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6 Homes Inspired by the Pantone Color of the Year: Ultimate Gray + Illuminating

Luxury Defined presents seven homes with architecture and interior design accentuated with shades of cool, calm gray and warm, vivacious yellow

The Pantone Color Institute, which helps the design community to coordinate and reproduce accurate colors across product lines and in different media, selected not one but two shades as its Color of the Year 2021. According to the institute, the combination of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (a warm, vivacious yellow) is “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.” After all the harsh challenges and uncertainty of 2020, this color combination represents, Pantone said, “a message of happiness supported by fortitude,” which is “aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter—this is essential to the human spirit.”

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (a warm, vivacious yellow) are, according to the Pantone Color Institute, “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”

Luxury Defined, therefore, presents a collection of deluxe homes that look to this inspirational color pairing. So think of these: Golden, Illuminating dandelions clinging to a ruined Highland castle of Ultimate Gray. Visualize a nodding yellow field of bright sunflowers defying a steely tornado sky. Or happier: The silent sunrise of equinox on Stonehenge. And happier still: A dewy bumblebee nuzzling the first bright jonquil to illuminate the spring.

Yellow Hilltop Villa in Nassau, Bahamas

A colorful pop of yellow contrasts with the tropical setting of this charming Bahamian-style villa in Nassau.

This elegant villa cheers the soul with its sunny yellow façade. The three-level residence is perched on a half-acre, hillside lot in a gated enclave of Nassau, Bahamas. The living spaces extend to 4,400 square feet, offering three bedrooms, three bathrooms, each with a balcony to take in the Bahamas sunshine and the island views. Large windows throughout are fitted with hurricane shutters, crafted from white wood to contrast with the vibrant yellow exterior. The custom-designed kitchen opens to an airy living room with high ceilings and its own balcony. Beyond lies an outdoor pool with a panoramic view of the landscape. A two-car garage, and separate staff quarters are further highlights of this idyllic island escape.

Stone Manor in Senneville, Quebec, Canada

This stone exterior or this manor house in Senneville, Quebec, encloses stylish interiors with an alluring palette of pebble gray, winter white, and rich earthy hues.

This exquisite manor house, executed in warm gray stone, is secluded on a leafy hilltop plot above the Lake of Two Mountains in the village of Senneville on the Island of Montreal. The welcoming entrance hall, appointed with marble floors and a crystal chandelier, radiates to the light-filled living spaces and opens to the great room, with its 22-foot-high ceiling and wood-burning fireplace flanked by a wall of two-story arched windows overlooking the gardens. Ultimate Gray and its lighter variants accent the walls here: They balance the superb warm palette of natural wood flooring and trims, and a cream-to-cocoa paint scheme throughout. The gourmet kitchen has a butler’s pantry and a spacious breakfast area that opens to the stone garden terrace and pool. It shares a wood-burning fireplace with the adjoining formal dining room. The office has three walls of windows. The owner’s bedroom suite—also with a fireplace, of course—has a spectacular bathroom with heated marble floors and an exercise room. All the upstairs bedrooms have walk-in closets and en suite bathrooms. The basement offers a large playroom with a pool table. The garage, which opens onto a large, open motor court, has high ceilings and can accommodate three vehicles.

The Old Treasury in Landskrona, Sweden

This grand 18th-century residence in Landskrona, Sweden, has an elegant limestone façade with “illuminating” accents of yellow.

Gamla Kassan, Swedish for “the old treasury,” is a magnificent villa in the town of Landskrona on Sweden’s southwest coast. Built between 1754 and 1757 for Mayor Bernhard Oelreich, the home’s yellow façade is a signature detail of architect Carl Hårleman, thought to have designed the villa while drawing up the town plans. The building later served as the home of General von Strussenfelt and takes its name from his bursary. Many of the original details remain beautifully intact, including the high decorative ceilings, wood floors, hand-tiled stove fireplaces, and the cellar’s vaulted ceiling. The 8,288-square-foot main residence is configured as four stately apartments, the largest of which has 13 rooms. Grandly scaled drawing rooms offer views of the Landskrona Harbor and Skulpturpark. A grand hall leads to an enchanting cobblestone courtyard, formerly used as a Christmas market, with a conservatory, ivy-clad limestone walls, and a maple tree. Just beyond is the original bakery, complete with 19th-century oven, transformed into a charming guest residence and a welcoming event space.

Villa Fatti in Sansepolcro, Tuscany, Italy

This magnificent Neoclassical villa in Tuscany is a vision in an illuminating shade of yellow.

Villa Fatti is a magnificent Neoclassical manor house in Italy’s Tiber River Valley. The beautiful five-story main house is set, jewel-like, in 10.6 acres of private parkland and formal gardens overlooking the medieval town of Sansepolcro. The goldenrod-yellow, ochre façade of the upper floors is punctuated with gabled windows, columns, and balconies. The top floor opens to a wraparound veranda; a staircase rises to a rooftop terrace with views of the valley. The lower floor terrace is enclosed and supported within an arched limestone wall. Among the original details are coffered ceilings adorned with frescoes, marble and parquet floors, and monumental stone fireplaces. The fully restored living spaces, infused with sunlight, extend to more than 28,000 square feet, and include 10 bedrooms, including two main suites on the top floor, 20 bathrooms, reception rooms, several offices, and a professional catering kitchen. An elevator serves all five levels. The resplendent Italian gardens at the front and rear of the villa, restored under the supervision of architect Lucina Caravaggi, are graced with graveled and paved walkways, box hedges, terraces, fountains, and specimen trees. The wider grounds include a tennis court, 360 olive trees (and an olive-oil production facility), and a greenhouse in matching yellow.

Georgian-Inspired Townhouse in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Shades of Ultimate Gray lend to the tranquil atmosphere of this stylish Toronto home.

Toronto’s leafy neighborhood of South Rosedale is the setting for this stately Georgian-inspired townhouse. At the entrance, the six gray Ionic columns of the portico gracefully depart from the tradition of red brick houses. The gray-balustraded door below them opens to a foyer with black and white marble floor, antique fireplace, and three-story oak staircase. The home uses shades of Ultimate Gray, cream—even daring panels of deep green in the dining room—to warm and contrast with the cool white palette of the serene interior spaces. There are seven bedrooms and five full luxuriously appointed bathrooms. The owner’s suite has a custom-designed walk-in closet and spa-inspired bathroom with soaking tub. The lower level is dedicated to the media room, personal gym, and wine cellar. The office has a subtle gray palette, as does the exercise space. At the rear of the home is a resort-style outdoor living area, a dining terrace, and a landscaped garden.

Dark Harbor House in Islesboro, Maine

Dark Harbor House is anything but dark. This charming 19th-century cottage-style residence has a sunny yellow and white exterior under a gray slate roof.

Dark Harbor House is a grand yet charming exemplar of the Colonial Revival cottage style. Its striking yellow exterior and white trim accented by sunlit roofing in . . . Ultimate Gray. The home was built in 1896 to plans by Frederick Lincoln Savage, who designed more than 300 cottages on Maine’s coast. The two-story residence underwent extensive restoration in 2012, from the very foundations (and electrical, and plumbing, and security systems) to its elegant period furnishings. The landscaped grounds, including the 19th-century formal gardens, were also restored to their original splendor. Just 200 feet from the pristine waters of Dark Harbor, the property includes a gravel beach on Ames Cove, kayak storage, and a launch with easy access to Gilkey Harbor. Islesboro island is a 20-minute car ferry to the Maine coast, three miles away.