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MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2 - Home Decorating Forum - GardenWeb

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MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by stargirl (My Page) on Thu, Nov 17, 05 at 16:59
I always read with interest your advice to other posters
because I know I'll learn something. So what you're basically
saying is that when one begins to contemplate decorating a
room, he or she should decide on the mood -- not the color
scheme. I agree completely but my question is, "How do you
keep everything from looking like a gigantic jumble of
unrelated stuff?" Do you do this by using ALL formal things
(or antiques) when you wish to create a "fancy" room and
informal things when you want a casual room -- or can both
live happily together? What is the secret, Mag? Respectfully,
Jan


Follow-Up Postings:
RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 1:10
Hi Stargirl.
Yes, that's exactly what I'm suggesting, though I've never
expressed it in those words before: decorate your rooms
backwards. That is, determine the effect or mood you want, and
worry about issues like color later.
Doing it this way is infinitely more flexible than using an
easily-described color scheme. It's also a lot more satisfying
in the long run. Sure, a bed-in-a-bag makes decorating a
bedroom easy, but only in the same way that Garanimals made
getting dressed easy. That is, it removes all chance--chance
not only of screwing up big time, but also cnance of
discovering a novel color combination, or expressing anything
at all about yourself.
Unfortunately, even when people don't resort to pre-packaged
linens, they often fall into the trap of me-too-ism. No sooner
does somebody post a photo of a pretty room than six people
say "I love your chandelier. Where did you get it?" or "What
is the brand & name of the paint in your hallway?" Somewhere I
read that the human eye can distinguish 23 million different
colors. So why are half the rooms I see painted Raspberry
Truffle or Believable Buff or Restrained Gold?
Actually, I know why: timidity. In the old days, most walls in
America were white, and you could rebel without much danger,
because it didn't take much courage to pick an off-white.
These days, though, what with a zillion TV decorators always
yakking about the 'WOW! Factor' and colors that POP, the
deceptivly innocuous makings of decorating disaster are
available at fine stores everywhere, so the risk factor has
multiplied. And despite the old line about it only being
paint, most people are still deathly afraid of making a
mistake, so they take the easy way out and copy the neighbors'
house instead. Misery loves company, I guess.
And since there's nothing easier to copy than a paint color,
it's no wonder so many people start at the wrong end of the
process. Even so, it makes me crazy when people start out a
post saying "We've just painted our living room Screaming Mimi
yellow, which makes our new taupe berber carpet look pink, but
we don't want to repaint. What color couch and loveseat should
we buy to minimze this problem? Also need suggestions for
curtains, pillows, artwork, etc."
It's hard enough for people to find a new place--even with a
map--if they're traveling on unfamilar roads in the dark. But
to start out on a trip not only without a map, but also
without any real idea where it is they want to go in the first
place is a sure-fire way for folks to end up lost & out of
gas.
That's why I tell people who are looking for decorating ideas
to stay away from any how-to books, or any magazines published
in the last ten years. Trendy color schemes & furniture styles
are always changing, but the principles of good design remain,
and looking at the photos in older publications throws the
critical difference between trendy design & timeless design
into high relief in a way that's not possible when looking at
today's cookie-cutter rooms, which have what Edith Wharton
called the 'fatal will-of-the-wisp of newness about them."
And speaking of Edith, here's a good quote from "The
Decoration of Houses" of 1904:
"Individuality in house furnishing has seldom been more harped
upon than at the present time. That cheap originality which
finds expression in putting things to uses for which they were
not originally intended is often confounded with
individuality; whereas the latter consists not in an attempt
to be different from other people at the cost of comfort, but
in the desire to be comfortable in one's own way even though
it is the way of a monotonously large majority. It seems
easier to to arrange a room like someone else's than to
analyze and express [ones] own needs. [Emphasis mine] Men, in
these mattters, are less exacting than women, because their
demands, besides being simpler, are uncomplicated by the
feminine tendency to want things because other people have
them, rather than to have things because they are wanted."
Oh, and the formal vs. informal thing? Unless I were doing a
very formal room--a period-correct parlor in an 188Os
rowhouse, say, or a hard-edged essay in strict Miesian
Modernism--I wouldn't hesitate to mix things up. My own house
may be full of antiques, but it's not formal, and besides, it
was the Victorians who invented the eclectic look, with simple
wicker rockers next to high-style ebonized tables, and cozy
embroidered pillows piled on 18th Century satinwood settees,
all set atop a crazy-quilt assemblage of mismatched orienatal
rugs, with an occasional tigerskin thrown in for good measure.
Antiques don't require a formal room--unless you want one.
Regards,
Magnaverde.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: MrStan (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 8:35
What a wonderful post, Magnaverde....

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: demifloyd (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 8:45
Thanks for sharing your insightful advice and observations,
Magnaverde, and to Stargirl for asking.

