The Interior Design Move That Is Both Calming And Statement-Making
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The Interior Design Move That Is Both Calming And Statement-Making

Want to give a room a wow factor in a subtle, 2022 way? Adopt a tone-on-tone approach.

By Kathryn O’Shea-Evans
Fri, May 6, 2022 3:37pmGrey Clock 2 min

YOU HAVE likely seen the design tactic of “tone on tone” before: perhaps a house whose siding has been painted steel blue and window frames navy. Design pros often bring this mostly monochromatic flourish indoors—adorning walls, upholstery and painted furniture in various shades of a single colour—but your average person rarely does.

“It can get overwhelming for people to do it on their own,” said Fariha Nasir, a Houston, Texas, designer. Hewing to a single hue might seem like the décor equivalent of letting a majority shareholder control your company. But a room scheme without visual interruptions and drastic chromatic transitions can have considerable impact.

“A tone-on-tone interior can be very strong, restful and pure at the same time,” said London designer Rose Uniacke, who recently limited herself to sands-of-time shades—oat, ecru and a tawny fawn—in a Holland Park sitting room. Certainly one could pull together a punchy bedroom of lilac walls, amethyst headboard and eggplant carpet, but most of the designers we spoke with opted for subdued colours when taking this chromatically focused route. New York designer Steven Gambrel, for example, has variously sheathed rooms in schemes of chocolate, olive and smoke—tempered palettes his clients often request. “It’s a feeling they’re asking for, something that is relatively quiet,” he said.

Dre Shapiro, founder of Dre Design in Los Angeles, similarly spurns clear, bright colours in favour of earthier options, with some kind of brown mixed in, she said, “because they’re easier on the eye.” To suss out her starting point, Charleston, S.C., designer Cortney Bishop often reaches for a Farrow & Ball paint deck; she likes that the brand’s colours are “a little bit lower in tonal value.” She may begin with the company’s dusty pink, Calamine, as a main paint choice, then pull fabric in varying shades of that colour, she said. “I don’t worry if one swatch is light pink and one is a rose.”

To find his colour muse for any particular room, Mr. Gambrel considers the pigments of Mother Nature he sees outside its windows. In a room facing a glimmering harbour, for example, he might lean toward grey blues and icy silvers. Tone on tone “really brings you in,” he said. “It’s super comforting, super warm.”

Chromatically restricted rooms also age well. The 1920s English society decorator Syrie Maugham was a progenitor of the tonal approach, said Alexis Barr, instructor of design history at the New York School of Interior Design. She often focused on snowy palettes, marrying white-as-whole-milk upholstery, thick, creamy wool carpets and panels of mirrors for a timelessly moneyed mien. A century on, Maugham’s tonal interiors “still read as chic, clean and remarkably modern,” Ms. Barr said.

Designers say it’s crucial to inject a tone-on-tone space with textural differences. For a client’s dining room in Houston, Ms. Nasir painted the wall, trim and ceiling in a rich brown, Glidden’s Sweater Weather, then hung velvet draperies in the same tint that would reflect light differently for a layered effect.

Mr. Gambrel always tosses in an element of juxtaposition, like raw metal or ebonized wood, which helps to ground the space. “A hit of dark is really critical,” he said. “Without it, your eye doesn’t know where to rest itself.”



Interior designer Thomas Hamel on where it goes wrong in so many homes.

Following the devastation of recent flooding, experts are urging government intervention to drive the cessation of building in areas at risk.

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The 390-acre property has 2 miles of frontage on the Rogue River

Tue, Sep 27, 2022 8:47am 2 min

Former “Dallas” star Patrick Duffy is putting his roughly 390-acre Oregon ranch on the market for $14 million.

The property sits along the Rogue River outside the city of Medford in southern Oregon, according to Alan DeVries of Sotheby’s International Realty, who has the listing with colleague Matt Cook.

Mr. Duffy said he bought the first roughly 130 acres of the property in 1990 for roughly $1.5 million with his late wife, Carlyn Rosser. The couple spent roughly two decades and about $3 million buying surrounding properties when they went up for sale, said the actor, who has made the ranch his primary home since the early 2000s.

“My family always felt like we were stewards as opposed to owners,” said Mr. Duffy, 73. “We kept the boundaries sacred.”

Mr. Duffy said he first saw the property while fishing with a friend. The property contained a few structures, including what is now the main house, but was mostly wilderness, he said.

“It was pristine,” he said. “There was no paved road. There were some trails through the woods and about a mile—a little less than a mile—of river frontage.”

Mr. Duffy said he flew Ms. Rosser out to see the ranch, and they bought it. The main house has four bedrooms, and connects to a gallery where the couple displayed their art collection. They converted a caretaker’s cottage into a one-bedroom guesthouse with a loft. They also added a building that contains a hot tub overlooking the river, a structure for an indoor lap pool, and a wine cellar built into the side of a mountain, all within walking distance of each other.

As they purchased adjacent properties over the years, they acquired eight more houses and several pastures that are rented out to local ranchers. One of the homes was demolished, six are rented to tenants, and one is used as the ranch manager’s house, according to Mr. Duffy.

“We became a working ranch but not with our own animals,” he said. “It added the most beautiful, bucolic sense of the place.”

A homestead that dates back over 100 years still sits at the entrance to the property, he said. In it he found an old stove, which he restored and put in the main house. But the majority of the roughly 390 acres remains wilderness. The property now has approximately 2 miles of river frontage, according to Mr. DeVries.

For roughly a decade, Mr. Duffy and Ms. Rosser used the ranch as a family getaway from their primary home in Los Angeles. Then in the early 2000s, when their children went off to college, they decided to move there full time.

Ms. Rosser died in 2017, and Mr. Duffy said he plans to move full-time to either California or Colorado. He will keep a few parcels of land that aren’t attached to the main ranch, according to Mr. DeVries.

Mr. Duffy is well-known for his role as Bobby Ewing in the TV drama “Dallas,” which ran from 1978 to 1991. He also played Frank Lambert on the 1990s sitcom “Step By Step.” Today he runs an online sourdough business, called Duffy’s Dough, with his partner, Linda Purl.

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