If you like hues of near-hallucinogenic intensity, then you might fall hard for an emerging home decor trend — all-out color. Using wildly vibrant shades in a home’s interior can be bright, bold and awe-inspiring, as the following Long Island spaces prove.
Control the palette
Manhattan designer Anthony Baratta says it’s important when you are designing with bold colors to control the palette. For this living room in Sagaponack, he did just that. “They wanted little references to the seaside motifs of the Hamptons,” he says. But, he adds, “they wanted something unique and mod.” So the color inspiration was the landscape — the ocean, sky, sun and sand, Baratta says. Walls are painted Sherwin Williams Bluebell, and the multicolored furniture, rugs and pillows are all custom-made pieces by his company, Anthony Baratta Design. The homeowners, who are avid art collectors, added a final touch once the project was complete: an abstract painting by Frank Stella. “Most observers feel I designed the room around it,” Baratta says. “Can’t take any credit there.”
Bayport designer Mary Nolte says she became addicted to color after seeing a friend’s green kitchen. “It was a bright, happy green,” she says. The doors are painted Benjamin Moore Hot Lips, the walls Benjamin Moore Dark Lime, and the cabinets are Behr Aruba Blue. “The look is not for everyone,” says Nolte, “but I love it.”
Instead of doing a costly renovation in her own kitchen to replace countertops, floors, cabinets and the backsplash, she redid everything herself.
“Even though the cabinetry was primitive and far from the beautiful cabinetry I select for my clients, there was some charm that appealed to me that I did not want to change,” Nolte says.
Joyful brush strokes
Neutral colors may be a safe choice for many of commercial and residential painter Anthony Colletti’s clients, but when it came to his own home in Bay Shore, he went for a different approach, all using Benjamin Moore colors. He used Highlighter Yellow in a semigloss on his kitchen walls. The refrigerator is Safety Red in an oil base (for more durability, he says). The cabinets took on Gentle Violet.
Even his dishes are a rainbow of colors. Colletti’s living room is one of his favorite spaces — he used Brilliant Blue on the ceiling and Surf Blue on the walls. His hallways are painted in Outrageous Orange. The office is painted in Fresh Scent Green. And he went for Passion Plum in the bathroom. “My house makes me happy,” says Colletti, who painted his bedroom in Neon Red with a metallic silver-colored trim. “People ask me how do I sleep in a red room. I tell them, ‘Like a baby,’ ” he says.
The color of confidence
The outside of designer Jeffrey Bilhuber’s 17th century Colonial Revival home in Locust Valley is a warm gray. But there’s a different vibe on the inside. “It’s the equivalent of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when Dorothy steps out of her house and into Munchkinland,” he says. The living room walls are Benjamin Moore Chic Lime in a matte latex finish with a chair rail in high-gloss Benjamin Moore Essex Green.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, color was considered the height of fashionable taste and luxurious purchasing power, says Bilhuber, whose latest book, “American Master: Notes on Style and Substance” (Rizzoli, 2015), contains many examples of colorful historic rooms.
The idea was that a house filled with color is a sign of prosperity. The same can be said today. “Color is luxury — color represents confidence, and confidence is always fashionable,” he says..
Less is more
The living room of designer Lisa Loesch’s 1940s Rockville Centre Colonial features lots of neutrals, from off-white chairs and area rugs to cream walls. But there’s just enough color — apple green, tangerine and yellow — to make a statement.
“You don’t have to have screaming bright walls,” she says. “A little color and pattern goes a long way.” Loesch’s color inspiration came from drapery that features a modern floral print design. Loesch took the apple green in the design and continued the color theme by placing apple green vases on the fireplace mantel, an apple green patent leather shade on a floor lamp and framed artwork with geometric prints in tangerine and apple green on a wall behind the couch.
The space also features a bright orange lacquered table with a bench in apple green.
Sea Cliff designer Rebecca Goodman took a no-frills basement in Port Washington and transformed it into a cheerful playroom for a growing family. “The space was a big white rectangle,” she says. “We couldn’t paint the wall because the previous owners had Owens Corning basement interlocking wall. To remove it we would have had to gut the room and put up Sheetrock. We didn’t do that and kept what was there, otherwise we would have been over budget.” In order to make the room look fresh, funky and not dated, Goodman designed cubbies to be used for storage. She added bright turquoise fabric bins, dark navy cushions and confetti decals in primary colors.
“We used every color in the rainbow and used different color circles in various sizes to make it more visually interesting.” The other side of the room is an interactive area for the kids that includes a chalkboard wall and an art station.
Wild, sophisticated vibe
Color explodes inside this Port Washington 1930s center hall Colonial designed by Keith Baltimore. The living room is a combination of fuchsia, orange and purple with some black stripes, the latter to help ground the room, he says. “Black is the absence of all color and white is the presence of all color so the idea of black and white is a good dichotomy for all this color,” says the Port Washington designer. Color grabs attention throughout the rest of the home. Tomato and dill pickle are the colors in the master bedroom, and mulberry and aqua adorn the office. One bedroom is emerald green and black, and another is red and taupe. Then there’s pink and brown in a bathroom — and a purple kitchen. To make it all work, Baltimore says, he blended all the colors together to create a harlequin pattern in the foyer. This way, he says, there is a color pattern and story to share.
“When you go into a different room that is emerald green or chartreuse, there is a connection. The house is done in a very sophisticated way and has a tremendous creative vibe.”