The Perfect Neutral: Color that works & A great book on how to live & love color

 Last month I purchased one of the very best books I have found...ever... on how to work with color...and the irony is...
 If you read the title you will be surprised and enlightened when you see that every page is full of color....
not to mention.... great design
 The book is called 
Perfect Neutrals 
Color you can live with 

Stephanie Hoppen
Throughout the book, Stephanie shares her knowledge,
 and love of color
 in a way that make using color,  
 understandable and Stephanie herself...
 I had the opportunity to contact Stephanie...
 and she was so nice to answer a few questions about her work and why this book speaks to so many people...
it has now been published in 11 languages...even Polish!
K:  When I picked up the book, I thought it would be about rooms without much color when in fact is it just the opposite.  How did you come up with the idea of the "new neutral" ?

S:  I had become so tired of that boring beige look that everyone was using thinking that was the cool neutral way to go.

S:  I had always felt that in every colour there was a neutral shade, a shade that would go with everything.  I was determined to prove it and the book has exceeded all of my expectations-10 languages-all over the world-it seemed to fulfill a need!!!

K:  Do have a favorite color?  I steer clear of certain colors sometimes, but you have included so many different colors, used so beautifully in various rooms...

S:  I love colours that have their base in nature,  rather than artificial colours.  If it has  an edible name, you can be pretty sure it is a good colour-chocolate, mint, buttermilk saffron and so on.
K:  Explain what you mean by using "dirty or "off" colors and why that concept works so well in interiors...

S:  When a colour is too clean-too poster-to bright and and shiny, it can be very hard to live with.  By dirtying or toning down or aging a colour you can obtain a much more elegant, vintage, livable shade...

K:  You included 3 different swatch guides using is grey the perfect neutral?

S:  Grey has been a colour of the moment for so many years now,  it is almost a staple.  I find it one of the easiest colours to live with and to wear and it is always elegant- always chic and always of the moment.  
It blends so well with things like chinese red, coral, turquoise, bordeaux-anywhere you see it you love it.  It is my favorite!
 K:  I love the swatch guides and think they could be used by just about anyone as a guide.  Did you try to gear this book to the "non-professional" or who were thinking your reader might be?

S:  I always try to be educational, helpful, practical, pragmatic and never pompous.  Although I suppose my imaginary reader is a non professional, I have found that pretty much all of the professionals-be they curtain makers, designers,magazine editors-all have my books and use them frequently.

 K:  My favorite swatch guides were "Duck's eggs to Denim" and "Silver to Mist" ....was there a favorite for you, after you put these all together?
I also thought is was fabulous that you included flooring!! SO  always over looked!

S:  Those are wonderful,  but also the grey as above and the edible shades of coffee,chocolate and buttermilk.

 K:  I know you have a wonderful gallery in London and showcase new and interesting artists,  how do you choose who's work you will showcase, with so many talented artists out there?

S:  Experience.... flair... instinct... and things I relate well to.
It is not easy to find artists whose work I want to sell-  I am always on the lookout...

 K:  And finally...what's next?
A new book or project on the horizon?

S:  Have you seen Perfect Palette?  It's about paint colour... and doing very well

S:  I want to do perfect pillows or cushions or what ever you call them in the US...
  I feel it would be the perfect recession book,  as when you can't afford to do anything else to "zuzz" up your home.... a few pillows will do the trick don't you think? 
 And what a selection one has today-every home company does them!
 What a pleasure Stephanie!
and yes I love pillows....I so agree

So much fun for me,
 she is interesting and thoughtful and current...

I love that about her!!!

Here is a link to Stephanie's gallery... which is just amazing and so very chic

You will love this book...I guarantee
~thanks again for stopping by~

And on a side note: your comments on my last post just amazed me!

  1. * Kelley, T*H*I*S was SUCH a FABULOUS, FUN, INTERESTING and oh-so-INFORMATIVE posting today!!! I can't wait to go, RIGHT NOW (!) & search out her book~~~ (I will, UNDOUBTEDLY, LOVE IT annnnd get ALOT out of it!!!)...

    Many, many THANKS!!!

    Linda in AZ *

  2. * P.S. Just ordered the LAST COPY "in stock" ~~~looking so forward to adding this to my "collection" (which is GROWING DAILY, thanks to my "discovery" of Amazon, instead of driving to our Barnes & Noble, AND, paying MORE, no less!)... Thanks again!

    Linda in AZ *

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I loved all the different names Stephanie Hoppen chose for colours! She is inventive indeed. I wonder how those names translate to the many languages her book is published in?!

  4. great and informative post - I am GETTING that book. Thanks for sharing the super photos. All the best, Lori

  5. Ordered this book from Amazon just now...looks wonderful.

    Yes, pillows are THE way to inexpensively freshen things up. I live for them.

  6. I am a cream and white girl to the end!

  7. An excellent interview and an excellent resource!!
    I truly love what you bring to the blogsphere!

  8. Hi and so sorry (LINDA) for not giving you a link to purchase the book but I figured every one uses Amazon.

    Hi Slim, I agree and the names for all of the paint colours were just wonderful...she has a huge rescource list in the back of the book which is really helpful!

    This a perfect book for the store Lori!

    Thnaks for stopping by! Happy Weekend just around the corner..woo hoo...k

  9. Hi Kelley,

    I really enjoyed this post and knew I knew the name from somewhere and went and had a look and have one of Stephanie's books 'white on white'. It's a wonderful book and some rooms of Stephanie's are featured. On page 137 Stephanie features her dining room and it all looks stunning and the patina on the dining table is one of the best I have seen. Stephanie also features other people like Bernie de Le Cuona, Louise Bradley, Mimmi O'Connell and Jo Malone...sigh I would so love to be able to buy Jo Malone's line here and I have enquired but I haven't had any success. Stephanie also shows a corner of her living room and I think her bedroom. I will have to see if I can get her latest book here as I really like her style. In the book I have here she has things in her collection that are trendy right now (the book was printed in 2000)vellum books and the like. Anyway, better go as I have said enough!!!!
    Have a great weekend.
    Take care
    Tasmania, Australia

  10. Hey Kelley! What an interesting post! I learned so much! "Driftwood Gray"...that's been my fav color gray forever. :) Loved those "visual color words" that Stephanie uses. Just like poetry! Thanks for the lesson today as well as the inspiration!

    xoxo laurie

  11. My book just arrived last night. You're right. It's fab.
    Thank you for the recommendation!


  12. Hi and thanks for the wonderful comments, Stephanie sent me an email and she loved reading what you all thought.

    I wanted to add a quick note about the last photo....I am so in love with that couch with the dressmaker details and the big print...what do you all think?


  13. Stephanie Hoppen is a brilliant women. I have had the honor of knowing her personally for years and she has influenced me not only in business by being a wonderful mentor but also a truly wonderful friend. She is very giving of her time and work to help any artist create their dreams.

    Natalie Evans
    Low Country Luxe
    Savannah, Georgia

  14. Stephanie: That was a truly informative post! I came from Velvet and Linen. It is so helpful when people can put words to why something works, or doesn't. I can't wait to dive into my swatch bags and rearrange them, armed with your examples. Who needs a puzzle on a rainy day? We will certainly be adding your book to our design library.
    Thankyou Brooke for the direction,

  15. I really wanted to buy this book---now that I've read the interview I will have it on my wish list. Thanks.

  16. Fabulous interview.....thank you, xv.


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