Firstly, I just want to say that I don’t work for Farrow & Ball or anything: I just had a great experience with their paint!
If you’re into interior design at all (which I’m not! I just like to look at the magazines), you’ll definitely have heard of this British paint company. It was founded in 1946, and spent much of its early years making paints for Ford in the UK, and the British War Office. By the time the 90s rolled around, Farrow & Ball had established itself by making paints for the National Trust for restoring historical buildings to their original colors. Today, Farrow & Ball is probably best known for its library of elegant paint colors that each have interesting histories behind them. The paint names are also appealing in a very British way: Mouse’s Back, Elephant’s Breath, and Cat’s Paw are some of their more popular shades. Not to worry, they are not all named for animal parts! There are others like Calamine, Downpipe, and Churlish Green.
I’m currently in the process of finishing up my half-assed paint job in our home. I sort of did part of it when we first moved in, then many things conspired to delay the completion of the job: work, side projects, having a kid, and my unstoppable urge to become a world-class procrastinator.
I’m happy to say that now, two-thirds of the way into summer, I’m getting closer to being done!
First, I’m going to explain why we wanted to paint. You see, the entire place was done up in colors very similar to these:
Except the paint used was of significantly lesser quality than Farrow & Ball, and the painter was an even more atrocious painter than I am. I mean, they painted over the door hinges.
Now, there’s not really anything wrong with these colors, except that I am not really a beige person, and I prefer not waking up to walls the color of baby poop (that’s you, Hay).
So, once DH was on board with painting up the place, I did a lot of research to find out what paint I should use.
I ended up choosing Farrow & Ball for three reasons:
- Their colors are stunning. In person, the difference is really noticeable. We used some nice Pratt & Lambert paints in our old place and loved the performance and look, but Farrow & Ball is a step above.
- Low-VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in their eco-friendly water-based paint. It’s like there are no fumes at all.
- We don’t have a car, so it’d be a massive pain to go buy several cans of paint and primer. Luckily, Farrow & Ball was the only brand/store I found that offered paint delivery at a reasonable price, within Canada. Sold!
I ordered a bunch of samples from Farrow & Ball and painted up canvas-wrapped boards from Dollarama to see which colors we liked best. These are the nine that made our my shortlist:
And, because this is, first and foremost, a nail polish blog:
(By the way, Avon NailWear in Jade is actually a better match for Arsenic than Illamasqua Nomad is, but I couldn’t find a nice official product image. I need to re-swatch it for you guys; it’s one of my all-time favorite greens!)
Our open concept living area and hallways are now more or less Dix Blue, which changes shades beautifully depending on the lighting. It’s soft and a little moody in dim light, placid in medium light, and quietly cheerful in sunlight.
The master bedroom is painted in Calluna, a compromise between girly and…not girly. It’s just lavender enough in sunlight, for a feminine touch, but in less than bright lighting, it’s so heathery that it tends to look more grey than anything else. It’s incredibly restful and goes well with the nearly black, espresso-colored furniture that the husband favors. Men actually like to compliment this paint color when they see it.
I’d ideally also like to do the master bath in Pelt (which is not quite as dark as it looks in the swatch, especially in a brightly lit room), perhaps just one wall of the baby’s currently stark white room in Blue Ground, and the kitchen in either Cooking Apple Green or Farrow’s Cream.
The main bathroom needs renovation, so there will be no painting there for a while. It’s currently that Fawn color, but shiny. Eww. (Incidentally, I went with the Modern Emulsion finish—mostly matte, 7% sheen—for Dix Blue and the Estate Emulsion finish—matte—for Calluna, and both are lovely and not terribly difficult to clean.) I’d love to do the bathroom in Arsenic Green or Charlotte’s Locks, but nobody else seems to dig those! I guess green would not really make you look good in the bathroom mirror, but orange would, right?! Ah well. Might have to go safe in there. Sigh.
What paint colors do you live with? What color would you recommend for a (windowless) bathroom?