Last week, I told you about our wish to renovate our ultra-house in the most ecological way possible. A real challenge as it is a field that I knew little about (in fact, I have never ever been tackling such a project) where ecological and environmental issues emerge slowly but are not so easy to understand all the same.
The two main materials we focused on from the start were wood flooring and paint. Choosing a paint that was good for the environment and for our health seemed logical to us, and the more we searched on this subject the more we ended up being lost! Finding the right brand of paint, which combines beautiful colours, good long-term rendering and is environmentally friendly was not going to be a piece of cake.
Until I came across a newspaper article about the Farrow & Ball brand. A name that I did not know, but which was much more familiar to my friends who love decorating. “THE” ultimate brand of paint that ticked all the boxes, and even ones we were not asking for!
Brilliant! So today, I am delighted, after having spent hours emptying bucket after bucket of paint on the walls of our house, to tell you about Farrow & Ball!
WHO IS FARROW & BALL?
As you know, I love stories. The stories of brands, and great projects. Because behind companies that are now brewing millions there is often one or two visionaries hidden in the past and I find it important to remember them!
For Farrow & Ball it all started in 1946, when John and Richard both worked in a clay quarry in Dorset, England. John Farrow was trained as a chemist and Richard Ball was an engineer. They shared the same passion: creating original colours and formulations, using the finest ingredients.
“The first Farrow & Ball factory is established in Verwood, Dorset. Very quickly, the company supplied paint to the Ford Motor Company, Raleigh Bicycles, the Admiralty, and the Ministry of War. Customers for whom quality takes precedence over aesthetic and decorative requirements. Then, at the end of the 1960s, the company was bought by Norman Chappell.”
For seventy years now the paintings are still been made by craftsmen in Dorset. And Farrow & Ball has been dedicated to creating eco-friendly paints and wallpapers ever since with the finest ingredients and the richest pigments.
FARROW & BALL PRODUCTS
In 2010, Farrow & Ball reconsiders its formulations to switch oil paintings to water-based paints with low VOC (volatile organic compounds). They are thus the first in the sector to review their formulations to offer a more ecological range. I will come back a little below on the brand’s ecological commitments which go far beyond the sole formulation.
From the start, the brand’s DNA has been to offer paints rich in pigments, positioning itself in the high-end segment of the market. It offers more than 132 colours that you can admire here. Their texture is quite outstanding, as Cyril, whom I quote, can attest “I found the application brilliant, and almost loved painting!”. High content of pigments, rich resins, and refractory ingredients… I am not a chemist, but it is noticeable and apparent that the colours interact with the light and that the final rendering is quite impressive.
If I am starting to have some basics in the field of food or cosmetics, decoration was a whole new area for me and therefore I got absorbed by all this paint topic so as to understand all the ins and outs. Farrow & Ball is one of the pioneering brands on this subject, being the first to switch to a range of 100% water-based paints. Depending on the finishes, the paints have a low or minimal VOC content. They are also rated A + for the most part, according to the classification of the French decree on indoor air quality.
As for the ingredients, they come from eco-responsible sectors and the paints are of course not tested on animals.
FARROW & BALL’S COMMITMENTS:
While the composition of paint is very important to ensure that the paint is environmentally friendly and good for your health, it is of course crucial that the process does not stop at the product itself. It is very interesting to see that once again the brand has been quite innovative in this market and therefore offers very advanced alternatives and commitments that are constantly improving.
- 100% of dry waste from the Dorset plant is recycled or converted to energy
- 97% of liquid waste is recycled thanks to a clean water treatment system (and the brand is working to ensure its 100% recycling)
- Cardboard packaging is made from 75% recycled materials and here again Farrow & Ball’s goal is to improve in the years to come.
- Paper documents such as colour charts, brochures or letters are made with FSC® certified printers and FSC® certified paper.
- Metal pots are infinitely recyclable and incidentally they are beautiful
- And finally, Farrow & Ball ensures that all its sites in the UK are fully compliant with the Energy Saving Opportunity (ESOS) program for energy conservation.
In short, they’ve got it all!
MODERN EMULSION, THE ECOLOGICAL PAINT RESISTANT ENOUGH TO ADAPT ITSELF TO THE NEEDS OF EVERYDAY LIFE.
I must admit I was a little lost at first when faced with the different finishes offered by Farrow & Ball (designed for interior and exterior): Estate Emulsion, Estate Eggshell, Modern Eggshell, Exterior Eggshell, Full Gloss, Exterior Masonry and Modern Emulsion…
I will tell you about the latter in a little more detail since we chose this finish for the bedroom, the dining room, the living room, the kitchen (and finally for my office too).
The Modern Emulsion finish is the one that is perfectly suited to everyday life. it is:
Easy to clean: Its ingredients and the hydrophobic properties of the resin that binds them together, create a smooth surface that makes it easy to wipe up stains and splashes. This also makes the paint film sufficiently resistant to friction! It’s better if half the paint does not wear away when you wipe it with a sponge!
Super resistant: Farrow & Ball loads its paints with high quality ingredients and a large quantity of ultra-resistant binder. While preserving a new and fresh appearance for a long time, these paints are therefore perfectly suited to rooms of the house with intense activity (for example a kitchen where a small dog does mischief all day long…).
Mildew Protected: The addition of a preservative protects the paint surface and makes Modern Emulsion a finish of choice for any room in the house, even kitchens and bathrooms prone to moisture.
EASY TO APPLY: With a perfectly balanced mix of paint, Modern Emulsion is applied effortlessly with a beautifully smooth colour and finish.
… AND OUR FAVORITES AT FARROW & BALL?
We spent hours and hours on the website and on the brand’s colour chart (which is also delivered for free) to choose the 3 main colours of our house. A tough choice because the colours are all really very beautiful…
In the end, our selection was:
Hague Blue in Modern Emulsion for the bedroom. A very dark blue that contrasts with the brighter colours of the other rooms. I can’t wait to show you the result!
Breakfast Room Green in Modern Emulsion for the kitchen. The choice of green was a real headache and an endless debate with Cyril but we got through it! We hesitated a lot with the Theresa Green, which also looked magnificent, but in the end the Breakfast Room Green won. The “happiest of all greens, taking its name from the rooms generally facing east where the first meal of the day was served, this green is especially gorgeous in the light of dawn.”
Oval Room Blue in Modern Emulsion for the dining / living room. It was “THE” main colour of the house, which would cover the walls of the living room and the dining room. So, it took us again a very long time to decide. Depending on the light, it gives a totally different rendering, the shades of gray getting more or less accentuated. Its slightly “historic” touch via its weathered effect really lends a rather classy appearance. In short, we are delighted!