Tag Archives: Pale Powder

Paint I Love: Elephant’s Breath by Farrow & Ball

Front bedroom painted in Elephant's Breath

The main bedroom, painted in Elephant’s Breath by Farrow & Ball

I’m quite partial to a pot of Farrow & Ball paint. I used Pale Powder in the dining room of our first house and loved the way the colour changed from a pale greeny-grey to almost blue in different lights. So when I heard F&B are releasing a new range of colours on Monday, I almost wished I had a room left to paint.

Almost.

The last room we decorated was the master bedroom (ignoring the front room, which was just a quick re-paint job, and therefore doesn’t count). With our budget being a whole lot tighter these days, I scoured the aisles for an alternative to Farrow & Ball that was cheaper but just as good.

Suffice to say, I didn’t find it.

Now, I’m not saying Farrow & Ball is the be-all-and-end-all in the world of paint. I’ve used every brand under the sun – usually depending on what’s on special offer – and as long as I’m not going to be required to paint multiple coats (who has time for that?) I’m sold.

But when it comes to period colours, and that flat-matt look that works so well in old houses, Farrow & Ball wins every time.

Elephant's Breath colour scheme

Granted, lots of other brands had shades that sounded a lot more like what I was after – stone, mink, putty – but No. 229 Elephant’s Breath (so-named by decorator John Fowler in the 1940s) was the only option once the swatches were actually on the walls.

At this point I should probably include a couple of photos of the bedroom ‘before’, seeing as that’s the way it stayed for a couple of years once we moved in (there was so much to do in the rest of the house that we basically shut the door on this room and used it as a storage cupboard).

The main bedroom 'before'

The main bedroom ‘before’

The ceiling was covered in polystyrene tiles, the walls in polystyrene-backed woodchip wallpaper (to hide the giant cracks), and the floor in a rather psychedelic sheet of lino. There was damp in several places, no heating, and no (working) electrics. So by the time we’d reached decorating stage, slapping a bit of paint on the walls seemed like a walk in the park.

Let there be light(s)!

Let there be light(s)!

We got the doors dipped and treated them with linseed oil, re-glossed the fire surround and re-painted the inside with heat-resistant black paint, and finally got a carpet (I do believe I did a little dance. And when I say a little dance, I mean a stark-raving-bonkers ‘WE GOT A CARPET! NO MORE SPLINTERS!’ dance).

And of course, I painted the walls. Cup of tea steaming away on the windowsill, radio on, husband banished (nobody’s allowed to help – this is my absolute favourite thing in the world, and I’m not sharing. Plus, I’m fussy. Really fussy).

In truth, it could have benefited from a second coat, but we could only stretch to one tin. Goodness knows what we’ll do if we get any marks on the walls, because I scraped the last dregs of paint out like a kid with cookie batter.

You know, now I say it, I think there might actually be a few marks on them already, which would of course mean I’d have to repaint… I wonder if there’s such a thing as being addicted to decorating? Answers on a postcard please.

The bedroom, finished!

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