Not one, but three spaces to reveal to you today, the first one being the Mulberry Red Room. Let’s go!
If you remember the last time I shared the Mulberry Red Room, back in Feb, it was very nearly done. We were awaiting the arrival of the bed and some smaller, finer details to be completed.
The whole concept for the room was based around the large framed Modigliani poster which the homeowner had bought especially to hang in this room.
The burgundy red backdrop for this rather provocative piece was the starting point for the room with the rest of the details following suit quickly after.
Let me show you the completed room:
- Walls, woodwork and ceiling in Abigail Ahern’s Mulberry Red
- Lampex Opal 3 Drum Pendant – Wayfair
One thing I should tell you about this client, is that he doesn’t like faff. I wasn’t allowed to do nic nacks, no superfluous items, no unnecessary decoration or styling. I was allowed to bring a plant or two. And that was that. He likes things minimal. Very.
Not having “things” to break up the vast amount of dark space is something I was a little concerned about. However, this project has coincided with a genuine increased frustration at seeing more and more residential interiors resembling shop floors. Rooms with way too much stuff in, so much so, you almost fail to see any of the individual pieces selected for the room.
- Delaney Metallic Glaze Lamps – John Lewis
- Bedside Tables – Only Home
- Roscoe Bed from MADE
- Mansion Velvet Bedspread from Wallace Cotton
I wrote a post back in 2017 about “negative space” and how important it is in interior design. An often misunderstood and ignored concept in the world of Instagram interiors, which is where so many people seek inspiration these days. You can read all about Negative Space and how to use it to your advantage here.
The phrase “more is more, less is a bore” narks me no end. Actually, sometimes more is just awful. As with everything, it’s all about balance. And of course personal preference. After all, your home and your space is yours, for you to do with exactly what you want. And whilst I would say there some areas of this room that are a touch heavy with negative space, this is exactly how this homeowner wanted it to be. And who am I to argue?
- Chest of Drawers and Globe table lamp from Westelm
- Leather sling chair from Souk Collective
- Flooring – Kronotex Amazone – Prestige Oak Grey
- Artwork – Modigliani ‘Nudo Rosso’
I’ll finish the reveal of this room with a before and after, so you can see the difference just a few changes can make:
See how minimal it was? He didn’t even have bedside tables.
I love the chartreuse/olive green next to the Mulberry Red in here. It’s a winning combo don’t cha think?
You would be forgiven for wondering where the hell the wardrobes are – I’d be thinking exactly the same. Well lucky for this guy, the room across the landing (like, 1m away) has been converted from the fourth bedroom into a dressing room.
I have no photos of this room from before (I so wish I’d taken some) but it was cream. Cream-y walls, cream carpet with beech effect doors on these built in wardrobes. It was pretty drab and those fake wood doors were rank. This room had to be done on a mega right budget, so instead of replacing the doors, we pulled the thermofoil finish off and painted the MDF in with the woodwork.
This next photo isn’t mine, but it was the closest image I could find online to explain what I meant when I said we pulled off the foil finish:
If you can peel off this nasty plastic finish without too much damage then simply sand back the bare MDF, prime (very important to do this) and paint. It’s a pretty cost effective way of updating a large hunk of furniture, because there was actually nothing wrong with how they were fitted, they were structurally sound, built well and really functional – they just didn’t look any good. But now they do. Hoorah!
We added two wine coloured armchairs to tie things in from the master bedroom. This is where the homeowner can sit and enjoy coffee on a weekend morning (there’s a mini coffee maker on the drawers to the left of these chairs).
- Charlie Armchairs in Wine – Swoon Editions
- Walls and ceiling in Little Greene French Grey Mid
- Woodwork in Little Greene French Grey
- SKARRESO Rug – Ikea
- Coffee Table – Cult Furniture
Onto the third and final space: the living room. Come on – keep up at the back!
The room was also cream. Cream, cream everywhere. Have you guessed that this was done by a developer yet?
We used the artwork again to choose the colour scheme. This guy LOVED blue. He had a cool, industrial floorlamp sat in one of the guest bedrooms, a couple of side tables, a large mirror and rug that was staying. But everything else was up for grabs.
The floorlamp now sits in this corner along with a new sofa and ottoman and his old side table.
- Holly Sofa in Midnight Blue – Sofa.com
- Walls in Grey Stone by Little Greene
The curtains, TV unit and lighting were on the list of things to update. The TV being one of those massive ones that totally overpower a room, so we needed something for it to sit on that would be large enough to compensate for the big black rectangle that sat on top of it.
