powder room was plain and forgettable until Panitch gave it personality
with Cole & Son's Orchid, "the wackiest of all wallpapers in the
house." Gilt mirror from Hollyhock.
KRISTEN PANITCH: Actually, it's a 1950s ranch house, in a
Brentwood neighborhood of mostly rather humble one-story ranches. But
when we renovated, we added Craftsman details, but streamlined, more
simplified and refined.
Who lives here?
Nancy Lovett. He's a talent manager in L.A., and she's a homemaker who
stays busy taking care of their four children. The youngest is 6 and
the oldest is 10--that's why we had to add a second floor to the house.
There's a lot of blue in this house.
It's hands-down my favorite color. I'm passionate about blue. And yes, there is a lot of it here.
What is it about blue that makes you so gung ho?
the most versatile color out there. It's subtle, it's strong. It's
warm, it's cool. Blue just feels good. It says a lot in a quiet sort of
way. Blue never shouts. I almost always start with a blue, and then I
build a room around it. There's a ton of layering here. I'm a firm
believer that you need to layer your blues.
the variations and tones give a room depth and textural detail. For me,
blue is a neutral--you can use it in the same way you use grays or
beiges. Layering blues creates almost a monochromatic feel. You don't
walk into this living room and say, wow, there's a lot of color in
here, and yet if you break it down, there is. If you're going to
combine blues, though, at least one needs to be a grayer blue. You need
a quiet blue to ground the room.
I see you've done that in the living room, with that tweedy gray sofa.
knew the Los Carpinteros painting had to go in the living room, because
it was the only space big enough to accommodate it. You don't want a
strong piece of art to dictate the whole room, so to neutralize its
strength, I used blues at the other end of the spectrum of that deep
Which blue did you start with in the room?
rug was my starting point. It has this really beautiful paleish blue in
it that I wanted to pull out. Then I added navy to give the room
personality. And purple--purple is the perfect complement.
How do you keep a room from looking like it's gone overboard with the blues?
need to stay in the same family. This whole house is in sort of the
taupey-gray blue family. That turquoise lamp in the living room might
seem to contradict what I'm saying, but it's a pure blue. All the blues
in the room are pure. If you want to do a muddied blue room, then you
need to stay within that muddied family.
Is blue ever tricky to work with?
can get too medicinal if it has too much green. And if there's not
enough yellow, or too much red, it gets too cold and sterile. Blue has
a chameleon quality. It changes depending on what it's surrounded by.
You know how black can sometimes look brown or blue depending on its
context? Same for blue. I'll have arguments with people about certain
blues. 'It's blue.' 'No, it's green.' 'No, it's blue.' It's a matter of
what's standing next to it. That wall color in the dining room is the
ultimate chameleon blue. It's lighter in the morning, and then toward
evening, it deepens and feels moodier.
What color is it?
It's called Blackened, funnily enough, and it's by Farrow & Ball.
Do you have a favorite blue?
have to say navy. It feels sort of East Coast to me, and I love that.
I've been told I have an East Coast sensibility. That rings true, even
though I'm from Santa Monica and very happily a California girl. I've
got stacks of navy blue sweaters. When my daughter was a baby, I'd put
her in navy all the time. I didn't think twice about it, even though my
own mother protested!