Design Crush: Jeanette Whitson and Hague Blue!


I kind of flipped when I saw the cover of the new House Beautiful.  And the editors clearly felt the way I do about this room since they made it a fold out cover to show the entire space! The designer is self-taught Jeannette Whitson of Garden Variety Design. It’s a beautiful home with lots of traditional details that somehow feel fresh and new.


This kitchen is amazing- and making me think I should have painted the frame of my window the same color as my lower cabinets!


Where to start here? The light? The banister? The windows? The ceiling?


Best. Butlers Pantry. EVERRRRRR. Do you even SEE that sink?  And while taxidermy is not everyone’s jam, I love that it’s the mascot for her shop Garden Variety Design (you can shop yourself on 1st Dibs!)


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I have a soapstone sink JUST LIKE THIS in my basement waiting to be used in this way…..


Shall we venture outdoors? Yes, lets.

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OK, back to the blue room of my dreams….ridonculous. And the second I saw it I knew it was Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue because it’s my favorite paint color ever. It looks lighter in this photo than it really is, but it’s the most perfect navy with a dash of peacock blue ever created.  It’s so amazing it serves almost as a neutral backdrop to tones like orange, violet, tan leather, yellow….. you name it.


On top of the amazing paint job she used two of my all time favorite fabrics-Peter Dunham’s Ikat Stripe and  Michael Smith/ Jasper’s Indian Flower.  I seriously bow down to this room.

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Initially I thought it was so out there to do a sofa in the same navy as the walls but then I quickly found a few other images where designers had done the same thing!



And a few more images of Hague Blue (mostly high gloss) in use proving that it’s the most magical of colors!


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Navy blue walls




I used it in an small Beacon Hill home office paired with Osborne & Little’s Coronata Star on the ceiling….


I painted Andrew’s office similar shade and we love it- it’s a tiny space (as is the space above) and the dark color makes the walls recess instead of close in on you- so consider a dark shade like this in any of your small spaces!



  1. That company logo is amazing! I love the blue on blue – such an unexpected idea but looks great. Also – that kitchen is not so bad – love all the white.

  2. Yep. Using those images to inspire our to-be little library/tv room. It’s a small space, so I wanna go all-out dark, cozy, glossy richness. Wondering, though – do you source the fabric to match the paint, or vice-versa?

  3. I had the same reaction when I saw the HB cover – and read it twice over the weekend! Love your post!

  4. That library is my favorite room in the whole house. I’ve been wanting to use Hague blue for a long time but don’t have the perfect spot for it. Love the way Todd Alexander Romano used it in his apartment.

  5. Hi Erin –

    I found you through my (mostly online) friend, Sarah Winchester, and I’ve loved the blog. I actually just bought 6 yards of Colefax and Fowler Cyan velvet to reupholster a chair, and the Ikat Stripe and the Indian Flower are *exactly* the fabrics I need for pillows, though I can’t seem to find them online, naturally. If you have access to them, and this is something you do, I’d love to work with you to get them.


    Keri Cole

  6. Wow, Hague blue is the most gorgeous color! And this post validates my decision to paint our (small) nursery navy. I need to share this with my husband because he doesn’t understand that dark colors make the walls recess instead of close-in, so thanks for explaining what I couldn’t put into words :)

  7. Well of course I read your blog – so Crush back at you on your always beautiful style. I was thrilled you wrote about me!! Yes, the Hague Blue is practically drinkable and I have to admit I carried a little pot of it around for years before finally picking it for that little library. And you are right, it is usually very moody and dark but that room is South facing with cupboard style window shutters so we can close it all up and watch the big flat screen on the opposite side or pull the cupboards open to let all the light in. The photographer Simon Watson was brilliant and kept checking in the room to see where the light was to get the exact shot he wanted to blow the light up. They actually came back months later to shoot the cover and he wanted to shoot it more moody so shot it early in the morning to get that color – see the difference on the cover? He is completely brilliant and I was totally in awe of him. Thank you for your wonderful review. I am in your debt!



