Finding My Own Color Story with Farrow & Ball

At day’s end my vision for the house began to take shape – with a magical subtlety by the only brand of paint that could carry it off: Farrow & Ball. 

I’d decided to commit to a change of life, to one of openness and calm, peace and inspiration, a regeneration of both my professional and my inner life. So I moved from New York City to Sag Harbor, New York.   Away from the old apartment box, a new house greeted me with open arms. I’d bought it in good shape, but of course … there were things to do. I knew there always would be, and I am good with that. Structurally the house was satisfying, but it needed to feel differently, to reflect me, and what surrounds me in this country village setting: sand and sea and sunlight, the sometimes deep cover of shoreline clouds, the green black ocean, the stratification of bay blues. And closer to home, the back yard garden and its surprisingly spontaneous blooms, the yard’s undercoat of peat bound by walls of bluestone, and my front yard, its blanket of thick grass braced on all sides with the grays and greens of several protective trees.

I’d decided to commit to a change of life, to one of openness and calm, peace and inspiration, a regeneration of both my professional and my inner life. So I moved from New York City to Sag Harbor, New York.   Away from the old apartment box, a new house greeted me with open arms. I’d bought it in good shape, but of course … there were things to do. I knew there always would be, and I am good with that.

Structurally the house was satisfying, but it needed to feel differently, to reflect me, and what surrounds me in this country village setting: sand and sea and sunlight, the sometimes deep cover of shoreline clouds, the green black ocean, the stratification of bay blues. And closer to home, the back yard garden and its surprisingly spontaneous blooms, the yard’s undercoat of peat bound by walls of bluestone, and my front yard, its blanket of thick grass braced on all sides with the grays and greens of several protective trees.

I wanted to bring the inside of my home alive with that same subtlety. I thought long and hard; I researched my way through dozens of fine interior design books and their inspirations, and I experimented: with paints, weaves and linens, woods and textures. At day’s end my vision for the house began to take shape – with a magical subtlety by the only brand of paint that could carry it off: Farrow & Ball. Painting living room, guest bedrooms, bathrooms, and even some key pieces of furniture, turned out to lay a fantastic base-coat for my own personal feeling of home: a canvas for those items that now inhabit the space: an array of furniture, bedding, paintings and photographs that I’d taken a lifetime to assemble. All of them needed a rich, soulful backdrop. In fact, so did I. As it turns out, even the most subtle colors in the Farrow & Ball cannon provide the power of soul.  Their colors relax, create sanctuary, and harmonize in the ways they work together, like complimentary notes of music. I decided upon a palette of muted tones paired with the wonderful and dazzling All White, on trim and molding. White woodwork creates a very clean and traditional look, and its gloss gives balance to matte and satin finishes. It creates a happy harmony with pretty much any other color, allowing muted tones to sing aloud, to be themselves. The house itself did not cry out for dramatic statements of bright color. It seemed to ask me gently for restraint. A balance with the windows throughout the home filled with the greenery and power of the outdoors.

I wanted to bring the inside of my home alive with that same subtlety. I thought long and hard; I researched my way through dozens of fine interior design books and their inspirations, and I experimented: with paints, weaves and linens, woods and textures. At day’s end my vision for the house began to take shape – with a magical subtlety by the only brand of paint that could carry it off: Farrow & Ball.

Painting living room, guest bedrooms, bathrooms, and even some key pieces of furniture, turned out to lay a fantastic base-coat for my own personal feeling of home: a canvas for those items that now inhabit the space: an array of furniture, bedding, paintings and photographs that I’d taken a lifetime to assemble. All of them needed a rich, soulful backdrop. In fact, so did I. As it turns out, even the most subtle colors in the Farrow & Ball cannon provide the power of soul.  Their colors relax, create sanctuary, and harmonize in the ways they work together, like complimentary notes of music.

I decided upon a palette of muted tones paired with the wonderful and dazzling All White, on trim and molding. White woodwork creates a very clean and traditional look, and its gloss gives balance to matte and satin finishes. It creates a happy harmony with pretty much any other color, allowing muted tones to sing aloud, to be themselves.

The house itself did not cry out for dramatic statements of bright color. It seemed to ask me gently for restraint. A balance with the windows throughout the home filled with the greenery and power of the outdoors.

