As a prelude to the following blog I would just like to introduce myself:
‘Hi my name is Alice and I’m addicted to architecture and interior design blogs.’
In particular, I love reading about buildings originally built for other use repurposed into a home. Something about the feeling that something isn’t meant to be, but getting it to work always captured my imagination. I have a sneaking suspicion this feeds into my love of narrowboats – so many things about them mean they shouldn’t work easily as homes, but they really do!
It seems an insignificant change, put the biggest development in how the boat came together was when we finally put paint to wood. Picking and choosing colours, tones and textures to work with the skeleton of what we’d already put to work took months of deliberation. Luckily with the length of time it took us to strip the boat back and get the basics sorted, I had plenty of time to mull it over.
I knew really early on that I wanted to work with blues, and ‘off’ whites (suitably renamed because NOTHING STAYS WHITE IN A BOAT). Blue and white being at their very base, the most nautical of colours. Equally, I didn’t want to go overboard (ba dum tish) by making it too obvious. It’s going to be my home, not a novelty Bed and Breakfast.
I found these beautiful tiles when we were rebuilding the stove area (more on this in an upcoming post!)
It was the tiles that started the base of the colour choices moving forward. I decided we’d go with white above the gunwales on the new cladding, and a blue with a hint of warmth in it below the gunwales.
We’ve used Dulux paint for the main colours in the boat. The blue is called Celestial Cloud 2. On the palette strips and online it looks nowhere near the shade in the boat! It actually looks a colder green/grey but in person it definitely has a hint of yellow in there too. I feel that this comes through but the strength of the blue really does come through once painted on.
All of the Dulux shades in their ‘soft blue’ selection are lovely, it was quite hard to pick! The best thing with the entire palette is that the base of blue/grey means you can then pick which direction you’d like to move with the other tones based on ‘feel’ you’re wanting to create – closer to a red/brown or more towards a refreshing green but without having to sacrifice the calm feeling of those base tones.
Accent colours and breaking your palette
In order to get an interior looking planned and coherent, sticking to a base palette is can be important, but that doesn’t mean you have to be religious about it!
Introducing mustard yellow – now this is a Marmite colour (not literally) and it’s very trendy at the moment. That, moss green and dusky pink. Basically, if you can buy a velveteen sofa in it, it’s so on trend. I’ve only put yellow on the inside of the wardrobe, on the inside of our crate-shelves above the bed and the shelves in the kitchen. Putting it on the inside of things gives that tiny pop of colour without being overbearing. Also this accent is so easily swapped for another on trend shade in five years once you get bored of it!
I also picked yellow as an accent as I feel it compliments the brass thats everywhere in the boat, from the fittings to the porthole liners. The decision to keep brass and actually introduce more of it was dictated by the fact that the windows and porthole liners were already in place. That and Brasso is a boater’s best friend…right? We have brass plug sockets, a kitchen tap, the lining behind the stove is brass and of course the portholes. I love how it looks! I’m sure I’ll add more brass fittings where I can, while also potentially taking out shares in Brasso.
Originally, I wanted an oak finish floor (and herringbone would have been the dream) . As it turned out, choosing type of flooring was more difficult than picking palettes as it had to be practical too! I love how hardwood floors look and it would have allowed me to have an oak floor easily, but I was a little weary of the potential complications (damp, fluctuation in temperature) involved in putting one in. Plus, we’re not carpenters!
We settled on finding a Karndean equivalent and completely by chance I stumbled on a Gumtree ad for some nearly new actual Karndean flooring someone was taking up, for next to nothing! It wasn’t the oak finish I was after, nor was it herringbone, but at that price and for getting real Karndean I really wasn’t going to be picky, and it looks lovely!
We’re still in the process of adding small touches (and an entire bathroom), so I’m sure there are more updates yet to come! Anyone else refitting a small home, an unconventional home? How did you tackle it? Let me know! – Alice