Fancy some colour & interiors chat?

Nov 6, 2020

Bringing colour, cheer and interiors chat into your lives

I’ve blogged occasionally over the years, but as keeping in touch becomes more important than ever, I thought I’d dust off the laptop and write to you. 

Welcome to my November 2020 blog.

Ann Marie Cousins Interior Designer Ilkley

Behind the scenes

After the eery silence of the first lockdown in March, the summer months came round and boy did the phone start ringing. It turns out that a lot of people had spent those months getting fed up of staring at the same colour walls, realising that their home wasn’t quite working for them or finally being able to complete on house purchases.

Troubleshooting and furniture moving
At this point, my new two-hour design consultation became pretty popular. I’ve been known to start moving furniture around during an interiors consultation to show how you can make the most of your space! Other times it’s all about helping a client see how they can inject colour and interest into a home. This variety is why I enjoy doing them. 

Grit and glamour in north Leeds

One of the first projects I worked on when lockdown restrictions were first eased was this home in north Leeds. My clients were first time buyers with lots of ideas that they were struggling to narrow down into a workable plan.

Their home is a Victorian villa complete with high ceilings, large windows and big airy rooms. Exactly as you’d expect from a property of that era. But the décor needed an injection of colour and glamour, so I created an interiors scheme that delivered exactly that, with a fixed budget and a tight timescale.

I haven’t been able to take any professional photos yet, but here’s the moodboard that kickstarted the design and pulled all the ideas together.

WOW factor ceilings

In the living room pale grey walls and carpet left the room feeling slightly soulless. Painting the walls midnight blue immediately highlighted the proportions and made the space feel more cosy.

But the piece de resistance is definitely the ceiling. Previously a classic white, I gave it the wow factor by painting it a shimmering gold from Mylands paints. A statement pendant light, the Bubble Glass Chandelier from Dowsing and Reynolds (like this one from Instagram account @loveallthingsquirky) and downlighters in the recesses above the fireplace completed the lighting scheme.

Textured fabrics with gleams of gold and brass and a Louis chair in teal from in the bay window add colour and glamour. A generously stocked bar cabinet completes the room and is ready for the house-warming party – whenever that might happen!

Grit and glamour moodboard

Industrial vibe

Over in the kitchen we gave the kitchen units a facelift. We replaced the black gloss doors with Chelford Navy Kitchen doors and added handles from Dowsing and Reynolds. But the wow factor (again!) came by way of the tin tile ceiling.

On the walls I opted for a Dulux Jasmine White (a warm white) to replace the pale greige. This might not feel like a huge change, but it’s added much needed warmth to the room.

Then I swapped blacked granite for white quartz on the island countertop, to lighten the space. White metro tiles from Wicks add an industrial vibe, while new cage light fittings brought some personality to the lighting over the island. (See similar light fittings here).

Design tip: dark grey grout always gets my vote with white metro tiles. It’s a classic look and I wanted to remind this young couple of the cool bars and restaurants they frequented before 2020 and lockdown interrupted our lives.

All that’s left to add now are the industrial stools and some chairs from Oakwood Vintage covered in Rita Loves Jazz by Monkey Puzzle Tree (the same as the cushion on the right) and the kitchen refresh will be complete.

The budget

I feel like we achieved a lot on this project and we even came in slightly under budget which was split pretty evenly between the kitchen and the living room. This includes new furniture, two new sofas and an armchair.

We also repolished the floors in the hall and kitchen, which was an investment but makes a huge difference, and it shouldn’t need doing again. Plus, it was definitely a more budget friendly option than laying a new wooden floor. And we painted the hallway a dark grey to match the striped hall carpet.

I managed to snap a few photos while I working on the project but I can’t wait to have the home photographed professionally – particularly the ceilings. I mean who’d think you could have so much fun designing a ceiling?

And there you have it. Grit and glamour in north Leeds.

On my interiors radar

I love the new colours in Cole & Sons Woods – a classic paper has been brought up to date by these new colourways and I can’t wait to see it going up in the Whimsical colour in my client’s daughter’s bedroom – photos to follow.

And the other week my home became the backdrop for The Monkey Puzzle Tree’s Christmas photo shoot. I’ve been a big fan of Charlotte and her designs for years and was delighted that I could help. Her fabrics are stunning, and I’ve used them in a few different interior schemes (Gallery). And with Heidi Marfitt on photography duty, it was almost like old, pre Covid days.

Orange upholstered sofa against a deep navy painted wall. Patterned cushion and lampshade on a side table

Final thoughts

It’s hard to know what to say as we kick off another national lockdown in England. We all have our own Covid 19 experiences. Our own challenges and circumstances, but I hope that this blog helps to keep us connected and the conversation going. And that it brings some glamour and colour into your world. That’s my aim anyway.


Thank you for reading,

Ann Marie 

If you want to add a gallery you can do that here. Otherwise, right click on each section to delete it.

Vibrant yellow stools add a jolt of colour to this industrial style kitchen

Concrete floors, stainless steel countertops and pops of colour mean this kitchen has plenty of personality

Rich coral walls and a turquoise sofa give personality and life to this family home

Parquet flooring perfectly complement the marble tiles in this glamorous en suite bathroom

Two oversized mirrors bring drama to this elegant double sink

A space where you can sit for a few moments after a busy day is a great addition to a bedroom






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