Friday, April 12, 2013

Green and Yellow: Alberto Pinto and Kathryn M. Ireland

Last month, Walter and I visited Orchids Galore!: A Love of Living Color at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.  It was more than a welcome respite from the extended winter-spring we’ve been experiencing.  The Conservatory was just filled with orchid blooms.  Some were romantic lady slippers;
others had flat, bright pansy-faces

or were strangely insect-like.
Many were slightly grandiose and worthy of old-fashioned corsages.
And they came in all sorts of colors: plummy browns,
luscious berries,
racy reds,
lipstick pinks,
and burnt oranges.

But I seemed to be drawn to ones that sparkled emerald and gold, smiled in summery lemon and lime and looked demure, even a bit hazy, in softer shades of jade and primrose.
They seemed to whisper “Spring is almost here” and hint at sunshine-filled days to come.

“Blue” is my predictable response to the perennial favorite-color question.  I tend to dress in varying tones of pink and red and brown.  And when helping others with their interior decorating, blues and greens or ivories and whites usually dominate.  But after our tour of Orchids Galore!, I realized how much I gravitate towards green and yellow in my own home… and in the work of others.
My rooms aren't quite as bold as this interior by Jonathan Adler!

But green and yellow crop up a lot... like in this vintage poster
in our otherwise sandy-red-and-French-blue bedroom.

Or the pretty combination of natural wicker and an olive-dark green print
from Pindler and Pindler that we've had for years.
(The rest of the room is creamy yellow, a couple pinks and red and brown.)

Antique Bavarian plates in the dining room showcase colors from
the Emerald City and Yellow Brick Road... but I think it's Hansel and Gretel, right?

And the guest bedroom sports Roman shades
in this old Laura Ashley paisley that we just love.
Two of my favorite designers: Alberto Pinto and Kathryn M. Ireland often use green and yellow with stunning simplicity.

Born and raised in Morocco, to Argentine parents, Alberto Pinto travelled widely in his youth and quickly established careers in photography and interior decoration.  He opened his own design firm more than 40 years ago.  Based in Paris, he and his team created rooms, even planes and yachts, which epitomized luxury and sophistication.  He was famous for his careful attention to detail and the grand scope of his commissions.
Alberto's dining room in his Parisian home
just glistens in darker-than-forest-green and golden woodtones.
And I don’t think anyone better understood the charm and livability of green and yellow, whether in an English castle, which feels intimate and opulent,
shimmering in a Geneva residence,
contemporary and serene at the Hostellerie de Plaisance in Saint-Emilion
or absolutely glamorous in Kuwait.
Alberto died unexpectedly in early November 2012.  But his sister Linda continues the exacting standards and palatial projects of Agency Alberto Pinto.

Kathryn M. Ireland was born in England, grew up in London and Scotland and moved to the U.S. almost 30 years ago.  After jobs in film and fashion, she started her eponymous line of lovely, somewhat feminine fabrics in 1997.
Kathryn's Quilt in Green
Kathryn’s decor is a little bohemian, pretty (without being too pretty) and completely accommodating.

Like Alberto, Kathryn regularly collaborates with other businesses, so in addition to her full-service interior design studio, she now has a collection of upholstery with Grange and new fabrics with Scalamandre.
a jacquard velvet from Kathryn's collection for Scalamandre

an embroidered linen from Kathryn's collection for Scalamandre
And of course, she has gained a lot more attention as one of Bravo’s Millionaire Dollar Decorators.  You can shop for her textiles and antiques online or in person at her showroom in West Hollywood.

Although the formality of their styles is dramatically different, Alberto and Kathryn have obviously been inspired by other cultures.  They also share a penchant for layering patterns and colors.  They appreciate truly fine craft and know the power of beautiful objects.  Their designs reflect life well-lived.  It’s not really about money.  It’s about good food and friends and family, the chance to create beauty and joy in even the smallest of settings and the willingness to slow down and relish the moment.  It’s no wonder that, despite their world travels, both Alberto and Kathryn have called France home… at least for part of the year!

Of course, yellow and green is a universal combination, effervescent and tranquil: think of sun and grass; stone and leaf; pale moonlight and forest.  But it also seems especially rooted in Paris and Provence, Lorraine and the Loire valley, Aquitaine and Alsace.

Sugar, Sugar by Irene Suchocki
Le Petit Zinc by Irene Suchocki
I realize that few of us can afford the services of Agency Alberto Pinto or Kathryn M. Ireland Textiles and Design, but we can definitely read their books;

Alberto wrote several books, but Orientalism is perhaps the most fabulous.

Timeless Interiors is Kathryn's lastest.
splurge on some pieces of Alberto’s tableware
Bread and Butter Plate from Les Perroquets from Alberto Pinto

Alberto's Envol pattern (Tea Cup and Saucer)

or Kathryn’s fabrics;

Tulip in Nuevo Yellow by Kathryn M. Ireland
Paisley Stripe in Green by Kathryn M. Ireland
Casablanca by Kathryn M. Ireland
and maybe attend an Extreme Balance Retreat, which Kathryn and friends conduct at La Castellane, her estate in southwest France.

I also encourage you to search out photographs by William Curtis Rolf, Rebecca Plotnick and the Robertsons at Obvious State (formerly known as Little Brown Pen).

And for a completely low-budget vacation, watch Midnight in Paris.  The first fifteen minutes is like a green and gold ode to Paris.  Owen Wilson is one of Woody Allen’s most charming characters, literally mesmerized by the city, past and present.  And in a party scene, you can just make out the lovely boiserie panels, in pistachio and gilt, at Deyrolle – the landmark taxidermist and natural curiosity shop.

By the way, Orchids Galore! closed recently, but you can still get your flower fix at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Orchids of Latin America, through April 21.  And finally, if you have a home project in mind, consider introducing green and yellow to your life!

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