“I just followed my instincts really. I didn’t want to overthink anything. I always think I can just paint over it if I don’t like it. So far I haven’t had to paint over anything as it’s all seemed to fall into place.”
Amy Exton’s Margate home looks from the outside just the same as the others in the terrace. Two storeys of understated cream. But open the door and you step into a kaleidoscope of colour, walking straight into an electric blue hallway. The bright green kitchen features a full-wall photographic mural of a tropical beach, and upstairs the bathroom is perfect powder-room pink – even down to the suite. Everywhere you look there are explosions of colour, with even the ceilings painted in bold shades.
Previously a set-designer, Amy moved to the seaside town of Margate with the idea not just of getting on the property ladder, but of using her home as a location house – a home hired out for photo and video shoots. The first house she viewed was the one she bought, and she admits that some of the bold colour choices in her home were about shaking off the somewhat institutional feel of the building. Originally part of a Victorian hospital, the house was painted throughout in nondescript beige, and was, Amy admits, slightly creepy. “I’ve always loved colour anyway, so I went super colourful to make it as un-creepy as possible,” she says.
To tempt potential clients away from London she also felt that her location house needed to have something really unique about it, instead of the tasteful, neutral backdrop that most location houses have. The bold colour that she loves seemed the perfect solution, and she has teamed each room’s distinctive hues with kitsch and colourful furniture and accessories, from porcelain leopards to a huge pink velvet sofa. We took a house tour and asked her a few questions about her decorating style:
Do you think your background as a set designer made you more confident in using really strong colours?
“I’ve always been attracted to bold colours. Looking all the way back to my GCSE work, it was all about colour and print so it’s nothing new for me. Working in set design has just allowed me to explore it unabashedly as, unlike in my fine art education (I studied fine art at Brighton and St Martins before going into set design), I don’t need to justify anything.”
Which one is your favourite room for its colour, and why?
“I think it has to be the coral in the living room. I spent a lot of time testing to make sure the shade was just right. Coral can be a bit intense if it’s too orange or too pink. I toned it down further by painting the ceiling metallic silver. It creates a concrete look, heightens the ceiling and softens the colours. The coral reflects onto it and the whole room has a lovely warm glow. The room is nice and bright in the day time, and in the evening when the lights are low with just a couple of lamps on it’s all cosy.”
What guided you on selecting the colour for each room?
“I’d already bought three sofas before I’d even got the keys for the house, so the living room colour was definitely chosen with the sofas in mind. I chose dark teal for the bedroom because I wanted that room to feel cosy and almost den-like. And I knew I wanted a pink bathroom suite so the colours for that room were based around that. With the rest of the house though, I just wanted to include as much colour as I could. With it being a location house, with the USP being colour, I wanted to make sure there were as many different block colours in the house which could be used as backdrops for shoots.”
Did you plan the colours for all the rooms at once, or follow your instincts?