Williamsburg Designer in Residence Gives Historic Palmer House a Modern Update
Colonial Williamsburg functions as a time capsule—showcasing historic relics and well-traveled roads that offer insights into our past. Earlier this year, the town also became a design haven. In May, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s product licensing arm WILLIAMSBURG Brand announced its first Designer in Residence program, featuring Anthony Baratta.
The lauded designer earned Benjamin Moore’s coveted “hue Award” for lifetime achievement in design and recently collaborated with the fashion house Max Mara on an exclusive collection unveiled during Milan Fashion Week. The partnership between Colonial Williamsburg and Baratta was born of Baratta’s love of Americana and history. Like many, he visited the museum during childhood and throughout his career, which heightened his admiration of American architecture and design.
As WILLIAMSBURG Brand’s newly appointed Designer in Residence, Baratta moved into the Palmer House—a Georgian-style property that dates back to 1750—tasked with reimagining its interior. When it came time to refresh the home’s walls, Baratta made a definitive choice—Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg Paint Color Collection, which brings to life striking hues from the past while maintaining a contemporary edge.
“The Palmer House is one of Colonial Williamsburg’s most historic residences, overlooking the Capitol and the busy Duke of Gloucester street,” says Kiri Franco, Colonial Williamsburg’s director of licensing. “It’s the perfect setting for a project showcasing the very best of American design—from where we started through to where we’re going.”
Benjamin Moore, one of North America’s largest and most beloved wall coatings manufacturers, meticulously researched the 144 historic colors in its collection based on pigments derived from centuries-old sources. The colors capture the authenticity of the era in exacting ways, since Benjamin Moore chemists worked with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to calculate precise formulas for each palette, unmasking a few surprises in the process.
“Contrary to popular belief, Colonial Williamsburg is filled with bright color. For example, the blue used in the Governor’s Palace ballroom and the green in the dining room are amazingly bright,” says Baratta. “I love how those colors pop and I wanted that feeling in my house.” The updated Palmer House evokes a sense of intrigue in every room, featuring with a mix of antiques and art from Baratta’s personal collection, as well as WILLIAMSBURG products and reproductions from the Colonial Williamsburg collection.
The Williamsburg Paint Color Collection adds yet another unique color narrative—trend meets tradition—to Benjamin Moore’s extensive portfolio of wall coatings. “Williamsburg is a timeless palette that is both historic and distinctly modern,” says Felicity Keane, creative director at Benjamin Moore.
Colonial Williamburg’s Designer in Residence program will run through 2019, with Baratta’s newly designed Palmer House open to visitors during the Green Spring Garden Club Christmas Home Tour December 7.