Our Guestroom: Classic French instead of Vintage

While I have decided shortly after visiting our new home that its design would be mostly vintage inspired, I’ve had to make some compromises simply because we moved with our existing furniture. Do you know people to throw out all their furniture every time they move? I don’t and am certainly not one of those people. I am still trying to figure out what to do with some of our pieces of furniture, the Art Deco and Biedermeier ones to be precise, as they don’t really fit in the overall scheme of the house. What was clear however was that I would keep our classic French velvet upholstered headboard for our guest room as we upgraded our bed size.  As bed side table I used a coffee table with a top painted in Mouse’s Back by Farrow and Ball. Those table are actually an Ikea hack realized while I was eight months pregnant.

I wanted to create a soft backdrop that would match the colors of the bed spread, the headboard and the side table. So I really started looking into various shades of red, or let’s rather say dark plums as red is really not a color I recommend for a bedroom. As much as I liked some of those darker shades I felt that the choice wasn’t appropriate as it would have made this room quite dark. Even though I am fine with sleeping or working in a dark room it is not everyones cup of tea and this is after all a guest room meant to welcome family members and friends. So I started to look at lighter shades and found this lovely dusty pink. It has a real presence which stands well next to the blue of the headboard and the patterned bedspread. As I have said in the past, when you have a room that doesn’t get much natural light don’t try to light it up with white or very pale colors. When you do this the colors just tend to look dull and dirty because of the lack of light. Here is a little preview of the room.

Emerald Green Interiors Guestroom

What do you think about the result compared to the same bed in our Brussels home? Paint certainly has the power to change the mood of a room completely. I loosened up the styling as well when I shot this picture. The flowers I used are growing in the garden right now. Have you painted a room recently and admired the change produced? I’d love to hear about it.

The bed looks lovely against that wall and I do love the soft styling touches, beautifully done! We recently painted our son’s room albeit in a white. It made a huge difference! Because leases are so short (12 mths guaranteed only) we tend to not invest a lot into rentals… Landlords also don’t like for you to alter the properties and sometimes even add a hook on the wall! Such a difference from Europe where you can undergo major renovations like Holly! Mel xx

Thank you Mel for your lovely comment.Oh I can understand your frustration. Actually in Europe it is not quite as wide-spread as you think. It really depends of the owner of the flat/house you are renting. In Brussels we had an expert check the flat before we moved in and after we moved out and established everything that needed to be “fixed” like a barely to be seen hole where we had hung a frame on. Let me just say that painting was not an option there. In Germany the flats are usually repainted white and fixed before a new tenant moves in so usually tenants are reluctant to paint as they know that they have to get the place back into condition before moving out. So yes we are lucky to have this time an owner, that isn’t too picky about my use of color :) Have a lovely day!

Room and Flower N.2

Good morning everyone. I hope you had a lovely weekend. Let’s start the week with the second edition of “Room and Flower” launched last week. I’ve been collecting many new pictures over the past days on my flower board on Pinterest to create the next editions. For those discovering this new column the idea is to pair a room with a floral arrangement. The first two editions are matching in colors but the idea is really to find a flower image that either reflects or complements the mood of the room image. A very formal bouquet doesn’t fit in a rustic setting or the opposite way around.

Room & Flower n2

I love the effortless look of those two pictures. It’s a look that actually takes a lot of work to achieve and it’s done beautifuly in both images. I wish you a great start into this new week.
* Source: RoomFlower

Before and After: Updating the Living room’s fireplace

We moved exactly five months ago to Madrid so I thought it was time to start sharing the updates I have been making to our new home. It’s been a busy time and those things really tend to take way much time than anticipated. Despite the undeniable progress I still have many points to cross off my to-do list. Styling and taking pictures takes me sometimes as much time as painting an entire room (hey who wants to see all the baby stuff lying around on the ground?).

A few days ago I finally finished painting our living room. The walls were white like in the entire house but still had holes from where furniture had been fixed earlier. It wasn’t that bad but I just wanted to create something with a more polished look which for me simply doesn’t cut it with white walls.

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace

I hate to share pictures that are not pretty but what’s a “Before and After” blog post without the before pictures? Here is the picture of the fireplace area taken when we visited the house a second time after deciding that this would be the one. You can see bits of the terrible floor tiles that had probably been there since the early seventies when the house was built. And don’t you love the lovely (not!) radiator set in the middle of the wall?

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace1

Below is a picture taken the day before we moved in. You can get a better sense of the space without furniture and the new wooden oak laminate certainly creates a more neutral backdrop. Sorry the picture is grainy. You can see that there is a weird wooden vertical plinth on one wall corner. We have those all over the house. There are supposed to protect the corners and seem to be a quite popular practice in Spain. Needless to say that I hated them form day one as they were breaking up the space visually. Do you notice that the recomposed stone used for the base and for the sides of the chimney is of two different colors?

