Mid Century office room reveal - Farrow & Ball Enigma Makeover
One thing I have learned over the years of making over our home, is not to force my style upon anyone. While I love a home full of colour, I share the space with another two lovely people (husband and son) so when it comes to decorating, I always ask their opinion, and we kind of design the schemes together. Unfortunately I am out-numbered, and my husband has his own style and needs so I find that talking him into a specific design is better than him coming back from a trip to find a room changed.
So when I came back home from an Abigail Ahern workshop and told the Seasons husband that his home office would be painted all black, he was hesitant. I tweeted my plans and when Ahern herself virtually blessed them by liking the tweet and commenting on it, the husband was convinced that all-black was the new black.
And with that, Farrow & Ball Railings was introduced in the very small and awkward shaped ground floor office and a few weeks later, we added a mid century desk and sideboard and this lovely Made.com swivel chair. Initially, the ceiling was also painted black and this resulted in using a flashlight to find things around the room - I kid you not. The ceiling was repainted bright white promptly (within two weeks) and things got better. For a year or so.
Named after the encoding machine famously deciphered by British mathematician Alan Turing during World War II, Enigma is a beguiling and bold geometric design. Encompassing a series of interlocking rectangles, the deceptively simple, dynamic paper will continue to invigorate and enthral. I had a first look at the wallpaper in Wimborne during the Farrow & Ball launch and thought it was going to be a great addition in the room. Plus it came in 7 colour ways, so surely one was going to be good enough and lighter than Railings in our room?
Our eyes, however, were set upon this colour way (BP 5504, available here) which has a Parma Grey background. Parma Grey, despite its name, reads as a cool blue and according to the Farrow & Ball website "has been used in numerous costume dramas, contrasted with Wimborne White to create the perfect period feel. Its cool nature can make it feel quite formal, especially when contrasted with a bright white but it is still a firm favourite for those who prefer cleaner crisper rooms".
Now, the husband's background is maths and computer science. So imagine how intrigued he was when I showed him samples of the wallpaper and mentioned the inspiration behind the wallpaper design. When he came across this specific colour, he simply exclaimed that this was the right paper for his office. And that was that.
The lovely people at Farrow & Ball sent across complimentary paint and wallpaper and we started work in the room in November. As usual, my decorator was adamant that we would require 3-4 coats of paint to cover Railings (Farrow & Ball suggested one coat of undercoat and two coats of emulsion). In fact, we just did two coats of the paint and Railings was covered beautifully.
This photo by the way was taken by the super talented Anna Batchelor for Made.com. This is the Hailey swivel chair (from Made).
Due to some earlier wall problems, where the plastering was not perfect, we had to apply lining paper on one side. That further reduced the time of painting and we were overall extremely pleased with the result.
Since the furniture in the room are mid-century (with the restored 40s English desk, a 50s Danish sideboard, a Hans Wegner chair, a red Anglepoise and several German mid-century vases, the wallpaper colour is right at home. I love how the desk lamp below contrasts with the blue-grey in the background and how the desk colour warms up to look almost mahogany (it's oak).
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I retained Railings around the woodwork. While this was initially me being super lazy and not wanting to strip back anything, once the paint and paper were in place, the contrast between Parma Grey and Railings was very unexpected and the look is actually a modern twist in the otherwise mid-century styled room.