Singing the Blues: Rethinking Your Color Scheme
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a blue girl. If I'm out shopping, I immediately gravitate towards all things blue (patterns, prints, solids). My children huff and puff anytime I stop to look at something blue, adding in a quick roll of their eyes and an under-the-breath utterance of "of course you'd stop for that!" I wasn't always so open about being a blue girl. I tried very hard to deny my innermost "blue" passions, as I dabbled in dusty lavenders and sage greens, but for the last decade most of the rooms in my home feature one blue shade or another, ranging from bold and dramatic deep blues to soft historic blue grays. I find that there is something timeless and classic about blue. It's always on trend (even before Pantone announced "Common Blue" as it's color of the year for 2020). It can be dressed-up or dressed down, traditional or contemporary -- all depending on your mood or design styles.
Whenever I write blog pieces, I attempt to do so with a common "BRG" voice -- rarely writing in the first person. But this is one opportunity for me to truly speak my mind as I enthusiastically embrace Pantone's 2020 color of the year: "Common Blue" (19-0452). This blue won't have you singing the blues! Beautiful as a bold wall color or even more versatile as an accent color in furniture and decorative accessories, I think this will be one of Pantone's most popular picks to date. (Of course, I am admittedly very biased on this point).
Interestingly, as soon as I saw the color, I was immediately reminded of a project that Christie (BRG's managing partner) and I embarked upon in the earliest days of Black Rock Galleries (before Interiors became "Interiors") -- 2013 -- long before this blog existed. Believe me, I had to dig deep into the archives to find the old showroom photo. The consignment showroom was still in it's infancy then, when I received the latest edition of House Beautiful (September 2013).
I was completely inspired by the feature article, the "Power of Color!" The magazine's cover featured a stunning luxury dining room design using a bold blue for its backbone. The bold design completely embraced its blue base -- not unlike Pantone's "Classic Blue." By layering complementary red and wood tones in the overall design, the effect was balanced, beautiful, and fun.
Some of the things that most captured my eye in the cover photo was use of very traditional pieces in a fun, updated way. The bold blues juxtaposed with the pops of rich reds packs a powerful color punch that works on so many levels. It's also the layering of accessories that creates a collected and storied display that not only pleases the eye, but is also aesthetically interesting. Cohesive. Collected. Dare I say curated? (But not in a sterile, museum-y sort of way).
When I approached Christie with the idea of creating a comparable dining room vignette in the showroom using the 2013 House Beautiful article for inspiration and the challenge of sourcing materials exclusively from the showroom, immediately the "challenge was on." All those years ago, both Christie and I set to work. If I recall correctly, it took about a week of perusing, searching, moving, dusting, arranging, and swapping options in and out to get the final product. We thought the end result was impressive. Compared to the tens of thousands of dollars the original design featured in House Beautiful obviously cost, our little project priced out at approximately $3,000 -- a very reasonable price tag for estate and personal property consignments found at BRG. We were not only pleased with the outcome but also very proud that our efforts proved that with a little sticktoitiveness and a bit of trial and error, you can have a magazine-inspired design without the designer budget. (Fast forward to the extensive selection at our disposal today, I can only imagine the design options we could create.)
Which brings me back to my point today ... let this upcoming year's Pantone color of the year inspire you to rethink your color scheme. Whether it's your wall color or punching up your design by integrating and layering-in "new" blue pieces, here are some unique options for you. Some are very close to Pantone's "Common Blue" while others are compatible shades of blue; ideal for layering and adding a pop-of-blue.
(1) Pair of Posh Tots Presidential Daybeds with Trundle (item #116836) retails for $11,000. Beautiful and finely crafted trundle beds painted a deep French blue with gilt accents. With tall carved supports and single lower trundle drawers looking like three drawers with brass pulls.
(2) Pair of Blue Faux Suede Accent Chairs (item #113185) House ready. Contemporary side chairs in a lovely bright blue faux suede with silver tone nail head trim. Raised on white painted legs.
(3) Orange Wicker Chair by Palecek with Custom Blue Mohair Seat & Pillow (item #110022) Tub form beautifully woven caramel color wicker armchair with curved arms and back. Upholstered seat in a blue diamond patterned mohair, along with a matching lumbar pillow.
(4) Fine Pair of Antique Jacobean Style Throne Chairs with Tapestry Upholstery (item #118197) Notable pair of carved frame throne chairs in very good condition upholstered in antique tapestry. The wood is in beautiful deep tone and the arms are carved in acanthus leaves and terminate in floral rosettes, there are traces of gilt on the heavily carved sections of the frame. The tapestry back on one chair features a woman with elaborate headdress and the other a group of people standing in a glade with trees and flowers. The backs of both chairs are upholstered in a very pale avocado silk. A very well made and authentic pair. Quite comfortable.
