Sunday, June 29, 2008

Color Theory: Elements of Color


As value controls our perception of light and volume, so chroma control defines their quality. Chroma, or intensity of hue alleviates the stress of viewing a world of pure hue. We use control of chroma to make our humble abodes more livable. Try to imagine sleeping in a room decorated in day-glow green. Chroma works hand in hand with value to portray surface quality, dimension and depth. It slows down the natural vibrations of pure hues and aids in the digestion of the beauty of color.

Conjure up your color tree for a moment. Visualize the leaves on the hue branch called red. Now look at you color wheel. We have painted it a highly intense red; the red that is the last leaf at the tip of our red branch. I have explained previously that as the leave sprout closer and closer to the tree's trunk, they progressively become duller, grayer less like red on our color wheel. But ,how does that happen? Not with magic, I assure you. It occurs naturally in some colors and through manipulation with others.

To manipulate a highly intense red, we can add the color that lays directly across the color wheel, namely green. When combined together, they become a tertiary or gray. This is indeed another function of our color wheel, in that it enables us to quickly identify any hue's chromatic opposite i.e. blue/orange, yellow/violet, etc. To this end, there exists a perceptual phenomena called Successive Contrast. If one stares at an intense red for about thirty seconds then looks at a piece of white paper, the chromatic opposite will appear as an after-image.

Another method in manipulating chroma is to add black or white to the hue. This time we are also altering the value of the hue, although this may not become apparent until a combination of black + white is added to the hue. This method illustrates how value and chroma work hand in hand in color harmonies.

Two final alternatives in manipulating hue remain. They are achieved by mixing a hue living next door to our chosen hue (need to use your color wheel again) or a hue from the same color family that is naturally duller by adding a choice from a group of toners called the earth colors. The latter receive their descriptive name from the fact that the pigments come from soil.

Color Theory: The Value Scale

The Value Scale

Perceiving Values

Identifying values can be a horrifying experience when working with hues. A comfort level can be attained by working with a gray scale and performing various exercises to reinforce your perception of the scales.

The importance of using value comes into play when one wishes to express an object's volume in relationship to the two-dimensional surface it lays upon. When viewing a black and white photograph, the viewer is able to determine the roundness of a teapot or the sharpness of the edges of a baby's block by the gradation of tonal values. Value tells our eyes if any particular part of an object's surface is in lightness or darkness. When the gradations of values from light to dark are slow and smooth in traveling across an object our brains perceived that form as a sphere, cone, cylinder or block. When the change in value is abrupt, we perceive the object as a cube.

Tonal quality of value also describes the atmosphere surrounding any particular object therefore affecting us emotionally, perhaps by triggering memories of past experience. In respect to perspective, value also describes distance. Think how value might also describe surface textures.

Perhaps most importantly, value control enables the artist to achieve harmony. Manipulating and choreographing value changes in the HUES we are using on our palettes not only describes form and volume, distance and atmosphere, but guides our eyes in traveling through a still -life or stroke piece with rest stops along the way for reflections and relevations!

Your exercises:

1. You can make yourself a grayscale using ColorAid papers in the grayscale selections of their package. These are papers that use paint as opposed to being printed with inks. The paper assortments are available in fine art stores, and at University bookstores.
2. Paint a wooden ruler my mixing your own grayscale from Black and White acrylic paints.

The Old Masters often started a painting with an underpainting of values. This technique is called a Grisalille. This exercise can be performed as a finished pencil drawing, which I employ when mapping my CDA and MDA board studies.

Color Theory: The Color Wheel

The Color Wheel

At this point, I had originally planned to review the color systems of Goethe, Ostwald,Itten, Chevreul, and Munsell. However, in the interest of avoiding the noisome sounds of snoring, I reluctantly edited the paragraphs out. You may wish to study them on your own someday.

So...back to the subject of this chapter. The definition of a color wheel could be: "a visual representation of standardized hues." Another definition could read: "3 primaries with 9 colors spaced in-between going around in a circle." I think the latter definition sums it up pretty well. A color wheel is not mystical, it does not impart secrets not known to mankind heretofore. It is a tool for using the knowledge we have and a standard method of communicating. It can be a very personal too., in that you may choose the red, blue and yellow that means RED, BLUE and YELLOW to you, or it can be a tool that you purchase from the art store. Whichever you choose, it remains a tool, an artist's device for visualizing the natural progression of hues from one to another and determining natural harmonies in combining them together in your art.

The color wheel illustrates hues at their highest chroma or intensity. For most students, this can be a drawback in that it is difficult to envision these hues in different values and chromas when using it as an aid to determine color harmonies. How do you solve this dilemma which didn't even exist until I mentioned it? Answer: make more than one color wheel. There will be exercises to teach you the effects of color mixing and visualizing chromas and values.
Three Primaries and Nine Colors Spaced In-Between

As previously mentioned, we use a standardized 12-color wheel. Please keep in mind that this is a standard for communication. There are various theories which expound on color wheels containing as few as 6 colors to as many as 30 colors. The study of color will never cease throughout future histories, it remains purely theoretical. Some theories may prove out more consistently than other,however no one theory is the end-all, be-all of color study.

The color wheel consists of 12 colors which we call HUES. We begin with our three primaries of Red, Blue and Yellow. These colors are placed in an equidistant triangular format around the circle. Laying at the halfway mark between each primary are the secondary colors. They are derived by mixing two primaries together in an orderly fashion around the circle. The secondary colors are named Orange, Green, and Violet. On each side of the secondary colors lie the intermediary colors. They exist as a result of mixing a primary and secondary color together, again orderly traveling around the wheel. These colors are named Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow_Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, and Red-Violet. Thus arranged, you travel from Red, composed of the longest light rays smoothly traveling from hue to hue, arriving via violet and red-violet, which corresponds to light's shortest rays, at red.

