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10 Paint Colors with Cult Followings: Architects’ All-Time Favorite Paint Picks

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10 Paint Colors with Cult Followings: Architects’ All-Time Favorite Paint Picks

May 14, 2019

Why reinvent the wheel every time you need to paint a room? Even architects and designers turn to their favorite colors—versatile and universally flattering—again and again. The members of the Remodelista Architect and Designer Directory were generous enough to let us in on their secrets.

1. Simply White from Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: Benjamin Moore’s Simply White is the white chosen more often than any other. Says SF designer Kriste Michelini, “It is my go-to white—fresh, versatile, and warm—and it works in any home, whether traditional or modern, with a warm or cool palette.” It’s also the pick of NYC designer Lauren Rubin, who called it “the perfect wall color.” (N.B.: Benjamin Moore chose Simply White as its 2016 Color of the Year.)

Shown here, architects Gregory Merkel and Ana Catalina Rojas used Simply White throughout their remodel featured in Two Young Architects Tackle Their Own Brooklyn Townhouse. Photograph by Carl Bellavia, courtesy of Gregory Merkel.

(For much more on what to know about white, see 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Painting a Room White.)

2. Hague Blue from Farrow & Ball

Eva Dornstreich of The Brooklyn Home Co. nominated Farrow & Ball&#8
Above: Eva Dornstreich of The Brooklyn Home Co. nominated Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue to the cult list. “It’s a beautiful, deep, rich color that can be at once bold and understated,” she says.

Star London chef Skye Gyngell used Hague Blue on her British Standard kitchen cabinets, shown here and featured in In the Kitchen with Skye Gyngell, London’s Chef du Jour. Photograph by Alexis Hamilton, courtesy of British Standard.

3. White Dove from Benjamin Moore

Alison Davin of Jute in San Francisco says, &#8
Above: Alison Davin of Jute in San Francisco says, “Benjamin Moore’s White Dove has a cult following in the white world. Its warm undertone has a universal appeal and works well in most spaces.” The designer used the color in the San Anselmo living room shown here. Photograph by Matthew Millman, courtesy of Jute.

It’s also the color chosen by architect John Alee and designer Hannah Childs in Before & After: A Summer Cottage Reborn on the Connecticut Coast.

4. Iron Mountain from Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: Benjamin Moore’s Iron Mountain is the dark color chosen more often than any other. Says Los Angeles architect Oonagh Ryan, “I use this paint color on almost every project. It’s a warm gray with brown undertones and matches natural steel and sheet metal perfectly.”

Tatum Kendrick of Studio Hus in Los Angeles used the color in the Venice Beach bedroom shown here. “It can go classic, modern, or earthy depending on your environment and furniture,” she says. Photograph courtesy of Studio Hus.

5. Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore

Lewis Butler of Butler Armsden Architects nominated Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: Lewis Butler of Butler Armsden Architects nominated Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace to the cult list: “It’s a terrible name, but the best white out there,” he says. The firm used it on the walls of its new San Francisco offices.

Architect Elizabeth Roberts used Chantilly Lace in this Williamsburg townhouse featured in A Whole-House Overhaul in Brooklyn with a High/Low Mix. Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts.

6. Nimbus from Benjamin Moore

NYC interior designer Bella Mancini named Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: NYC interior designer Bella Mancini named Benjamin Moore’s Nimbus to the greatest-hits list. “We use it again and again and again,” she says, “We pick it without even meaning to. It is a versatile gray that goes bluer or browner, depending on the light.”

Remodelista contributing editor Justine Hand used Nimbus on the bed frame in her daughter Solvi’s room, shown here and featured in The Soulful Side of Old Cape Cod: Justine’s Family Cottage. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

7. Thunder from Benjamin Moore

NYC designer Elizabeth Bolognino named Benjamin Moore&#8
Above: NYC designer Elizabeth Bolognino named Benjamin Moore’s Thunder to the cult list. “I love how it changes from gray to beige to white. It is the perfect background for accent colors while keeping things subdued and sophisticated,” she says. (Bolognino herself mixes a custom version of 25 percent Thunder and 75 percent white.)

Justine Hand used Thunder to create a forest pattern in her son Oliver’s room. See more at DIY: The Stenciled Kid’s Room, Boreal Forest Edition. Photograph by Justine Hand.

8. Clunch from Farrow & Ball

Jessica Speeckaert of Chambers & Chambers Architects in Mill Valley, California, says Clunch by Farrow & Ball is the cult favorite in their office. &#8
Above: Jessica Speeckaert of Chambers & Chambers Architects in Mill Valley, California, says Clunch by Farrow & Ball is the cult favorite in their office. “It has a sophisticated warmth and adds a timeless elegance to any room,” she says. Firm principal Barbara Chambers used the color in her own living room, shown here. Photograph courtesy of Chambers + Chambers.

Paint expert Eve Ashcraft and writer Heather Smith MacIsaac also picked Clunch as a favorite soft white in our story Expert Advice: Living in Black and White.

9. Pitch Black from Farrow & Ball

 San Francisco designer Nicole Hollis picked Farrow & Ball&#8
Above: San Francisco designer Nicole Hollis picked Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Black as her favorite, shown here in the library of a prewar residence in Pacific Heights, San Francisco. Photograph by Laure Joliet, courtesy of Nicole Hollis.

It’s also a favorite of NYC architect Steven Harris, who chose the color for our story Black Magic: Architects’ 8 Top Paint Picks.

10. Calamine from Farrow & Ball

Los Angeles design firm Alexandra Loew (formerly From the Desk of Lola) added Farrow & Ball&#8
Above: Los Angeles design firm Alexandra Loew (formerly From the Desk of Lola) added Farrow & Ball’s Calamine to the cult list: “It’s the perfect nonwhite neutral, conservative as navy blue, while sweet, tender, and unassuming as pink.” LA designer Alexandra Angle used Calamine as an accent wall, putting it on our list of The 10 Best Pink Paints.

Candace Partain used Calamine in her daughters’ bedroom in their Bozeman, Montana, home, shown. Photograph by Vanessa Pleasants, featured in An Inspirational Montana Home, courtesy of Vintage Whites.

For more on paint, see:

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on June 13, 2016.

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