I've never been a fan of the saying "less is more," but one Chicago designer is convincing me to come around to it—at least as far as color palette is concerned. At the home of her neighbors in Lake Forest, Illinois, Shelley Johnstone managed to create a delicious dining room using, essentially, two colors. Far from being boring or even minimalist, though, the space feels layered and lush—thanks to clever use of pattern and texture.
"The family has four young children, so we wanted it bright, happy, and fresh," explains Johnstone of the original concept. With that in mind, she selected the perfect fabric: Bunny by Vogue Living for Schumacher in Delft blue. Since Johnstone (and the homeowner) loved the pattern, they used it in abundance, on all the walls and to cover the round dining table (which—pro tip!—Johnstone covered in a glass top to ease any worries about spills).
Next, Johnstone further brightened the space with lacquered ceiling in—you guessed it—blue. "It's kind of become my signature," laughs the designer of the paint treatment. "It kind of finishes the space, gives it this beautiful sheen in the evening. When you have candles going it’s really elegant."
Meanwhile, Johnstone refinished chairs the client previously owned in a Mark D. Sikes for Schumacher stripe, whose tone she felt complemented the blue and white perfectly. "I love camel with blue and the stripe with the block print," Johnstone explains. "It just worked. I didn’t want to do another blue on the chairs; it needed a bit of a breakup."
Plus, she points out, the hue is "similar to the velvet on the rug," a simple sisal whose casual feel prevents the room from feeling stuffy.
Though the room's simple color scheme may make it appear simple at first glance, Johnstone didn't skimp on the details—and these are what ultimately makes the room feel so perfect. Walls trimmed in grosgrain tape add texture, while the white chairs get a bit of a sheen from gold painted accents. Altogether, Johnston says, "it’s like a little jewel box."
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