Please make an important note at this time. The noun, intermediary, is sometimes interchanged with the noun, tertiary.This may lead to confusing conversation with other people who are studying or teaching color. Barb Watson uses them interchangeably in her color book. I have been schooled in the theory that tertiary is the mixing of two complementary colors, which we will discuss later. It is therefore helpful to discern your conversant's definition of the word tertiary to avoid the 'crazed-person' look.

Color Theory: Elements of Color

Hue, Value, Chroma
Elements of Color

Isn't it interesting how three little words: hue, value, and chroma, can instill so much fear into the heart of a decorative artist? That's why I printed them as BIG words. Everyone likes to use big words in their vocabulary; big words are often a measure of intelligence. So, let's all get intelligent!

To effectively study color, we must first understand what color is. We know scientifically that color is made of our visual perception of light rays. We verbally define color in terms of hue, value, and chroma. For our study of hue, value and chroma, I have chosen the theories of Albert H. Munsell partly because his system is straightforward and still in use world-wide, but mainly because David Jansen told me to study him AND understand his work.
Albert H. Munsell - A Little History

Albert H. Munsell was born in Boston, in 1858. He was an artist, not a philosopher, rocket scientist or poet. He studied art at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and at the Academie Julian in Paris. While in Paris he won a scholarship to study in Rome. When he returned to America, he lectured in color composition and artist anatomy at the Normal Art School until 1915.

In 1879, he became more interested in color and in 1898 created his Color Tree (based on a sphere). After perfecting his system, he lectured extensively in America and Europe until his death in 1918 at the age of sixty.

His color system has become world famous and is still used world-wide as the accepted standard of color notation. In 1918, a group of his friends found the Munsell Color company to carry on his work in Baltimore. Today, it is part of the Macbeth company located in New York, where they continue to provide standardization and specification of color for commercial industries throughout the world.

Munsell's Color Sphere

Munsell's color tree is based on a three-dimensional solid sphere. Through the axis of the sphere running South to North is the tree's trunk. At the South end is the color black, moving through the value system to White at the North, with a Value 5 gray at the equator. Surrounding the equator are the hues of color from the color wheel as we know it: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple and the half-way points of their mixtures of Yellow-Red, Green-Yellow, Blue-Green, Purple-Blue and Red-Purple.

As each of these hues move either towards black or white (value) they are placed at the appropriate latitude around the tree. Simultaneously, as the hues gradually disappear into gray, they fill in the solid core of the sphere. Similarly, as the color moves towards stronger hues, they are placed along the radius of the sphere in a measured distance called chroma.

To thoroughly understand Munsell's system, you must now change your mental image to a tree. The trunk is our value scale, the leaves along the branches are our chromatic (intensity) scale, and the tips of the branches become our hues.Munsell further refined his system by assigning each color a defined position based on a decimal numbering system. This notation always remains constant: Hue , beginning with Red; Value, beginning with Black, and finally chroma, noted from the tree trunk outwards.

With the Munsell Color System, no new color can be discovered where there will not be a position available and waiting. Understanding this system will enable you to understand color relationships with more ease.

Hue, Value and Chroma - Defined

At this point, most of you know that Hue is simply the name of the color we are identifying. In discussing color theory, however we do not label color as having the hue name of Williamsburg Blue, Lime green, or even Maroon. We identify color by the hue family is is derived from: i.e. maroon is a color in he Red area of a color wheel. Williamsburg Blue is found in the blue area, and Lime Green is found in the yellow-green area. When you label colors by their hues, there is no longer any leeway for misinterpretation. Munsell goes a step further in identifying a color position within a hue family by marking its position with a decimal numbering system. He has assigned the number 5 to the hues of Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. Between these hues lie your secondary hues with 10 always falling on a secondary hue. Review the chart below:

1 2 3 4


6 7 8 9


1 2 3 4


6 7 8 9


1 2 3 4


6 7 8 9


1 2 3 4


6 7 8 9


1 2 3 4


6 7 8 9



When identifying hue position on the color wheel, R would be noted as 5R. The notiation 6R would indicate a Red that is closer to 5R but moving towards Yellow.You will see these notations on every bottle of Liquitex® paint along with a visual chart that refers to the 12-color wheel.

Now, just to see if you are paying attention, let it be noted that Munsell's color wheel consists on only 10 hue divisions: Red, Yellow-Red, Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Purple-Blue, Purple, Red-Purple. Now that I have your attention, we will continue to use a 12-color wheel when doing the exercises as most of us are accustomed to a 12 color format. Both systems are thoroughly compatible as we are not using Munsell's number identification, basing our observations on physical and visual identification.


The distinction of value is probably a skill all of us have learned at this point. It is simply the act of determining the position of a color somewhere between Black and White. Be aware of the fact that an individuals's determination of value placement can be one-half to one step different from another individual's evaluation.

The value scale is divided into ten equal parts with Black in the number one position and White at the number 10 position. While hue indicates if a color is green or blue, value determines if that hue is light or dark.

Bring back to your mind our color tree. Visualize a tall tree banded in values starting with a black base and ending with a white tip. From this trunk, grow ten or twelve branches and "paint" the end of each branch a hue from your color wheel. Did you paint your lower branches blue and blue-purple moving up to yellow for the upper-most branch?? That's right, although the hues are placed at the tips of your branches, each hue is also assigned a value position. Looking at your color wheel, these values are quite obvious when compared with your value chart.

Munsell notates value position following the hue. This is not rocket-scientist material.. it is very straight forward. The color "Baby Blue" would be notated as 5B-8. A country blue might be notated as 5B-5 or 5B-4. This is pretty easy when you keep your tree picture in your mind's eye.

Chroma (aka Intensity)

Chroma is perhaps the hardest aspect of color to determine. It is a very important property of color and completes our mental color tree. Up to this point we have a nice tree appearing to be frozen in time during the winter season: we have no leaves!

