Meet Apple and Plum. These 18th-century cottages have long been a home from home to Dorset holidaymakers, but their neutral palettes didn’t quite capture their cosy potential. Enter: Joa Studholme and our virtual colour consultancy service.
“Colour consultancy is our tailored colour advice service that helps take the stress out of choosing colours for your home”, says Joa, Farrow & Ball Colour Curator and our original Colour Consultant. “For this project, we used a virtual colour consultancy, which takes place through your mobile phone or through your laptop.”
The virtual service was originally launched during 2020 to keep our expert colour advice accessible during the first wave of COVID-19. Now, even long after our in-home service appointments have resumed, it’s proving an incredibly popular option for clients like Ali, the owner of Apple and Plum cottages.
That the cottages play host to families on holiday was a big part of choosing their colour identity.
“Ali wanted a bit of help getting bolder with the colour schemes”, says Joa, “so people get that kind of ‘wow factor’ when they arrive – not just sticking to neutrals.”
Agreeing that the properties shouldn’t be “overwhelmed with colour”, they settled on a plan for Apple and Plum: one that saw the main living areas remain mostly neutral, but with added pops of colour to add the personality and playfulness Ali wanted her holidaymakers to experience as part of their stay.
“The kitchen was really quite small and didn’t have a lot of light,” says Joa. “The other thing is that it’s where you enter the cottage, so I wanted to have some drama.”
To that end, the formerly neutral space was given an all-over treatment of Preference Red. The rich, dark shade was taken all over the walls, cabinets and ceiling for a look that’s both impactful and instantly welcoming.
To many of us, this might fly in the face of conventional wisdom when it comes to choosing colours, but it’s a common misconception that small rooms should avoid dark colours. “Counterintuitively, it makes the space feel larger,” says Joa, “because you can’t see the distinction between the walls and the units.”
In the living room, Joa adds, she wanted to keep the space “as bright and airy as possible”. School House White, which features prominently throughout Joa’s own home, was the perfect candidate for this, with a touch of Pigeon on the panelling to create flow with the cottages’ exterior woodwork.
For the main bedroom, Joa used Ali’s existing furnishings as a cue for her palette. “We chose Setting Plaster, which worked really well with those fabrics, and it’s also the most embracing colour – it really feels like it’s giving you a hug!”
In the children’s bedroom, the calming Mizzle (an appropriate choice, with its West Country roots) has been chosen for the walls. As a lighter version of Pigeon, this continues the feeling of flow throughout the cottage. Finally, for a touch of fun, the bunk beds have been painted in vibrant Sloe Blue.
“The kitchen in Apple cottage is quite often used for entertaining,” explains Joa, “so we wanted to keep it big and light. We chose Pink Ground, because it has a warmth to it, and took it up over the walls and ceiling.”
In striking contrast to the pale walls and ceilings, Monkey Puzzle was chosen for the kitchen cabinets to inject a hint of colour. To create flow, this deep, rich colour was then taken through to the living room.
Using a darker shade on the woodwork while keeping the walls neutral is a great trick for adding a contemporary note of colour and interest to a space, while still giving an overall light, bright and breezy impression.
Apple’s living room is also a great lesson in zoning – where a small patch of wall sits alone under the stairs, Joa and Ali also chose to paint this in Monkey Puzzle to create a cosy little nook.
In the ground-floor bedrooms and bathrooms, the idea was to choose colours that not only complemented the hardware already there but flowed effortlessly from the living room. To this end, the bedroom was treated to Smoked Trout walls while the bathroom was transformed into a luxurious hideaway with deep Card Room Green.
Finally, in the upstairs bedrooms, the same method was used to create two distinct effects. In the first, French Gray was chosen for the walls with the darker Treron used as an accent. In the second, the Light Blue room has been completed with rich Sloe Blue accents.
Instead of pairing wall colours with a bright white, choosing a few tones from within a colour family, as Joa and Ali did here, takes any strong contrasts out of the room, which makes for a more restful result – perfect for a relaxing bedroom.
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Our colour consultancy service is designed to help you create a beautiful home without the stress. Our expert Colour Consultants do that by handling the parts that you find tricky, whether that’s finding a scheme everyone can agree on, not feeling confident with colour, or being overwhelmed by options.