That is exactly how I am approaching decorating this
house--with a "feel" instead of a preordained color scheme or
theme. Because of this, I no longer walk around with ten
swatches of color trying to match a stripe in a fabric to the
pillow shams like I did when I was younger. This approach has
allowed great flexibility; if you change an aspect of a room,
it doesn't affect your other selections. I always buy and
display what I love and do not fret too much about matching.
I already like the way I feel when I walk through the house,
and that, in my opinion, is the objective.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: stargirl (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 10:18
Thank you for words of wisdom, Mag. Whenever I read your
philosophy about decorating, I always want to chunk out every
"matchy" thing in my house and start anew. Recently a friend
told me that my reproduction Tiffany table lamp is too formal
to use in the room where I'm using a rattan trunk as a coffee
table. Guess your theory proves her wrong! As always, I'm
grateful for your invaluable advice. What would we do without
you? -- Jan

Regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: stargirl (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 11:33
I forgot one last thing. So, after you've determined the mood,
does color even enter your mind at that point, Mag, or do you
just put things together that appeal to you, regardless of
color? People are always asking, "What is your favorite
color?" Even as a professional, you must have one.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 15:23
Like I said, Stargirl, if a client specifically asks for, say,
a pink room, I'll start on color work early, so we can narrow
down the big pile of different manufacturers' pinks to a
manageable number, but other than that, color comes pretty
late in the game.
Part of that comes, I think, from the way I learned to
decorate. I only got my design degree in 1994, but I stated
decorating 3O years before that, back when I was still in
junior high school, and most of my early knowledge of the
nuances of period styles came from studying the photos in the
3O-year old back issues of decorating magazines stacked up in
my grandmother's attic. Needless to say, most of those photos
were black-&-white. Add to that the left-brain approach to
things that comes from working with engineers for a decade and
you see why right-brain tasks like picking out colors come
pretty far down on my to-do list.
Favorite color? I don't really have one, although I like the
sequence of clean greens that runs from Nile to celadon to
Hamilton Beach blender to jade to Paris green. Not, however,
that I remember ever using any of them.
One time I took one of those online tests that supposedly
discern your personality based on your favorite colors. I
don't remember what colors I picked (although I do recall that
Hamilton Beach blender green was not on the list) but the
analysis "revealed" that--are you ready?--I have a strong
interest in appearances, have well-definite opinions about
things, have a tendency toward bossiness, and often think that
my own way is the best.
Well, duh. Why do you think I chose this profession?
Regards,
MAGNAVERDE.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: stargirl (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 15:39
Perhaps we took that same online test. LOL I'm not described
as "bossy," however. It's more like "control freak!" Thanks
for clarifying everything. Why do I always think decorating is
so complicated? You make it seem so simple.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: Skypathway (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 16:07
This is very interesting and thoughtful - Magnaverde - you
always seem to have your own approach which has such clarity.
I'm a library junky and I've read or flipped through tons of
old decorating books and found that most helpful. And
entertaining- because I quickly perused one book last year
where the decorator/author was complaining about everyone
painting their rooms milk chocolate, coffee au lait and
mushroom - she made the point that these were all beiges and
why not use color instead of beige. This was a really old book
- must have been writen in the 50's or 60's - and we're back
to painting our walls beige and calling it everything but
beige. While I enjoy new decorating books, the old ones are
more fun and full of good ideas.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: stargirl (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 16:29
While we're on this subject, I hope Magnaverde will give us
some examples of "mood" when it comes to decorating. Chris
Madden says there are three moods or styles in decorating --
adventurous, romantic and serene. Just wondered what your
thoughts are on this, Mag, and if your home fits into one of
these categories.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: zobeet (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 16:46
I just wanted to comment on 'everything that's old is new
again'. I told my mother that colored ceilings are trendy now,
and she said when she was a girl in the 40s and 50s everybody
had colored ceilings -usually pink, in her experience.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: stargirl (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 17:18
I remember my grandmother having a room painted in pink. Gosh,
I can still see those Pepto Bismol walls! Perhaps pink was the
popular color then -- or maybe there was a sale on pink paint.
(smiles)

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 17:23
All rooms fit into one of those three categories, do they?
Actually, I'm not even sure who Chris Madden is, but I'd love
to hear which category he would put this room in.
And no, it's not my work.
....................................
My place, by the way, doesn't have any particular style.
Here's the dining room, which is just the opposite of my dark,
cluttered living room.
And, yes, I remember pink ceilings. At one point my parents'
bedroom had charcoal gray wallpaper with silver & taupe pussy
willows, flat enamel trim in dove gray, cocoa-brown cotton
carpet, a 194Os Moderne bedroom set in pickled-oak, a
smoked-gray mirror dressing table, a taupe quilted velvet
bedspread and a shell-pink ceiling. Pretty high-style glamour
for a small town out in the middle of nowhere.
Regards,
MAGNAVERDE.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: pammyfay (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 17:27
Yup, Magnaverde is certainly right about not letting the color
"drive the decorating truck."
I was on-track for the main living areas, but I flunked when I
went upstairs. I matched the MBR paint to a set of sheets
whose color I loved. Now I can't use the sheets because I'm
getting a different-sized bed (and the sheets are
discontinued). And the paint color was always just too similar
to the hallway/main living room area's color--I usually have
to tell visitors looking at my decorating style that they are
different colors.
So the room has never had the right mood to it. It has color,
it has furniture, but it lacks that extra "glue"--no one who
would walk in there would get any sense of the mood. It's
still a "before" picture. The contemporary style I have for
the living room never made it upstairs, because I was
decorating solely around what I had instead of thinking about
what the space needed.
(But I think it's going to take a while to stop walking around
with swatches!)

Regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: stargirl (My Page) on Fri, Nov 18, 05 at 17:36
Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures. When I look at
the bottom one, I think "clean and classic." It's definitely
in a category all to itself -- so I think Ms. Madden was
wrong. Say, is that the cover of "Expensive Homes" magazine I
see through the doorway! LOL Actually, Chris Casson Madden is
a lady and has written several books on home decor. She has
her own line of furnishings at one of the major department
stores, and once had a decorating program on television, I
believe. Although I don't adhere to everything I read,
especially in books written by designers, I do like to read
them. I've got books from Rachel Ashwell to Alexandra Stoddard
and I read them purely for enjoyment. Did you have all those
great pieces of furniture before you moved to this apartment
-- or did you acquire them gradually. I love them.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 0:24
Stargirl, thanks for your kind words. I've only been in my
current place for a few years, but most of the stuff that's
crammed in here goes way back.
I started buying antique furniture in high school, when I paid
$35 for a massive Empire sleigh bed I spotted in the window at
the Salvation Army. I got my dining room's bird's-eye maple
chairs a few years later, at the bankruptcy sale of the Hotel
Wolford in Danville, Illinois. They're actually folding
chairs, and they came from the hotel ballroom, where my
parents met on New Years Eve, 1948. Here's a shot of one of
them in my first apartment after college, circa 1978.
Obviously, my taste hasn't changed in 3O years. In fact, if I
had a picture of my room when I was in fifth grade, you'd see
my tastes have never changed at all. The pieces, of course,
were different back then, but the look was exactly the same.
My folks must have wondered what the hell was wrong with me.
At any rate, my no-style approach to decorating is a lot
easier on the budget than the trend-of-the-moment look that a
lot of designers go for. M.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: joyjoy45 (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 1:13
Magnaverde,
Wonderful to read your posts--always.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: Sharla (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 1:33
I appreciated your insight, magnaverde. I am no decorator but
love decorating. I've decorated our home to be "us" and
haven't worried too much about color until the mood was
determined. Many people have commented how comfortable our
home is- which is what I was trying to achieve. I admit to
using some trendy colors, but it's because it's what I love,
not just because it was the "in" thing at the time. I've
always felt myself an inferior decorator because of my
approach, but after reading your post, I feel much better.
Thanks!

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: bnicebkind (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 8:45
Magnaverde,
Perhaps you can help me too. I have painted the walls in my
bedroom Tiffany blue...you know, the color of a tiffany's
box...aka...aqua. what colors and how would you decorate the
bed? What about the side chairs? would you try and match this
aqua in the fabrics?

Looking for opinion..
Posted by: dastowers (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 11:56
Magnaverde- I am sort of following your approach. I know that
I want a warm cozy yellow/mustard that will not shock you when
you walk into my Nantucket Style home- picture sage
exterior/sandstone trim- blends in very close. Far away the
house looks very monocromatic. So when you walk in the
foyer/sunroom you will see the yellow color immediately. and
the color will be used on the whole floor as it is REALLY
open-12 foot wide doorways. The color I am looking for will
wrap you in it's arms when you walk thru the door and say "I
love you, please stay and relax!" Any thoughts? The floors
will be a warm oak- 5" wide planking. The rooms are full of
windows so natural light will strean thru the entire place.
I really like how you are willing to help others and have
enjoyed reading all your posts.
Davena

