Tuesday, June 12, 2018

DECORATION: Using Lilac as a Neutral



(c) Dean Farris Interior Design 2018
Sometimes, we become obsessed with a color, or the idea of a color...and for the last few years I've been thinking about lilac, and the beauty of it as a color for decoration, and to be used in a "neutral" way.  After all, it was none other than the late Albert Livingston Hadley, who was quoted as saying that "lavender was the beige of the nineties" - (see my 2016 post on this topic here ) - something that's stuck in my brain and I can't stop thinking about- perhaps as it is so similar to what Diana Vreeland had famously said about "pink being the navy blue of India".  The Salonniere also posted about this lavender-lilac topic!  And, check out what Alex Papachristidis has to say on this topic (video) here !

Very suitably - this small parsons table had belonged to Albert- and he gave it to me before he almost threw it in the trash-!  When I got it, it was in a gold lacquer- and I could see that underneath it had once been a deep rich Parish-Hadley shade of peacock blue.  I had left it in my garage for awhile, thinking nothing of it- and then one day I slapped some black paint on it with a brush- very brushy- and lived with that for a number of years.  Below, you can see where I had piled it up with books and magazines- since I had grown tired of the bad job I had done of painting it myself- and it was very functional for drinks and even a "tv" dinner!  If you've been following me on this blog, you know by now that I am constantly rearranging my furniture and objects.  It never ends! 

Albert Hadley via Judith Gura (my table shown)


I sometimes think of this room as the transformation of a small, dark, box, into a fin de siècle salon of Proustian memories and nostalgia...or perhaps just a modern "man cave" !


(c) Dean Farris Interior Design 2018


Once I achieved the color selection, which took less than two minutes, (Benjamin Moore) since I already knew what I wanted- I got the bright idea to use the lilac color for a sort of improvised table, where I topped a baroque style table with an unfinished plywood door- so that I'd have a long dreamt of display area for my collection of mostly "junque" porcelains- with a few antique pieces mixed in- which was very exciting and fun to do on a rainy day here in Naples.  But, before I even bought the paint, Billy and I had gone into a place called Z Galerie and found these fun ikat pillows- on sale!  So, as you can see, one thing led to another- the pillows are fabulous, but take up too much room on my small scale chesterfield, so I moved them into my bedroom, which led to totally re-arranging that space!  The small inlaid screen panels were a gift from old friends, Bing and Martin.

I also made a designer sketch of how I was envisioning the table with the porcelains...


(c) Dean Farris Interior Design 2018
Concurrently, I was always planning to use this fabulous, classic, "bali hai" printed linen and cotton, what Isaac Mizrahi calls a "Watteau"print - from China Seas on a pair of Louis XV style open armchairs- the color and pattern of which I was mad for-  and so is Danielle Rollins! -the blue colorway)

China Seas Bali Hai fabric

Here's a shot of the table set up with the porcelain on top- as you can see from this image, the two chairs are screaming for the new fabric- which could be done as slip covers- since I still like the suede as a reminder of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and her Rue Cambon suite above the shop- I also want to add some fuchsia and green orchids to the table-


(c) Dean Farris Interior Design 2018
Another option would be to make two toss pillows out of the China Seas fabric- which could then be also used on the leather chesterfield- which still needs a pair of classic swing arm lamps- flanking- also, since I took this shot, I've added some very decorative shells to the mix- (thank you Judith) which add some nice Floribbean flair- much needed as there is a white ceiling fan hanging just above this arrangement!

(c) Dean Farris Interior Design 2018
  
Thanks again to dear Linda of "Calling It Home" for the gift of the vintage lamps- very Dixie Highway-!  Here, (below image) I experimented with a Mongiardino-John Fowler inspired idea of "slipcovering" the lamp shades- not sure I love it or not- but a very charming and cozy effect!
 
(c) Dean Farris Interior Design 2018
 
 
This whole post is all done in the spirit of good, old fashioned, all American decorating- a byline from the old days of House and Garden, my favorite childhood magazine- but, seriously, I could have had the whole room re-painted in a deep aubergine gloss, or the deep chocolate brown I had in my New York flat- so this was a way to spruce up for late Spring and early Summer without too much fuss and the expense- always a good thing.  Sister Parish would agree, I'm sure, with this very New England approach
 
via Colefax and Fowler, London
 
Michael Whaley
 
Quadrille, Isfahan wallpaper
 
via Christopher Spitzmiller
 
Susan Zises Green, Inc.
 
via Traditional Home on The Glam Pad
 
 
(I was also thinking of old houses in Southampton I had seen, with unusual color schemes- and the very beautiful, recently married Countess Tessa Grafin von Walderdorff, a source of endless inspiration and ethereal, youthful beauty.)  DF
 
 
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