Friday, January 27, 2012

Face the Sunshine

Dark, dank January days remind me yearly of why I love light-filled houses. Just as chlorophyll absorbs sunlight and uses its energy, so the human spirit is charged by light. This is why, when I look for a place to live, at the top of my wish list is a southern exposure. It is also why the kitchen and sunroom are the two brightest, most cheerful rooms in our home; they are banked with south-facing windows.

To reinforce the sunny spirit of these two rooms, I have chosen white and budding green as their new palette. In the sunroom, white linen with a variegated green embroidered scroll will bracket the side of the windows without obstructing one inch of light.

KravetCouture--Linen Scroll:  Jade

The wall color, 50% of Benjamin Moore Color Stories CSP-790, budding green, not only picks up the secondary color found in the entrance wallpaper, it also harmonizes with the lush greens found in our Haitian landscape paintings.

Because our sunroom is our "Haiti" room, it is filled with West Indies colonial furniture which will be reupholstered in creamy white linen.  However, the "piece de resistance" will be a shadow box full of green sea urchins.  
Patrick Sutton Home
Adjacent to the sunroom is my predominately white kitchen.  Really, it is an extension of the sunroom, so I have carried the white and green theme into this room as well.  The white cabinetry is at eye level, so it is  primary.  However, the wall space above the cabinets will be painted Benjamin Moore CSP 760, oil cloth, a slate green color.

The three extraordinarily tall double-hung kitchen windows are topped by transoms.

They will be softened by a relaxed shade, held up with ribbon to keep it from blocking the light. For the shade, I have chosen a lovely white batiste with a slate-colored embroidery running through it.
Lee Jofa Fabric--Threads--Silver Birch  
I can't wait to read once again in my sunroom and cook in my kitchen! Finally, this week, we received the insurance company check, signed with a builder, and were given a tentative construction schedule which marked the end of May or the beginning of June to re-occupy. Knowing how building projects can be delayed, I am thinking the end of June or July 4th as the re-entry date.  I am anxious to get back into our home, so I can follow Helen Keller's wise advise: "Keep your face to the sunshine, and you will never see the shadow."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Silver Lining: I Can Redecorate

Dorothy Draper, who in 1923 established the first interior design company in the United States, also wrote the first design book, Decorating is Fun! 

This prima donna of design was right! Just this week, nineteen weeks post-disaster, we finally reached a settlement with the insurance company. With this nightmare behind us, I can begin the enjoyable process of choosing colors, fabrics, flooring...

Where does one start when furniture was not damaged, but flooring, ceilings, and walls were? My goal is to update, so I decided to begin with a monochromatic palette.

A lovely Tabriz carpet with a raspberry field had been foundational to my home's color scheme.   Unfortunately, with all the standing water in the living room, the natural dyes ran, rendering the rug a complete loss.  We found a neutral Tibetan rug with just touches of celadon to replace the Tabriz. Without the raspberry, celadon and a neutral cream became the colorway.
Long before the deluge, I had ordered upholstery fabric in ivory, the pillow color, for the sofa.  The flood just gave me another incentive to update this classic piece.

To further eliminate the pink, I had an expert seamstress remake the silk Brunschwig &  Fils draperies, tucking the raspberry stripes in seams, leaving the variegated green stripes and neutrals visible.

 I also plan to lose the topper for a more contemporary look.

When we move back in, the raspberry throw will go; the celadon French daybed and two library chairs will stay.
Mohair at top is on the daybed; the cut velvet on the bottom on the library chairs.
Two other French bergere chairs in the room will be covered in a neutral silk fabric.

Removing the raspberry also dictates replacing the Schumacher raspberry striped wallpaper in the entrance.

Even though it was not damaged in the flood, we decided we will cover the cost of a neutral Stroheim grasscloth with a very subtle celadon damask glaze.

The dining room opens on the opposite side of the foyer from the living room, so a complimentary color scheme makes sense here, too. As it turned out, removing the hand-painted, silk Gracie wallpaper in the dining room was not debatable.  The extreme humidity in the house after the flood finished lifting off sections of the paper. In its place, I have chosen a companion to the entranceway paper, a Stroheim plain Saipan sisal.

To neutralize this room,  I plan to hang simple sheer drapes using Lee Jofa Phoebe cream fabric with trapunto embroidery in the same color of tan.

(The computer screen distorts many of these colors., but in person they all flow.)
For sixteen years, I have enjoyed the vivid colors in my home, but now I am ready to embrace change. Getting to redecorate is the silver lining behind our water-filled cloud. The sun has come out, so let the fun begin!