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By Clementene Coates, Apr 25 2015 12:00PM

As you probably know by now, spring is my favourite time of the year. As the weather starts to warm up, an array of colours come into bloom. No longer do I have to trudge through muddy fields with the dogs; instead, we enjoy leisurley strolls soaking up the sunshine (with the occassional lie down in the grass!)...

As with any interior designer, I'm influenced by the environment that surrounds me and the different seasons have a direct influence on the colours I choose to paint my furniture.

When I think of springtime, the first colours that come to mind are bright yellows, greens, blues, pinks and purples (although any bright, warm colour is befitting of spring). Flowers in springtime provide such a wonderful palette of colours, for example, look at this gorgeous tulip (variety 'princess irene')...

Nature certainly isn't afraid to use bold colour combinations!

In the lead up to a new season not only am I looking for inspiration in the environment that surrounds me, but I also have my nose in lots of different books and magazines and I’m constantly scouring the internet looking for new ideas. I also have a little sketch book where I jot down ideas and play around with colours (I’ll be doing a separate blog on my sketch book soon so keep a look out). It’s through this research that I can then create my very own seasonal colour palette. Here's a selection of shades I put together to give you an idea of my springtime colour palette...

Another way of collecting and saving photos is through Pinterest. If you haven’t heard of Pinterest it’s a great way of saving images that you find online. Through Pinterest you can upload, save, sort, and manage images—known as pins—and other media content (e.g. videos and images) through collections known as pinboards.

Millions of people use Pinterest across the world including designers and interior magazines. You can access my Pinterest account here. Not only do I collect pins about interiors and painted furniture, but I also collect pins about things that interest me in general such as the arts and crafts, food, music and more.

One of my absolute favourite textile designers is Fi Douglas who founded Bluebellgray in 2009. Her love of colour and all things floral are clear to see in her stunning designs...

Fi uses a mix of bold, bright colours which to me epitomise springtime...

There’s no mistaking Fi’s work which is utterly unique and quite smiply divine…

What I especially love about these photos is the brightly coloured, hand painted furniture which Fi has cleverly used to accentuate her beautiful fabric designs.

You'll note that the painted chest of drawers and the desk have been distressed to create a rustic look, whilst the Ercol style chairs have been painted in a flat finish, which provides a more retro style in-keeping with their design.

The rustic and retro styles work wonderfully together. You shouldn’t be afraid to throw the rule book out of the window and try new contrasting colour combinations. It doesn’t matter if some of the colours you choose don’t quite work together. If you don’t try, you’ll never know! And, most importantly, in testing them out, you’ve every chance of finding the perfect colours to suit your style.

Here’s the latest commission piece I painted for a lovely lady up in Irvine, Scotland named Joanna. It’s a gorgeous little demi-lune console table which I named Élise. Joanna didn’t want to hold back when it came to colour; she wanted a statement piece – a bold and beautiful colour reminiscent of spring…

Élise is painted in Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® – ‘Florence’ on the exterior and ‘Graphite’ on the interior of the drawer with a little gold leaf applied to the detail. For more information about Élise and commissions in general visit my commission page.

My next project is a set of Ercol chairs which I'm planning to paint in different contrasting colours. They'll be colours influenced by spring and the chairs will work together as a set, or they can be purchased individually. And, just to jazz things up a little, I'll be dip-dying the bottom half of the legs, which is a super way of creating a statement piece. Here's a great example of dip-dyed chair legs. I found this photo on Pinterest and saved it to my 'Spring Influences' board.

Keep a look out on my on-line shop for my latest painted pieces, as well as my Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram account where I regularly post photos of projects that I'm working on. And, as always, if you have any questions about me and my work don't hesitate to get in touch via my Contact page.

By Clementene Coates, Mar 15 2015 04:11PM

As the saying goes “time flies when you’re having fun!” I launched my business just a few months ago, but it only feels like it was several weeks away. Gone are the days when I used to wish the week away and live only for the weekends. Now I look forward to each and every day and I couldn’t be happier.

