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Inspiration of the Week: the moody hues of an East End townhouse

Ever wondered how to pick paints from the shadowy end of the spectrum? Take a tour of Barnes Street, where darker shades have been used to dramatic effect

Inspiration of the Week: the moody hues of an East End townhouse

All things bright and beautiful have their place. And while of course we love a touch of teal or magenta pink as much as – if not more than – the next person, at Inigo we recognise that some homes just weren’t built for blazing colour on a bonkers scale. Barnes Street in Limehouse, east London, and currently on the market with us, is a case in point. Just look at its suave and soothing palette – a reminder that bold doesn’t have to mean flamboyant, but rather deep, resonant, full-bodied.

Take the kitchen, its Shaker cabinetry painted an intense olive green reminiscent of the drabs used in the Georgian era. Those historic sludgy colours, now the height of sophistication, are thought to have come about when decorators at the time mixed together the different paints leftover at the end of jobs, so as not to waste any. We admire the thriftiness, not to mention the richness of the result.

As it stands, much of the palette in this house feels indebted to the 18th century, a time when high-impact colours were the thing indoors, while stone and cream were best left for façades. While Barnes Street itself wasn’t built until the following century, its handsome proportions and restored sash windows are much like those found in earlier townhouses.

It may look to the past for its palette, but this house is far from backward. Take a peek in the cosy sitting room, painted the colour of a clear moonlit night. It’s a hug of a hue, adding to the sense of warmth in here (that roaring wood-burning stove has something to do with it too), but it’s been given edge by the chimney breast’s exposed brick. Similarly, in the kitchen, the pond green, sitting above dark floorboards, gets a contemporary uplift thanks to the small herringbone tiles in grey marble making up the splashback. Upstairs, there’s more moodiness to be found: the bathroom continues the theme with some dramatically veined splashbacks in brindled brown marble, which feels simultaneously classic and modern. We approve.

In fact, we give the whole place our rubber stamp of style. Not maximalist, not minimalist, but somewhere happily in the middle. Hooray for that.

Barnes Street, London E14

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