Colors Spring Into Design

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By Marshall Watson

The sulfuric yellows of daffodils, the electric blues of Muscari, the pure whites of hyacinths with hints of the vivid chartreuses of newly emerging foliage are breathtaking color combinations that this spring season cannot exist without. As our gardens erupt in bloom and the nurseries set out their kaleidoscopic array of pansies, anemones and primroses, this winning ensemble of color conquers the heart and makes even the strong swoon. Upbeat and almost relentlessly cheery, yellow, blue and white bring the optimism that the gray doldrums of an oppressive winter have waned and the irrepressible exuberance of spring will burst forth.

What more classic combination can be thought of than kitchen or entry hall walls painted buttercup yellow accompanied by crisp, starched-white moldings and accessorized with blue and white Delft?

Plaids, checks and prints, whether Thom Browne, Chanel, Clarence House or Lee Jofa, are discovering their newest color ways in blue, yellow and white. A fabulous custom ikat rug from Stark blends these colors into a vivid and vibrant pattern, while the deep yellow and varying shades of blue in Scalamandré’s “Le Gingerole” floral print create a bright contrast that would cheer up even the darkest corners of your home. The depth of these colors can be seen in an array of superb, fresh linen fabrics from Cowtan & Tout, which are mirrored in a radiant arrangement of fresh flowers from your favorite garden nursery.

Naturally this resplendent combination of colors has withstood the test of time, with a marvelous blue and white floral lamp from Scully & Scully that hearkens back to ancient Chinese ceramics and has transcended into the work of contemporary artists like Dale Chihuly, whose soaring five-story sculpture at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art features spiraling individual glass pieces in brilliant yellows, deep blues and vivid chartreuses that culminate in a titillating tower of swirling color that gives the sense that spring has sprung.

A summer home provides the perfect setting for cheery yellow and blue plaids accessorized with pillows and throws to create a warm and cozy getaway.

Having recently vacationed on the seductively nautical Island of St. Barths, I discovered a jaunty use of yellow, blue and white in sarongs, shoes, cotton duck bags and canvas lounge chairs, combined so succinctly fresh as only the French can do.

If only a vase of lemon ranunculus, blue-grape hyacinths and snowball viburnum or a striped pillow in navy, citron and Chantilly, or a print tablecloth in butter, sky blue and linen, or a handsome cocktail napkin in daffodil, Delft and sugar-crisp, if only a dab of this youthful combination can infiltrate a corner of our stylish monochrome worlds, a breath of spring’s hopeful optimism will undoubtedly infuse one’s winter-weary soul.

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