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DECOR SCORE- Scary Weather Forecast? Counter With Color PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert   
Thursday, 08 November 2012 07:55


Orange you glad there’s orange in the color palette? Nubby boiled wool curtains are instant room-warmers.

Q: We are still without electric power many long, cold days after Sandy, which means we have stayed at home longer than any time in memory, giving me plenty of time to study my house decor. I don't like it any more! It's almost all white — white walls, off-white upholstery, with bare, stained cement floors. What was I thinking to make it so cold? What can I do to warm things up?

A: Nothing like a natural disaster to make us appreciate the very concept of HOME. I can sympathize: as of this writing, we in the New York area are also still without electricity — no lights, no heat — giving new meaning to the word "powerless."

You, by contrast, are now empowered — and motivated - to turn up the coziness thermostat in your everyday environment. How? Color comes first. White is cool, in every sense of the word, so for warmth, you need to punch up your palette. Pick from the sunny side of the color wheel: yellows, reds, oranges. And pull in plenty of textures, the more extroverted, the better.

Look what designer Amanda Nisbet does with nubby, boiled wool in her own New York apartment. She writes in her new book, "Dazzling Design," published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, that it is "Just the sort of scrumptious material you'd want to wrap yourself in to feel warm and protected.

"As soon as I had it in my hands, it spoke to me of home." And it spoke in one of the warmest, most inviting hues: orange. "Which is not only a happy color, but also an approachable one," Amanda writes. "I want people to feel relaxed and welcome, and orange is a good color in that way ... inclusive."

Her affinity for orange extends to the art on her walls, the throw pillows on her neutral upholstery and accessories, such as the table lamps, all of which light up the essentially calm, neutral space with its layers of multiple textures: linen, wool, felt and velvet.

Q: What's the news from High Point, N.C.?

A: The fall furniture market was rich with newsy little tidbits, such as the upholstered "Muse Cabinet" at l01-year-old

Hickory Chair Furniture Company ( All 84 inches of the tall cabinet were wrapped in "Skinny Dip," a watery blue textile hot from Hable Construction, the New York based company founded by two sisters from Texas. Hickory also debuted a cocktail table that seats several: it's a long, skinny upholstered bench that fits neatly cross-wise under a narrow wooden table.

More little low seats were everywhere. Think of the diminutive slipper chair, so beloved by the late Billy Baldwin, now reconfigured with low backs and renamed "Perching" chairs at Pearson Furniture (pearsoncompany. com).

Global Views ( turned recycled auto tires into a ragged little black stool still bearing its treads on top. A face only an impassioned environmentalist could love at around $160.

On the other hand, who wouldn't love "Camilla," the oversized "sofa that wanted to be a bed," seen in the new supersized (75,000 sq. ft) Bernhardt Furniture showroom ( It's by far the largest showroom in High Point, a little town that exerts enormous influence on the way the rest of the world lives and decorates.

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

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 November 2012 08:02