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 16:05
Hi friends.
Davena, I think it all despends on how one defines the word
"help." If it means "suggest a philosophical approach to
decorating" or "provide a historical background & aesthetic
context for different styles", than yes, I do give a lot of
help, sometmes more than peoplr really want. If you mean
"provide paint names & nunmbers" for people, or "name stores
that sell high-end furniture at deep discounts" then, no, I'm
sorry to say I'm no help at all.
I try to keep my answers on message boards as generic as
possible for the simple reason that the more narrowly focused
on a specific problem an answer is, the fewer people it
applies to. It reminds me of the opposite approaches to
storing food my two grandmothers had.
One grandmother had a pantry wall full of cabinets stacked
with of evey Tupperware container ever made, from the icy,
translucent pastels & crisp shapes of the early days to the
197Os TV-shaped pieces in opaque golds & greens & browns, to
the postmodern teals & mauves to the new brights with their
funky multicolored closers. That grandmother's pantry was like
a museum of 2Oth Century product design. My other grandmother
had a drawer with a roll of Reynolds Wrap.
Based solely on eye appeal, the Tupperware won hands down
(except for the 7Os stuff, I mean) and their iconic deviled
egge server is a classic proof that functional doesn't have to
mean ugly. Next to this sleek beauty at a big family picnic, a
bunch of eggs served in wrinkled aluminum foil looked straight
outta Hardscrabble Farm.
But when it was time to go home, that beautiful egg server
became useless. It was no good for packing up leftover
sandwiches, or the remains of the chocolate cake. And you
couldn't use it to wrap up the oozing stems of the milkweed
plants growing in the roadside gullies that we picked for a
fall bouquet, and it wansn't any good for protecting the
fragile seed-heads of the cattails in the marshy ditches when
we piled them in the trunk with the lawnchairs & balls & bats.
Aluminum foil, on the other hand, could do all of those
things, and more besides. It could be alid a lid for lightning
bugs in a jar, it could make a robot costume for Halloween, It
could be a TV antenns, or gift wrap, or a sun block at the
window of our un-air-conditioned car. Aluminum foil could do
all those things, with a lot less expense and a lot less
wasted storage space than a wall of overspecialized
Tupperware.
Anyway, it's like that with online advice, too. The more
specialized such advice, the less useful it is to the most
people. For one thing, it's impossible to suggest an
appropriate color for a room unless I've stood in that room
and seen how the light falls, and what the green of the grass
& leaves does to the room, what color is in the next room,
because a single paint can look like a completely different
color in two different rooms of the same house. Besides, even
if I had magic vision and were able to prescribe exactly the
particluar color that would look great in a particular room,
it wouldn't help anybody else, because their rooms would all
have different sizes & exposures. One size doesn't fit all.
That;s the problems with TV decorating shows. Because of the
intimacy of the medium, it seems like the those people are
talking specifically to you,/i>. But they're not.
That's why I keep my message board advice vague: doing it this
way helps people think about their own rooms and come up with
answer for themselves. In any situation--especially when it
comes to color--one answer will be better than another, but
that doesn't mean that that answer will apply to anybody else.
But that's OK. Decorating isn't nearly as hard as people tend
to make it. What makes it so difficult for so many people is
focusing too much on the 'answer' itself, rather than on the
learning process that leads you to it.
Regards,
MAGNAVERDE.
............................
Davena, I see no reason an all-yellow house can't be
attractive. Just vary your shades as you move through the
sapce. Here's some rooms to do some reasearch on: Nancy
Lancasters' rooms at Ditchley & Haseley Court; John Soane's
Patent Yellow Drawing Room in London; the Yellow Oval Room at
the White House. All very formal but absolutely stunning rooms
in which the color scheme is very restricted.
Bnicebkind: If a room has a lot of handsome--but
mismatched--furniture the way mine does, I try to keep the
wall color close in tone (if you don't know, look it up) to
that of the woods & fabrics. That way the emphasis in not on
outline or shape, but on surfaces: this color vs. that color,
carved vs. inlaid. A close tone like this can also provide a
feeling of calm for a room that might otherwise have too much
going on.
If the furniture has great lines or is all matching, I like to
use the wall color to silhouete the shapes & focus the eye,
which means I keep the palette resticted to one--or maybe
two--colors and use a paint value that contrasts with the
wood. That's one reason you see a lot of pale blues right now:
there are alot of dark finishes in the marketplace--Barbara
Barry, Thomas O'Brien, Thomas Pheasant--and the combination is
a good one. When woods go lighter again in time--and they
will, to oak, maple, whitewashed woods & painted
finsishes--such pales colors will look insiped and it wuill be
time to darkent the walls again, but in the meantime, Tifany
blue still looks great. Here's your homework assignment:
Madame Castaing's apartment in Paris; Elsie deWolfe's villa at
Versailles. What we call Tiffany blue was hot in the 18th
centruy, and I can think of a bunch of sprightly German Bococo
rooms where the color scheme was based on turquoise or jade
green, wuth white-&-gold woodwork, accented with shell pink or
coral. roomsRooms to look turn blinde birchwhy the cuin th.s a
defining backgroun is look it upcololike mine, I prefer to use
If a room has decent--bgo; ThesdAVENA,
magnaverde.
.................................
Davena, here are
givesns., the suggestion I completelky . The same color
canrmand soecific color for a room Telling
when Aluminum, Aout of the growing in the roadside ditches
that we took home for a fall bouquet or to protect the fragile
cattails that . alonsthe it's hard tobring home the leftover
aluminum needen't mean ugly. of form-follows-function design
that also happens to be beautiful. . , But on TheWhich was
more attractive? Wen I mentioned a museum, I wasn't kidding.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York blessed Tupperware with a
gGood Design award half a century ago, and certian pieces--the
deviled egg serversome pieces of its line awarded RisaidNoWhen
it was time for a picnic
When I said tuNow

