When decorative artist Charlie Vettori was asked to apply her talents to a Johannesburg mansion, she started by giving the open-plan space a neutral base throughout to make it flow. She and the client then added colourful fabrics for character, and Charlie highlighted these colours with feature walls and paint effects that bring personality and warmth to each room.
In the entrance hall, the owners didn’t want the usual black for the decorative balustrade and requested a colour that would enhance the mahogany flooring and stair rail. Charlie chose a warm neutral in Plascon Velvaglo Carved Stone (O6-E1-4) and then dry brushed it with Plascon Paint Metallics Silver Met 2 to bring the details to life.
Within the imposing French manor house feel of the neutral living room, the client wanted a warm, down-to-earth Moroccan corner for nighttime entertaining. So, drawing inspiration from the colours found in Marrakech markets, as well as from the mahogany floors and the mulberry and claret fabrics used for the cushions, Charlie chose Plascon Cashmere Rickshaw Red (R4-B1-1) for the feature walls. A Middle Eastern wall piece was used as a coffee table, while mirrors and an eastern woodcarving were attached to the walls.
The brief for the kitchen was to create a warm, country manor-type space where family and friends can gather in an informal atmosphere. Charlie decided on a chipped-paint effect for the kitchen cupboards as it suggests a user-friendly, accessible area that’s in it for the long-haul. The distressed, antiqued white cabinets were contrasted with honed black Zimbabwean granite. To add interest and “to busy it up a bit”, Charlie painted the alcove feature wall in Plascon Velvaglo Charlie (B7-B1-4) – a favourite blue literally named after her.
In the master bedroom, the owners wanted something romantic and not overly grown-up. So Charlie introduced a feature wall in Plascon Double Velvet Burgundy Berry (P7-C1-1) that positively screams love, romance and passion – with a dash of playfulness. It compliments and contrasts the neutral en-suite bathroom colours and perfectly showcases the luxurious, rather sexy, four-poster bed.
It also sets off the decorative door to the couple’s walk-in closet. This was painted by South African actress Jena Dover and bought at a Johannesburg Child Welfare auction, where 100 celebrities expressed real-life stories of hope in the 100 Doors Project. Plascon donated the paint for the project. The words on the door reflect a Maya Angelou quote: “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels”.
For the guest bathroom, the client wanted to create an elegant ladies’ powder room with a touch of whimsy. “A guest bathroom is the perfect place to go for bold adventure,” says Charlie. “To express the client’s strong spiritual side, and firm respect for life’s finer things, we hung lots of crystals and mirrors for a sumptuous, yet spiritual effect, mixing the shiny and new with aged painting techniques.” This idea lends itself to a Bohemian, romantic colour like the Plascon Velvaglo Cape Grape (P5-C1-3) on the walls. The vanity also boasts cracked-paint and gilded, silver metal-leaf effects.
In the children’s rooms, fantasy played a strong role. The couple’s older son is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings and requested a bedroom that would bring its characters to life. For this “earthy-orcish” room, Charlie went with tactile elements such as fur, skins, bones and a Lord of the Rings painting to complete the fantasy. She kept the walls neutral in Plascon Cashmere Lightning (Y4-D2-2) but gave them a rich, textural paint effect.
The couple’s 10-year-old son wanted a predominantly blue room with a Chinese dragon theme. Here Charlie chose the wall behind the headboard to work as a dramatic dragon feature wall. She first gave the wall a “blue linen” paint effect to match the denim curtains, using Plascon Cashmere Sapphire (B7-A1-1) to get the desired colour. For the larger-than-life mural, she copied a dragon design from a T-shirt. A red bedside cabinet helps chase the Asian theme.