You may have known from birth how you feel about color. You always chose ochre, or marine green as your favorites, never blue. Your enthusiasm informed your wardrobe, and eventually, your house.
Rarely so for the Sturdies. Color, other than The Old Red, White and Blue, often scares us. Lucky break, denim’s blueness and all. Just once I bought a hot pink linen blazer. So when it came to furnishings, I got help. Mom furnished my first apartment, a Central Park West studio, at Macy’s Manhattan. There was room for one brown couch, a peach/celadon/ sand Chinese rug, a brass bed, and an English mahogany chest of drawers from my father’s family.
It was a sort of home.
For my second apartment, the co-op at #8B 320 Riverside Drive, I worked with Janet Liles. She is still a New York designer. Imagine a white-walled bedroom with red accoutrements, antique rug purchased in then-remote Brooklyn, antique quilt, planter. Good feng shui, who knew? She ordered me new custom living room furniture, a rosy beige velvet sofa, sand-colored Thai silk chairs, peach duppioni silk ikat cushions with a fuchia fleck. Gorgeous.
All of which got worn to shreds. When the kids came we reupholstered more sturdily.
As I have said, after my divorce, I Pottery-Barned big time. Peanut faux suede, espresso wood and leather everywhere, as though I longed for nutty baked goods and a cup of coffee which I did not.
And now I’m redoing my interiors, determined to have (for the first time since the CPW studio) a fully-furnished grown-up space. I have a different kind of help this time in Emily Henderson’s eponymous blog. Accessible, quick-moving, her approach has increased my confidence, as Nancy Braithwaite’s book did. (I’ve ordered Emily’s book too, Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves, but it sold out in a month, backordered. I’ll review it when I get it.)
Turns out color can be found everywhere. Anywhere. I’m learning how to choose without the experts. Look. Look until your eyes see instead of your mind. The color soaks in like water to dry ground. Takes a while to absorb, even longer for anything to grow.
Glorious Color From Rarefied To Right Next Door
Miles Redd for Schumacher
Mrs. Blandings introduced me to Miles Redd and his new collection for Schumacher. Let’s all fall down from beauty. She likes this.
Me, I imagine the birds in blossoms below covering a chaise longue. Except, the pattern’s got a 12 foot repeat, which means that unless you’re making curtains for your 12-foot high ballroom some of the glory might be lost? Tempted anyway. Pricing will likely dissuade. Thoughts from the experts?
Cost Plus World Market
Which brings us to Cost Plus World Market. To be forever be remembered, in Northern California at least, as a source of Tiger Balm and illicit teen forays. Recently I wandered into one of their stores and took a look. While you could start small with their throw pillows, they’ve got good ones, I loved the arm chairs. Again with the birds, branches, blooms.
Fear banished, planning begins. In my future, a trip to the San Francisco fabric showroom. A chaise longue for the guest room, in what, red and black? Aqua and cream? Succumb to Schumacher? I rub my hands together.
I have never before looked back at my life as a series of color choices. It’s like snapping filters over old photos. Recite. Brown, red, rosy taupe, brown, aqua, pink. Does the history of colors in your house reveal anything to you? I haven’t yet extrapolated any meaning yet, only just noticed there’s a story at all.
Sponsored by neither Schumacher nor Cost Plus World Market. Affiliate links may generate commissions.