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Colour Master Class

July 2014

Francesca Wezel’s, magazine feature in The English Home July 2014

Francesca Wezel
Founder, Francesca’s Paints
Wezel founded her own company in 1996, specialising in lime washes for interior and exterior walls and chalky emulsions for interiors. Wezel has a contagious passion for colour and she has travelled extensively to build upon her expertise, learning new techniques for using natural ingredients from different countries.


This is a library and sitting room area in The Cloudesley, a boutique hotel in East Sussex. The owner designed each room himself without an interior designer, however I worked with him to choose the colours, making some special shades especially for him.

In a room like this, I would usually pick something like a very dark green, which stimulates intellect. This pinky tone – Rebecca’s Red from our Original Collection – still stimulates the mind but it is also relaxing and cosy. The redness in it is great for igniting the mind for conversation, but the colour is tempered with some brown, so it still has calmness, too. Certainly, a strong colour choice like this is much better for this kind of room than a neutral beige, which would be very dull and you might perhaps feel lost in it.
This strong colour makes everything else in the room stand out more. What I like is that only this one colour has been used so it frames the books and makes them a feature. A deep colour will always make things stand out more – in an art exhibition, if you hang art on a dark wall it will make the painting look more alive than if on a white wall. Here, the colour looks fantastic contrasted with the black of the fireplace. This contrast and the elements of other colours from the books and accessories help enliven the pink colour further.

Although this is a strong colour, it is still comfortable to be around. This is because of the medium we use; the paint has a high chalk content which makes it softer and changes the absorbency of the light so it is non-aggressive. If the paint had any plastic or vinyl content, it would reflect the light and the colour would be harsher and difficult to deal with, but this paint absorbs the light and creates depth. This matt finish makes any strong, deep colour much softer and accessible.
Although this paint colour is from our first collection and has been around for 18 years, it is only in the last four or five years that I’ve seen people become more confident in using strong colours. I think using bold colour is fantastic and makes a room so much more interesting and full of life.