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DECOR SCORE- Making a Mashup of Different Design Moods PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert, Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 01 March 2012 04:44


Topping the crossover charts, warm woods and classic styling blend traditional and contemporary into one gracious space.

Q: We're moving from a traditional center-hall colonial into a contemporary downtown loft, where all the space runs together — living room/dining room/kitchen. It's kind of startling, not having walls! We like the change but are not sure how we can keep our rather formal, traditional furniture (lots of mahogany and Chippendalestyle) in the kitchen, as it were!

A: The not-so-secret answer: blend. If you repeat the more formal elements — such as warm woods and traditional styling — between the separate areas, the entire space will soften into a background that's compatible with both attitudes.

Designer Jim Dove (Canterbury Design, makes a masterful mashup of design moods in the kitchen we show here. Created for a couple of emptynesters, it's the centerpiece of their new life in a loft where living spaces flow together.

The living "room" still rejoices in its cherished formal furniture, and never mind that it now looks into the kitchen. The beamed ceiling and traditionally detailed cabinets (Wood- Mode, play the perfect counterpoint to the furniture.

Other appointments reinforce the rather formal mood, including polished marble countertops, leaded and stained glass accents, and gleaming stainless appliances, drawer pulls, and hanging lights. Warm cherry hardwood flooring runs throughout the entire space, tying everything together handsomely.

Q: Do professional designers have favorite colors?

A: Of course. Everybody does. But it's not always easy to get the pros to talk about their own favorites; instead, they tend to say things such as, "It's the client's favorite color that matters."

That's why it was so interesting when magazine editor Christine Pittel showed and told top designers' favorite color picks to members of the International Furnishings and Design Assn. and guests, during the recent New York International Gift Fair.

Designer Charlotte Moss (who has confided, "I'm married to beige, but I have affairs with color") says she reacts dramatically to hot pink — "Makes me want to cha-cha-cha!"

Katherine Ireland's most "outrageous" color choice was a sitting room in coral pink, "like borsch with cream."

And "Prince of Chintz" Mario Buatta has a preference for yellow, the "color of fresh pineapple," Pittel reported.

To quote Buatta, "Three perfect colors are lemon-yellow, leaf-green and Prussian-blue."

But the jovial designer-tobold- face-names (a la Barbara Walters) believes in all colors: "Color is a mood setter," he writes. "It can make you feel great. ... White is glum and beige is boring. I'm Italian. For me, black is for mourning. Mind you, I had a black kitchen once that I loved. Food looks sensational in a black room."

And most photographs look best in black-and-white, believes Vicente Wolf, top designer - turne d - roving - photographer, who is currently at work on a new book of photos of his extensive travels to Eastern monasteries.

An avid collector of art photos, Wolf said that some 90 percent of his collection is in black-and-white. Which may be displayed propped against walls, on chairs and on picture ledges, rather than wall-hung.

Wolf told a gathering this week at the Swann Gallery in New York that he likes picture ledges "because the more you can move your pictures around, the more life you bring into the room."

Besides, he reported cheerfully, "I'm a lousy hanger. They never stay straight."

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the coauthor of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.