Twenty-five years ago, when helping her boyfriend decorate his first home in London, Chrissie Rucker had a lightbulb moment. Faced with myriad colour choices, she decided to go all white. “It struck me that white in the home is like the perfect little black dress,” she says now. “It’s simple yet effortlessly stylish, modern yet classic. It also has a magical, calming, spa-like quality—and it just works.”
White can be both calming and effortlessly stylish, says Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company. Image: Chris Everard (taken from For the Love of White: The White & Neutral Home by Chrissie Rucker & The White Company, octopusbooks.co.uk)
Rucker subsequently channeled this ethos to create The White Company, a retail business that, as the name suggests, sells all-white products for the home, plus fashion. In so doing she struck a chord, for today The White Company has a profit in the many millions, its online business operating alongside bricks-and-mortar stores around the globe that include flagship boutiques on New York’s Fifth Avenue and near London’s Sloane Square, plus a pop-up in The Hamptons.
She continues to be a dedicated follower of white and her three homes are decorated in varying shades of the colour. “White doesn’t date, it’s timeless and classic, and wonderfully versatile,” says Rucker, who is now married to her then boyfriend, Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt shirt maker. “White makes rooms feel airy and relaxed; it also accentuates architectural details, moldings, and woodwork.”
Australian architect and designer Jeremy Bull names white as a favourite colour—using it to great effect in Palm Beach House, a waterfront holiday villa in Sydney.
Scott Sloat, a partner in the New York-based interior design and renovation firm David Kleinberg Design Associates, is also enthusiastic about white. “A shade of white lends itself to a wide range of design—modern, traditional, and anything in-between,” he says. “I love using tones of white as a neutral background for an interior; it creates serenity, and gives a good grounding that then allows you to throw in a few more playful or bold colours on smaller pieces that are easy to swap out as your taste changes.”
For Australian architect and designer Jeremy Bull of Alexander &Co., white is much more than a backdrop to a home: “Simplicity, space, and time are the hallmarks of timelessness and ultimately luxury. Nothing recruits these emotions better than our favourite colour, white. In all it’s wonderful variation and idiosyncrasy, there are few things that we have not been able to achieve architecturally with this magnificent tool.”
“White makes rooms feel airy and relaxed; it also accentuates architectural details, moldings, and woodwork”
The Perfect Canvas
Despite the current popularity of maximalism, white remains synonymous with a contemporary interior—the global trend for Scandinavian-style interiors that feature a clean, pared-back aesthetic of pale walls and blonde woods is the most recent incarnation. For Brooklyn-based designer Michael Yarinsky, white adds balance, a crucial design element. “A room full of colour feels very loud, whereas white is like the negative space on a canvas—it gives you space to breathe,” he says.
Designer Michael Yarinsky used white in this home renovation to create “an uplifting space that feels happy and bright.” Image: Charlie Schuck
However, it is only over the last century that white has become sought after. Iconic American interior designer Elsie de Wolfe created a design sensation in 1907 when decorating the headquarters of the exclusive Colony Club, New York’s first women-only private members’ club. Using pale tones, she introduced a freshness to interiors that had not been seen before. Twenty years later, in London, leading interior designer Syrie Maugham created a “smiling, shimmering all-white” drawing room in her own home that became a magnet for the beau monde.
Neither of these rooms used pure white, however—it wasn’t until the 1940s, with the addition of the chemical compound titanium dioxide into white pigments, that it became possible to create brilliant whites.
New York’s David Kleinberg Design Associates use layered tones of white, cream, and brown to create a warm, sophisticated feel.
A white interior, though, comes with a note of caution; it needs to be handled carefully to avoid a space that feels sterile and cold. “I would never do a single white on everything in a room—it would be too clinical and artificial,” says Sloat. “You can have a ‘white’ room but it’s made up of tones of white, ivory, bisque, cream… It’s the layering that will create a highly sophisticated palette and keep a room interesting and inviting.”
“A room full of colour feels very loud, whereas white is like the negative space on a canvas: it gives you space to breathe“
“When decorating with white, choose a soft, soothing palette of warm whites, off-whites, and neutrals, remembering that white is not one colour but a thousand tones and shades, all subtly different from each other,” advises Rucker. “Start with warm white—I like Farrow & Ball’s All White, and then choose different shades for different rooms. Also opt for a chalky texture rather than shiny as it is more matt and tactile.”
Rucker advises introducing cool grays and piling on the texture, keeping whites inviting—not clinical. Image: Chris Everard (taken from For the Love of White: The White & Neutral Home by Chrissie Rucker & The White Company, octopusbooks.co.uk)
Sloat’s favorite whites for walls include Benjamin Moore’s Wind’s Breath OC-24 or Fog Mist OC-31 in an eggshell finish. “They are not too beige or too gray; both have this wonderful quality, almost luminescent, and their color shifts a bit through the day as the light changes. And I accentuate trim with White Dove OC-17 in a satin finish. It’s crisp but not cold.”
For a home on Long Island Sound, Yarinsky deliberately chose a cool white, a blue/gray shade that references the colour of the surrounding water. “It’s not daylight that makes a white room feel cold, it’s trying to mimic daylight with lighting that does that,” he says. “We always use warmer schemes, with a colour temperature range of 400–2,700 Kelvin; a range of 3,000–4,000 Kelvin will make a room feel like a hospital.”
Minimalist design and pale interiors help to bring the outside in, such as in this dining space by David Kleinberg Design Associates.
While Rucker acknowledges that white works superbly as a foil to bright colors, she prefers to team her whites with other neutrals. “I layer in natural elements and pile on texture,” she says. “A soft rug or a diaphanous drape can soften and transform a room. She also introduces green. “I love to bring some outside in—a big vase of simple greenery or flowers add life.”
