Contemporary Fabrics From The Brains Behind Farrow & Ball

Contemporary Fabrics From The Brains Behind Farrow & Ball

Even if you haven’t got Down Pipe or Skimming Stone on your walls, you will have heard of Farrow & Ball, the iconic paint and wallpaper business whose colour charts can be seen in homes everywhere. Not content with the successful reinvention of F&B, Martin Ephson sold the premium paint business and turned his expertise of colour and pattern to textiles, launching Fermoie with business partner, Tom Helme. Now their British-designed and printed luxury fabrics are everywhere from Soho Farmhouse to Soho House Mumbai.

Why did you decide to launch a fabric company?

The market was characterised by lots of product but not much choice. Printed fabric had lost its enjoyment. Our big mission was to bring back the lost enjoyment, so that people did not just look at the pattern but they’d look at the printing and say, ‘That is incredibly beautiful, how do they do that?’

The fabric marketplace is crowded - what makes Fermoie stand out?

Over 400 unique colours, coherently arranged is a good start! We saw a gap in the textiles market for a brand selling a range which offered a large number of subtle colours at its heart. And we use pigment dyes and traditional screen printing to create print effects that intrigue.

What drew you to traditional manufacturing methods?

It enabled us to get the look we wanted. Fermoie’s aim has always been to capture the life, light and enjoyment of old woven textiles. We print traditionally with a light touch creating a subtle impression but with the depth of a woven fabric. Everything we print starts off being hand-drawn in our studio. Our cotton base cloth is woven to our specification and pattern in Lancashire, whereas our linen can be traced back to the individual growers in Northern Europe.

Talk us through the colourways, designs and patterns

We launched with 140-colourways and eight designs, we now have 400-colourways over 23 designs, with more to come. All patterns in the Fermoie offering are presented in five colour families: Reds, Yellows, Greens, Blues, and Neutrals, edited to create infallible combinations.

What inspires you?

My travels, my art, good design, good architecture, and my wife, Eugenia, who has the best creative eye.

How would you describe your interior style?

Minimal in the city, traditional in the country, and modern in the sun.  All of it complimented by our contemporary art collection.

What is your favoured colour scheme?

Blue, as a colour family, is generally my default setting.

What is your favourite Fermoie fabric?

It’s impossible to say – each has its special place – but our extensive textured plains are always usable.

What are your bestsellers?

Our bestsellers are Plain Linen, Wicker, Rabanna and Blue all the way, but this changes in autumn with more neutrals coming through.

What are your style rules?

Classical proportions, no clutter and immaculate execution.

Who is your favourite interior designer and why?

My daughter, Ciara, of Fentiman Design, who adheres to my style rules!

Unsure how to introduce print and pattern into your home? We questioned interior designer Ciara Ephson and founder of Fentiman Design for some décor advice…

Are there any unspoken rules when it comes to using print in your home?

I’m a big believer in using as many prints as you want. There are no set rules, the focus should be on getting the right balance so that the print, texture and colour all complement each other. Start with one fabric and choose a colour that you’d like to pick out or contrast, and then choose subsequent colours and prints accordingly. It can be helpful to start with a rug or piece of artwork if you are feeling a bit lost.

How many colours can you mix in a scheme?

Again, there are no set rules for this, but using colour is actually easier when you are introducing a mixture of prints. The patterns help to break the colour up, so you don’t end up with bocks of colour dotted around a room.  

Where do you suggest people should use print in their home?

If you’re looking to update an existing space then bathrooms are often overlooked when it comes to soft furnishings. A colourful patterned blind or wallpaper can totally transform what is so often left as a utilitarian or clinical space.

Should you vary the scale of your pattern?

Yes, definitely. It’s important to vary both the scale and the style of the prints; for example, balance curves with geometric lines or floral prints with stripes. Use your instinct and see what works for the room, then play around with it until you’re content.

For more inspiration visit Fermoie, 53-55 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8NE​, call 01672 513723 or visit

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