By Carleton Varney Special To The Palm Beach Daily News
“Chiquita Banana” was a song I learned as a child and I also learned that one never puts a banana in the refrigerator unless you want the skin to turn brown.
I noticed while strolling South Dixie Highway’s Antique Row that Chiquita Banana was dressing up the windows of Judy Baron’s shop, The Brass Scale. In fact, that big banana was front and center, along with a watermelon painting on the wall above a small sofa accented with lemon and lime fabric throw pillows. It is always fun visiting Judy’s popular atelier of fantasy antiques and vintage wear.
Fruit designs are so popular in home-decorating circles today. I have used lamps with banana bases in my decorating projects. I have hung oil paintings of peaches — and many a watermelon painting has been seen on the walls of my homes over the years. I’ve placed big fruit-shaped ceramic bowls on the display shelves along with small watermelon-shaped bowls on buffets to hold fruit salads.
And don’t forget the pineapple, the symbol of hospitality. I even received a thank-you note this morning that featured a gold pineapple emblem. I’ve seen lamps with wooden carved pineapple bases, pineapple-based dining tables, chairs with pineapple designs on their backs. And these items aren’t just suited for decorating projects in the tropics. They look terrific in the country — and even in the magical formal dining rooms of London’s Mayfair.
There are fruit-patterned fabrics and wallpapers that bring the orchard right into the home. When I visit the farmer’s market on Saturdays opposite the Lake Worth Casino, I often see aprons and dishcloths emblazoned with fruit prints featuring cherries, bananas, oranges, lemons, and limes. These designs always tempt me to purchase, perhaps because I love apple and cherry reds and banana and lemon yellows. In fact, I think rich fruit colors can find a home in rooms in a public building, in a hotel, in a home, in a nursing facility — even in a restaurant.
In Palm Beach, these colors are terrific, thanks to our enviable quality of light that makes them seem even more vibrant. Here’s a fruit-theme decorating scheme for your Palm Beach living room, family room or sunroom. Start with banana-yellow walls, white breaker-surf woodwork and a ceiling of sky blue.
I suggest white wicker furniture. For the seat and back cushions on your sofa and lounge chairs, choose a stripe in lime green and white, then accent the look with throw cushions in fruit colors — watermelon red, lime green, grape purple and tangerine orange. Your rug can be one of woven straw, maybe in a green or natural wheat color.
Top your end tables with white pineapple-base lamps to bring in the tropics. And if your dining or breakfast table is nearby, find some pineapple-inspired place mats, some aqua blue water glasses and some bamboo flatware. Accessories such as those can be found at many Palm Beach shops, including Mary Mahoney on Worth Avenue and Baron’s place on Antique Row.