Perhaps by mentally growing your tree's leaves the definition of chroma will make sense to you. Chroma is the measurement of a hues' strength. It relates to your value scale not vertically, but horizontally. This is often where confusion sets in. If we are determining how 'gray" a color is, are we not measuring it's value?? NO!!! Grow a leaf at the tip of you Red branch. It should look RED. This RED would be notated as 5R-5-10, It is RED at it's fullest vibrancy. The hue Red is a very high intensity color, and as we move inwards along our branch and grow new leaves, visualize the leaves moving closer to gray or a tertiary gray if it aids your visualization. A dull color is lower in chroma than a a bright color. A tint is higher in VALUE than a shade, but not necessarily higher in CHROMA.

Now with your tree fully clothed in leaves,you will have a simple mental picture of the three basic but very important elements of color. You have now combined these elements in measurable increments which is the basis of Munsell's system. Now, even as we produce separate charts of Hue, Value, and Chroma, you have your mental picture to tie them all together.. truly a tree of life!

Color Theory: History of the Color Wheel

Introduction to Color Theory

In the past many men have dedicated their lifetimes to the study of color. This dedication has given us the knowledge we have today. We will study the different aspects of color theory from the ideas of Itten, Munsell, Birren, Chevreul and others. The wealth of information gained from these men could possibly take our lifetimes to thoroughly digest, therefore I will touch mainly on those aspects that pertain to our love of Decorative Painting. The following pages are not only going to strengthen your technical painting skills, but will strengthen the beauty of your painting and sharpen your sense of color.

Color theory is based on both scientific research and personal observations. As most of you do not come from a scientific background, we will forgo that end of color theory. For your personal research, you may choose to do additional personal study by reading books written by the above-mentioned men. A bibliography is supplied for your reference. This reading is NOT a requirement.

The next pages will concentrate strictly on identifying hue, value and chroma. These three little words are the very heart of color theory. We will do many exercises and make reference charts which will become a permanent file to refer to throughout you painting career. Do not despair over thought of drudgery the word "exercises" conjures up. The act of doing helps to cement ideas and the visual images help to activate the memory and understand concepts. So... Let's get started!

History of the Color Wheel

In order to begin study of hue, value, and chroma, we must have a starting point. The most natural point is the color wheel. Who decided colors come in a wheel, why are their twelve colors in the wheel, why is there a specific order of sequence??? Answers below!

From classical Greek philosophers up until around 1660, the accepted theory of color esteemed that all colors were based upon the elements of fire, air, water, and earth, mixed with lightness and darkness. Even Leonardo da Vinci held to this theory.

There were no attempts at organizing colors until Sir Isaac Newton bent white light through a prism and discovered the spectrum of colors. He chose seven major colors to relate to the seven planets and seven musical notes of the diatonic scale: red (C), orange (D), yellow (E), green (F), blue (G), indigo (A), and violet (B). He then twisted this straight bank of the spectrum into history's first color wheel.

It was not until the middle 1700's that the primaries were finally discovered. J.C. LeBlon published a written treatise on the fundamental nature of the primaries which simply states these colors mixed together in prescribed orders made what we now call secondary colors.

About ten years later (ca.1766), Morris Harris, published the first color chart printed in full hue. This chart appears in the book The Natural System of Colors . It discusses the primitive colors (red,yellow, blue), the mediate colors (orange, green, purple), and compound colors (tertiaries). This is the point I mark as the true beginning of color theory.

From the 1800's on, there is a flurry of activity in the study of color. The men who took up the study of color come from varied backgrounds of scientists, philosophers, artists even poets. Goethe arranged his colors in both circles and triangles, Runge used both the triangle and a solid color sphere, Blanc arranged his colors in a six-pointed star. I will not bore and confuse you with details of the many different theories at this point, however, it is interesting reading if you have the time. The amount of history I have given up to this point is simply to illustrate how long it took man to develop a logical system for studying color and to show how varied the methods can be.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Style Guide: Country Kitchens (Part VIII)

Create a convincing "turn of the century" style kitchen using salvaged architectural elements and period reproductions like those featured here.

Before the homeowner undertook the year-long renovation of her early-1900's kitchen, she consulted books and periodicals, foraged through salvage companies for antique building elements appropriate to the late-Victorian era, and enlisted the expertise of Gordon B. Sax, an architectural designer specializing in the restoration of 18th- and 19th-century New England dwellings.

Using antique and reproduction building materials similar to those pictured here, you too can re-create a period-style kitchen. The original 10-foot-square kitchen was enlarged by expanding into a former back porch and mudroom. With the exception of a dishwasher and a new gas range modeled after a 1906 woodstove, all modern appliances were concealed in an adjacent pantry.

Honoring the spare layout of many turn-of-the-century kitchens, built-in cabinetry was kept to a minimum. Constructed of poplar, the custom cabinets are fitted with glass-front doors and reproduction hardware from The Renovator's Supply. Latex paint contributes a lustrous finish to the cabinetry walls and ceiling, as well as the new custom-milled window and door trim. A worn wooden chopping block serves as a work island.

The Gilford Surgeon's Scrub-Up Sink -- a deep, vitreous-china commercial sink produced today by Kohler for use in hospitals -- approximates the style of the period. It's outfitted with a vintage-style chrome faucet featuring porcelain handles and a mounted soap dish. The countertops are made of solid surfacing and suggest the look of soapstone.

A dado of white glazed ceramic tiles from Minton Hollins of England bolsters the kitchen's spotless appearance. To prevent the space from appearing too austere, a vintage window with colorful leaded-glass panes, purchased from a salvage company, was installed. New custom-milled maple flooring and rag rugs braided by the homeowner's father also add warmth. Brass lighting fixtures -- including the center ceiling lamp, culled from an old schoolhouse -- provide sparkle.

