PaperCity Magazine

January 2016 - Houston

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JANUARY | PAGE 23 | 2016 tortoise shell and feathers. There's a bowl of delicate, dreamy items such as broken bird eggs and millinery flowers displayed under a Victorian cloche. The natural world can take many forms — vivid greenery, a field of red poppies, a blazing azure sky — but Eliason is attracted to the quiet side of nature, with its pale and solemn tones. Her love for the nuances of understated hues makes her suited for choosing the most challenging paint color on Earth: white. "One of my greatest inspirations is Donald Kaufman," she says of the founder of the famous New York-based hue house Donald Kaufman Color. "He'll go into an art gallery and paint every wall a slightly different shade of white. That's my ethos. To me, it's the layers and the nuances that makes color so wonderful." Ruth Davis, co-owner of the Houston retail store Found, hired Eliason to help pick the wall colors for her new house in River Oaks when she became overwhelmed searching for the right shade of white. "I felt like I'd gone through 50 cans of white paint," says Davis. "It's scary picking a color when the finishes and flooring are not in yet. But Sara looked at the fabrics and furniture choices we had, and in a very short time put us in the right direction. She can tell if there's too much blue or pink in a color just by looking at it." In the end, Eliason settled on Benjamin Moore Cloud Cover. She also helped Davis choose bright color surprises, such as royal blue for the inside of the butler's pantry, a funky green for the coat closet's interior and eggplant for the powder bath. At Eliason's studio, the walls are painted Benjamin Moore Black. "I'm very much interested in black as negative space," she says. "It helps me when I can look at materials, design work and art projects against it." Black can be surprisingly restful, she says, but it's not for everyone. "I painted a client's space inky black, and it is incredibly calming." She cites the Rothko Chapel, with its black canvases, as an example. "If you're comfortable in your own skin, then that space is so peaceful. But if you haven't wrestled with your demons yet, the chapel is a very difficult space to be in." So how do you find the color that speaks to you? "Everyone has a specific and unique color palette, not just what looks good on them, but what feels good. We tend to gravitate towards colors. Look at the cues around you. We buy cars and clothes in the same color. We gravitate toward the same things over and over. That's the baseline of what makes you happiest." Handmade lamp by Sara Eliason. Vintage Sarreid Ltd. bull from Amelia Tarbet, Austin. Vintage chairs are flea-market finds. Sara Eliason in her living room. Mid-century Danish leather armchair from Uncommon Objects, Austin. Brass deco side table from The Guild Shop. Vintage coffee table from from Amelia Tarbet in Austin. Materials palette for a current design project. Victorian cloche from August Antiques holds a wire branch with millinery flowers. White ceramic bowl by Sharon Englestein brims with found treasures.

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