The Presentation

This week, with O spotted with chicken pox and me weakened by sniffles and a persistent cough, we have had barely the energy to do much other than press at a remote. Around us the hallway hangs with templates….believe it or not (and S does not) more frames are needed to complete that project ….and the bulbs pushing their way up through the rain-sodden earth in the garden are sounding the alarm that very soon, if we want our outside space to be in use this summer, focus must soon be switched to beyond our doors rather than within. But for O and I it has been very much the reverse with yesterday being our first breath of fresh air in over a week. It was a tentative venture as in truth I was unsure if O was yet fit to socialise so I figured a bike ride along the river in the shadow of the majestic Thames Barrier might be a safer bet than a park teeming full of his half-terming peers. So with hat pulled low and scarf tied high O whizzed past the wary glances of perturbed onlookers astride his balance bike relishing the freedom of at last stepping beyond our four walls. With head full of pirate stories from the week spent in quarantine the river, it turned out, was an appropriate choice.
“Will there be sharks?” he asked glancing eagerly into its murky waters.
“Probably not sharks” I said “but there are some seagulls….”
He glanced in the direction of my pointing finger where three white birds sat expressionless atop a moored boat. I was entertained.
“What we gonna do?” ” I dunno, what d’you wanna do?” sounded the voice in my head in recollection of my own childhood quarantines. For O they did not satisfy.
“Maybe there’s mermaids?” he asked hopefully.
“There might be….if we look hard enough…….”.
Luckily help was at hand. A transport trio of aeroplane steeply carving its 45 degree course from City Airport into the sky, DLR snaking its way to its destination north of the river and cargo-laden boat chugging its way beneath the Barrier soon quelled any disappointment at not seeing any river-inhabiting ladies bobbing on driftwood amidst the ripples, their hands gingerly clasping shards of glass as they brushed litter from their hair.

With television having been over-employed this week…..part entertainment part childcare (in truth)…’s been multiple episodes of Peppa Pig, multiple screenings of Tangled (after which O, fork brandished aloft, would declare “I a knight!” to the detriment of dinner) and, during one very long nap, an intensive multi-episode catch-up of the Great Interior Design Challenge. So in between cajoling my little knight to stab the remainder of his dinner and not me with his fork or re-reading Peter Pan to the repeated question of “Where’s the crocodile?” I’ve been inspired to start thinking properly about our one remaining undecorated room. The Snug.

So, feeling marginally more energetic this latter part of the week and having settled O down for his midday nap….a pirate book slipped cheekily under his pillow signalling that slumber may be delayed for the duration of a few page turns… I rummaged for a tape measure and my scale rule and began the belated task of creating a scale drawing. Next I made some scaled down furniture cut outs, manoeuvred them around the scaled down space, re-enacted them with varying collections of toys in the real space, returned to the drawing board and blu tack-ed my final layout into place. Then I went online…..

“So” I said to S a day or so ago as I tapped at a bulging white envelope bearing the logo Cole & Son. “I’ve ordered some samples…”
“So I see”
“As I was thinking this wall” I knocked at the dividing wall between snug and kitchen “might look better papered….or maybe…..” I paused for sudden thought “painted in the green blackboard paint?”
He stirred the pasta sauce. I continued.
“….as if we have an office in that corner it might be useful to have a blackboard to write things on…..and O can draw on it…”
S continued stirring.
I tore open the envelope.
“But, anyway,” I said as I spread them out over the chopping board “these are the papers I chose…That one? Mmmmmmm, bit dark I think. That ones a bit pink actually” I paused momentarily before continuing my monologue “and then there’s that one or that one….”
S stirred.
“Do you like any?” I pressed.
“I’ll think on it” he replied. I gathered them back up.
“Tell you what….” I said brightly “I’ll do you a little moodboard…”
He laughed.
“I thought you might. I’ll give you a thousand pounds and three days.”
“I’ll take the thousand pounds, that’ll be useful”
“Er darling, I’m not giving you a thousand pounds.”
Pasta was served.

