Living, in Color

by Amanda Bedgood

The beautiful balance of bold hues at home The beautiful balance of bold hues at home by Amanda Bedgood ~ PHotos by Robin May

November 2012

Hope Hebert loves color. Really, really loves color. In areas where some tread lightly, she sweeps a vivid stroke of fearless, vibrant color. And we're not talking about her paintings.

The Lafayette artist has a home that is proof of her affection. And Jeffery McCullough is the man charged to corral that love of color into a home that has all of the whimsy of bold shades with an unmistakably sophisticated approach.

It begins by tempering some of Hebert's favorites (like leopard print and the color red) while creating a look and palette that remains true to her.
"I had a major red thing," Hebert says with a laugh.

"My least favorite," McCullough chimes in. "I balance it with orange. Red is too hot. Typically it is too hot for a room and steals the eye."

Instead, McCullough used red sparingly in places like the pillows on an otherwise neutral sofa.

"Start small," McCullough says. "A lot of people are afraid of color. But, start with small pieces and work your way up. A vase, a pillow. Get used to it."

If, like Hebert, you're a "color freak" the same is true. Use color in the right spots for balance.

Choose a neutral sofa and add vibrant pillows.

"A neutral sofa makes it all work. An orange or purple sofa would be ridiculous," McCullough says. "She can change the pillows now for the next 20 years. You're not locked in."

Try bringing color to the ceiling for a nod to bright hues that's less obvious than bright wall colors. In Hebert's dining room a beautiful blue hand-painted wall covering adorns the ceiling.

"It's a wonderful touch without being overwhelming," McCullough says.

And in the case of a narrow dining room, "it widens the room by bringing the eyes up," McCullough says.

The dining room also boasts beautifully upholstered chairs with a pop of color on the backs of the two at the heads of the table.

"On the end chairs we upholstered the back in color," McCullough says. "It all goes back to balance. You can't make everything crazy or it becomes a circus. You can introduce fun elements and it can make the room - even if small in scale."

Doing things small is not Hebert's way.

"Hope is hands down without a doubt the most adventurous client I've ever had. Make it fun," McCullough says.

There is no other room where this is more clear than in her kitchen and eating area: bright curtains play backdrop to a lime-lined dining set, the wildest of printed chairs, a vibrant rug and utterly chic couch with a neutral print and orange welt.

"This room makes me crazy," Hebert says with a giddy shrug. (In Hebert speak "crazy" means she loves it.)

And while Hebert and McCullough certainly collaborate, Hebert surprises him with items like wild red pulls on her traditional antique French piece in the eating area and a painting in the living room she bought from a likely homeless man on the street in New York.

"Playing it safe is not Hope Hebert's way," McCullough says with appreciation.