At Home With: Ian James & Nick Selby

Written on 24th June 2019

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about making a new house feel like home, it’s the minds behind design-led estate agency The Modern House. Our shared love of creating spaces that excite, invite, inspire and envelop led to the creation of a four-part film series titled Living with Colour, which follows the stories of those who’ve recently brought their spaces to life using our palette.

Today, we’re looking around the east London apartment of grocers Ian James and Nick Selby. For the full tour, see their film below.

Having lived in their apartment inside the former Hackney Technical College for two decades, Ian James and Nick Selby decided it was time to add some colour to the formerly all-white space. To this end, they enlisted the help of Scott Silcox, a Colour Consultant at the Farrow & Ball Marylebone Showroom.

“The brief we gave Scott was to go big and bold, because we’ve basically lived in a white box for the past 20 years or so” says Ian.

One caveat was the couple’s kitchen, an impressive floor-to-ceiling assortment of bright red cabinets – “the red had to stay because we weren’t going to change the kitchen, so whatever we chose for the rest of the space had to complement that.”

The resulting palette embraces the kitchen as a centrepiece by matching its intensity, rather than tiptoeing around it, acting as a perfect example of how colour consultancy needn’t take a completely from-scratch approach.

One thing that had to go, however, was the large expanse of stark white wall that had characterised the open-plan kitchen, living room and dining room. In search of a shade that would add warmth and structure to the room without sacrificing its feeling of spaciousness, Scott looked to the deeper end of the Farrow & Ball palette. “Immediately, Scott showed us the De Nimes and it was just – boom, this is what we’re doing” says Nick.

And that instinct, it turns out, was right. Far from making the room feel smaller – a common fear among the colour-shy – Nick feels that opting for a deeper colour has made the space feel bigger. Simultaneously, it creates a cosy, convivial-feeling space for everything from intimate breakfasts to gatherings of friends, something that was very important to frequent entertainers Ian and Nick.

“The advantage of having a Colour Consultant is that you’re opened up to a world of colour that you probably haven’t ever considered”, says Ian. “I think my favourite part of the house now is the bit that’s just behind us here” – he gestures to the passageway behind the sofa, painted in India Yellow – “I think it’s really sophisticated.”

The sunny hue creates an unexpected but winning combination with the dusky blue of the main living space, covering the walls, floor, and even doors of the corridor leading to the master bedroom. Here, we find a soothing space painted in Treron, a beautifully soft grey-green from our latest collection of colours.

While its enveloping wall colour and cosy compactness make this room feel a world away from the rest of the apartment, the splashes of bold colour courtesy of well-chosen wall art and textiles, and the warm toned wood of the built-in wardrobe echoing the India Yellow just outside the door, ensure it still feels part of a whole.

And this doesn’t just go for the finished result – with one previous consultee even saying they’d opt for a colour consultancy over spending the day in a spa, it’s no secret that the process can be just as enjoyable as the outcome. “Scott’s confidence and professionalism just reassured you that, ‘yeah, he knows what he’s talking about – let’s do it!’” says Ian “that’s a great service.”

As for what Scott thinks of his handiwork? “I love it, it feels smart, it feels very much them.”


How to Book Your Colour Consultancy

If you’ve been inspired to enlist the help of our colour experts in your next project, why not make an enquiry through our online form today? If you’d like to learn more about our service, you can find out what makes it so special, as well as some of the finer details of what to expect on the day, right here.

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