Thursday, 14 June 2012

A little project ...

I thought I'd share a little project I've been working on recently.
Only a little big colour change was involved ... and trying to deal with the client, painter/handyman on the other side of the world!
You see, I live in London and the beautiful Victorian terraces are in Sydney, Australia.

It all started with a leaky veranda roof ...

We (the clients and I) decided to change the bullnose roof to a new Colourbond roof in Monument and also paint the existing roof in the same colourway and replace the gutters. This you might think was the easy part, but it took over six months, as council permits (for scaffolding erection), utility permits (because of the electricity cables that fed the house from across the street) all had to be obtained before anything could be started!

The clients then decided to paint the property and wanted help choosing the colours.

I suggested they try and convince the neighbouring property owner to get on the bandwagon to paint the house in the same colour scheme to give it a bigger impact. This part was easy, as there was total agreement from both parties.

Then the fun part started ... choosing the colours.
This is always the hardest part, as colour can either make or break a place/room etc.
As the properties are situated on a fairly busy road and are constantly subjected to all the Sydney road grim, I suggested a very dark grey for the walls, which would one, keep the properties looking clean and fresh (no more grim on the beige walls) and two, bring them into the 21st century by giving them a fresh modern feel, but still retaining their Victorian characteristics.
I proposed a quick photoshop render of the properties and sent it across to the clients:

Working with Dulux colours and my handy Dulux colour palette fan for professional use, I suggested a few choices of grey and a wonderful red. What I didn't realise was even though Dulux is available world wide, not every colour is available in every country ... or thats what my painter would email me very early in the morning (arrrghhhh!)

I know if I were in Australia, this wouldn't have been a big problem, I would have sorted the colours out a lot quicker, but when you live on the other side of the world and when you take into account the time difference ... everything becomes a major issue ... plus I'm not there to see the actual colours in person.
The great thing was my painter (bless him) sent daily update photos and was quite wonderful and very professional about the whole job.

As I madly researched RGB values of the colours chosen and placed them into Photoshop for a simulation of what the desired effect would look like for the clients, we all agreed on:

  • Dulux Monument on the masonry walls (to match the roof colour) in a low sheen, 
  • Dulux black for the windows, trims and ironwork, in a high gloss
  •  brilliant white on the facia boards and 
  • WATTYL - Delicious Red in a high gloss for the door

 The details (fretwork) on the walls, the windows, the 'eyebrow' details around the windows and all the iron lace work I decided to paint a high gloss black to frame the properties and guide you in towards the door. It wouldn't have looked quite as effective, if only one of the properties was done this way. Now there is complete symmetry (except for the doors).

 The inspiration for the red door colour came about from all the wonderful bright coloured doors you see everywhere here in London. It also gave the properties an instant pop of colour, against the very dark grey walls. Above is a Photoshop render I was proposing, using a number of different shades of red.

 The house numbers were also changed to a rather modern look, using stainless steel numerals that sat 15mm off the wall.

The red door completed .. now to change that not so appealing glass!

The terraces completed!

I have suggested white plantation shutters for the windows  just to give the terraces a polished look... and some greenery, in the form of a row of hedging to complete the look...
but I'm sure that will entail another rather long argument with the local council!

I am pleased to say the clients were thrilled with the end product!
What do you think?



  1. It sounds like something which could have been difficult, has had a very happy ending. I remember discovering the same thing about the dulux colours when I was in England - and also realising just how incredibly different the very same colours looked in the different light of the 2 hemispheres.

    The rich dark colours quite suit this Victorian terrace (I assume it is not facing west or north), making it less fussy. And a HUGE improvement on what I guess is a 1980s colour scheme? All that Brunswick Green and Burgundy that got slurped on anything "heritage".....xx

  2. You are so right Virginia about the different light in the two hemispheres and it plays such an important role in choosing the right colour intensity. Its funny since I've been living in London how much I have gravitated towards grey (a colour I was not too fond of beforehand).

    The terraces do face west and I know that afternoon light will lighten the very dark grey walls, which is fine with the clients, as they initially thought it was a little too dark!
    I was very keen on using the Farrow and Ball colour Railings, but was not sure if it was available in Australia ... and the budget was tight. Definitely a dramatic change from the last time it was painted in the 90's! xx

  3. Amazing transformation - so modern, yet distinguished and in keeping with the period - but how incredible to have orchestrated it from the other side of the world - I am VERY impressed! I'm finding it hard enough to organise the decoration of my own dining and drawing rooms, and they're only down the hall!
    Paula xxx

  4. What a transformation, it looks amazing, such an improvement! Well done. x

  5. Its seems like a fantastic project.The transformation is fabulous!

  6. I thought I recognised the terraces as being distinctly Aussie ;-)
    The transformation is simply wonderful, Marina. You should be proud. I love the new look!

    ~ Clare x

  7. Absolutely love what you have done and keen to use it for our little terrace in Glebe.
    Any chance of the address so we can do a drive by a decide?
    Can be caught on email at



Thank you for your lovely comments!


Related Posts with Thumbnails