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"Critical: a., skilled in, given to; of the nature of a crisis."

"Light (lit) n., the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible."

Without light there is no colour, without light we have darkness.

My favourite time of day is early morning when the light is soft and subtle and the day is just waking.

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Peace and quiet, no phones, no crashing of breakfast plates, no hustle and bustle of racing out the door for school or work.

My kitchen is painted in Resene Festival with almost black joinery and a black granite laminate bench top. The house was built in 1976, so there has been plenty of time for movement in foundations and walls as the house settles.

I decided when I revamped my kitchen and dining room to have the best of both worlds and used wallpaper and paint for the walls. I like the feel and look of texture on the walls and I wanted a certain colour, so the option was easy, wallpaper then paint.

The walls weren't perfect, so the wallpaper would cover up some of the defects, if not all of them ... dream on. It seemed to take ages to get what I thought was a perfect surface for wallpapering (me being me, I wanted to do it myself so there wasn't anyone to blame).

Having gib-stopped the walls to perfection, put my sealing coat on, then wallpaper, I was ready to paint.

Festival is a gorgeous clear yellow. When the morning light floods in, the room glows and even on a dull day it is a pleasure to walk into the room, the colour is so welcoming. The sharpness of the black and yellow is perfect - good clean lines and lots of working space.

My perfect wall has the ugliest imperfection across the length of it, where the gib is joined horizontally and the old overhead cupboards were removed.

In most lights you can't see the defect at all but - and it is a big BUT - there it is for everyone to see with that very critical light, the morning sun, which peeks up over the hill filling my kitchen and showing every defect in the wall. The same thing happens at night when the down lights are turned on. So to correct it, the wallpaper needs to come off and I need to start the process again - hence nothing has been done.

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With many old houses you will often get the same problem - it is part of the character of the house - but this also happens in new homes.

Often the painter gets the blame for shoddy workmanship. But look again - is it the paint or the wallpaper or is it underneath. Many times we can't see if there is a defect, but if you have critical light shining on a wall you will see the defects if there are any.

Every house has critical light. It is the light that shines along a wall - either natural sunlight or it could be wall lights, spots and so on.

It can often be a chain reaction, from frame work, to gib, to stopping, to finishing.

There are products available that you can use in your prep work to help prevent the problem. If you have a professional contractor, one would hope that the surfaces will have a professional finish.

If you're a DIYer, get professional advice if you are unsure and don't be impatient to get the job finished. If the wall doesn't look quite right, work with it until it is.

As for me, I haven't found the right painting yet to help cover the defect and draw the eye away to something more pleasing (it's too much of a chore to remove the paper and start again, though that is probably what I will end up doing). Perhaps I'll leave it there as a glaring reminder of the pit falls in not preparing properly.

Finally, I'd like to say a big thank-you to those who attended my colour workshops last weekend in conjunction with La Fiesta. It was a lot of fun and lovely to meet you all.

Also a big thank-you to Carla Donson and her team at Women's Network Wanganui for all your hard work in putting together La Fiesta, a fantastic event to be involved in. We are so lucky to have Carla with all the fantastic hard work she does. Terry Lobb is an interior/kitchen designer and personal colour and style consultant who takes a holistic approach to living with colour, texture and style. email: terry@terrylobb.com or visit http:// terrylobb.com