(5) Louis XV Carved Walnut & Paint Decorated Cabinet (item #70952) The cabinet is painted in a pale blue with white details and a faux marble painted top in gray and white with a bullnose edge. The apron with two drawers, one with a ring pull, the other with an escutcheon (lacking the key) and a carved star motif between them. The cabinet with double doors with scrolled metal hardware (one with a working escutcheon with key), opening to a single shelf. The lower frame shaped with carved scrolled decoration on the front. Recessed side panels, and raised on heavy short cabriole legs. With a fine overall weathered antique patina.
(6) Five Faux Ostrich Leather Bar Stools (item #7171) with a little TLC (namely repainting the legs) this set of stools could be stunning.
(7) Bavarian or Hungarian Polychrome Paint Decorated Cabinet (item #71096) Rectangular with canted corners in blue paint with red edges. The top and front side panels with polychrome floral painted bands (perhaps painted later).The door with a center angular panel decorated with a figure on horseback in a hilly landscape with castles in the distance and cartouches in the corners. Iron hinges and escutcheon with the key and a single shelf inside. Raised on a carved shaped base on the front and sides. The plank back unpainted.
(8) Set of Six Carved Walnut Dining Chairs (item #113197) One arm and five side chairs. All with carved openwork oval backs with rosette centers. The shaped seats upholstered in a dusty dark blue croco embossed leather or leatherette.
(9) Decorator Occasional Table with Blue Cloths (item #118466) A particle board circular table covered with a blue ribbon trimmed cloth over a blue on white printed cloth.
(10) Set of Eight Custom Web Back Side Chairs in Ivory & Celadon Finish (item #118193) A notable set of eight Web Back Chair in painted frames and custom raised chenille seat fabric. The chair paint in an ivory tone with blue rosettes and outline. The chairs are upholstered in a champagne silk tone background with a raised chenille decorative element having a celadon blue center dot and squares each seat has full surround decorative trim matching the seat fabric. The ivory paint has a very smooth finish with a soft hand.
(11) Pair of Nautical Theme Upholstered Club Chairs (Item #116834) Comfortable wing style club chairs upholstered in nautical colored canvas type pieced fabric. The seats striped, the sides in a checkerboard pattern.
(1) Impression Acrylique of the Santa Monica Pier (item #88372) Fun, whimsical and happy! The glossy finish combined with the rainbow of colors makes this piece pop! Unframed. Measures 40" x 60".
(2) Authentic Antique British Pub Sign: "The Lord Nelson" (item #94832) Heavy painted iron with loops on the top ends for suspension. One side painted with the image of Admiral Lord Nelson in the uniform he wore at the Battle of Trafalgar, on a blue background. The other side "The Lord Nelson, Fine Ales" on a blue background.
(3) Decorative Modern Print of a Vintage English Travel Poster: "South America by Royal Mail Lines Ltd" (item #87708) The original art by Kenneth Shoesmith. A colorful poster with the ocean liner in large scale in blue and turquoise. Framed 41.5 x 29".
(4) “Undersea Beauties” Fun Aquatic Oil on Canvas by Sani (item #89329) Colorful and just in time for Summer, this large artist made painting is very large and lots of fun! Measures 36" x 48".
(5) Max Gunther (American, 1934-1974), Oil on Canvas, Abstract Cityscape "Misty Morning" (item #110629) Signed lower right and on verso with date 1960-1962 and title. A blue-gray composition in his classic abstract city streetscape subject matter. Silver gilt frame 33 x 40.5".
(6) Oil on Canvas, Fishing Boats at a Dock (item #102417) Lined, on board. Unsigned. Several fishing boats are tied up at a dock house. The sky and water are a deep cobalt blue. The sun comes up above the hilly landscape in the distance. 25x20"; parcel gilt frame 31.5 x 26".
(7) Tina Rohrer (Contemporary NY State Artist), Geometric Acrylics on Paper (item #66716) "Blue/Orange." Group of three pieces framed together. Each signed and titled, dated 9/06 in pencil on verso. Silvermine Guild Arts Center label on verso.
(8) Karen Hoepting (Canadian, Contemporary Artist) Acrylic Titled "Shallow Water" (item #74290) A contemporary artist whose love of animals is reflected in her whimsical works. A very colorful and appealing acrylic on board depicting a side view of three penguins in a tiny water hole swimming, a clothesline hangs above them with clothing and a perched bird. Signed lower right, title upper right. sight 11.75 x 23.5". Presented in a blue paint decorated frame, well foam matted, silver gilt fillet and glazed. 22.75 x 34", Depth 2.25".
