Behind the Scenes of The California Collection

Written on 15th April 2021

Our new collection might be a love letter to the Golden State, but – like all Farrow & Ball colours – its eight sun-soaked hues got their start on the south coast of England.

It’s here, in the county of Dorset, that Farrow & Ball has had its headquarters since 1946. Fast forward more than 70 years, and we were delighted to find ourselves at the start of another story: that of The California Collection.

When we invited jet-setting designer Kelly Wearstler to swap her native West Coast for our humble south coast back in 2019, it’s safe to say she was just as excited as we were. “Going to Farrow & Ball and spending time in the lab was just magic,” says Kelly, “and seeing the colours that I had in my mind’s eye was amazing.”

Meeting Charlotte Cosby and Gareth Hayfield – Farrow & Ball Head of Creative and Head of Research and Technical Development, respectively – Kelly was introduced to all that makes Farrow & Ball paint special, from creative development to rigorous testing.

“I was so blown away by the attention to detail,” she continues. “Every quart of paint is inspected, and what it does to the colours is really so sensual. They have so much depth and really evoke an incredible emotion.”

The feeling, it’s safe to say, was mutual. “It was brilliant working with Kelly on The California Collection,” says Charlotte, “especially as her way of working is so similar to ours. She truly loves colour, and it’s an integral part of her life, just as it is for us, so we always knew it was going to be a great match.”

In fact, the dream partnership had already been firmly set in motion by the time Kelly touched down on British soil in 2019. “Kelly had kicked off the project by sending us some moodboards – really beautiful ones, with inspiring images and physical materials, which gave us a great feel for what she wanted to see”, says Charlotte.

Armed with Kelly’s moodboards, Charlotte spent some time with Gareth in the lab, creating colours that they felt matched the spirit of the original boards and giving them the Farrow & Ball treatment (a lot of consideration and countless careful tweaks) before deciding on a selection they knew Kelly would be happy with.

“When Kelly visited our home in Dorset, we ended up making just two further adjustments,” says Charlotte, “which just goes to show that we all had the same vision for how we wanted the collection to look and feel.”

But it wasn’t just our dedication to seeking pigment perfection that impressed Kelly – “What I love about Farrow & Ball is that all the paint is water based”, she says. “When I went to the factory there were no toxic smells, which is going to translate in your home.”

Curious why water based paint is the safer, greener choice for your home – no matter the colour you choose? You can read all about it here. Or, if you’re ready to get stuck into taking this California-infused collaboration from our home to yours, check out the full California Collection palette.

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