Designing Sustainably With AphroChic

Designing Sustainably With AphroChic

22 February 2023

Left - Walls: Inchyra Blue No.289Right – Walls & woodwork: Sand No.CC2.

Photographer: Patrick Cline. These images are featured in AphroChic: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home.

Meet Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason, the husband-and-wife team behind iconic design brand AphroChic (find them on Instagram @aphrochic) and bestselling book, AphroChic: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home. Through the book, Jeanine and Bryan invite you to step inside the homes of notable Black Americans, exploring the journey, joy and struggle surrounding the Black family home, and the role interior design plays in that story. It’s truly special to see our paint make an appearance on the pages of such a powerful, beautiful book.

So we caught up with the couple to talk about their journey decorating their home with Farrow & Ball (featured in the book as the AphroFarmhouse Project). They knew they wanted deep colours to evoke a sense of warmth and security, but due to health concerns, they also needed to be mindful of air quality. So naturally, our pigment-rich paints rated A+ for indoor air quality were just the match. Our Brand Ambassador Patrick O’Donnell was more than happy to help bring their vision to life. The result? A spectacular sanctuary that tells a story.

1. Tell us about AphroChic and how it came about.

Bryan: AphroChic began in 2007 as a blog. Jeanine had always been interested in interior design and as we read the blogs that were popular at the time, we noticed there was a lack of representation on both sides: first, there was little-to-no mention of designers of colour; second, there was no recognition that anyone reading the content might be anything other than white. We began AphroChic with the intention of filling that gap in the conversation.

This then led us into the home decor market, where we found a similar gap. So we began our product line, beginning with pillows before expanding into fabrics, wallpaper and much more over time. Since then, we’ve also developed into media and we’ve just opened our first art shop too. So, we’ve grown from a blog to a culturally focused media and design brand.

Walls: Sand No.CC2

2. Why did you choose Farrow & Ball for your home?

Bryan: We bought our first home shortly after starting the book and knew we wanted to include it. We reached out to Farrow & Ball because we wanted a particular depth of colour in our rooms but also because Jeanine suffers from long-COVID, which causes a host of health conditions, so we needed paint that wouldn’t put potentially harmful particles into the air. As well as the amazing variety of colours and finishes, Farrow & Ball paint also offers remarkable air quality.

One of the most important things to us is designing sustainably. And that isn’t just a matter of choosing products with their environmental impact in mind, it’s also about the impact they have on our health. As people are continuing to spend more time at home and we’re seeing more homes housing multiple generations, it’s becoming more important than ever that we design with an eye towards heath. Low-VOC options like Farrow & Ball can be a literal lifesaver.

3. How did you start choosing the colour scheme for your home? What emotions were you looking to elicit?

Jeanine: The first thing we did was sit down with Patrick. We went over the kinds of colours we thought would be interesting, sharing that we wanted colours with a depth that felt like you could dive in and swim in them. We wanted to evoke that sense of depth and story primarily, and then warmth and cosiness. Patrick used all of that to help us to devise an extensive colour palette.

4. Your palette includes some wonderful, bold shades. What advice would you give to someone nervous about using bolder colours?

Jeanine: Many of us embrace colour in our homes as a way of evoking emotion, recalling memories or celebrating culture. So if you’re a bit shy to go big with colour, go back to what your home means to you and how you want it to feel. If you want to feel like you’re in a calm, tropical oasis, blues that remind you of the sea or the sky can help bring that feeling to life.

Dark colours, like black, can also act like neutrals, creating a canvas for other shades to pop against.

Most of all, our advice would be: don’t worry about getting it wrong. It’s ok to try something new and it’s ok if it doesn’t work out.

5. What’s your favourite room in the house and why?

Jeanine: That’s hard because we actually have a few! Bryan’s favourite room in the house is our library. It’s a beautiful open space full of shelves, plenty of seating and a long table for reading or writing. It’s colour drenched in Inchyra Blue, which is actually my favourite Farrow & Ball shade for the way it manages to be deep and moody yet comfortable and inviting all at once.

Bryan: Jeanine’s favourite room is the living room because it’s so comfortable and warm. Painted from floor to ceiling in Sand, the off-white neutral tone is the perfect backdrop for the other colours in the space: the dusty pink sofas, the wooden coffee table, the cream-colored curtains and the many pieces of sculpture.

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