My first guest bedroom, the larger of the two, called out for elegance. This bedroom faces the front yard and is where couples will stay when visiting, or my adult sons, and I was keen to make the experience of being in the room one of serenity and peace. So after much experimentation with all manner of whites, off whites, and greys, I landed on the stunningly subtle shade of Strong White. Traditional, perhaps, but not really. Taking a moment to actually look at the room, now painted several coats, its walls have a depth of color that belies the word white, or the word traditional. A soft, preternatural spirit, both elegant and simple, peaceful and painterly. I centered a large bed at its southern wall and dressed it with Libeco linens that look both cozy and comfortable, and stand out in their muted grey-greens as complimentary accents to Strong White’s elegant canvas. The effect is calming and exquisite.

My first guest bedroom, the larger of the two, called out for elegance. This bedroom faces the front yard and is where couples will stay when visiting, or my adult sons, and I was keen to make the experience of being in the room one of serenity and peace. So after much experimentation with all manner of whites, off whites, and greys, I landed on the stunningly subtle shade of Strong White. Traditional, perhaps, but not really. Taking a moment to actually look at the room, now painted several coats, its walls have a depth of color that belies the word white, or the word traditional.

A soft, preternatural spirit, both elegant and simple, peaceful and painterly. I centered a large bed at its southern wall and dressed it with Libeco linens that look both cozy and comfortable, and stand out in their muted grey-greens as complimentary accents to Strong White’s elegant canvas. The effect is calming and exquisite.

The second bedroom, the smaller, yearned for something a little different. This bedroom faces the back of the house with its little herb garden, and slate patio enclosure. The room seemed to beg for a contrapuntal statement, a place of peace all its own yet somehow more grounded in earth tones. After painting a lumber yard’s worth of small wood squares with all manner of kindred colors, all from Farrow & Ball, I came up with the funnily named Clunch, a hue that harkens to an old world feeling of weathered parchment, yet with a modern character. It’s both restful and has a touch art house cool. I wanted some texture too, so I had the ceiling done in wood plank, each about 4 inches wide, then painted them, you guessed it, All White, to lend the ceiling and trim the same glossy counterbalance to the elegant whimsy of Clunch. It works so well that the room looks both modern and ancient; it’s become both writing room and a wonderful place for naps for anyone who needs one. Libeco bed linens stand out in pale relief to the saturated wall color, and a satin-white glass lamp overhead makes a lovely compliment, on or off.

The second bedroom, the smaller, yearned for something a little different. This bedroom faces the back of the house with its little herb garden, and slate patio enclosure. The room seemed to beg for a contrapuntal statement, a place of peace all its own yet somehow more grounded in earth tones. After painting a lumber yard’s worth of small wood squares with all manner of kindred colors, all from Farrow & Ball, I came up with the funnily named Clunch, a hue that harkens to an old world feeling of weathered parchment, yet with a modern character. It’s both restful and has a touch art house cool. I wanted some texture too, so I had the ceiling done in wood plank, each about 4 inches wide, then painted them, you guessed it, All White, to lend the ceiling and trim the same glossy counterbalance to the elegant whimsy of Clunch. It works so well that the room looks both modern and ancient; it’s become both writing room and a wonderful place for naps for anyone who needs one. Libeco bed linens stand out in pale relief to the saturated wall color, and a satin-white glass lamp overhead makes a lovely compliment, on or off.

Custom bookshelves in the living room, done with thick, strong barn wood that had streaks of old black paint on them, were painted on the inside walls with Joa’s White, a perfect compliment to the wood and the black. It gives a feeling of warmth and color to the thick sturdiness, a subtle depth to the bookcases. Since my business involved fashion, I have used these shelves as a wonderful atelier’s holding area for knitted garments during my seasonal showcases.

Custom bookshelves in the living room, done with thick, strong barn wood that had streaks of old black paint on them, were painted on the inside walls with Joa’s White, a perfect compliment to the wood and the black. It gives a feeling of warmth and color to the thick sturdiness, a subtle depth to the bookcases. Since my business involved fashion, I have used these shelves as a wonderful atelier’s holding area for knitted garments during my seasonal showcases.

I had an old mahogany credenza with sliding lattice doors that looked right out of the fifties, and indeed it had been handed down for three generations, grandma to mother to me. It reeked of stodginess when placed in my All White living room, but as heavy and musty looking as it was I couldn’t part with it. So I decided to paint it with Farrow & Ball’s deep and lovely Manor House Grey, a color that looks striking against white and fits nicely with other furniture in beiges, blacks, browns, and color. The piece now gives the room a modern cool, a kind of industrial chic. Candlesticks, vases, books, anything I put on it pops with its own character now. Aged brass pulls compliment the cool with just the right touch of age and history.  