"The ceiling is fancier than originals would have been," admits Sax. "It resembles those embellishing Victorian parlors." The nine-foot ceiling features stamped-tin pieces from W.F. Norman Corp., which uses original dies dating to their 1892 founding.

While today's replicas capture the style of the period, they also offer the benefit of modern convenience, like the cast-iron cookstove that features such innovations as self-cleaning and convection ovens.

For information on companies offering vintage and period-style building materials, check out Kitchen Details.

Country Inns: Heart of My Heart Ranch

Filled with family heirlooms, Heart of My Heart Ranch, in Round Top, Texas, offers a sense of history, comfort, and fine Lone Star fare.

"We built this farmhouse in 1980 as a setting for our family heirlooms, not to open an inn," admits Frances Harris, whose husband's ancestors settled in the Round Top area in the 1830's. But several years ago, with collectors and concert-goers flocking to local antiques fairs and the nearby music conservatory and finding nowhere to stay, the Harrises began to welcome travelers.

With its six structures and guest rooms stocked with ancestral furnishings, Heart of My Heart Ranch has since become a historical destination of sorts in itself.

Home on the Range

The twin-chimney farmhouse was built by owners Frances and Bill Harris on their working cattle ranch in 1980. It is one of six structures on the property. Another guest favorite is the 1836 log cabin that still stands on its original building site.

The 200-acre ranch — considered small by Texas standards — combines pastures, orchards, a lake, a pond, and a wealth of live oaks.

Family Heirlooms

In one of the farmhouse guest rooms a bed, bureau, and nightstand crafted in the 1830's are distinguished by walnut and Oriental monkeypod woods and elaborate carved detailing.

The crystal figurines and Limoges containers displayed on the chest of drawers are some of the many treasures inherited by innkeeper Bill Harris from his great-grandmother. Rooms throughout the ranch are filled with personal photos and collectibles recalling the history of the property and its present owners.

A Soothing Soak

For ranchhands and guests alike, no day would seem complete without a soothing bath. In the 1900's structure known as "Granny's Cottage," a scarlet painted six-foot-long tub makes a dramatic statement. The cast iron tub, with its original turn-of-the-century brass fittings, is set against whitewashed plank walls and dark painted floor and moldings.

Country Inns: Auldridge Mead

Tucked away in the rolling meadows of eastern Pennsylvania, an 18th-century fieldstone farmhouse doubles as Auldridge Mead Inn.

Nestled in the rolling hills of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, this 18th-century farmhouse was turned into a bed-and-breakfast four years ago by co-owners Craig Mattoli and Karyn Coigne. Craig, a woodworker and craftsman by trade, spent six months combing the area for the antiques and art that fill Auldridge Mead's main house.

"A lot of people are curious about houses of this age," Craig says, "and friends kept saying, 'What a great place to open a country inn.'" So he set about restoring the 15-acre property's main house and stone bank barn to their original grandeur. When he couldn't find appropriate period antiques, Craig substituted his own handwrought wood-carved reproductions.

In the living room, a blazing fire welcomes visitors. A floor lamp offers illumination for curling up with a good book. The red china cupboard behind is original to the house.

Country Feast

The kitchen was added to the main house in 1810. To achieve an aged effect on the wood surrounding the period fireplace, owner Craig Mattoli used paint made especially for porous surfaces which crackled when it dried. Co-owner Karyn Coigne, formerly a chef at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia, created the autumn feast which features rabbit, fresh local greens, and a pumpkin pie ringed with cranberries.

Enjoying the Outdoors

The fieldstone house has 11 rooms (five for guests) and six fireplaces. Fall is the peak season at this inn; guests come to enjoy the outdoor activities that can be found nearby, which include horseback riding, bicycling, boating, and rock climbing.

A Cozy Spot

Another fireplace is found in this guest room. The mantel and doorway were sponge painted, then coated with a dark-red oil glaze. At the foot of the bed sits a Sheraton-style Maryland blanket chest dating to the early 1880's.

Country Inns: Springbrook Hazelnut

Just 20 miles from downtown Portland, Oregon, lies Springbrook Hazelnut Farm, a welcoming inn set amid 70 acres of hazelnut trees.

Pleasant stays in several country inns in Ireland inspired Ellen McClure and her husband, Charles, to open their 1912 Craftsman-style home to guests. Situated on the couple's working hazelnut orchard in Newberg, Ore., Springbrook Hazelnut Farm is part of a farm complex listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour nearby wineries, stroll through the property's gardens and orchard, fish the stocked pond, swim, play tennis, or simply relax on the porch.

All of the rooms on the first floor open off the 40-foot-long center hall, which features a vaulted ceiling, a gleaming oak floor, Doric columns, and its original 1920 light fixtures. In an effort to brighten the space, Ellen painted the elaborate woodwork the same shade of yellow used by Impressionist Claude Monet at his home in Giverny. The French doors at the far end of the hall lead to the back porch and the perennial garden.

Rise and Shine

Each morning, a multicourse breakfast is served in the airy sunroom that runs along the front of the house. A checkerboard floor, bright cotton seat cushions, and a wealth of nasturtiums set the cheerful tone. The wicker furniture was fabricated in the 1920's by a now-defunct Oregon manufacturer; the concrete architectural remnant on the window ledge was salvaged from a Portland building that was demolished in the 1960's.

Sleek and Glossy

Shiny Marlite from the 1940's covers the kitchen ceiling and walls. "It's funky," says Ellen of the lightweight surfacing material made in imitation marble, "but I like it." Streamlined and commodious, the room is outfitted with a chopping block salvaged from a meat packing plant and a pristine Spark stove Ellen found for next to nothing at a tag sale.

Peace and Quiet

For guests in search of privacy, the carriage house can be reserved separately. It features a bedroom as well as a separate living room, kitchen, and bath. The golden tones on the wall are picked up in the soft floral bed linens and the crisp checkerboard floor.

