Color Story: Olive

If you are not careful, olive can lean toward drab and depressing pretty easily. I admit I like it that way. It’s more interesting to look at. Maybe not as much to live with though? In the same way, I believe movies are more interesting when the ending isn’t neatly wrapped up and happy, but in real life do we really want anything but neat wrapped up endings that make us smile?

Anyway, back to olive. First, to make olive brighter and happier, pair it with white, teal, purple, coral or its lightweight cousin, chartreuse.

This entryway is a good example of how to do that, where the walls are painted Benjamin Moore Wasabi (the olive) and Vintage Wine (the purple) and it’s all lightened up by the trim panted in neutral Hush:

Benjamin Moore Olive and Purple Wall Paint Colors

Here it’s also with purple but veers moodier in this Marrakech home featured in Architectural Digest:

Marrakech Home with Olive Walls via Architectural Digest

Of course you are steps away from a courtyard and the Moroccan sunshine, so darker and moodier is okay here. Actually I realize the Moroccan sunshine is the same as our sunshine, wherever we are, but doesn’t sunshine feel different when you visit a place far away?!

Here you can see how well olive works with teal:

Olive Mohair Sweater

This touch of olive on an old chest is perfect with the cactus and eclectic collection here, and against white walls and floor it does not feel heavy. Seen at Envers du Decor:

Olive Chest Envers du Decor

This is a super sophisticated use of olive on the headboard in Jane Aldridge’s home – she is the mom of Jane of Sea of Shoes blog fame:

Olive Headboard in Jane Aldridge Home

Via Brooklyn Tweed Flickr, if you are like me and like to create, images of balls of yarns can make you twitch. Because they can’t stay like this, something must be done with them — something olive and ombré:

Olive Yarns via Brooklyn Tweed

 Sibella Court knows how to do shabby and moody really well, and here she does it with some olive. And actually these colors are in the yarn colors above so here’s how they play out in a room:

Olive Tones via Sibella Court

Here a sagey-olive is used in a well-traveled bathroom designed by Sandra Espinet:

Well-Traveled Bathroom Designed by Sandra Espinet

Finally, olive from Jean Paul Gaultier done up in different textures:

Jean Paul Gaultier and Olive

If you want to see more olive, visit my Pinterest Board full of this color:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Color – Olive on Pinterest.


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To Warm a Winter’s Day: The Color of Curry

For those of us in arctic winter areas, it’s about time to see some color. In the snowbelt, we’ve been looking at white and brown outdoors for waaaaay too long. And it’s been awhile since I’ve done the ever-popular color posts. So today, I serve up some yummy curry colors. To warm your eyes, your tummy, your soul …

From Vervain, cotton/linen fabric in Pachora Curry colorway:

Vervain Pachora Curry Cotton Linen Fabric

Curry spice from My Fudo:

Curry Spice via My Fudo

Curry is for a sophisticated color palate.

As well as palette!

Here’s how Casa Midy — one of my favorite furniture and decor designers — used curry color in a sophisticated mix:

Curry Color Headboard from Casa Midy

Curries from around the world via Gilt:

Curries From Around the World via Gilt Taste

Handcrafted wallpaper from Dering Hall:

Handcrafted Wallpaper from Dering Hall

If you’re now feeling the need to taste as well as look, here’s a recipe for homemade curry powder, from Global Table Adventure:

Recipe for Homemade Curry Powder from Global Table Adventure

Tea towels that are hand block printed in a Raja pattern, in ochre color. From Papa Totoro Etsy shop:

Hand Block Printed from Papa Totoro Etsy Shop

Dal tadka curry recipe, via Veg Recipes of India:

Dal tadka curry recipe via Veg Recipes of India

That’s almost like seeing curry “in situ” in its natural form, in food. It’s also a guide to what looks good with curry color — it looks fresh against white rice, and copper metals, leafy greens and deep reds.

