Friendship Heights, the neighborhood known for its string of status European boutiques, is adding an upscale British paint store.
Farrow & Ball, purveyor of paint to stately homes and a favorite of decorators, is scheduled to open a retail showroom Sept. 13 at 5221 Wisconsin Ave. NW. The shop, in the same block as the Kellogg Collection and Sur La Table, will sell the brand’s richly pigmented, water-based paints and painted wallpapers, as well as provide color advice.
The Farrow & Ball Washington showroom was most recently at the Washington Design Center in Southwest and accessible only to design professionals. This shop will be open to regular customers as well as those in the design trade. (The paint is also sold at some independent dealers and online at www.farrow-ball.com.)
The company, founded in 1946, is known for its whimsical paint names, such as Elephant’s Breath and Mouse’s Back. ( Churlish Green is one of my favorites.) A gallon of interior paint sells for $95, exterior for $100. Prices for an 11-yard roll of wallpaper range from $95 to $260. Take home a fan deck of all 132 paint colors for $35; a brochure of paint chips is free.
Last week, I talked to Sarah Cole, Farrow & Ball’s creative director, who spoke from corporate headquarters in Dorset, England, where the products are made.
What makes Farrow & Ball paint worth the price? It’s about twice the price of an average gallon here in the United States.
It’s like a lot of things in life. If you want something that has a really great quality with top-notch ingredients, such as lots more pigments, that costs more. When you buy a nice food product or champagne, you spend a bit more because you’re guaranteed the quality and consistency. The raw materials going into the paint have better properties, and we guarantee the sheen accuracy and finish.
Does it look different on the wall?
Yes. It has an amazing depth of color, and light gets absorbed into it rather than reflected.
Describe the new Friendship Heights shop.
There will be a staff of trained color consultants. You can bring in a piece of fabric or your comforter or anything you want to incorporate, and they will help you put a color scheme together. There will be lots of examples to show customers ideas for trim and ceiling colors so they can envision how a room would come to life. In most cases, people can walk out with a gallon of the paint they want.
What’s the most popular finish in your line?
The chalky, matte texture called the Estate Emulsion is the most popular. It’s wipeable, and it’s our signature look.
What are the best-selling paint colors?
How do you name your colors?
We use a mix of names that might be local or have a historical provenance. Then we have Charlotte’s Locks, a bright orange that was named for a woman who works for me who has red hair.
Hasn’t your paint been used by the British royals?
We have done a number of royal palaces but are not allowed to talk about which ones.