reTupperware Museum , and in every Carter
administraionpossible tupperware all the lastest, most
ingenious new containers from Tupperware, the other one used
aluminum foil. had My two grandmothers had opposite I had tt's
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eggsing your har. and non
them.
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.
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RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 17:02
Oops. I hit the submit button too soon. Here's the cleaned-up
version, for those of you still with me...
Hi friends.
Davena, I think it all depends on how one defines the word
"help." If it means "suggest a philosophical approach to
decorating" or "provide a historical background & aesthetic
context for different styles", than yes, I do give a lot of
help, sometmes more than people really want. If you mean
"provide paint names & nunmbers" for people, or "name stores
that sell high-end furniture at deep discounts" then, no, I'm
sorry to say I'm not really much help at all.
I try to keep my answers on message boards as generic as
possible for the simple reason that the more narrowly focused
on a specific problem an answer is, the fewer people it
applies to. It reminds me of the opposite approaches to
storing food my two grandmothers had.
One grandmother had a pantry wall full of cabinets stacked
with of evey Tupperware container ever made, from the icy,
translucent pastels & crisp shapes of the early days to the
197Os TV-shaped pieces in opaque golds & greens & browns, to
the postmodern teals & mauves to the new brights with their
funky multicolored closers. That grandmother's pantry was like
a museum of 2Oth Century product design. My other grandmother
had a drawer with a roll of Reynolds Wrap.
Based solely on eye appeal, the Tupperware won hands down
(except for the 7Os stuff, I mean) and their iconic deviled
egge server is a classic proof that functional doesn't have to
mean ugly. Next to this sleek beauty at a big family picnic, a
bunch of eggs served in wrinkled aluminum foil looked straight
outta Hardscrabble Farm.
But when it was time to go home, that beautiful egg server
became useless. It was no good for packing up leftover
sandwiches, or the remains of the chocolate cake. And you
couldn't use it to wrap up the oozing stems of the milkweed
plants growing in the roadside gullies that we picked for a
fall bouquet, and it wasn't any good for protecting the
fragile seed-heads of the cattails in the marshy ditches when
we piled them into the trunk with the lawn chairs & balls &
bats.
Aluminum foil, on the other hand, could do all of those
things, and more besides. It could be alid a lid for lightning
bugs in a jar, it could make a robot costume for Halloween, It
could be a TV antenns, or gift wrap, or a sun block at the
window of our un-air-conditioned car. Aluminum foil could do
all those things with a lot less expense and a lot less wasted
storage space than a wall full of overspecialized Tupperware.
Anyway, it's like that with online advice, too. The more
specialized such advice is , the less useful it is to the most
people. For one thing, it's impossible to suggest an
appropriate color for a room unless I've stood in that room
and seen how the light falls, and what the green of the grass
& leaves does to the room, what color is in the next room,
because a single paint can look like a completely different
color in two different rooms of the same house. Besides, even
if I had magic vision and were able to prescribe exactly the
particular shade that would look great in a particular room,
it wouldn't help anybody else, because their rooms would all
have different sizes & exposures. One size doesn't fit all.
That's the problems with TV decorating shows. Because of the
intimacy of the medium, it seems like the those people are
talking specifically to you. But they're not.
That's why I keep my message board advice vague: doing it this
way helps people think about their own rooms and come up with
answer for themselves. In any situation (and especially when
it comes to color) one answer will be better than another, but
that doesn't mean that that answer--however good it is for
that person--will apply to anybody else. But that's OK.
Decorating isn't nearly as hard as people tend to make it. In
fact, what makes it so difficult for so many people is
focusing too much on the 'answer' itself, rather than on the
learning process that leads you to it.
Regards,
MAGNAVERDE.
............................
Davena, I see no reason an all-yellow house can't be
attractive. Just vary your shades as you move through the
space. Here are some rooms to do some research on: Nancy
Lancaster's rooms at Ditchley & Haseley Court; John Soane's
Patent Yellow Drawing Room in London; the Yellow Oval Room at
the White House. All very formal but absolutely stunning rooms
in which the color scheme is very restricted.
Bnicebkind: If a room has a lot of handsome--but
mismatched--furniture the way mine does, I try to keep the
wall color close in tone (if you don't know, look it up) to
that of the woods & fabrics. That way the emphasis in not on
outline or shape, but on surfaces: this color vs. that color,
carved vs. inlaid. A close tone like this can also provide a
feeling of calm for a room that might otherwise have too much
going on.
If the furniture has great lines or is all matching, I like to
use the wall color to silhouete the shapes & focus the eye,
which means I keep the palette resticted to one--or maybe
two--colors and use a paint value that contrasts with the
wood. That's one reason you see a lot of pale blues right now:
there are a lot of dark finishes in the marketplace right
now--Barbara Barry, Thomas O'Brien, Thomas Pheasant--and the
combination is a good one. When woods go lighter again in
time--and they will, to oak, maple, whitewashed woods &
painted finsishes--such pale colors will look insipid and it
will be time to darken the walls again, but in the meantime,
Tifany blue still looks great. Here's your homework
assignment: Madame Castaing's apartment in Paris; Elsie de
Wolfe's villa at Versailles. What we call Tiffany blue was hot
in the 18th centruy, and I can think of a bunch of sprightly
German Bococo rooms where the color scheme was based on
turquoise or jade green, with white-&-gold woodwork, accented
with shell pink or coral. Go to the library and get yourself a
book on the period and you'll see what I mean. Good luck.
M.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: boopadaboo (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 17:25
Now that explains a lot. I feel really dopey that I never made
the connection. Magnaverde you could be a decorating shrink!
:) No wonder I am so drawn to being matchy matchy - My mother
always dressed me in garanamils. (I have been meaning to type
that since I first read that comment earlier in this thread
and I didnt' get to it till now so it is a bit back to the
start of the topic - sorry) I just had to comment that I
couldnt believe I never put the two together before!

