Stepping out on Ben: A Date with Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball . Marbled marvelousness

When I was 12 years old I worked as a pot washer. Not a very glamourous sounding job, but I took pride in it. I learned things like the optimal number of pots you could wash before having to drain the large stainless steel sink of the roughly twenty gallons of dirty, now lifeless suds and await their slow dissent down the drain. Getting it just right was critical to avoiding repeating this process too many times. The extra time I gained allowed me the luxury of watching the Chef and Sous Chef prep the beef, tying it into its lattice cage of string in preparation for roasting. I loved watching the vegetables being julienned, the sauces being whipped into creamy concoctions, and discovered that it wasn’t only baked goods that required an understanding of chemistry, any good dish blends fats and acids, layers aromatics, herbs, and spices creating complex cuisine.

Liberty of London Wallcoverings Paired with F & B.

If you’re wondering what pot washing has to do with paint, it’s the chemistry. Color is pretty complex, even if it’s the pretty part that I’m mostly interested in and attracted to. I’ve been a long-time loyal supporter of Benjamin Moore. Its easy application, brilliant colors, eco friendly Aura had me going steady for years. Best paint for the money I’ve said again and again and believe it. It isn’t going to stop me from trying F & B.

KW . Your allure never fades.

Farrow was a chemist, Ball a prisoner of war, they met in a clay pit. Fascinating as that all is, it’s the quirky named colors that seem to hold an ancient wisdom within their powdery atoms that has caught my attention. A little muddy, a little mysterious, sophisticated where my Ben is an easy going happy sort. They can be moody and a bit chalky even when they are attempting to be upbeat. The California Collection by none other than Kelly Wearstler is more hazy smog than sun soaked, but that hasn’t stopped me from falling for No. CC6 a blue/gray and considering it for my next project.

I think I’ll gathering together a few sample pots and get splashy with it.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc: Tender is the Light

Just like Slim! The shot that sealed the deal for me.

Cut from the ragged rocky coastline of the Cote D’Azur, a Michelangeloian feet of genius, rose the iconic pool and restaurants, and the grand promenade leading to the now famous hotel. It requires more than time to make an icon, though Eden Roc has that on its side having celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2021. A lovely way to exit the pandemic, not its first. It takes more than celebrity, though its had its fair share of those too in Marlene Dietrich, Liz Taylor, Kings and Queens, Politicians, and at least half of the inhabitants of the Cannes Film Festival. Toss into this glorious Mediterranean salad of celebs, Picasso, Porter, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and Jean Cocteau, and further credit them for making it a summer haven, and you have an inkling of what makes this place special – it is aglow with inspiration, with beauty that floods down from the heavens, and on those rare days when a cloud or two dots the sky, the beauty can be found in the rays of sunshine that filter through the gathering raindrop soaked cumulous forms that dapple the blue.

Its natural setting, painstaking elegance, and dedication to leisure, joy, celebration and relaxation make it anything but stuffy. It’s a happy orchestra of bassoons and dancing violins and violas, of laughter and quiet solitude, of sun, salt, and solace. My love of Eden Roc came the first time my eyes knocked with Slim Aarons’ 1976 photograph of the pool overlooking the rugged coastline of the French Riviera. I have yet to stay at the illustrious venue, but have not given up the dream. I did however dine here. My obsession with design makes me bold, and somewhat unforgiving. I return to my five year old self, deaf to my mother’s insistent cries not to touch anything. My outstretched fingers are running across the corrugated wooden panels that line the walls and mimic the movement of the waves on the sea. The alabaster luminaries, custom designed by Atelier Alain Ellouz for the space emit a soft moonlit glow. Every serpentine sofa, every soft cushioned seat where custom designed for the space by Brazilian Interior Designer, Patricia Anastassiadis, who can be credited with the new life that honors the history of the place while giving it a crisp seaside contemporary vibe – that I adore.

From the artwork to the setting, the choice of pin-striped fabrics on walnut backed dining chairs, the orange and blue banquettes, piped in crisp white feel fresh, and playful. It is a wonderland of detail. The fluted exterior of the curved bar in La Rotunda is a wave on a different day. The bar cart adorned with a bunch of grapes begs the question “Why wait”? Anastassiadis’ understanding of place, of nature, of light and of history brings the outdoors in, mingles past, present and future in a honeysuckle/rose bouquet that is intoxicating.