Last December's issue of The World of Interiors recreated the Yellow Room that Nancy Lancaster had decorated in her home in Mayfair in 1959. The editor Rupert Thomas worked with Colefax and Fowler to remake this room and was photographed by Christopher Simon Sykes.
When I was looking for a room that could express the liveliness of yellow, this image, the room and the whole project to recreate it kept attracting my attention. The color definitely stands out, but doesn't dazzle and I could only attribute that to the balance of the whole room. Yes it is a large room of generous proportions, strong color is best with high ceilings and good natural light, but the arrangement of the furniture and the use of "pairs" of objects makes the room exceptional.
The article points out that "initially the color was much paler, more like that of a lemon, but over years it darkened to the deep buttery yellow of legend."
This is a very sumptuous room, formal but comfortable. Even though we don't decorate like this today, you can see the principals of design: light, color, balance, proportions, symmetry all considered and working together. I wish I could have seen this room and it is amazing it was all recreated for a photo shoot. However it has given us a reference of a room that has influenced many designers and decorators over the years.
Yellow is a very good color for London, it works well with the gray skies, it is the most light reflective of colors so it will always brighten and warm up any space more than many of the grays and taupes used so often today.
From formality and sumptuousness, I was also attracted this week to some faded, worn and weathered spaces. There is always something that stimulates my imagination seeing a room that needs a new coat of paint:
When I biked to Chelsea Harbour this week I saw some swatches that would work in many London rooms: Lemon yellow and grays: I could see a plush velvet sofa with bright yellow satin pillows and a shower of curtains.
An old chest of drawers and mirror I had painted:
Today the sun is shining and the sky is actually blue, must get on my bike... the daffodils are everywhere.