Sometimes the reality of an idea isn’t quite as amazing as the image you’ve had filling your head. Despite looking absolutely perfectly and seeming like an excellent idea in your head, some ideas just don’t pan out. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, if anything for me it’s only made me more aware of what my own style is. Sometimes you have to venture out of your comfort zone only to confirm exactly what it is you love.
I’m a big believer in visual balance and proportions – if you’re familiar with my Instagram you’re probably are of exactly how much I like (mostly white) space around objects. Visually it’s important to me for things to be balanced with the space around them. My living room’s chimney breast is flanked by two almost identical alcoves, one contained a black television unit whilst in the other sat a large bookcase I had the grand idea of painting in Little Greene‘s Basalt. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s a really beautiful shade of teal blue, pictured below. (Please excuse the less than minimal styling on this one…)
“Blue?!” I hear you say. Yes, blue.
I had it in my head for months before moving into the flat that I wanted a large teal blue bookcase. I’m not quite sure why, perhaps I’d seen some similar in an image somewhere, but in my head it was going to be perfect for the space. It would be the only real colour within the room; a bit of a decor curve ball. The colour was beautiful and I certainly don’t regret that aspect of the decision, but it just never sat right within the room.
The black fireplace beside it, along with the black TV unit made the entire wall heavy and clunky. The only three dark things in the room sat in a row and it pushed the whole room out of balance. All of the heavy aspects sat on the one wall, severely weighting your eyes in one direction when you were in the room.
I bought the bookcase, IKEA’s HEMNES in natural pine, knowing I would be painting it straight away. It’s a sturdy piece of furniture despite the disappointingly flimsy veneer backing panel. With the wood being untreated painting it wasn’t exactly an easy task. A coat of white and three coats of Basalt later, it was done.
As soon as I pushed it back into the alcove I knew it wasn’t right. Sometimes you just know it. Instantly. In the end I left it that way for the best part of a year, cropping it out of most images of the room. Last week, whilst taking some time off from the day job, I decided it was time to update it to something far more familiar; grey. I’m all for a healthy dose of grey. This time around I opted for Little Greene’s Gauze Deep, kindly provided for the project by Little Greene. Narrowing down the vast shades the brand produce was a lengthy process that involved lots of thoughtful gazes at hurriedly painted swatches. All of which turned out to be very, very similar.
A thick coat of white paint went on first to ensure the Basalt was blocked out, before a single coat of the Deep Gauze.
I’ve always found Little Greene’s paint to be the best out there and that’s an opinion formed without payment from anyone and actually a conclusion I came to many years before this blog was even a concept. The fact I managed to get away with just one liberal coat of the paint was incredibly welcome. You don’t realise exactly how long it takes to paint every last nook and cranny of a bookcase.
The jury is still out on whether I should have put a top coat or matt varnish on to project it from any scuffs. I have issues with shiny or glossy surfaces and much prefer things to appear absolutely matte, so I actually opted for eggshell to paint the piece. It has such a lovely flat finish so I’m loathe to add any form of sheen to it with a varnish, although I’m sure three months down the line when there’s scuffs, marks and soot-lines from the various candles and matches that fill the shelves, I’ll be regretting this decision.
Styling wise I won’t even pretend to disguise the fact I painstakingly selected the books that could remain on the shelves. I did indeed literally judge every book by its cover. I’m all for a colour coded bookshelf.
I’ve been really trying to live without so many objects around, mostly born out of the desire to have a much more minimal interior. To the top and bottom of the bookcase you’ll see two beautiful handmade baskets from Artisanne. Inside each you’ll find a plethora of matches, candles, candle holders, spare buttons, tape measures and around nine tubes of hand cream, but from the outside? Beautiful baskets.