I recently completed the most radical makeover of any project that I've done to date.
My client wanted to give her husband (mid 60s age) a birthday present of a makeover of his "man cave" a room where he sits and watches sport on television while smoking cigars and drinking whisky! The room was the children's playroom until 20 years ago when he was banished to that room to watch his beloved Chelsea football team and other sport. The room hadn't been touched in 20 years - the walls were nicotine stained (you can see the difference in the wall colour in the second image below where the pictures have been removed) the window frames were rotten and some of the panes of glass were cracked. He didn't notice any of his surroundings as he was so absorbed in watching sport!
It is a large Victorian house and the room is on the first floor. My brief was to rid the room of everything currently in it and transform it into a classic yet contemporary space suitable for a man of a certain age who wants comfort and to be able to enjoy his television and surround sound.
The television was on the opposite wall to the fireplace so I immediately suggested we build alcoves either side of the fireplace and put the television on one of them.
The couple are very traditional and have a beautiful home full of antiques and traditional furniture. She was keen to have grey on the walls even though there was no grey in the house but more because she had admired my own sitting room which is painted Farrow and Ball 'Cornforth White' with white woodwork and ceilings. So I replicated the same colour scheme and also painted the fire surround white. I chose the same flooring that I have in my sitting room - 'Tiger's Eye' Sisal.
Firstly there was the job of stripping the room but not removing the television as the client's husband did not want to be a day without his beloved sport! So we kept an armchair in the middle of the room and the television moved places during the refurb until it found its new home in the alcove - the client's husband did not miss a single minute of sport !!!!
The original sash windows were the first thing to be tackled as the wood was rotten in places. It took my decorator a week to restore the windows to their former glory.
I had cafe shutters fitted to the windows by The Shutter Shop who I use for all my clients' shutter requirements. The client decided not to add Roman blinds for now so we shall see how cold the room is in winter and add these at a later date if required.
My carpenter built alcoves either side of the fireplace for storage and to house the television and all its related equipment. I had them painted the same colour as the walls, Cornforth White, to blend them into the walls.
My client wanted traditional furniture so I took her on a shopping trip to Sofa.com where we chose the Snowdrop Two Seat Sofa in Robin Plaid Recycled Wool and a few extra sale price cushions.
Then to Lots Road Auction House where I found a pair of small leather trunks in the Ralph Lauren style as quirky side tables and a pair of fabulous vintage metal table lamps. We placed our bids and were lucky enough to get both items in the auction the next day.
And finally to Criterion Auctions in Wandsworth where my client fell in love with a mirror. It is a little small for the size of the mantlepiece but still looks totally charming.
My client and her husband love the colour blue and it is a colour used throughout their home in various shades. I also sourced a pair of French armchairs from my upholsterer which he covered in J Brown McKenzie 5 Indigo FR fabric which is a deep blue with a tiny herringbone pattern and he also made an upholstered stool in a gorgeous Sanderson fabric Zagora Anthos 235332 which has a large floral print in red and blue.
A lantern style pendant light from John Lewis completed the room.
The client did not want to add a rug but we may add one at a later stage. I hung his favourite pictures and photos of Chelsea Football Ground and voila, job done! A very happy client and an even happier husband who is now very proud of his room and is happy to invite his friends over for an afternoon or evening of sport. His wife is even happy to sit in the room whereas before she never wanted to enter, having no interest in sport and not surprisingly disliking the space prior to the transformation. It really was an amazing transformation of a space that had been untouched for so long but the gentleman was oblivious of it as he was always so absorbed in watching sport !! They were the most delightful clients and wonderful to work with. It's a shame not all clients are as charming, enthusiastic and friendly as they were.