Make a splash

Bold color combos leap out against a neutral backdrop

Opposites attract, but what happens when they marry and move in together? Caitlin Blue knew she would need more than her professional expertise as a Disney set decorator when it came to renovating her first home with her husband, Eric Waterman. "She's eclectic and funky, and he's a modernist," says Julie Hart, the designer who collaborated with Blue on the project. "Everything was a negotiation and a trade-off." Hart helped transform the 1950s California ranch-style house in L.A.'s Pacific Palisades neighborhood into a vibrant, contemporary home for the couple, who are expecting their first child.


The biggest challenge was color. Blue has a great need for it; Waterman--like his photography collection, which embraces Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans--leans toward black and white. He insisted on white walls in most of the common areas (with the exception of a single olive green wall in the living room); oak floors stained dark chocolate; and a profusion of custom white kitchen cabinets embellished with sedate charcoal-colored quartz countertops.

So Hart and Blue restrained themselves to splashes of intense color--primarily orange and aquamarine--which became even more striking against the neutral canvas. In the kitchen, they used Blue's cache of 1950s brightly colored pottery to accent the Shaker-style cabinetry. Hart painted the cupboard interiors a vibrant orange.

In the bathroom, working within Waterman's white-on-white dictum, Blue and Hart added texture with hexagon-shaped marble floor tiles. Landscape architect Russ Cletta designed an exterior side-yard wall to be viewed from the bath--for which Blue unearthed 1950s subway-style tiles in orange, which were juxtaposed with a turquoise urn that Cletta transformed into a fountain. "It's like a constant sunset," marvels Cletta, who also installed an outdoor shower and a tumbled blue-stone pathway leading to the pool and backyard.

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