03 Aug Mid-century modern meets Scandi
This chalet-style house in a Cambridgeshire village is the dream home for a couple who moved in with their two children. They had decorated the snug which leads off the lounge in a modern palette of greys and yellow but they didn’t quite know how to make the colours flow through the house. The lounge was really tricky being long and narrow, and it acted as a corridor between the snug and dining kitchen.
My clients said they wanted to keep the flooring, sideboard, curtains, piano and lighting… but everything else could go. The main requirement was for a good flow. The couple wanted a flexible space that provided a social area for adults but it also needed to accommodate the children at play, they liked to spread toys over the floor.
The lounge is long and narrow making it difficult to furnish but on the plus side it receives a lot of natural light from the two large windows that open up onto the garden. I designed a diagonal arrangement for the furniture in the room which meant that the seating could face both into the room and out from it to the garden. On summer days one set of doors could be left open. On winter days the focus could turn 180 degrees. A large piece of artwork created the winter focus, it is a birch-ply mounted print made to order by online retailer Surface View. The artwork expanded on the mid-century theme, it fitted with the colour scheme and the couple love it, they have happy memories of train journeys.
Flexible seating includes three sofas, two leather armchairs, a rocking chair, and a bench. The furniture can easily be moved to make the seating arrangement work on several levels. We created a cosy area for reading, watching the children in the garden, or chatting over a cuppa. I recommended painting the radiator so it visually disappeared in the room, it is a less expensive option than either replacing the radiator or having it covered. This is now one of the favourite spots in the house.
Blue works as a complementary colour giving the room a comfortable atmosphere. It balances and helps to tone down the warming colours of yellow, yellow ochre and orange. Precious objects came out of the loft! The trunk is much loved and the rich brown colour ties in well with the wood of the radio and the piano, although I had hoped to paint the piano powder blue.
A small wood burning stove had been installed with the thought that this space could be used as an informal cosy seating area. I rather preferred it as a dining area so I suggested the dining table, which had been in the lounge, was moved into this space. The couple tried it out for a while and it worked for them. The sideboard was a family favourite so it takes pride of place.
While we were working on the lounge the couple decided to revamp the kitchen retaining as many of the original units as possible. We removed the existing wall units opting instead for simple display shelving. There were overpowering dark blue tiles on the wall around the sink area and we removed these in favour of a painted finish and work surface upstand. We also replaced the existing breakfast bar which was overlarge with an arrangement that includes storage underneath. The light and airy feel to the dining kitchen is accentuated by small touches of colour. We picked blue for the lights, they look great with the simple table setting, and the colour links through to the lounge.
The couple are thrilled with it all and particularly like the colour scheme which they said they would never have even considered without my intervention. The rooms are inviting, cosy, smart and sophisticated. The juxtaposition of modern and old furnishings makes this a unique home which reflects the clients personality and lifestyle.
‘The first time we met Yasmin we felt she “got it”. She looked at what we had, listened to what we wanted and created a design that was more “us” than anything we could have come up with ourselves.
We were lucky enough to have upsized and while relishing the extra room we hadn’t quite made sense of the space. We both work in creative jobs so we weren’t short of ideas. The problem was that we had too many. Yasmin helped us to be more methodical and decisive. She drew up a floorplan of the long narrow family room we were struggling to furnish, encouraging us to visualise all aspects of the design on a shared Pinterest board before we bought a single item of furniture or accessory.
The result is a flexible space that ticks every box on our “wish list”. Seating can be moved to create a cosy corner to curl up with a coffee or a party space for adults and children to share. We love it.
We found Yasmin to be unpretentious and open-minded. She certainly knows what works (and what doesn’t!) but didn’t preach or pressure us to stray outside our style or budget.
We’ve learnt a lot from the experience and are gradually decorating the rest of the house using the 12 shades we chose in Yasmin’s colour consultation. I now carry swatches in my handbag so I can choose furnishings confidently and resist the temptation to scoop up “bargains” that won’t match.
Our house is really starting to feel like home. Thank you Yasmin.’
Make your ‘before’ into a colourful and warm ‘after’. Get in touch for a two-hour consultation, firstname.lastname@example.org. 07831 231 664.
Images: Georgi Mabee