living in color: Wood and Wool’s Ingrid Jansen

April 26, 2011

Yesterday I talked about how unapologetic kids are about color. Continuing that theme, may I present an adult who also possesses a similarly free-spirited approach to the chromatic spectrum. Housed in an 1880’s water tower, Ingrid Jansen’s home presents an eclectic mix of classical architecture, modern minimalism, and bohemian craft that is positively exhilarating. All the colors, textures, treasures, and unexpected details make me feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s a home full of personality; it’s decor a veritable tapestry of Ingrid’s experiences.

Of course I love the way Ingrid herself is so visible in her home, but what is really appealing to me today, is her use of color. How she places a riotous burst here, and almost none there. How she plays with many shades here, or sticks to one bold hue there. How the whole spectrum is engaged; how every material is entertained.

As we saw in my prior post about Ingrid’s company, Wood and Wool, this Dutch designer does not shy from vibrant hues. Rather she embraces them, experimenting with bold patterns and playful combinations. No small wonder that she also counts floral design among her many talents, for you can see a similar approach in her interiors. In the same way a beautiful bouquet gives you color and texture mixed with restful areas of green, so Ingrid knows when to surprise with a shock of color and when to pull it back a bit. Everywhere in her home there is a beguiling mix of elements: a soft cotton bed spread, a wood herringbone floor, or a painted metal chair. It’s this marvellous push and pull, between bright and bold and clean and calm that sets up a thrilling tension in Ingrid’s home. It’s enough to keep you always guessing, intrigued.

If we take an even closer look at the play of color in Ingrid’s house, we see that there are several other important lessons to be learned. You will notice here that lots of color does not read as “busy” if you do two things: restrict your brights to a chosen few, or use every color in the rainbow at once!

This may seem contradictory, so let me explain. Regarding the first of what I shall dub “Ingrid’s rules of color,” it’s more like “a chosen two,” three if you include the neutrals. In other words, start with a neutral base and add two other strong hues. Two plus base seems to be the magic number; one feels a bit skimpy, and three looks like you can’t commit. (And, by the way, as you can see on the “green” photo above, sometimes the “neutral base” can actually be a color.)

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with loving color so much that you can’t possibly chose just two. No problem, simply employ Ingrid’s second rule of color. If the rainbow you must have, fine. Just make sure you, a) really use many, many hues so people realize that you actually are committing to the entire spectrum, rather than just waffling between a few; and b) group the colors. A.k.a. put them all in the same place – a shelf, table or crocheted blanket – not randomly, all over the room. Ingrid has made me realize that lots and lots of colors all together actually read as “one,” and therefore don’t make you feel dizzy!

Of course, I made up these color principles somewhat in jest. I’m sure that someone as creative as Ingrid might actually bristle at the idea of “rules” being associated with her decorative scheme. But what I mean to say is that what may look like a color free for all is actually quite deliberate, intentional. Carefree, yes. Careless, no. So for me, who may not quite have Ingrid’s intrinsic sense of style, I kind of like the idea of these guidelines. Besides, rules were made to be broken. And I for one look forward to seeing how Ingrid will do just that!

A textured kitchen paneled in the same upcylced wooden boards that Ingrid uses in her stools receive an extract layer of interest from two of her crocheted potholders.

Ingrid and I clearly share a love of orange.

I love the humor in Ingrid’s home. The naked lady teacups by Het Paradijs are priceless. Notice where the panties are! And the photo on the right is called “high tea.” If laughter truly is the best medicine, I have a feeling no one in this home is ever sick!

Ok, yes. I’m rethinking hot pink! It’s not just for “little” girls.

And then again, in the bedroom, you may want to tone it down a bit. I too have a linen white bedroom in my Cape Cod cottage. It’s like sleeping on a cloud.

Like the rest of the house, Ingrid’s living room is in a constant state of flux. Here it is on a rather “zen” day.

Whatever the occasion the mood around this table is always festive.

An office in orange.

Paper back color: a rainbow of books, and magazine wall paper!

All photos copyright Ingrid Jansen. Used with permission of the artist.

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