Going bold: Q&A with Jess, Gold Is A Neutral
Influential interiors writer, blogger and self-confessed gold addict, Jess Hurrell, started her blog, Gold is a Neutral, to document her home revamp project and express her passion for all-things home interiors. After having followed the renovation updates of her lust-worthy South London home, which is filled with her beautiful, luxe chic style, we were ecstatic to get the chance to chat to Jess about her love for interiors and hear why she loves shutters as much as we do!
I’m Jess, a former showbiz journalist (for my sins), now Interiors writer, content creator, stylist, blogger and home do-er up-per. I’m married to David and have two children Rafferty 6, and Nellie, 2. We moved into our house almost three years to the day and have been slowly but surely renovating room by room ever since.
Tell us about your experience in interiors and writing career
I have over ten years experience writing for national newspapers, magazines and websites including Grazia, Hello, ASOS and The Sun but I left all that behind for good after having my daughter. I was well and truly over the showbiz life by then and much more interested in paint charts and fabric swatches. It sounds like a cliché, but I have always been very into interiors and houses and I saw an opportunity to combine my two skills. I launched my blog Gold Is A Neutral just over a year ago and have never looked back. It’s my dream job. I treat the blog like a magazine and try to fill it with engaging content across interiors and lifestyle. It covers everything from my own home renovations, to House Envy tours of other people’s houses, to interviews with people I admire, and trend and styling advice. I would like people to see it as fun, inspirational and inclusive. I think people are more into styling their homes than ever and I love the social aspect that comes with blogging and Instagram. It’s lovely to help someone have the confidence to find their interiors style and be braver in their own home.
We’d love to know more about you living room transformation! Why did you decide to do it and how did you settle on such a bold colour scheme?
We tackled the living room early on in the renovations, but I’m still totally smitten with it. The whole house was painted Brilliant White when we bought it and far from finding it light and airy I actually found it very uninspiring and oppressive. I knew I wanted to go dark in rebellion against all that white, but it took me ages to find the perfect inky blue. It’s Little Greene’s Basalt and if I had a pound for every time someone had asked me about the colour I’d be a happy lady. The dark blue makes the space look bigger and doesn’t feel dark because there are oodles of natural light flowing in from both sides. At night it reads almost black and it’s super cosy. I added mid-century details like the pair of brass sputnik chandeliers for impact and a blue velvet sofa and vintage Beni Ourain rug for softness and texture. Oh, and not forgetting my gold Jonathan Adler Drip wallpaper which is pure over the top snazziness.
We are just as smitten with that lamp as you are. On the topic of accessories, what made you choose shutters for the space?
Deciding on shutters for the living room was a bit of a watershed moment. The problem with our house is that it is a townhouse and therefore it isn’t set very far back from the pavement. But there is also a massive sash window, which is lovely, but it also means you can feel a bit exposed and open to people walking past and having a nosy. I felt like I was in a shop window when I was sitting in my living room. The previous owner had installed roller blinds which rolled from the bottom up. Very functional but horrible to look at. Curtains didn’t work because I didn’t want them closed during the day obviously. Nets…just NO. Shutters were the perfect solution because they give more control over your privacy.
How did you come to choose this specific style of shutters and what do you think the main benefits of having shutters are for you and your family?
I went for tier-on tier plantation shutters. They are perfect because of their versatility. During the day I have the top tier swung all the way open and the bottom tier closed but with the slats open to let the light flow in, but it also prevents people looking directly in. In the evening we close the top tiers and the slats for more privacy. It’s the best solution all round and they look gorgeous too.
Would you consider installing shutters anywhere else in the home?
Now we have been in the house a few years there are other areas I think shutters would work. I like the softness of the curtains in our master bedroom, however it would be useful to have café style shutters on the lower part of the window for privacy. The houses on the other side of our street are flats and so their living rooms are on the first floor right opposite our bedroom. Shutters would come in handy when I’m getting changed in the morning so that I wouldn’t have to keep closing the curtains every time for fear of flashing them while they’re watching BBC Breakfast!
You’re big into dark, bold colours – what are your top three tips for going bold without making a room look tiny and oppressive?
I’m into all colours…even white if it’s done right! I’ve gone very dark in two rooms in our house (the living room and the bathroom) and both look SO much bigger than they did before. It’s a myth that dark colours always make a room feel oppressive, but lighting is key…both natural and electrical. In the living room there is a lot of natural light. We balanced the blue out with a white ceiling because I wanted a more elegant, classic look and I didn’t want it to feel den-like. However, the bathroom has very little natural light and I painted the ceilings out black as well because I wanted it to feel sexy and dramatic. The black sets off the marble and brass accents perfectly. A light ceiling would have been very distracting in there.
- Consider lighting. How you choose to light a dark room can have a major impact on its overall feel
- Choose a colour with lots of depth and a very slight sheen to reflect the light. A flat matt paint will soak up all the light.
- Pair with metallic… again it helps to bounce light around and adds instant glamour. But don’t go overboard!
What are your top tips for deciding between shutters and curtains?
Think about your needs. If privacy is a priority, then curtains may not be the best option for you because you don’t want to have to close curtains during the day. The beauty of shutters is that they work equally well in a minimal Scandi inspired room with clean lines, as they do in a more traditional room set. It’s all about getting the right style to suit you.