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British Invasion: A Sought-After UK Paint Company Comes to Connecticut

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British Invasion: A Sought-After UK Paint Company Comes to Connecticut

September 8, 2023

Ruth Mottershead, the creative director of the paint company Little Greene, was ten when she first visited the family paint factory in north Wales. Her father, David, had recently been made redundant and decided to channel his expertise in color and finishes into this small, struggling factory. For Ruth and her brother, a life of color ensued. “I remember us painting color charts at the kitchen table,” she recalls. “I suppose color is in my blood, really.”

Photography courtesy of Little Greene.

little greene bedroom
Above: A Little Greene bedroom in Bassoon; panelling in Nether Red; table from Ethnicraft painted in Jack Black.

In the beginning, the factory produced specialist paint finishes for industry. Soon, established paint brands approached them to manufacture their products: Ralph Lauren, Fired Earth, Sanderson, William Morris, and Paint and Paper Library all became customers. Gradually, David and his wife began to create a vision for their own paint brand: a high-quality product “with personality.”

little greene kitchen
Above: A Little Greene kitchen in Windmill Lane from the Colors of England range. The units are in Córdoba.

David researched the site of the company headquarters in Manchester and discovered that they were based close to the historic site of The Little Greene Dye Works, a small company that once supplied pigments and dyes to local weaving mills in the early 1700s. They took the name as inspiration, and the spirit of the original dye works lives on in their production methods: The paint-making process is still largely undertaken by hand, rather than automated machines. Even their sample pots are filled by hand from a glass jug.

Over 25 years, Little Greene’s range of highly pigmented colors and wallpapers, intelligent finishes, and commitment to ethically and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes have established them as one of the UK’s go-to paint brands. During that time, they have crafted a collection that represents 300 years of decorative history, referencing the key periods of interior design—from the 17th century to the late 20th century—as well creating new colors for contemporary interiors. All of this has been captured in their color card: a concertina of color samples that has become a mainstay for interior designers and enthusiastic decorators alike.

little greene dining room 2
Above: Here, the dining room walls are Invisible Green; the punchy pink chairs are Leather; the shelves are Cool Arbour.

Happily, Little Greene will be making all this available to US customers when they open their first American store on 9 East Putnam Avenue in Greenwich, Connecticut, this fall. “I’m really excited about it,” Ruth tells us in the weeks leading up to the launch. “It’s taken us two years of focused planning to get to this point, so I feel like we’re ready for it now.” The location was chosen because it felt “relatable” to the brand, Ruth explains. “In London, we have showrooms in Chelsea, Marylebone, and Notting Hill; areas that feel village-like. Greenwich, Connecticut has a similar feel. It’s a pocket of interior showrooms, a real destination.”

little greene hallway
Above: A crisp, contemporary use of Shallows for the walls; Jack Black for the trim; Smalt for the door insets and Air Force Blue on the floors.

As we speak, the store is being fitted out with ash wooden floors. The walls—which are bathed in natural light—will feature the full range of Little Greene color blocks and wallpapers for customers to browse and seek inspiration. Color consultancy will be offered online and in person—a service that is increasingly in demand. “I think people now feel much more confident in putting together mood boards to find the look that they want to achieve,” says Ruth. “But we’ve found that when it comes to actually making that final decision, often consumers still appreciate that last word of advice or reassurance.”

little greene living room
Above: The walls and paneling in this soft living space are Masquerade; the ceiling is Julie’s Dream.

The Little Greene paint collection of 196 colors will be organized into two color cards for the US market: The Colors of England collection and Color Scales, both of which are designed to make choosing a color a joyful and intuitive experience. “This is one of our points of difference,” explains Ruth, who has worked for the family business for 12 years. “We offer a more limited, curated palette of colors to aid decision making.”

The Colors of England range meets the growing desire for timeless colors that are both easy to select and a joy to live with. The color card includes authentic 18th-, 19th-. and 20th-century shades that are catalogued by period, a useful guide for those decorating a historic property. These shades are presented alongside a carefully adjusted palette of contemporary shades—or what Ruth calls “fresher, brighter, cleaner tones” that embrace modern interior design aesthetics and current decorating trends.

little greene dining room
Above: A below-stairs kitchen is given a contemporary color scheme with Pea Green on the ceiling, Garden on the walls and larder cupboards, and Scullery in the hallway.

The Color Scales palette showcases soft tonal colors that are grouped in color families and offer colors that use different strengths of the same pigment. These are designed to be used in combination to create a harmonious scheme, with subtle nuances between rooms or across different areas of a room such as walls and trim.

little greene grey bathroom
Above: A combination of Vulcan walls and Livid bath and floors create this unexpectedly moody bathroom.

What unites both palettes is the company’s commitment to authenticity. “Each color has a story to tell,” explains Ruth. “Whether it’s Hicks’ Blue, which was used by the designer David Hicks in the restaurant at the top of the London Telecom Tower in 1962, or Tea with Florence, a blue-green taken from a National Trust property visited by Florence Nightingale…”

How these stories are interpreted by customers in the US remains to be seen: “We cannot wait to see what sample pots get picked up first,” says Ruth.

N.B.: For more on the paints, and for news of the brand’s Stateside arrival, head to Little Greene.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Little Greene Paint Company?

The Little Greene Paint Company is a UK-based paint manufacturer known for their high-quality, eco-friendly paints.

Is the Little Greene Paint Company available in the US?

Yes, the Little Greene Paint Company has expanded its operations to the US market.

Where can I buy Little Greene paint in the US?

You can purchase Little Greene paint in the US through their official website or through select retailers.

Are Little Greene paints eco-friendly?

Yes, Little Greene paints are known for their eco-friendly properties. They are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and made from natural, sustainable ingredients.

What color options are available from Little Greene?

Little Greene offers a wide range of color options, including historic and contemporary palettes. They have a collection of over 300 paint colors.

Can I order paint samples from Little Greene?

Yes, Little Greene provides paint samples for you to test colors before making a final decision.

Do they offer different paint finishes?

Yes, Little Greene offers a variety of paint finishes, including matte, eggshell, and gloss finishes, to suit different surfaces and preferences.

Can Little Greene paints be used for both interior and exterior applications?

Yes, Little Greene paints are suitable for both interior and exterior use.

Do they offer any special paint collections or collaborations?

Yes, the Little Greene Paint Company collaborates with designers and partners to create unique paint collections, adding to their offerings.

Product summary  Item 6 161Item 7 162

lg exteriors 2023 9 lo
Paint

Pea Green

£5.25 GBP from Little Greene

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