Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.
– Paul Gauguin
Four French blue leather chairs with ragged orange edges surround my old paint-splattered Mexican dining table. They represent the only objects in my home that are blue because I have always been attracted to warm colors. That is, until I moved into my old cottage by the sea.
Honor the Site
Although I have helped many clients who live by the water fill their homes with blues and greens, I was not inclined to do so myself, as the palette was too cool for me. But I learned a lesson from my home by the bay. I realized I need to not only respect its architecture, I need to honor the site it occupies as well.
Be Open to Color
When we moved in, I unpacked my beloved yellow quilt with salmon colored palm trees to place in one of the small upstairs bedrooms overlooking the San Francisco Bay. To my surprise, the deep blue sea objected. The quilt just didn’t look right in the room. Nor did anything else in the boxes labeled “bedding”.
I can’t sleep in a blue bedroom, I thought. But the view out the windows and doors seemed to demand it. Then one day, I spotted a blue quilt with pink roses. I brought it home and threw it on the bed half hoping it wouldn’t work. To my initial dismay, it did.
The Blue Bed
Then something unexpected happened. The next morning, I woke up to a view of the blue sky and blue water in the distance with the blue quilt in the foreground. In that moment, I fell in love with the blue quilt with pink roses that connected the inside and outside. The rippled texture of the quilting even seemed to imitate the ripples in the water of the bay.
Next, I noticed how the wrought iron turquoise bed frame I bought years before related to the new tableau. Its curvy lines resonated with the low hills that snaked across the bay, and the greens and blues in the fabric harmonized with the foliage visible through the three sets of French windows.
Warm and Cool Palette
To warm up the palette, I painted the walls the color of pale butter, then added two cream-colored wingback chairs from a consignment store in opposite corners. For the drapes and shades, I chose a warm, sand-colored fabric with pink flowers that harmonized with the striped bed skirt and rose tones in the quilt.
The inexpensive drapery fabric alluded to both the existing beige carpet and the shades of blue in the water. Pink pillows on the wingbacks tied in the roses on the quilt and the flowers in the drapes and shades. The effect was a mixture of warm and cool tones accented in pink to complement the geraniums on the deck and the colors of the sunsets.
The Magic of Nature
Our goal has always been to remodel this old cottage that has water dripping into the basement, dry rot around the front door, leaks in the roof, foggy window panes, and moldy places everywhere. Finally, after living here for 20 years, we have saved enough money to make our dreams come true. Stay tuned for our adventure that we hope will begin soon.
In the meantime, although my bedroom is dated with worn out carpet, drafty old windows and a funky electric floor heater, it remains a great place to dream my dreams with sensual blue tones at my fingertips, beyond my toes and before my eyes.
I hope all your dreams come true and that you surround yourself with the colors, shapes and textures of the site your home sits on and the view you see from your own back yard. It’s truly magical to connect our homes and our lives with nature.
For the love of blue,