With visitors on the way (at a slow pace, by boat via Singapore, Mumbai and pirate waters), I’ve been doing a few last-minute things, including painting the spare room.
I love decorating. Not the doing it part, but the concepts, the colours, the shopping and the putting-it-all-together parts.
I can spend hours watching programmes like Changing Rooms and secretly wish I could be an interior designer and get paid to shop in home decor stores and play around with fabrics, cushions, lighting and layouts, before blindfolding my clients for the big reveal.
I long ago had to give up on hiring painters to do the work for me as my schemes started getting too complicated to explain to non-English speaking decorators.
Like these clouds on the playroom ceiling:
I bought special sponges and asked the painters to do ‘fluffy white clouds’. They looked at me like I was unhinged so I pointed out the window, gesturing at the heavens – to no avail because the bright-blue desert sky was, of course, devoid of clouds.
So now I do the painting myself – with help from Catherine the Great, who’s much more nimble up a ladder than I am. We’re a great team and tackle the 10ft-high walls with gusto (and a little knee-creaking on my part). But the trouble is I never quite know when to stop. As I finish a wall, other walls start to look anaemic and so I carry on, mixing and matching colours, quite possibly on a paint-fume-induced high.
It all gets a bit experimentalist too. The boys’ room features a beach at the bottom, blue waves in the middle and desert at the top. Our home also has a marble-effect wall, a multi-coloured chessboard wall and an aquarium wall to rival The Lost Chambers at the Atlantis hotel – all done as tastefully as possible.
I don’t stop when I run out of walls inside the house, either. Here’s the fairy-tale castle Catherine and I painted to liven up the boys’ sandpit outside. They were enchanted by it for all of five minutes.
DH (who won’t let me touch his study) occasionally rolls his eyes, but is mostly pleased with the results. If he starts to look nervous, I quote my mother-in-law, who once told us: “If you have a creative wife, you just have to say ‘Thank God!’ and let her get on with it.”
(My amazingly artistic m-i-l is actually my inspiration when it comes to interior design and – being such a petite lady – never ceases to amaze me with the way she lugs huge pieces of furniture around like an ant carrying 10 times its body weight).
As for my latest project, the spare room, allow me to do a big reveal right here. It’s more fig-grove than jungle (my original plan), but more grown-up than the Winnie-the-Pooh theme I replaced. So, blindfolds off……. Ta-daaaah: