Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Iconic Yellow Rooms

Photography above, Derry Moore as seen in Elle Decor.

Yellow is so chic at the moment. It's interesting that two of the most celebrated rooms in 20th century interior design had bold lacquered yellow walls: Nancy Lancaster's legendary London sitting room/office, shown top, and Babe and Bill Paley's Fifth Avenue drawing room, decorated by Albert Hadley and Sister Parish, shown second.

In both cases the yellow walls apparently brought an inviting sense of warmth to grand spaces. Sister was the one who thought the Paley's room should be taxicab yellow. Five subtly different shades of yellow high-gloss paint were applied to set-off the Paley's master paintings by Gauguin and Van Gogh, as well as their French antiques. In Lancaster's vaulted room, her associate John Fowler applied numerous layers of glaze over stippled-on Peking yellow (or butter yellow) paint.

For more on the Paley room, see Albert Hadley: The Story of America's Preeminent Interior Designer. For more on Lancaster's room, see Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style, or Rooms.

BTW: Colefax and Fowler keeps Lancaster's yellow room open to the public.


The Peak of Chic said...

I truly love both of these rooms! Such bold uses of yellow- no wimpy yellows there! And unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see Lancaster's room (still irked about that), but I did get to see the John Fowler exhibit, which was great.

Style Court said...

Oh no, too bad! I was thinking you visited. I still envy you for seeing the Fowler show though :)

Anonymous said...

be sure to check out south of market owner Kay Douglass' white room with gorgeous yellow ceiling at the atlanta symphony associates' decorators' show house that just opened. yellow mellow!!

Tragic Sandwich said...

My kitchen is yellow, and I think it's fantastic--it makes me happy every time I walk in.

Karena said...

I have wanted to paint a room or two that buttery yellow for some time. What an enlightening background for works of art!

Style Court said...

Karen -- yes, love it with the art!