Be­hind the pal­ette

Far­row & Ball colour con­sul­tant Joa Studholme re­veals the story be­hind nine new paint shades

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents - Words KIERA BUCKLEY-JONES

What is your big­gest in­flu­ence as a colour

ex­pert? I’ve had the priv­i­lege of work­ing with Far­row & Ball for more than twenty years, so a lot of the magic of adding to these pal­ettes has be­come in­nate. It is a gut re­ac­tion that comes from be­ing im­mersed in a world of colour day in, day out. How­ever, when the process starts there are three broad in­flu­ences. The first is trends – colours that feel rel­e­vant to the modern home, such as ‘Jit­ney’, which her­alds the use of earthy tones and the end of grey ma­nia! Se­condly, there may be ex­ist­ing colours that just need to be ad­justed for to­day’s mar­ket, such as ‘Smoked Trout’ (that felt a lit­tle too mush­roomy), which has now been re­placed by ‘Sulk­ing Room Pink’ (a touch warmer). Fi­nally, some pop­u­lar colours just beg to have lighter or darker friends. ‘School House White’ is the ideal paler ver­sion of ‘Shadow White’ and ‘Shaded White’, cre­at­ing a group of neu­trals that are time­less and in­cred­i­bly easy to use. How­ever much we love colour, neu­trals will prob­a­bly have the widest ap­peal!

Where did you find the in­spi­ra­tion for the

new paint shades? Ev­ery time I washed my son’s work­wear I would look at the colour and long to paint it on the wall – even more so when it had been laun­dered over many years. From this thought, ‘De Nimes’ was born. ‘Rang­wali’, mean­while, had been lodged in my brain since I was at the Holi fes­ti­val in In­dia, where ev­ery­one is sprayed with vi­brant colours. When I looked in the mir­ror that night, the pow­der I had been cov­ered in in­cluded this fab­u­lous pink. Our new green, ‘Ban­cha’, be­gan life as a stronger ver­sion of ‘Olive’, an ar­chive hue, but I spent a huge amount of time try­ing to per­fect it. I even­tu­ally came across it in tea made by a Ja­panese friend. How do you feel grow­ing colour trends re­flect the way we live now? As home­own­ers have be­come braver and started to move away from the grey pal­ette of the past ten years, the nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion has been to­wards the ➤

colours of na­ture. Deep greens and blues feel pro­tec­tive, so have started to be used in liv­ing rooms that we re­tire to at night. Also, in times of in­ter­na­tional tur­moil, we all tend to grav­i­tate to­wards warmer red-based colours that make us feel like we are be­ing given a great big hug and can for­get about the out­side world.

Is cre­at­ing a new pal­ette a lengthy process?

As soon as a set of colours is fi­nalised, my head is burst­ing with ideas for the next ones. Their cre­ation starts in the sim­plest of ways: at my kitchen ta­ble, where ramekins are filled with shades that are mixed and remixed. It may seem very ba­sic, but it’s ex­tremely ef­fec­tive.

Of the nine new shades, which do you think will win the most dec­o­rat­ing fans?

‘Paean Black’ is the most fash­ion for­ward. I feel that the modern home is ready for deep, warm tones af­ter years of ubiq­ui­tous char­coal – and who can re­sist this bo­hemian dark that con­jures up an­cient li­braries? How­ever, not ev­ery­one will want to em­brace the drama of this hue, so for easy liv­ing there’s ‘Jit­ney’, in­spired by beaches in the Hamp­tons, which is less grey than ‘Ele­phant’s Breath’ but not as warm as ‘Ox­ford Stone’. Hope­fully it will be­come a favourite.

The colours’ names are so evoca­tive – which did you have the most fun dream­ing up?

We try to make all of the names in­trigu­ing, so that one’s imag­i­na­tion runs wild try­ing to vi­su­alise the colour. How­ever, they are never in­vented on a whim. The tone of ‘Sulk­ing Room Pink’ was in­flu­enced by paints used in tra­di­tional ladies’ boudoirs. I spent time con­sid­er­ing the boudoir and how it got its name and quickly re­alised that it is de­rived from the French word bouder, which means to sulk. ‘De Nimes’, mean­while, trans­lates as ‘of Nimes’ in ref­er­ence to the French town where denim, the in­spi­ra­tion for the shade, was first wo­ven. An­other new colour, ‘Treron’, is a slightly greener ver­sion of the Far­row & Ball clas­sic ‘Pi­geon’, so the name comes from a green species of the pi­geon fam­ily.

When colours have to be placed in the ar­chive to make way for new shades, is the de­ci­sion a tough one?

Colours are re­tired with a heavy heart. Some may have fallen out of fash­ion, some are deemed too close to an­other Far­row & Ball shade, and oth­ers are rein­vented with a twist.

How many shades do you have in the ar­chive? Are you keen to bring any out and re­turn them to the colour card?

There are 87 colours cur­rently in the ar­chive – each as cher­ished as they were on the day of their cre­ation. They are still avail­able to buy on re­quest, so they no longer need to be part of our cu­rated pal­ette.

What’s the her­itage be­hind Far­row & Ball’s paint shades?

We have many that have been found in his­toric houses, such as ‘Calke Green’, ‘Book Room Red’ and ‘St Giles Blue’. In this set of new colours there isn’t a di­rect link to a house, but ‘Pref­er­ence Red’, with its Baroque qual­ity, is rem­i­nis­cent of an­cient drapes used in Vene­tian palaces. De­spite that it is achingly fash­ion­able for those who favour a luxe look. The paint’s moniker was cho­sen in hon­our of our com­pany’s orig­i­nal trade name, Pref­er­ence Paints.

Which of the new colours would you use in your own home?

I am lucky enough to have used all of them. It is es­sen­tial to look at how they re­act in dif­fer­ent lights and in dif­fer­ent fin­ishes – I am happy to be the guinea pig! Like many peo­ple, I love to cre­ate some drama for guests on ar­rival, so my hall­way is painted in ‘Ban­cha’, while the kitchen is made to look as light and bright as pos­si­ble with ‘School House White’ on the walls. Smaller, darker rooms are painted in the stronger colours to cre­ate in­ti­mate spa­ces – a boot room in ‘De Nimes’ and pantry in ‘Rang­wali’ are par­tic­u­lar favourites. I am not afraid of wear­ing colour ei­ther, but I would hate to de­tract from the real he­roes on the wall! All Far­row & Ball paints, from £45 for 2.5 litres of Es­tate Emul­sion ( far­

‘Pref­er­ence Red’ ‘Treron’ ‘Ban­cha’ ‘De Nimes’ ‘Paean Black’

‘School House White’ ‘Jit­ney’ ‘Rang­wali’ ‘Sulk­ing Room Pink’

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