Gray is the New Turquoise?




Everywhere I turn I see gray.   Or, should I be chic for once and say gris or greige or griege?   I actually never knew you could spell greige – griege, both ways are correct.  But, let’s get back to just plain gray.   It’s everywhere.    I know it is in my house.   A few months ago, I painted my yellow walls gray.  Couldn’t do it fast enough.  Every time I show something gray on the blog, I get tons of emails  wanting to know the paint color.  I can’t tell you how times I’ve been asked exactly what GRAY did Sally Wheat use in her kitchen   (Benjamin Moore Fieldstone.)     Has everyone gone nuts over gray?  A lot of bloggers it seems are currently going gray:   Visual Vamp, Velvet and Linen, and Trouvais, to name four, including moi.    I even wrote a blog story on a shop filled with gray Swedish antiques called The Gray Door.  If you are planning to repaint your house gray,    be forewarned!    Painting gray is serious business.  I went through 15, yes, 15 gray paint samples before I settled on one.  Gray paint can suddenly go either purple, lilac, blue, yellow,  taupe or just plain Lady Blah Blah before it even dries.    Carefully choose your gray and always, always, test it before you go out and buy 50 gallons of one color.    Whether you are on the band wagon or not, gray is everywhere these days.  Check out these two blogs that write exclusively about the color:   Greige (or griege) HERE and The Perfect Gray HERE.  

Now, I am perfectly aware that gray was declared the new black  last year, and Pantone declared turquoise as THE color of 2010, so I was somewhat surprised at this month’s Elle Decor magazine.    While reading it last week, I had to stop – every single ad was GRAY!!!  I swear!  You don’t believe me?  Well, almost every ad was gray, as you will see below.   



This is the gray I love.   Rustic, worn, antique – not the contemporary dark bluish gray. 




This light gray with a hint of lilac is so pretty mixed with Swedish antiques.  This beauty comes from Splendid Willow’s house!!!  Gorgeous.




Gray with a hint of yellow in it.  Light gray mixed with darker gray.  


 image Beautiful cool grays and blue mixed together – Cabbages and Roses. 







Chilly, cold gray.  Gray that makes you want to grab a sweater and light a fire and warm it up with gilt mirrors.  And then move to Belgium. 


 image Gerrie Bremermann bragged to Southern Accents that she always uses the same palette of creams, whites, ivories.   Well, here she went with gray.  



 image  I’ve always loved this dining room by Barbara Westbrook.   It’s painted Tobacco by Pratt and Lambert, yet it looks gray to me! 



 image From Belgian Pearls, gah!   Too gorgeous for words.  Gray paneled walls, crystal chandelier, French doors, the ceiling, the vanishing threshold  (thanks to Tara Dillard) !!!!! 




Belgian gray mixed with taupe and cream linens. 



imageI always thought Sally Wheat lived in a gray house.  We ALL know her kitchen is gray, but last Friday she repainted her house a Farrow and Ball gray that went blue.  Her husband walked in and said  “Are the walls blue?”   No, but your black eye will be blue in about five minutes!!!  Here are her walls before she painted then – the shutters are definitely gray.






In Houston my favorites decor stores are gray  - like Indulge, filled with furniture from France’s Blanc d’Ivoire (she just got in a whole new shipment of their gorgeous gray furniture BTW.)



 imageTwenty Six Twenty on Joanel is filled with gray antiques.   Always.  





 At M. Naeve, even the floors are painted white and gray checkerboard.   




image   Last year Tami Owen did a beautiful showhouse in West University filled with grays and whites, like the Master Bedroom. 




My own paint dilemma started after I put down white marble in my kitchen.   The yellow walls had to go, ASAP.  It looked terrible with the new marble.




The Pratt And Lambert Feathered Gray looks so much better in my house.    It’s a very light gray, bordering on the taupish side.   Not for someone who wants a deep, bluish gray. 





The dining room shown here in yellow.


   image I like it so much better in gray, but the yellow drapes and table cloth will probably be changed out soon.  



The Visual Vamp’s dining room was bright red and peacock blue.   She really went crazy with gray paint.



The same dining room today – all in grays and whites!   I love this change. 



Brooke Giannetti from Velvet and Linen has been updating her house.  Here, her sunroom is all Shabby Chic in pinks and greens, before.



Now:  it is her gorgeous study in Swedish grays.   Beautiful!!!!



