Category: Colours

Back in black…

When I was 13 a friend of my mother’s told me that black really suited me (I was dressed head to toe in it), much to my mother’s chagrin. Being an impressionable age, I took the compliment to heart and have been pretty much obsessed with black ever since. Living in Melbourne, which is the Australian equivalent to New York – it looks like a sea of black and grey in winter, certainly helped.

I’ve already posted about my love of dark walls (see here), but black is a colour that’s not often used in interiors, on walls anyway. I think it takes a brave designer to use it en masse, but the results can look fantastic. Art and pretty much any other colour looks great with black, and it has the ability to look warm or cool, and I think it can work in either modern or classic looking interiors – as I think the pics below will attest.

from the home of fashion designers Badley + Mishka

Aerin Lauder’s Hamptons home, from House & Garden magazine (US)

Shoreditch House, London

A Tom Scheerer interior – it looks quite warm and inviting, don’t you think?

Office of Ashely Edwards, from Domino magazine

An interior by Melbourne design firm Hecker, Phelan & Guthrie

Kara Mann Design – love the photography in this image too.

Photo by Roger Davies photography

Interior by Jackson-Aaron

Kelly Wearstler’s incredibly chic black kitchen, from Domicilium Decoratus

Lobby of the Bulgari resort, Milan

Exterior of Yael Arfallo’s house, from Domino magazine

Black crystal pendant light by Spina design

Vases fromthe new Calvin Klein Home collection

Sexy pumps by Christian Louboutin – one of the holy shoe trinity (the others being Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo of course)

A snakeskin clutch from Hong Kong based Kotur

One of my favorite fashion designers, Martin Grant – a Melbourne boy based in Paris. He even went to the same University that I did!

Black Paintings” Authored by Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg and Ad Reinhardt, this is a collection of black paintings that were creating in America in the 40’s.

40’s American armchair, covered in jet black patent leather, from 1st Dibs.

Tall, Dark & Handsome

I’m not sure if its because the weather is getting cooler and I feel like hibernating, or if it’s because I just can’t seem to get the Steven Gambrel interior from the latest Elle Decor out of my head, but whatever it is I’m in love with dark walls at the moment. They aren’t particularly practical in some rooms, but living in a city that is known for its small dark apartments, using dark colours doesn’t necessarily combat this problem. But hey, if you can’t change it, work with it!

I love how dark walls make a room feel instantly warm, comfortable and inviting. The complete opposite of some rooms I’ve seen that are all white. I also love how artwork looks against a dark backdrop. I’m sure I’ll get into trouble for saying this, but I think most art looks better against black.
So, to help me get over this feeling of wanting to hibernate I’m going to share with you a few of the images I’ve been inspired by lately.

The two rooms by Steven Gambrel from the Nov 07 Elle Decor that got me on this…

Just lovin these sexy black walls – from Aerin Lauders home in the Dec 07 House & Garden
Interior by Australian designer Greg Natale

Dark walls in a Nate Berkus dining room

Charcoal library by Todd Alexander Romano

Image from KM Design

interior by Australian design firm Hecker Phelan & Guthrie

Dark walls by Thad Hayes

Another Thad Hayes room – love these colours together

The other master of dark colours, who practices what he preaches – Philip Gorrivan‘s own living room

A Miles Redd bedroom – another stunning colour combination

Federal blue walls by Markham Roberts

Another room by Markham Roberts

Hunter green walls by Darren Henault

Smouldering dark bedroom walls by Eric Cohler

Food as colour inspiration – part 3

Continuing on from my food related posts last week, I came across an article about the apartment of the team who started Anthropologie, one of my favorite stores in the US. This couple’s inspiration for colour in their kitchen came not from a type of food, but from food packaging – from the French Pâtisserie Laduree, in particular. They apparently took the pastry tins down to their local paint shop and had them match the colour. I remember reading somewhere that Mary Mc Donald collects pieces of packaging in interesting colours that she can use to match paint colours for future projects. I love that idea. I might have to do the same thing. Maybe I need to go shopping this weekend just in case a client sometime in the future decides they must have Hermès orange or Tiffany blue walls…

Image from House & Garden March 2006.

Food as colour inspiration – part 2

Continuing on from my ‘food as inspiration’ post yesterday, this is a kitchen that has taken that to the extreme. The walls here are literally coated in chocolate. And a dash of strawberry too. The owner of this home tried to emulate the look of a french patisserie, and it reminds me of the icecream we used to have when I was a child, that was a combination of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla in one tub – in Australia it’s called Neopolitan (not sure why…) – and my sister and I would always eat the chocolate and strawberry and in the end only the vanilla would be left over. So what do you all think, is this too much in one room? I personally think I’d end up with an eating disorder if I saw this everyday!

