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Interiors, Lifestyle, Homes

Live Life in Colour

Annie Sloan


Oxford’s own Annie Sloan – fine artist, paint-maker, colour expert, entrepreneur and author – has opened her archives for OX Homes. For this issue, Annie tells us more about using colour throughout our homes, combining her best-selling Chalk Paint™ with her extensive collection of Wall Paint.

The colour of your walls is the biggest, most impactful and important interiors decision you can make. It should also be one of the most fun! Colour is emotional, it’s playful, and I want to help you to be confident with it. Get the right colour, and you’ll fall in love with your home all over again. Your walls will spark joy – not to mention compliments from friends and visitors.

I love the vibrancy of Schinkel Green, named for the Neoclassical architect and interiors specialist, Karl Friedrich Schinkel whose work frequently featured this vivid shade. Despite its boldness, this is actually a very versatile colour. Purples, lilacs and blues make wonderful tonal companions because it is a true green, meaning it’s composed solely from blue and yellow. Or, if you’re looking for something more dynamic, contrast it with pops of pink for brilliantly Instagrammable Wes Anderson-esque set pieces.

For the bedroom, an all-neutral scheme will give your room the illusion of being bigger and brighter while creating a soothing space for sweet dreams and lazy Sunday mornings. Introduce a disruptor colour on a focal piece to avoid a clinical look: a burst from a statement shade will add personality and really pop against a clean backdrop.

Or, if you want to create a working space in your home, strong colours are particularly effective in aiding concentration; hence, many traditional studies are painted in strong shades. Pick up a small table, desk or bureau from your local vintage shop, then drench in the same colour as your walls to create an office you won’t want to leave come the evening.

In fact, upcycling second-hand finds is a sustainable way to breathe new life or add further drama into your home. I encourage everybody to look to their local charity shops or online marketplaces. There’s a much greater sense of satisfaction in making your house a home this way. Here’s the advice I give anyone trying my Chalk Paint™ for the first time:

  • Remove any hardware, such as handles, if possible.
  • Give your piece a quick clean with a damp cloth
  • Stir your chosen colour.
  • Apply the paint straight onto the furniture. As you paint, move the brush in every direction and all over the piece.
  • Wait for the first coat to be touch dry (one to three hours)
  • Once dry, apply a second coat in the same manner.
  • Wait for the paint to be fully dry.
  • Finally, apply Chalk Paint™ Wax in the same manner as the paint. Use a brush or lint-free cloth to apply in all directions. (you can use your furniture straightaway but it will take up to two weeks to reach its full hardness. During this time, take extra care with the piece.)

OX Homes recommends: Annie’s latest collection of Decoupage papers make this traditional art form into a piece of cake. Created in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society, the range includes twelve designs inspired by the archive of botanical drawings in the RHS’s Lindley Collections. Annie’s choices range from abstract motifs to flora and fauna, butterflies and birds, and can be used on furniture, walls – wherever inspiration strikes! Each pack has two sheets of images ready to be cut out and stuck down using the Image Medium adhesive.

Annie Sloan with the RHS Decoupage Papers £11.95, Image Medium, £8.95


New build houses
Thu 18 Jul 2024

Congratulations! Buying a new home is such an exciting moment. Whether it is your very first home or you are upgrading your current property for something a bit nicer, there is no feeling like it. New build homes are such a great investment. Not only are they brand new for your family but you can feel confident that they have been designed with the future in mind. Many properties come with eco-friendly features which are great for safeguarding your family. Financing a new home can be a bit of a minefield. Let’s take a look at how you could buy your new home as well as some things to look out for along the way. Mortgage Mortgages are the most common financing option when buying a home. Buyers of new builds can benefit from mortgages designed for the intricacies of the new build process. Lenders may be a lot more critical when looking at your application as there is less security for them with a new build. As construction timelines can be subject to delays and issues, be sure to keep in touch with your lender and see if you can extend your mortgage in principal agreement. You may be able to get some help with buying a new build home. If you are a first-time buyer, look into whether you are eligible for a discount under the First Homes Scheme. Incentives from builders It is in the best interest of building developers to sell their new homes, so some may offer you incentives. You may be offered cash towards your deposit which will be transferred to your solicitor on completion. If you do take advantage of this, remember to inform your mortgage lender. For people who have already purchased a home, developers may be able to help you sell your old house. A developer-assisted sale is one where they will aid you with independent valuations, appropriate deals or the actual sale. This is often free, and they may pay for your estate agency fees. Hidden costs Buying a house can come with hidden costs such as stamp duty and moving costs. Delays in the construction of your new build can often be costly too. When thinking about your moving budget, it is wise to incorporate a buffer zone for additional expenses. Advice The home-buying process is not a straightforward one, so seeking help from professionals is prudent. A lot of the process includes legal intricacies which will be beyond your capabilities. Mortgage brokers, for example, will be invaluable when it comes to getting you a mortgage in principle that works for your situation. Not only will you be able to get the best deal and save money, but a broker will save you so much time. Instructing a firm of solicitors will also be worth the expense. They can do land searches, deed transfers and keep everything above board for you going forward.

Endellion Lycett Green - you drifted by
Mon 15 Jul 2024

This summer the Laura Lopes Gallery presents works by botanical artist Endellion Lycett Green in the Tithe Barn at Thyme. Through her art, Lycett Green pays testament to the inspiration she finds in the natural world.

Lydia Millen
Mon 15 Jul 2024

For anyone who hasn’t come across Lydia Millen, she is an influencer-turned-writer who has embraced a life of bucolic bliss. Her debut book, Evergreen: Discover the Joy in Every Season, came out last autumn and encourage readers to be inspired and soothed by connecting with the natural world.

Urban winner   Danny Kidby Hunter
Mon 15 Jul 2024

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) has opened its annual nature photography competition for 2024 with new categories and prizes.