Color Inspiration

It’s All White

September 20, 2007

By Rachel Perls of Hue Consulting, decor8 guest writer

White is the color of whipped cream and popcorn, of fresh snow and fluffy clouds. It is the presence of all colors in light, but the absence of color in pigment. White has the vibrancy to rival the brightest hues, so should not be considered a neutral. Think of whitewashed buildings in Greece overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean.

It's All Whitevia: Flickr

A common misconception is that white, in and of itself, will make a space bigger and brighter. Much of this depends on the lighting-just picture that small, dark hallway with white walls. It tends to look grey and dingy, doesn?t it? Without light streaming through a big window, it doesn?t work. I must admit, as a color consultant, trained in the psychological and physiological effects of color, I try to steer my clients away from using too much white. From a scientific perspective, studies have shown that it has little, if any, positive psychotherapeutic value. But, these articles on color are good exercises in learning how to embrace something that you might otherwise wrinkle your nose at. And so, without further ado, I bring you, white!

It's All White via: Location Works

Signifying purity, simplicity, and the barest of essentials, white is a favorite of designers and architects for sparse modern spaces.

It's All White via: It's All White via: Shabby Chic

It?s also been embraced for a more country feeling; think Rachel Ashwell?s Shabby Chic. Thought of as clean and pristine, you have to be careful not to over-do using white because it runs the risk of appearing cold, lacking emotional warmth, even clinical.

It's All White via: Homes and Gardens

It's All White via: Living Etc

To avoid this effect, off-whites such as ivory, cream, and whites tinted with colors can be layered in, adding texture and softness.

It's All White One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living
It's All White One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living
It's All White One Room, Three Ways via: Southern Living

It?s a great place to start with your big ?base? pieces: the couch, fireplace mantle and side chair. Then bring in other colors to really customize the space to your taste. Same basic elements, totally different feel to each.

It's All White Via: Elle Decor

White is great as an accent, to add contrast, and provide a unifying element through spaces. For instance, white trim, molding and floorboards. Or how about this great idea – artwork all framed in white-so sharp!

It's All Whitevia: GV Interiors
It's All Whitevia: Southern Accents

White kitchens are quite popular. As a super duper messy cook, my white cabinets and stove are my undoing; every tiny little splatter glares back at me. It sure does look lovely paired with some soft blues, doesn?t it?

It's All White via: Fired Earth
It's All White via: Living Etc
It's All White via: Beach Studios

Another way to avoid white?s side effect of sterility is to bring in different textures and natural materials. I love the bathroom shown above with soft, natural stone and creamy colored tiles. Just think about all the different materials you can use, all with vastly different looks- stone, ceramic tile, painted wood?

It's All White via: Location Works
It's All White via: Location Works

These rooms use the same color scheme, but look at how a few key pieces can completely change its character.

White is a blank canvas, and really is there for you to project your personal tastes and styles upon. How do you feel about white? How do you use it in your home?

{Thank you Rachel for stopping in with your post about white. To read more of Rachel’s insights on color, visit her blog or previous articles written for decor8 right here. -holly}

Events + Markets

Three Potato Four

September 20, 2007

A thirst for vintage? Love a little old mixed in with the new? I was so excited to hear from Three Potato Four, I really appreciate that they took the time to write in about their online store. Especially since they offer fabulous vintage and new finds for (mostly) the home. Can that vintage pear jar be any sweeter?

Three Potato Four
Their selection is out of this world, the Zakka-esque products that have are so pretty, and the vintage finds, like the large vintage pulldown map (below), is simply the best. What a great way to add loads of color and interest to a wall if you rent and you’re limited by what you’re allowed to do in your space. Forget wallpaper and paint, this map stands alone. And it’s a fun conversation piece, guests like to look at maps and talk about where they’ve been. I love stories like that.

I recall seeing an image in a past issue of Domino magazine, a homeowner/designer had a map on an entire wall in her kitchen. I can still see her lovely face and the outfit she was wearing, and I know exactly what her place looked like (her bedroom was very green), but I can’t recall the issue or her name. Can anyone help me here? I’d love to show you because it’s a great example of how maps as a decorative touch really work! I had a massive world map on my wall when I had my own place (before getting married), I’d marked all the places visited in my lifetime and I also marked the top 5 destinations that I hoped to travel to someday. I think having a map around is a great reminder that we really are tiny specks on this planet and there is so much more out there – it’s quite humbling. I love globes as well, but you already know that about me from this post.

Three Potato Four
Aren’t these vintage circus mugs from Ireland so charming? Perfect for those with a mug collection. I wish Three Potato Four much success in their new shop, and thank you again for writing in!

Psst: They also carry plates by Snowden Flood.

(images from three potato four)

Arts + Crafts

Julia Rothman

September 19, 2007

My Julia Rothman Luxury Apt print finally came back from the frame shop. I had it mounted against a soft blue background because I love the look of the raw edges on the print. I spent an hour deciding on this frame, I drifted from wood to white to silver and although I disliked it with polished silver, the matte silver with lots of texture (mostly lines) won.

Julia Rothman
Because it’s silkscreened and I don’t want it to fade, I had the framer use UV glass to protect it. I don’t know where it will end up, perhaps the living room or the office, but for now it will hang out on my credenza until it finds a home.