(9) Wally Hatny (20th-21st C.) Contemporary Acrylic on Canvas, Abstract White Bird (item #104210) Signed lower right and on verso and dated Nov. 21. 11. An abstract white bird on a bright blue ground. In a J. Pocker frame. 23.5 x 15.25; black frame 27 x 19".
(10) Hicks, Signed Modern Oil on Canvas, Modern Industrial Scene (item #91917) Artist's name on the stretcher. A large scale painting (64.75" x 75") with a window in an industrial building looking out onto brownstones. The window frame has a bottle of Windex, a tin can and a clear bottle on one side and a toy tractor on the other. The vertical frame has views of a stairwell. A fire escape stair case is outside the window.
(11) Modern Palette Painting by Jose A. Fernandez Jr. (item #66150) Acrylic on canvas, titled "Mountain Cascade" and numbered 60-3 on verso. Signed lower right, plaque on the mat. In a fine ebonized and gilt frame with linen mat. 36" x 24"
(12) Mid Century Abstract Painting Signed "Zouta," C. 1954 (item #89163) Mid-century abstract oil painting on board, c. 1954, geometric form with accents of greens, reds, blues and browns, signed "Zouta" and dated to lower left, mounted in period frame with linen matting and gilt accenting, some isolated areas of craquelure, frame with some scattered loss, ss: 13.25" l. x 10.25" w.; overall 22" h. x 19" w.
(13) Pat Jensen (American, 1929-2009), Mixed Media on Canvas, AMA Daytona Rep," c. 1963 (item #84323) Depicts RIXE [Belgium] tire affixed to blue-painted canvas with central motorcycle racing image, signed, titled and dated verso, mounted in naturally finished wooden frame. Overall 16.5" x 16.5".
(1) Pair of Chinese Bottle Form Lamps (item #6347) Beautiful color and form. One lamp needs socket replaced. One lamp is missing a socket.
(2) Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Jar Mounted as a Lamp (item #118020) Crackle glaze with blue flowering branches overall. Mounted on a stained wood base. H. 26", Diam. 6.5"
(3) Chinese Lamp (item #6434)
(4) Art Glass Pendant Light Possible Artemide (item #47562) A modern pendant light with prominent blue art glass sphere suspended above and terminating with a black textured matte cone. Measures 41"L, sphere is 9"W.
(5) Pair of Decorator Blue Painted Glass Table Lamps (item #109658) Tear drop shaped with speckled blue painted surface. Mounted on a round clear glass base. Chrome mount at top. Nice neutral color for decorating. 28.5"H, Base 5.5" D.
(6) Pair of Oriental Painted Porcelain Angular Vases (item #105997) Decorated with Chinese pheasants and birds in flowering trees. With twin yellow openwork handles. Mounted on wood bases. With wood tops and brass mounts. H. 23 1/2", bases 5 3/4 x 7 1/4"
(7) Late Satsuma Vase Pair Mounted as Lamps (item #4343) A large pair of vases mounted on whitewashed Asian bases. Fantastic color and imagery. 9" x 9" x 37"
(8) Blue Onion Style Pattern Porcelain Jar Mounted as a Lamp (item #89195) A lidded shaped apothecary jar with flared foot decorated in a blue and white blue onion style floral pattern. Brass fittings top and base. Fabric shade. H. 25", jar Diam. 5 3/4"
(9) Pair of Contemporary Ceramic Lamps (item #94588) Cylindrical pale turquoise glazed ceramic in an overall knob diamond pattern. With matching ceramic finials and white fabric drum shades. H. 27", Diam. shades 15"
(10) Pair of Decoupage Chinoiserie Decorated Lamps (item #71088) Decorated with various polychrome Chinese figures, flowers, butterflies, and birds on a white ground. With gilt tops and bases, and fabric shades. H. with shades 26", Diam. 19", H. vases 15", W. 7"
Decorative Arts & Accessories
(1) Pair of Chinese Blue & White Glazed Porcelain Tall Lidded Jars with Foo Lions (item #110689) Densely decorated with white flowers on blue, along with figural panels with children. Four foo lion masks on the shoulders. Panels with flowers along the bases. The lids with foo lion finials. 20.5"H, 9"Diam, Lid 7.5"Diam.
(2) Pair of Chinese Blue & White Glazed Porcelain Ginger Jars (item #188598) Brown crackle glaze pattern finish with blue and white floral decoration and bands on the shoulder and base. Gilt band accents around the neck, lid rim, and base edge. Character marks to the bases. Beautiful decorative presentation. 21.5"H, 10"Diam.
(3) Older Pair of Large Scale Chinese Blue & White Ginger Jars (Item #114622) Decorated with images of foo lions in cloudy landscapes. The lids with 3-D foo lions with ribbons. The sides with foo lion masks with rings. Repaired cracks to one neck. 30"H, 17" Diam.
