Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Friday, April 10, 2009

Here I Go Again . . . .

Long before I knew my husband, I knew what color the living room in our first house would be. I had carried around the image (ripped from one of my mother's home decorating magazines) since college - maybe even late high school. But that was then, and this is now, and after ten years of being defined by my "Cactus Pine" walls, I am ready for a change. Credit (or, if you're my spouse, blame) my friend Melanie for (1) picking the coolest paint colors for her recent home re-do and (2) letting me borrow the Benjamin Moore fan deck. I really, REALLY wanted "Wyeth Blue" to work for the living/dining rooms (and I do plan to use it in the master bathroom), but it lent itself to some of the same issues that I have with the current green walls. Fact is, we have a LOT of "personal effects" (okay, let's call them what they are - "tchotskes"), many of which are multicolored, some of which clash with the green walls now and others of which would clash with the blue (which is a really pretty, cloudy pale blue with green mixed in - but I digress). While I'm pretty much to the point where I could part with all of the tchotskes, shedding nary a tear, the boys (the big one included) aren't having any of that, so the solution, as I see it, is to create a neutral palate and minimize all of the visual distractions that I can - given that, evidently, we are quite sentimentally attached to some elements of our visual clutter.

So which neutral palate to create? Rugs that I want to keep, and our Mitchell Gold sofa (which has not lived up to its hype, but it cost a small fortune, so it's staying), are taupe-y (or, according to MG, "Toast"). Other upholstered pieces are a dark chocolate brown. Case goods, in keeping with the age and style of our home, are late 19th century/early 20th century Arts and Crafts pieces in tiger oak (a warmer brown, midway between the other two shades in terms of intensity). Did I mention that Melanie picked the best colors? The best of the best being her kitchen/dining/living room selection - "Mink," a luscious dark hue reminiscent of the richest, fudgiest chocolate fudge. I've been obsessing over it since I saw it at her place - but I wondered how it would work amongst our festival o' brown tones. And then, like manna from heaven, arrived this month's "Elle Decor."

Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on "The Godiva Room," above. TGR is owned by one Mr. George Stephanopolous and his wife, Alexandra Wentworth, with whom I appear to share my decorating taste. Toast-colored drapes against a chocolate fudge wall. Ingenious! I am totally stealing the idea - and Melanie's "Mink" walls to boot. To seal the deal, I made my weekly recon trip to my fave antique dealer at lunch today (having found, and passed, on the perfect storage cabinet for my currently furniture-less west dining room wall - reconsidered, went back, and it was gone!). Lo and behold, I found the most gorgeous piece - oak, leaded Tudor glass - but the stain was a little bit darker than our other oak stuff. Dare I say it, a mink-ish shade? SOLD! Totally justifies the color scheme, and will look so good as the focal point on that wall.

Or, I should clarify, one of the focal points. We have a lot of photos of the boys, and to say that they are eclectically framed would be an understatement. Goldleaf, silverleaf, dark wood, bleached wood, whitewash - we have it all. And I recently identified it for what it is - a terrible eyesore - particularly with the frames as they are currently haphazardly displayed about the room. Enter magazine clipping #2, from Southern Living:

Love, LOVE the idea of putting the photos on a plate rack, after repainting several of them (I'm keeping some of the gold ones, and the wood tones that match our furniture, but the rest are getting whitewashed to match the mantel and crown molding). Of course, with two boys, it's a foregone conclusion that all of the frames would vibrate off of their shelves and crash to the floor within the first fifteen minutes . . . . Enter ingenious gadget #1 - the "Frame Riser" from Pottery Barn.

Current, Connor-and-Parker-proof plan is to create a plate rack effect on the wall (can't afford a good one, so I'm going to get creative with pieces of crown molding and architectural salvage stuff) and mount the frames to the wall with their little frame-y bottoms flush with the shelves, so it looks like they are propped rather than hung, and the Frame Risers will allow me to move some of the frames to the front for a three-dimensional effect.

I also like the toasty wall color in the Southern Living image, and I'm considering making the fireplace wall an accent wall (using Benjamin Moore's "Taos Taupe").

Cabinet for the dining room arrives tomorrow, and I fully anticipate that I'll have acquired paint and started painting before then. I just can't wait to get started on our "Toast with Nutella Room."

No comments: