For designers of home furnishings, color inspiration is absorbed from many sources.
Known for his bold looks, designer Raymond Waites loves the colors found in such movies as Gosford Park, for example. “I’m an old movie buff,” he said, and the walls portrayed in many of these films have “such a great, warm background for traditional furniture”—his raison d’etre.
The bright red couch in last year’s “The Tourist” entranced Waites as well. Critics may have panned the action film starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, but Waites loved it. “The interiors in Venice [where the film takes place] were so magnificent.” The couch in the hotel suite where Jolie and Depp’s characters were staying—“it was the most beautiful.”
On the opposite end is Barbara Barry, safely in the subtle style arena. “I abhor bright colors and sad and deeply saturated colors,” she said, “unless, of course, they are minimally used to balance or complete the composition in a room.” Instead, she prefers a more understated stance. “I thrill to subtle nuance and close relationships in color ... They resonate at a softer level and I believe they go deeper into your nervous system and that is calming. In this way, color can be a great antidote for a harsh world.”
At the recent High Point Market, Waites felt the International Home Furnishings Center’s InterHall provided the “strongest color direction I have ever seen ... platinum and weathered grays were all over.”
For his own collections, Waites does pull from other neutral palettes such as the grays and browns, as well as other hues — for example, “I’m still in my lime green phase,” he said. “It still feels great and fresh for me.” At home, however, he sees red: “If you walked into my house right now,” one would see all shades of red.
And nature, of course, has always been a go-to resource, especially if one is looking for soothing tones. “There is a room scheme in the colors of a cracked open pistachio—pale green, lavender and husk. So elegant!” Barry said. “Nature is my biggest influence and daily it stuns me with its elegant harmonies.” And that goes for her favorite color: the one found in a glacier—“that eerie and hauntingly beautiful frozen aqua embedded and enshrouded in glazing white.”