Thursday, 3 November 2011

The trouble with orange, and shall we go vintage or romantic?

My little cottage is still in disarray with books stacked up everywhere, the Lady Decorators trotting up and down the stairs . . .
A very orange house with the Head Chef as busy as a bee
 . . . the smell of paint in the air, and ladders and paint pots waiting to trip me up everywhere, but the orange glow is slowly going.

Orange mess

I have come to the conclusion that I do not tolerate disorder very well, and have spent two afternoons hidden away, knitting frenetically, in an effort to keep myself in a state bordering sanity, and to fend off the guilt complex that I am not sitting in my office working.

But if I look at the before pictures in all their burnt orange gloom, then I can dream of Pointing and Old White, and remember that the alternative to the current higgledy-pigglediness is a house with a perma-tan.

Cupboards glowing orange

I have been sent some lovely books from Ryland Peters & Small and Cico Books to help me along with my dreams, and inspire me in my grand declutter and re-think of my little granny cottage which had been looking sadly down at heel.

Stairs with a suntan
And so I have been pondering on the differences between Vintage Chic and Romantic Style.

For some time now I have hankered after the cool whiteness and spare florals of Cabbages and Roses Vintage Chic by Christina Strutt, Cabbages and Roses being one of my favourite shops.

A sofa with rose printed linen and fine white curtains blowing in the breeze seem to be beckoning me to sit down and recline in a most stylish manner.

 Romantic Style by Selina Lake and Sara Norrman is divided into sections with different interpretations of what constitutes 'romantic style'

- as ever, I am pulled between the calm and pale, and the bright and flowery.

The coloured chairs in blue and green remind me of my jolly kitchen and the way that such brightness can counteract our grey and gloomy skies.

The most surprising book of all has been Essentially Irish: Homes with Classic Irish Style by Josephine Ryan - I had no picture in my mind of what constituted 'Classic Irish Style', but the book is a feast for the eyes and contains some beautiful interiors.

I went to an Irish wedding once, many years ago, and I still remember the Georgian house where we stayed, once an elegant mansion, but become a farmhouse of faded grandeur with peeling paint and wallpaper, like a faded beauty down on her luck.

Not my house - this is a stylish house
I am so pleased to see that the heaps of homeless books occupying the beds of the Ploughboy and the General find their echo in one of these beautifully photographed Irish houses.

This is the General's bed, now become a library
Perhaps I could just forget about tidying the books up and just leave them on style grounds.

So think of me, dear readers, as I dally with the F&B paint charts, and choose my colours on the grounds of the beauty of their names, wordsmith that I am.

Who couldn't want Arsenic in their kitchen, Borrowed Light in their bedroom, and Slipper Satin in the drawing room?

I am just about to write my own fairytale in Vintage, Romantic Style and fashion myself a house of dreams.


Madelief said...

Hi Pomona,

Your so busy! Good luck with all the work that still has to be done. Those F&B paints do sound special :-)

Madelief x

Amy said...

Oh, it is going to be terrific. What a wonderful place you have to start with! I have to admit to picking paints based on their names, as well as flowers based on their names...

Isisjem said...

I find it endlessly difficult to pull a look together for my little cottage. I fight a losing battle to keep it clutter free and tidy and be creative. As for F&B - that's one paint that will never cross the threshold in this cottage.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I know it is all going to come together and end up looking so romantic and restful. I envy you the starting from scratch. Good luck - I look forward to seeing photos of the final results.

Julie said...

I'm a pretty big fan of pointing and old white too - just wish there was more of it in our house, sadly only tiny parts are decorated as I'd like. Our main rooms are big and the ceilings are very high and the dodgy wallpaper needs stripping...the result?....I just try to ignore it. There's a fair bit of fake tan going on and we have a mega book problem too (but there's no way I'm gettin g rid of most of them). Can you show some before and afters to help kick my laziness into activity? Juliex

millefeuilles said...

Good evening Pomona,

Yes, I too feel unsettled when surrounded with clutter and disorder. (My every day life leaves me feeling very tetchy as we all know how toddler are synonymous with CLUTTER, don't we?)

I love that kitchen with the bright chairs. I like many, many things but simplicity and light make a fantastic background for a symphony of bright coloured bits and pieces.

Have fun dreaming and keep knitting when you feel the urge to scream!

**Anne** said...

Good luck with you decorating. So many decisions and choices to be made, I find the process quite exhausting. I'm sure you end up with a gorgeous cottage whatever you choose. Try to have fun?!!! :)
Anne xx

liniecat said...

I had no idea I had such a fashionably chic home! I have 'stacks' of books much like those you feature and felt like a heathen having them laid about like that.
But what news! Im avant gaurd-ish after all...........not bad at 61 but too late to do much with the status..story of my life that.
But you can never have too many books I reckon.
Loved the mismatched colours, painted chairs and to have 'Lady Decorators'...........just perfect!
I wish you well in your newly preened and pampered home lol

Annie said...