Recently, Brooke and her husband took their children’s all white study here……



And went all industrial grays.   What a great space for their 3 teenagers!!!




Trish from the blog Trouvais has gone just a little crazy painting her room gray.    Here are some of her choices.   In the end, I think she mixed the feathered gray (my gray) with a Benjamin Moore white.   But who knows what she ended up with?  She’s probably in some asylum, straight jacketed to keep her away from gray paint and brushes!!!!



A peek at the project – the gray is light and subtle, but so pretty!!! 



BEFORE:    The Yellow House HERE:  This picture cracks me up!  Boy, can I relate!  



AFTER:   She ended up with Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore, which she said “went a little blue.”  Ah, yes.  I know that problem.  But I think the paint job looks wonderful! 




xJavierx showed these popular designer gray colors on his Flickr tour. HERE.


The September issue of Elle Decor was FILLED with ads featuring gray.   I was just dumbfounded.  Ad after ad after ad was gray.    Gray  must really be the hottest color out there.   But wasn’t the color of the year supposed to be raspberry or mauve?   That’s what everyone who went to the European decor shows said – mauve was everywhere.  And those who have attended decor shows in the U.S. say purple is THE color.   But, didn’t Pantone declare that turquoise was THE color of 2010.    This shade exactly:




So, I ask  you, if Turquoise is the color of 2010,   why are all the advertisers pushing gray so heavily?  Here are all the ads in this month’s Elle Decor featuring gray.  Let me tell you – most of the ads in the magazines are here, few did not feature gray.  




image Kravet went with a big spread on golds and grays from Thom Filicia.  



image Plantation went with gray sofa, blue-gray walls and even the zebra rug is gray.  



image Baker used a very light silvery gray on their sofas and walls mixed with the golds again.  


image Even the rugs are all gray.


Ugh.  Yards and yards of contemporary gray, my least favorite.    This is SO not me!!!



imageimage For their leathers, Larsen brought in a gray and brown pillow.  It could have been any color, but they went with this. 



image Arhaus chose gray and cream stripes and grayish taupish upholstery.   Love this!!!!



imageMacy’s got hip with contemporary gray bedding and walls.



image Even LEVELOR blinds got into the act!!!!   Looks like my old yellow walls.



image Travers dark grays with yellow.   Sally Wheat keeps telling me she loves that combination and maybe she has a point!?!!   Love this ad!



image Bernhardt mixed grays, light and dark with two blue chairs.  Pretty.



imageSeriously, what is going here?   Have you ever seen so many ads featuring gray????



image Gray walls, white bedding, brown wood. 


image OK OK OK, I get the point already!  Gray is hot!



image Seriously, did American Leather HAVE to feature gray?   Why not the color of the year, turquoise? 



image The final ad features my favorite gray – Swedish gray furniture, soft grayish taupe on the wood work, grayish white painted floors.  


With all this gray in the advertising, you would think the September Elle Decor featured houses with a lot of gray, but no.   Not a one.  Which was a huge relief after the sea of gray ads.   I can’t remember another color that has so dominated like this.  Can you?    Gray is the new black again, I guess.  Personally, I like to wear turquoise, not decorate with it!





AND – IN OTHER NEWS,  Beadboard Upcountry in Brenham, Texas is having  a trunk show featuring their wonderful line of winter capes and gloves, shown above.   The show runs through this Wednesday – so HURRY!!!!   Go HERE to get all the details.   I have one of these capes myself, and it is truly beautiful!

One To Watch: Ashley Goforth Designs



A few weeks ago, I wrote a story called Three Beauties in West University:  Large, Medium, Small HERE – about three houses with very different price points and sizes.  The smallest was an original bungalow and according to the comments, a lot of you really loved its interiors.   At the time I imagined the homeowner was an interior decorator, but actually Ashley Goforth was the one who designed its fresh interiors.    Ashley is from Houston and after graduating from the University of Texas, she started working for Renea Abbott who owns Shabby Slips HERE.   Renea is one of the better designers in Houston and I would imagine working for her is worth 100 times more than a college degree in design.  It was at Shabby Slips where I first met Ashley – going in and out the store.   She stayed there for six years and in 2005 branched out on her own with Ashley Goforth Design.     Sine then she has really been busy designing houses in and out of Houston.   Looking over her portfolio, I was amazed at how much work she has done – and all of it is so great looking!     She has a very distinct and elegant look, working mostly in soothing colors without much pattern except in curtains or pillows.    It’s a streamlined, eclectic and timeless look with contemporary pieces mixed in with antiques.   Ashley was kind enough to share some beautiful photographs of her latest work.   So, enjoy – I know I did!!!



 image The original bungalow shown a few weeks ago, designed by Ashley Goforth.  The owner emailed me to say that Ashley is working with her on her new house in West U.  Hopefully, we’ll get to see the finished project!


