complement | contrast: Photography by Elizabeth T. Jones

January 29, 2013 | Alex

For my second installment of complement|contrast, a series demonstrating helpful strategies for decorating around art, I'm excited to use the work of Brooklyn-based photographer Elizabeth T. Jones as my inspiration.

Enjoy! And please don't hesitate to comment if you'd like to suggest a piece of art work for the next complement|contrast. This series has been a blast so far and I'd love to try working from a reader selected piece.

complementary palette | contrasting style

Rooster, by Elizabeth T. Jones

I like the idea of this rooster portrait (blown up into a large-scale print) in a bedroom. Since the spirit of the column is juxtaposition, there's something weird and wonderful about a farm animal in space as intimate as the bedroom. 


Complement | The room plays off of the mottled black, white and grey tone of the rooster's feathers. Citrine and red accents highlight the rubbery flesh of his feet and comb. While the floating night stand might seem off palette at first glance, it picks up the blue undertones of the piece's cool white background.

Contrast | Where the subject's feather and flesh are soft, the wood and steel furniture is rigid. Where a barnyard animal is rural and of the land, the sconces add a posh note in brass while their design is faintly nautical. Where the feather's are mottled in color, the lines of the bed linens and rug are sharp and geometric. Where a rooster is a timeless symbol throughout history, the mid-century designs of the bed and bench distinctly "period".

Sources  (clockwise from top left)

  1. Iris Swingarm Wall Sconce by Robert Abbey, via Lumens - $363
  2. Stonington Gray, Benjamin Moore
  3. Slice Mint Wall Mounted Storage Shelf, CB2 - $149
  4. Draper Stripe Ash Duvet Set (and matching sheets), DwellStudio - $310 (queen duvet) + $300 (queen sheet set)
  5. Najavo Red Rug, One Kings Lane - $229 (No longer available. See similar here and here.)
  6. Andalucia Black Leather Bench, - $146.99
  7. Mid-century Bed Frame, West Elm - $599-$899

complementary style | contrasting palette

Croque Monsieur, by Elizabeth T. Jones

This piece seems like a natural fit for the kitchen, although I visualize it in a stark, almost sterile white kitchen. I'm imagining high gloss white cabinets and subway tiling with black grout.

Funny side note: I was walking to my first night of class at Parsons yesterday when I saw this photo on the wall of a restaurant. Turns out Elizabeth took this photo for La Maison du Croque Monsieur, a cute eatery about a block from Parsons.


Complement | The artistic, grid-like arrangement of the toast pieces turns sandwiches into pop art. In keeping with the pop-modern theme, I chose a hyper-modern, almost futuristic, light fixture and stalactite-inspired chair. The natural color gradient in the butcher block's mimics the color variation in the toast, and along with the subway tile, echoes the photo's rectilinear configuration. The dot pattern in the tableware draws out the banana slices-- a fun focal point of the photograph.

Contrast | Where the photograph is packed with color and organic textural variation, I kept the kitchen sleek, glossy and predominantly white-- with a few black accents. In a slight bending of my palette contrast rule (see, this is why I avoid rules), I included subtle red accents to tie the photograph to its environment. The multi-colored vs. the monochromatic.

Sources  (clockwise from top left)

  1. 3x6 Ceramic Subway Tile - Bright Snow White, Home Depot - app $2/sq ft.
  2. City Chandelier 7, Schoolhouse Electric - $195
  3. Ikea PS 2012 Dining Chair, Ikea - $79.99
  4. Potter's Workship Tableware - Dot, West Elm - $8-$12
  5. Raw Wood Board - Large, West Elm - $59
  6. Strut Medium Table - White, Blu Dot - $699

Hope you New Yorkers are enjoying the heat wave (well, relative to the past week anyway.)