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace4

So here is the after: I painted the walls, the awkward vertical plinth and the two colored fake stone parts of the fireplace. Thanks to a little paint the plinth disappears and the fireplace goes from pseudo traditional to modern. Luckily the wooden beam of the lintel has survived forty years without being varnished glossy dark brown, like all the woodwork in the house, and has a lovely worn raw wood color. I hung this fabulous colorful print over the fireplace. I found it in Brussels before our move and just sprayed white paint over the ivory mat. The plant collection is the indirect result of my participating in the Urban Jungle Blogger column. Add a few natural fibers baskets and our Iranian carpet, et Voilà!

Emerald Green Interiors Before & After Fireplace

The transformation is quite impressive but the means used were actually quite minimal. Never underestimate the power of a good paint job. It can correct and hide many flaws. How do you like my first “Before and After”? Do you want to see more? Have a lovely day!

* Photography by Corinne Kowal

Oh yes! Definitely want to see more…

And I love those gorgeous wood floors! What a transformation; very nice…

Dear Libby, I hate to disappoint. Those floors, despite being a huge improvement from the terrible floor tiles we had, are actually not as gorgeous as what you think. There are laminate floors which is a cheap alternative to real wooden floors. Their look s decent but having lived in flats with real wooden parquet I can tell you that there is a real difference.

2 Flower Girls – Carnations

The theme of the week is flower and plants it seems. After introducing my new column Room and Flower on Monday, I am super happy to be able to join once more the 2 Flower Girls, Inga and Elodie. This month’s edition is dedicated to carnations. Although it is actually not a flower I am very much in love with, it is one that is easy to find here in Madrid and the beautiful flower shop I discovered past week had a beautiful selection in soft colors. I chose some pink and peach ones and paired them with those green flowers, whose name I can’t seem to remember as I am writing this post. I had purchased a few crespedia stems for a different purpose but ended up adding them into the bouquet because I loved the additional pop of color and their quirky round shape. I chose a simple antic milk jug my mother had purchased and given me a few years ago to host them, and set the bouquet on the fireplace mantel. I think that I might be changing my mind about carnations already.

Emerald Green Interiors Carnations 1Emerald Green Interiors Carnations 2Emerald Green Interiors Carnations 3Emerald Green Interiors Carnations 4

A few days earlier I had already purchased a bunch of small carnations which didn’t hold very well. So I ended up cutting the ones that were still looking good very short, tied them together with some raffia, and set them in a recently purchased white geometric vase from Natuzzi. Here is my mini bouquet set between a few of my cacti as a bonus picture.

Emerald Green Interiors Carnations 6

I look forward to the next edition of 2 Flower Girls and wish you a lovely day.

* Photography by Corinne Kowal

I like your bouquet very much! The colours are so delicate! So happy you managed to join this time. Elodie

Room and Flower

It’s been again a busy week away from the blog but unless the previous ones this one has brought plenty of inspiration and ideas for the blog. If you have been following me here for a while you know that I love flowers and beautiful bouquets. I participated in quite a few editions of 2 Flower Girls and have also joined quite recently the Urban Jungle Bloggers followers. It has come as quite a frustration since moving to Madrid not to find the fresh cut flowers offering I was used to in Paris, Berlin or recently Brussels. The few flower shops I found in our neighborhood carry only a few variety of flowers (usually roses, carnations, lilies, alstroemeria and gerbera) but their main offering is plants and artificial flowers. It seems that there is no real culture of fresh cut flowers here, which might have to do with the harsh climate.

Last week I was in town for a meeting and stumbled upon one of the most exquisite flower shops I have seen in a very long time. Sally L. Hambleton has been running for the past ten years the flower shop she wasn’t able to find in Madrid and has turned into a successful business. Browsing through her shop and seeing the beautiful bouquet compositions was so refreshing and inspiring. I love composing bouquets and carefully choosing varieties to have them assembled into something unique. It is very similar to creating an interior; it’s about choosing colors, varying their proportions, adding texture, shapes, and elements of surprise. Since I haven’t grown my color inspiration column recently I thought that you would enjoy a new column showcasing a matching interior and flower composition. So here is to Room and Flower. I hope you’ll love it!

Emerald Green Interiors Room and Flower n1

I’ve finished quite some work in the house and am currently busy taking pictures to share them with you. Have a beautiful Spring week.

* Source: RoomFlower

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Oh Corinne: I love it!!! Love the title, the images, and the idea of the column. Very nice. And this is just lovely. Glad you found such a great shop for flowers…yes, they are a total necessity in life!

[…] theme of the week is flower and plants it seems. After introducing my new column Room and Flower on Monday, I am super happy to be able to join once more the 2 Flower Girls, Inga and Elodie. This […]

Libby, thank you so much for your kind words. Can’t wait to share more with you.