The very next day I woke early with moodboarding intentions before my dotted little son awoke wanting milk and more pirates. Admittedly in Life Before IPad I might have gone about it in a more conventional way….metal rule, Stanley knife and stacks of magazines but I opted for the in-bed-coffee-at-elbow-Google-Images-at-your-service method. Though not as beautiful as those of the Great Interior Design Challenge contestants they will, I hope, serve the purpose required. But I’ll let my client be the judge…
So here goes my presentation……..

Client: S
Property: Victorian terrace

Problem: A room trying to serve a number of functions namely: toy storage, family TV area, book storage, guest bedroom (for busy periods such as Christmas) and an office. Lacking natural light.
The room currently

Colour Scheme: : A palette of mid-toned bluish/greenish grey combined with a deep green, lightened by a sanded floor and wooden shelving and punched through (do I sound pretentious enough yet?) with muddy yellow and burnt orange.
Sensing a dubious intake of breath I continue hurriedly .
The base colour of the blue grey is to link the grey of the hallway tiles through into the room. I’m opting for a mid-tone as opposed to pale working with the belief that a room lacking natural light still lacks natural light if painted white or ANOther so best to embrace it rather than shy away resulting in the room feeling more cosy than cold. My feeling is also that the slightly muddy toned blue serves as a suitable compromise between the bright colours generally associated with children’s playrooms and the cool contemporary greys oft used in a grown up space.
The deep green will take the form of blackboard paint (in truth I was as unimpressed as S with my wallpaper choices) and its dark tone (lightened over time by the chalk admittedly) I hope will serve to frame the view through to the kitchen followed then by the garden…a view you may catch a glimpse of when glancing through from the hallway (and where I hope a green factory pendant light will also hang, tying it all together even more, if I can ever persuade S to undo work he has done and take the black light he painstakingly put up back down).
The whole scheme will then be pulled together by a gallery of six posters by a contemporary artist who reinterprets classic fairy tales with graphic, minimalist designs. The yellow and burnt orange are found in these and will be picked out in lamps, cushions and possibly the sofa.


Right hand wall on entry from hall: Shelving for books, a wall mounted TV and boxes on castors at ground level for toys (possibly labelled with blackboard paint and chalk).

Cell window wall (with doorway through to kitchen): Painted entirely in blackboard paint …thus creating a play area for O and an area next to the office alcove for work reminders and those ever present to-do lists. A height chart could then be painted (or a wall sticker used…) on the cross section of the doorway.

Fireplace wall: A workstation in alcove (the blackboard on the right), a mirror to bounce light around hung above the fireplace and a wall-mounted vintage printer’s drawer hung above the built in cupboard..the former for found treasures and homemade creations and the latter used as storage for board games and puzzles.

Wall directly facing the kitchen: Poster display (three above, three below) and a sofa beneath.

I’m slightly worried about the space in the doorway with the sofa in that position though it looked bulkier elsewhere….better still if a sofabed can be found with slightly slimmer dimensions….

More toy storage will be in the form of a coffee table formed from four ply cubes (a hint there for the newly discovered woodworker of the family….) with a comfy chair placed alongside it (back to blackboard) and a pouffee next to this serving as both footstool and un-obstructive seating (the room also being an alternative thoroughfare between front door and kitchen….. they say (or more probably the Great Interior Design Challenge did…. ) that a spacious house is made so by your ability to circulate as opposed to the size of its rooms.)

So with presentation presented I’ll await the response. And, of course, that cheque…….

Collection of ideas

Proposed artwork
Rug and sofa options (this sofabed from also available in dark grey….. )
An idea for the workstation if we are unable to drill into walls (it being the area with issues around its damp proof course …a problem we are choosing to ignore for the time being)
As above
An example of the combo of blue and green


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