I feel your pain Pomona. Our decorators finished today. But we were just refreshing the look we had, what fun to be choosing a new one!

Kay G. said...

Arsenic in the kitchen! That's too funny!
Lucky you, choosing paint colors. Whatever you pick, it will be lovely, I'm sure. (And even if yu don't like it, hey, it's just paint, you can always change it!)

HOPE said...

When I lived in Switzerland the house had BRIGHT ORANGE cupboards and trim throughout! White made such a wonderful difference!!!!

What fun for will be lovely.

HOPE stop by my creative blog for a HUGE SMILE! I promise!

Hen said...

I think "Arsenic" is the most beautiful colour though quite how and were I'd use it, I'm not sure. Good luck with operation orange, like you, I hate the mess and chaos that comes with decorating, we are nearly there with the bedroom and boy will I need to relax in it!
Hen x

dragonfly said...

I had no idea my house was so stylish. You know, all those piles of books ; )

Menopausalmusing said...

I think I would have hidden away too. It'll be worth it, really. Beautiful books there..........

ted and bunny said...

I'd never had much of a thought for Irish Style beyond Angela's Ashes...which I had to stop watching cos I couldn't bear any more RAIN- I've never before seen such an depressingly sodden film!!

Catherine said...

What a delicious & troubling dilema Pomona. Knit on dear girl, knit on! And I don't even have a toddler to take the blame for my clutter mmm! I'm sure it will all be delightful quite soon. Love Catherine x0x

Pipany said...

That sounded like it was written by me with my love of words and the images they invoke, the constant being drawn from bright and cheery to pale and restful. As for the perma-tan, I used to have a 400 year old cottage which was similarly troubled. Amazing how much happier it was for a little (a lot) of paint! x

Jooles said...

thinking of will be lovely lovely lovely very soon!
i have made many a mistake choosing paints according to their name! be ware;o)
love jooles x

Jak said...

I do so know how you feel. My house has been like this all this year as we are putting it up for sale within the next couple of weeks and it has been sadly neglected for years and Mr. P has decorated inside and out from top to bottom. Decluttered, with months of eBaying, bootfairing, Freecycling, charity shop trips and the local tip. I'm sure you will fall in love with your house all over again once it is finished, I know I have, quite heartbreaking really that we have to leave. I'm just waiting now for the F&B 'String' to appear on the kitchen walls. My living/dining room, hall, stairs and landing is painted in this colour too and I just love it with crisp white paintwork, just gorgeous. Can't wait to see your progress.
Jak x

Caroline Lovis (Redneedle) said...

Good luck with it all.
I'm sitting here looking at my two very lovely but very orange doors, your enthusiasm is infectious. Now where did I put my paintbrush?

VintageVicki said...

I love colour too much - so I'd go for the vintage chic but with less pastels.

As for the fake tan furniture - we've got a fair bit of that - as MrVV used to make the stuff and our house is furnished with free samples!!

Floss said...


I love the Ryland, Peters and Small books. My first was a gift and others have come from charity shops and (if I really wanted them) from Amazon. Romanitic Style is on my wishlist but, tell me, do you find the writing style satisfying? Bazzar Style by the same author has great pictures but the writing didn't grab me in the same way as Emily Chalmer's or Rod Byam Shore's, for example.

Now, you depress me with your banishing of the orange. Because our house has more orange, and it is more orangey orange. And Ben likes it well enough. And Ben is our painter. So orange it stays. Yours, depressed,


Cottage Garden said...

Pomona, I also inherited my little cottage with a surplus of orange perma-tan but eventually every wall, cupboard and piece of wood was covered with F&B colours. So soothing and restful. Pointing and Clunch have been used extensively and Mouse's Back graces the back staircase! I'm also being drawn to their grey Swedish-style shades too....

I love RPS books. Have you seen their Perfect English Cottage? Wonderful eye-candy for the home!

All the upheaval will be worth it, your cottage will be lovely haven.


susan said...

I am jealous of all your books. Most of mine live in boxes. Five houses in five years with seldom room for books anywhere just makes me sad. One day I will have a house and every last one of my books will be available again. And I will buy more because you can never have too many books!

Mrs. Micawber said...

I can tolerate clutter of my own making much more readily than that of another's... but only in certain areas.

I often think that paint names are written by poets manqués. That could be a fun job....

I rather like the bright colours. Good luck with the decorating and hang in there. It will be an oasis of beauty and calm before you know it.

Beth said...

I feel for you but if it makes it any better, we've been here for 5 years and still aren't decorated and still have piles of books everywhere so you're ahead of us - lol!

Sadly I recognise all the F&G paints you mentioned, Slipper Satin is my fav and we have it all over the house along with Pointing, I painted the inside of our kitchen cupboards 'Elephant's Breath' just so I could have paint with that name (Mouse's Back and Dead Salmon were the other options).

It'll be worth every minute once you are done. Beth (the linen cat)x


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