A lot of people fancy themselves as interior designers. Armed with a couple of swatches and Heal’s look book, they think there’s not much more too it than picking a few nice products. But then you meet a true professional such as Adam Bray, who understands the complexities of the colour, the subtleties of shade, and the difficulties of dark corners, and you realise just how big a job it is. Having worked alongside Annie Lennox, Lucian Freud, Annish Kapoor and The Beauchamp Club, his latest project is a range of paints for the Papers & Paints, a haute company which sells, well, papers and paints. I caught up with him to find out what it was all about…
Do you think there has been a change in the way people use colour in their home lately?
Yes – there has been a massive change. People want to get away from the monotone of the last five or ten years and the taste for the boutique hotel look has died off. Suddenly, the colours being used on walls are very happy and optimistic. I’ve just done my own home in a manila pink, which is just that much warmer than red.
[La vie en rose: One of Adam’s recent room designs, in his signature warm palette, above]
What was the thinking behind your new range of paints?
I wanted the colours to look like real colours, rather than approximations of colours, so we’ve used really high quality paints and pigments. I felt that every colour should be distinct, rather than subtle variations on the same palette.
[Score cards: Adam’s latest range of paints for Paper and Paints has been a hit, below]
Do you have any good painting tips?
I like a gloss wall, especially when using dark colours – the combination is just incredibly chic and timeless. You can achieve that look by simply painting an emulsion and then doing a clear varnish over it – I love the way it makes light play around the room, and I use gloss whenever I can get away with it. Kitchens, dining rooms – it always adds a sense of volume to the room. If you see a lamp reflected in the walls it instantly makes an interior seem bigger.
And what would you say to people who might err towards with magnolia?
Don’t be afraid of colour. Be courageous instead, strong colours can be such a joy to live with. If you love Cadbury’s Dairy Milk purple, paint your room in it. Paint is such a cheap fix, you can always go over it with something else if you tire of one particular shade. If you’re still a bit timid, lead into having colours by doing accents such as alcoves or cornices in something really bright. Bold colours are a pleasure in your life, and you should allow them to elevate your mood.
[Welcome Inn: The Beaumont Club’s inviting walls, thanks to Adam’s direction, below]
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Pip McCormac, Guest Editor
View all posts by Pip McCormac, Guest Editor