A Story in Colour with the Farrow & Ball Archive

Written on 22nd January 2023

Painted in Blazer No.212. All photographs credit: Boz Gagovski.

From Oscar Wilde to the colours of Brazil, Max Hurd was full of ideas for making his first home, a Victorian London terrace, feel uniquely him. Given the creative consultant’s penchant for flair and the talents of interior decorator and frame maker Benedict Foley of A.Prin (a long-time friend of Max’s who he called on for advice) it’s no surprise the finished look is bold, bright and brilliant. Also helped, of course, by our very own richly pigmented paints. The pair’s passion for colour lead them to our doorstep and, with the encouragement of our brand ambassador and colour connoisseur Patrick O’Donnell, Max and Benedict took a deep dive into the Archive to find the array of colours that now adorn the space.

We caught up with Max and Benedict to hear all about their journey transforming the space from simply a house to Max’s home. And what a truly special home it is.

Left: Painted in Blazer No.212.

Right: Painted in Blazer No.212 and Charlotte’s Locks No.268.

Can you describe your style in five words?

Max: Eclectic, humorous, unabashed, considered, evolving.

Benedict: Source based, depth, sustainable, humorous and joyful!

Max, what vision did you have for your home?

Max: The comment I get the most is that the house feels like a mini country house, in Queens Park, which is exactly the vibe we wanted to achieve. I knew from the get-go I wanted something unique that combined all my interests in one colourful narrative. The space needed to reflect who I am right now, but also pay tribute to the elements that came before.

I went to boarding school, and then university, and then renting. None of those spaces ever really felt like places I could fully make my mark on. So, when it came to decorating this space, the first space that’s fully mine, I had years of pent-up ideas ready! I was very aware I was vastly under qualified, so I drafted in Benedict, whom I had been friends with for years, to help.

Left: Painted in Fake Tan No.9912.

Right: Painted in Babouche No.223.

You’ve chosen some incredible colours. How did you pick and did it feel like a leap of faith?

Benedict: We worked closely on the story at the start, which was key to the colour choice. I feel strongly that if you get the story right, then everything else flows from it. It also means you can check your decisions against an agreed start point. It's easy to get distracted by things you see along the way, and that's not to say ideas can't come in and be included, but you do need to check they make good bed fellows with everything else.

Max: I knew I wanted to go bold with the colour – greens, yellows, pinks and red. Colours from my childhood in Brazil were a strong starting point, as were my enduring obsessions with Oscar Wilde and Marie Antoinette. I also knew I’d need help to make sure it tied together as a good sort of mad. When Benedict agreed to come on board, all worry I had evaporated because he obviously has an incomparable level of genius and I have total confidence in his skills.

Benedict taught me to look past what is, to what could be and, more importantly, to what will last. He was keen to stop me falling into the trap of loving it right now, and then hating it in 3 years. So, we looked away from trends and really delved deep into the history of interior decorating to pull from there. So no, it never felt like a leap of faith into the unknown, I dove straight in with eyes wide open knowing we were going to land in the right spot!

Were you surprised by any of the colour choices you made?

Max: The only room we agonised over was the pink for the drawing room. The painters had already started before we finally realised it just had to be Bisque, which we’d initially discarded on account of being ‘too orangey’. I think the lesson there is to allow the space to talk back, none of the other pinks were working, and I am so glad we listened when the room cried out for Bisque!

Benedict: We had fairly clear ideas from the start, so not really, Bisque was perhaps the biggest leap but I knew it was the energy we needed. I'm thrilled with the way everything has turned out, especially as we used many archive colours that get fewer outings!

How do you feel when you’re in the house? Did you achieve what you hoped?

Max: Now, I’m never happier than when I’m at home, which is a huge surprise to me and those close to me — I’ve always been someone who loves going out, constantly flitting around London like some sort of manic butterfly (or moth!). I think because this house is so reflective of me, coming home feels like returning to a part of myself. For all its vibrant colour, it’s actually a very calm space, as the colours flow from one room to the next — something Benedict was instrumental in ensuring. The truth is I never really want to leave the house, and I don’t think you can ask more of a space than that.

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

Max: Honestly all of them. Every single room in the house fills me with huge amounts of joy, so I really couldn’t pick one.

Benedict: It very much depends on the time of day but probably the attic. I'd say the room was almost overwhelmed with the practical necessity of fitting into the roof space, and now it's a sort of fantasy moment filled with movement and surprise.

Explore The Archive

Follow in Max’s footsteps with a trip through our archived shades and you may uncover the very colour you’re after for your next project.

Take a look

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