KELLY WEARSTLER'S CALIFORNIA COLLECTION FOR FARROW & BALL PAINT: 5 things we love about it

The prestigious British paint company enlisted the renowned American designer to create The California Collection. And our resident Californian weighs in on why it all works!


words by Mike Dion

images courtesy of Farrow & Ball


Awe-inspiring architecture, boundary-breaking theater productions, Instagrammable landmarks, high tea. The Beatles!


Yes, when you think about Great Britain, a number of extraordinary things instantly spring to mind. The Brits are influencers in so many categories, color trends being one of them.


British paint brand Farrow & Ball - with its 75-year history of filling tin after tin with beautiful, richly pigmented, eco-friendly paint - is most definitely a color force to be reckoned with. It's no wonder F&B is a darling of the design industry, and one of, if not the, finest paint you can buy.



Granted, they know paint. But California? Maybe not so much. So, to develop "The California Collection," Farrow & Ball enlisted American designer Kelly Wearstler, who is internationally recognized for the multi-layered spaces she creates using a masterful juxtaposition of color and form. Wearstler’s love of color has long been a hallmark of her career, and she has used Farrow & Ball in her projects for decades. It's a pairing one might say is as meant to be as fish & chips.



“Color is the spirit of a room, and provides expressive power to transform a space with your personal voice, whether you’re painting all of your walls, or just one,” says Wearstler.


the world-famous designer visits Farrow & Ball's factory in Dorset, England

photo: Harry Crowder


She also says that the eight sun-soaked hues that comprise the collection were inspired by “the light of the Pacific and the landscape of California." Well, as a California resident myself, I'll wholeheartedly agree that those things are inspiring. But if you ask me how they translate as a paint collection, my answer is this:


Very well, indeed!

citrona: inspired by the lemon trees that thrive in Cali's temperate climate


faded terracotta: the singular color of pots and tiles baked by the sun


palm: a love letter to the trees that dot the Los Angeles skyline


sand: a warm white that conjures images of Malibu


hazy: a muted blue-grey inspired by the marine layer that gently draws the fog inland


salt: a crisper white reminiscent of the salty air ushered in by the Pacific Ocean


tar: captures the off-black of sundrenched freeways

stoke: an effortless gray that conjures city streets and cloudy coastal days



Here are five reasons why I love Farrow & Ball's The California Collection by Kelly Wearstler:


1. IT OFFERS A FRESH TWIST ON "NEUTRAL"

photo: Trevor Tondro


Even though citrona, faded terracotta, hazy blue, and pale palm green may not be the colors you'd normally consider "neutral," the fact is, they kinda behave the same; by working beautifully as a background, they give you the opportunity to introduce an almost endless array of additional colors via furniture, fabrics, art, and accessories.


2. IT'S CRAZY VERSATILE

photo: Trevor Tondro


Because of their subdued nature, with these colors you can totally play with textures, layers, and patterns from floor-to-ceiling. You don't have to worry about anything clashing or competing like you'd be inclined to if the colors were more vibrant. And also, the palette works with practically any design style. I could see updating a Spanish Colonial with "Salt" on the walls and "Tar" as a contrast trim. "Hazy," "Palm," and "Sand" would give a nice lift to a Mission-style. And as far as Midcentury Modern... well, obviously they all work wonderfully.


3. IT DEMONSTRATES GOOD TASTE

photo: Trevor Tondro


Kelly's curated shades provide a steady, soothing atmosphere while making a space feel open and welcoming. On top of that, these colors articulate a modern sense of style. No matter if you use just one shade, or all eight... you really cannot go wrong, and you'll always come across as refined and sophisticated in your aesthetic.


4. IT'S ROOTED IN HISTORY

photo: Trevor Tondro


If you love treasure-hunting through L.A.'s vintage furniture shops and thrift stores like I do, then you'll find these colors familiar. Thousands of adoring fans of such influential design periods can't be wrong. Enough said.


5. IT'S JUST SUCH FUN

photo: Trevor Tondro


You can use the same color on all four walls, a different one on each wall (and don't forget about accenting the ceiling, or "fifth wall"), give personality to a small space, paint baseboards and/or crown molding a delightfully unexpected shade, or try something bold like a stripe or other graphic. With this palette, it's okay to take chances. The risk is none, and the rewards are many!


photo: Trevor Tondro


To learn more about The California Collection by Kelly Wearstler for Farrow & Ball, or to find out where to buy, visit: farrow-ball.com