Let the sun shine in… Wondering what to paint your dining room? How about chrome yellow?! I was flipping through the new Elle Decor Magazine for July and August, and my eyes caught a glimpse of the renovation done to Thomas Jefferson’s dining room at his Virginia home, Monticello, outside Charlottesville. I have only seen pictures of the room in the past and was never really taken with the Wedgwood blue color of the walls. I never thought anything of this, after all, it is Monticello, one of the most significant historic homes in America. Who would tamper with history? Well, apparently, in 1936, someone did, and chose that weak, undistinguished color. This yellow is the color that Jefferson, himself, chose for the room in 1815, 6 years after it was invented (color was “invented”? Who knew?).
The writers at Elle Decor postulate that because Jefferson was a man of invention, he would have been intrigued by this new color, what the home’s curator described as “the color of an egg yolk from a chicken that dined on marigold petals.” Apparently, like all things new (fashion, fads, toys), this color cost Jefferson a pretty penny; about $5.00 a pound, to be exact! This, compared to $0.15 a pound for basic white. The spread in the magazine is glorious. We can thank a generous donation from Polo Ralph Lauren who ponied up the money for the restoration, pun intended. They also had reproduced a sideboard similar to one Jefferson bought in 1790, a French marble console table, and an interpretation of the Abbeville carpet Jefferson purchased in France in the 1780s. In the magazine, the square table is set using Jefferson’s mahogany shield back chairs he probably bought in New York, and finished off by Charlotte Moss’s settings using plates and service ware from Monticello’s collection (you can see all the different ones she created on her website). As she says in the article, “The yellow is more representative of who he really was, an educated man of the world, than that pale blue.” Moss created several settings for the dining room, and the results “prove how truly modern and appealing the room remains.”
It’s true. Pick up a copy of the magazine, it’s a keeper!



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