Thursday, April 7, 2011



Here are some designs done by designers unafraid of those five little letters: c-o-l-o-r or six letters if you’re British. In no particular order here are some designers who have splashed the world in a brighter hue.
Jamie Drake has become known as the “King of Color” which is a title I’d much rather claim than the “Prince of Chintz”. Jamie dares to go where others of a lesser reputation can only dream of directing their clients. 

It takes a powerful designer to convince most clients that living in pink can be a sign of power or that lavender can be so soothing no one will notice it’s not beige.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams have added a clever offering to the color selection process with their mix and match lighting options. They are offering five very different ceramic bases with fourteen wildly exciting glaze choices. I did say fourteen. If you need a hit of color to contrast or compliment a room, the seventy options MGBW have put out there are a great place to start and end your search.

The old Architectural Digest was never the bible of design I aspired to emulate in my own work. In the eighties it mostly represented an echelon of design where the designs and designers showcased were a combination of the Prince of Dubai meets Marie Antoinette. The air was too thin in the lofty offerings of AD in the late 1980’s, but there were some bright spots that forced me to keep my subscription. 
I have to give them credit for introducing me to Diamond-Baratta. It was in amongst a bevy of Louis this and Louis that mansions and castles that AD had sandwiched my first taste of the Diamond-Baratta color explosion. Diamond-Baratta took the staid traditional ho-hum and drizzled it with exuberant color and innovation. I’ve followed them ever since and never been disappointed in their ability to turn my design and color assumptions upside down.

CB2 just introduced the abuelo three-speed urban cruiser. Here is color done right on two wheels for either him or her. It just goes to show you color isn’t restricted to just fashion and interior design. I loved my Schwinn as a kid but the most powerful color statement you could make with a mid-century Schwinn was maybe a metallic royal blue. Now that the world has become comfortable with metro-sexuals and European man bags, I think I could get away with riding this to the farmer’s market without risking a black eye or an egg to the back of the head.


I’ve always valued a sense of humor as long as the dialogue makes me laugh and I’m not the butt of the joke. That’s why our first phone conversation had me looking over my shoulder for the sneaky unidentified prankster.
“Shaver/Melahn Studios” We didn’t have any cute opening line or forced protocol like Jeff Lewis on Bravo’s Flipping Out where he mandated his staff to answer all incoming calls with, “Good ________. It’s a great day at Jeff Lewis’ office. This is _______. How may I help you? “
What I heard was, “Hallooow, can I tallck with Lee Melahn” in this gravely low baritone voice with a Long Island Jewish accent.
“Yes sir, this is Lee. How can I help you?”
“I may sound like a man but Honey, I’m no man. This is Linda Richman.” It was a voice identical to the one made famous by Mike Myers on SNL.
I almost said, “Yah got a voice that sounds just like buddar, now tell me who the hell you really are”, but I was too taken-a-back to come up with anything clever. I was sure someone with a grudge against me had sent my name into some local radio station and I was being punked.
The gravely voice went on to tell me how she had been in our store in Upstate New York and how she needed a designer to do some work on their country house. I did the phone equivalent of nodding my head, took down all her information and then called her contact number immediately after hanging up. Ready to hear, “You’ve reached the Howard Stern Show”, I was surprised to hear the receptionist say, “Linda Richman’s office, how can I help you”.
This is how my relationship with the Rich/Richmans’s began. Linda’s husband was as much a personality as Linda was. The two of them kept me rolling in laughter and affection through the work on their house in the country and their new apartment in New Jersey where they were trying to consolidate a life of collecting into spaces way too small to accommodate them. Linda and Manny had collected everything. Collecting wasn’t just an obsession it was way of life for them, that and bickering at a level unparalleled since the Archie and Edith did it back in the seventies. Antique telephones, 3000 illustrated children’s books, Mexican cookie jars, 500 vintage neckties, a hundred accordion rulers and the list goes on. The artifacts of their life were as colorful as they were.
So to celebrate the theme of this week’s post here’s a tribute to collecting and color thanks to what I initially thought was a hoax of flipping out proportions.

Like the midway at the county fair some rooms cry out for a burst of carnival color, a cacophonous calliope of color that makes your whole body squeal with delight and your mouth hunger for cotton candy. Inspired by the 50’s harlequin plates and the Mexican cookie jars, old wooden chairs were no longer sideshow freaks and the spring meadow green walls of the kitchen now have the feeling of those cool summer days just before the carnival comes to town.


Julian Faulhaber
Stairs, 2005
Hasted-Kraeutler, NYC

No comments:

Post a Comment