Saturday, November 23, 2013

Red, Red, Red

Okay, the picture above is probably not “me,” but I do love those red walls, and I do love red—whether it’s red and white toile as in this absolutely beautiful room by Charles Faudree…….

Notice how he layered the patterns—the red and white toile on the walls and the fabulously sophisticated red and leopard toile (an “aside” is necessary here—all printed fabrics are technically toiles—what many people recognize as toile – as on the walls—is actually toile de Jouy—all of you professionals will already know that, but it’s nice to know things, so if you didn’t know that little fact, there it is!) for the chairs, and then to top it off, he used transfer ware in blue and white plates as a contrasting decoration.  This is decoration at its finest—what we always expect from Faudree.  I “stole” this picture from another blog, The Enchanted House which is a simply wonderful decoration source for all of you. 

Here walls are again, hung in red and white, this time in a wonderful pattern from Clarence House, “The Vase” which more people use in blue and white (and which I also love), but which here, with the fabulous sofa covered in a soft muted paisley, finished off with the very sophisticated pillows, makes a highly-inviting “snuggly” room where one could just as easily serve cocktails and caviar as settle down to read a book.

Photo Credit: Elle Decor

Again, this is very sophisticated, very good decoration, lovely things expertly layered.

I love—who doesn’t?-- red as in red and white stripes

Room by Eric Piasecki
Photo courtesy of House Beautiful

Again, it’s good to note some of the details here—the room is a very small space, so good use was made of the window seat, and to emphasize the stripe used with all that red paint, the door has been upholstered too, in a striped silk from Brunschwig & Fils.  The final touch was the leopard carpet from Stark Carpet, quite a finishing-off!

Or red as in red and white checks in another sophisticated room, this time from Michael Smith, one of the best decorators today.  This picture proves my philosophy that simple fabrics can be used in extremely grand ways.  The wonderful toile (see note above) on the chairs is from Le Menach which is available in the United States from Claremont, a wonderful showroom which, in addition to toiles such as this, has checks and checks and checks and checks—in rough cotton, in linen, in silk, and even velvet.  The check on these curtains, however, is Buffalo Checks from Brunschwig.

Room By Michael Smith
Photo courtesy of House Beautiful 

I like red used, as above, as the main point of rooms, but also as an accent setting off the rest of the scheme—look below to see a fabulous headboard in red velvet used in an otherwise black and white room,--velvet of this caliber is available from Brunschwig, but also from Clarence House, one of my very favourite companies (as I am sure I have told you ad nauseum) from which also comes the black and white pattern on the chair.

Or how about any of these great rooms from that great decorator, David Easton, in which the red is used to perfection...

Room by David Easton
Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest

Room by David Easton
Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest

Red is such a jolly colour, and as such, it has been used by portrait painters, both traditional such as this painting, “Boy in Red” by Francisco de Goya, used as—wasn’t he lucky to get to work with something so wonderful?—the focal point of Kitty Miller’s apartment when it was decorated by Billy Baldwin.

And primitive painters such as Gaugin who painted his own self-portrait against a red background.

Red is a great colour in porcelain.  The two pictures below show red used in two of my favourite china patterns—Royal Crown Derby’s “Aves” which I inherited from my wonderful mother-in-law, Charlot Foster.

And Spode’s “Tradewinds” which we use every Christmas

It is wonderful in glass...

And linens such as these beautiful Egyptian cotton ones from Paris available at my store, Leta Austin Foster Boutique (e-mail embroidered with berries, which because they are so expensive, being hand-embroidered, we often pair with plainer linens with red edgings from our other sources.

The point is that red is such a use-for-all colour—we use it in décor, in food (what is prettier as a first course that a stacked beet and goat cheese salad?), in party décor, in flowers...

But remember, it is easy to get a little too precious with red and white—DON’T GET TOO CUTE.


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