(4) Oriental Blue & White Painted Porcelain Deity Figure (Item #: 112281) Stamped on the unglazed base. A seated figure wearing a headdress and dressed in a printed skirt, collar, necklace and long blue sashes. He grasps a sash in one hand and holds the other hand in a prayerful gesture. On a separate carved openwork conforming wood stand. Figure 14"H x 7"L x 7"D; stand 5.5"H x 8"L x 8.75"D.
(5) Chinese Blue & White Porcelain Charger (item #116748) In a Willow pattern style river landscape with houses and a network pattern rim band. Leafy decoration under the rim and a ring base. 15"Diam., 2.25" D.
(6) Pair of Blue Glazed Foo Dogs on Asian Wood Stands (item #118604) With great form, style and color. Just the right Color Pop anywhere! Each Foo Dog on stand measures 3.25”W x 2.35”D x 11.25”H.
(7) Large Chinese Painted Porcelain Charger on Stand (item #118600) Dark blue ground with colorful pomegranates on branches. The wide rim band with flowers and pomegranates. The back with flowers and pomegranates. A square red character mark on the base. Displayed on a carved wood stand. 24.25"Diam. x 4"H; stand 20"L x 11"H.
(8) Maitland- Smith Vintage Chinese Painted Porcelain (item #118016) Designed by Matiland- Smith. A fine painted porcelain bowl, multicolored with iron red panels with flowers, butterflies, and horses. With patterned blue bands. The interior with red flowers and a blue medallion in the center (faded). Mounted on a patinated metal stand with angular key form handles, a fluted and flared foot on a base with canted corners. Bowl 13.75" Diam x 17.5"W x 13.75"H.
(9) Large Royal Vienna Painted Porcelain Oval Deep Basin (item #113156) Bright blue with floral decorated roundels and gilt leafy twin handles. 22"L x 15"D x 8.5"H.
(10) Vintage Greenwich Sign (item #111449) In blue paint with carved gilt letters. With a cord on the back for hanging. 22.5"L x 3 5/8"H x 7/8"D.
(11) Set of 12 Cut Crystal Double Old Fashioned Glasses (item #93330) Mottled blue cut to clear with fish motifs. With clear bases. 3 5/8"Diam x 4 1/8"H.
(12) Cool Contemporary Lucite Serving Tray (item #111424 and 111423) A round open twin handled tray with a blue swirled printed underneath the soft white base. 2.5"H x 18"Diam.
(13) Chinese White Glazed Porcelain Vase with Birds (item #110693) Vase with flared neck, decorated with song birds in a flowering tree under the sun. Black character inscriptions on the back. 16.5"H x 7.25"Diam.
(14) Group of 10 Murano Blue Glass Flowers in a Cobalt Glass Vase (item #97913) A cobalt glass vase with clear lozenges at the base, filled with 10 long stemmed turquoise, blue and white flowers of various types. Vase 12"H x 6.25"L x 5.5"D. Tallest flower 20"L.
(15) Pair of Faberge Galaxie Martini Glasses in Cobalt (Item #: 45755) A pair of fabulous martini glasses in cobalt-cut-to-clear bowls with clear stems. The bowls have hand cut stars around the outside. Etched Faberge on base of stem. Comes in a navy blue, padded Faberge presentation box. Measures 4 7/8"W x 6.25"H.
(16) Pair Glazed Porcelain Lidded Apothecary Jars (item #93198) Dark blue with gilt details. 8.75H x 4.5"Diam.
(17) Taitu Italian Designer China Dinner Service, by Emilio Bergamin, Origami Pattern (item #89043) Different patterns in blue and white. Including: 29 dinner plates; 36 chargers; 23 salad plates; 12 bread & butter plates; 36 small bowls; and 18 demitasse cups and saucers.
(18) Pair of Antique Mason's Ironstone Pitchers (item #57955) "Imari" pattern in blue and rust on white octagonal pitchers. One green branch form handle, the other polychrome snake form. Ca. 1850. Marked on the bases. 8.5"H.
(19) Vintage Cut Steel & Molded Mobo Horse in an Astounding Blue Patina (item #31192) 27" x 10" x 30".
(20) Maurice Heaton (1900-1990) Enameled Fused Art Glass Charger Plate (Item #: 48539) Maurice Heaton (1900-1990) enameled glass charger with sunburst design in blue tones and a center medallion. Signed M.H. on verso. 12"W.
(21) Pair of 19th Century Tole Tub Form Planters (item #28554) Red painted with gilded scrolls surrounding an everygreen tree. Flared base has stripes of gilt and black. Interior is teal blue.
(22) Pair of Custom Ikat Tapestry Fabric Pillows (item #88184) Each pillow measures 24” x 15”.
(23) Pair of Ikat Tapestry Pillows (item #88185) Each measures 18” x 18”.