Spring is already upon us and things are truly in full swing back at HQ. So far this year I’ve sold a number of pieces of furniture; I’ve got three commissions on the go and I’m also writing articles and blogs for several interior magazines. I never anticipated being so busy so soon, but I’m absolutely thrilled that I am and long may it continue!

I’ve had such wonderful support from my family and friends (in particular my lovely fiancé Pete), but also from strangers who’ve posted sweet comments and words of encouragement about my work. It really does make it all worthwhile. And, to top things off, the lovely people at Country Living Magazine have invited me to attend their Spring Fair at the BDC in Islington, London next week between the 18 - 22 March.

As no doubt most of you will know, Country Living is the renowned and celebrated lifestyle and decorating magazine which champions craftspeople and small businesses like myself. Their annual Spring Fair is a celebration of this and an opportunity for home-grown talent to show off their skills. Visitors can expect to see furnishings, fabrics, accessories and more, all from hand-picked makers. It really is the most exciting event of its kind in the year.

My contribution to the Spring Fair is really quite unique. For each day of the show (both in the morning and in the afternoon) I'll be painting a range of furniture live in front of Country Living’s visitors, showcasing a new range of paints produced by the fabulously talented people at Marston & Langinger, who've teamed up with Country Living to create a stunning palette of colours.

I’m so honoured to be taking part in this great occasion as this is the first time that these gorgeous paints will be shown off in public. The colour palette is simply divine – a sumptuous range of creams, pinks, blues, greens, greys and more – all with pretty names (including Plaster Pink!). There are three different finishes: Chalky Interior Matt, Interior Eggshell and Exterior Eggshell, each with its own unique qualities.

I was lucky enough to be sent a selection of these paints in advance of the Spring Fair so I could try them out. I wasn’t disappointed. They’re wonderfully versatile paints and almost completely odourless making them environmentally friendly too. Never mind the divine packaging these paints come in; they’re an absolute pleasure to use; they’re self-priming, smooth flowing and easy to apply, which certainly makes my job a lot easier!

Even more exciting is that one of the pieces I'll be painting will be given away as a prize to one of the lucky Country Living Fair visitors. It's a gorgeous antique oak wash stand with beautiful tapered legs. I'll be restoring, priming and painting her (yes, I’ve decided it’s a she and she’ll have a name too when I’ve finished with her!) with one of Country Living and Marston & Langinger’s stunning paints. So, if you’re coming to the Spring Fair and you want to be in with a chance of winning a beautiful, bespoke piece of furniture, pop by and say hello!

And, if you’re around on the last day of the show (Sunday 22nd), make sure you pop over to the Lifestyle Theatre at 11:45am where we’ll be holding a Q&A session on “How to choose the right paint colour”. I’ll be one of the guest speakers, so feel free to quiz me and I’ll hopefully have the answer you’re looking for!

I’ve created a really useful twitter list for anyone who’s interested in hearing all about what’s going on at the Spring Fair. It brings together all the exhibitors, speakers and Country Living staff and will be a great place to keep up to date with what’s going on, as well as following the #clspringfair hashtag and @CLFairs twitter account.

I’ll also be posting a new blog for each day of the show with pictures of the pieces I’ve painted that day, as well as pictures of the different exhibitor’s stands and their beautiful products on show. I’ll be tweeting live as well as updating my two new Country Living Spring Fair Pinterest boards with pictures of my furniture and other great things I spot over the 5 days, so keep a look out!

If you’re attending, remember to pop over, say hello and enter the competition to be in with a chance to win one of the first pieces to be painted with the fabulous new range of paints by Country Living and Marston & Langinger.

Please read the rest of my posts from the Country Living Spring Fair 2015

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Here's the place to find out what Clementene's been up to. She'll post updates on new projects; features she's written for Country Living Magazine UK; design tips and tricks; and 'how to' guides for ways to paint your own furniture. Clementene's blog is regularly updated so make sure you keep coming back. You can follow Clementene on social media too (check out the links above) and don’t forget to post your comments - Clementene would love to hear from you. And, for those wanting the latest news, sign up for Clementene's Newletter...

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