I had an old mahogany credenza with sliding lattice doors that looked right out of the fifties, and indeed it had been handed down for three generations, grandma to mother to me. It reeked of stodginess when placed in my All White living room, but as heavy and musty looking as it was I couldn’t part with it. So I decided to paint it with Farrow & Ball’s deep and lovely Manor House Grey, a color that looks striking against white and fits nicely with other furniture in beiges, blacks, browns, and color. The piece now gives the room a modern cool, a kind of industrial chic. Candlesticks, vases, books, anything I put on it pops with its own character now. Aged brass pulls compliment the cool with just the right touch of age and history.

 

Bathrooms turned out to be more fun than expected. A chance to have some license with different colors and textures. After all they’re the smallest rooms in the house so one can’t be too worried that they’ll make too much of powerful statement. We painted one bathroom the gorgeously restful Lamp Room Grey, which is a rich, dark, putty green-grey that may be one of the more enticing colors F&B have ever created. All White trim pops from the color perfectly. And since bathrooms in a house are usually the rooms farthest from its center, their windows are often buffeted with greenery from outside, natural or garden. So this deep and peaceful color lends a connectivity to the outdoors. The other bathroom I moved away – shocker – from Farrow & Ball, and painted it in Ralph Lauren’s Pocket Watch White. Yet – not before I had its walls covered in wide wood slats of varying widths. Once they were up and painted we lay floorboards down which I decided not to paint but to have varnished in a deep but mellow semi-gloss that made the wood stand out as itself. The combination of the varnished wood and the white wood walls is stunning, especially once dressed with a vintage mirror that I painted in wonderful Railings, the perfect paint for flat, distressed furniture trim.

Bathrooms turned out to be more fun than expected. A chance to have some license with different colors and textures. After all they’re the smallest rooms in the house so one can’t be too worried that they’ll make too much of powerful statement. We painted one bathroom the gorgeously restful Lamp Room Grey, which is a rich, dark, putty green-grey that may be one of the more enticing colors F&B have ever created. All White trim pops from the color perfectly. And since bathrooms in a house are usually the rooms farthest from its center, their windows are often buffeted with greenery from outside, natural or garden. So this deep and peaceful color lends a connectivity to the outdoors.

The other bathroom I moved away – shocker – from Farrow & Ball, and painted it in Ralph Lauren’s Pocket Watch White. Yet – not before I had its walls covered in wide wood slats of varying widths. Once they were up and painted we lay floorboards down which I decided not to paint but to have varnished in a deep but mellow semi-gloss that made the wood stand out as itself. The combination of the varnished wood and the white wood walls is stunning, especially once dressed with a vintage mirror that I painted in wonderful Railings, the perfect paint for flat, distressed furniture trim.

   

 

 

I am in the fashion business, and run my own business from home sometimes, which means that clothing racks and rails are part of my stock and trade. I decided to abandon the bright reflective steel once and for all and use Railings to give the racks class, presence, a graphic quality. Perfect.

I am in the fashion business, and run my own business from home sometimes, which means that clothing racks and rails are part of my stock and trade. I decided to abandon the bright reflective steel once and for all and use Railings to give the racks class, presence, a graphic quality. Perfect.

In the living room I also painted a small entry mirror Worsted, another beautiful grey in the rich, deep family of Farrow & Ball grey’s. It has less a steely industrial quality and seems perfect to give a smaller piece weight.

I knew the basement could be a great place for kids to hang out and watch TV, relax, crash, and it needed a modern feel, so I painted the floors Pavilion Grey, and the metal columns that rise from floor to ceiling I painted the incredible coal black Railings. Striking, modern, perfect. A set of rust colored patio furniture pops off of the Pavilion Grey wonderfully well. The room is used frequently: it invites.  

I knew the basement could be a great place for kids to hang out and watch TV, relax, crash, and it needed a modern feel, so I painted the floors Pavilion Grey, and the metal columns that rise from floor to ceiling I painted the incredible coal black Railings. Striking, modern, perfect. A set of rust colored patio furniture pops off of the Pavilion Grey wonderfully well. The room is used frequently: it invites.

 

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