Photography by Boz Gagovski
Our Brand Ambassador Patrick O’Donnell gets a lot of love for his house. In fact, “what colour is the wall behind you?” is one of the most asked questions for Patrick on our Instagram — maybe even the most asked question. It’s Minster Green by the way.
Farrow & Ball followers aren’t the only ones interested in Patrick’s backdrop; House & Garden magazine liked what they saw so much, they asked for a full house tour and featured the space online. So we’ve asked the man himself to take us on a tour too and tell us all about his recently redecorated home, from how he created a big impact with a limited budget to the challenge of balancing differing tastes.
“It was at the end of 2020,” explains Patrick, “when we upped sticks and moved back to England from County Down, Northern Ireland to live with my mother who needs ‘light touch’ care. A balancing act needed to happen. We had to respect that this isn’t our house, so any decoration must fit in with my mother’s requirements. However, some spaces are solely for us to use, such as my study, our bedroom and our bathroom, so I was able to stamp much more personality here.”
“The study is a tiny, quite poorly lit room (it’s northwest facing), so I wanted to go relatively dark. It works a treat! There’s a lot of furniture crammed into this space but it feels deeply cosy and a great environment to focus the mind.
“The walls are covered in my more contemporary pictures and Minster Green sets them off a treat. In balance, the space is softened with hints of brick red upholstery and some very blousy, chintz blinds I remodelled from existing curtains — I try and repurpose all the time.”
“This was a really chilly room before — something I labelled ‘Abattoir Chic’ — so this was all about softening the space. The starting point was an archive paper called Orleans Stripe that I’ve always loved. I’m a huge fan of paper in bathrooms (as long as ventilation is good!) because it warms what is often a hard-edged space.
“I also found some slightly kitsch, discontinued fabric at one of my secret fabrics spots, which I had made into softly draped blinds, again to soften the space. As is my usual way, I finished the walls with a mixture of pictures, plates and frippery.”
“The bedroom decoration came from some curtains I rescued from my neighbour, who was about to chuck them out. They wouldn’t have been my first choice if I’d had the budget to start from scratch but they were beautifully made and in fantastic condition. I pulled a colour from the design for the walls, hovering between Yeabridge Green and Cane but eventually choosing the latter because of how it glows, creating a blush tone in summer and a deeply cosy feel in winter.”
Hall & Landing
“This space looked incredibly tired, so I wanted to make it feel fresh. As with most halls, it’s poorly lit and most of the light comes from any open doors, so I opted for gentle Pink Ground to soften the space with a little warmth. To balance the pink, I opted for Sutcliffe Green on the bannisters. This also had a practical rationale, as my mother’s eyesight isn’t brilliant. So, I used the principal of LRV (light reflective value), which is essentially creating contrast between light and dark to help people with less vision see edges more clearly.”
“We had no budget to change the kitchen, so this was a mini makeover. We wanted to warm-up the dining area and create somewhere to house our absurd cookbook library. So, I had some timber cut locally, bought some cheap brackets and painted EVERYTHING in Biscuit in Dead Flat – doors and all. I painted the tiny larder space in beautifully rich Etruscan Red, which works wonderfully with the warmth of Biscuit. I also painted the kitchen table legs in Mahogany to obliterate the previous and screaming magnolia colour.