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: miramira (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 19:39
Well, I just think it's so exciting to be challenged to do
historical decorating research and I'll be interested to see
what the habitues of this forum think of Ditchley and the
Castaing apartment. And if anyone does rooms based on those
themes or schemes I would just love to see the pix! Bet Ellen
Kennen could be really helpful in matching up the paint.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: bnicebkind (My Page) on Sat, Nov 19, 05 at 21:37
Magnaverde, We do not have the furniture yet, and will only
buy an armoire' and a bed for this master bedroom. I should
have mentioned that the woodwork is all white against the
tiffany blue. we are going for a sea-side feel, but in a
sophisicated way...by that I mean NOT the "cute" sea-side
where some people decorate with lighthouse lamps, etc. More
along the lines of Coastal Living magazine...the antiques
adding what I imagine the interesting houses in the Bahamas
and Burmuda might have had. Fresh Casual linens, cool colors
as a retreat from the hot sun, the antiques and wood floors
anchor the rooms, lending history and debth, and interest.
Casual, with elements of formal touches, but no silks...linens
and cottons.
****The question that I was really asking was that if you had
colored walls...say the Tiffany blue, do I try and match this
color in the duvet, or choose and off- white, then add a
Tiffany blue skirt and shams to the bed, and add a blanket
across the bottom to give it more interest? When building the
bed covers, to I contrast the wall color, or try and match it
on the duvets, and chairs?
In terms of research...I have researched so many details
building this house, and I am worn out. DH is getting very
testy that I do not finalize choices. I ponder, and ponder. It
is time to just put a room together.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 3:41
"Decorating isn't nearly as hard as people tend to make it. In
fact, what makes it difficult for many people is focusing too
much on the 'answer', rather than on the learning process that
will lead them to it. That's why I keep my message board
advice vague: it helps people think about their own rooms and
come up with answers for themselves."
But here's a hint, for those who are too tired to do their
homework...

Thank you!
Posted by: dastowers (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 9:29
I have googled all of your suggestions- the White House was
really a nice color- still too yellow. But I think I have
fould my color- EK mustard seed. I looked at 4000 colors last
night on color charts website but couldn't find the shade.
Then I remembered a post in the gallery about EK. THAT was the
color!
Thanks for all your advice and keep it coming!
Davena

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: suszann (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 10:02
No sooner does somebody post a photo of a pretty room than six
people say "I love your chandelier. Where did you get it?" or
"What is the brand & name of the paint in your hallway?"
----------------------------------------------------------
Magnaverde, so glad you noted this, its one of my pet peeves.
The posters are looking for something proven and "safe"
instead of making their own choices. One size does not fit
all. Suzanne

