Anna Jacobs, also known as The Colour Doctor, rents her home (Picture: Coco Rose Dixon)
Step into the home of Anna Jacobs and you know instantly that this is an interior designer who walks her talk when it comes to renovating her own abode.
Anna — aka The Colour Doctor — has immersed her home in layers of vivid pastel hues that not only lift her spirits, but also welcome in the spring.
‘I’m very aware of how colour affects our moods and wellbeing, and after such a long and testing lockdown winter, we’re all ready for spring to arrive,’ says the single mother of two.
‘But you don’t have to wait for the weather to turn. You can just add some gorgeous, fresh, spring colour to your décor to create a joyful haven of happiness.’
When she moved in two years ago it was blanket beige.
But she hasn’t let that stop her from making the three-bedroom flat entirely her own (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
The mum of two lives here with her son Zachary, daughter Coco Rose, and their dog, Duffy (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
The mum-of-two gave up a job at a law firm to start her own design and interiors business (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
Anna, 51, was lucky that her new landlord already knew her work. ‘By sheer coincidence, it turned out he loved my homewares brand, so he agreed to let me paint the flat how I wanted. Though Ihad to sign an addendum to the rental contract to paint back anything he didn’t like when I moved out.’
Anna — who shares the flat with her son Zachary, 13, daughter Coco Rose, 11, and their dog, Duffy — gave up a job in a City law firm to start her own design and interiors business in 2015.
She says there is an art to combining colour and dramatic pattern.
‘The key is to have a very limited colour palette,’ she says.
Her home is like a living advert for her work (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
‘The scheme throughout my home is fundamentally based on the colours of my peacock painting over the fireplace in my living room — turquoise, royal blue, bright green and peachy pink.
‘I use them in various proportions throughout the flat to keep it all cohesive.’
Anna is also an artist. Rather than using wallpaper, she hand-painted murals on the wall. ‘I didn’t want the hassle of removing wallpaper when I moved out.
‘Plus, I had clear visions of what I wanted to create and that wasn’t available to buy commercially.
A peacock colour theme runs throughout the space (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
That means plenty of vibrant greens, teals, and pops of pink and gold (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
‘My favourite murals are the bathroom zigzags and the blue staircase mural. They give me joy every time I catch sight of them.
‘I’ve already made the zigzags into wallpaper, so if I miss them, I can stick them up wherever I go.’
Her favourite room in the flat is her bedroom, which doubles as her office. ‘It’s a haven of tranquillity, which overlooks the garden, so the views are mirrored in the green walls and teal furnishings. It has a deep, oceanic feel, warmed up by dusky pink accessories and art.’
Anna’s bedroom is her favourite space in the house (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
It doubles as her home office (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
‘It’s a haven of tranquility,’ says Anna (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
The desk is an Ikea table that Anna has had for 20 years. She blended it into the colour scheme by painting the edging in green.
The pink sofa and blue armchair were vintage pieces she bought from Brixton Market, reupholstering them herself.
‘My teal velvet bed is from Made.com and it’s the one really big purchase I have made,’ she says. ‘I had been sleeping on a broken second-hand bed for years, but when I turned 50, I thought it was time to splash out on a proper grown-up bed.’
She also loves the challenge of creative cost cutting. Most of the furniture has been upcycled or painted.
Her most innovative décor change was wrapping the shower frame in gold washi tape.
‘It cost £6,’ she laughs. ‘It has been on for nine months and it’s still pristine. I made the blue stair risers from half a roll of self-adhesive wood-textured wallpaper. I cut it to size and painted it with leftover paint from the stair mural on the wall beside it. The wallpaper was £12.’
The bathroom is another highlight (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
Yep, that’s a handcrafted mural (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
The shower has been wrapped in gold washi tape (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
Her kids found the living room sofa on the street. ‘They dragged it up the hill and sat on it outside, refusing to come in until I said we could keep it. I’ve just thrown a set of pink velvet Ikea curtains over it.’
The sideboard is one of the few things she bought new — and she customised that with pink semi-circles. All the cushions, lamps and art are from her own Anna Jacobs homeware range.
This designer doesn’t like to overlook, or underpaint, any small detail — or room.
‘The loo was my “Lockdown One” project. I hand-painted the leaves with leftover paint and tester pots from the zigzags mural in the bathroom. I even painted the loo cistern and seat.’
Coco Rose’s room is gorgeous, too (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
Why not go all out on the pink? (Picture: Anna Jacobs)
The cream kitchen units were transformed with leftover paint from the bedroom wardrobe, while the dining room has a New York deli vibe. ‘I painted the big varnished pine table in the middle of the room with a black marble-effect spray paint from Craig & Rose, which I love.’
After years of teaching about colour at Chelsea College of Arts, The Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs Live, Anna decided over lockdown to launch her online colour course.
‘Then the reality of home-schooling two children while running my business got in the way,’ she laughs.
‘But I’ll finally be offering people the chance to sign up at the end of this month to help more people inject the magic of colour into their own homes.’
The Colour Doctor will see you now
Experimenting with bolder shades can be a challenge. Here’s Anna’s guide to getting it right:
- Listen to your own responses when it comes to colour, rather than recreating other people’s taste. Stick to a limited palette and use all those colours in different proportions in all the rooms of your home for a cohesive scheme.
- Worried about painting a whole room in a bold shade? Start with the doors, or even just the door frames. This will lift the space and is quick and simple to do. It’s also easy to return to neutral if you are a renter.
- Paint your front door and hang a spring wreath on it. Bright yellow and baby pink are really popular at the moment.
- Try painting a mural. Simply painting a big, arched shape on a section of wall in a bright colour can be incredibly effective.
- Paint a piece of old furniture in your favourite shade — or use up some leftover paint.
- Removable washi tape adds an injection of colour to the edges of furniture or doors.
- Wrap kitchen counter tops or splashbacks in removable vinyl, which can be found in all sorts of fabulous colours. Cheap — and a great solution if you’re renting.
- Colourful rugs transform a room. A couple of small scatter rugs can make a big difference.
- Paint existing wall tiles with specialist tile paint. If you’re a renter, you can now get fantastic removable tiles to stick on the current ones.
- Don’t limit wallpaper to walls — add to the back of a shelving unit, the front of a chest of drawers, varnishing on top, or paper the ceiling instead.
Anna’s top tips:
- Invest in some good-quality faux flowers and foliage to bring in a touch of spring.
- Use leftover paint to update furniture or accessories. I used the green from my kitchen to paint the edge of the old Ikea desk in my bedroom. The two rooms are next to each other, so it provides a lovely link.
- Get yourself some coloured glass. It brings a beautiful, luminous quality to a space.
- Ceilings don’t have to be white. Painting them the same colour as the walls, or a bright, contrasting colour, creates a dramatic wow factor.
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