Colour is a fundamental part of life that can affect our mood, evoke emotions and even promote a sense of calm and wellbeing. It’s no surprise then that the interior and home decorating market is enormous. Giving our walls, ceilings and woodwork a fresh lick of paint can transform our living space. We caught up with Francesca Wezel, founder and director of Francesca Paints, for some inspiration.
Luxurious Magazine: What is your background, and when did you first develop a passion for paint and colour?
Francesca Wezel: Ever since I was a child, I have always had a strong affiliation and an emotional connection with colour. I briefly studied law at University in Milan, and I also moved to London to study English. Having fallen in love with an Australian man, I moved to Sydney, where I was introduced to Porters Paints – one of the best traditional paint manufacturers in the country.
It was there that I fell in love with the world of paint and bespoke colour making. I worked with Porters for seven years as a colourist and regional manager, learning and exploring the craft of paint mixing/making – I found it came naturally to me.
LM: You’re affectionately known as #thecolourwoman. How did that name come about?
Francesca: An artist friend of mine, Dillwyn Smith, gave me the nickname. We met as he was looking for a very particular shade of blue and tasked me with creating it; he was very clear about what he wanted, and together we made the perfect blue. Since then, we have worked on several projects together. I have created many bespoke colours for him: inspired by the Nativity painting at the National Gallery, our most recent collaboration was ‘Poison into Medicine’.
LM: Tell us how did you come about launching your own brand Francesca’s Paints?
Francesca: I left Australia and motorbiked around Bali, India and Nepal before returning to London in 1996. I knew I wanted to work in the paint industry, so I explored working for the major UK companies, but it soon became apparent that if I wanted to realise my dream of working as a paint maker and colourist, I would have to set things up myself.
Before setting up my company, I decided to go to Italy to learn from highly-skilled, traditional paint makers. I then brought this knowledge back with me to the UK and set up my studio in London. I am still in the same studio today.
LM: In your opinion, do you think people take more care of what their homes look like now, compared to 20 years ago?
Francesca: Absolutely. We were one of the first eco-friendly paint companies in the UK. At the time, it was almost too early; people were not yet mindful of the environment or climate change and were not conscious of the connection between breathability and the products they were using in their homes.
But now, people are highly conscious of ‘wellbeing’ – everything is eco, and they actively search for products and companies with a certain environmental stance. Also, Coronavirus has changed our concept of home; we spend so much more time at home now, and for this reason, we look at our surroundings much more critically than we did before. Colours and ecological paint can improve our well-being. It is an easy way to set an immediate change in one’s environment.
LM: All your paints are eco-friendly. What does this mean?
Francesca: Our eco emulsion and limewash paints are made from the finest Italian bases – they are made especially for us by our remarkable chemist, using a formula we have perfected together. We colour the paints in our Battersea Studio – we are artisans and mix the colours using traditional methods.
Our limewash and eco emulsion paints are solvent and plastic-free, breathable and have a very low VOC count (volatile organic compound). We mix everything by hand. The paints are lime-based and have a velvety chalky finish.
LM: We understand you offer colour consultations; what does that entail?
Francesca: I love giving colour consultations – it’s one of my favourite elements of my job. I help people find the perfect colour palette for their homes. Often, people know what colours they like but are afraid to introduce them into the home. I feel that I am their second brain – I give them the confidence and support to choose something unique and special.
There are no rules, all colours are lovely, but it is crucial to choose cohesive shades when pairing. I find the process incredibly rewarding. My client(s) and I will go onto my website and browse all 236 colours, searching for the shades that make them feel good. It can be the perfect white or the boldest blue, whatever feels right and flows.
LM: Do you need to be a professional to paint and decorate your home, or can anyone pick up a few tips without breaking the bank by getting an expert in?
Francesca: Well, a good decorator is always great, but our paints can be applied by anybody with a bit of knowledge about paint and its application. Limewash is applied in a criss-cross fashion – the paint has a velvety mottled effect when it dries, so it’s important to cut the corners with attention to detail and keep a wet edge. Eco emulsion can be brushed or rolled on.
LM: What colours can we expect to find in your own home, and how often do you need to update your home to stay on trend?
Francesca: I don’t believe in trends – they become tiresome very quickly. I like to choose timeless colour schemes that make me feel good – the feel-good factor is the most important thing for me.
My living room is painted with a brown limewash; it is very calming, and the colour changes throughout the day depending on the level of light, varying from a warm chocolate brown to a deep aubergine. The more I live in it, the more I like it. My bedroom is painted in my ‘Ice House Blue’; a green bluey brown which is very peaceful and relaxing. The spare room is painted in ‘Arabella’s Pumpkin’, the warmest deep orange I’ve ever made.
My bathroom is pink, and the hallway is painted in large horizontal stripes, featuring a mix of my ‘Angelico Pink’, soft off-white ‘Praise’ and a gentle brownish grey.
LM: What is the best thing about your job?
Francesca: I love making colours! After 30 plus years, colour creation and mixing still give me enormous pleasure. I love the challenge of creating the perfect shade. I love meeting new people and being part of people’s journey to create their dream home. The power of paint and colour is immense. I am really happy that I found a job that makes me feel good and challenges me.
Francesca’s Paints – Where and How?
For more information on Francesca’s Paints, visit www.francescaspaint.com.
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