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: Elisabeth_pinelake (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at
12:07
For me, color (overall, such as peach, not minute, such as BM
whatever) is part of mood, but that's because, at my age, I
know what colors spark what moods, I have strong preferences,
I live alone, and I don't give a rat's *ass what other people
think. High contrast makes me edgy (with one exception:
yellowy-cream with black) and I dislike primary colors and
most brights. Things can be fairly intense, just not bright or
very dark. Oh, and I am really, really uncomfortable with
white, especially, and off-whites (possibly because almost
everything I have would be too high-contrast against them). So
by my nature, I have less to choose from.
The other element is that I have traveled a lot and bought a
lot of textiles (especially scarves, saris, African dress
lengths and shawls) and a few carvings. My mother does collage
and painting, as her mother did, and I buy a few things
(really, wall color would hardly matter if I had everything
up!). So my style is intensely personal (I don't think I've
ever seen a PB catalog) and incorporates disparate ethnic
elements, but in a restsricted color range.
I tend toward muted midtones. In my large entertaining areas,
I have peach with dusty rose furniture from different periods.
It had to be warm and welcoming - I like to have large crowds
over. The 8x 10 entry way is sponged Tuscan (butterscotch over
cream) to disguise the fact that the walls are oriented strand
board), with stamped dragonflies and fabric falling leaves on
the walls, and Amish bentwood furniture. There's an African
carved bird and some Moroccan copper lanterns for decoration.
This is part of the entertaining area when it's warm enough (a
lot of the time, in Atlanta).
The two bedrooms and the den off the entertaining area are
where I actually do most of my living. For my bedroom I wanted
warm and cozy exotic. It has an undercoat of peach paint,
which is irrelevant because it's densely sponged over with
opalescent paint mixed with copper, with copper trim. All the
furniture in this room is new: copper bamboobed from Sears,
twin rattan armoires from Big Lots, and bedside tables of what
looks like Indonesian wood and rattan (found one at
Marshall's, the match at the TJ Maxx in the same shopping
center). The bedcover mixes dark pure reds with some purples
and golds, as does the window covering, and the floor is cork.
Just to show color isn't the same as mood entirely, the copper
finish on the walls had to be sponged over and over to attain
an even finish. I tried color washing first but didn't like
the brush strokes in the cross-hatch method that's
recommended. Then I realized I didn't have to do it their way,
and started doing great fountainlike strokes, which morphed
into tighter curls. This looked great close up, but when I got
finished and stood in the middle of the room, I realized I
would never be able to sleep in there - too much energy
bursting off the walls at me! So the next day my unhappy
friend Al was told to wipe it all off (fortunately you can do
that with these glazes) and I sponged it. Now I love the color
and the finish.
The second bedroom has just been done in EK greens, with green
vinyl on the floor (who says you can't use vinyl a bedroom? I
try to show off the cork in my room, and everyone oohs over
this). It's blue and green with a leather look. This room is
so calming, despite all the books and the jigsaw puzzle on the
Chinese black & blue coffee table, that some people don't want
to leave it.
Actually I think I am lucky that my rooms always just evolved
until I got to my late 30's, which was when I first set out to
make radical changes to my first home. It was an apartment
with an L-shaped living/dining area. I hated that dining area
and barely used the 2nd bedroom, so I switched them. That gave
me a huge living/entertaining area, with bookcases and a desk
where the dining table used to be, and a separate dining room,
which I craved (and people loved to eat there).
To this day, I have never started with a blank canvas - I've
never wanted to get rid of everything and start fresh, and
I've never had to to love my home. Actually, most of my
friends love my home too. I tend not to invite the more
narrow-mindedly middle-class of my colleagues (and there's no
reason to - I don't entertain for work, I just invite them if
I really like them and think they will enjoy the
artists/musicians community I live in).

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: bnicebkind (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 12:08
Suszann, "that is one of my pet peeves. The posters are
looking for something safe instead of making their own
choices".
Can you please imagine that so many of us have several hundred
dollars invested in quarts of paint barely used, in trying to
come up with the right color? That the irritation and
frustration that the actual paints may bare little resemblence
to the paper card sample from the store, that is no bigger
than 2"X 2"? That the lighting at the store (why do they have
floresent lighting in paint stores anyway) causes the paint to
look very different than it might in an actual home, where the
other elements, including lighting, makes the paint look a
completely different shade than you were looking for? My DH
and I spent an entire Saturday trying to get the blue right
for just one room. Two other weekends spent trying to get the
exterior color right, (including paying 2 different interior
designers their hourly rate for their advice on which shade
was the right one for our home...they both chose the same
shade... and we still only got it about 95% right. We bought
so many quarts of paints trying to get the color right. The
same for the living room and Dining room. Colors that I
thought would be perfect...like Restoration hardware Silver
sage, look like a muddy gray in our home. Again, 2-3 more
days, and many, many, quarts of paint, and we still only have
it 90% right...but 90% right is what it will be. Enought is
enough already. And so on, and so on, for every room in the
house. When finally, I saw a paint on a friends wall, and
asked her for the color, and sure enough, it was the perfect
shade for my childs room.
So instead of allowing this to be your pet peeve, please
consider what a lovely gift it is to be generous and gracious
with a friend. I am thankful that my friend was kind and
generous in spirit to "happily" share the paint shade for my
childs room...we must have over $400 in useless quarts sitting
in the garage, which we will donate. "Proven and safe" is
beginning to make alot more sense, both from a fianacial point
of view, and the stress and time that experimenting is putting
my family through. And I am a fairly creative, and
design/style conscious individual. Can you imagine how
difficult this must be for those who have no sense of style,
or design or color? What a difficult process this must be?
People have different gifts. One friend may share her gift of
humor with you, to make life brighter. Another may offer her
gift of loyality...where you know you can share your heart and
thoughts and they will be safe. Another may be the friend
whose home is always open to you or your children. Another may
offer great advice. You get the picture. Your gift may be a
keen sense of style, color, or spatial, where you can just
walk into a room and see its possibilities in a way your
friends cannot. So instead of being irritated with a friend
who asks... perhaps you could look at it as a way of sharing
something that comes easily to you, as a gift to your friend.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: CallMeKaren (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 12:33
That is a very lovely, thought-provoking post, bnicebkind.
Thanks.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: miramira (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 13:24
Anyone who needs sympathy because they're exhausted from
choosing paint colors and can't seem to find the right
decorator might think about how that comes across to those on
the forum who are rebuilding their homes in the wake of
Katrina and Rita. Now, that's really exhausting. Bet those
folks would think it's great if they just had paint color to
deal with.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: suszann (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 14:02
Your post implies that I am the perfect decorator who never
errs. Far from the truth, I have posted my chagrin at all the
costly mistakes I made, with paint colors and furniture
choices, and today I would opt for professional help, it being
much less costly in the long run. Surely u/would agree that
seeing a wall color on a posted pic is a far cry from how it
would look in someone elses home. I understand that there are
young people for whom this a new venture, and they find it
daunting, I've been there, and still am. My post was not meant
to denigrate, but rather to be inventive and learn to make
good choices.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: dastowers (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 14:04
Miramira- that isn't really fair and snippy. Just because
someone states on a DECORATING FORUM none the less- they are
having a difficult time deciding on a color and are just
exhuasted with making decisions doesn't mean they haven't
taken in consideration others hardships. Was she supposed to
say "In light of the Iraq war, I realize this isn't important.
And with Katrina and Rita I don't feel I should ask this silly
question."? No. Decorating and making a home is what this
forum is about.
Davena

