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Seeing red over dining room; We shHomes.

Byline: KAREN PRICE Arts and Media Correspondent

NICKY and Juliet Piper had very different ideas when it came to decorating their new home.

While the former boxer was keen to paint the five-bedroomed house in Wenvoe, near Cardiff, in bright colours, his wife preferred the minimalist look, opting for whites and creams.

But when it came to the dining room - the first room they decorated - they struck a compromise.

One of the walls is painted in bright red while the remaining three are in cream.

``I wanted whites and creams everywhere but I came home one day to find that Nicky had painted one of the walls bright red,'' said Juliet.

``He said he wanted all of the walls bright red but we came to a compromise and just painted the one wall in that colour. I must admit, it looks good.''

The dining room is now Juliet's favourite room in the house, which they have now lived in for just over a year.

One of the main reasons is that it reminds them of a happy first Christmas in their new home.

``We had a really lovely Christmas and have some great memories,'' said Juliet, who co-presents HTV Wales's consumer pro-gramme, The Ferret. ``We had 18 people over for dinner on Christmas day so had to sit at two tables.''

A large pine dining table with eight ladder-back chairs sits in the centre of the room.

There is also a pine corner cabinet and a Welsh dresser.

``We have got some plates on the dresser but it is really the place where we keep the alcohol.''

The floor is covered in cream carpet - just like the rest of the house.

But since it was fitted, Juliet has given birth to the couple's first child, Oliver, who is now almost four-months-old.

``When Oliver gets a bit older I am sure it will be covered in spaghetti,'' said Juliet.

``Everyone who comes to eat here worries about spilling things on it, but we don't care.''

The walls of the dining room are covered in paintings and photographs.

``There is a photograph of Llanthony Abbey (near Abergavenny) which is my favourite place. It's really beautiful there and we go every summer.

``We also have a framed photograph of the first scan I had when I was pregnant with Oliver - it has been blown up and looks like a piece of modern art.

``I have started collecting Welsh art and we have paintings by Chris Griffin, David Dixon and Caroline Downey.''

Although the couple entertained a large group of people last Christmas, Juliet admits they have not had as many dinner parties as they would have liked to have had since then.

But when they do, Juliet will no doubt be in the kitchen.

``We both do the cooking - we argue over who does it when most people argue over who does not do it!

``I think Nicky thinks he's Jamie Oliver and cannot eat plain food - even his cheese on toast has to be fancy.

``But when we have dinner parties it's always me who cooks and I don't know why.''

Grandfather clock

JULIET Piper's favourite object in her favourite room is her grandfather clock.

``It was my grandfather's and was given to him and my grandmother when they got married,'' she said.

``When Nicky and I got married, my grandfather gave it to us.

``I think it was made in 1730 and it's beautiful.

``Every Sunday we have to wind the clock up to keep it working.

``My grandfather has since died and it reminds me of his house. It does chime but after one night of waking up every hour we decided to switch it off.''
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 2, 2002
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