Calming Grey
By Karen Parr-Moody

A recent trend in décor is to transform a room into a calm pastiche of pale neutrals. It is a romantic, effortless kind of elegance that has its roots in Scandinavian and French Provincial style. The tone of grey, with its many moods, is perfect for this look. It can be fresh and airy, stark and dramatic, or tranquil and modern. When blissful shades of grey are blended with simple, elegant furniture it results in calm and uncluttered rooms.

The pair of Bohemian lustres in the photo, right, are made in an olive grey tone that is rare and beautiful ($435; Booth B-234).  Called "lustres" or "lusters," such glass beauties were found more than 100 years ago in the more prominent homes. Used to hold candles, they were set in pairs on a mantle or sideboard. The glass bowl of a lustre was surrounded by dangling cut-glass prisms.

This pair of lustres was made in Bohemia, which has a long history of glassmaking. Whoever owned them kept them in pairs all of these decades, which was not always the case. Often, when estates passed through the various generations of a family, a pair of lustres would get split up between daughters at some point. In the more elaborate lustres, such as this pair, the bowl would be cut with a variety of designs. Some lustres would include hand- painted flowers or transferred imagery.

For home decorators who like their grey tones to have a bit of sheen, look no further than this General Fireproofing Co. brushed aluminum chair from the Good Form line (photo, left; $149; Booth B-101). Such aluminum chairs hit the office furniture scene during the 1930s and were, at the time, copies of wooden office chairs that had proved to be popular. While Good Form chairs were originally meant to be comfortable during the long hours at the office (note the molded seat), the simple design of such chairs goes beyond the office today. Many people pair them with a dining room table for a unique twist.

Rustic and industrial items continue to be popular in the world of décor. These gorgeous grey olive baskets are a perfect example of that trend (photo, right; $89; Booth B-222). Made of zinc and metal, these baskets were essentially used as colanders in the fields of Europe, where farmers would dunk them, full of olives, to wash away dirt from the fruits. They have a deliciously aged patina that renders then a dusky grey.

There are two of these olive baskets available at GasLamp. They would be perfect for storage: They could be used by the fireside for wood, in the bathroom for linens, or outside for plants. People have also hung them upside down from the ceiling for use as lighting fixtures.

This French Provincial cabinet in the photo, left, is painted and distressed with two shades of grey ($365; Booth B-118). It truly has a sense of Paris chic with its curvaceous details and legs. It is nice and roomy, but due to these details, it looks ultra feminine rather than bulky. It is perfect for storing any collection, not just dishes.  Books with colorful spines would add a decorative flourish to the grey background.












Need some space on the side? These three nesting tables in the photo, right, provide just that ($245; Booth B-113). Such tables provide versatile surfaces, particularly if one has a small space. They can be arranged closely, or spread throughout a room to provide surfaces for a crowd. In fact, they can be kept at the end of a sofa and pulled out in front as an impromptu coffee table when guests stop by.

A room containing many shades of grey has so much depth and will create a relaxing mood. With such a blank canvas, there is always the option of flowing in pops of bright color, such as bright yellow, orange or red. But left alone, grey creates an ambiance unlike any other shade.

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