Kerry Hanson’s home is testament to her love of color. Featured in the current issue of New Canaan Darien and Rowayton, her use of greens, blues, and the occasional and emphatic red accent makes the designer’s signature project a showcase for her work with a varied palette.
While her color sense is on display in the magazine, we asked Kerry to share more of her thoughts on choosing hues.
Color seems to have a significant place in your designer tool kit.
I have always decorated with color because it makes me happy. I enjoy some soothing rooms in quiet, neutral tones, but family rooms, sunrooms, childrens’ rooms and play spaces are so much more fun with the use of color.
Which colors and palettes are popular right now?
Pantone’s color of the year for 2013 is emerald. But I find that most of my clients love blue: light blues in kitchens and master baths, and navy and French blues in family rooms. They all say that blue reminds them of the beach, which makes them happy. Perhaps this comes after a long winter in Connecticut! I also find that a lot of my clients are leaning toward certain combinations: blue and white, or gray and yellow, or gray and orange.
Major pieces are a large investment. Is it wise to use a lot of color for furnishings that aren’t replaced very often?
Beautiful curtains are expensive, but you can reuse them by re-tailoring them to fit different surroundings. We loved the blue and yellow Lee Jofa fabric that we used for curtains and a headboard in our master bedroom in our San Francisco apartment. When we moved to New Canaan, I simply had the curtains altered to fit, added a couple of new pieces to complement them in the larger layout, and we had a refreshed room, in colors we love, in our new place.
What are the easiest ways to refresh a color palette?
I do encourage color by adding accessories, such as lamps, pillows, stools, or even adding color to the walls; one painted or patterned accent wall is a way to provide some wow factor without overwhelming a space. There are so many wonderful new materials to choose from these days.
Tell us about your favorite colorful things.
I like bold, geometric fabrics like those made by Quadrille, Christopher Spitzmiller’s lamps, Phillip Jeffries’ grass cloth in a range of colors, patterns and textures, and lacquer and linen pieces from Bungalow 5. Fine Paints of Europe’s high-gloss paint has a beautiful sheen, and looks very much like lacquer. While many people don’t want bright or intense colors on walls, using color on ceilings, or window and door casings, provides a look that is fresh and lively. Most of my young clients also love solid window treatments now, with big thick trims, in playful colors such as coral, emerald, and even lavender.
What about those of us who insist on gray or beige upholstery?
Many people want the flexibility to change a couple of pieces without incurring the cost of changing a whole room. Using neutral shades for large upholstery—sofas, loveseats and chairs—can be both practical and successful as the foundation for a room. The personality comes from mixing small but high-impact bursts of color using accessories and accent furnishings. With this strategy, you can get a brand new look quite easily.