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Barbara L. Dixon

Barbara L. Dixon

Posted: November 23, 2010 10:15 PM

I have always loved color. But this is not to say that neutrals don't have their place. When I was first at Architectural Digest so many years ago, I realized that I had an emotional reaction to many of the interiors I was seeing and often it was because of the way color was used in the various spaces. But I also knew that certain colors worked well because of where the house was--city residence, country home, beach house.

The two shades of raspberry pink in my bedroom at the beach would not have evoked the same feelings in me had it been in the English Tudor house I grew up in. My bedroom there was sage green. When I first lived in Toronto, yellow was my color of choice. It was a deep butter yellow and not citrus. I needed a sun-drenched feeling during the grey winter months. But I wanted the yellow to be bold. When I moved to a historic cottage, I chose colors more in keeping with the architecture of the house. The taupes I used were of the yellow tonal spectrum that would still warm up the space versus the grey taupes that would have made the rooms feel cooler. All of this is to say, "Don't be afraid of color!" There is no right or wrong in how it is used. It is subjective. Like art, it should tug at your heartstrings.

Each year the Color Council as well as the paint companies pronounce their color predictions for the coming year. Purple in all of its incarnations is projected to be a predominant color in the home for 2011. However, when I chose the yellow for my living room in Canada, I was told it was not the new "in" color. Go by what works for you but think of the room it is going into. Also, learn how it will look in natural daylight as well as evening. Pick colors of similar tonal values. Often I am brought in to make color palette suggestions for a house. The interiors featured here were created by top designers and an architect for their clients, giving insight into how they design with color.

Jamie Drake
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Interior designer Jamie Drake is known for his bold sense of color. As he explains, "Color is the boldest tool in my design kit. When I walk into a space, or envision a room, I always have an intuition about the palette the design should be. It is always definitive of the overall mood I want to create." Deep plumy magenta walls in the foyer of this home are a strong statement announcing the rest of the residence. The lacquered top of the center table and the stools upholstered in shimmering patent leather in the same shade anchor the center of the room. This lush shade is the perfect backdrop for silkscreens by artist Gene Davis. (Photography by William Waldron)
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