Synne Skjulstad's True Colours.


The first thing they did when they moved in to the new apartment in Adamstuen in Oslo was to paint it all white. – We were in such a hurry when we were going to move in, says Synne Skjulstad. Like so many others on the move – she found herself heavily pregnant. – Refurbishing always takes more time than planned, and our son Otto was born the day after we got our things in here. So even if we wanted to have colours we didn´t really have the time to try it out. So they painted everything white, and lived like that for a while. – But it didn´t feel finished. After a while we tried painting some rooms, in soft colours, but it all felt as if no real difference had been made.

Some elements of colours came sneaking in. Her partner built shelves in the hallway, and they ended up signal red. Then they found a used kitchen on Internet.
– It was one of those days where just everything goes wrong. The car broke down and nothing went as planned. And when I came home our long kitchen bench was stuck in the stairs of our building. We could do nothing but go get the saw.

The work bench was old, brown and tired but after some rounds of work and paint – it ended up bright yellow and quite wonderful.
– This bench, and the big painting on our living room wall, both had to be considered before painting the walls again – and we just didn´t know how and where to begin,

 The solution was found with a visit to the neighbours.
– We went up to see Heidi Pettersvold og Andreas Joyce Nygaard. They both work for the architecture firm Snøhetta and have used colours in an amazing way in their apartment. When we came down to our own flat we thought it looked like a public office – and we asked for help. Andreas, and especially Heidi, helped us finding a plan for the colours. Where they should start and where they should stop. And they shared the idea of painting the whole room, including windows and plugs. If we had painted with these colours – and then left the ceiling white, it would have looked awful. The fact that it is all pink makes it possible.

The colour plan starts and ends with the hallway. It goes through the whole apartment and is painting in a deep aubergine. The colour also shows in other rooms, through the painted doorframes. The challenge was then to find colours for the other rooms, with the same grade of intensity and satiety that would go well with the aubergine, the other colours, their art and furniture.
We have tested an unbelievable amount of different nuances and have developed a quite disrespectful attitude towards paint and just trying out something straight on the walls. Our son Otto has watched quite a lot of films with Pippi Longstocking, and all of a sudden it hit me: Our apartment looked quite a bit like her house Villa Villekulla with pink spots all over the place.

 Several of the rooms have been painted more than once.
– We have tested and lived in for some days before we made up our minds. And with the pink living room we suddenly became cowards and painted a lighter nuance than the one Heidi recommended. But we understood that we had to change it again. The color just disappeared into nothingness.

For the kitchen walls they first found a nice acidic yellow. It went beautiful with the kitchen but not so much with the pink living room.
– We also tested two other colours in the hallway but one made the place look like a tired rock club and the other was more like pooh.

 When she describes the living room for someone who hasn´t been there, she calls it a mix of Barbapapa and pig pink. A lot of guests have been slightly surprised when entering.
– And some have exclaimed that my partner is really to cool to agree on having a pink living room. As if I have been the one to nag him to give me a pink princess´ dream.

 There are still a few places waiting to be painted – inside closets and a window. There is just one thing they have to get done first.
– We still haven´t seen the last season of The Sopranos….

PS. Lately Synne has been working on a new project, SEABLING, and we at the Chromarty are delighted to have been invited to her workshop. Early 2019, we will dive into her universe of rescued plastic in a new context as jewellery. We can’t wait to talk to her and show you the bling.

WORDS : Annicken Vargel
PHOTOS: Elisabeth Aarhus