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HOME LIFE: Dark side of the room; Designer Alexis was expecting black looks about her colour idea .. but it's all light on the night.

DESIGNER Alexis Leech thought electrician Steven Gavin would blow a fuse if she suggested decorating his dining room in shocking colours

But Steven was really switched on by her choice of purple, black and white and his fiancee Anne Lawson also thinks the makeover is pretty dazzling.

Steven says: "The flat is more than 100 years old, but Anne and I both wanted the decor to be modern.

"The problem with the dining room is that it's also the hall, with a staircase along one wall and a long window at the bottom.

"To stop anyone falling down the stairs and crashing into the glass, we had a big plank of wood across the window and another big plank boxing in the stairs."

Add to that the bare floorboards and Steven and Anne reckoned their dining room looked more like a wooden crate.

After a year in the flat, they'd put all the time and money into doing up their bedroom, kitchen and living room and didn't have any spare cash to spend.

We sent Alexis off to see what tasty ideas she could serve up for this Renfrewshire home on a budget of just pounds 250.

The first item on her menu was that purple, black and white colour scheme and, as soon as Steven and Anne had digested this, Alexis had the young couple splashing on the emulsion and satinwood paint.

Alexis says: "The only furniture in the room was the dining table and chairs, which was an old black ash suite Steven had been given by a friend.

"A couple of years ago, this would have been considered really dated, but black is back in fashion, so this gave us a great starting point for the rest of the decor."

Since black is also great for blending into the background, the offending staircase got a blackout cover of satinwood paint along with the floor, while the ceiling and two walls were painted purple.

Then, so that the small room didn't become a dark dungeon, the other two walls were given a coat of white emulsion.

While Steven and Anne were busy with the paint brushes, Alexis brushed up her computer skills searching for fabric for the soft furnishings on the Internet.

Having tracked down some bargain suede-effect cotton, reduced from pounds 13.95 to pounds 6.95, Alexis picked a deep purple material for a Roman blind, opting for a similar soft suede-effect fabric in white for the dining chair covers.

To make the blind, cut the material one inch wider than the finished width you want and one-and-a-half inches deeper than the required drop. Cut the lining to the same size, then stitch the two fabrics together, right sides facing, along both sides and the bottom edge.

Turn the blind right side out and press crisply round the stitched edges.

Either overlock or zigzag stitch along the top edge and attach one inch loops of Velcro to the front of the top, one inch down from the stitching.

This Velcro is then folded back to the lining side of the blind and gets attached to a length of hook Velcro stuck to the inch-square baton when you hang the blind.

To create the folds on your Roman blind, measure the distance between the Velcro and the bottom edge of your fabric and divide by double the size you want for your finished folds.

Then, to make the channels for the dowelling, mark two lines, two centimetres apart, for each fold, then stitch and slip in the dowelling.

Now, stitch brass rings about 15 inches apart along the top of the blind, on the lining side and on each fold. Glue your hook Velcro to the front of the inch-square baton and attach to the loop Velcro at the top of the blind, position net wire eyes to the underside of the baton in line with the brass rings.

Run your Austrian blind cord from the bottom brass ring, knotting it securely and up through the other rings then through and along the net wire eyes to whichever edge you want the cord to hang.

Finally, thread the strings into a wooden acorn, knot the ends and hang your blind by screwing the baton along the window recess.

Having removed the protective plank of wood across the window, Alexis replaced this safety barrier with a jazzy triangle, padded and covered in lilac fabric and studded with silver discs.

You could use a special curtain eyelet tool to fix these, but a chic and cheap alternative is to buy big metal washers - you'll finding these in the plumbing section of the DIY store - and stick them to the material with a hot glue gun.

Alexis had another bright idea for using these metal washers to wonderful effect, by making striking light panels , one to hang from the ceiling and the second along one wall.

A few finishing touches including another storage shelf with funky wave brackets and some silver accessories, then it was time to find out what Steven and Anne made of the makeover.

Steven says: "We though it would cost a fortune to make our bare dining room look even half decent, but Alexis has really opened our eyes and shown us how much you can do for really very little money.

"The room looks amazing. My favourite thing is the light panels. As an electrician, I've installed some really brilliant lights, but I've never seen anything as striking as these.

"And the padded panel at the window is excellent.

"After we have the double glazing installed, we won't need a protective barrier, but the hanging triangle looks so good I want to keep it."

Anne adds: "We'd been playing around with different ideas for the dining room, but we'd never have thought of anything remotely like this.

"It's a really dramatic colour combination, and I thought it might make the room look smaller.

"Instead it seems to have opened it out. It's fabulous."MONEY MATTERS.

l White and purple emulsion pounds 23.57

l Black satinwood paint pounds 10.98

l Nine metres of white and lilac suede cotton for blind, seat covers, window board and light boxes pounds 62.55

l 2" X 1" flamed timber, for frame for light boxes pounds 14.30

l Link chain, silver cup hoods and L-shaped brackets for fixing wall and ceiling light boxes pounds 9.86

l Strip lights pounds 15.20

l Black and white vinyl flooring =pounds 25.00

l Black ash chest of drawers pounds 15.00

l Silver self-adhesive swirls pounds 6.49

l Shelf and silver wave supports pounds 15.90

l Accessories including square vase , table candlestick and Japanese candle and stand pounds 50.35

TOTAL SPEND = pounds 249.20


Black satinwood, white emulsion, Dulux purple emulsion (colour ref. 90BB 19/165) , and materials for light boxes all from B&Q. Telephone 0800 465 7700 Shelf and wave supports from Homebase. Telephone 0845 980 1800 Self-adhesive silver swirls from Great Mills. Telephone 0141 848 1331 Suede cotton fabric, pounds 6.95 per metre and black ash drawer unit from Interior Bargains at The Showhouse Shop. Tel: 01563 534448. Accessories, including silver square vase and candlestick from Eigen Interiors, Paisley. Tel: 0141 887 7499 Vinyl flooring from Marie's Saleroom, Rutherglen. Tel: 0141 647 3661.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 7, 2000
Previous Article:MAKE IT WITH ALEXIS.
Next Article:FILM REVIEW; Classic apple pie.

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