Lately, I've been thinking a lot about decorating with blue. Inspired by a recent and joyful overdose of hydrangea plants along the California coast, I am loving many shades of blue represented in this bountiful flower from fresh French blue to a mellow heather hue and onto a vivacious violet. Riding a hydrangea blue high, I found a few beautiful rooms whose palettes reflect my state of mind.
A Patriotic Palette in Raspberry, Cream and Cornflower
I always enjoy a stylish spin on the American patriotic palette, and that's why I went gaga for this open and airy non-kitschy gracious living room designed by Little Rock maverick Tobi Fairley. While the furnishings and architecture reflect strong Anglo-American roots, the traditional red, white, and blue is tweaked. Updated shades of blue are brilliant and serene and go splendidly with a more berry-ish red and creamy white. Aptly named, Heaven on Earth 1661, seems to raise the room's ceiling, yet the impressive Chippendale lantern, a piece in Tobi's namesake home collection, keeps the space intimate and centered. Underfoot, black adds graphic goodness and a bit of punch.
Walls 926 Seashell, Trim Ivory White 925, Klismos chair San Francisco Bay 802
Understated Chic with Faded Lavendar Blue
While purple is always high on a child's list of favorite colors, this hue in its diluted and grayed state is decidedly mature. Pale smoky lavender blue, such as Organdy 1248, is seductive in a bedroom and modestly posh everywhere else. Emulating the look of dried hydrangea, the faded, chalky cooled down version of a fairy tale hue feels timeless and real. Its amethyst vibe pairs well with elegant servings of silver, gold, and white. Mixing in weightier metals and less precious textures such as rough hewn wood and natural fibers, brings this refined ethereal shade back down to earth, and makes it a tad more man-friendly.
photos: hydrangea: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehomebird/4318565779/
bedroom: Decorpad, living room: fourwallsandaroof.com
La Vida Violet
Violet feels indulgent, spirited, and mostly feminine. It is not recommended for decorating lightweights since it never goes unnoticed. Several sophisticated steps up from little-girl pink, violet is a confident choice for a private or personal space such as a dressing room or study. I could see it being successful in a dining room too. Its innate redness gives it an intense, warm personality. Too much for some, violet's vibrancy is easily tamed with white or a strong, solid neutral--such as chocolate or black. Wildcard accents in tangerine, aqua, or olive green add a bohemian flair.
End Note: I know that I share this earth with many other hydrangea admirers, and so I wanted to make you all aware of the passionate efforts of the late Ms. Penny McHenry who became first enamored with a blue hydrangea bloom back in 1975. From there, she spent many years learning about the various hydrangea species and cultivating them in her Atlanta garden. In 1994, she founded The American Hydrangea Society.
photo: The American Hydrangea Society