Country Inns: Centre Mills

North of Harrisburg, a 19th-century mill owner's home named Centre Mills now welcomes visitors to Pennsylvania farm country.

Originally the home of a Pennsylvania German miller, this 1813 structure in the heart of Brush Valley's Amish farm community was converted into an inn several years ago. An early-19th-century gristmill and the distillery it housed still stand on the wooded 26-acre property.

Innkeeper Maria Davison, who furnished the interior with antiques purchased locally, pampers guests with puff pancakes for breakfast and delights in introducing them to the tranquil countryside, Amish shops, and trout-fishing spots nearby.

"City people come here and they think it's heaven," says Maria. "The area has not yet been discovered, so it's very quiet." Still, Penn State University is within 20 miles, offering activities and diversions. "If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle and hear your heart beat, this is the place," says Maria.

Good Morning!

Breakfast is served in the inn's dining room, where a brilliantly painted late-1700's Pennsylvania German cupboard vies for attention with doors that were painted to recall early regional versions. The green chairs that surround the late-1800's sawbuck table pick up the same rich hue used on the door. Underfoot, the structure's original wide-plank pine floors remain intact.

A Restful Sleep

In a guest bedroom, soothing colors create a welcome retreat. Tranquil shades of green lend character to the wall's tongue-and-groove paneling and trim. An Amish friend of Maria's hand stitched the Nine Patch quilt for the guest room's pencil-post tester bed. A c. 1740's Philadelphia comb-back Windsor, a gilded plaster mirror of the same vintage, and a snake-foot candlestand create an inviting ensemble.

Old-Fashioned Ways

"There goes our local traffic," says Maria Davison, as an Old Order Amish buggy rolls by the road behind the inn. Behind the picket fence lies a cheerful garden. Also on the property is an 1802 mill, which is the last standing stone mill in Centre County. Centre Mills is constructed from local limestone and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Country Inns: Zevely

Join us on a visit to the Augustus T. Zevely Inn in Old Salem--the historic center of Winston-Salem, N.C.

In 1950, concerned citizens formed a nonprofit organization, Old Salem, Inc., to preserve historic structures in the 1766 Moravian town of Salem, N.C. One such structure was the 1844 home and office of physician A. T. Zevely. Now restored and converted into a bed-and-breakfast, the Augustus T. Zevely Inn offers Southern hospitality, mid-19th-century ambiance, and a glimpse of authentic Moravian style.

Southern Hospitality

Plaids and floral prints mingle in the parlor, where overstuffed chairs invite fireside lounging. Furnished with pieces from the Old Salem Collection by Lexington Furniture Industries, the parlor and rooms throughout the c. 1844 inn re-create the feeling of a mid-19th-century home.

Elegant Dining

The dining room's mural, painted in acrylics by a local artist, captures the view Dr. Zevely would have enjoyed while facing east from his upper porch. Today's guests may notice several references to the present in the landscape. "The artist depicted our local free-running guinea fowls," comments Ann Johnson, who helped re-create the inn's 19th-century interior. "And then there's Rosie, a much-loved Irish setter that lives nearby." The chairs are reproductions of late-18th-century Edgecombes on display in Old Salem's Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.

Traditional Charm

Door pulls in the form of clasped hands, a characteristic Moravian design, distinguish a cherry armoire in this second-floor guest room, which Dr. Zevely long ago used as his master bedroom. A newly crafted North Carolina back-country bed and an upholstered Moravian-style chair pay further homage to regional design.

Country Inns: Puget Sound's Orcas Island

A late-1800's farmhouse on Puget Sound's Orcas Island offers cozy quarters and homemade breakfasts in the countryside.

While scouting for a summer home in the San Juan archipelago, San Francisco Bay-area residents Susan and Bill Fletcher came upon a property that altered the course of their lives. They purchased a dilapidated turn-of-the-century farmhouse set on 80 wooded acres, then plunged into a thorough renovation, converting the former hay barn into Turtleback Farm Inn.

The Fletchers now devote themselves year-round to sharing with guests the tranquility, lush countryside, and homey, antiques-filled accommodations of their Orcas Island hideaway. Breakfasts prepared with eggs from Turtleback's chickens and jam from orchard fruits as well as guest-room comforters made of the wool from Turtleback's sheep celebrate the richness of the island's rural environment.

The Great Outdoors

Bill embellished the inn's exterior with Victorian green paint and fashioned a fence from California vineyard stakes. Near the entryway, an heirloom Rosa rubrifolia blooms. Located on Orcas, considered to be the most beautiful of islands in the San Juan archipelago, the inn overlooks 80 acres of forest and farmland in the shadow of Turtleback Mountain. It commands a spectacular view of lush meadows and duck ponds, with Mt. Constitution providing the backdrop to the east.

Relaxing Indoors

Bill's handcrafted creations -- an oak rocker reconstructed from salvaged furniture parts and a white-pine rocking horse -- distinguish the Valley View room. The room is made cozy by simple country touches: swagged drapery panels, a floral sprig bed cover, and an oblong floor runner. On the deck, guests can enjoy views of a venerable cork elm, valley firs and alders, and Mt. Constitution, which at 2,409 feet is the highest point in the islands.

Breakfast on the Deck

Weather permitting, homemade breakfasts are served on the dining deck, which affords a sweeping view of Crow Valley. Tables are set with china, silver, and crisp linens. Breakfasts include fresh fruits and juices, award-winning granola, home-baked bread and pastries, and fresh eggs and meats.

Toward the end of the day, guests are offered a glass of sherry before they move on to one of the island's fine restaurants for dinner.

Country Inns: Green and Gedney Farm

Join us on a visit to the Old Inn on the Green and Gedney Farm in historic New Marlborough, Mass.

