A house in Kensington London – With Hip Hut Deco

blog header
A house in Kensington, London
– features one of our favourite clients. A New York lady with the most extraordinary style, a journalist turned interior designer, speculating in antiques and a wife and mother. Hip Hut has been involved here in developing and co-ordinating for some 15 years now.  

1 roundabout


2 building

3 doorway4 the church

5 camillia6 int:ext stucco7 int:ext ornament


8 hall29 halli10 hall311 hall412 hall613 butterfly:dress14 pink sofablog cover photo15 check sofa
17 living room
Untitled no me
16 living 2

31 tv cabinet19 book:fabric21urn:column

22croc23glass dome24hand25rad26 dragonfly27 crowns28 crowns 229 crowns 130 crowns 432 kitchen33 kitchen34 kitchen35 dining room36 freize38 cupboards 237 cupboards 139 diner details40 drinks cupboard41 drinks cabinet42 cupboard upstairsUntitled-3A house in Kensington London – With Hip Hut Deco

Hip Hut Deco is a partnership – Artist Chris McClure with Daphne Dunn, photos: Kate Butner. Working with interior designers, architects, property developers, art directors and construction companies or directly for private clients. We operate either as individual artist/painters, or in teams of the best craftspeople, to whatever size needed to execute our client’s brief.

From houses, hotels, restaurants, shops and châteaux, to film-sets, music videos and events, we use our knowledge and experience of all the materials available and find imaginative ways to create the most exciting solutions for our clients.

Using trompe-l’oeil, varnishes, modern paint systems, sprayed finishes or straight decoration. For textures, we use stucco, plaster, polystyrene, polished concrete as well as brushes.

Alongside established painting methods, we continue to find and develop new ways of using both traditional and modern products that will be most suitable for a project, such as the surrounding conditions, extremes of temperature and time / budget constraints of the brief.

Oloidien Bay House Kenya paint effects – Hip Hut Deco

hip hut deco

Paint effects

This blog is about Oloidien Bay House Kenya paint effects.

Photo by www.obhkenya.com The house is available and all details can be found at this address.

Header image Out of Africa by Baroness Karen Von Blixen-Finecke 1937. Original rare book edition for sale at www.camillesourget.com

Most generously the children were invited to join Hip Hut Deco on his painting trip to the client’s house in Kenya. A wonderful once in lifetime’s chance to explore this magical place for which I’m truely grateful, I stayed home to hone my blog writing skills pending their photos and stories of fabulous childhood experiences.

hip hut deco

Oloidien Bay House Waterhole www.obhkenya.com

Historically the header photo depicts the orignal author’s bookcover “Out of Africa”.   Baroness Karen Blixen’s memoirs of growing up in Kenya with her parents who formed part of the “Happy Valley Set, the european aristocracy who settled in this area of Kenya between the 2 world wars. The roaring 20s and 30s leading to the great depression. The book has been made into 2 films. The huge open freedom of Kenya and hedonism somewhat overcame these people,  leading to wild drink and drug fuelled parties, liberal relationships, jealousy and murder. WOW- see the film “White Mischief,” (not a gun in sight at Oloidien Bay I hasten to add). She also wrote “Babette’s Feast”. The artistic influence  of the 20s/30s era is still apparent in fashion and interiors today. For Example, Mondrain (1872-944) a founder of free intellectual thought and abstract painting, until fascism took over.  Below paint effects bookshelves at Oloidien Bay House.

hip hut deco paint effects

Mondrian bookcase

Further, in setting the scene, I must mention “Born Free” 1966 inspired by the surroundings and written by Joy Adamson, this photo is called “In the studio”, with Elsa the lion. Photo by jo.ath.cx

hip hut deco

“in the studio” where joy adamson wrote most of born free.

The family returned brimming with stories of wildlife – Hippos, warthogs with antennae tails “on their phones” as the children joked, giraffes on the viranda, elephants, a lion … the list goes on, of night drives in jeeps, and the great characters they had met at the house. The photos were a little random, for the children, the input overload was intense and Hip Hut Deco was too busy on paint effects, enhancing the ambiance with the flow of his brush it would seem.

hip hut deco paint effects

by www.obhkenya.com

hip hut deco paint effectsgirafUntitled 1

Geographically situated at “Little Lake” adjacent to Lake Naivasha. Oloidien means “shallow” in Massai.

