Paint & Paper Library: David & Sophie Oliver's Home

Paint & Paper Library: David & Sophie Oliver's Home

Grace Shu
Oct 27, 2008

Wallpaper panels
A friend recently recommended David Oliver's book, Paint & Paper: In Decoration when we were bemoaning our current state of color indecision for our bedroom. If you haven't checked it out yet, we'd highly recommend it: the book features beautiful interiors with tips on how to achieve a similar look / effect in your own home. We managed to find a few photos courtesy of Studio Annetta of David and Sophie's home that was featured a few years ago in Vogue Living Australia, along with some color tips from the designer himself during a book tour appearance in Boston...

The Olivers live in London in a Victorian terrace house that they renovated and restored over a 2 year period. The 70s sofa featured here was a hand-me-down from Sophie's parents, and the pink armchairs were reupholstered in fabric remnants they had found years ago.
Cut to the color. "The best way to deal with paint charts is to cut them up," Oliver says. "It's easier to cut strips or charts into individual squares of color to eliminate the options that you don't like. Just be sure you cut them in a way that the name of the color is still there."

Test your shade. "Don't just look at paint colors on a flat surface. I paint the inside of an old shoe box. That way you can see where shadows fall, or how light behaves with color in a room. Then if you're choosing with swatches of fabric, carpet, or wallpaper, you will get a better indication of how the color will interact and alter once it's up on four walls."


Another shot of the living room and the study room. Wallpaper panels are the "Willow" design by Neisha Crosland.

Paint what you wear. "People make color choices all the time - they think about it in the way they dress every day. I've always steered people toward experimenting with the colors that they're comfortable wearing. Those are going to be the colors that look good in their home."

Color is like music for your eyes. "There's a type of music called theme and variation, which is one melody played three of four different ways on different instruments. You can do the same thing with color. If there's a color that you like, you can use the same colors in different rooms by changing the texture of it. If you like terra-cotta, paint one room terra-cotta, wallpaper one room in terra-cotta, and use terra-cotta fabric or tile in another. That gives you three very different personalities while sticking to a color that you're happy and comfortable living with."

Tart up hidden spaces. "Places like the insides of cupboards or wardrobes that would otherwise be painted a shadowy tinted white are great for strong bursts of color. The inside of a cupboard could be painted a really shocking pink. It makes the whole idea of putting away the dishes much more inspiring. There are also transitional spaces in the home - like a hallway or stairwell - where you can use wallpaper or strong colors. You don't spend as much time in these places, so you're less likely to grow tired of the colors."

Want to get more paint and paper tips and inspirations? Check out Paint & Paper Library.

[ Photos from Vogue Living Australia via Studio Annetta; Tips by Christopher Muther from the Boston Globe ]

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