Layering with White

By Karen Parr-Moody


From mountains of snow to sandy beaches, the natural beauty of white embraces a variety of tones, from the brightest whites to the richest creams. But creating a room filled with the color white takes self-control. One must resist one’s love of color, but the reward is great: There is a calm ambience to such a room.


If one cannot resist the all-white room, neutrals work well against a base of white. Decorating with white can be done by piling on layers of shades and adding charcoal, pale grey and tan. Such a color scheme imparts a subtle sophistication that allows textures and lines to stand out.


White milk glass first became popular in the 1830s in America as a substitute for porcelain, but it actually dates back to antiquity, circa 1500 B.C., when Egyptians used it as a substitute for alabaster. This gorgeous milk glass compote, above right, is in a bright shade that would lend itself to any white tableau (milk glass compote, $34; Booth B-113).


There is a refined elegance to white china, as seen with the set in the photo, left (creamer, sugar bowl, butter dish and pitcher, $78; Booth B-113). The glossy white material allows for the tender scrollwork to curl along the edges in a delicate fashion.


Scrolled columns have been seen on buildings throughout history. In modern times, decorators are using the remnants of such columns – which they call “architectural salvage” – as items to add special interest to the inside of a home. The salvaged column scroll in the photo, right, reminds one of a Victorian home (architectural scroll, $148; Booth B-113). The paint, as white as cake frosting, has peeled off in areas to expose the weathered wood. It would make a unique bookend or candle holder. It could also be used as a display shelf for decorative objects.


A cane chaise, such as the one, below left, reminds one of white beaches on some faraway shore (chaise, $89; Booth B-115). The distressed finish takes it from being overly stately, instead making it seem as though it has been through many seasons of fun in the sun. Add pillows in a cream colored canvas and the look is done.    


GasLamp and GasLamp Too are both filled with an abundance of in the sun-bleached palette of white so that you can create a creamy landscape of utter beauty.

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