If you had asked me a year ago to list my favorite colors, yellow would probably have been toward the very bottom of the list. That’s probably because I OD’d on yellow in the 80’s and 90’s, with an overabundance of rich, warm sunflower yellow in my house. Our front hall was a dark buttery yellow, our kitchen was a Provence wallpaper yellow, and our bedrooms upstairs looked like a collage of yellow and blue Easter eggs. No wonder I turned to the ubiquitous “greige” when my bright sunny yellow craze started to fade. Yellow was banished from our vocabulary for years and replaced by the ubiquitous whites, greys, taupes and black.
From Elle Decor, Jim Thompson fabric, Broderique in Lemon
But something has happened that might have been triggered by an image of a dining room in Elle Décor which has me swooning for yellow again. It’s not your grandmother’s yellow (as much as I will always admire the “buttah yellow” that Nancy Lancaster made famous almost a century ago).
Architectural Digest, Photo Derry Moore
For me, this “new” yellow is fresh and clean and crisp; it’s more soupçon than saturation. Paired with white, navy and black, this yellow is a punctuation mark, not a statement. The yellow I’m craving is paired mostly with white, navy and grey. Think of a yellow blouse over white jeans with navy sandals. Or a white bed with yellow accents and a navy striped throw. Or a painting by Lily Harrington, like the gorgeous one below:
Maybe it’s because of the time we’re going through right now that makes me crave the sunny warmth and uplifting spirit of yellow.
With a brand new renovation in Provence (that I am supervising from an unfortunate distance!), I have a fresh canvas to play with of pale grey stone floors, white walls and iron windows. No wonder I’m drawn to paintings with a sprinkling of yellow and a new vocabulary of colors that feel yummy, crisp and fresh!
I still love a neutral palette but that’s because I let the walls of a house dictate the color, either by art work which in my case drives most decisions, or by the colors of nature that are reflected through the windows. Now, though, I see a glimpse of yellow peeping into my rooms.
It will almost always start with the art and then find itself echoed on a couple of accessories. It’ll move in to an upholstered chair or a pillow or drapery trim or a vase. And finally, it will land in a fresh bouquet of flowers that are a mix of yellow roses, pink peonies and pale green foliage.
Schumacher Geyer Stripe
Huff Harrington Navy Antelope Ottoman
Combined with the Provence sun pouring in through the windows, this happy hue will put a spring in my step, a smile on my face and a firm nod of gratitude for the immeasurable pleasure I derive every day from the beauty of art and nature. (And then maybe I’ll hop downstairs for a hot tea with lemon, a slice of lemon pound cake and a search on the internet for … a lemon tree!)