Yarinsky uses colour to create an almost sculptural look. “Blacks and charcoal grays, great greens, and right now, burgundy, are all moody colours that give a contrast and help capture the essential vibe that people want—an uplifting space that feels happy and bright.”
Banner image: Atherton Pavilions designed by Feldman Architecture. Courtesy: Adam Rouse
Just Listed on Lake Simcoe: 968 Degrassi Cove Pl W, Innisfil
This custom home direct waterfront home was built in 2000 by the current owner and has served as a sanctuary for family and friends. Over their 22 years of ownership, they have enjoyed the property during every season.
Degrassi Cove is a small and exclusive waterfront community and share the private road. The forested lands on the opposite side of the street provide great privacy. There is no vehicle traffic other than the neighbours, so it is very safe for kids.
Built as a 4-season home and located on the west-side of Lake Simcoe. You will enjoy north-west facing views of the lake and sunsets. There are no stairs to the water’s edge. The water table is level to the lot, which offers a beautiful beach area along the shoreline. There is great swimming and boating. The portable dock is 65 ft long with a 12’ x 12’ patio area. Boating enthusiasts can store their boat in the dry boathouse. Entertaining on the lake is so easy!
The home offers 2,700 sf on the main and upper level. The principal rooms offer generous space including a large private family room, formal dining room, large great room combined with the eat-in kitchen. In addition, there is 1,535 sf of finished space on the walk-out level. There are four generous size bedrooms. The primary bedroom is situated on the main level and overlooks the lake, and includes a five-piece ensuite, a walk-in closet and a garden door to the lakeside patio area. The three other bedrooms are located on the second floor.
The lower level includes a large recreation room with wood-burning fireplace and a walk-out to the lake. A large office with a built-in desk and bookcases can serve as a large 5th bedroom. The 3-piece bathroom is also equipped with a partially finished cedar-lined sauna. There is plenty of storage space on this level too.
Photography by @ishutterphoto
Staging by @chateau_designandstaging
This professionally designed custom-built home embodies a comfortable, vintage cottage feel built with energy efficient maintenance-free materials. This home offers a private park-like setting, with in- town conveniences. It’s a nature lover’s lot…a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. This one in in a million home was showcased in a 16-page spread in Cottages & Bungalows Magazine.
Shiplap walls and wood slat ceilings throughout impart a cabin-like coziness. The primary bedroom is secluded on the main floor overlooking a wooded area that surrounds the property. The front office duals as an additional main floor bedroom adjacent to a 3-piece bathroom. The upper level includes two additional bedrooms that provide enhanced privacy for guests. One of the bedrooms functions as a seating area with a Murphy bed and small kitchenette. It has been designed as a secure space for future rental opportunity.
Located in the charming lakeside village of Bayfield, this property is a stone-throw away from Lake Huron, a short walk to town, the fishing pier and marina, Pioneer Park and the Community playground. This spectacular property backs on to a designated environmental area and surrounded by trees makes it an ideal retreat for entertaining family and friends.
It’s no secret that green has been trending in a major way lately. Not only does the leafy shade conjure the sensation of being outdoors after two years cooped up at home, it also is a versatile (and welcome) alternative to traditional colors like white and gray.
Sweet 3 bedroom home that has a light and airy feel to the interior. Vaulted ceiling with open concept design creates a welcoming feel with plenty of natural sunlight all afternoon. Hardwood floors in bedrooms. Updated interior ready to be moved in to. It is a special place to call home or cottage.
Large wrap-around deck features West-facing views of 2-acre park of which you would be a 1/10th owner. Private dock for all park owners. Deeded Lake Simcoe access is rare to find. Very private setting with mature trees.
Message us today for more information or to book private showing.
staging by @chateau_designandstaging
photography by @ishutterphoto
20 Quiet Heights Lane, Georgina provides views of the lake from all spaces on the west side of them home, including the great room, kitchen, dining area, and primary bedroom.
You will enjoy the morning sunrise from the front covered porch and of course, sunset views from the lakeside. The natural sunlight fills the home with warmth and light all day long. It’s tranquil, serene, and welcoming.
In the design stages, the current owner had some important “must-have’s” including a Muskoka like feel, spaciousness, sun-filled rooms, and an “understated elegance“ carried throughout the home.
Some of the interior features include:
– 3 bedrooms on main level and 2 additional bedrooms on the lower level
– 3 full bathrooms plus powder room
– 10.9 ft ceiling height on the main level and 9 ft ceiling height on the lower level
– Great room includes custom millwork and 13 ft vaulted coffered ceiling
– Gourmet kitchen with upgraded appliances
– Spectacular light fixtures including ceiling fans in each bedroom
– Custom drapery and blinds
– Radiant heated floors in kitchen, primary ensuite and the entire lower level
– Surround sound system both indoors and outdoors
A full list of room features, additional images, virtual tour, and more can be found on our website (link in bio).
This listing is also available on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)
When you combine the attention to detail of a quality builder with the owner’s vision to create a sanctuary home, the result is spectacular.
This home offers a “Zen” feel immediately upon your arrival.
The landscaping is wonderfully appointed with a collection of perennial gardens, shrubs, mature trees and privacy hedges on both sides, which is home to many birds. There are several seating areas promote great conversation with family and friends or a place to enjoy some quiet time when you want to be alone and enjoy nature all around you.
This is a wonderful home to entertain in both indoors and outdoors. The raised balcony includes a covered area where you can enjoy a summer rain shower. The open area provides lots of space for your chaise loungers to get some sun and watch an array of boats on the lake.
The lower deck is covered and a perfect location for the 7-seater plus lounger hot tub along with another separate seating area to enjoy the lake views.
Listing Price: $1,935,000
DM us to book a private viewing.
The full listing can be found on our site & on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)