For the Love of Color

We are in love with color. Unabashedly, illimitably, zealously in love. It’s unclear how we got to this point – wanting to throw paint or wallpaper up on any surface. Maybe it’s our parents’ home where the underlying philosophy is that any inch of any wall is a decorative surface. Maybe because we both love Mark Rothko’s work. He was precise in wanting people to stand just eighteen inches away from his canvases so that their peripheral vision would be flooded with color. I’m also a huge fan of the Modernists who eschewed the idea that what we see is what there is. The move from representational art to abstraction relied so much on color to translate a mood, a condition, a vantage point.

There’s an SNL skit from a few years back called “New Paint,” in which Aidy Bryant falls into a Farrow & Ball delirium, complete with skewed British accent and delusional affect. Guilty, as charged. On any given day, you can find us as Adler’s Hardware laying the large swatches out, desperate to find another surface to paint. Ellen’s dining room is covered in De Nimes and she recently redid an office in Down Pipe. I chose Inchyra Blue for my dining room and the inky, nocturnal Hague Blue in the bedroom. A minty, retro green called Arsenic is the backdrop for my pantry – which only holds white dishes because, really, the paint is the centerpiece.

A year ago, when we started designing our logo and website (with the help of our web-guru, Jason, who is also Ellen’s husband), we quickly settled on F&B’s Railings which is dark by any measure but also as warm as can be, like a thick sweater or your favorite pair of slippers. Occasionally, we’ll commit ourselves to a lighter palette: a guest room, the kitchen, a large bathroom. (For some reason, we cannot shake our belief that the smaller the bathroom, the darker and more dramatic it should be.)

It's worth noting that part of our obsession with Farrow and Ball is that their estate emulsion is a chalky matte texture that gives every room a whiff of some old British estate in which groups of people are walking the grounds with beagles and a precocious fourteen-year-old is playing the pianoforte during afternoon tea. That’s the evocative power of color: it’s both transportive and soothing, a work of art spread thin and wide. Best of all, if you need inspiration, you can always choose a hue that offers a new adventure or jars an old memory. Just be sure to stand eighteen inches away.