Monday 29 September 2014

Yellow walls - part three

Part three will be the last of my yellow-walls posts, at least for now, as I'm ready to move on to other colours in my files. In this final one, I cannot leave out the yellow drawing room in the offices of Colefax & Fowler on 22 Avery Row in Mayfair, London, designed by Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler back in the 1950s. It is probably the most famous yellow room in the history of interior design, with a rich buttercup yellow, or 'buttah yellah' as Nancy referred to it.

You have probably seen many photos and scans of this room. The above one can be found all over Pinterest and on various websites, but it always shows the room in reverse so I flipped it. I think the photo appears in the book Colefax & Fowler: The Best in English Interior Decoration by Chester Jones but I don't have a copy of it so I cannot confirm the source. The below photo by photographer Derry Moore shows the entire room.

The room appeared on the cover of the December 2010 issue of The World of Interiors, or so people thought at first. However, it was a recreation of the room's look and one can easily spot the difference by comparing the images.
A recreation of the yellow room, which appeared in The World of Interiors, December 2010

I'm not entirely done with this famous room because the above photo is supposed to have appeared in House & Garden. Unfortunately, I don't know which issue it was or when it was published, but it's interesting to see how differently it is decorated, with blue shades contrasting the yellow walls.
A room in Lady Diana Cooper’s (1892-1986) home, from the book Rooms by Derry Moore

Nancy Lancaster and John Fowler weren't the first people to choose a yellow colour to decorate a room. The drawing room at Sir John Soane's house in London (photo not shown here) is a famous yellow room and another one is the dining room at Monticello, the historical country house of President Thomas Jefferson. Originally it was painted in a colour called chrome yellow but in the late 19th or early 20th century, some sources say 1936, it was painted blue, which looks like Wedgwood blue. In 2010 it got back its yellow colour, or a recreation of the colour, with the help of fashion designer Ralph Lauren who made a generous donation.
At Monticello: the tea room seen from the yellow dining room

In 1969 John Fowler created another yellow room in the London apartment of diplomat David K.E. Bruce and his wife Evangeline. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the source of the above image, as I seem to have lost the link, but there is a smaller photo on the website of AD magazine that shows a different angle.

Finally, we head to Turkey for an exotic yellow taste. This room, which I absolutely love, belongs to an Istanbul home on the Bosphorus, owned by Turkish interior designer Zeynep Fadillioglu. It was featured in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue of the Australian Magazine Vogue Living. The room has such a beautiful texture and the decorative objects are simply stunning. That enormous Chinese vase in the window, sigh!


photo credit:
1: from the book Colefax & Fowler: The Best of English Interior Design by Chester Jones (?) | 2: Derry Moore via Cote de Texas | 3: Rupert Thomas for The World of Interiors, December 2010 via NH Design (cropped by me) | 4: House & Garden via Mark D. Sikes | 5: Derry Moore, from the book Rooms, published by Rizzoli via "Tweedland" The Gentlemen's club | 6-7: Pieter Estersohn for Elle Decor, July/August 2010 | 8: John Fowler design, unknown source | 9: Richard Powers for Vogue Living Sept/Oct 2010


  1. Nothing can beat the original, can it? But my favourite room in your selection here is undoubtedly the Turkish one. The mood and textures in that space simply pull you in.

  2. OH LATTE LISA.......just back from PARIS and YES to the yellow walls!I'm so far behind in my reading do forgive if you want a taste of PARIS hop over to my PLACE.


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