Mad About . . .

Colour of the Moment: Turmeric

27th September 2017
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Sometimes things all come together at once in a way that might at first seem mysterious but probably isn’t and in my case it was yesterday’s massive (I mean massive) spillage of a jug of turmeric milk all over my white floorboards that led to this post.

vintage gold sofa

And as I was mopping and swearing and wiping and swearing and bleaching and swearing (and if you follow me on instagram and you are reading this early in the morning you can see the whole sorry saga on my stories) it occurred to me that this colour is everywhere at the moment and that despite protesting my dislike of yellow) I actually rather like this shade of orange/gold so I thought I would explore it further with you today. And if you’re wondering about the turmeric the answer is neat bleach. Clearly only for a floor not a sofa, but having tried 47 different things I thought I would tell you what worked in the end. And yes, that’s the end of that health kick.

cherished gold by Dulux is one of their colours for 2018

Anyway, yellow began creeping up earlier this year at a talk on colour by Joa Studholme of Farrow and Ball. “Yellow is coming for us.” she pronounced, boldly announcing that Hay was one of the colours for 2017/18 (you can read that post here). Now this is a woman who knows what she is talking about. Still, I shuddered and ignored her. Then, gradually, as these things in interiors must always happen, I started to notice a flash of gold fabric here and a dash of what was being called Turmeric there.

new season colours from h&m

new season colours from h&m

And I began, despite myself, to rather fall in love with this colour. Of course in some forms it’s a classic – grey and yellow is very 1950s. Personally, I prefer charcoal and gold but it’s a combination that always works. And, in a bold form, gold and blush pink is stunning. And what about with navy and dark green? This colour goes with so much it’s practically a neutral.

mustard velvet chair from cox and cox

mustard velvet chair from cox and cox

Then my mother rang. “I have decided to redecorate. I’m going modern,” she announced. In hindsight I should have seen this coming. She discovered Annie Sloan paint last year and little by little all her brown furniture (which I love) is being painted in various shades of grey. I know – does this make it my fault?

washed linen bedding from H&M

Now my mother has had a gorgeous little Edwardian sofa in her house(s) ever since I was about 10 years old. It came from my Great Grandmother’s house where it lived in the kitchen, covered in blankets and was used as a dog bed. When she died (at the age of 98) my mother went to help clear the house.

the lovers chair from rockett st george in golden glow

The sofa, which was dilapidated, sagging and covered in dog hairs was about to be heaved onto a skip. “I’ll have that,” said my mother, who had just started an upholstery course and thought she could use it for practice. And so it became our sofa, upholstered in a pink and white stripe with tiny flowers.

velvet cushions from Graham and Green

Twenty years ago she had it professionally done in the colour you see at the top of this post. And now that she has gone modern, it has come to live with us. And it’s, er, a sort of turmeric. And having spent the last 20 years eyeing it up with thoughts of recovering it to change the colour I now find I love it just as it is in my sitting room.

Of course when you look for it it’s called everything from turmeric to mustard via camel, yolk and gold. But it’s all a variation on a theme.

margot sofa in antique gold from

So I decided to show you some more gorgeous homewares in this colour. Meanwhile I’m thinking of redoing the chaise longue in a bold print of turmeric and blush pink. I’m looking at The House of Hackney…

One more thing before I go: I will be at the Natuzzi store in Hampstead on Sunday morning (1 October) with the 2 Lovely Gays for an Italian brunch and to show people round the store. If you’re around do come along. And I have to tell you that I wasn’t sure Natuzzi was a natural fit for me, but when I went to visit the store the other day I was impressed. They have changed direction over the last few years and there is some gorgeous stuff in there. It’s not all leather but there are some cushions that are tobacco leather (shall we say turmeric?!) mixed with navy blue tweed that are lovely. Not to mention lots of velvet and great lighting. If you think you might be able to drop by for a coffee and a bit of brunch as well as a 15 per cent discount and a goodie bag then drop a line to [email protected] and tell them you’ll be there. I will be there, with Russell and Jordan, between 11am and 2pm and it would be great to meet some of you. It’s five minutes from Finchley Road tube station and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

bubble vase in amber from graham and green

bubble vase in amber from graham and green

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  • Local Interiors 10th October 2017 at 10:41 am

    I really like style of writing. Many thanks for sharing this!

  • Kimberly ~ Swoon Worthy 28th September 2017 at 8:38 am

    I was surprised to see this knowing well your hatred of yellow! Ha! But I have to admit, I’ve always loved a flash of golden hues in my interiors (see: headboard in bedroom and tiny love seat in living room) and while I wouldn’t paint a room in it (gah) give me a warm yellow velvet and I’m all over it. I’ve been thinking when we finally move I may invest in another sofa and I’ve been going back and forth in my mind between a classic and easy-to-live-with grey and something slightly braver in yes, tumeric velvet. I think your post has convinced me to just be brave with it. xxx PS If you are wondering, it’s Swoon Editions Porto sofa in Honey. OMG. It’s divine.

  • Denise 27th September 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Noooooo. Never, ever, ever letting orange into my home, except in a marmalade jar. Yuk. Just yuk.

  • Jeffrey 27th September 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Is Enid on board with a color change to her chaise? Felines can be rather fussy over fabric changes.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 28th September 2017 at 11:38 am

      well it would suit me if she didn’t like it in a new fabric because then she might give it a wide berth and not destroy it!

  • Maudie Parkinson 27th September 2017 at 11:46 am

    Wow. I love this post. I’ve been calling it tobacco or rust – for want of a better description, haha! Turmeric. So much better.
    Have just used it in a bathroom with charcoal and concrete, and it looks amazing. Like you say, quite 50s.
    I also have it in my own bedroom, I think as an homage to autumn thing… Gingery vintage leather, soft bedlinen and faded tobacco velvet cushions layered with dark greys and loads of layers of natural textures, and I so love it. I noticed Zara home have some lovely 50s inspired pieces too.
    Thanks Kate – spot on as per.

  • Jill Ashton 27th September 2017 at 11:28 am

    Like you I have fought the yellows for years but stealthily it has seeped into my life too and charmed me… I have even painted a wall in a shade of it (I had to dull it down a bit by mixing in some grey but there it is on the wall) Still can’t wear it though…

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