I had such a good time visiting the store Boxwood, located at the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama. Set to learn more about the Farrow & Ball paint line they carry, I was so taken with the entire store I wanted to share more than just paint!!
Before Boxwood became the only Houston distributor for Farrow & Ball paints, these products had to be ordered online and shipped. While I always loved the colors, Farrow & Ball had never before been an option for me because of the difficulty in getting the products.
The company has been making paint in Dorset, England since 1946. Farrow & Ball rapidly established a reputation for quality. During the post-war period, while virtually all other paint manufacturers abandoned traditional formulas and switched to cheaper acrylic paints with a high plastic content, this privately-owned business stuck to its craft and continued making paint in its original formulations, using the finest raw materials.
But is the higher price tag, often as much as double other paint brands worth it? According to Farrow & Ball, the depth and beauty of their paint colors are unmatched. Using a higher concentration of quality pigments and resins while adding no low quality ‘fillers’, gives their colors visibly greater depth and purity often referred to as the ‘Farrow & Ball look’. Unlike many other manufacturers, this low VOC paint uses naturally occurring pigments in their purest form. They also use natural ingredients such as Chalk, Lime Putty, Linseed Oil and China Clay.
Interior designer Hallie Sims who was purchasing some paints for her clients seems to think Farrow & Ball is the way to go. Although she has color matched some of the Farrow & Ball shades in different brands she sees that the finished product never has the same rich quality as when using the Farrow & Ball paint itself. Beverly Shaeffer, owner of MAI consigned concurs, saying that the only way she could achieve the richness she desired in her kitchen was with Farrow & Ball, feeling that their paint has a depth that cannot be duplicated. These paints are touted to have better coverage requiring fewer coats, thus offsetting the $85 per gallon cost.
The sample cans are great!! Priced at $7, testing the color first is definitely an easy way to make sure the color you like will go with your home's palette. Pointing is the most requested color at Boxwood. Its soft white hue is a chameleon, complementing everything! With so many whites available, the perfect one is certainly hard to find!! Blackened, another popular color, is a bluish gray tone so relevant in today's interiors!
Here is the dynamic duo—both so cute!!! When asking Bret what his favorite part of the store is, he exclaims, “My sister, Mimi, of course!!” They make such a terrific team, Bret developing new items and Mimi a master with customer service. Leaving her 18-year career as an English teacher, she joined Boxwood when it first opened 4 years ago. Their Mom Fran also helps a few days a week. Everyone that comes in loves her, asking "Where is Fran today?"
In this wonderful little vignette, the teal ceramic vases are a perfect pop for the Mahogany painted Farrow & Ball backdrop! I love the pair of gold mirrors were purchased off of a container from France.
Owner Bret creates these stylish custom chests! This one is covered in vinyl leather, but they are also available in faux snake skin and real leather. The nail head accents are wonderful, highlighting the lines of the furniture!! Bret just thinks of a design, draws it out and takes it to his warehouse for his staff to build and finish the piece to his and the customer's specifications. Shopping everywhere, the hardware featured on this chest, believe it or not, came from Restoration Hardware.
Spotting a client of mine, Mary Kay, in the store, I noticed her affinity for unique lamps. Boxwood has their own lighting creations. So many of the light fixtures are made custom at the store, such as their signature mercury glass lamps that Mary Kay seems to be drawn to. “We love, love, love lighting!” says Mimi, “Chandeliers - old, new, vintage and everything in between.” With a wide array of pole, silvered, clear glass and custom painted balustrades made into lamps, they certainly have a wide selection. Boxwood also has an array of sconces from Europe and believes one can never have too much lighting—"it contributes to a house becoming a home!!"
Another beautiful look in front of the Farrow & Ball wall painted Pigeon. The whole display could be moved into my home as is!!! I'm redoing my kitchen and den right now, so I found Boxwood to be a wonderful place to get ideas and find unique items that lend a home its finishing touches. Bret, being a designer himself, is both designer-friendly and able to help individual customers coming in purchase those hard to find items to complete their home.
Boxwood loves mixing color, various textiles and elegance with an occasional edge. What better way to tie all those together than with beautiful pillows covered in Donghia and Schumacher and Scalamandre! Most of their pillows are made at the store by their Aunt Jo. The craftsmanship is incredible, hidden zippers so all cases can be removed for dry cleaning, and supreme attention to detail so as to reflect the creative designs in the fabrics. Hi Mimi!!
I ran into Maria Tracy at the fabulous show house she just completed that was featured on the COTE DE TEXAS blog. I loved the pillows and asked where she got them. She said Boxwood, of course!! Here she is with her daughter, Allyson, sitting amidst the comfy pillows.
Here is another of Boxwood’s signature chests. Not being able to find all the pieces and accessories for his own clients, Bret loves buying unique finds or creating new pieces himself that he thinks people will love. Pulling his inspiration from everywhere, I just love that he follows his creative passions. With all those ideas constantly mulling around in his head, he must never sleep!!!
This counter at the front also has a wonderful design and finish-- I can certainly imagine this look for so many furniture and wall applications!!! The mirrors in the front are wonderful too, reflecting the beautiful furniture throughout the store and opening up the space!!!
I love even their offices!! They line up against the back wall and there are two desks per section. The painted frame bulletin board gives each person a place to organize and personalize their space. There is lots of room with the shelving going up each side and the pull out drawers between the desks. This idea would be perfect in a game room or in an upstairs or back hallway space for studying or computer stations. I adore the use of planked wood to define the area. The Farrow and Ball colors used in these offices are Pavillion Gray and Cornforth White.
I had to take a sneak photos of the powder because I thought it was so charming!! I loved the bead board painted in the palest of pinks--Pink Ground--with the plywood panel built out of the wall and covered in wallpaper. I could see this application in a breakfast room, dining room or a baby's room. Very effective!!!
Very "Elle Decor," this vignette has a chic feel with lots of style. From contemporary to antique, mixing different elements seems to be a strong suit for the store. Another Boxwood original, I love these custom bar stools--very comfortable, they can be customized in any finish.
There Bret is now reading a rough draft of my new book Segreto: The Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors which will be out in September. Wonder what his review will be? Go visit Boxwood, located at 3833 Dunlavy, 713.528.1501; boxwoodhouston.com, and let the crew there know you read the blog. They will register you for a drawing of two gallons of Farrow & Ball paints your color choice!!! Thanks Boxwood!!! Ya'll are so GREAT!!!
Some of my favorite picks on Farrow & Ball colors are: Skylight, Borrowed Light, Light Blue, Manor House Gray, Lamp Room Gray and Pavilion Gray - I am just so drawn to those French colors!!! I also love Shaded White and Cornforth White for those warm neutrals. Farrow & Ball have rich colors that have lots of depth, but also have a softness to them that won’t overpower a room--something hard to find in most color selections. Comment in and let me know your experiences with the Farrow & Ball brand... which colors you have tried and what your favorites are. Hope you all have a great week!!!