Building on the hues of the East Coast shoreline, she creates palettes with verve.
By Marisa Spyker
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The Color Whisperer
This onetime aspiring actress found a new stage—the coastal homes that she infuses with brilliant color. Amanda Nisbet launched her eponymous New York firm in 1998 after a fine-arts career at Christie’s. The famed auction house’s jewelry department, she says, still informs much of her love for luminous shades in tones of sapphire, emerald, amethyst, and ruby.
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While the playful patterns and mix of wicker and wood add interest to this cozy sun porch, the real star of the space is the ceiling. The happy, robin’s egg blue hue mimics the sky, while the beadboard adds texture and durability. “I always love a nice high gloss finish on ceilings,” says Nisbet. “The reflectivity adds height and drama as it refracts the light and encases you in the glow of the sky.”
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Nisbet chose color and texture with a purpose in this Hamptons dining room, which blends an array of hues, finishes and patterns to create a pleasant tension. “I color blocked using three key shades--turquoise, Robin’s egg, and indigo--then bathed the room in soft white and the aged patina of the gorgeous reproduction Swedish chairs from Treillage,” she says.
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In some cases, a single statement find can determine the entire design direction of a room. Such was the case in this sophisticated sitting room, where commanding, floor-to-ceiling yellow faux silk taffeta drapes steal the show. “It set the tone for the space,” says Nisbet. “Navy blue and a few shades of gray on the walls, floor and furniture serve as a gender neutral foil to pull the design together.”
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City by the Sea
“The very chic owner of this Park Avenue apartment was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and requested to be swathed in blue as an homage to her childhood on the beach,” says Nisbet. To that end, she paired a soft ice-blue wallcovering with bold sapphire jewel-toned furniture and touches of silver. “It reminds me of dusk when the ocean turns very deep and metallic, almost like liquid metal.”
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In this warm, serene seaside bedroom, Nisbet proves that even a room meant for slumbers doesn’t have to be a snooze. “When I decorate with neutrals my key to keeping it interesting is using different textures on every material, this way all those warm tones express themselves differently as the light of day passes,” she says. “And of course, like with the pink lampshade here, I always need my strategic color pop.”
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“I believe every home needs one cozy room that cossets the whole family,” says Nisbet. In this Quogue, Long Island, home, an expansive space with sky-high ceilings became the perfect escape for family game nights and reading with a plush sectional and plenty of pillows and throws. The designer took inspiration for the monochromatic grass green theme from the surrounding gardens. “It’s warm, calm, and anything but boring!” she says. A ceiling and window frame painted a shade lighter add dimension.