A mid-century plan chest was the obvious answer which we picked up after endless internet searching. I wanted to add shelving above the TV in order to disguise it even more, but alas, I was only allowed to fit them in the opposite alcove.
- Ned Pendant Light – BHS
Before (me testing places for that big floorlamp)
The log burner and timber mantel had just been fitted when I arrived for my initial consult, so I took inspiration from the distressed finish on the timber for the new shelving.
The floating shelving was designed to fit as many books as possible whilst tying in with the mantel. I love that dark timber against this blue.
- Small Tabosa Clamp Light – Nkuku (now unavailable)
So after 18 months of working with this minimalist, blue loving, book reading. artwork buying homeowner, here’s what he had to say about working with muggins here:
Wonderful experience; like working with a very experienced, expert friend. Working with my new house and looking to convert a very beige interior to something that aligned with my personality; Karen took a few basic elements, colours and plants to produce a beautiful home. I always thought of plants as an ‘outside’ change for producing a nice home. I now have seven examples of how plants can enhance the combinations of furniture, paintings and colour . I now ‘nearly (!)’ have a very beautiful home, loved by all who come here, and a trusted friend. What could be better 🙂
How lovely is that?
It’s always such a privilege to help someone make their home theirs. And whilst I didn’t get my way on everything and styling nic nacks were out of the question (s0b!), I did turn him into a plant lover. I think I also pushed him outside of his comfort zone a little, there wouldn’t have been a cat in hell’s chance of me getting him to paint his entire bedroom in a dark burgundy red back in March 2018…. so whilst some of these rooms might not look like your typical ‘Making Spaces’ spaces (I mean, there is not one bit of black anywhere – how does that even happen?) I’d like to think that I’ve facilitated some braver design decisions and helped someone make their mark on their beautiful home.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this project and these spaces. And if you haven’t read that post I linked to above about negative space, then I’d highly recommend a read.
Lovely as always; I was a bit concerned about so much dark colour in the mulberry bedroom and I personally would have probably found a way to break that up a little – but if he wants his minimalism, he shall have his minimalism. Still lovely!! 🙂
Thanks Kirsten 🙂
It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I admire how you can give the client exactly what he wants but still come up with a gorgeous scheme. The bedroom is very manly and evokes the whole gentleman’s club vibe…clever. I’m with you on the over clutter thing which is about at the minute, I like some well chosen pieces but too much stuff is annoying. A bed with a throw, four sets of pillows, a fully laid breakfast tray, fairy lights, plants, gallery wall behind, dreamcatchers, bedside tables with books, lamps, artefacts, rugs, more throws…..it would take an hour to get into the thing! However, I can’t believe you didn’t sneak a few objects in under the radar.
Well done anyway, you can chalk that one up as another super success x
Haha. Thank you! I like your instagram shopping list! Made me smile 🙂 I was going to take a load of stuff for the pics, but in the end I just didn’t have the time to collate everything – also a lot of the stuff I wanted to add would have been hanging – and those walls were a nightmare to fix anything onto so I didn’t want to risk it….
Still learning – every day….
I love the deep mulberry bedroom – even as minimally styled as it is (and you know I like my artfully arranged clutter), everything just sings against it. Gorgeous job as always – no wonder he’s chuffed to bits with it! xxx
You know Ms D, I’ve never once looked at one of your rooms or vignettes and thought it looked cluttered. Just well curated. The Mulberry bedroom is defo missing one or two finishing pieces; I wanted some hooks (artfully styled of course), another piece of art and a hanging plant, but alas they were not meant to be…. Maybe I should have photoshopped them in 🙂 xx
I love all this. The minimalism brief must have been tough but I really love the result. That bedroom is like retreating into a womb. Not sure I could live with quite so much red but it looks stunning.
Thanks Jenny. You definitely have to love this colour to go all out in it – that’s for sure!
What a transformation! Quick question about painting MDF – did/do you sand it first? I have read that you should, but was hoping to avoid the extra step if it works without
If the MDF is brand new, prime, then sand, then paint. If it’s been uncovered like in this project, then defo sand in order to get rid of any surface irregularities. All about that prep!!
Brilliant, thanks for that!
Lovely!!! That dark bedroom is stunning! And I too love blue. 😉 That alcove was made for shelves, glad you prevailed there! And the dressing room is elegant!
I love looking at minimalist rooms, but in real life, I can’t resist the pretty objects. 😊
Thank you Sarah!
Really glad you like them – but yes I’m with you on the pretty stuff 🙂
I really like luxe minimalism and the “real people” version here is a great example of it. Color combos like the deep blue sofa and gold cushions more than compensate for any (false! ;)) knick knack deficiency.