Upcycling an old bookcase with Farrow & Ball Dimiti and wallpaper

As would any interior designer worth their salt, I started to panic a little about the filming the other week, especially given the lumps of plaster randomly falling off walls and large damp patches dotted around my house. All in the plan for next year (she says) but not exactly a great impression for on screen now! Not a huge amount I could do really, bar scrub it to within an inch of it’s life and talk a good tale, but a few little jobs which had been hanging around suddenly got blitzed, making me very happy and Mr M very tired.

It was the “Can ‘we’ just move that mahogany bookcase from the junk room into the kitchen?” on Sunday morning (24hrs before the crew arrived) which made him look at me as if I were mad, standing in an already chaotic kitchen and ask “You are not seriously going to start that now?”

“Er yes, why else did we spend an hour in Farrow & Ball picking paint yesterday?” His eyes rolled as paint pots were popped open and wallpaper strips were measured. It was half a job to finish as I’d already cleaned and sanded down the old bookcase, a remnant from the students who used to rent our house, months ago. To give you an idea of how hideous it was, this was the badly stained colour before….

The whole unit was sanded to give the new paint a good key to stick to and undercoated in a water based white, with any little gaps and holes filled in with decorators caulk and a wet finger….

I’m planning on our house having a monochrome palette with some warmer tones so opted for 750ml of  Farrow & Ball’s Dimiti, not too wishy washy, but not too taupe. I’d already decided on a copper toned infill for the back wall of the bookcase and Dimiti has red as part of the base, so was perfect. If you are choosing paint to go with a strong paper, it’s worth investigating the base tones of the paint to see if your choices tally. Small samples can often look very similar on tester cards, but when painted on large areas in daylight, the base tones come through loud and clear.

I started by measuring the back sections and marking out the wallpaper which was a Brian Yates copper glitter paper I’d got left over from a previous job. This paper is fabulously thick, more like fabric, and also is 90cm wide so  I could get two strips out of each width. Use very sharp scissors to prevent raggedy edges and I cut the strips slightly wider than needed then trimmed them carefully down, better too high or wide which can be corrected than too small.

The bookcase was given two coats of the Dimiti waterbased eggshell, tough but fast drying, then I stuck the paper to the back walls. When and if I get bored of the copper paper, I can simply peel it off and pop a new backing in, constantly updating my upcycled bookcase – perfect. After just a few hours work, I could stop stuffing my kitchen units with glasses and move my cookbooks away from the oven, even the chocolate melting pot came out, just for Christmas, you understand. I’ve a feeling those martini glasses might get used a little more often now they’re not stuck in a box at the back of a cupboard 😉

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