I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with color in my house. Maybe I was traumatized by the purple carpet and pink, yellow, and green rickrack wallpaper of my childhood bedroom where flies congregated under my coverlet. Or the hideous sponged salmon pink bedroom in our first home where I once called the police at 3 am when a burglar outside the window sneezed. Or the putrid green bedroom in our second home that contributed to the argument between my husband and me that ended with my storming out and driving to my parents’ house where I accidentally set off their burglar alarm at 3 am.
I can’t do color. It keeps me from getting a good night’s sleep. It is impossible to get right. Or more specifically, it feels inevitably wrong, given the infinite choices. And when you think you might have it right, it looks different in winter or when the sun shines.
Color on walls is risky but on furniture, color is downright dangerous. I loved my red denim couch for the first six years but despised it for the last ten. When it comes to upholstery, I like texture first, pattern second, and color is a distant third.
And thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines, my fear of color went mainstream. Or maybe it was the crash in 2008. Either way, color in decor was banished and greige ruled the land of Pinterest.
Then last fall, after a stay at Kit Kemp’s Number Sixteen Hotel in London where every room is a mélange of color, pattern and texture, something in me awoke. I realized that life is not neutral and that the time has come to experiment with color again.
I had been searching for a piece of art for over the sofa for some time. Longtime readers will remember the gold teepee decals I stuck on the wall as a place holder until one of the kids objected to my “cultural appropriation.” (You can read about that disagreement here.) Then, at a gallery up in Door County, I came across a limited edition book of hand-printed silk screened trees. Three members of the Gond tribe in India contributed designs that are printed in vibrant ink on thick black paper. It is an exquisite book.
I carefully took it apart for framing. Because each sheet had marks from the binding, I asked the framer to gently float the pages on the fabric mat, allowing a little curl to the paper.
It is an exquisite book and I love how its illustrations make the room feel alive. You can purchase your own here. You can also purchase the gorgeous quilt resting on the back of the sofa. It too inoculates your interior from the deadly greige doldrums. Click on the photos below for shopping information.
Photos by Renn Kuhnen.