You can find curry in mosaic tiles, like this pattern called “Ganges Karma” from Mosaic Art. It’s either inspired by or actually made with clay tea cups made of Ganges clay collected in Varanasi:

Ganges Karma mosaic tile from Mosaic Art

With many of the colors in the tile mosaic above, here’s the ingredients of curry powder from a recipe at Williams-Sonoma:

Curry Powder Ingredients at Williams-Sonoma

As a grand finale (yes, sorry, this cannot go on forever!), here’s a hand-knotted antique Oushak rug from Turkey, once available at One Kings Lane:

Antique Oushak Rug from Turkey

If you still have the appetite for more curry colors, I serve up more than 100 images with these colors at my “Kinds of Curry” Board at Pinterest. I think this should be satisfying:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Color – Kinds of Curry on Pinterest.


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Bold Punch POW

The previous post was like a visual palette cleanser. In fact, the rugs kind of look like crackers during a wine tasting. And now you’re ready for a bold flavor. And here I serve it up for you.

Wide black stripe on a white wall. Super powerful. From Tine K Home catalog, featured by The Design Chaser blog:

Wide Black Stripe on a White Wall from Tine K Home catalog

Here’s where you get just a glimpse, but that’s all you need to get a feel of the effect:

Black Stripe on White Wall from Tine K Home Catalog

So brave to do something like that.

Here is black in smaller doses but still bold. From Couleur Locale, a store in Belgium:

Bold Black and White Pillows from Couleur Locale

Let’s kick it up a notch. Ready? Hold the handrail here. Oh wait, what? There isn’t a handrail. I feel I like need one, to stay steady on these steps. Via Domaine:

Bold Staircase Runner via Domaine

If that’s too much, here’s black and white pattern served up in smaller doses on plates, Moroccan plates:

Black and White Moroccan Plates

This next pattern dials it down a little bit more. Maybe that’s because there’s more white/beige than black. Yet, on a large scale on a rug, it could have a ka-pow. It’s the Magical Thinking Slice-Stamp Rug which was available at Urban Outfitters, now sold out:

Magical Thinking Slice Stamp Rug from Urban Outfitters

Small dots make up small strokes. (Click image to enlarge and see more detail.) Still a bold effect, overall. From Gaia Auction catalog. It’s an acrylic on canvas work by Lorna Ward:

Lorna Ward Acrylic on Canvas

That’s probably enough for now, before we over-consume and get drunken and dizzy with bold patterns!

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Imagining Magenta

For years there was an obsession with paprika color here. Paprika crept beyond just being sprinkled on hummus, and onto our dining room walls and our guest room walls. But I’m moving’ on. You know how you get a tingle when there’s a new exciting obsession starting? Magenta is doing that for me right now. Of course there might be other things in life more exciting than a color, but this blog is safe for work reading …

So let’s talk about color! Magenta lives between pink and purple. It captures imaginations around the world, as you can see on this Pinterest board:

Follow India pied-à-terre’s board Color – Magenta on Pinterest.

Magenta can be bright, or it can be darker, mysterious, murky. Our house colors have leaned closer to murky than bright. I’m okay with some mysterious color – that’s more interesting to me than clear colors. But too much murky gets moody. So lately I’m craving some lightness and brightness.

We recently tiled the basement floor, and the room is really beige. Beige walls. Beige floors. It will stay that way because we might decide to pitch a “for sale” sign on the lawn. But all the beigeness is too much like living inside a Thomas English Muffin. So not fun. There’s a reason why you always put things on Thomas English Muffins! Who eats them plain?

So I’ve been pinning ideas for basement rug carpets. And when you pin, if you’re disciplined and true to what’s drawing your eye, you might see a trend pop up on your board:

Rugs with Touches of Magenta

So, hmmmm. Magenta is there in nearly every photo. Pink is too though I’m not looking for pink — the basement is becoming the man cave media room and there’s an excited husband in this house who’s picking out his hi-fi media stuff. For me, it’s the combo of deeper magenta with neutral colors and a touch of black that’s interesting. (Like, what’s interesting about plain black speakers??) I can see a rug with these colors will tie together the furniture that will wind up in the basement. Because you know basements tend to become the dumping grounds for furniture you don’t want to use elsewhere in the house. Then you have to make it work.

In my imagination, magenta will make it work! And add the color I’m craving for this beige English Muffin room. It’s like spreading raspberry jam all over the muffin.

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