In this tranquil Berkshires village, the restored Old Inn on the Green and Gedney Farm lets guests step back in time to enjoy a sense of New England's rural past. Built in 1760 and later renovated in the Greek Revival style, the Old Inn on the Green originally served as New Marlborough's tavern, inn, general store, and, from 1806 until the mid-1940s, post office. Gedney Farm was established some 60 years later as a working dairy.

"This is God's part of the Berkshires," comments Brad Wagstaff as he describes the late-18th-century village of New Marlborough, Mass. As owners of the Old Inn on the Green and Gedney Farm, Brad and his wife, Leslie, treasure the gentle pace and architectural authenticity of the village.

Calling on Brad's restoration skills and Leslie's culinary talents, the couple transformed the property's historic buildings into an inviting Berkshires retreat . . . making The Old Inn on the Green the nucleus of New Marlborough even today.

Historic Charm

Formerly the village dairy barn, Gedney Farm is now one of four structures that provide guest lodging on the 60-acre propetry. Innkeepers Leslie and Bradford Wagstaff restored the buildings to retain a sense of history, yet provide warmth and comfort for guests. The entrace hall and lobby, shown here, combine natural chestnut timbers and wide-plank pine floors with newly wheat-tinted plaster walls and blue trim accents. Three patterned kilims line the 135-foot-long lobby, providing visitors with a most impressive welcome.

Country Comfort

The dormer window, support timbers, and wide-plank yellow pine floorboards in this room are remnants from the barn's original hayloft, now converted into simply furnished guest bedrooms. Since the room features the same wheat-colored walls as the lobby, the Wagstaffs chose simple furnishings--red swagged drapery panels, a Shaker-like bedside table and mismatched floor lamps--to create intimate, charming guest quarters. In addition to the decorative bedcovers and throws, most rooms feature a fireplace constructed of local granite. Antique Throw: Laura Fisher

Dining on the Green

The traditional Windsor chairs and candlelit table setting of the 100-seat dining room make the Old Inn on the Green a favorite of guests and locals alike. The mural that graces the wall behind the table represents the tranquil village green and is one of several local landmarks depicted in the primitive style. Local artist Bart Arnold painted the scene in 1984.

Country Inns: The Galisteo

Join us on a visit to The Galisteo Inn, a gracious 1740 hacienda in the high desert near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Built when present-day New Mexico was a Spanish territory, The Galisteo Inn remained a private residence for more than 200 years. Landscape architect Joanna Kaufman and landscape contractor Wayne Aarniokoski purchased the property in 1989, five years after its conversion to an inn.

Drawn by the high-desert setting and regional architecture, the couple now invites guests to share the serenity of their adobe hacienda, a half hour southeast of Santa Fe in Galisteo, New Mexico . . . "land of enchantment."

Tranquil Surroundings

A guest finds the perfect place for an afternoon siesta in a hammock strung between native cottonwood trees on the eight-acre grounds of the Galisteo Inn. The exterior of the 200-year-old hacienda reflects the true beauty of southwestern architecture, with its sun-baked adobe walls, terra cotta tile roof, and beam-supported veranda, which shades the dwelling from the intense heat of day.

The brilliant periwinkle blue used on doors and trim is a color traditionally thought to ward off evil spirits. Today it serves as the perfect complement to the weathered exterior and vivid New Mexico sky.

Hacienda Haven

The main entrance and reception hall -- or sala -- reflects the historic significance of the inn. Common to the area and the period in which the hacienda was built, the walls are made of double- and triple-thick adobe, and the ceiling incorporates a traditional beam and log construction technique known as "vigas y latilla."

Rustic furniture, colorful patterned Indian rugs, and various regional accents, including the rough-hewn bench and Indian drum on the left, provide a warm western welcome to visitors and overnight guests alike.

Western Charm

The warmth from a kiva fireplace keeps overnight visitors comfortable in the casual, intimate guest rooms. Like the rest of the hacienda, the rooms feature authentic beam-and-plank ceilings and adobe walls. In fact, the depth of the window in this room reveals the double thickness of the adobe construction.

Western-style pine furnishings and Indian blankets, rugs, and pottery complete the rooms. They are simple yet comfortable, for a restful night following a day of busy sightseeing, hiking, and horseback riding, or simply shopping in nearby Santa Fe.

Country Inns: Union Pier

Nestled on Lake Michigan's shores, the Inn at Union Pier extends a warm Scandinavian-style welcome.

When it opened as a summer resort in the1920's, the Inn at Union Pier (then known as Karonsky's Hotel) offered visitors to Lake Michigan's shores a dining hall, cubicle-size sleeping quarters, and an outdoor shower. Over the years the property fell into sad neglect until rescued by an energetic couple in 1983. It was resurrected as Union Pier's first bed-and-breakfast.

Today, guests are drawn to the inn for various reasons: the artful renovation, the uncluttered Scandinavian-style interiors, the lake shore activities, and the warmth and hospitality of current innkeepers Joyce Erickson and Mark Pitts, who purchased the property three years ago.

The Inn at Union Pier also boasts another unusual highlight ... one of the largest collections of working Swedish ceramic fireplaces -- or kakelugnar -- in the country.

Decked for Enjoyment

The exterior of the inn's original building, known as the Pier House, features expansive double decks embellished with latticework and an attic dormer. The decks provide most rooms with access to the outdoors; some with views of the lake. The inn was in sad disrepair until purchased in 1983; three years ago, the property was bought by current inkeepers Joyce Erickson and Mark Pitts.

Kakelugnar Warmth

Guests are drawn to the inn for its artful renovation, uncluttered Scandinavian country style, and lakeside setting. The inn boasts the largest collection of functioning antique Swedish ceramic fireplaces, or kakelugnar, in America. One of these distinctive stoves is pictured here in Madeleine's Room (named in honor of the previous owner). Natural wicker furnishings offer casual comfort; the Scandinavian sleigh bed provides a restful night's slumber.

