Jenna Lyons’ Brooklyn home – the nursery [Image via Fashionologie]

Yellow and black are two of my favourite. I’m not talking trend-schmend. What I mean is how, as colours, they contextualise the bigger picture. The yin-yangness of life.

In a room, Y & B can also be lovely. Like the look in J Crew creative boss Jenna Lyons’house – up top. I say yes.

But getting back to the bigger picture, now that the winter solstice has passed, I have to say how much I love this week. Once June 21 has come and gone, life gets 1% yellower by the day.

Koeks, come on. It’s midwinter. Bleak. And mizzzerable.

Well, yes. It’s been raining on us today, and the sun still sets before suppertime. We have two heaters going in one room, and a fire in another.

But scratching off the winter solstice in my diary makes me want to do flickflacks. After 21 June, the days will get longer by a couple minutes every day. Until one morning you realise that it is the sun and the birds, not the alarm, that wake you up. And the street lights are off when you leave for work. And there are freesias nodding their heads in the pot outside the door.

So maybe we’ll all still be freezing our butts off till September, and be glued to our hot water bottles and drink tea in bed – but whichever way you look at it, we’re on the right side of winter.

Soon we’ll be at 70% yellow, 30% black. It’s downhill all the way.

Some of my favourite blacks and one yellow: from the Midas Envirolite palette of VOC-free paints

More shots of Jenna Lyons’ Brooklyn house: images via Fashionologie


Vogue calls her the ‘First Lady of Cool’. This is Jenna Lyons, creative grand fromage of J Crew, whose kooky style pushed the once square and boxy mail-order fashion brand from just about nowhere to infinity and beyond.

This she did under the whip of the fearsome Mickey Drexler, the man who turned Gap around then turned his attention to J Crew and made it America’s next big thing in fashion retailing. In the eight years since Drexler’s broom swept clean, profits are up 40%. That’s in spite of having the great recession butt in on his game plan.

They say what made J Crew turn the corner, is colour. Colour, and ‘elegantly twisting the classic.’

Enough to reel Michelle O in for the occasional frock. In fact, all four Obamas wore something J Crew on inauguration day, says Vogue. Now J Crew is launching in England. They’re speculating that Jenna might have what it takes to get the Duchess of Cambridge pop in for the odd bit of sweater and skirt.

Dressing a house is no different from dressing people. It’s just bigger. This why I’m fascinated to see Jenna’s house. These shots, swiped from Vogue (by way of The Selby), show you how salty she is. See those yellow stripes on the ceiling of son Beckett’s all-black room. Do you see that? It’s beautiful.

I love it that her mom was a piano teacher, her husband is an artist, and that her grandmother gave her a sewing machine and a subscription to Vogue when she was a teenager, to get her amped for a career in fashion. Also, when her Beckett said “Mommy please paint my toenails,” she obeyed. (Hooboy. Apparently there was a big stink about the toenail painting story. For heaven’s SAKE. The tot is barely out of nappies.)

I’m impressed that Jenna doesn’t put her shoes away. Not even for Vogue. Or file all the crap on her desk. But the nicest thing about Jenna is that she seems both incredibly fascinating and completely normal, all in one breath. She makes me feel fine about leaving my shampoo and tomato sauce bottles out.

Jenna’s husband Vincent describes how tuned into colour his wife is:

“My favourite moment was when Jenna put up colour swatches downstairs – three or four different blacks – and stood there asking me and the decorators which we preferred. We replied that they were all the same and she went, ‘No – this one is blue/black, this one is green/black, this one is charcoal/black…”

What Jenna Lyons say about colour is for real. See here.

‘brown black’ – Midas Envirolite Zero VOC Matt

‘blue black’ – Midas Envirolite Zero VOC Matt

‘olive black’ – Midas Envirolite Zero VOC Matt

And this one for the zebra crossing on the ceiling, maybe? Midas Envirolite Zero VOC Matt