Open my wardrobe and you'll find just about everything in shade of white, cream and caramel. Look at my favourite-things list and you'll see string, scrimshaw, sailcloth, cracked leather, gypsies' earrings and coins – much fondled and many times counted – burlap and hessian, old metal, fixtures, film and stamps and above all else brown paper. All of them are neutral coloured.
These were the inspirations behind my Foundation 10-colour palette. Foundation is as the title suggests: a solid colour base for any interior. If you're a gardener, consider it the fertile soil, sunshine & rain; if you're a cook, think of it as the flower, eggs & sugar. With the right foundation, anything is possible.
The beauty of this set of neutral colours, is that they literally go with anything. The colours complement, anchor, embrace or accent bolder colours. Paint your bedroom in a Foundation colour and dress it up with the vivid hues of a tone on the brighter end of the spectrum. Buy the lounge you've always coveted in a Foundation colour then scatter it with cushions in indigo blue. Lay a Foundation-coloured carpet and the softness of a paperwhite scheme can follow. Let the neutrals be your basics.
The influence of nature is obvious in all my palettes, but when you're gearing your interiors towards a neutral scheme wood really soars. It's not quite that I see a tree and imagine it as a chair. It's more that in just about every natural landscape, whether on the coast or in the desert, in a rainforest or the park down the road, it's easy to find a tree and observe it as nature's unparalleled colour palette and borrow its natural pairings.
Also, in the home, it's difficult to go wrong with things made of wood. No matter what its origin (pine, oak, blackwood, jarrah) or use (chairs, tables, picture frames, bowls or boxes) it is a very adaptable, durable and attractive choice. Look for objects that highlight its grain, colour and texture; buy items with the hallmarks of age; consider pieces you can gently restore, renew or mend. Reinvent broken pieces, too.