This family turned an all-cream scheme into one with interest and mood.
Don’t get us wrong, Resene Thorndon Cream is a delightful colour, but when it’s used on every single surface of an interior… its charms can be somewhat diluted.
That was Jessica’s reaction when she and husband John bought their brand new house in Cambridge, in the Waikato. They didn't set out to impose a particular style on the house, only to break up the cream. But as time has gone on, the interiors have evolved into what Jessica describes as “contemporary with a country twist”. It reflects the home’s outlook across the rural outskirts of Cambridge, where cows happily graze in the paddock next door.
The changes have been more than decorative. Early on, the couple added on a family room. The original layout of the house had the main living area very separate to the kitchen and dining area, which wasn't very practical for a couple with two young daughters, Indie (10) and Matilda (7). The area next to the kitchen wasn’t big enough for a good-sized sitting area and a dining table, but was also a bit large for just a dining table on its own.
The family room addition is painted in Resene Silver Chalice with a feature wall in Resene Bokara Grey. The ceiling is Resene Half Thorndon Cream and the artwork is by Jessica’s second cousin Julia Oakley.
Alternative solutions: › Colour balance › Inspired by nature
Left: Jessica with daughters Indie and Matilda, and her mother Vivienne. Right: The walls in the open-plan dining and kitchen area are half painted in Resene Bokara Grey with Resene Half Silver Chalice on top to add visual interest to the large, long space.
Left: The living room wall was originally designed to take a fireplace, but now sports art instead. The main colour is Resene Silver Chalice, the central feature is Resene Bokara Grey and the ceiling is Resene Half Thorndon Cream. Right: The kitchen sits at one end of the long open-plan area. The cabinets are in Resene Talisman with the walls in Resene Half Silver Chalice. The half height colour at the side is Resene Bokara Grey.
Says Jessica: “The space looked a bit empty, so my first paint project was to find a way of breaking up the space visually.” Her solution was to paint the lower part of the wall in dark Resene Bokara Grey, and the upper part in Resene Half Silver Chalice. “I love black but couldn’t paint the whole room black. So this was a way of introducing it in an acceptable manner.“
Jessica also called on her training as a graphic designer to create an oversized artwork to hang behind the dining table.
The colours work well with the existing kitchen cabinetry colour, which is Resene Talisman.
To give the new family room a cosy feel, the walls are painted in Resene Silver Chalice. The couple planned ahead by allowing a spot on the far wall for a gas fireplace in future… then they couldn’t decide on what type of fire so it’s now a feature wall, painted in Resene Bokara Grey, echoing the colour from the adjoining room.
Left: One of Jessica’s first projects was the main bedroom, where she added stripes of Resene San Juan on top of the Resene Thorndon Cream wall. Center: A corner of the dining room with its Resene Bokara Grey and Resene Half Silver Chalice walls.
Right: Matilda’s room is one of the few rooms left in the original Resene Thorndon Cream.
Early on, Jessica found that she had to heavily filter the opinion of others. “Don’t take too much advice from others, everyone has a different opinion on colour. Some like to play it safe while others are more bold in their choices. Overall, it is your home, do it for you. If you don’t like it, you can always repaint!”
She does advise to check your colour choices on both sunny and overcast days, particularly greys and dark paint colours.
Jessica moved through the house, adjusting or augmenting the paint colours as she went. In the master bedroom, she simply added wide stripes in Resene San Juan on the bedhead wall, leaving the Resene Thorndon Cream in the rest of the room. While her younger daughter’s room is still in the original Resene Thorndon Cream, her older daughter was recently given carte blanche to choose a new colour for her room for her 10th birthday. Says Jessica: “Luckily, she chose Resene Rhino, which is a lovely dark moody blue. It will hopefully last through her teenage years.”
Colour preferences must run in the family with Jessica passing on her love of anything blue, grey or black to her daughter.
Jessica has done all of the interior painting herself. “This is a learn-on-the-job skill and can have its pitfalls! Dark colours are harder to achieve straight lines with, especially against light ceilings, so always use masking tape for a neat finish.
After six years of honing those skills, Jessica is now ready to start refreshing the interiors once more. The main bedroom was done a few years ago now, so she is itching to give it a new look. Watch this space!
Deep rich colour anchors this inviting scheme
Interior designer Julie Rees of Sojo Design suggests this alternative scheme:
Colour was the theme for this room with the inspiration coming from the luscious carpet. Sallee has a unique bespoke service in collaboration with Resene, which allows you to specify any Resene colour, and have it woven as your carpet colour. I chose this gorgeous mossy coloured carpet (very on-trend right now), which is actually from Sallee’s ready-to-go range. I teamed it with deep blue Resene Avalanche to make a statement and pack some punch. I love this combination of colour, which I’ve put with Resene Wan White walls and shutters to keep the room fresh.
Another point of inspiration was the colour in the art. Gorgeous accessories and pieces of furniture featuring texture, colour and beautiful shapes add interest and soften the space. It all comes together for a relaxed and inviting room, with a personal touch.
Top tip: Keep ceilings looking cleaner for longer with Resene SpaceCote Flat Fly Deterrent. It’s designed to discourage flies from sitting on the paint. The less they sit, the fewer and smaller the fly spots, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time relaxing!
A luxury bitter green carpet underpins this scheme, with a feature wall in Resene Avalanche and other walls in Resene Wan White. Products featured include a Hug Chair from May Time, a Brushed Brass Tom Dixon floor lamp and Vibia Sparks wall light from ECC, Tiri side tables from Bauhaus Furniture, cushions in Mystere Gold and Zircon Meadow fabrics from Warwick Fabrics and Carlucci City Velvet from Unique Fabrics, curtains in Mokum Grasslands in colour Ecru from James Dunlop and Still Water artwork by Julie Whyman from the Mobile Art Gallery.
Natural colours and texture come together
Interior designer Susie Cropper suggests this alternative scheme:
I was inspired to use natural colours and bring nature inside for this family room, by including a bold dark green Resene Viktor for the back wall. I have rotated the focus of the room to face inwards with the sofa in front of the green backdrop. The room has a relatively low ceiling so my intention was to create a sense of height with this dark colour choice to frame and enhance the vertical lines of the long shutters. This in turn is balanced with a colourful artwork centrally placed on the focal wall.
For the side walls and shutters I have chosen the contrasting neutral of Resene Quarter Titania, a warm white which is ideal to add light and freshness to the room. I have chosen classically well-designed furniture, natural textures and accessories to work with the green and be reminiscent of nature.
A feature wall in Resene Viktor sets the tone for this nature-inspired scheme with other walls in Resene Quarter Titania. Products used include a Cameron Foggo Chianti Sofa, High Back Chair. Mantis Floor Lamp and Kartell Shibuya Vase from Backhouse and Christian La Croix Bagatelle Cushions from Icon Textiles.
Search Habitat Magazine Stories
If you have an idea, project or story that you think would suit Habitat, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us an email with your details and include photos if submitting a project.