Saturday, April 10

April is color and music...

more cupcake madness

Color is the anchor in design: the foundation that sets the mood and balances all the important elements
Plus, a view on how music influences our Nest
being a sophisticated colorist is key to being a good designer, so let's take a look at my favorite rooms of all time from the color perspective
Often the color choices, layering and combinations are what you remember about a room, since the chosen colors set the tone for the temperature and mood of the space. My favorite rooms are not perfectly coiffed and may even be a tad frayed around the edges, giving the signal that the room is comfortable as well as beautiful. However, the color is what sets the room off in its intended direction. The successful use of color in many well designed spaces is the complicated and well thought out use of color to draw you further into the room, directing your eye towards other important features without overpowering. As in other areas of design: symmetry, spatiality and proportion, to get color right it takes an artistic hand, knowing when to use strong bursts and at other times, when to keep it faint. All of this is taken into consideration with the "bones" of the space, the other lighting factors and the intended use and mood of the room.
For decades I have been collecting photographs of rooms I love, and have acquired quite a group of my favorite designs. I keep them in large spiral notebooks. That was before the Internet and now with a single click on the keyboard many of these rooms appear on my screen. I am bringing you a collage of one hundred of my favorites, some from famous designer rooms while others are mere stylized corners of a room that have caught my eye and inspired me. I am drawn to styles that don't tire over time, a classic foundation but with touches of unique accessories or items that draw you in with a bit of the unpredictable.
Elsie de Wolfe
I usually take all my photographs for this blog, so this month I'm doing something new. I have enjoyed being the creator of both the ideas and the photographs, but for this segment it is important to bring out all of these amazing designers' works spanning many years in history. I want to thank every site, blog and magazine whose photographs I used - and with one hundred photos I cannot possibly list you all. It is amazing to me that many of these rooms, some taken in the late 1800s, have been kept and archived. Many of these are from famous decorators in history,while others are current rooms today. My favorites are from designers Billy Baldwin, Elsie de Wolfe, Charlotte Moss, Bunny Williams, Miles Redd, Greg Jordan, Dorothy Draper, Libby Cameron, Eric Cohler,Celerie Kemble, Albert Hadley, Sister Parish, John Saladino, David Hicks,Barbara Southerland, Vincente Wolf, Leta Austin Foster Inc., Mary Douglas Drysdale, Patrice Friedman, Carolyne Roehm and Kristine Kennedy as well as other rooms of friends and designers, and some of my own design tossed in as well. This collage of images shows the magic of the color wheel when used to its potential.
As a designer, I have grown bolder and more confident with color over time. It is great fun to work with combinations of colors to create juxtaposition or compliments, and even the absence of color in some cases in order to manipulate interiors. Utilizing color well can help to create a warm, cool, dramatic or serene environment. A few years ago we moved into a prewar apartment in New York City. The apartment has good architecture and high ceilings, but lacks natural light, so I decided to go forward with a bold palette to inject vibrance into the space. Until that time, I had played it relatively safe with color, choosing not to experiment too much with my clients' homes. This opportunity gave me the chance to try some bold moves - a bright blue kitchen, emerald green living room, apple green bedroom, tiffany blue master bedroom. These are not soft, subtle versions of the colors as I had used in the past, because I intentionally desired to compensate for the lack of natural light. Had I tried to use the same colors in a well-lit modern home, it may have looked awkward, but in this space it works.
You can see from the photographs below that these designers have the exceptional ability to nuance color, allowing layering without overwhelming, and to subtly use color without seeming bland. I admire Billy Baldwin's designs for his rich use of combining, set against his great shapes and style. His visions have always spoken to me, and his work somehow still seems fresh today, timeless. He brought a new vision in the 1950s that still works today. Bunny Williams, Miles Redd, Libby Cameron and Albert Hadley, in addition to being my all around favorite designers in current day, are amazing colorists who sometime work with bright hues, while other times toning down with warm and deep colors to help shape the space. Dorothy Draper's dramatic use of color combined with black and white creates a statement. Barbara Southerland balances colors in her classic interiors in such a beautiful and refined manner. John Saladino and Vincente Wolf use modern, architectural details together with finely honed color choices for impact. Celerie Kemble's use of layering manages to soothe and invite. Of course Mary Douglas Drysdale and Charlotte Moss have found the key to creating great design with shots of stylized color, and complicated layering as well. They often thread various colors throughout a space, or inject a splash of color repeatedly. Greg Jordan and Eric Cohler use color in subtle and unexpected ways, and sometimes in unusual spaces to create inviting rooms. Carolyne Roehm's use of bold strokes and her love of blue has a welcoming appeal. Finally, two of the ladies who helped to shape interior design in different ways - Elise de Wolfe and Sister Parish - laid down the foundations in design with their unique use of color. They often created entire one hue rooms, or threaded various colors throughout a space. Both Elsie and Sister had imposing personalities that showed in their designs as well - but that may be for another blog post.
I welcome your feedback, so please comment or offer tidbits of information on any of these rooms. Which ones are your favorites?
there is something soothing about blue...