With life in Kenya focused on the great outdoors and no clear seasonal differences. The interior/exterior lines are blurred. There is an abundance of native and exotic hardwoods, the rich coloured earth, the display of wealth at ceremonial gatherings, the textures found in skins, the vibrant geometric designs in wax cloth and paint effects. These themes run  through the interiors creating a style unique to the region.

Every country has their own version of “rustic”- it can mean upcycled, reclaimed, repurposed or shabby chic (sorry if that’s a trademark I can remove it?), distressed or vintage.

Below: The Treehouse and Lamu bathrooms at Oloidien Bay House.Treehouse bathroom-Oloidien Bay HouseLamu bathroom-Oloidien Bay House

In Africa, rustic means imaginative reuse of the natural resources often to great decorative effect. Complex wooden ceilings in rich dark grains, stone buildings with sculpted plaster and paint effects with limewash colour. African Massai figures in silhouette as a frieze, painting or sculpture,  leather clad columns, hippo teeth to ornament a bread board’s edges which might be a huge slab of mango wood, or horns used for handles and no not hunted – old age or road kill, (Oloidein Bay runs as a farming community). The bling aspect of marriage ceremonies leads to the love of metallic/shiny surfaces such as ceramics or wallpaper. Not so much cliche more a celebration of identity.shiny n leathercolumnscush m1

Paint effects by hiphutdeco.

Via the British museum’s exhibition earlier this year – Social fabric African textiles today,  I learn that their vibrant fabric designs have much hidden significance reflecting the characters of those who wear them. Illustrating the age in which they were created, tastes, social and cultural background. Capturing social, political, religious and sexual mood. To quote their website “Their patterns and inscriptions also vary according to the age of the wearer and the context in which the cloth is worn. This unspoken language may be used to suggest thoughts and feelings which cannot be spoken. They are worn in secular and sacred contexts and play a central role in all of the major rite-of-passage ceremonies in women’s and, in some cases, men’s lives.” www.britishmuseum.org

Vlisco-Fashion_Palais-des-Sentiments_collection-01-Copier webzine.unitedfashionforpeace.com  by Vlisco Fashion-Palais des Sentiments collection.motif grill

hip hut deco paint effects

dining room by www.obhkenya.com

hip hut deco paint effects

Breakfast on the veranda by obhkenya.com

africa doorPainted at Oloidien Bay House.

There are more examples of stunning interiors on our pinterest Africa/Kenya board which can be accessed via the website, featuring recent (2013) trend and designers.

faux bois painted wood grain

Faux bois painted wood grain:hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

The above image is taken from the book by Michel Nadai – Art and Techniques de la peinture decorative,  which offers beautiful examples to follow AND the recipes are in both english and french, invaluable vocab for hiphutdeco here in Provence.

Faux bois painted wood grain

Very difficult to stop when you start a conversation (well monologue really) about a faux bois painted wood grain, there are so many techniques, dating from the 1700’s art of faux bois, where the French used gouche fixed with gomme lacquer all in one process, to traditional oil glazes using flogging brush, metal combs and badger brushes to soften in 3 stages. Or more recently the rubber rockers and combs using modern acrylic scumble glazes and varnish again in 3 stages.

It would be wise to start small and if you find you enjoy it and have a knack for the fluid forms, then build up to using oil glazes, expensive badger blender brushes and metal combs. The rubber rockers and combs are easy to come by in larger paint stores, they won’t break the bank and you can buy small quantities of strong colours in matchpot size rather than 2.5L tins for your basecoat.

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Choose small surface areas to build up confidence and experiment with different woods and techniques, Boxes and side tables are good sized projects. Research the different grains such as oak, cherry, maple etc. and older faux bois examples found in books.

The yellow/tobacco colour (behind product information), indicates the basecoat colour used for alot of traditional woodgrains.

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Black Walnut

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneerhip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer








Products to start with.

Products will vary depending on where you live. Or order directly from the manufacturerer on-line.

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer


Tools – Rockers and combs

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Combs are used in the same way – dragging down the wet scumble glaze. Sometimes its good to use of combination of the two. Especially in difficult areas where the rocker can not fit in a decent run, ie: moulding is too thin or also across larger panels where too much use with the rocker will result in an unconvincing repetition.

