Earlier this year, after moving into my new loft, I wrote a piece for Visi Magazine on the architecture of my home and what that means (you can read here), but after having lived in it for 6 months, I’m thinking more about the interior, and what that conveys about who I am and the home I want to create.
When I first moved in, I painted over the cerulean walls in the master bedroom, the taupe walls in the guest bedroom and the off-white cream colour of all the ceilings. The aforementioned ceilings are double volume and extremely high, so naturally, white all over made the most sense for the feeling of freshness that I wanted to impart on my new space.
My taste is quite simple, minimal, and earthy. I like neutrals and organic materials, bamboo and basketry. I left the face brick accent wall the raw dark colour it was and left the concrete floors the sandy grey colour that they were, and instead opted to play with those colours and textures in the rest of the space.
For the most part, my home is done, at least the most commonly used spaces. The guest bedroom/office/wardrobe/storeroom and downstairs bathroom are the final frontiers of my total home makeover, although before writing this, the biggest eyesore of them all was my entry hall.
The entrance hall to my loft is a double volume space adjacent to the black cast iron staircase against the face brick wall. It’s windowless and awkwardly shaped, with a bathroom opposite the front door and the hallway directly right of it. Because of where it’s situated in the space, it’s a rather dark corner. The previous owners had a floor to ceiling shelving unit built into the wall with a protruding desk with it’s back to the bathroom. It was truly awful; chipboard is a pet peeve of mine. Of course I had to rip it out, exposing a much roomier space capable of housing a small lounge area. For months I had some of my larger furniture pieces stacked against the wall, awaiting placement in a more permanent home. A 16 door locker unit I picked up at a junk yard and had sanded and powder coated, a 40’s era leather travel trunk with brass hardware and shelving inside, a green leather chair my mom let me hijack from her office, and a few odd books and trinkets. It was kind of sad to walk into every day. Although the walls were white, the lack of light kept it very dark and shadowy, and all the furniture I had in there was either black or very dark, which only made the space gloomier. I decided that much like with most things in life, it’s always a good idea to accept the things you cannot change, in this case, the lack of light.
In true academic nerd fashion, I began researching how to uplift and elevate a space. Spiritual teachings preach the use of scents and healing organic materials like sage and bergamot; home décor mags recommend bashing down walls and building windows, but the solution that resonated most with me was brought forth by none other than my second favourite app, Pinterest. I gravitate towards high contrast spaces that make clever use of raw materials and play with light. Dark floors against stark white walls with accents of wood or white floors with dark walls and accents of cement. It’s a fascinating design technique that tricks the eye into perceiving the depth of a space differently. These principles make so much sense for my sad and dark entrance hall, so why not go all in!
Job number 1 was to remove all the furniture there to really get a sense of the space I was working with and the light I was working against. The previous owners had left behind a rather gaudy crystal chandelier that I’ve hated since I moved in, but since I don’t have a replacement yet, I had to leave it up. Next, with a little help from my Pinterest board, I began looking for the perfect shade of ‘dark’.
Black would be too harsh to cover a wall of that scale, so I settled for a charcoal colour, which of course there were hundreds to choose from. Instead of mixing a paint from scratch which could easily be disastrous, I went perusing the Plascon website. Under ‘ Colour & Inspiration’ you can find the Inspired Colour System, that allows you to not only pick a shade, but see your colour on a swatch in relation to other swatches in that family. For example, while I went looking for grey, I stumbled upon grey’s with blue undertones, purple undertones and green undertones, which I was only able to really notice, because I could view them next to each other, so helpful.
My hunky new neighbour who’s just moved in next door is currently painting his walls and ceiling a shade of charcoal called Tribecca Corner. I know this because I’m nosy and make friends easily (hahaha). His shade is a little bluer in its undertones that’s what I would have gone for myself, and so with that as a starting point, I hunted down a more green shade of grey. Enter Phantom Ship in Plascon Cashmere. Plascon Cashmere is a low odour, premium quality, plush matt wall coating that is highly washable and stain resistant; not that I intend on having kids any time soon, but it’s never a bad idea to get all the quality coverage you can. This is a very dark grey, almost indistinguishable from a slate, but with a very subtle green hue in the light.
I figure, instead of fighting the darkness, I should embrace it, and then brighten it up with furniture and accents. The paint job itself was quick, and with a few new pieces and a couple of the old, my once dull and dark entrance hall was transformed almost overnightinto a very grown up lobby that felt mature and edgy and earthy all at once. I love that the space feels warm but also very chic; it complements the wooden furniture and my taste in Abstract Expressionist art really well. Anyone who knows me even just a little is aware of my love of leafy green plants. Against the darkness of the walls, those very same plants that looked dull in the shadowy corners now look extra lush against the moody backdrop of my fancy new lobby. The last thing I have to do in that room is switch out the chandelier for the really gorgeous woven basket lamp I imported from Morocco, but I have to wait a couple of extra weeks for it to arrive. Till then, I’m going to enjoy my chic new space, and I hope all who visit me do too.