Or how a single shot of a combination of colors can make a room complete...
I know turquoise is getting lots of attention these days and some say it is trendy, but just look at how it works so well with black, brown or glass, and soothes the senses. I favor it in a bedroom and not the watered down pale version, but rather, this punchy Tiffany blue
Sometimes toiles can influence the same way, and maybe its the tranquility of a single color repeated over again, while set against a neutral background. Or, the pastoral scenes... pink is a curious color because when used smartly, it evokes beauty. Either pale or shocking pink, it has impact - soothing, indulging or invigorating - but it can go very wrong as well

Green feels deeply rooted in the earth, warm, but depending upon the intensity, it can bring drama too. At once calming, while other times glamorous...
when I think of yellow, I know it will often help a space feel rich, uplifting and light, yet regal...

gray acts as a backdrop to showcase other elements and colors, evoking both coolness and warmth depending upon how it is combined
The richness of brown instantly warms and invites, and makes you want to curl up and read a book and nest.

bold uses or shots of color can make a dramatic statement when planned accordingly...

neutrals can be a powerful design tool, drawing your eye to the important textures and shapes and holding a balanced, soothing mood...

the graphic nature of black and white makes a statement and highlights art or furniture, or sometimes works to simply bring out the other colors in the room....
Combining many layers of colors but not in an overwhelming manner takes great skill - an understanding of how each plays against the other Hope you enjoyed this sampling of my favorites!
Tina Shafer
by her beloved piano
in her Nest
May marks the one year anniversary of
Nest by Tamara
For May, come back to sample tea parties, picnics and cocktail parties, as well as
other fun and easy ways to entertain
this spring
with a collaboration of many sources!


Anonymous said...

I love the Tina and the songwriter's circle. Will certainly check back soon to see her interview. The music on the Ipod is such a nice touch too. Colorful rooms are very pretty and all tasteful. thank you tamara. joanna

Anonymous said...

come to songwriters circle at the Bitter End. Hope your viewers will come check out all the great artists too. Happy to see Tina on here and featured for all her work. Julia

Anonymous said...

Billy Baldwin's designs are such a study in color - thanks for posting this. I love this particular room and had not seen it before. He is my favorite and I'm loving your monthly blog as well. Thank You, Jennifer Sherman

Lisa said...

Dear Tamara,
You continue to amaze and inspire me. Color & music, the perfect post for most of us who are deeply moved by both.
Tina sings like a bird! Just beautiful.
Your interiors that you featured are a collection that are as classic today as they were years ago.
Many of the designers that you mention, design interiors for the "forever" house that so many of us wish we had grown up in.
While I continue to listen to the oh so talented Tina, I am heading over to Dan's to read up on what wonderful things you have to tell us about this month.
Wish we lived closer, how much fun we would have!
xoxo Lisa

Miles Vernon said...

Dear Mom - I loved how you explained your talent and interest in designing homes on the blog. I am proud of you and happy mother's day mom! love Miles xo

Housewife Bliss said...

i am frequently over at your slice of heaven and have only just noticed the jar, and I see the first comment is from April so I am hanging my head in shame for my belated comments. May has turned into a fab month for you, congrats on your awards and mentions. I too am a fan of fresh roses and pillows.