Colour Essay: Loophouse Designer Lorraine Statham on Vermilion

We asked Loophouse Designer Lorraine Statham on Vermilion. Here is what she had to say:

“Vermilion is one of my favourite colours with the tonal inclination towards orange-red. It makes me happy and upbeat. It’s bold, bright and reassuring, and when it’s used as a solid it makes me feel warm all over. As an accent it gives a nice pop of bright to a room.

My favourite flowers are vermilion rose and tulips and I love the seasonal scenes and images of autumn when the red-oranges of the leaves liven up fading landscapes. It’s a short lived saturation of colour in nature that explodes into a blaze of colour and it’s truly magical.

Vermilion  Lorraine Startham Loophouse  The Chromologist

Acer tree; Cirquedelic lambswool blanket by Loophouse

I design rugs for high-end spaces, which often require understated luxury. So although the Loophouse brand logo is orange-red – a bold pop of colour on a white background – in my work I mainly use a subtle colour palette of warm or blue greys through to mushroom, often with cream or canvas accents. Out of work, I like brights, but I generally design with a neutral palette then pop in just one bright colour, otherwise it can become overpowering. To compliment vermilion I’d use mushroom and grey, which work in harmony.

Vermilion was used in bygone years in illuminated manuscripts and Renaissance art, usually reserved for the most important illustrations and garments. To me it’s an uplifting colour. If it had a taste it would be round-bodied, warm and a little spicy with a fruity tang.

It harks back to a particular time in my life when I visited Chelsea Market in New York on a dark, damp and rainy October evening. It was cold and wet and I remember the glowing doors of the market inviting me to enter and shelter from the rain. The building was ablaze with the thrills and spills of Halloween tricks and treats, reds and orange tones. Together with the sounds and smells, the environment completely changed my mood to be more upbeat.

Intuitive awareness of colour in everyday life has a huge impact on the changing colours of my new collections. It’s not about just seeing the colour, it’s about hearing, tasting and feeling the colour. This can come from seeing a garment in a magazine, going for a walk on a busy London street, sharing a meal with a friend or simply daydreaming on a train journey. All these feelings help conjure a creative energy that hatches the ideas or helps stimulate the colour palettes of a new collection.”

Visit Loophouse to see the full collection of rugs and textiles.

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 2019 | Farrow & Ball

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