The White Album

Janet Brown recently returned from Market in High Point, North Carolina, the home furnishings trade show that takes place every October and April. One trend she noticed was the prevalence of white. White reflects light, so it can make a room appear larger. It has been a popular choice for museum walls since the 1950s because it provides a clean backdrop for art.* The Beatles’ 1968 White Album “started a trend of minimalist, all-white, or single-color covers for books and other publications that continues today,” and during the 1970s, white was the preferred color of architects like Richard Meier, who viewed his creations as sculpture.* Reflective surfaces or bits of lucite or brass add necessary interest to a monochromatic space to keep it from feeling sterile. Texture – such as the plaster bas relief in decorator Victoria Hagan’s apartment below – keeps a pale room from falling flat:

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” ‘Never underestimate the power of sparkle,’ says [Victoria] Hagan. Anchoring the space is a large-scale plaster bas relief by artist Mark Beard, installed over the sofa. Its graphic Art Moderne lines gently recall the sophistication of the Jazz Era without hitting you over the head, while its powdery, marble-like finish works as a counterpoint to all those glimmering surfaces.” Interior decoration by Victoria Hagan. Photo: Melanie Acevedo. “Well-Lived: Victoria Hagan’s NYC Apartment,” Veranda.

 Victoria Hagan’s dining room truly is a space for reflection. The lacquered ceiling and mirrored cabinets add glamour and create the illusion of additional space:

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“The dreamy white-on-white scheme ‘makes you feel like you’re floating’ by keeping the boundaries of the space undefined. Reflective elements such as a lacquered ceiling, mirrored cabinets, and satin curtains keep the light bouncing and provide dimension.” Interior decoration by Victoria Hagan. Photo: Melanie Acevedo. “Well-Lived: Victoria Hagan’s NYC Apartment,” Veranda.

A mirrored dressing table adds glamour in this  Atlanta home. The “Alexandra” chair by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair is available through Janet Brown Interiors:

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The chair in the master bath is a Suzanne Kasler design for Hickory Chair. Interior designer Suzanne Kasler’s Regency-style home in Atlanta. Photography by Pieter Estersohn. Text by Jen Renzi. “At Home With Suzanne Kasler” produced by Howard Christian. Architectural Digest (April 2012).

 Another Atlanta home features white “Linwood” chairs by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair (also available through Janet Brown Interiors):

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” ‘Linwood’ chairs in ‘Antique Ivory’ by Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair. Walls papered in ‘Balata’ by Manuel Canovas for Cowtan and Tout give the dining room a tropical vibe. The crystal chandelier is original to the house, and the white lamps are vintage finds from Florida.” Interior design: Katie Rosenfield. Photo: Lisa Mowry. “Pink in Every Room” by Amy Elbert. Traditional Home.

 Brass and chinoiserie remain popular in interiors, and Worlds Away has combined these two themes in an elegant white chest:

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Chest by Worlds Away available through Janet Brown Interiors. Photo via Facebook.

Do you remember the chic 1960s Southern California home of Charley, Julianne Moore’s character in A Single Man (the 2009 film directed by Tom Ford and based on the book by Christopher Isherwood)?

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Charley’s dressing table. Photo via “Stunning Homes and Interiors from A Single Man are Snubbed by Oscar” by David A. Keeps. Los Angeles Times (February 2, 2010). Photo credit: Still from A Single Man by Eduard Grau/Weinstein Co.

The furry chair in Charley’s dressing room calls to mind these Wesley Hall stools that are covered in Mongolian lamb:

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” ‘I love these pieces. They have been really popular,’ said Zack Taylor, president of Wesley Hall. The company had three-legged stools topped with Mongolian lamb’s wool” at High Point Fall 2013. “Wool Coverings Showing Up On Stools, Chairs and Benches” by Patricia Sheridan. Houston Chronicle (February 12, 2014). Janet Brown Interiors is your Richmond source for Wesley Hall.

Even bridal wear has taken on a woolly look, as this wedding ensemble from Theia’s Fall 2015 collection attests:

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Brides: Theia – Fall 2015. “Ak Ana” winter white Mongolian lamb poncho over a Venice lace mermaid wedding dress, Theia. Photo via Brides.com

(Did you know that Janet Brown Interiors offers bridal registry? We do.)

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Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. Designed by architect Richard Meier. Photo via MACBA’s Facebook page.

White is timeless – as evidenced in the previous photo of the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, Spain, or in the next photo – a picture of a church in Crete that Janet Brown visited last spring:

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“For the Rachofsky House in Dallas, [architect Richard] Meier created a space for both an individual to live as well as an international private collection of artwork. Meier made ‘art a part of the experience’ in the house, with a focus on light and hard lines.” Photo: Scott Frances. “Richard Meier,” Architectural Digest (March 2002).

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Detail from “Asiatic Sarcophagus,” 3rd century A.D. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – Richmond, Virginia. “The figures on this sarcophagus are all erotes, winged boys who take their name from the god Eros. . . . The significance in antiquity of the scenes on this sarcophagus may have varied from viewer to viewer. Some may have seen in Dionysiac celebration the promise of a blissful afterlife, while others may have been reminded of feasts held at tombs or imagery that adorned many homes and public spaces.” Text: VMFA. Photo by Kathleen Sams Flippen.

 As you decorate your home for the holidays and plan your tablescapes for entertaining, consider adding touches of white, which symbolizes purity, innocence, and peace in many cultures:

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“Layering plates in different finishes, colors or textures is an easy trick for setting an elegant table. Start with a charger, followed by a dinner plate, topped by a folded cloth napkin and small bread or dessert plate.” “13 Rustic Thanksgiving Table-Setting Ideas” by Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors. http://www.HGTV.com

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Vietri serving pieces available through Janet Brown Interiors: Lastra Grey Salad Plate, Optical Clear Champagne Glass, Lastra White Dinner Plate, Grey Medallion Accent Napkin, Aladdin White Antique Five-Piece Place Setting. Photos by Ashley Batz for Sacramento Street. “Effortless Entertaining with Vietri,” Sacramento Street blog (October 23, 2014).

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“The ‘Berry & Thread’ fruit bowl by Juliska [available through Janet Brown Interiors] displays a bountiful mix of artichokes, grapes, and white pumpkins.” Photo: Peter Krumhardt. “Great Gatherings: Two Holiday Dinners” written by Candace Ord Manroe. Traditional Home.

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White Album released by the Beatles in 1968. “The original vinyl copies released in 1968 had the band’s name embossed on a white background. These pressings were also numbered.” Design by Richard Hamilton, a Pop and Conceptual artist. Photo via Wikipedia.

Happy Thanksgiving from Janet Brown Interiors!

*Source: The New Munsell Student Color Set, 3rd ed. by James Thomas Long, School of Arts – Virginia Commonwealth University (Fairchild Books: New York).

Post by Kathleen Sams Flippen for Janet Brown Interiors.

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2 comments on “The White Album
  1. Ubi says:

    So gorgeous !!! Too late for my thanksving table, but i am thinking in how to do for xmas. My parents are Brazilian and New Years there is the biggest holiday if the year, where everyone dresses in white.
    Wonderful post !!!

  2. Thank you for your kind words! We hope your holidays are full of happiness.

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