Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Debut Column


My new column for the Kansas City Star, premiered Sunday, March 15

A neutral palette doesn't have to be boring.

You either love it or hate it. Some people walk into an all white room and sink into the sofa, put their feet up and say, "Ahh.. I'm in Heaven!" Others look around and wonder why everything seems so bland and colorless. I happen to fall into the former group.

For me, I love shades of stone, sand and concrete. Although lately, it has become more about texture than color. I can live with 'boring beige' as long as I can add dark galvanized metal, white linen and a favorite driftwood table. The marriage of dull metal mixed with soft white linen and adding a coarse, grainy table is right up my alley. Why? Because texture can keep your eyes moving and make a one-note room come to light. Entering a room with a specific color palette is nice, but when a variety of textures have been added- now you're designing!

Stop right now and look around. Don't look at color but start looking at texture. What is the sofa fabric? Is the chair the same? Is the table the same material as the other table and the other and the cabinet and so on?

-Your leather chair has a thick cable throw over the back?
-Your sofa has a few pillows; one shaggy, one pleated, one with graphics?
-Your picture frames were heavily carved or maybe glossy white.
-Your curtains has a pattern where your walls were a solid color (or vice-versa!)
-What if you added a crooked fallen branch in a giant glass bottle on a thick burlap tablecloth? Get the picture?

Adding texture can be easier than trying to decide if that green tray is right for your blue table. If you start with three complimentary colors you love, find the shades of those colors that are the most soothing and then add accessories that are primarily from natural materials- you're home free. Suddenly a no-color room takes on a different life as you start to add some nature (plants, stems, seashells), paper (books, sketches, magazines), metal (lamps, tables, frames), fabric (throws, curtains, pillows) wood (unfinished, varnished, painted) and objects (glass, stone, porcelain)... the list is endless.

Paying attention to these interior details will make others notice something is different about your home. This could be the one time touchy-feely is not such a bad thing!