the inspiration for the colour scheme. I wanted the room to be relaxing during the day, and cosy and enveloping at night. But I didn't want to use a navy blue, because I've used that before elsewhere in the house (it's against my rules to use the same colour twice!), and it can feel a bit cold, so I decided to look at teals instead.

After several tester pots, I knew I'd found 'The One' when I put Sea Urchin 2 on the wall. With a big dose of yellow, it's anything but cold, and it's just the right side of murky and muted to keep it looking sophisticated rather than primary, in-your-face-bright.

It perfectly fits the bill of feeling fresh during the day, and cosy at night, and importantly works beautifully with my inspiration fabric.

With the addition of a brand new big modular sofa that fits perfectly in one end of the room and will double as a guest bed, some brass accessories and a couple of plants, this room is set to become my new favourite spot in the house. I'm fickle like that.

This room will be finished in a couple of weeks time, and of course I'll share the results with you right here, so stay tuned!

This post is in collaboration with Dulux.

Life After Grey

I'm not one for rules, especially when it comes to colour, but I do get swept up in colour trends with the best of them. However, I also start to rebel when I've seen too much of something. Not mentioning any names, DARK GREY.

It's not that I don't like grey anymore, in fact some of my all time favourite rooms are grey, but the grey trend has had a pretty overwhelming effect on the interiors world, and it's become kind of oversaturated and, dare I say, predictable. It's as if the whole world has forgotten that it's okay to use other colours - grey is not the only option!

From Camel to Tan, to Coffee and Chocolate, I am LOVING brown in all it's many guises right now. I just can't get enough, and I can't wait to get some more onto my own walls (you can see my caramel coloured studio here). These colours give so much more life and warmth to a room. Yes, they're a little bit trickier to nail, but remember - it's only paint! Don't be afraid.

I've created a series of four colour palettes that not only work beautifully individually, but are also completely interchangeable - all the colours work together. Use the primary colours for walls, the secondary colours for large accents like trims (who said they should be white?!) or furniture, and the accent colours for smaller furniture, and accessories like rugs, lampshades, window dressings, cushions and throws.

Here's a guide to give you some suggestions. Swap them around, and have a play - it should be fun! I've given you Dulux colour references for all colours below.

French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Chocolate Palette

French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Coffee Palette
French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Tan Palette

French For Pineapple - Life After Grey - Camel Palette
Stick to the Camel palette for a really refined grown-up look, or add some of the other accent colours to liven things up a bit. Use varying tones of the accent colours throughout the room to bring everything together, or just add one big pop of colour in the form of a rug or twin lampshades to really make a statement.

The primary and secondary colours can be switched around (I know you might not be ready to fully embrace browns just yet!), and the accent groups can be swapped into different palettes too.

If you're not ready to completely move on from grey walls just yet, consider adding a tan vintage chair or sofa to the room if you're in the market. The great thing is that greys and browns sit beautifully together, so it's really easy to mix it up!

And nothing brings a room to life more than some live plants and metallic accents. And when I say metallic, I really mean brass, because that's my favourite.

Remember, there are no rules! Go forth and have fun...

This post is in collaboration with Dulux.

Room Repurpose: Guest Room to Urban Safari Studio!

A few months ago I realised that we were really not using the top floor of our house well. If at all.

The extension we had built around five years ago, is comprised of one large and one smaller room - the large one used as my studio, and the small one, a guest room. There's also a decent sized landing, and a small second bathroom.

It had become a very expensive dumping ground, and my studio was utterly out of control - over the years it had become so cluttered that I couldn't bear to be in there except when I absolutely had to, so I'd taken my computer downstairs to the dining room, which inevitably meant my notebooks, pots of pens, paperwork, deliveries, samples and other bits and bobs, started piling up down there and taking over the dining room too. I managed to block out the chaos of my studio by completely ignoring it as much as possible, but the chaos started to spread. Not good!

The dedicated guest room did get used maybe twice a month, but it seemed kind of crazy to have it just sitting there not being used at all the rest of the time.

I'm so incredibly lucky to have all this space, and there really isn't an excuse to not use it properly. I guess I let the chaos get the better of me for a while and I buried my head in the sand, but the guilt eventually crept in, and something really had to give.

It dawned on me that we should sacrifice the dedicated guest room, and turn the larger of the rooms (currently my studio) into a second living area that would also double as a guest room when needed. Somewhere we can snuggle up to watch movies on the weekends, and for the kids to hang out in as they get older and want to have friends over, but not be right under our noses downstairs. I know - lucky kids.

And my studio will be relocated to what was the guest room.

This is what the guest room looked like when it was completed not that long ago. It was not in need of a makeover, but it's definitely time to make better use of the space...

Guest room - French For Pineapple Blog

Guest Room - French For Pineapple Blog

It's a relatively simple swap and repurpose on paper, but in reality, it's quite a big project, mainly due to the fact that there is so much jammed into my studio, and I'm moving into a much smaller space. Argh!

Oh, and of course I want to completely redecorate both rooms before anything moves.

A few weeks ago I sold the spare bed and mattress, and relocated all the things that were being stored under the bed.

The plan is to redecorate before moving anything in from the old studio, as the floors need a refresh too. The walls, woodwork and ceiling will all be painted the same colour - something I've wanted to do for a while, but never plucked up the courage before.

Then everything can come out of the old studio into the new one before I get to work with yet more redecorating! Yep, I have a very busy few months ahead, but I'm so excited about these projects!

I'm struggling with the fact that I can't just make my new studio a really pretty room, and leave out all the not so pretty bits. But alas, it also needs to house practical storage, packaging materials, the printer etc, but I guess that should just spur me on to get rid of everything I no longer need, so it can be as nice as possible, whilst still functioning as my studio.

