Interview with Joa Studholme, Colour Consultant Farrow & Ball

  1. What do you do?

I work with Farrow & Ball, helping to develop the colour palette, as well as working in customers houses giving them advice and generally spreading the good word about how colour can transform the home.


  1. Your favourite style icon?

I have been more influenced by the way Rothko uses colours than anything else.


  1. Your favourite colour?

That is like asking me which is my favourite child.


  1. What is your must-have item for next season?

One of the New Colours on the Farrow & Ball palette, Stiffkey Blue, is a beautiful deep shade, which perfectly embodies next year’s trend of ‘natural’ colours. Its inspiration comes from the amazing colour of the mud found on a beach in Stiffkey in Norfolk. It’s wonderful for creating either a light hearted environment when used with Light Blue and Setting Plaster, or for something more dramatic when combined with Off Black. I love it.


  1. What is your favourite trend from the past year and how did it come about?

Not particularly from the last year but the use of only one colour within a room – walls, woodwork and even furniture is still my favourite – and of course it has a great historic precedent from the Georgians.  I’ve done this myself in my hallway which is decorated throughout in rich Down Pipe. By using the same colour on walls, woodwork and doors you create a sense of calm in a space, as well as making it feel larger as there are no contrasts to draw the eye.


  1. How long have you been working as International Colour Consultant and what is your creative background?

I have worked with Farrow & Ball for the past 16 years. Prior to that I had some time off to have children and before that I worked in the art department in the TV industry.


  1. What are the best aspects about your current role?

Having the privilege to work with the best quality paint in the world – a product that looks like no other.


  1. What are the main duties of your role?

Advising people in their homes about the best colours and combinations to use – taking into account the light, the architecture and how they are going to use the room.


  1. What’s your typical day like?

I usually see at least 3 clients a day, but I might also give a talk on colour in the evening.


  1. Tell about your experience as a International Colour Consultant

I have been lucky enough to go to some really fantastic houses all over the world. I am currently working on a new build in Ibizia and a renovated factory in Greece.


  1. How does Farrow & Ball differ from other companies?

The quality of the paint is second to none – it has a depth of colour that no one else gets close to. Although there are now Farrow & Ball showrooms all over the world, it stays true to its heritage. The paint is hand-crafted and made using the finest, natural  ingredients and age old methods, which provides a quality paint finish to homes and spaces far and wide.


  1. Do you create trends?

I certainly look to what colours will work together for the up coming year, and hopefully the New Colours from Farrow & Ball will create a trend in themselves! The nine new colours on the palette incorporate four neutrals, three brighter colours and two darker shades, perfect for creating cool grey environments or adding accents of strong colour to liven up drab rooms.


  1. How do you put it all together?

It takes experience, instinct and lots of hard work to create a colour scheme for a room that my clients will love!


  1. What do you feel are the most important trends / changes happening in the industry?

The return to bright white woodwork – even in gloss. We’re also seeing a real move towards colours that bring us back to nature as we turn our backs on the hard flat surfaces that dominate modern environments.


  1. How much have the trends changed in the last 5 years?

I actually think that for the last 5 years we have moved quite slowly when it comes to trends. There has definitely been a shift towards more grey-based neutrals, but Farrow & Ball shades such as Pointing, Old White and Off-White remain timeless classics.


  1. Why is it important for businesses to incorporate trends into their designs?

It’s important to stay true to your heritage, something Farrow & Ball do well, making hand-crafted paints using traditional methods. However, trends across all aspects of our lives, including fashion and design, are always evolving and it’s necessary to recognise this to ensure products are both current and relevant to customers.  It’s not necessarily about being fashion forward, but being more subtly aware of what’s going on in the world around us.


When it comes to interiors, recognising and highlighting trends is useful for people looking  to transform their homes, helping them to realise which looks they like, and which they don’t. When colours are grouped together in trends they come alive in a way that isn’t always obvious when looking at them separately.


  1. What future key trends in interiors should readers start to consider now?

Paying more attention to the ceiling – gloss finishes, colours and even wallpapers.


  1. Can you give us a sneak preview of the hottest colours for 2014/2015?

In 2014 Farrow & Ball colours that are inspired by nature will be a key trend. Cooking Apple Green, Stiffkey Blue, Purbeck Stone and Mole’s Breath, influenced by seashores and landscapes, can help to create stylish but ultimately comfortable homes.


  1. How did you pin point these?

I work with a variety of people from creative and industry experts, and also  draw inspiration from the clients I work with every day. We select colours by considering long term trends in decorating and by paying attention to the changing ways that consumers use their homes and live their lives.


  1. How has the economic crisis affected recent colour trends?

Yes very much so – it was when the economy was at its worst that people started to use colour again – almost like a defiant gesture in the face of such gloom.


  1. Trends seem to come at practically any time and from anywhere, how do you ensure that you are on top of these movements?

At Farrow & Ball we never jump on the back of trends or create colours because of them. Instead, our edited palette of 132 colours is created organically from industry expertise and inspiration from the things around us.