An interview with Joa Studholme, colour curator at Farrow & Ball


The colour curator at Farrow & Ball has spent 23 years developing (and naming) new colours and spreading the word on how to use them

Joa Studholme’s love of colour and pattern fills her own home. Her new book, Recipes for Decorating, is out now

How has your style evolved?

I have always used strong Farrow & Ball colours at home, but the combinations have become more outrageous. Full gloss coloured ceilings are my current passion, especially in rich Bancha and De Nimes.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

The colours of nature, and of course Tom Helme, the genius behind the original Farrow & Ball palette.

Who is your design hero?

The artist Mark Rothko. His work made me look at colour in a whole new way.

What is your favourite building?

I am pretty fond of an old schoolhouse in the middle of a field in Somerset – I moved in recently, and its botanical setting is beyond tranquil. Weirdly enough, I also love the main temple in Maduria, India, for its overwhelming human bustle.

Scotland’s west coast is a constant source of inspiration

Describe your dream home

A house by the sea, packed with colour and filled with my family.

What is your own home like?

It’s a playground for constantly testing colours, so it has a pretty eclectic feel as a result. I have no curtains or carpets, which lets me be much more versatile with changing the colours on the walls, woodwork and ceilings, all of which I do change – a lot.

What makes a home?

Family, and not caring what other people think. Thank goodness we all like different things in interior design or the world would be a very dull place.

How do you relax?

Walking and laughing with my children – quite often at the same time.

A bold Roberts Radio is a favourite

Which iconic interior product do you wish you had designed?

I am a radio addict and the original Roberts Radio makes me pretty happy – especially the coloured versions which can only add joy to any space.

The one luxury you’d love is…

A round-the-world ticket so I could explore the furthest corners of the planet.

What is Scotland’s greatest attribute?

So many things. I’d like to live in Glasgow for a while – it’s such a vibrant city, in spirit if not in colour! And I adore the west coast; it has one of the greatest colour palettes of all time.

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