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.

The only blue in my house was four antique leather chairs from England.

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  

I finally surrendered and bought a blue quilt for the bed.

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

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

Connect your home to nature.

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.

Mixing cool and warm tones.
Mixing cool and warm tones.

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

Create a dreamy place to sleep.

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,

Toby and Linda Applewhite
Showing 8 comments
  • Victoria

    Love how the blue quilt brings in the Bay — but gently! Excited to see your renovations!

  • Joan munoz

    Nothing in the room could out due the view. Thank you, and I look forward to all the new updating you will be doing

  • Melissa

    Love, love the blue! And the buttery walls it’s soooo me. I have always, always loved blue as long as I can remember. I loved blue when blue was cool….. (except the country blue and mauve.. I never loved that look…! Now the spa/watery blue is everywhere…so now I’m back in style… I so love your style…

  • Jody Serritella

    Hello Linda and Tobi!
    Sadly I have missed a few of your posts and need to get back on track! The gorgeous blue leather chairs are aged to perfection! I too love warm colors and I have some blue speckled throughout my home. My bedroom has gingham blue check fabric with along with blue chambray velvet pillows and yellow toilet rooster chair and drapery. You have inspired a good portion of my decor! I’m now in transition of still keeping the French country that I love, but keeping it a bit less cluttery as I had in the past.
    My mindset has become less is more in the design side. With keeping my collectibles to a more manageable amount. Less to dust!
    I still have my beloved staffordshire dog collectibles and other small dog statues.
    Which brings up a very happy topic of a new addition to our family! Gigi is our new puppy a beautiful Brussels griffon and half sibling to our Willy. She is not even 3 lbs ! Our home is now complete with 2 energetic and playful pups! To me, a house is not a home without something fluffy and furry!
    We hope you and Toby are doing well and thank you for your lovely post!
    Jody, Willy and GiGi

  • Jennifer Duffy

    Oh, Linda, I love your bedroom. Most importantly for me this month though was your effort to share your “artist’s eye”. And when I looked at your photo (#4) and its’ perspective,…..that vision was revealed to me with immediate clarity. The curve of the bed in perfect curvature with the hill behind, the subtlety of the shade (and, aha, the texture) of the quilt and the ocean, the backdrop appointments and wall color designed to support and enhance. What a vision of lovely harmony! You are a true artist and I thank you for letting me see what it feels like. I can’t wait to see what wonderful plans you have for your renovation.

  • Marlena

    Only you, Linda…I love every every every thing you do….I love blue..I have used blue all over my house…my bathroom, my laundry room and my bedroom
    and the downstairs door to the apartment… It is offset with cream and beige tones in both.

  • Meag

    So fun to see pictures of your beautiful home in this post! Reminded me of when I had the privilege of working for you, and was able to house sit for you guys in your beautiful home!!

  • Kay

    I absolutely LOVE what you have done with your bedroom! I, of course, love blue (marine and green) but have always loved the pop of red as well. What a joy to see what an artist can create! Love the echos of the waves in the quilt, the comfy wingback chairs – all of it!!

    I can hardly wait to see the transformation of your “masterpiece”.

    Love you,

    Kay ❤️

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