I hate that Part II – creatives on their most hated shades

We had such fun discovering the hated colours of tastemakers the last time we made a feature about subjectiveness regarding colour that we’re back for part II! This time, with the tones that cause the lips of a whole new group of fine creatives to curl in disgust. We chose people who we think have a real eye for colour and we loved their reactions – mostly pure joy at being able to pontificate on what they dislike for a change.

As usual, we’re illustrating this feature with some rooms that we think ARE beautiful, both from the Farrow & Ball archives and beyond. The big question is, can we change any minds?

We couldn’t resist including the odd image to sum up our subjects dislikes too (eg Lina Kanafani’s hated 1970s bathroom colour palette), mostly found on Pinterest. Enjoy…

Artist Julie Verhoeven…on white

Julie Verhoeven | On colour | The Chromologist

Left, colour-loving Julie plus a tiny sample of her wonderful & extensive work portfolio. Right, a white room by Farrow & Ball – Julie’s idea of hell?

“I’m not keen on white. It’s impossible for me to have white in my vicinity as I guess I’m naturally clumsy and grubby, and it really doesn’t work for me . The only concession I make to white is using white paper to draw on , which inevitably gets covered in finger prints.  I’ve never been able to wear white as a colour either as it makes me look totally wiped out and sad. I do however wear a white make-up base in a desperate attempt to gain an even complexion. It’s a complex, non-colour I could easily live without, although I’d struggle without the option of Tippex in my work.”

Julie Verhoeven, artist

Designer Charlene Mullen…on magnolia

Drop Cloth

We agree with Charlene, there’s NO excuse for yellowing Magnolia when you could have the gorgeous Drop Cloth by Farrow & Ball(above)! We hope her brother can see the difference here too

“So I think if I had to choose one colour I’m not in love with it’s got to be ‘magnolia’. It seems to be doing a dis-service to the beautiful flower which is never boring, from soft white to creamiest clotted cream yellow, fresh but seductive.
It seemed in the eighties and nineties to be the only colour and was ‘safe’ and harmless but surely colour is the cheapest and easiest way even on a limited budget to transform a space. Every rented flat was ‘magnolia’ and you found yourself longing for a good white. My brother is a decorator and he refuses now to do magnolia – it’s that bad even for decorators!
I don’t think we will be having a nostalgic moment for it, do you?”

Charlene Mullen, designer and purveyor

Emily Dyson from chic shop Couverture & The Garbstore… on “Tiffany” Blue

Blue mood board | The Chromologist

David Bowie and a classic Tiffany’s box – when this blue works according to Emily. Two contemporary paint ideas and a wallpaper in variations of this tone, from Farrow & Ball might not make her recoil even if they’re not in Miami

“For me Tiffany blue works beautifully on their classic 50’s packaging but is a great example of how a colour does not translate well to interiors in this country. If we were in Miami or the Caribbean this colour could work where the light is so different but here I find it hard and sickly. It reminds me of medical centres or modern dentist waiting rooms as well as very price conscious kids clothes (as a kid I had a shiny ski jacket in the 80’s from C&A that was this colour and I think I learnt from that mistake!). I think this colour is best used/seen in small doses (and then it can be great). Or for the odd bit of madness – I love David Bowie in this suit where the colour is offset with his red hair and striped tie!”

Emily Dyson, Couverture & The Garbstore

Lina Kanafani of design concept shop Mint….on avocado and salmon

Earth tones | The Chromologist

Left, an original 1970s bathroom suite. Right, earthy tones – and salmon! – a big trend from Arper at Milan Salone 2016. Lina, can you stomach it?

“It’s much easier to pin down what one hates than what one likes so this is quite enjoyable! When I was younger and totally committed to contemporary design, I was totally neutral and hated most strong colours. With time I changed and started to appreciate colour, a wide range from rich purple to bright turquoise. But two colours I still cannot stand are Salmon carpets and Avocado bathrooms and walls! When I came to London as a young student in the early seventies these two colours, which were quite common at the time, struck me as very odd, drab, dim, quite ugly, unattractive and very old fashioned. They remind me of gloomy, cold and wet London in those days compared to sunny and bright Beirut with blue skies and sea, where I’d gone to university. It took me a while to adjust to the new surroundings and now London is my favourite city to live. I see the bright side! It can be a psychological association as I learnt to appreciate avocado on certain accessories but I have not yet adjusted to salmon and probably never will. Do you think you can make me change my mind!!!”
Lina Kanafani, Mint

Designer Alison Lloyd of handbag brand Ally Capellino…on a particular purple

Brinjal Bathroom | The Chromologist

Left, Alison’s hated plant. Right, a bathroom painted in the identical-in-shade Brinjal from Farrow & Ball that we hope has not made her feel nauseous

“There’s a particular purple that used to make me feel physically sick. I can identify the plant that maybe I ate the fruit of that I associate it with. It’s Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria, Pheasant Berry).”

Alison Lloyd, Ally Capellino

We invite you to join in with your own hates in the comments section below…

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2018 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist