Alison Elliot – architect, firm Farrow & Ball fan and the face behind houseabovetheriver on Instagram – knows exactly how to make spaces beautiful. Currently in the midst of renovating her 1860s townhouse, Alison is constantly putting that skill (and our paint) to good use.
Her latest project was decorating her daughter’s bedroom, which she started just as our eleven new colours launched – we’d call that perfect timing. We caught up with Alison to find out how she used the new shades to transform a run-down room into a cosy and playful place to sleep.
What was the room like before?
The room needed quite a lot of work before we got to the fun part (decorating). There was a shower, bidet and sink in one corner and a non-original, boarded-up, gas fireplace that was a bit of a safety hazard – it all needed to go! However, there were also some lovely original features that had thankfully remained intact, including two original, built-in, Victorian wardrobes, deep skirting boards and coving, and a large timber sash window.
What look/feel did you want to achieve?
As this is a child’s bedroom, I wanted the room to feel playful yet cosy. I already had a black, four-poster bed I wanted to update to suit the space better, so I added some sweet little bobbin moulding to it and then painted it in Templeton Pink. I tied this in with the shelf above the desk, which I also added moulding too and painted the same shade. I also repurposed a lot of furniture from elsewhere in the house, including vintage pieces we’ve collected over the years.
Initially, we were going to sand the original floorboards down like we have in the other bedrooms but in the end, we decided to put carpet down for acoustic and thermal purposes. It also helps make the room feel even cosier.
How did you go about choosing the colours?
I knew I wanted something fairly neutral on the walls with pops of colour added through the furniture, woodwork and accessories. This means we can easily adapt the room as our daughter grows up and perhaps starts wanting to add her own personal touches. This room is north facing so the neutral needed to be warm. Stirabout is a beautiful deep shade, which is particularly cosy when illuminated by the soft wall lights at night.
As for the woodwork, I wanted something rich and timeless to contrast the soft, neutral walls. Just like denim that inspired its name, Selvedge is a perfect, complementary blue that goes well with everything.
When it came to the four-poster bed, I didn’t want it to feel too dominant so I thought Templeton Pink would work well: it’s a lovely soft shade that still provides a contrast to the Stirabout backdrop on the walls. I felt the room still needed a pop of colour, so I painted a couple of side tables in beautiful, fiery Bamboozle. Pink and red are not traditionally considered a good pairing but actually the right shades of both work perfectly together, and these are just right.
What’s your favourite colour in the room?
I love all of the shades I’ve used but I particularly love Selvedge: it looks so rich and pigmented and really highlights the beautiful detailing of the original wardrobes and woodwork. I also can’t get enough of pink, plaster-like shades like Templeton Pink because they are so timeless and warm. The bed looks particularly inviting when the lamps are illuminated at night, so it’s the perfect place to cosy up and read bedtime stories.