Sleek and subtle grey is all very elegant. But, when your beautiful old Parkview home is full of windows and skylights that pull in the light, what you really need is some yellow to reflect it and glow.
It’s an old house with a new edge. Wooden floors meet crooked skirtings and tall walls end in classic high ceilings, also askew. It’s all tied up in a ribbon of windows and wraparound veranda. But the grey walls did nothing but dampen the light.
“It’s something we all do if we’re nervous of colour,” says designer Astrid van der Heim. “We use the same paint everywhere, and usually a neutral shade such as grey. But in this home, grey made the perfect canvas for clever colour experiments – especially because the family loves to travel and collects art, books and beautiful things along the way.”
The plan was to use the existing delicate grey as a base and to bring in strategic yellows and a powerful, deeper grey for some drama. “Yellow is a colour of hope and vivacity,” says Astrid. “It’s a great contrast for grey. So, for maximum effect, we used it only on walls that were washed with natural light. Now everything bounces with colour and life. I love the mixing of very clean lines and colours with playful brights, books and art. It feels alive and lived in. It’s a space of energy and joy.”
In the entrance hall, the owners asked for a welcoming colour palette that would frame the eclectic art on display. Dark grey Plascon Double Velvet Tribecca Corner (GR-B10) was allowed to star. It shows off the art and it picks up the colour of the dining chairs in the adjoining dining room.
The grey also contrasts beautifully with the vibrant yellow that Astrid used to add a sense of fun to the neighbouring dining room. In this light-filled room, she decided to amp up the glow with a feature wall in a mix of Crazy Daisy (Y4-A1-1) and Panorama Lights (Y4-A1-2).
Astrid also felt that the dining room’s large bay window would be perfect for a reading nook. “Dining in the library is a classic Edwardian tradition that I love,” she says. The original wooden bookcases were moved from the lounge to the dining room and painted in soft grey Plascon Cashmere Bantry Cream (GR-Y02) to match the walls. The finishing touch? Yellow curtains that reflect the colour of the sunny feature wall.
In the living room, Astrid was tasked with creating a stylish but comfortable, and comforting, space. Inspired by the colour-blocking used in the 1960s – and earlier in the Art Deco era – Astrid decided to retain the existing grey, Plascon Cashmere Bantry Cream (GR-Y02), and block this space with yellow. “I picked a yellow from one of the couches,” she says, “and matched it with a mix of Plascon Cashmere Crazy Daisy (Y4-A1-1) and Panorama Lights (Y4-A1-2).
Natural light pours into the corridor from a skylight, so the owners asked Astrid to make the most of the warm glow and show off their artwork in a bright and cheerful space. Here again, dazzling Plascon Cashmere Panorama Lights (Y4-A1-2) proved just the colour to add a vibrant edge. “The light bounces off this vivacious colour and makes the narrow space seem so much bigger,” says Astrid. “It adds an extra warmth to the original wooden floor, and is a great contrast to the Bantry Cream (GR-Y02) used in other rooms.”
In the kitchen, Astrid was asked to capitalise on the skylight and make this functional space even brighter – and more playful, too. “We left the walls in the existing Plascon Velvaglo Stone Grey Aluminium (AL-Y02) but added some dazzling yellow mosaic tiles for contrast,” she says. “This complimented the white and wooden elements already in the room.”
In the bedroom, the aim was to amp up the room’s lightness without using yellow again. The owners wanted to create a different flavour – a whole new world to escape into, like a Maharajah’s palace. The wall in Plascon Metallic Gold (DRM-3) echoes the yellow but still stands alone. It also picks up on the vintage interior – comfy old bed, retro bedside tables and an opulent bedspread full of organic colours and tones.
A pale moonflower pink was the ideal choice for the bright and airy bathroom. “I fell under the spell of the moonflower hedge outside the bathroom window,” says Astrid. “It felt like this flower was telling me what colour the bathroom should be.” A fantastic paint company matched the colour with Plascon Kitchens & Bathrooms Peach Cobbler (R7-C2-2), and the effect is really magical.