Country Inns: The Manor Borne

The exteriors are elegant and the gardens unbelievably lush. Come along for an authentic tour through real English country homes.

"There is nothing quite like the English country house anywhere else in the world," wrote Vita Sackville-West. "It may be large, it may be small; it may be palatial, it may be manorial; it may be of stone, brick, stucco, or even beams and plaster; it may be the seat of aristocracy or the home of gentry -- whatever it is, it possesses one outstanding characteristic: It is the English country house."

Houses in England have continued to evolve in the years since Vita attempted to define them in a slim monograph she wrote on the subject in the waning years of the Second World War. Yet our fascination with the dwellings -- and the gardens that so many of us consider inseparable from them -- continues.

What would it be like to spend just a week living in the English country manner? We are about to find out.

First Stop: Sussex

A 19th-century sculpture provides a focal point in the rose arbor at Old Whyly in Sussex.
"Pull over here," I instructed the driver when I saw a sign for Peartree Pottery in the village of East Hoathly. "I'll go in and ask if they know how to get to Old Whyly."

"I'll go with you," he offered, in part, I suspected, to discourage me from purchasing souvenirs. (The man was my husband as well as my chauffeur, and well aware of both my passion for pottery and my proclivity for overpacking.)

Inside a cavernous studio adjacent to Peartree Pottery's tiny showroom/shop, Nigel Graham sat behind a potter's wheel, turning clay into a jug. "Let me know if you need any help," he called out.

I eyed shelves crowded with crocks, lamps, and tableware, and envisioned how charming Mr. Graham's slip-glazed drawer pulls would look on the doors of my bright-green kitchen cabinets.

"Actually, I was hoping to ask directions," I admitted. "Could you point us toward Old Whyly?"

"You mean Old Why-lye," he corrected, providing the traditional Sussex pronunciation. "Go left at the bend, then make the first right."

After a minute or two back in the car, we ventured down a tree-canopied avenue that ended at the circular drive of Old Whyly, the classic Georgian manor house where we were to spend the night. A shiny black cock announced our arrival to the hens in his company, and a slam of the rental car's hatchback brought our host, Sarah Burgoyne, and her whippet, Darcy, to the front door.

After a gracious welcome and a round of introductions, Sarah led us upstairs to a bedchamber about 1 1/2 times the size of our own master bedroom. She told us to make ourselves comfortable and invited us to tea in the garden whenever we liked.

Having spent some hours in transit, we found this most traditional of English rooms -- with its pink-and-green tulip-motif cotton curtains, eiderdowns, Staffordshire spaniel, porcelain tea service, and cut-crystal biscuit jar filled with heart-shaped shortbread cookies -- difficult to abandon, but we mustered enough strength to head back downstairs and out through the conservatory doors.

For our efforts, we were rewarded with the sight of a neat-as-a-pin landscape, complete with formal perennial beds ("We don't like annuals much," Sarah conceded), a rose arbor, wrought-iron urns cascading with pelargoniums, and a stretch of manicured lawn made magical by a quartet of towering yew topiaries clipped in the images of squirrels and songbirds. Yes, we were in England, all right.

A Garden Tour

It was tulip time when we arrived at Pashley Manor in the hilly, wooded countryside of Ticehurst, East Sussex. James and Angela Sellick were preparing for the Celebration of Tulips that takes place here the second week of May each year. Inside their restored manor house -- a half-timbered Jacobean dwelling with a larger wisteria-covered Queen Anne addition to the south -- Angela readied for an onslaught of tulip peepers and prepared ploughman's lunches of Stilton cheese, crusty brown bread, and pungent homemade chutneys for visitors who were about to partake of tea in the garden.

"It is always necessary to be doing something in a house of this age -- but not so much that it takes away from its true character. It is important not to overdo," explained James, voicing a philosophy carried out in the garden, as well.

A footpath wound its way around masses of mature rhododendrons and conifers.We walked with our host along a gravel path through the kitchen garden and past a row of espaliered red maples toward Pashley's colorful perennial beds. A footpath wound its way around masses of mature rhododendrons and conifers, and a natural tunnel formed by rhododendron branches led us toward a garden bench and an unexpected vista of the Sussex hills. In the distance, sheep tended to their daily mowing, apparently oblivious to any other activity on earth. On this day, only baaing, birdsong, and an occasional dog's bark (six live at Pashley) and baby's outburst (a 14-month-old girl was touring the garden on her father's shoulders) dared to break the serene silence.

Beloved Burdens

The granary at Woodside Farm in Oxfordshire has been converted into a guesthouse.
"Fortunate are those who inherit houses of manageable size, but what of those who carry the beloved burden of unreasonably spacious halls?" pondered Vita Sackville-West some 50 years ago. "A large house does not necessarily mean a large income, although many people seem to be under that delusion. The obligations, and the expense, however, are always large."

Vita, the daughter of the third Baron Sackville, welcomed men and women who shared her passion for plants into the gardens that surrounded her home, Sissinghurst, in Kent. Throughout England, owners of historic estates built for the wealthy -- yet lived in by smaller, heavily taxed 20th-century families -- have kept up the tradition.

"I wanted our home to be comfortable and inviting -- and I resolved that this place pay for itself," explained Caroline Eckersley, owner of Woodside Farm, near the village of Shilton in Oxfordshire. After completing a 10-year restoration of the former tenant farmer's residence on Woodside Farm, she transformed its granary into a private guesthouse. Attached to the 1850's stone farmhouse by a walkway draped in ceanothus (C. arboreus 'Trewithen Blue', to be exact -- a blue-flowered shrub regrettably too tender for cold-winter gardens like mine back in New York State), the private guest quarters overlook a tranquil water garden, an apple tunnel bordered by viburnum, and, in the distance, a pasture surrounded by a ditch and the mortarless, stacked-stone walls for which the Cotswolds are famous.

