Thursday, January 5, 2012


There are times we're ahead of the curve and then there are times we're a little behind. Five years after we had collected a set of jadite dishes for forty-eight Martha Stewart showed up with a kitchen show, her glass cabinets glowing behind her filled with jadite. In 2007 we designed a table at DIFFA's Dining by Design for the New York Design Center where we used fabrics silk-screened with cursive text. The next year Restoration Hardware's shelves were lined with linen pillows printed with cursive text and upholstered chairs talking back to you with the lines from eighteenth century French poems.  Way back on October 28, 2011 (2011 was way last year) we but up a post "Tangerine and Pumpkin". We do color stories every now and then, we did that tangerine post and we also added a tangerine dot to our logo. It's become our mascot color for Pleasant Living. Well who knew? Here comes the new year and what happens?. Pantone names Tangerine Tango (Pantone 17-1463) their color for the year. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. I'm just saying. We're very flattered.
So to return the compliment we're going to do a story on Pantone's color of the year for 2010, Pantone 15-5519 - Turquoise, the color of the Caribbean, a color so beautiful they named a rock after it. You say the word turquoise and you can feel the water lapping at your feet, you can smell the mix of sand and coconut oil, and you can feel the soothing calm of tranquil turquoise.
Take the street less traveled where turquoise sets the tone of peace. The temperature outside might be hot and humid but the here turquoise can cool down a baking cobblestone path.
Little hotel shanties line up like cubes of ice in an arid setting. Forget the air-conditioner or the need for working windows; if this isn't literally cool it is definitely aesthetically cool. The washed out board and baton fa├žade of unit 10 is more than enough to make me want to see what kind of room lies behind that turquoise door.
If we lived in the world of Harry Potter where a pup tent at the World Quidditch Championship can hide a palatial interior worthy of a Saudi Sheik then this might be the entry way behind that door at unit 10. Painting the furniture the same shade of as the walls makes the entry seem larger. There's a real sense of welcome here, an invitation to take your shoes off and come on in.
Who wouldn't want to sit their kids here, all three of them, and let them each have a drawer where they can keep their books and art supplies. The color palette should have them sedated to a mellow group of little angels. It's the power of turquoise.
It's almost as if this room was part of a miniature dollhouse where you could pick it up and slide it in and out of this dollhouse slot. There's a real sense of the surreal here but the room's for real. It's a stage where turquoise is the star. Not even the ceiling is neglected with turquoise covering every surface; floor, walls, and ceiling too, it's almost like being submerged under the sea in a glass bubble with all your books for comfort.
Turquoise is one of those colors that can have Jekyll and Hyde aspect to its personality. On the one hand it can possess a softness where serenity reigns. Even with that azure water beckoning outside it would be hard to pull myself out of this bedroom. I'd just as soon remain swimming in the turquoise waters of that bed's linen.
On the other hand turquoise can have a bold side where the coolness of turquoise can sizzle. By taking that tangerine we so clairvoyantly talked about back in October and pairing it with 2010's turquoise you've got an exciting space ready for a party where waitresses in vinyl boots pass out the trendiest signature drinks while guests discuss the intelligence level of Sarah Palin versus Rick Perry.
In the cold chill of a January winter it's a little comforting to dream of a warm turquoise sea.

I have always contended that good design doesn't depend on money, at least not money alone.   I've spent a career matching "the proverbial Gap T-shirts with Armani suits "or the decorating equivalent to that fashion trick employed by many even the ever stylish Sharon Stone in order to create beautiful spaces while trying to stay on budget.  The trick here is to watch the quality quotient.  Finish is usually the first give-away of a poor quality item.  Wood should look like wood, stone should look like stone, and you get the idea.  These days construction doesn't have to be flimsy to make something for a lesser price and veneers are used throughout the industry whether high or low.  Just pay attention to how they are cut, glued up and used.  MDF is not a four-letter word but particleboard is.  Structure is important.  Chairs, sofas and benches should support people of substantial size and tables should never wobble.
Robert Abbey Double Gourd Ceramic Lamp

JC Penney Double Gourd Ceramic Lamp

Club Allegro Fortissimo, Paris, 1990
William Klein, Photographer
Represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC

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