You’d Never Guess This Psychedelic Library Used to Be a Hallway
Wait till you see the floor mural.
Published Jul 31, 2020 12:00 AM
“I had fallen out of love with my home,” says Morag Myerscough. The London-based artist and designer had resigned herself to using her entryway as storage—between years of travel and work projects, she hadn’t had time to sort through the books and boxes that had found a makeshift home in the hallway. Then quarantine hit. “I said to my partner, Luke, if we were going to be stuck here for the foreseeable future, we needed to get all the house projects I’d been wanting to do for years done,” she explains. They ordered wood for custom shelving and several pots of paint and got started.
When it comes to picking out a palette, Myerscough is anti-formula; she prefers an instinctive approach. “I need to spend time in each room to understand it better,” says the artist. This space in particular called for happy hues, beginning with a lick of citron yellow paint across the ceiling. “I wanted to make the library into a sun,” she explains. “It says joy, power, and energy to me.” Over the course of eight weeks, she made her way around every corner, creating ombré shelves where there were none, and more than one impressive display of pattern mixing. “I’m self-taught and nervous about giving tips, but what I would say is, be brave,” says Myerscough. “It’s just paint. If you try something that you don’t like, you can just tweak a color.”
Now the newly minted library is her retreat when she needs somewhere calming—she’s been doing a lot of Pilates in there. “It has a wonderfully warm feeling when the sun pours in at certain times of day,” she adds. “The colors really glow.” We asked Myerscough to walk us through the three major projects in the space.
The Floor-to-Ceiling Bookcases
Along with Luke, she built, painted, and painstakingly installed each custom box—the whole thing took about four weeks. The easy part was choosing a color scheme: every wall features a punchy fuchsia, tomato red, orange, and yellow gradient. Well, almost every wall: There’s a walnut bookshelf that serves as the singular neutral in the room, a souvenir from Myerscough’s previous home. “Getting rid of it would have been mad, as I had it made to my specifications—plus I liked the layering of time in the room,” she says.
Her one tip for anyone trying something similar: patience. Each coat of paint required a day to dry, and she used a brush to get into each little nook and cranny. The plus side? “Painting with a brush is very therapeutic,” she points out.
The Maximalist Fireplace
“Getting a good tiler is like finding hen’s teeth,” says Myerscough. Following a less-than-ideal experience getting tile added to an art installation in 2019, she was especially anxious about tackling the fireplace update solo—until she actually started doing it. Trial and error proved to be the best teacher. “I’m so glad I made myself do it!” she says. She used leftover mosaic-style stones from the aforementioned project (“I think by now you’ve got the gist that I don’t like throwing things away”) and whipped up a new pattern based on the remnants.
The Graphic Floor Mural
Myerscough knew right away what she wanted to do with this particular DIY, but she had to wait until the shelves and mantel were done. The boards date back to the 1890s, with a diamond print added on by the previous owner. Rather than try to cover it up, she used the geometric shapes as a blueprint. “I’m completely obsessed with trompe l’oeil and I love experimenting,” says the artist, who went on to create 3-D silhouettes out of the hardwood. They, too, proved to be time-consuming—three coats of paint and another three of floor varnish total—but with a bit of time, she got it done. Luckily, spare hours were the one thing she had more than enough of.
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