RICE BOULEVARD:image These high res professional pictures look so much better than the small pictures on the real estate site.  Stephen Gutierrez took these photographs and can be contacted at:   Ashley’s work is often very symmetrical.  Often there is a linear component:   Here, notice how the coffee table’s cross bar is repeated in the end tables.   As usual, the only pattern comes from the pillows, which are always perfectly plump and properly sized.  




image Ashley likes to mix the contemporary with the old:  new end and coffee table sit next to antique chairs and chest. 



image I love the surprise of the contemporary stainless lamp mixed with the antique gilt mirror.   


image She uses a lot of textured blinds and rugs, along with very tailored slipcovers. 




image All of Ashley’s bedrooms are beautiful.  Here, I love the dark walls mixed with the white bedding and white lamps.  The dark velvet pillows are perfect against all the white. 





 SOUTH BOULEVARD:image This next project is located on South Blvd. in a much larger house.   Here, Ashley uses mostly antiques for an entry way vignette.



image All white upholstery is used in the living room, along with a classic coffee table.   When not using seagrass,  Ashley uses muted area rugs instead.   Usually she mixes curtains with textured shades as seen here. 



image Another view of the living room on South Blvd. 



image I absolutely LOVE this dining room!  The chairs are so  beautiful and I really like the art work, the chandelier and the curtains with their subtle damask pattern.   So pretty!!!




The study is wonderful with a Belgian styled table, cow skin rug, and trendy patterned curtains.    The choice of colors is wonderful – the dark black/brown on the walls with the touch of blue against the black and white.  





image  More up to date choices:  again, the table has the light washed look, the antique buffet is painted a color that picks up the floor tiles, but the curtain fabric makes the room.   The dark linen is so unexpected but that is exactly why it works.    Love how it all ties together with the dark chandelier and chairs.  




The kitchen is black granite and white subway tiles, while the pendant lights and stove hood set it apart. 




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          qwimage The sitting room is all taupes and aquas.   Again, the upholstery is solid, with pattern found just on the pillows and ottoman – allowing for easy design changes years down the road.    Ashley choices of graphic pattern fabrics add youthfulness and freshness.  



image The master bedroom:  Ashley’s bedrooms are always just the prettiest.  She typically employs the unmade duvet look with no patterned fabrics except for a few pillows.  Here, the lamps and nightstands are contemporary.  The chandelier is gorgeous.   So beautiful. 





This house in New Braunfels, Texas is on the river and the interiors are more casual.   There are slipcovers in linen, pine furniture, and warmer colors, along with a subtle area rug.     Rose Tarlow prints on the sofa pillows.  



image Close up of the fireplace and shelves.   Ashley’s pillows are always so perfect, the size and the down stuffing.  I assume she learned that at Shabby Slips.   Their pillows are also exquisite! 





It’s hard to see in the pictures, but the curtain headers and trim are darker which gives it just a hint of definition.  I like how she mixed two fabrics on the chair slips here.   Notice the blue pillows in the host chairs.   The light fixture is fabulous.  I really love this room too!



image The book filled library.  Love the pillows.   Again, Ashley usually layers two patterned with two velvet pillows. 




Master bedroom:   love the patterned rug, the curtains, and the bedding.   Does she ever make a mistake????  I haven’t found one yet!  Seriously, she really is a great interior decorator. 



Guest room balances masculine and feminine sides.   The zebra adds the perfect touch. 





At this house on Reba St. in River Oaks, the family room was designed by Ashley.   Details  are:  tailored slipcover, graphic patterned pillows, zebra, and the one lone horn on the mantel that becomes sculpture. 



image Vignette from the living room on Reba.  




Perfection:   breakfast room with built in booth.  The graphic gray and white fabric picks up the color in the slate floor.   The wood table adds another color matched by the shades.   The framed art work is by the owner’s children.    The round pendant is the perfect shape to counteract all the squares.     




Another beautiful master bedroom.  Here she added an oriental bench to the end of the bed.  Luscious curtains, as always.   Two patterned pillows.  




