Last week the windows and doors went in. In the sitting room the side which overlooks the lake is glass. The doors concertina inwards into the house giving unrestricted access to the entire balcony. This is certainly the wow factor for the house. Imagine it without scaffolding. Imagine it with the windows folded away on a hot day – a wide terrace allows comfortable outside eating and sunbathing. This lake is just for the birds, and the fish. No swimming or boating. So it will always be peaceful and we will be able to enjoy nature throughout the seasons.
Also we got the pictures from the kitchen designer. These are not too exact – for example the lamp shades and seats are archetypes. Basically the large windows in the drawing on the right are the ones you can now actually see, above. The kitchen has a sink part with cupboards and shelves, and the island unit is also the informal eating area. Although in our current flat we have a regular dining table we almost always eat at the “breakfast bar”/cutting out table. So we have reproduced this arrangement in our new home.
In the meantime we have revisited our colour scheme. You may remember we wanted white, grey and Hound Lemon. For one reason and another we couldn’t quite agree on the yellow. So we have had another think. In our current (Georgian) home we depend on neutrals, using traditional greeny-stone greys. With a much more modern home we thought we would go with the beautiful “Easy Greys” of Farrow and Ball.
The company writes
Comforting and easy to use, many people will interpret the Easy Greys as the hugely popular tones of the Gustavian period we see so often in Scandinavian decorating styles. These neutrals have a gossamer appearance that is ideal for those who prefer understated decoration. Neither too cool, nor too warm, this neutral family is calm and easy to live with.
Here are the detailed descriptions Farrow and Ball give for their colours. Although I admit it is slightly pretentious, I find these descriptions helpful.
Purbeck Stone which resembles the colour of the stone in the Isle of Purbeck, is the strongest of our Easy Neutrals with which it is the perfect counterbalance. Less cool and softer than Manor House Gray, it is the perfect tone for well lit modern rooms.
Cornforth White is the mid tone in the group of Easy Neutrals which are totally understated and extremely versatile. Less grey and gritty than Pavilion Gray and without the perceived warmth of Elephant’s Breath, it sits perfectly between Ammonite and Purbeck Stone with which it can be used in any combination.
Ammonite is named after the treasured fossils often found on the Dorset coast. It has a fantastically understated modest quality, working perfectly with all the Easy Grey group. It is not gritty or industrial but has a subtle grey tone that suits all contemporary homes.
Wevet is Dorset dialect for a spiders web which is the perfect name as it really does have a translucent, gossamer feel to it, like a web. It has the same level of colour as Wimborne White but is definitely much more contemporary in feel, with its cool starched base. Wevet can be used as a wall colour for a very neutral contemporary space or on ceilings or woodwork when combined with cooler greys.
What we are planning is to paint the ceiling in Wevet, which is white, to all intents and purposes, with Ammonite on the walls. Purbeck stone, the darker grey is for the skirting boards. Cornforth White goes on the doors, cupboards and the kitchen units. The general look we are trying for a cross between the House of Cards kitchen and a Carl Larsson painting. Neither of these on its own does it for us, (one too harsh; the other too folksy) but combined we have something we like. A grey and white palette, with our wooden floors and staircase, with a few splashes of colour, taken from the Shaker palette.
The other long-standing inspiration Nick and I love is Shaker style, where white walls, wooden floors and furniture are complemented by putting paint on wood. We enthuse about the restrained way the Shaker’s used accent colour – little touches of red, dark blue, green and yellow. Although the historic colours vary, this paint was probably labelled “blue” “red” or “yellow” rather than the evocative (affected?) names like “dead salmon” and “elephant’s breath” that Farrow and Ball favour. This is the main departure from our earlier plan, where the yellows were a bit faded and greenish.
We are going to check the building on 20 May. I’ll let you know how it is progressing then.