02 July 2009

Color Notes: The White Album

Welcome to the second Color Notes posting. The purpose of this series is to share inspiring products and helpful ideas for the many hues you might want to incorporate into your home's design scheme.

Given America's 233rd birthday this coming Saturday, I thought I'd kick off this new feature with Red, White and Blue. Yesterday brought you Red. Tomorrow will bring you Blue. Today, we focus on White.

There are hundreds -- maybe even thousands -- of shades of white you can design into your home. There are whites lightly tinged with yellow, gray, green, brown, blue, pink or orange. I'm probably leaving out a few, but it's important to identify the right tone when selecting paint. Shown above right is Benjamin Moore's basic 01 White.

Why white?

White is often associated with purity, cleanliness and innocence in American culture. It's a wonderful hue for a kitchen or bath, lending a crisp brightness to those spaces. It's also a perfect color - and commonly used - for moldings, window trim, shutters and fireplace mantels. White enhances whatever color is put next to it, as sparkling teeth enhance a gloss-lipped smile.

Where not to go white

I try to avoid white in kitchen tile grout, as it can be a maintenance headache. I also like to see ceilings painted something other than white, as they so commonly are, so that the room looks more finished, and the crown molding stands out against it better. There are many, many wonderful all-white bedrooms and living rooms. What makes those succeed as welcoming havens, rather than feeling institutional or sterile, is a warm blending of textures and tints.

I love white with...

Green shutters on Cape Code homes or, as shown here, in summery prints
This one is Pierre Deux's Aventine - Herb for Kravet

Metallics, especially in tile designs, fabric or wallpaper
Shown here is Robert Kuo Cloisonne tile for Ann Sacks

Soft blues, shown here on
Pottery Barn's luscious Lucca Single Sink Console

Crisp borders in black or red contrasting with the creamy background

The White Album - Side One:
Icons and Updates

There are so many iconic white design objects that we've all grown up with, and I'm delighted to share them here. I'm also sharing some interesting updates that those of you who enjoy a more contemporary style may enjoy.


White subway tile, shown here with Kohler fixtures


Convesso series from Nemo Tile C0mpany


Pedestal Sink
This one is Kohler's Memoirs


Also by Kohler,
The new Reve in Honed White


Classic Clawfoot Slipper Tub being sold on E-Bay


Eloise Tub by MTI Whirlpools


Apron-front Shaw Sink by Rohl


Alcott Sink by Kohler

The White Album - Side Two:
Great Whites

CB2's Big Dipper Arc Lamp is on my "Must Have" List

I've always loved the casual cottage style of
Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic

I consider Jonathan Adler's white pottery to be new classics...
These are his Helix Bath Accessories

Here's another nifty white light from Ballard Designs
This one is their Coral Chandelier

'The White Bed' is so crisp and welcoming!
This one lives at the Goodstone Inn & Estate in Middleburg, Virginia

Can't wait to use this beautiful white and gray tile in a bath design!
Marabel by New Ravenna Mosaics and Stone

I'm a sucker for schoolhouse-style pendants, especially in vintage kitchens
This one comes from Schoolhouse Electric

My Mid-Century Mom always admired the Barcelona Chair
This reproduction is at DesignerSeating.com

Enjoy the entire Color Notes series...


  1. I'm not a huge fan of all-white rooms, but I've been coming around lately as I see more and more well-decorated ones. The room with the blue hydrangeas is really pretty, as well as the kitchen :-) And LOVE that Eloise tub!!


  2. I'm not too crazy about whites for interior because they can easily get dirty. Any tips on cleaning whites? I love the designs but it probably not everyone can maintain it.

  3. Interesting post. Glad I found this blog

  4. Design Ties, I love white as counter-point to color. Not a big fan of all-white rooms either.

    BV, most manufacturers are making hard white surfaces like fixtures pretty easy clean these days. When it comes to paint, it's about choosing the right finish for that room. For fabrics, I recently discovered OxiClean Stain Remover and it's Killa!!!

    Herman Miller, check out the whole Color Notes series, if you're interested.

    Thanks for dropping by, y'all!


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