This sitting area is right across from the master bed.   The slipcovers are always tailored to perfection, something she probably learned from Renea Abbott.   Notice her pillows – how plump they are!  How great their size is!!  Just wonderful.   



image  A vignette from the master bedroom.   Mixing the classic with the contemporary. 




image The master bathroom has white marble and wonderful sconces inset into the mirror.     





These interiors are located in a high rise in San Antonia, Texas.   The large living room is divided into two seating arrangements.   Here, dressy gilt antique chairs are juxtaposed next to a contemporary sofa.   The pillows, damask and velvet, bring the color gray into the room.   According to Ashley, the client asked for a gray and white palette and didn’t want anything brown, including wood furniture.  She also didn’t want anything to wrinkle, so there were no slipcovers (though Ashley’s slips really are not the wrinkled type!)  



image The other side of the living room – Ashley’s interiors are often very symmetrical and balanced.   Here, the TV is balanced by large gilt framed prints and a mirror console.   The gray is continued in the sofa’s fabric.   The contemporary coffee table is balanced by the antique chairs.




image Close up showing the wonderful downed filled cushion on the chair.  I love how the graphic patterned pillow plays off the shutters.  




image The dining room is an elegant space, with French chairs and silk skirted table.   The gold chandelier picks up the gilt in the chairs and art work in the adjacent living room.    I still love a skirted table, especially in a dining room.  It softens a room where there are so many hard edged chairs around. 



image The breakfast room.   Grays in the KWID pillows and paint play off all the whites.    Wonderful chairs.  



image The guest room.  LOVE the touch of Yves Klein blue here!!!!  Perfect against the dark brown walls.    And I love the touches of leopard.   Notice how she brings in the classic, soft lined, French chair mixed with all the contemporary furniture with hard edges.  The deer head add just the right touch.  Beautifully executed room, IMHO.    





image The family room is dominated by the armoire balanced by a large contemporary coffee table.     Large antique chairs are covered in a muted Rose Tarlow fabric.   The cinnamon colored pillows pick up the colors of the rug.   As usual, wonderful curtains.    Beautiful room. 




Large contemporary art work dominates the room.   The glass chandelier is just perfect against the dark wood table.  



image A vignette, balancing the antique with the contemporary.  Ashley’s lamps are always either simple glass cylinders or colorful ceramic vases.   This chest is gorgeous. 

image A pair of gilded antique chairs play against the contemporary sofa and coffee table.  Subtle patterned area rug.  Again, pillows bring in the pattern.  




Closeup of Ashley’s accessorizing – always elegant and sparse, never cluttered. 



image In the adjacent closed in porch area, a large oriental screen covers the back walls.  Beautifully styled desk. 




 image OK.   Absolutely gorgeous powder room.  White marble against black damask wallpaper.  Stunning.   Just stunning. 


image Beautifully designed kitchen with large island, black and white countertops, and wonderful wall of windows.   The textured shades warm up the decor as do the counter stools.  Love the symmetrically placed topiaries. 



I LOVE the headboard – it’s so thin, not tufted, no nailheads, just elegant.  Notice the feet on the bed, so gracefully carved.   Beautiful.   Love the blue blush color.   The rug is so gorgeous too.   Love the pillows, the lamps, everything!


 image Close up of the beautiful table and headboard.




Master bathroom is to die for:  the shower!!!!!!!   Whoa.  That tub.   Love the dark cabinets with white marble countertops.   Love the French doors opening to the bathroom.  I would want to look into the bathroom from the bedroom too!!  And notice the Fortuny light fixture.   Renea Abbott’s husband sells those fixtures at his store Creative Flooring. 




And finally, the guest room.  Grays and whites with hints of browns.   Again, so pretty.   I have yet to find anything that Ashley designed that wasn’t pretty!!!    She is truly talented, she is young and has a long and successful future ahead of her.   



Mrs. Goforth, hard at work!


I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these elegant designs by Ashley Goforth.  There are a lot more pictures on her web site, so be sure to visit it HERE.    The pictures were taken by Stephen Gutierrez – email him here:

A huge, special thank you to Ashley for sharing all these photographs.  Thank you a million times!!!!





image Bobby McAlpine’s house, design inspired by Edwin Lutyens.  1


AND  just a reminder,   Bobby McAlpine is on this week’s Skirted Roundtable, HERE.   Listen.      He’s fabulous.