Thursday, June 26

Why In Design: The color white {after all, it is after Memorial Day} in our homes...

The Old Adage of
White After Memorial Day 
Has Me Lamenting About The Color 
For My Summer "Nesting"!
Emilio Pucci showing white lace at it's finest
sources via my White Pin board

I am a fan of the color white.  I love eyelet and lace and anything white linen, raw materials, and sun-bleached.  I find it all very summer feeling and lovely, and there is something beautiful about quality fabrics in white.  When it comes to fashion we all break out our best white handbags and shoes in varying shades of white to rejoice in the season upon us.  This sunny season in the northeast is short, but oh, so sweet.  So, I say let's  dive in a little deeper today in the 
WHY IN DESIGN column 
here to pay homage to white!
ancient Egyptians wore white

The crazy history of white:
  The color white symbolized purity, loyalty and chastity and represents all the qualities many hold in the highest esteem. Ancient societies praised the color white for centuries.  The ancient Greeks associated it with mother's milk.  The Romans wore all white "togas" and their priests wore white robes, veils and shawls, the Egyptians associated white with good and it was fashionable to wear white, and their priest's wore all white, the Paleolithic made "lime white" out of ground chalk and painted their interiors.  Now it gets even a little more kooky during the Medieval times the white unicorn held the utmost qualities and was depicted in much of the art during that era.  Adorned by many, the white unicorn represented grace and purity, and legend had it these ubiquitous one-orbed white creature could only be captured by a virgin maiden...talk about a powerful color?!
The "white after memorial day only" rule has dictated the fashion industry for well over a hundred years.  In the late 1800s and early 1900s it became a way to differentiate the "in the know" and snobbery about who was "sophisticated" and who was not.  The idea was to wear white in the summer months, to tennis, the club and on vacation but once Labor Day hit it was not acceptable.  It was a way to show an upper class status.  Of course, the fashion world has turned this idea on it's heels, but the rule seems to still hold water in some circles still today.  
I have been collecting white and ecru American vintage pottery for years and it looks fabulous arranged on a mantel, table setting or console

You had me at white lace edged linens, 
or white linen curtains. 
I have a near obsession with 
antique white lace pillowcases. 

When it comes to using the color in our interiors, white is a fantasy of sorts.  My desire to create an all-white home continues, and I have yet to completely go all-white down to every little detail but it is in my future plans if I don't mar it up with color.  I am such a big fan of color, and color makes me happy and adds dimension to a room, but there is nothing quite like a well designed room done in all layers of white from crisp to faded and down to a shimmery painted white floor. These rooms at a historic home in Washington DC come close to being all-white.  Take a look at this renovation where the designers and architects preserved and worked around an assortment of gorgeous antiques, yet managed to keep it modern...these floors are incredible and add to the all white clean-lined feeling of the home.
crazy for this all white interior, a renovation of a historic home in Washington DC via Muse Architects
 a home built originally in 1915, the aged white pieces and clean lines showcase the architecture perfectly and the color keeps the space with a certain modernity.


Happy Nesting
XO Tamara

sources and references on history of the color white:  
About.com; Wikipedia.com; TourEgypt.com; TriviaLibrary.com