Hello, my name is Lisa. I am (gulp) a modernist who loves color. There I said it, the truth is out! I enjoy the nuances of greens, blues, yellows and my all-time favorite aquamarine. And not just on a throw pillow, mind you. I long to see it up on my walls and even (dare I say it!) on the exterior of my house. Unfortunately for a color-lover like me, I live with a typical modernist devoted to white and grey. But a girl can dream, as I’ve been doing since discovering Unearthed Paints, a gorgeously-hued new line of natural paints and wall coatings.
Actually, the recipes behind Unearthed Paints are anything but new. Using raw ingredients like chalk, clay, marble, and earth and mineral pigments to color our world goes back to ancient times. “These paints have been used in some form for hundreds of thousands of years,” says Jessica Pfohl who started Unearthed Paints with her architect husband Florian Speier when they realized this healthy and sustainable way of doing things was all but forgotten in the United States.
“Clay and mineral paints have never gone out of popularity in Europe and Japan, and we felt strongly that Americans would embrace them if given the opportunity.” When a friend in Australia started importing natural paint products from the venerable German company Kreidezeit, Jessica and Florian realized this could be a new business for them, as well. After months of relationship building (Kreidezeit turned down several offers from would-be importers in the past) and some American-friendly re-branding, Unearthed Paints hopes to win some market share away from an industry dominated by latex paint.
Ok, let’s get back to those pretty colors, which are manifestations of the earth and mineral pigments they use exclusively to tint their paints and plasters. A harmonious range of rich yellows, oranges and reds come from clay-based ochres, umbers and siennas while those incredible greens and blues I drool over start with ultramarine (a soda, sulfur and clay elixer that colorizes when heated) and spinel (a crystalline mineral found in volcanos). Besides being beautiful, every pigment (as well as every ingredient in the entire line) is naturally VOC-free and non-toxic. You can even paint with your little one around, as Jessica and Florian are doing in the photo below.
Speaking of VOC’s, Jessica brings up some excellent points that even a well-educated green consumer might not realize. She is an attorney, and its through this lens she noticed the inadequacies of our current laws and environmental guidelines. “The EPA definition of a VOC is only concerned with a product’s contribution to the formation of smog. It doesn’t take into consideration people’s health, how much energy is used in a paint’s production or if toxic waste is produced.”
According to Jessica, this means a lot of harmful additives are sneaking in under the radar- and oftentimes, into the paints we assume are safe for our family and planet’s well-being. She has become a vocal proponent of making paint companies disclose their ingredients, just as they do with every Unearthed Paint they sell. Their products are so clean, you can even compost the leftovers!
So are you ready to get your hue on?
Order sample sizes of a specific paint you want to try or explore the whole line with the $20 Unearthed Paint Tester Kit. There are 5 different types of interior finishes, each with its own strengths and aesthetic appeal. When you decide which formula is right for your project, they’ll give you a $15 credit towards your purchase (of $50 or more). I’ll be sitting over here in my gray and white box, cheering you on! P.S. The whites and grays are actually very lovely- if you happen to lean that way.
Credits: Unearthed Paints.