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Restrained Colour

Durban’s Ruth Duke is known for her inventive use of colour. Chosen as a contributor to Plascon’s Endless Possibility Colour Forecast at Durban Decorex this year, she impressed with the bold use of verdant cypress greens and deep violets and magentas to create a striking dining room which one the ‘Best Newcomer’ award at the exhibition. What is your design philosophy? I like spaces to look natural and collected rather than meticulously put together and laboured. Comfort and function are essential considerations in my design process too. I also like pieces to speak for themselves and always look for sleeker, sexier solutions. I hate over-embellishment or ‘gilding the lily’, as it is said. Personally, I am a modernist and choose to live in a neutral, open and very uncluttered space with some beloved and exotic curiosities punctuating the minimalism. How would you describe your signature style? I am a contemporary eclectic and am known for strong use of colour but with restraint. I have an array of clients and do contemporary, classical, farm-style, beachy, whatever. I like the challenge of working with different clients’ aesthetics and trying to make that work for them while still pushing them beyond their boundaries. Some of the key projects you’ve worked on? I have done many homes in KZN, and am redesigning an apartment in Clifton, Cape Town. I have worked on some nightclubs too! Why is colour such an important aspect of interior design? I am obsessed with colour. I find certain hues irresistible. I believe mood in a room has everything to do with colour, light and ceiling height. I also love the interesting ways that ‘non-colours’ like neural greys, change at night and the drama they add to a room. What should you consider when choosing a colour scheme for a room? Firstly, the purpose of the room. The light in the room next, and finally, your overall scheme and what hue will work in all these capacities. And don’t consider too deeply. Sometimes be a bit brave. Paint is really rather inexpensive. Sometimes a bold colour you just love for what it is, can be wonderful with contrasting white-painted skirting boards and cornices to make it pop. Do colours have to ‘match’? There is always a shade of a colour that will work with its most unlikely friend. But pink works with everything! What advice would you give someone who would like to experiment with colour? Buy tester pots and paint A3 paper and tack up your samples. Watch as the light changes and then, again, be bold. What are your favourite colours and colour combinations for winter 2012? Well, it is always a neutral base of grey and silver tones. I love magenta, pimento, saffron and teal with this. What is the most effective way to inject some colour into a room without breaking the bank? Paint the front door a glossy colour. Paint the back wall of your bedroom. Get a colourful cotton rug. Spray paint a table or a picture frame with Rustoleum paint (a wonderous product). I love respraying little tables wild colours and re-inventing stuff like this. Text: Candice Botha