I'm lucky that I'll get to cheat a little (okay, a lot), as there is space on the landing to house my big Ikea unit which is full to bursting, at least for now, which takes the pressure off a bit because I still have a way to go with the de-cluttering! That said, I've donated, sold, given away and thrown away a HUGE amount of stuff already, which has been most satisfying.

I have my heart set on a lovely new desk like some that I included in a Fab Five Sexy Desks post several months ago, but I've been pouring money into the house recently, and I just don't have the funds for my dream desk right now. But I put it on the moodboard anyway, because it's way prettier than what I've actually got, and it's good to visualise how you'd like things to look eventually, even if it's not going to be immediately. Meanwhile, I'm also looking out on ebay for something that fits the bill with a much lower price tag, but in reality, I might be stuck with my white Ikea desk for a while longer. Boo!

Rather than spending a fortune, I'll be borrowing some things from other rooms of the house to up the pretty factor. I have however, treated myself to a fab new desk lamp and rug. There isn't going to be much room for any more pretty bits other than as many plants as I can shoehorn in - I'll make my desk area as lovely as possible and the rest, well it will look like exactly what it is - a working home studio.

So here's the moodboard! It's kind of Glam Urban Safari meets Mid Century.

French For Pineapple Blog Urban Safari Studio Moodboard

Initially I'd planned to go with a bright coral - a colour I really adore, but it's not a huge room, and I don't think such a bright hue would be particularly great for me concentration wise - I get distracted so easily, and decided that a warm, calming colour would be a much better choice for a room where I need to focus.

So I started looking at tans and caramels which I'm utterly obsessed with right now, and decided on Summer Pecan 3 by Dulux. It's so warm and inviting, which is what I love about these colours. I'll be using the Dulux Endurance+ paint, which is super durable (twenty times tougher than their conventional matt paint). So it'll be great for a room that will not only get visits from small people with often sticky grubby hands, but will also see a fair few boxes coming and going. The walls in our house get a tough time, so I really need the paint to be durable!

I often start a room design with a colour in mind and see where it leads me, so having decided on Summer Pecan 3, I got to work on my moodboard, keeping it calm by sticking to a natural palette of browns, caramels, black and warm white.

I loved the idea of my juju hat against the caramel walls, and voila, a soft chic tribal look emerged. I’ll add lots of plants for some colour and the odd brass accent. Of course.

This is not the look I had initially set out to achieve, but I’m so happy with where I’m heading now with this room. It’s actually a much more classic and timeless look than what I originally had in mind, and I can't wait to share the finished room!

French For Pineapple Urban Safari Studio Colour Palette

In the next few weeks I'll share my plans for the TV room, and I'll hopefully have made some progress on the studio relocation by then too. Right now I can't imagine it actually happening, but it has to because there's the small matter of a MASSIVE sofa turning up any day now for the TV room!

Make sure you're following me on Instagram because I'm always sharing snippets of what I'm up to there - you might just get some sneak peeks there before they make it to the blog.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Dulux. You know how much I love paint!

Five Reasons You Should Colour Wash Your Rooms

Okay, so technically, you could accuse me of writing another post about Colour Drenching not long after the last one, and I did mention this in the Colour Drenching post, but I'm talking purely about paint on walls, trims and ceilings here, rather than what's in the room.

Everyone should at least consider painting their woodwork (doors, window and door trims, skirtings) and even cornicing and ceilings the same colour as their walls.

Try painting the skirting, doors, window and door frames, and even the ceiling the same colour as your walls for a dramatic, contemporary look.
Image: David Cleveland / The Guardian
Why, I hear you ask? What's wrong with my lovely fresh white trims? Well, I'm going to tell you...

1. Unless you live in a brand new, pristinely finished building, chances are the lines where walls meet ceiling, skirting and door and window frames are less than perfect. Trying to paint a straight line where there isn't one, is somewhat frustrating. When you're painting it all the same colour, this issue is eradicated. It feels totally liberating when you're slightly OCD about these things. It also cuts down on painting time because there is less faffing around with trying to get the perfect straight line.

Try painting the skirting, doors, window and door frames, and even the ceiling the same colour as your walls for a dramatic, contemporary look.
Image: Tempo da Delicadeza 
2. You don't need to buy one paint for your trim colour and a different one for your walls. So if you use the same finish on both, it could be argued that it's more economical. Of course if you want to use matt on the walls and eggshell on the woodwork, that argument falls down, but I've recently painted a room in eggshell all over to avoid the difference in finish. And I love it!

3. Contrary to popular belief, painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls doesn't make the ceiling feel lower. In fact, because you haven't got a massive expanse of white floating above your head and drawing your eye to it, it can actually make the ceiling less noticeable and therefore higher. Or INVISIBLE even!

Try painting the skirting, doors, window and door frames, and even the ceiling the same colour as your walls for a dramatic, contemporary look.
Image: Sarah Ruffin Costello
4. Once you start, suddenly white trims feel a bit twee, and dare I say, old fashioned. Painting everything (not the floor, although they have in the top image) the same colour, gives a room an uninterrupted dramatic look.

5. It looks COOL, CONTEMPORARY and GLAMOROUS. Now who doesn't want that?!

This revelation has now added hours of extra painting time to my DIY list, but it will be totally worth it. Eventually.

Have you already taken the plunge with your woodwork and/or ceilings? Or would you? It's not as scary as it sounds, and it's so transformative. As you can see above, it's still really effective just doing the trims and leaving the ceiling white if that's a bit too scary!