Go Away Grey – How to Decorate with Colour
Decorating with grey has become an epidemic but I can’t imagine 50 shades of brown would be nearly as sexy. That being said, there are other crayons in the box and it’s almost as though you were all scolded not to use them. Layering colour can be a little tricky if you haven’t got a clue about hues and tones but if you follow a few simple rules you will be golden.
^ Cool It Down – So I lied about the grey, or in this case the charcoal accent wall. It still earns its keep in this space because it offers a necessary visual anchor among the bold saturated hues. It is obvious that tomato red is the leading lady of this colour story; but, without its cooler co-star this space would look like the surface of mars. The rug is the tie that binds it all together and allows flexibility to introduce other subtle hints of colour. It’s a tried and true formula to choose complementary colours on the colour wheel and brighten up your space with various shades and tones of those two colours.
^ The Art of Inspiration – Everyone needs a jumping off point and a piece of art is a great place to start. The more colour it has, the easier it will be to change it up in the future. If you get tired of that playful amethyst kitchen table and you are looking for something a little more serious then look to the map and paint it the colour of Italy instead. The world is your oyster, quite literally in this particular case, so make that your mantra and you will be just fine.
^ Monochromatic Minimalist – I hope I didn’t convince you that you need saturated hues in order to add colour to your life. I’m completely in love with this perfectly imperfect blushy brick wall and, on the contrary, the smooth and creamy peach leather sofa. If you want your space to feel calm and quiet then a simple approach is to layer various shades of the same colour. There are two critical elements required to make this work: No.1. Layer lots of textures – A monochromatic space Without texture can feel bland and unfinished. No.2. Back to Black – A scant amount of Black will give the eye a place to rest. As we visually move through the room glancing at all elements our eye will naturally return to black items before going on to something else.
^ Borrow from Mother Nature – And I mean borrow… not steal. Bear with me while I digress for a moment. In 2001 I had a summer job helping build the Trans Canada Trail in Nova Scotia. I lived in a tent, ate rations, portaged my canoe to work, and the little girls room was the 4th pine tree on the left. Everything we packed in, we also packed out. Everything that we found, we left in its place including funky rocks, beautiful birch sticks, and abandoned bird nests. This was a philosophy that we were taught called Leave No Trace. Nature doesn’t need a memory of you when you’re gone so take your crap with you and kindly leave hers. That being said, I have a son, and he brings me rocks on special occasions, on my last trip to Newfoundland I found a perfectly sun bleached skull of a Northern Gannet (North Atlantic Diving Bird) and I felt I could honour it better if I took it home, and I am totally guilty of picking wild flowers all summer long. If you are going to borrow from nature just don’t be greedy and don’t kill anything.
Back to the kitchen…
If your goal is to create a space that is fresh as a patch of glover and seriously inspired by the great outdoors then this is it. This kitchen reminds me of nature walks through the Rattlin’ Bog in Terra Nova, Newfoundland. The tile almost makes me smell the green of algae covered rocks and the knotty wood shelves are like fallen trees. It’s impossible to get tired of the green grass and the blue sky, so it is safe to say taking inspiration from nature will never go out of style.
^ A Piece from the Past – Call upon a little nostalgia when conjuring up a colour palette. This is my little piece of heaven that I call home. I am definitely inspired by all things organic when planning my living space so I often decorate with a collective mix of watery greens and blues (and antlers). On a more personal level, the framed letter that rests on the shelf above my desk is the true inspiration for this space. This is a letter written to my grandfather by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1974. My grandfather, Walter Lester, gave Mr. Trudeau a loan of his Cadillac while he was visiting Newfoundland and in return Mr. Trudeau sent a letter of thanks and, lucky me, a little piece of political history. The letter is modestly mounted in a gold brushed oak frame with navy blue matting. The crest at the top and edges of the mat are also gold and it is undeniable when you see the letter that there is a sense of regality. I decided my metal of choice would be gold and I started in spray painting everything in sight. My son was a little worried about my new obsession and wisely suggested “Mom, I think that’s enough gold stuff now” (He just turned six but he is honestly my fashion and design assistant. Let’s just say he’s my Tommy Smythe). So after the gold rush, I decided on navy as my “go to” colour and voila. A colour palette is born.