The Heart of the Matter

The lovingly tended gardens at Hill Farm include plantings grown from cuttings contributed by Vita Sackville-West.
We arrived at Hill Farm, near Twyford in rural Hampshire, late on a misty afternoon. Our hosts Belinda and Will Martin greeted us at the courtyard gate, offered to take our bags, and led us inside their welcoming brick home.

"I grew up in this house," said Belinda, whose parents bought and restored the dwelling some 50 years ago. "When it became Will's and mine, we changed things to meet the needs of our family." They added French doors that open onto the garden and enlarged and updated the kitchen to accommodate Belinda's passion for cooking, as well as her collections of pottery and cookware.

"When my parents moved here, there was no garden," said Belinda. "My mother was determined to have one, and she would go to Sissinghurst once a month to get ideas.

"One day Vita noticed my mother, walked up to her, and said, 'You come here often, don't you?'"

When Belinda's mother explained that she was "planning a garden from nothing," Vita contributed advice and cuttings to the cause. Today a Falkland shrub rose that Belinda's mother cultivated from a cutting given her by Vita thrives in the garden at Hill Farm, its foliage shooting off into the neatly trimmed boxwood hedge that surrounds the perennial bed, and its fragrant white blossoms linking the present with the past.

"If these English houses of ours were all to be turned into institutional buildings, schools, asylums, hotels, and the like, something of our national heritage of pride and beauty would be gone," Vita Sackville-West wrote 50 years ago. "A museum is a dead thing; a house which is still the home of men and women is a living thing which has not lost it soul."

Vita envisioned country homes in which "useful things" were practiced: homes in which jam was made, herbs dried, and buildings kept in good repair. One thinks she would have been pleased to learn that there remain a number of her countrymen who have kept her dream -- and her Falkland rose -- alive in the English country manner.

Country Inns: Morrison House

The decade-old Morrison House in Alexandria, Virginia, evokes the refined elegance of 18th-century America.

Before the first brick of the Morrison House was laid in 1985, innkeeper Robert Morrison consulted a historian at the Smithsonian to help him design a hotel that could proudly take its place alongside Alexandria's many late-18th-century town houses. The result is a comfortable 45-room inn constructed with ornate woodwork and molding, decorative fireplaces, and fanlight windows.

The innkeeper's attention to detail is also made evident in the establishment's amenities, which include butler service, formal dining, and furnishings modeled after antiques from the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.

Stately Appeal

From the outside the Morrison House looks like any of the late-18th-century town houses that line the historic streets of Alexandria. Built in 1985, the 45-room house was constructed with strict attention to historical detailing, both inside and out.

The front entrance is enhanced by a brick courtyard, winding staircase, and stately portico. The yellow flag, emblazoned with a roaring lion, is symbolic of a Scottish clan and honors Alexandria's earliest settlers.

Old-fashioned Elegance

The Winterthur Museum in Delaware served as a historic resource for many of the furnishings and accessories incorporated into guest rooms and public areas alike.

In this room, a reed-carved four poster bed, spacious armoire, and comfortable upholstered seating clearly reflect the personal pampering that guests can expect while staying at the inn.

Two for Tea

Scones, petits fours, and other homemade delectables provide an irresistible enticement for guests attending afternoon tea, a daily ritual held in the parlor of the Morrison House.

Like the well-appointed guestrooms, the public areas of the inn continue to reflect the refined elegance of historic Virginia. Federal and Georgian-style furnishings, rich wood tones, and elegant fabrics add classic style to each of the rooms.

Country Inns: Frederick-Talbott

Just north of Indianapolis, the Frederick-Talbott Inn offers country comforts, pastoral calm, and a faithful look back at the region's past.

Two and a half years ago, Susan Muller and Ann Irvine opened the Frederick-Talbott Inn in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here, a mere six miles from the state capital, the creative pair converted an 1870's farmhouse and a 1906 cottage into a 10-room inn that offers visitors a taste of Midwestern farming life in the 19th century.

Located across the road from Conner Prairie, a living-history museum that re-creates an 1836 village, the inn is filled with regional antiques, auction finds, and reminders of days gone by. "Every object in the inn has a story," Susan explains. When the downtown Indianapolis department store L.S. Ayres & Co. closed down in 1992 after 120 years in business, the partners acquired the tearoom's tables, leather-seat side chairs, and place settings for their inn. "We probably sat in many of these chairs as kids," Susan muses.

"We thought a rooster print was an appropriate presence in the breakfast room where guests congregate to start the day," says Susan. "And we paid all of one dollar at an auction for our breakfast buffet table." Ann marbleized the two-tiered table for a low-key verdigris effect. The same color distinguishes the mantel, an auction purchase that replaced a decayed 70-year-old original. The armoire in the corner once served as a railroad employee's locker at Indianapolis's Union Station.

A Country Corner

The inn's Gothic-style farmhouse (foreground) has been enlarged to accommodate nine guest rooms with private baths. The new wing's tall, narrow windows echo those of the 19th-century brick structure. A 1906 cottage (in the background) that Susan and Ann moved to the property now houses the breakfast porch and a honeymoon suite. A courtyard connects the two buildings.

A Bright Room

The honeymoon suite is a charming, airy room, filled with light colors and lacy textures. A wallpaper border highlights the angles of the dormer window. Ann painted the bed's headboard, whitewashing its carved motif for a decorative effect. The history of the half trunk, which the partners bid for at a local auction, remains a mystery.

Attractive Amenities

Bathroom vanities were constructed by local carpenters who combined hand-carved dining-room-table legs and drawer fronts that Ann and Susan bought at auction. The dusty rose color on the wall is reminsicent of the strong colors Dutch and German settlers used to decorate their homes when they came to America.