COLOUR SMOKE GREY
Linked to memories of childhood bonfires and cosy evenings, this hue is surprisingly comforting.
There are few things more evocative than the smell of wood smoke in air so cold it seems to crisp up the inside of your nostrils. It is the smell of winter: the scent memory ofwoollen jumpers, red berries against snow and evenings curled up next to a stove with a glass of red wine in hand. Scent, more than any other sensory stimulus, can unlock memories from long ago. One reason for this is that smell is the oldest sense. Just like the most rudimentary bacteria, we respond to chemicals wafting in our environment. This is the root of smoke’s power.
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Hanging in the atmosphere, lending the air a greyish tinge, its heady blend of aroma-chemicals (including vanillin, peppery isoeugenol and woody guaiacol) are just waiting to catapult you back to childhood bonfires whose embers have long since ceased to glow.
Perhaps it is because of its peculiar sensory power that all things smoky have an unusually strong appeal. Indeed, greys in general have a similar effect. Ubiquitous though they may be, they are too useful and too varied to stray too far from fashion. Get just the right shade and it will make every other colour in your home sing. And at this time of year smoke grey – pale and warm with undertones that vary between violet and brown depending on personal preference – which is so redolent
Get just the right shade of grey and it will make every other colour in your home sing of memory, is worth fighting for. As a paint colour it is democratic: every brand will have at least one take on it. Opt for an incarnation that is soft but has depth; too flat a hue will look as bland and institutional as airport carpet. Applied with a brush rather than a roller, the subtle texture created will be worth the extra time and effort.
If you can’t abide the thought of grey walls, try introducing the colour with decorative accessories. Translucent smoked glass is the gentlest way to indulge in the trend. Simon Legald’s lights for Normann Copenhagen (‘Amp’ pendant light, £84, Clippings; clippings.com) come in an elegant smoke and black-marble version. Dusty glass is also to be found in the recent ‘Luxe’ range by French Connection (from £4; frenchconnection.com), made using chunky soda glass that is flecked with aluminium. For something a bit more striking, consider Adam Hunter’s ‘Smoke’ rug for The Rug Company (from £1,735 per square metre; therugcompany.com). The design – a twist of dark grey unfurling across a pale taupe ground – is rendered in 16 shades made from a blend of silk and wool. Although timeless enough to be loved all year round, it is a piece with a peculiar affinity for cosy winters spent by the fireside.
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