In Transylvania, the palette surrounded me wherever I cast my eyes: hiking in the mountains; the colours of the houses in the villages; amuletic decorations on horses and above doors; the landscape as far as the eye can see, and details of flowers, about to spring into bright, bold colours.
Wooden and limed houses with terracotta roofs are washed in a variety of pastels: azure blue, Yellow Monday, sienna, tangerine, magenta, pinks, salmon, soft mustard, dirty green, mint, lichen, sky blue, grey, maroon and lilac. The people who live here do not have much money, but a lot of pride. Much care and effort goes into the appearance of these houses, and a relief detail often displays the date of the build, family crest or a proverb painted in bright colours and mixed with geometric patterns, shields, leaf wreaths and tassels. Grapevine espaliers climb up and over the top of the exteriors, enough to make some wine for the inhabitants.
A softness spoke throughout our travels. A small village, Malancrav means ‘little apple’ and on the drive towards nearby Apafi Manor, where we were staying, the hillsides were filled with ancient apple orchards – small & organic. An apple press is found in the shed. Inside the manor, floral hand-painted ceramics sit in a mint-coloured library of old linen-covered books and stencilled walls mimic handmade wallpaper. Parties in the evening entertain a handful of guests fireside, a goatskin to sit on & a glass of wine well appreciated after a long day’s trail. You wake in the morning to sun streaming in the windows, sunken under linen & lace with the soundscape of cuckoos, and shepherds beating their drums, ringing their bells & cracking their whips to move cattle down the road.
I named Transylvania's colours dandelion, librairie, wolf, wildflower, gypsy rose, woodsmen, hellebore, stork's nest, swallow tail and carpathian to draw in all the intricacies of the land and lore that goes with it. I couldn't wait to play around with the soft tones, and they made translating the Transylvanian trip into my interiors lots of fun. Tune in next week as I tease out the colours and inspirations gleaned in this enchanting land.
Missed the start of the jaunt? Explore my days in Transylvania here.