Monday, 28 April 2014

Colour Study: Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath

Inspired by Willow Crossley's Living Room, painted in Farrow and Ball's Elephant's Breath (what a name!), here is another colour study...

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath living room
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath living room

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath is soft, calming, warm neutral...here's the lowdown! Colour toning paint suggestions: (from top) Farrow and Ball All White, Slipper Satin, Elephant's Breath and Charleston Gray

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath Mood board
Farrow and Ball

{For information on my other Colour studies, click away...


Farrow and Ball Elephants Breath paint bedroom
Elephant's Breath bedroom

Farrow and Ball's paints are chalky, matt and delicious BUT are notoriously changeable in different lights. 

Farrow + Ball Elephants Breath paint in bedroom. Fabrics from fox linton and gp & j baker.
Bedroom in Elephant's Breath (Farrow and Ball)

This acts as a positive (enormous depth of colour, and instantly recognisable) but also makes some of colours pretty tricky to predict.

Kitchenpainted units in Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen

I've tried to eliminate this unpredictability as much as I possibly can for you by sourcing images that best reflect the results you should expect in different conditions.

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen

In soft (by which I mean overcast!) daylight, Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath can appear greige - a gentle mix of grey and beige...

Farrow & Ball Elephant's Breath hallway
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath in dark Victorian hall

However, give Elephant's Breath even a glimmer of lamplight and it can go in two different directions....

Paint : Elephant's Breath by Farrow & Ball bedroom
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath in artificial light

either a bruised lilac shade....

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath bedroom
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath bedroom

or a peachy brown...

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath paint bathroom
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath under light bulb

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath paint in bathroom panelling
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath under light bulb
Under cool, white halogen-type light, Elephant's Breath looks grey with delicate lilac undertones...

Elephants Breath by Farrow and Ball painted kitchen units
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen

Farrow & Ball's Elephant's Breath hallway
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath under halogen lighting in Victorian hallway

It's the unknown line between these variations that means Elephant's Breath gets VERY mixed reviews from shocked home-owners who haven't realised that this paint has a mind of its own!

elephant breath paint (farrow & ball)  living room
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath bedroom

Farrow and Ball's description Elephant's Breath as 'an interpretation of this famously named colour by John Fowler. Use as a colour in its own right, or as part of a 'stone' scheme.' 

Elephants breath 229 farrow & ball paint
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath

What? What does that even mean?

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath Victorian hallway
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath under dado rail in Victorian hall
'Stone' is usually a euphemism for warm, brown-based neutrals, which will work beautifully with natural materials, think rattan, linen and wood, but less well with cool greys...

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath tongue and groove panelling bathroom
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath on bathroom tongue and groove panelling

It's worth being aware when looking at images like this...

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen

...that special lighting techniques will have been used, which may give a false impression of the real colour.

Contemporary kitchen in Farrow & Ball Elephant's Breath and Manor House Gray
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen

Even though the room has the lights on, more cool light will have been added from an off-picture source to give an additional effect.

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath panelling
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath panelling

This image below demonstrates what I mean. In the first room, the Farrow and Ball paint appears as a warm gray but if you peer carefully into the second, you'll see that in places, the paint takes on a definite lilac hue.

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath undervarious lighting conditions

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath is dark enough to work well as a floor colour...

floors painted Elephant's Breath by Farrow & Ball.
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath painted floor 

or as a darker woodwork foil to an airy room...

Beautiful Farrow & Ball Elephants Breath paint match in a 63mm slat size
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath woodwork

but still light enough to be used as an exterior wall paint colour. Here is Elephant's Breath with a Farrow and Ball Charleston Gray front door...

Front door is Farrow and Ball Charleston Gray with Elephants Breath house exterior walls.
Front door is Farrow and Ball Charleston Gray with Elephants Breath house exterior walls.

House exterior in Farrow & Ball Elephants Breath (walls), Charleston Gray ( front door), and Pointing.
Front door is Farrow and Ball Charleston Gray with Elephants Breath house exterior walls.

So whether your room is flooded with natural light, for a warm grey...

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath bedroom paint
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath bedroom

...or whether your intended room will need artificial lighting, which make Elephant's Breath lean towards a richer purple-toned brown...

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath Bathroom paint
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath bathroom

Farrow and Balls Elephant Breath paint
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath 

...or, if you're looking, like me, for a new front door colour (the stark outside light giving a pale taupe finish to this front door in Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath)...

Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath front door
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath front door

...you'll end up with a sophisticated, modern, yet pretty and warm space....

Farrow & Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen
Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath kitchen

...with Farrow and Ball Elephant's Breath.


Images via: Willow Crossley, Wealden Times, idhomes, broad oak, woodwork, adam rogers, turquoise textiles, houzz, Bibsnbraces, BibsnBraces, paradise design, claire mcfadyen, klausandheidi, dcdesigncenter, unknown, inspired living, unknown, Hill Farm, The Wall Panelling Company, g, Willow and Stone, Willow and Stone, Beautiful Homes, Stone and Chrome, chalk farm home, murdoch joinery

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9 comments :

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I always have my Farrow & Ball colour chart nearby when I read your blog and even on the tiny chip, elephant's breath has taupy-lilacy undertone in my cottage's lighting. As usual, this was a brilliant study.

Tracey Steele@Breathing English Air said...

I like the look of this colour very much - I have made a note of it!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Thanks, Sarah, dear neighbor, for doing the hard work for us. I have always loved the funny names of paint colors. When we lived in MN, we painted our interior trim ... vanilla ice cream.

Fondly,
Glenda

Wilfing Mum said...

We painted our bedroom in Elephant's breath, and were surprised with how pale it came out. However, I love it so much that we have now painted our drawing room in it too! I wanted a soft, warm grey and after loads of dofferent testers looked too blue or cold, I decided to go with Elephant's Breath again as I knew what it would look like. It is so soft and calming - totally love it. I would paint my whole house in it of husband would let me!!!

The Snowdrop Project said...

We have a lot of Elephant's Breath in the house, and you're right, it does change in every room and light.
A great neutral colour.
Hope you have a lovely weekend,
Liz x

Sophia Home said...

Have just found your lovely blog! I have painted the whole of our open plan downstairs in Elephant's Breath and it is indeed very changeable! Fortunately I love every shade throughout the space and time of day. I always use F & B on client projects too. A lovely colour to live with!

Sophia

Zoe Jeffrey said...

Hello, I love this blog. In the picture of the hallway, where there is panelling on the bottom half of the wall and a table with two lamps, do you know what the colour is of the main walls? I'd like to combine this with the farrow and ball elephants breath, as per the picture

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I'm not sure, I'm afraid - but Farrow and Ball Skimming Stone would create a similar effect.

Sarahx

gizmo said...

I love this color and really want to use it on my west facing master but there's not a whole lot of natural light and my furniture is a natural linen upholstered bed and metallic silver finished side tables and a cosmopolitan style dresser with champagne and silver finish and a large painting with a tree with gold leaves. I wanted a neutral interesting paint color but the lilac undertones scare me. Do you think I should try another color, maybe skimming stone. I really want a grey!

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