Tricks of the Trade

Very British Recipes and Household Tips—and Paint Colors!

September 13, 2019

Burnt Toast. Nicotine. Silver Polish. The swoon-worthy set of new paint colors from Plain English, beloved British creators of bespoke kitchens, have equally eye-catching and evocative names.

There’s Candied Peel, a decadent orange inspired by the sticky sweet; Tea Caddy, a vibrant blue nod to the Chinese porcelain ubiquitous in early English tea culture; and Bib and Braces, a faded indigo nostalgic for cotton and canvas workwear like aprons and chore jackets.

The 12 offerings range from dark and moody to soft and light to bright and bold. British provenance aside, designer Rita Konig and the brand’s color consultant, Kate Shaw, drew on inspiration as strong and varied as the spectrum itself.

With the neutrals, Konig nods to architect Gil Schafer, a longtime friend and collaborator. “I love how he uses earth tones very often,” Konig says. “They’re not colors—it’s not like having a pink room or a green room. When you use an earth tone, it just is the room.” The rest of the shades “illuminate” the murkier set, she says.

Her trick for decorating with such a range is simple: For a kitchen, pick one hue for the walls, one for the cabinets and one for the island. Here, Konig and Plain English shared other very British tips and recipes with us, too, inspired by colors in the collection.

A Recipe for Simple Candied Peel

Cupboard: Candied Peel, a soft orange inspired by the preserved sweet. Interior: Bib & Braces, a blue inspired by faded workwear.

Homemade, this luxurious confection can be dipped in melted dark chocolate and served at the end of a meal.

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the tops and bottoms off four large, unwaxed oranges.
  2. Quarter each orange by scoring through the skin and pith, just down to the fruit.
  3. Slice the skin and pith off each quarter and cut into 1 cm strips.
  4. Place the strips in a pan and cover with cold water.
  5. Boil until soft, then drain the peel, reserving the cooking water.
  6. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar for each 1/2 cup of cooking water that remains. Heat the mixture gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Add the peel and simmer until soft and translucent.
  8. Leave to cool in the pan.
  9. Remove the peel from the pan and arrange in a single layer on a tray lined with baking parchment.
  10. Leave to dry in your kitchen for up to three days or until the sugar has crystallized. Toss the peels in sugar before storing.

Handy Household Tips


Not immune to tarnishing, silver will take on a yellowish hue over time. To combat this, elevate your everyday flatware by using it as much as possible, washing and drying it immediately after use.


Harsh chemicals can easily be substituted with natural ingredients to create homespun cleaning solutions. Combine ten drops of lavender essential oil or tea tree oil with a splash of liquid castile soap and top with warm water. Naturally antiseptic, the oils will make your hands and home smell fresh and chemical-free.


To freshen the air in your home, try simmering a scattering of whole cloves and a couple of cinnamon sticks in a pan of water and allow the fragranced steam to curl around your kitchen.

How to Make the Perfect Pot of Tea

Nicotine (cupboards), Silver Polish (inside the dresser), and Flummery (on the walls).

Always fill your kettle with freshly drawn water: tea leaves need oxygen to express their full flavor.

  1. Warm your pot first and pour boiling water over your favorite blend. Most black teas should be steeped in water that has reached 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Allow the tea to brew for a maximum of three minutes. Give the tea leaves a good stir for a better brew.
  3. The cup you drink from will be as personal as the shade you like your tea. A porcelain cup is recommended, as the tea will stay warmer for longer and the natural tannins won’t stick to the sides.
  4. Pour the milk in first, and allow the tea to cool for a few minutes before sipping.

For more information on the color collection, contact Plain English’s USA showroom HERE.

RELATED: Rita Konig shared her guest room essentials with us. SEE THEM HERE

RELATED: Gil Schafer has a knack for transforming back-of-house spaces like laundry and mud rooms into hardworking charmers. HERE’S HOW HE DOES IT

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A subscription to The Bulletin is the perfect present.


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