  8. Okay and one more thing – in the kitchen that color is another Farrow and Ball color “Cornforth White” which is kind of a mauve gray and I used it on all the cabinetry and trim and kinda matched the grout to it because white grout would have been too light. What I think you like is that I eliminated the lower sill on the windows on either side of the range and ran the marble all the way into the frame so the windows actually close onto the marble counters. That and painting the windows the same color as the cabinetry makes the windows appear “married” to the counter and cabinetry instead of a “hole in the wall.” Yes, it’s a little detail but there’s lots of stuff going on in the house like this – my builder had the patience of Job and the carpenters were brilliant. Okay that’s all – just had to share!

  9. I love the blue velvet sofa with the two chaise lounges! Looks cozy and comfy yet chic. (Now if only my dog wouldn’t shed so much, I would totally get a blue velvet sofa!)

  10. I’ve loved rooms painted this color since I saw the “Hangover”. No really, Doug’s father-in-law’s home office is painted a similar shade. The movie was filmed in an actual house in Pasadena–not sure if the office was in the house or a set.

  11. Love the green and white lattice fabric on the chair in one of the later pics. Any chance you know the fabric?

  12. I know- I flipped when I got this issue in the mail! We are planning on painting our office a deep blue, and I think I want to go with a color like this. What color did you choose for Andrew’s office? I was thinking of using Hale Navy by BM, but this color has that beautiful touch of peacock blue! Decisions, decisions! :)

  13. When you painted your husband’s office navy, did you use high gloss? Is that the ONLY way to do Hague Blue? I’m pulling the trigger on our small sitting room!

  14. Oh Erin, how I love your blog…
    First of all if I had a blog I would have posted the pics and just started drooling because that is what I did when I got the magazine! I love the other blue rooms you found especially that Miles Redd living room.
    Second of all- Jeannette Whitson reads your blog and commented! There are way too many exclaimations going on here.
    What a happy Tuesday. :)

  15. I find that so many of the dark rooms that I love have the trim/baseboards/moulding painted the same color. My first instinct would be to set those details off in a bright white, but they look so lovely and old world in the same, dark color! I am crushing hard on Hague Blue right now!

  16. I DIED over this house also! Everything about it is perfection! I loved that HB featured a self taught designer for their cover…an added comfort for us non design schoolers! I was also biased b/c she is from Nashville!!

  17. My magazine arrived the other day…immediately packed it for my Key West trip and we are here! Me, my husband and my magazine. Looks delicious.

  18. i’m aligned! did the same as you when i saw the cover. i tore it off and have already sent it to a client that i am trying to persuade to do the same to her library. i have a weakness for f&b hague blue, and am planning to paint my front door this color (yellow house white trim). thnx for the post; enjoyed and felt validated!

  19. I saw the house in House Beautiful and I liked everything about it. Lots of great ideas for my own dream house someday, especially the windows. How graceful and beautiful they are. The over-window used in some cases is really cool. The way they close right on the counter is terrific. The use of the old outdoor lanterns inside is super. In my dream house I’d also like to bring the outside in such as using clapboard on an interior wall. I wish there had been an exterior picture of the house that gave a good look at the building and the setting.
    About the blue room, its a perfect color for watching TV. I’ve lived in the same apartment for almost 20 years and I painted my bedroom blue about 15 years ago when I realized I was here for the long term. I didn’t tell my landlord about it and I have no regrets. One wall is white but the rest is Nantucket navy blue.

  20. I think I sat there and stared at the cover for 10 minutes when I brought it in from the mailbox. Amazing color! I can see why it’s your favorite.

  21. Of course you fell for Jeanette’s house because you have a fabulous eye and she has “IT” in spades as well. I have to big-time brag because she is our Nashville
    star, and what with the tv series putting us on the map, this shows the design world what other creative talent is here in Music City. Love Jeanette and absolutely delighted that you featured her home on your blog. As Minnie Pearl used to say, “just so proud to be here”.

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