We caught up with Farrow & Ball colour consultant Siobhan Doherty (known on Instagram as @home__stead) to ask her all about creating a cosy, welcoming family home that uses colour in a soft, subtle way.
Where is your favourite cosy corner in your home?
My favourite cosy corner in our home is the armchair right by the bay window in the living room. It gets the morning sun & has a beautiful view out onto the trees. If I wake before my children in the morning, I sneak downstairs, make myself a coffee & relax there for a little while. These moments alone in the still of the morning really are bliss & they set me up for the day.
We love the soft use of colour in your home. How did you draw upon your expertise as a colour consultant for Farrow & Ball to choose the paint colours for your own home?
Thank you. I have the best job in the world – I help people to choose colours for their homes. Even though I am a colour consultant I was most cautious when choosing colour for my own home. Our house is compact so I was careful not to bring in too many shades as I wanted it to feel very restful. I am drawn to bright & warm interiors so it was important to me to keep the colour scheme fairly neutral, however I did incorporate bolder colours in certain areas to make an impact. For example, the partition in the vestibule is painted in Studio Green, I love that when someone comes to our door they are greeted by a colour rather than a white internal door.
Do you have any expert tips for choosing paint colours?
Think carefully about the space you are decorating. Consider the light, the architecture and how you want to feel in the room. Smaller rooms can sometimes look better if you paint every surface in the same colour; in doing this you are not drawing attention to the parameters of the room. If you have a darker room, rather than try to make it light why not embrace the darkness & opt for a bolder colour than you normally would. This makes an otherwise drab space more interesting. A brave & effective idea would be to take the colour up onto the ceiling & embrace the cocooning feeling.
It sounds like you took on a huge renovation project with this house. What were the biggest changes that you made?
Yes, that’s correct. The house hasn’t been decorated in over 50 years, so there was a lot of work to do when we moved in 4 years ago. And we still have work to complete. In the beginning we did a little bit of structural work, knocking down the wall between the two rooms at the back to make one big family kitchen/diner. We installed a new kitchen and created a new downstairs wet room out of space gained from the hallway and the kitchen. We also reinstated the partition between the vestibule and the hallway, and created a walk in closet office upstairs off the landing, from space gained from the spare bedroom.
What are your top tips for creating a warm, welcoming and cosy home?
I do think that choosing the correct colour palette is integral to creating a cosy home. My first piece of advice would be to avoid brilliant white, even on your ceilings! Choose a softer white instead. It is important to consider how the spaces will connect and to select colours that flow well together. Add interest in the form of painted woodwork – for example, if a room is north facing it is a great idea to paint the woodwork in a slightly darker shade than the walls. This gives the illusion of a brighter and more welcoming room.
How do you create a stylish home that also works for a large family?
I would say the key to creating a stylish home that also functions for a large family is to choose quirky furniture/storage solutions. I love a nice storage basket, a cute armoire, or cabinets. I prefer to buy second hand piece of furniture from a salvage yard; often these pieces can be painted a nice accent colour and become a bespoke part of the room.