For those wondering what Habitat have been up to of late, it’s been a bit of a year. After being bought out by the Home Retail Group (owners of Homebase and Argos) last year they have left us with only 3 London stores but thankfully, the UK website. From July this year, you will start to see an edited selection of the iconic homeware appear in over 200, slightly less iconic, Homebase stores across the country. Yes, it’s an unlikely pairing but as a result they’re launching a rather nice wallpaper and paint range that I previewed last week at their AW12 press show…

All designed in house at Habitat, there are 30 shades in the paint collection based on favourite colours taken from the Habitat design palette. The selection of neutrals and brights all have quirky names including ‘sprout’, ‘cumin’ and ‘dust’. The paint can be used on interior walls, metal and wood. The retro-graphic wallpapers are designed to compliment the paint range with 4 designs in 16 different colours. My favourite is the wood grain effect in mustard yellow…

The paint starts at £16 for 1.25 litres and £25 for a roll of wallpaper. If you live in London and can’t face a trip to Homebase they will also be available in the 3 London stores.

So, Habitat are busy and in addition to their paint and wallpaper the AW12 collections are pretty lovely too, with the comfiest sofa in the world and gorgeous tableware (post coming soon!) – Alice. 

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Door Addicts Anonymous

November 10, 2009

My name’s Ellie and I’m a door-aholic. Our front door is in serious need of a make-over, so I’ve been bothering the boyfriend with paint charts, window film samples and dragging him down boring letterbox and door knocker aisles in DIY shops – much to his chagrin.

House numbers on doors

front doorsFor him, as long as it has hinges and a lock, a door is a door. For me, the door must be painted black, French grey, or in Farrow & Ball Green Ground, or maybe Cooking Apple Green, have chrome door furniture, a lovely window film number panel in the transom window above it, and tasteful privacy film in its panes to be even vaguely acceptable. When I’d shown him the fifteenth paint swatch (all, I confess, similar shades of green and grey…) he flipped, and accused me of being a door addict. Which is, regrettably, the sad truth. It’s got to the point where I find myself fantasising about my dream door on the bus…at the hair-dresser’s…even in bed (!)

front doors1The ever-helpful Housetohome site has lots of lovely door fodder to feed my habit…you can find out how to create a smart front door, how to choose a door and what the most popular paint colours are for front doors. If you’re a window film fan, head to Brume, The Window Film Company (AKA Frostbrite), or Purlfrost who do a fabulous range of etch-effect Victorian-style window film panels:

window film victorian

And then, once I’ve finally found the right door, the right shade of grey/green/black exterior eggshell paint, the perfect letterbox and the right kind of window film – it’s time to choose the FONT for the numbers in the transom window. Ariel? Futura? Suggestions on a postcard to the usual address please! – Ellie

window film numbers

I’m a huge fan of the lovely new Living Etc paint collection, launched this summer. It’s a beautiful, contemporary palette, with some fantastic colours. And check out their fabulous names!

Picture 6Pavement, Spire, St Paul’s, Rush Hour, Statue, Siren, Wharf – these words instantly conjure up a fast-paced, urban, London mood – it’s basically a list of everything I see or hear on my daily commute to the IPC Media offices! There are also a few telling lifestyle references which are oh-so-London… note: Chai (not Builder’s or PG), Plimsoll (presumably the white retro Converse variety favoured by graphic designers and creative city types, rather than the manky black Woolworths pumps you wore for PE) and Paperback (no doubt a stylist’s vintage Penguin Classic, not a dog-eared Danielle Steel).

I’ve always been fascinated by paint colour names. Who makes them up? How do they choose them? And, more importantly, please can I have a go?! According to the press office, Dulux has a panel of experts who meet regularly to decide what new colours should be called, brain-storming to come up with names such as Wellbeing and Babe, while Crown thought up Prom Night, Cheeky Wink, Lunch Date and – my personal favourite – Celebrity, a deep, fake-tan orange.

paints

Our friends at Farrow & Ball have got the right idea with names such as Dead Salmon, Pigeon, Arsenic, Cat’s Paw, and Mouse’s Back. They’re quirky, but at least they all convey the colours exactly (let’s ignore the fact that Elephant’s Breath doesn’t strictly speaking HAVE a colour because I love F&B and will forgive them on principle). Much better than The Little Greene Paint Company‘s random collection: Boo, Button, Peep, Jack-in-a-Box, Mischief, Julie’s Dream, Attic II, Clockface (not to be confused with another shade, Clockwise) and, perhaps the most mysteriously-named paint of all time, Three Legs. It’s impossible to work out what kind of colours these are from the names alone, which all seems rather silly. But, I suppose there are only so many names one can reasonably think of for ‘dark green’ and repetition is a definite no no. Click here to play an online game to see if you CAN work out what colour a paint is, just from it’s name. I scored 5/10, so it shouldn’t be too hard to beat me!

farrow

Lots of paint is named after food. While I find colours such as Crown‘s Choc Chip, Frothy Coffee, Tiramisu, Rum and Raisin, and Cocoa easy to stomach, I’m fairly certain I’d have some sort of allergic reaction in a room painted in Behr‘s Parmesan paint or, even worse, Benjamin Moore‘s Nacho Cheese. I’m not winding you up – this is a real paint name! Although, in their defence, this nauseating shade is such a hideous orangey-yellow that there really is no better way to describe it.

nacho cheese paint copy

I’ve just painted my kitchen in a soft grey-green Crown colour called Crochet, which is definitely a paint name that bears no relevance to the actual colour it’s supposed to convey – but it’s so GORGEOUS, changing in different lights and providing a restful, calm atmosphere, that it could be called Celery, Janet, Bob Sleigh or Manicure and I really wouldn’t give a damn. ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…’ – Ellie

I’ve just discovered an amazing website: Crafty Shapes. It sells plain, unfinished wooden shapes ready to paint, varnish, embellish etc – and it’s opened up a whole world of crafting possibilities! I’m going to get the wooden napkin rings (just £1.95 for four), then paint them with blackboard paint (£10.99 for 750ml, International Paints) and use them instead of place cards or to add quirky messages to table settings.

napkins

Napkin rings, Colloco, but now discontinued, so get crafting! Image: Living Etc

I am so excited about this. Maybe I need to get out more!? These blackboard napkin rings would be great for handmade gifts too – you could put six in a little box with a pack of retro chalk (95p for 12 sticks, Dotcomgiftshop) for a cheap and designer-style present – or make loads for wedding place markers/favours. Craft JOY! – Ellie