June 3, 2007

Carleton Varney, Part III

Yesterday I stopped by the Book Thing on the way to see my mother (how convenient that it's just a small detour!) and found another vintage decorating book, "Dress Up Your Home" by Catherine Blondin, published in 1952. I think I am getting a small collection of these fun books.

A random leap into The Book of Decorating Ideas produced this: The Sunshine Age in Decorating - Beiges and greys are being replaced by sunshine and yellow has become a great neutral colour. Sunny yellow is a great decorating background colur and works well with any colour scheme. He goes on to suggest a few room schemes including sunshine yellow walls, emerald-green carpeting, and sofas and club chairs covered in a gay floral print - lots of yellows, greens, oranges, blues and purples on a white background... Some of his other suggestions are even more lurid!
That living room sounds like a bad acid trip to me, but I do agree that yellow is a great neutral colour. Yellows can range from the palest shades that are just an inch away from white, to the yellows that are associated with the Provence region of France that have a lot of red in them. I have never used yellow in my decorating because my houses have always been dosed with sunshing. In my current house, I have a large tree out front that blocks a lot of light. So I have a yellow flower-print sofa, two pale yellow ottomans and a large yellow Chinese screen. These items go a long way to make the room warm and give the feeling of light.

Since yellow falls on the warm side of the spectrum, it is best to use it in rooms that don't already get lots of sun. If you live in a cold grey climate, think of how yellow would add cheer and warmth to a room. I think that the verdict on yellow is that it is a great neutral.

Images: Martha Stewart


  1. I agree- yellow is a great neutral, esp. a soft buttery yellow. All yellows bring a lot of warmth to a room. Did Carleton include any photos of his suggestions???

  2. I love the vintage decorating books, very fun!

  3. Peak... there weren't pix of this look, and all of the pix are in black & white.

  4. Oh well. Most of my vintage design books are in B&W too. Would have made one interesting color photo though!

  5. Fairfax,

    I ripped out these pages from Martha Stewart years ago! Always have loved yellow, and thought this was one of their prettiest spreads.

  6. Peak... if you look at CV part 2, i colourized one of the b&w pix, although not too well!

  7. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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