DIY Home Decor: Defeating the Orange Mostrosity

In Michelangelo’s Renaissance Italy there were strongly held views on the health benefits of eating the right balance of foods. Not carbs and proteins as we go by these days, but humours – according to the elements, i.e. how hot, dry, cold or wet the food was. So this is why melon (cold, wet) was originally paired with ham (hot, dry) – to counter any nasty phlegmatic symptoms that might develop should you be foolish enough to eat any of that slimy malevolent melon on its own. (It’s worth noting that this is one of my mum’s top favourite combos, and she is super healthy. Job’s a good’un).

So: similarly, having dosed you heavily with yang technical mechanical boiler talk in recent posts (mixing my belief systems now but bear with me), it’s time to get a bit more yin and update you on what I’ve been doing recently. It’s for the good of your health.

So: I’ve been mainly revamping the Orange Monstrosity in the kitchen, and devising a dining/ light solution to save us from candlelit dinners forever more (not as romantic as they sound when compulsory and with tea lights too short to see by).

20140210-222550.jpgTaking inspiration from the likes of these:



20140210-222034.jpg… After much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the ineptitude of the local Homebase’s non-Dulux-paint-mixing staff, I finally found the friendly chaps at COLOUR MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY Dutch paint shop in South London who mixed up my dream batch of deep indigo: almost pure pigment, with just a touch of black. It positively glows.

Needless to say, they were entertainingly rude about a certain other well known “poor quality” paint brand and its use of “excessive” volumes of chalk.

This is what their infinitely superior paint looks like:


The orange I was covering was so monstrous that for a long dark moment I wondered if it would ever be defeated. I eventually abandoned the recommended foam brushes in favour of a roller, which was much more satisfactory.

In the meantime, I’d been busy hoarding patterned paper ideas on my Pinterest boards for the backs of the cupboards. Inevitably, when it came down to it I went for the first one I’d seen, a gorgeous deep indigo chiyogami Japanese paper from the delicious specialist paper shop Falkiner’s/ Shepherd’s (they have two names – I don’t understand why.)

20140210-223146.jpg so I took all three back boards out with the help of a plunger and papered them. Wallpaper paste is FUN. Incidentally, the abandoned foam brushes turned out to be brilliant for papering. 20140210-223347.jpg


20140210-223428.jpgAt this point the Owl decided things were not moving quickly enough and got involved, which was worth it for this scenario alone:

20140210-223534.jpg So while he was busy finishing up the painting I got on with ordering the handles, which duly arrived and were lovely but VERY SHINY.

20140210-223703.jpgSo we sanded them with superfine grit sandpaper.

20140210-223804.jpg And then just for good measure we got a brass polishing drill bit and finished them off with that

20140210-223936.jpg (when I say “we” of course I mean “they”, i.e. the Owl who was once again getting impatient with my slow progress, and my poor aunt B who happened to be staying at the time. What can I say, I’m a starter.)

So that was pretty much done, and in the same weekend that the handles were finished and went up, the Owl got his do on the light fixture and wired up my gold-leafed vintage French farmhouse finds with Edison squirrel cage bulbs and blue fabric twisted electrical cord:


20140210-224618.jpgSo now we have gorgeous warm filament light and can actually see after dark!




So pleased.


7 thoughts on “DIY Home Decor: Defeating the Orange Mostrosity

  1. Mike Shak says:

    While I had no problems with the enthusiastic brightness of the orange monstrosity I can see how your take is very impressive. Well done team!

  2. Skid says:

    Looks absolutely amazing! Well done you two (and bam!) truly inspiring xxx

  3. You are a decorating genius. The effect is superb. Well done crew.

  4. Joods says:

    Talk about fab and groovy! You are sooooo clever. Love it love it. Dying to come and see it in the flesh so to speak. Where are you last week in March??? I’m coming to London.24-29th. ??
    XX Joods

  5. Veronika Metcalf says:

    Looks amazing. Love before and after photos without the work. My kids want to live in a boat house now. Where is your T.V.? xx

    • TV is basically to my right where I was standing to take the last photo. It’s an 8m space and the dresser and dining table space are in the 3metres one side of the arch, then the lounge (or “saloon”) takes up another 5m. You should do it! Do they have houseboats in Perth?! x

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