All images from the June 2006 issue of House Beautiful magazine.

“Butter yellow” and food as colour inspiration

I was flicking through old copies of Elle Decor over the weekend and came across one of my favorite interiors, the apartment of NY ceramicist Christopher Spitzmiller. He says his choice of wall colour for the living room was based on the colour of an egg yolk, and was inspired by an interior by Nancy Lancaster of a similar colour. It’s been said that Sister Parish chose the colour of Babe Paley’s living room walls based on the colour of NY taxi cabs, but it seems to me to be a very lemon custard kind of colour, and something that would be delicious to live with. The idea of painting walls the colour of your favorite food is probably not a new idea, but it certainly seems like a good one. If you’ve had a favorite food for a long time then surely that says you wouldn’t get sick of having the colour around. So…by that reasoning…what colour would I paint my walls? Mango? Avocado? Strawberry? or maybe Chocolate. Hmmm. That’s tricky.

Images of Christopher Spitzmillers apartment, from Elle Decor December 2006.

Interior by Nancy Lancaster, from the book “Nancy Lancaster: English country house style” by Martin Wood.

Image of Babe Paley’s apartment by Parish-Hadley, from the book “Albert Hadley: the story of America’s preeminent interior designer” by Adam Lewis.

It ain’t easy being green…

Green is definitely my favorite colour, I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m drawn to anything green time and time again. I guess it’s not too difficult to analyse why I like it, or why so many other people do too. It’s ubiquitous in nature, and maybe that’s just enough said. But these days ‘Green’ means much more to people than just a colour name. It’s taken on a whole new meaning, one which is different for each of us depending on our level of understanding of the environmental issues our planet faces.

I for one am willing to publicly admit that I don’t do nearly as much as I could, and my level of understanding of these issues, as much as I recognise them, is not clear. So today I wanted to show my appreciation and say thanks to the eco-chic bloggers out there who are sending us – as consumers, and some of us as designers – information about ways we can stop contributing to these seemingly insurmountable problems – i.e. contributing to landfill, global warming, depletion of the ozone etc. etc. So, if you haven’t already checked out the eco-chic blogs I have listed on my site, please do so!

Images from the Laura Ashley Colour Book

Jean-Pierre Heurteau

Yesterday’s post on gardens had me thinking of all things green, my favorite colour, and made me remember this Melbourne home that I had seen some time ago. It was decorated by another of my favorite Australian designers, Jean-Pierre Heurteau (he’s french, in case you can’t guess from the name!). I was fortunate enough to meet him once when I was living in Melbourne, and he is quite a character. The owners of this home had just returned from a trip to the US – including a stay at Kelly Wearstler’s fabulous Viceroy in Santa Monica – and after finding a copy of her first book they were inspired to re-create that Hollywood glamour look in their own home. They knew that Jean-Pierre would be the best person to do that for them.

This home is a typical victorian-style townhouse that you find a lot of in Melbourne, but which are being gutted or having the backs chopped off to ‘modernize’ them. Personally, I think if you want a modern home you should just go build one and not destroy history, but that’s just me. Anyway, I love what this couple has done to theirs, they’ve opened it up a little, but it seems to be a sympathetic renovation, and the decor is perfect. The colour combination of mainly white, green and a little black is so fresh. I love it.

The owner with family pet standing in the hall. I love the contrast between the glossy black floorboards and the white walls. It’s super airy and light, looks modern, but they’ve kept all the original mouldings. Love the green chandelier and the mirrored console behind.

In the Living Room, Jean-Pierre has tried to keep the high-glam to a minimum so that it still feels comfortable and livable.

The open dining/kitchen area is beautiful. I love the green velvet on these chairs, and how it picks up ever so slightly the green from the glass splash-backs (hard to see in this photo, I know). The multi-coloured murano glass chandelier above is just amazing.

Two views of the master bedroom. Feature wall covered in a wallpaper from Cole & Son. Lamps, cushions and other accessories from Jean-Pierre’s shop.

Two views of the master bathroom (with a mirrored dressing room barely visable to the right). I would kill for an open bathroom like this. As you can see from the lower image, it opens out to an internal courtyard. The perfect place to sit and soak and unwind after a long week. Just need a small table beside that tub to rest magazines and a glass of champagne!

All images from Vogue Living (Australia) March/April 2006.

Quote of the day

Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve just been checking out the Anthropologie website which has been updated since the last time I looked. I was in there store while in New York and could have just about bought one of everything in there, I love that place! So I thought I’d share a quote for the day from their website that I liked.

“Imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering”.
– Brenda Ueland.

Also, I thought I’d share this image from their spring home collection as I’m really loving lime and violet at the moment. Maybe I’ll try and find some more images over the weekend to share…