Julia Rothman

My credenza is the unofficial parking lot in our house, the transition space, limbo land. It’s where I put everything until I’ve decided on it’s final destination. And when it comes to art, I’m careful not to install it quickly as I prefer to live with it first. Julia has such beautiful prints, and she’s a really nice person, which makes shopping from her a pleasure. :)

(image by holly becker for decor8)

Etsy Faves

Fern Animals

September 19, 2007

I met Ashley from Fern Animals at Renegade in Brooklyn this past summer (I can’t believe summer is in the past tense now, boo hoo) and I thought her little animals had the cutest little details, lions with mane hats that can be removed, some with beards, others with scarfs, and a menagerie of other critters too. Everything is darling and so petite that you’ll want to start a mini collection, I just know it.

Fern Animals
I’m so happy to see her on etsy, yeah!

(image from fern animals)

Reader Questions, Rooms

Reader Q: German Tapete – Help!

September 19, 2007

Cry for help from Germany! I hope that those of you tuning in from Deutschland and other countries where installing thick tapete (wallpaper) is common in rentals can help. For those of you unfamiliar with tapete, in Germany you are not allowed to paint directly on the walls, but you can paint on this thick textured paper called tapete. Yeah, really. I think most that rent in Germany hate this stuff.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!
All the tapete I’ve come across is textured, which makes it a pain if you prefer the look of a smooth surface like I do. Reader Juliette recently relocated to Germany from the Boston area and absolutely hates it. She painted it a pretty blue, but she’s not keen on the texture and is curious if she could apply wall decals on it to give it life. From my experience with textured anything, you cannot apply decals to it as they will not adhere.

I do have a question to all you Germans in the haus. Is tapete available without texture? Certainly it must be. I’d hate to think otherwise, as I can’t bear textured walls with paint, I agree with Juliette when she said in her email, “It’s just something I really hate hate hate!”.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!
Although at a distance, it’s not so obvious…

Juliette asked for help decorating her living room, if you’re up for it. You can view the apartment that she’ll be occupying for the next two years on flickr.

Her challenge room is the living room. Since they’ve had to start at zero when they relocated, bringing almost nothing with them from Boston, they’ve already spent their bank account on all the necessary things, and since they can’t afford Habitat right now, IKEA is their only option. Juliette is scared that her home will soon take on the look of an IKEA catalog, so she needs some advice on ways she can warm it up and add personality without breaking the bank.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!
This is what her space looks like today. Some points to consider:

1- The green sofa will be relocated to their office when they have the money to purchase a new one. In other words, don’t design the room around the sofa, it’s not staying. Any advice on what color sofa she should go with?
2- The lamp and coffee table need replaced since she doesn’t think they work. Any tips?
3- The chairs… Any advice? They are really comfortable so Juliette hates to toss them.
4- She loves the rug but it “only covers half the floor and we need to cover the whole floor (long story) and I’m not sure what would be in harmony with it and not divide the room in half. It would fit perfectly in the office, which is where it will likely end up as well. I wish we could just super-size the rug since I really love it with the blue and it pulls in an old look that I adore.”
5 – She plans to place the map shown below over the sofa.

Reader Q: German Tapete - Help!

Do you have some advice for Juliette? What would you do if this apartment belonged to you? I’ll chime in as well here are my first thoughts:

Relocate the rug to the office and use the map as inspiration for the color palette. Blues, greens, creams, and a bit of mustard yellow as your accent color. I’d love to see you play around with the current floor plan, move the sofa to the wall facing us in the photo.

I can imagine a textured rug on the floor (maybe the Tarnby or the Indo Berber), curtains that aren’t so dark and heavy – opt for something light and bright, and I’d keep the sofa table and chairs and put your money into a rug and sofa — those are most critical in my eyes. The table can be dressed up with a tray, some books and accessories, or you can paint it, and the chairs with a few throw pillows in fun patterns.

Add texture to the space with pillows, a soft blanket, a natural basket beneath the coffee table with magazines stacked neatly. Add candles for soft light, perhaps sconces on the wall or candles on a floating shelf, find a lamp with a shade that is linen or perhaps faux bois or in a soft pretty pattern. Think relaxing, calm, warm. Your walls read very cool right now, so you need to add texture to the space and a few warmer tones to balance things out so that during the cold winter months, you wil want to hang out in this space.

View more apartment photos here.

(images from juliette)

Etsy Faves, Handmade

Hijacked Ceramics

September 19, 2007

This past weekend I met Nathan of Hijacked Ceramics over at the South End Open Market and had the nicest chat with him about his work. Inspired by his travels, he creates functional pottery that look much older than they are, using layers of color, pattern and texture from the woodblocks he uses, they have a sense of history despite being newly created. The juxtaposition of simple forms and ornate, colorful decoration are both unexpected and beautiful. I loved the mugs and cups he had on display on his table. They felt so sturdy and the colors, oh the colors! Blues, greens, yellows…

Hijacked Ceramics
Nathan is on etsy and frequently replenishes his stock, so bookmark his store and watch it often!

(images from hijacked ceramics)

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