23 September 2013

Glorious Technicolor

For as long as Mark and I were card-carrying New Yorkers, black was the only color we wore. Black jeans, black tops, black skirts, black boots, black coats, black gloves, black scarves. If it had been in fashion back then I’d have used black nail polish. It was all very chic, very Big City. Our apartment was equally monochrome, furnished mostly in blacks and whites; it was the quintessential New York loft. But one day under the influence of a certain Gregory, owner/designer of a store called Shabby Chic in Soho, we threw caution to the wind and bought two plush, red velvet chairs to brighten our living room. Gregory was on to something. The added color was terrific, and a seed was planted.

Then we moved to Brazil and it was clear that our black-and-white design sensibilities were wrong here in the tropics. We remembered those red chairs, and the success we had had with them. It was time to go crazy, time to put color everywhere. And whenever I thought we’d thrown too much color into a room I turned out to be wrong. Color absorbs color. There’s always room for more.

We turned eight white chairs into a color wheel around the dining table.

We wanted lots of big pillows to make our living room banquettes more comfortable. Let’s see, what color should we choose?

We had lots of empty wall space to fill up, so I decided to try my hand at painting, something I’d always wanted to do. It wasn’t Robert Motherwell who inspired me —

— but the world I saw right out my window. We turned one of our bedrooms into a studio, bought me an easel, and I began to splash colors onto canvas, lots of colors onto lots of canvases, all the colors that were available in the art supply stores.

And as for our clothes, well, almost everything black ended up in storage (except what might be needed for trips to New York and Paris). It wasn’t long before our closets were bursting with lilacs, greens, yellows, oranges, and purples . . .


. . . and blues . . .


                            . . . and golds . . .

    . . . and roses . . .      

Like Dorothy crash-landing in Oz, Mark and I had stepped into a world of glorious technicolor. And we are surely not in Kansas anymore!

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