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From the Resene News - issue 2/2018


Heritage inspired - Victorian and Heritage Interior

"After discovering colour on the ceiling made such an impact in the hallway, the client was keen to also try colour on the ceilings in the lounge and master bedroom."

From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery of entries

Resene Total Colour Awards 2017
Heritage inspired

This home was last decorated in the 1990s and was in need of an update. Some of the rooms had wallpaper borders at dado level, with different colours top and bottom. The ceiling roses in each room were all one colour, which was repeated in one strip around the cornicing, but it didn’t look very sophisticated.

The aim was to create a different colour palette for each room of this 1880s Victorian homestead style house in the Sydney suburb of Strathfield, an area rich with Victorian and Federation houses. The initial focus was on using heritage colours to maintain the integrity of the house and ‘bring it back to life’, but the strict use of heritage only colours relaxed as each room was tackled.

Using the ‘bending the rules’ approach to selecting the wall colours, since this would be the bulk of colour in each room, they started by selecting a colour theme for each room – green, pink/salmon, red etc and then looked to the Resene Multi-finish range to provide the contrasting and complementary colours to make up the palette for each room. This worked really well to target colours that were still strong, but were not as deep or intense as their heritage counterparts.

The initial selections for the hallway were muted olives and taupe that were in the hall runner. But after looking at the samples for a week the client decided they were ‘too dull’ and something with more colour was needed; neutrals on the walls just did not cut it in this house! Following an inspirational image, it was decided to paint a red ceiling, to mirror the hall runner. Even when it was only partially done it looked simply stunning!

Heritage detail
Heritage lounge
heritage colours

After discovering colour on the ceiling made such an impact in the hallway, the client was keen to also try colour on the ceilings in the lounge room and master bedroom. The ceiling roses in these two rooms are the same design, and it made sense for those rooms to have a bit of extra impact. Although different colour palettes were selected for each room the placement of colours in the ceiling roses is the same in the lounge and master bedroom. The feature heritage colour, wall colour, Resene Quarter Solitaire (peach cream) and the Resene Gold Dust (gold metallic) all followed the same placement in each room, giving a consistent look and feel with the ceiling roses, cornicing and walls.

The only neutral used was the one selected for the ceiling - Resene Quarter Solitaire. This toned well with the colour palettes selected for each room – not too pink, yellow or grey. It was going to be used on all the ceilings, until it was discovered how much the coloured ceiling added to the impact of a space.

The hall ceiling was finished in Resene Vanquish (reserved red) to tone beautifully with the hall runner. With such a vibrant ceiling colour Resene Quarter Solitaire cornicing was enough; it didn’t need the contrasting bands being used in the other rooms.

For the lounge room the heritage colour selected was Resene Olive Green (yellow green oxide). The room has ornate curtains, swags and tails in a green fabric, and the client had always wanted a green room. After trying many A4 drawdown samples in the light, and Resene testpots, Resene Organic (flaxen green) complemented this the best; a green strong enough to hold its own against the Resene Olive Green cornicing, but still soft enough to use on the vast expanse of walls. These colours were brought into the ceiling rose teamed with Resene Quarter Solitaire, Resene Wafer (pink biscuit) and Resene Gold Dust.

The colours were paired ‘blind’, which meant holding up the colours against each other, then using a process of elimination to get down to the last few and make the final selection. Applying this process they ended up with a soft nude colour, and when they turned it over to look at the colour it was… Resene Wafer. This was the same colour selected for the walls in the hallway. It also tied the two spaces together - from the lounge room you look out into the hallway and see the Resene Wafer walls there.


The ceiling colour selection for this room followed the same ‘process of elimination’ as for the lounge room, starting with a selection of pale greens and light duck egg blues to contrast with the strong pink and red colours. The final choice was Resene Half Coriander (herbal celery green). Interestingly this was the first colour selected for the walls in the lounge room, before changing to the slightly stronger Resene Organic. It was another ‘sign’ it was the right colour choice.

The height of the ceilings, around 14 feet high, proved a challenge. A custom height platform was created for each painter to work from to reach the ceiling roses.

Because this client did a lot of the painting themselves, the local Resene ColorShop provided product and painting advice direct to them.

After several visits to the store, the client sent this feedback to the designer: “I was sharing with my girlfriend about how impressed we are to be working with you and the whole team at Resene. The teamwork I’ve experienced from the staff at Resene has been exemplary. Usually, you go to a paint store and buy your can of paint and that’s it, end of story. We are extremely impressed with the knowledge, level of care and expertise that the staff offers. And to top it off, their interest in the painting of our home. Such a rewarding experience for us.”

The ceilings, cornicing and ceiling roses are now undoubtedly the stars of the show and continue to mesmerise the owner every time she walks into one of the rooms.

This home’s interior won a Resene Total Colour Residential Interior Colour Maestro award. The judges said: “A classic heritage project, this home has been intricately handled with precise attention to detail. In true Victorian style everything is picked out, but not in the colours you may expect. Forgoing the common neutral or very deep palette you might expect to see, this home embraces contrasting warm colours, with stronger hues to accent. The stronger ceiling colours help to bring the very high ceilings down and better connects each room space. Appropriate for its era, this home’s colour palette is full of personality yet respectful of tradition.”

Colour selection: Fiona Saville
Painting contractor: Ashley Hill, DNA Decorators

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