Style Court

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


Rhapsody in Blue

[Oliver M. Furth's dining room photographed by Rodd Zinberg.] 

This is my kind of composition. A masterful visual mix that encompasses classic and contemporary pieces ranging from the 'carcass' of a Louis Philippe cabinet to a 1950s Alexander Calder painting to Pottery Barn bookcases refinished in a high-gloss lacquer and filled with fashion and art books.

The West Hollywood dining room of decorator Oliver M. Furth contains many striking elements. First, though, the backdrop: To offset his collection of art and antiques, he went with a bold choice,  Regatta Blue by Benjamin Moore  Pratt & Lambert. He explains,  "The room is rather dark, as it faces into a courtyard. So I went with that bright, bright peacock blue. I used a black primer underneath, in order to both tone down the intensity and heighten the richness of the color,"

The ceiling is enveloped in Oliver's go-to color for low ceilings: Snow Goose,  again by Pratt & Lambert. He describes it as a very pale blue bordering on a cool white. "Cool colors recede, so this makes the ceiling appear to be taller than it actually is," he adds.

For the doors shown here, as well as all the doors throughout the apartment, he mixed his own color inspired by a specific blue that Parisians often use to paint their front doors. In Oliver's mind it's a close relative of navy blue, but with less black in it. The trim is Pratt Lambert's Silver Lining.

[Doors in Paris photographed by dicktay2000.]

In case you're wondering what he means by cabinet 'carcass,' he means that the piece would have gone on to have veneer applied, but for some reason never made it to that stage. Oliver told me that he was drawn to the rawness, especially on such a sculptural shape. This Louis Philippe cabinet came from dealer Christopher Chew.

Keeping in mind Oliver's background, and his approach to mixing high and not-so-high, I thought it would be interesting to identify most everything in the room:

The 18th-Century Italian walnut arm-chairs were purchased from Christie's, at the estate of Oliver's late mentor, Greg Jordan. "He had bought them in Paris in the early 1990s. They were in his former New York apartment, and then in his Los Angeles office."

The 1940s lamp has a sort of a faux porphyry finish, with little mirrored panels in the base. And on top of the chest are several pieces of Imari porcelain. To the immediate left of the window is Nautilis, a radiograph by Albert Koetsier. Further to the left is Wall Street, a 1915 photograph by Paul Strand, and underneath that is an anonymous etching found at a flea market.

Oliver describes his dining chairs as inexpensive reproduction Chinese Chippendale-style. He had them upholstered in acid-green wool/silk fabric from Prelle. The 1970s table is by Paul Evans. "It's his signature brass tile top, with bass wrapped in chocolate-brown leather."

While he keeps the art books in the PB bookcases lacquered in an olive-ish green color, design and architecture titles stay in his office and fiction is in his bedroom. The paper lantern is by Isamu Noguchi.

To see much more of Oliver's place, stay tuned to the Balustrade and Bitters blog or visit the B and B Encyclopedia described in the previous post.


The Peak of Chic said...

I admire Oliver's color sense. The contrast between the two shades of blue (actually, three if you include the ceiling) is really daring and totally right.

Karena said...

Courtney, I have just had my entry, stairway and den painted a very dramatic Prussian blue! It is dark, however when the art and mirrors are up it will just pop! In the den I am using creams browns and golds as accents with the blue!

Art by Karena

Claire Watkins, ASID allied said...

Wow! I learn so much over here. I didn't know navy blue was a popular color for Paris doors. I think I will have to re-review the pictures from my visit. This Mr.Furth certainly knows what he is doing, priming the wall black to tone done the blue, great idea. Yeah, I think I could be pretty happy in that room, too. You're adding lots of bookmarks to my browser bar, I am going to have to go look through the images of Oliver Furth.

Have a great day,

The Whippy Curly Tails said...

Regatta Blue is a Pratt & Lambert color. I can't find it in Benjamin Moore ... Am I missing something?

Love the blue!

Style Court said...

Whippy, thanks for pointing this out. I'll double check with Oliver!

Style Court said...

Great call Whippy. Correction made above.

Dean Farris said...

Great post Courtney ! I always enjoy a color story, and I'll have one for YOU tomorrow on DFS !

Dean Farris Style


Style Court said...


Excited for you about the trip!




Sounds like you are being brave and bold with color!

Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, Interiors said...

I love the fact that Oliver, will be a bit *risky* with his colors. One should always take risk. To truly, become a great designer. Love the blue dining walls and Paris door.
Yes,it is a P&L paint. Great post!! I love this blog.

Tara Dillard said...

And what does the 'carcass' look like from the garden?

The arrangement on top is pretty from the garden.

Design is from the house into the garden, and, the garden into the house.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Balsamo Antiques and Interior Design said...

great color combinations
love the doors