Examples of faux bois painted wood grain

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Faux Fireplace in Walnut Wood Grain makeover.

This is actually faux melamine! Imitating walnut. To achieve the glossy veneer a couple of coats of gloss varnish or marine varnish at the end will help.

Found this set of 50s/60s retro tall chest of drawers in a “Puce” (below) – that’s french for junk shop and loved the melamine walnut finish. Reminiscent of the restaurant bars and tables  in Paris, where this material flourishes in many different finishes such as faux wood and marble. This  era of furniture, fabrics, objects etc is increasingly popular.

These before and after makeover photos were for a column in a national home decoration magazine.  The furniture looks great and a quick skirt around the internet  proves that it was a small investment. OK, its mass produced, its not Chippendale, but  the fantasy wood grain has a theatrical allure.

Once in situ it became obvious that the distinctive fireplace needed a facelift to match the chest of drawers and give the room a stronger identity.

Using the traditional painting technique of Faux Bois to blend with this modern material seemed appropriate in this setting.

Faux bois made over

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

 Step 1

Choose the paint colours you are going to use to copy the wood grain by holding a paint colour chart up against it. Tester pots of emulsion are ideal for this, as you don’t need much. Select a light brown to match the lightest colour on your item for the basecoat.

Choose 2 browns to mix with one third full plastic cups of the scumble glaze. Add stainers by the drop and mix thoroughly. Test the strength of the wood grain stainer colors in scumble on a board or the object (wipe off after and repaint white if neccessary). If one is quiet dark make the other lighter and add some white and black to alter the tones. We made one of ours slightly red here and the other slightly more green. Its up to you how precise you want to be. It has been known to spend days with a hairdryer tweeking colour tints, but this part of the process should be a pleasure not a chore for you.

Fill and sand the item for smooth surface, paint with white emulsion to begin with for an authentic colour match. Mask off any areas you don’t want to paint and the edges around the floor if need be.

Step 2

To create the basecoat, mix together quantites of your basecoat colour and water until the mixture is fairly translucent – 50%, with a damp cloth wipe the base colour over the surface, building up the colour in layers. Using the 3 ways skinny brushes, add strokes of white emulsion here and there, then add a little water to blend the paint. Stand back from time to time to check the complete look – if its getting too dark, you may need to add a white wash or, if its too light, apply more sandy yellow base. soften with a bushy brush, here we’re using a badger but they’re expensive so we only recommend if you intend to practise faux bois and other techniques such as marbelling more.

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Softening with a badger brush, use lightly over the surface to loose hard edges.

 Step 3

To creat the woodgrain effect, carefully examine the movement of the grain you are copying, pick one ot the key markings and practise on a piece of paper. Using a selection of skinny brushes, the fan brush, 3 ways brush or a 1.5 flat artist brush with a point of strong scumble on one side of the tip  and some water on the other, create the grain.

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Step 4

Use a brushy brush to blend and soften the grain (whilst its still wet). Apply more base colour or white in swathes if needed to achieve the desired effect. With a little practise, a fan brush or 1.5 flat artist brush can be used to draw several lines at once.

Step 5

To finish off, tidy up any rogue brushmarks. Apply 1-2 coats of gloss or marine varnish. As a furnishing touch polish with furniture wax to give an attractive sheen.

hhip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Another contemporary item using melamine veneer.

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Ray Rex designs

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer

Ray Rex Designs

Table by Rex Ray design, a walnut veneer similar to our chest of drawers. www.rexray.com

Above image by Rex Ray Designs for B+N Industries, nycculturestyle.blogspot.fr showing Innovative use of different veneers/melamine,  Ray is known for popularizing the use of high-gloss resin panels – encasing his colorful, graphic collage designs in a gorgeous glossy layer of resin.

Modern melamine finishes have developed greatly since the 1930s,  so that digital printing now allows designers to intergrate all manner of surfaces such as wall panels and furniture, with the same veneer such as wood for a more complete look.

Here are some of the future possibilities for your kitchen cabinets and furniture.

hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer






hip hut deco faux bois painted wood grain veneer



Digital visions allows designers to choose from a collection of digital images, or to have custom images created, for laminate applications. The concept was formally introduced to the design community at Euroshop 2011. www.surfaceandpanel.com