Trying to accommodate the many interests of three children with large age gaps (curse you my unpredictable ovaries) was never going to be easy. Weekend DIY was fast looking a reality. Sprawling Lego ‘bases’ and treehouses made from shoeboxes is all very creative but trying to work or eat with a garroted Barbie swinging from door handle staring at you is not ideal. Teenagers assembling in the same space that the 5-year-old is trying to have a tea party all sounds very bohemian (and if we lived in a sprawling old Rectory on a Cornish cliff top it might well be) but we don’t. Hence the need for yet more DIY and building work before someone is sent off with a spotty hanky on stick to find their fortune.
Last year we dug under our house to create a basement level to include an office and utility room (it comes to something where you are craving a special space just to do your laundry *shakes head in dismay*) and some space for the kids. The DIY digging and shifting of 100 tonnes is something am not quite ready to talk about yet (not without having flashbacks) so lets press on with the breakout space/ playroom /family room/kids zone.
I should mention the room has lots of light from a set of large double doors onto the garden and has been plastered and painted plain white so all it required was some decorating and furniture. I am not trying to suggest you could dig a basement in a day obvs.
The walls have been layered with some special waterproofing meaning that even though the basement is mainly underground, its watertight and should remain that way – yaaaaayyy. It also means we can put nails in the walls or it will puncture the membrane – boooooooo. What to do now? I had been looking online at various paint effects I could attempt to brighten up the room and been lost-in-Pinterest for many hours but everything looked a bit beyond my, erm, skill set. I began to consider those divine but costly bespoke printed murals and calling a profesh to hang it.
Coincidentally that same week I went to a great interiors event with Lucy Gough the uber cool stylist who has worked for the likes of Living Etc, Sunday Times Style, Aram Store and Habitat to name a few. Check out my recent post if you want to read about Lucy’s top professional styling tips for your own home. She had recently completed a DIY mountain mural in her own house and swore it was easy peasy. I came home really determined to give it a bash….(mainly because Heals gave us wine which makes me invincible and because you can always paint over it right?)
So, that Saturday morning with the kids out I gathered the equipment and set a goal of finishing by Sunday morning, just 24 hours and counting. DIY Equipment: Masking tape, Rollers, Small fine brush, 3 x paint colours (or more depending on your image)
First I painted the colour which would be the background to the mural a third of the way down the wall. Then, using lengths of the masking tape* I marked out my mountain peaks. Next, I marked out the snow caps and filled those in white although because the wall was originally white this wasn’t too laborious.
Finally, I painted the mountain colour itself and although there was mainly grey, there was enough difference between the paint colours for a nice subtle effect. I used matt emulsion which was left over from painting the boys’ bedrooms and a second one from the sitting room.
Whipping off the masking tape was more satisfying than peeling dried glue off your fingers in primary school.. and apart from a couple of spots which were easily touched up with a fine paint brush (from the kids set they got from Ikea – brilliant brushes) it was perfecto… the mountains had come to Mamma and DIY was a success.
*Top tip I did learn was to use very good quality masking tape – I used Frog Tape which was excellent…no bleeding out from underneath and razor sharp lines. Although you do need to take it off pretty quickly after painting so it can’t be left on overnight. Make sure you’ve left enough time to do the whole job people…
With the rest of the afternoon to go I began loading in furniture and a rug I had bought ages ago but been dying to use, the room suddenly started to come together. Using Command hanging strips (available at Homebase and WHSmith etc) I was able to put up some pretty pictures and pieces from the kids’ bedrooms (and some fantastic free printables from Pinterest) and make a gallery wall to add some interest and colour (blog post coming soon on that!).
These graphic paint effects are actually quite simple and YOU definitely achieve it if I can do it (seriously, I struggle with Cbeebies colouring sheets). Have a squizz at some of these suggestions – if you’ve got a shred of artistic flair you can really go for it. Its not just for kids rooms either – I fancy one of the geographical shapes ones next…will just wait until Mr Styleophile is out of the office for the day and get cracking.
For further #adventuresinstyling, check out Styleophileuk.com
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