Good Red Paint: Farrow&Ball Red Earth

Good Red Paint: Farrow&Ball Red Earth

Mark Chamberlain
Apr 6, 2010

This little post almost deserves two headings: the first would be as a guest room painted two years ago, the second was an addendum of decorative painting recently completed once it was made clear that baby was due.

Guest Room before Red Earth

I'm always looking for a good red, and when considering color for this room, I think we landed upon this spontaneously. There was red in the photo, copper in the lamps, pillows and silks. I was newly working with Farrow&Ball, and trusted them on this point on instinct. Their restricted palette implies that they've done the thinking for you.

What was curious for me was this — could we make this mumsy, 18th century color work in a contemporary setting? The answer, I think, is yes. Red Earth is an ochre dating back to Antiquity. It's smashing in this context — a bit red, a bit brown, a little pink with a hint of terra cotta, all at once. It never settles on one thing, and I like that, this architectural setting doesn't need to be Victorian.

Part Two is this — Guest Room needs to make way for baby and transform itself into a nursery, for twins no less! The client saw my Harold and the Purple Crayon post and wanted something similar here without painting out the room. The white outline in this context wasn't working, and after much ado I settled on the same design in a rainbow hue instead of the chalk lines. Same animals, different colors. I try never to repeat myself exactly.

• Farrow&Ball, Red Earth 64


- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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