Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
Working with such an intense pattern is not easy. It takes tremendous skill. To be honest I think it’s only brilliantly done in England and in India. Henrietta Spencer Churchill comes to mind.
The easy way out (which is what most designers do today when they work with pattern) is to let the pattern stand alone and then make everything else bland or monochrome e.g. the wallpaper is black and turquoise and all the furniture is black. That’s certainly not the English/Indian approach; instead, they add layer, over layer, over layer.
I’ve been studying the Zuber paper to identify the entire palette. The peonies are vermilion, the tulips are midnight blue, the lilies are aubergine, the background is jade green. The peacocks and scrollwork are a mix of all those colours with an added ochre brown and British racing green. God help me finding curtain material that’s going to work well here. Seating at least, is done. One sofa is vermilion, the other brown, and the armchair is aubergine- all velvet. The rug is caucasian.
Artwork/objects are also an issue. I’m happy with the Nankin vases over the fireplace. By wonderful coincidence the colours are nearly identical to the wallpaper. I had one, but then when I saw it in the room I decided to get two more. They’re circa 1900. I also found a walnut Louis XVI mirror that perfectly matches the mantlepiece from a dealer in Lyon. That should be arriving later in the week.
The grey salon is nearly done in the sense that the schema is in place. We’re missing one side chair, but that’s not an urgency. One end of the room can sit 6/8
The other end has a linen covered chaise longue by Flamant which arrived the day before yesterday. It’s from their 2011 collection. We were incredibly lucky because someone who lives nearby has decided to go minimalist and so I offered to buy their Flamant pieces. It’s very well made furniture which can be kept forever. They’re not making this design anymore, but they still do a similar piece with the same generous dimensions called Gina Luxe. The cushion is new and by a British company called Voyage Maison. Buying good furniture second hand is always a clever option. That’s how you get a sofa that originally cost 20k for only 6k. In this case we paid €400 for a chair that originally cost €2750 + €150 per metre for the fabric.
The other corner of the room has the pairing of the Empire table, the blackamoor we inherited from Mike’s mother and a 19th century pastel portrait.
The mirrored chest is only there until I find a side chair to go in its place, and the paintings on the floor are just waiting to be hung.
…And the garden continues to bloom. The peonies are particularly magnificent, just huge.
Love the blackamoor and peony. Isn’t that carpet in the grey salon the one I commented on before?
Not convinced about the bases with the wallpaper although the wallpaper is superb. I like the dark woodwork/radiators too. Grey/green? Hard to tell.
But my main thought was ‘who does the dusting?’
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PS one of our acquaintances had his paintings on the floor. Had too many whiskies, put his foot through it, and it had to to Sotheby’s to be repaired. Careful with those paintings …
Vases. Not bases. Predictive text or clumsy fingers?
I’ve poured through books and more books trying to find a type of porcelain that would work with the wallpaper- very difficult. At first I wanted something aubergine or vermilion, but couldn’t find anything at all. I tried sang de boeuf, but it clashed. Celadon was too minty. So these will have to do for now.
As for the green/grey I can’t begin to tell you the amount of arguments and problems that question has caused. Most grey products on the market lean towards the blue, so even touch up paint has to be hand mixed.
Celadon too pale and the wrong shade as you say. Boeuf too deep and again the wrong shade. Although I like the thinking. What’s nagging me about the Nankin, not that it’s any of my business, is the pinkiness. That’s what’s not fitting.
The paint however, from the photo, looks a superb match, and it has got lovely depth. A does it on request, as did my parents’ decorator when I was a kid. All the Spanish paints are bluey, but as we only use it for external metalwork it’s quite appropriate. When we’ve run out of the mediocre green paint for the front door of our block, I’m planning to change to grey. I love a deep grey paint.
You’ve done an awful lot in a short space of time. You must be exhausted.
Yeah, this is exactlythe thought I had! 🙂
Now that is a big flower!
The house is looking fantastic, and I love the blue of that sitting chair.
what he said
Thanks, it’ll still be years before it’s ‘done’, but it’s starting to come together.
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I can appreciate that wallpaper but it’s the grey room I covet – so elegant and restful. Just love it. And the garden. Here all the plants have to go through a survival course and rarely if ever look lush.
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I’ve never lived somewhere with this sort of weather, the garden loves it. Every day we seem to get some sunshine, some rain, some heat and then the nights are cooler.
You’re going to create a real garden of Eden there. Plus vegies. 😀
The grey room looks particularly restful and naturally you have some beautiful pieces displayed to their best advantage. I like the wallpaper and the Nankin vases you chose to compliment it and the perfect balance of the silver candlesticks. I hope we get to see the curtains in all their glory (jade green?) when you’ve finished.
I’m desperate to see the curtains in place. The woman who’s making them said it would take a while because she had to order the lining and the voile as we need special sizes 🙂