Content: a word that can be read for the calm of it, a satisfaction, quiet or with the accent on the first syllable as the substance that makes up substantial. It took me years to see how harmonious that duality really is. Let's begin by saying this blog for me is a celebration of obsession. My obsessions are few but hardcore. I would struggle to give up coffee if my very life depended on it. I mean it. And color has always been a serious motivator for me. I fell in love with it as a child and never fell back out. And I had a phrase for people who didn't seem to care about it at all "the beige-lovers" as in: the long weekend I took to paint a porch trellis partition a seriously luminous shade of chartreuse, fuchsia plant hanging before it, below it: electric blue astroturf; and my landlord called to tell me that the building's owners had driven by and demanded I paint it brown, black or beige, I said to her "It's fine, Reba (for she too, was a spitfire, livewire of a lady) I have been dealing with the beige-lovers my whole life." She laughed, I laughed and then went to the store for some beige paint. I told the story for years (am still telling it,) because it was kind of silly and because, let's face it, it made me look a certain way to me and I liked it. Passionate. Bold. Wild in the eye and head and heart. For a little Greek girl from Salt Lake City, that's a whole lot of bang for a mere jaunt through magenta.
Now I'm painting my own house. The only landlord to complain is my beloved Mr. Magenta who is all-day-long all about the beige. We are your neighborhood Greg and Dharma and it took us the greater part of our first two years together to fully appreciate the other's hmmmm.....contrasting vision. (Diplomacy, though a beige concept, makes bold things happen, I am learning.)
In painting a house I learned a few things about color and in learning those things, I think I learned a thing or two more. For example, a bedroom wall that faces out over a gorgeous stand of trees, a reservoir, in short, the woods, was to be a green we decided. We began with falling in love with a color worn by a character in Dexter named Lila and even began referring to the color as Lila-Green. It was the most gorgeous emerald depth of color with a kind of light coming through it. I finally found a scarf in the color and took it to the Behr color match computer and produced a sample size of the rich shade and we painted a big swath on the wall. The color shrieked back at us--so loudly it silenced the trees--it was all wrong. It competed with the beauty of the whole sliding glass doors of outdoors. We moved to a pine green suitable for this St. Patrick's weekend and again, outside became a whisper of itself. We started eyeing the beige.
The color finally selected was called Mourning Dove and it worked. Some pale seafoam sheers for the window and even now, as I write this, I can hear leaves rustling (early but there) and birds and the sunshine speaking its golden spring vows and it's awesome. And that color, the very poster-color of loathing from my former self, a true taupe: it changes all day long, now dove grey, later pale biscuity-tan, sometimes nearly a pale Russian olive. Over the course of the house-remodeling, I've been noticing something. I still love the vibrant, but I don't enjoy the way it makes me feel over long periods of time, or in rooms where I will be lingering (bedrooms, kitchen, living room, office) and I do love passing through it (favorite businesses and at home in places of transition: bathroom, laundry room, hallway). But in places of lingering where relaxation is the focus or focus-itself, I like the subtle. I have become, I guess, A Beige-Lover.
For a little chaos and pizzaz:The hallway, one featured wall at the top of the stairs is Lipstick. (A color suggested by my beloved and beautifully-neutral-wardrobed, sister.)
So there's a decorating tip I discovered: paint and rooms of transition vs. rooms of lingering, but it's not a bad life thing either: knowing where and how to place the vivid and where to create peace for oneself in a world that is shrieking pink and chaos.