Saturday, May 26, 2007

SHELTER: A Study in Yellow

While browsing Flickr, I encountered an apartment that reminded me of why I started SHELTER. With an emphasis on achieving maximum visual impact without a lot of expense and construction, this apartment looks stylish and comfortable. Brooklyn resident Jacinta (aka Flickr’s summerinbrooklyn) agreed to be my first profiled home. Brave, brave Jacinta. She possessed such an enthusiasm for her space and actually kept me updated on changes that she made after I first contacted her months ago. She owned this interview, all I did was send her some questions (perhaps too many?) and she took off running. Amazingly, this is still just a small excerpt from her great interview.
What was your biggest influence in choosing your current d├ęcor?
The space! (Or lack thereof...)
I got lucky in that my boss was deconstructing his office, and offered me that lovely credenza. He's got great taste in decor, and I think that piece is some mid-century modern or reproduction piece... I don't know where it's from, I keep forgetting to ask him... The credenza fits exactly where it is, and I had to work my way around that. Also, the lack of counter space meant I wanted to get a kitchen island. Once the credenza and island were in place, there wasn't much of an option for the other pieces!

I love mid-century modern design, and I love the design philosophy of "if it ain't got a function, maybe it shouldn't be there", but I also love the idea of subverting a classical look and using it in a modern way. Obviously I have lots of things laying around that don't serve a function (a few knick knacks) but I purged most things when I moved, and kept only a few choice things that had dear sentimental value.
• What has been the most expensive change you have made to your space?
The wall-mounted Elfa shelving system. I went with that because it took up the least amount of real estate, and also it's expandable. If I ever needed to have more shelving, I could continue with that and have uniformity. I also love the utilitarianism of its design.

• What has been the least expensive, yet influential change you have made to your space?
Paint!! I love paint. I love deciding on a color, going to look at paint chips, buying paint. I don't particularly like painting only because moving furniture around can be a pain, but it's fun once it's complete. Then I get to sit there and look around and feel like it's a brand new space!

Also the sea blue curtains (I got them cheap at Target!!) in my bedroom make the room feel dark and cozy - the way I like my bedroom. Ideally, I would love to get rid of all the freestanding closets and drawers in the bedroom, have it all built-in behind closed doors that I would also paint that same ink-blue*, have a wall mounted flat screen TV and a DVD mounted, and I'll sleep in a cave... :)
What a great use of that yellow. Was their anything in particular that made you choose that color?

I can't live without color. I refuse to wear all black most times. When I do, it works out to be kind of an "outfit", costumey... To me, an all white space is the equivalent of wearing all black. It's neat, it works for some people, but it depresses the hell out of me.

I chose yellow** only because my previous space had a fresh spring leaf green, and also a balmy sky blue in the living area. I just wanted a new color... I also had a hankering for yellow. I don't have enough of it in my wardrobe, and found myself extending my desire to see it into my home.
• How did you come up with that ingenious way to cover your intercom and deal with your light switches?
I actually stole the idea from an issue of Domino mag*! Someone interviewed there had had a carpenter custom make a little door to cover their intercom. I had this old hinged box with no back from IKEA - I repainted yellow like my walls, and found it fit exactly. Call it kismet... :) Those light switches I "hid" with the black shadow frame aren't ones that I use often, so I thought, not needing easy access, I should "echo" that boxed idea with the light switches too.

• Do you find that the colors in your clothes closet show up in your home?
I would like to have more lemon yellow in my wardrobe! But I do wear a lot of bright colors, a lot of spring greens and oranges. Not colors in my home at present, but next year may be another story!
• Would you consider yourself an artistic person?
Yes, to a certain degree... I am not a designer by any means, but I think I have a decent eye as to what works and what doesn't. I find myself more critical of fashion, use of colors in various products/designs (not just for clothing). I have leanings to styles for architecture and interiors, but don't profess any sort of expertise in critiquing them!
Jacinta was really onto something with the yellow kitchen stools, wasn't she? Check out this image from Domino magazine:
• What do you plan to do next in your space?Well, I'm hanging on to this space for as long as I can... It's rent-stabilized and right next to the C train! Plus, it's within walking distance of both Brooklyn parks, and my dog [Summer] appreciates that!

But if I ever move, it would have to be for larger space. If I didn't have any issue with money, I would love to get refinished wood flooring stained a walnut, have space for a nice large seating arrangement (for some reason I love the idea of sectional sofa with a chaise - lots of space to lounge around and fall asleep on), a wall of windows, high ceilings, a huge wall painted a bright cheery color, and an indoor tree by the window. I would also love to have a wall of hidden closets, and then using some photos I took in
Costa Rica (on vacation), blowing them up, and papering the doors with them. I have a pic I would love to use - it's all dreamy and misty of tropical lush greens, morning sun peeking through the leaves. Blown up, it would look weird and it would take a while for you to figure it out, but the colors and dreamy quality of the light would be enough to transport you. Realistically, the next space I would move into, I'd pay for the floors to be refinished, and get new kitchen cabinets (see her temporary fix using wallpaper*** in the pic above) and a new counter top. :)

*Benjamin Moore's Wood Violet #1428**Benjamin Moore's Delightful Yellow #335
*** Black & White #BK32062
*Anita Calero interview, Feb 2007, p. 94.


casapinka said...

wow, I really enjoyed that. She's done a great job, love the wallpapered cabinets and the choice of stuff for the walls.

becoming-home said...

Great interview, I look forward to more! I really like the shade of yellow she picked. I've read a lot of designers that say that yellow is teh hardest to get right, but the most rewarding when you do.

I LOVE the pattern of the wallpaper on the cabinets too!

Janice said...

What is the name of the paint color in the sea-blue room?

chris roeleveld said...

where is that excellent wallpaper on the cabinets from? I can't paint or damage my ugly kitchen cabinets...i'm wondering how i could do that same look non destructively

Anonymous said...

I would love to know the name of the paint color in the living room/on the callbox and stools.

lsaspacey said...

From Jacinta:
Yellow paint is Delightful Yellow #335, the bedroom's blue is Wood Violet #1428 from Benjamin Moore. The wallpaper is Black & White #BK32062 from