My design secrets:Farrow & Ball's colour consultant, Joa Studholme, shares her top style tips

The colour consultant for paintmaker Farrow & Ball has an address book packed with top designers and shops. Here, she shares some of her favourites.

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The creative colour consultant for paintmaker Farrow & Ball, Joa Studholme loves nothing better than mixing new paint colours and trying them out at her North Kensington home.


I have lived with my husband Andrew, a commercials director, and our two children, Cosmo and Nancy, in the same house for 22 years and I imagine I may live there forever. The red-brick exterior is not very beautiful, but the interior is big and the rooms run across the building rather than from front to back, which means a brilliant relationship with the garden.


We have a very eclectic style — no minimalism here, however hard we have tried. We initially bought two flats and joined them together and we are still slowly expanding into the rest of the building. Every wall is double- or triple-hung with a variety of styles of art and an equal amount of objects on every surface.

Just the place for hanging out:new designer Rufus Martin’s Roomoon tent can be hoisted into the trees with the help of a chain

And, of course, there is a kaleidoscope of Farrow & Ball colours in every room — all of which are changed constantly. At the moment, we are all loving having the new colours throughout the house, particularly romantic Peignoir in the sitting room.


Use a strong colour in your hall so that you create ultimate impact on arrival. It also means that all the rooms off the hall look bigger and lighter as well as giving you licence to be more neutral in the rest of the house. Over the past 20 years, it has been Mouse’s Back, Claydon Blue, Downpipe, Railings and London Clay, but at the moment I am really thrilled with moody Inchyra Blue — one of the new colours for 2016. 

Colour trends: latest Farrow & Ball colours include the romantic Peignoir (left) and moody Inchyra Blue (right)


Luxury to me is having the best decorator in town on speed-dial. Hooper Interiors have the most courteous, reliable and professional painters you could ever find. They admitted recently that they have made a tiny mark on the interior of one of my cupboards every time they have painted that room. There are 11 of them.


The revered designer Jasper Morrison was one of my best friends at school and I still love all the products in his diminutive shop in Kingsland Road, including his own designs, from simple sticky tape to his iconic cork tables.

Firm favourite: Joa loves Jasper Morrison’s shop in Kingsland Road, E2, and his cork furniture



I was lucky enough to go to a school with a huge design ethic (Bryanston School in Dorset), which has produced some amazingly talented people, among them Terence and Jasper Conran. I still follow the young designers the school produces and I am particularly struck by the beautifully crafted hanging tents made by Rufus Martin.


On Sunday mornings I love to walk from Camden to Ladbroke Grove along the canal, a route that covers so many aspects of London, from run-down urban estates to proud stucco mansions, and having lunch in the beautifully designed Dock Kitchen followed by a browse in Tom Dixon’s shop at the Wharf Building, Portobello Dock. 

Dear diary: Joa Studholme can’t get through a year without her Smythson Portobello diary, £180 but worth every penny



Every year I get a Smythson Portobello diary — a huge extravagance, but worth every penny to me, because I write all my clients’ details in it. I have 14 now in fabulous colours piled decoratively in my office. Every night, I pack my diary and a sharpened wooden pencil into one of my Jack Spade bags ready for work. Three beautifully designed items which together enhance my life.

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