Recently, my family and I visited Colonial Williamsburg, an area rich with our nation’s history, natural beauty, and colonial design. Among the many places we stopped was the St. George Tucker House, home to Revolutionary War militia officer, lawyer, legal scholar, and judge St. George Tucker.

Tucker purchased the home in 1788 and, over the course of his ownership, continually expanded on the home to fit his large family of five children (which later grew to nine children through two additional marriages). Because of its ongoing remodeling and additions, the home is one of the most interesting in all of Williamsburg – this 4035 square foot masterpiece is not only incredibly spacious, but its varying rooflines give it architectural interest. The home underwent restorative efforts in 1930 and 1931 and Tucker’s family lived in the home until 1933.

Beyond the varied rooflines and expansiveness of the home, one of the things that most grabbed me was the use of the bright green wall lacquer.

In design, balancing color palettes is one of the most critical components of a space – and while bright color can most certainly contribute, many designers remain wary in an effort to remain balanced. However, in the Tucker house, this bold green was embraced – contrasted against white walls and accents, this green energized the space, bringing perfect contrast and visual interest.

Further playing off the green were mirrors to reflect candlelight which resonated off the mirrors as well as reflected off the green walls, providing an intimate, yet expansive feel to the beautifully coordinated rooms.

Interestingly, this type of lacquer was most commonly used in the 18th century to color decorative items. Receiving its inspiration from the 16th century Ming dynasty, this shade of green keeps on giving – it is very similar to 2013’s signature pantone emerald color.

We are seeing this shade of green everywhere this year – from art deco and bold modern prints to draperies, wall colors, and more. Though it is a bold color, there are several ways to keep it in balance.

For one, look to bring contrast into your space – to bring in color contrast, consider either pairing the emerald with whites or light grays to make it stand out. Alternately, for a very bold space, pair it with another bold color, such as a bold, mustardy yellow – then accent with ivories. Bring the emerald in with repeated patterns on accent pieces, or in decorative pieces such as candlesticks.

From the Ming dynasty, through Colonial Williamsburg, to present time, this shade of green keeps on giving.

Hilary Adorno