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Brian Edward Millett

Where all things beautiful collide

Red has long been my least favorite color until very recently.  I was flipping through my copy of the Sotheby’s catalogue from 1997 that featured the complete collection of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  My eyes stopped on a jacket worn by the Duke.  I’m not sure for what purpose it was worn, but it was a beautiful red wool jacket with a pale blue silk lapel (my favorite color).  I have always considered the ice blue that I love to be a neutral, pairing beautifully with browns, greys, purples, yellow, orange, and dark leafy greens.  I hadn’t thought of red with it until I saw the combination on this stylish jacket, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.  I still don’t consider red to be a favorite, nor do I envision having it in my home, but I am dreaming of beautiful spaces I would design for others.  Two tastemakers of their time that loved this rich hue were Vogue editor Diana Vreeland and Gloria Vanderbilt.  Vreeland was known for her over-the-top red chinoiserie living room that she is photographed in below. Vanderbilt has an equally  exuberant bedroom covered in all-over quilts…very Americana.  Jeffrey Bilhuber, one of my favorite interior designers, has an equally great love for blue.  He uses it in some form in almost every project he does.  Recently he undertook the decoration of a very old house on Long Island for himself and young son.  The blue he is know for using, as well as the American modernity he brings to his projects was injected with shades of yellow and red, as well with floral fabrics very  reminiscent of Sister Parish.  It’s very different for him,  yet completely in keeping with his aesthetic, and appropriate for the east coast location.  Below are the rooms I’ve talked about, along with other ways I would use red, mostly as a subtle accent.

The Duke's jacket

The jacket that got me thinking differently about red.  Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

room by Robert Couturier

This francophilian room in a Manhattan home by Robert Couturier is in the current November 2012 issue of Elle Decor.  I love the rich red upholstered Louis XVI chairs with ice blue backs.  The carpet is from the Rug Company, and the crystal table is by Martin Szekely.  www.elledecor.com

winter loggia by Jeffrey Bilhuber

lacquered linen Parsons table

log walls contrast with white fabric and red lacquer

The temporary installation of firewood with a red painted faux window make this outdoor space a cozy yet chic place to entertain.

Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland in her famous red room

red chinoiserie

Adding just one piece of red furniture to a room can be all you need.  This room is shades of white, taupe, and pale blue, yet this deep red feels right at home.

a red accent with the blues I love

family room by Jeffrey Bilhuber

Red window shades, and fabric and rug patterns incorporating red mix well with solid blue upholstery.

entry of Jeffrey Bilhuber's Long Island home

Just a splash of red in the window treatments prepares you for the red to come.

guest bedrooms at the home of Jeffrey Bilhuber

Accents of red in bedding or the bolder accent of the large rug are great ways to add this color to a space.  The quilts pay homage to Gloria Vanderbilt’s 70’s bedroom, and pay tribute to American traditions.

Jeffrey Bilhuber's Long Island bedroom

Go bold or go home!  Bilhuber’s bedroom is strong in color and also is a nod to Vanderbilt with the chair upholstered in a quilted fabric.  The humble woven rug brings it all down to earth.

Gloria Vanderbilt in her quilted room

dressing area of Gloria Vanderbilt

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