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: anna_chosak (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 14:08
I don't think that's what Suszann was saying. I think she
meant the people who, when someone posts a photo of a room
that's beautifully put together, immediately want to know what
the chandelier is because they've been looking for one, and
they ask without giving a thought as to whether it would work
in their rooms. That's totally different from someone saying,
"Hey, that's EXACTLY what I've been looking for in a
chandelier and haven't been able to find it! Would you mind
sharing where you got it?"
Picking a paint color from a small picture someone posts on
the internet is even worse because there's SO much variation
in photography and monitor settings and color saturation and
myriad other variables. Again--totally different from walking
into someone's house and saying, "Wow! I LOVE that color--what
is it and who makes it?" Of course there's no guarantee that
it's going to work as well in your setting as it does in hers.

of course
Posted by: anna_chosak (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 14:10
Suszann came back and clarified while I was typing away. ;-)

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: demifloyd (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 15:00
Well, this thread has given me some other perspectives. I will
say that although I am very happy to share a paint color, or
where I got a pillow, piece of furniture, etc., I am not
exactly thrilled when someone comes over, asks for paint
chips, samples of flooring, etc., and proceeds to copy exactly
what I've done, down to the fabric, rather than use one or two
elements and then create a look all their own. I do understand
how frustrating it is and how some people just don't know what
to do--certainly, time and experience tend to make decorating
easier for most of us, unless one is blessed early on with
"the gift."
It is always a good idea to compliment the person whose taste
you admire, and then take notes on what you think makes their
room work (or not) and apply it to your own
decorating dilemma. Personally, I seldom enjoy touring a new
home where the rooms are overdecorated in an effort to "be
finished," with every curtain, rug, picture and knick knack
permanently in place--I'd rather see the room evolve. I'm just
now beginning to decide where to place accessories, what
window treatments I want, etc. There is no way I could have
made all of those decisions before living in the house for
awhile. To me, what makes a room truly memorable is not that
it is a result of a "makeover," a replica from a catalog or a
formula used by someone else, but that it reflects the
homeowner. That cannot be copied.

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: bnicebkind (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 18:45
Thank you CallMeKaren and Dastowers.
Miramira, I am appalled that I sounded so shallow...however,
perhaps you are new to the forum, as I am not worn down simply
from choosing paint colors, and difficulty finding a designer.
I am worn down because for various reasons, our project has
been going on since 2002. We actually signed the contract for
the property in 2001. That is a long time for a family to live
in limbo. To be making decisions day in and day out for
several years. Add a few kids, a small temporary house with no
where for them to play, and no one for them to play
with...and, well, you get the picture. Add construction
problems and hassles, workers who don't show up for weeks at a
time, cabinets months behind schedule with poor craftmanship,
and huge costs to correct, and many decisions that have been
much, much, bigger than paint. If you have been on the forum
for awhile, you will have read about problems such as the
architect making costly mistakes, and abandoning our project
in its early stages, because he was busy with his own project
development. Yes I am tired, and so ready to move and get on
with life. To not have so many, many decisions facing us every
day. However, I am so thankful to have a home.
Living in the state of Florida, every hurricane you hear
about, is a threat to my family, as well as many, many, many
people, and because of the recent number of catagory 5
hurricanes... and the vast destruction they are doing, it is
not something any of us can ignore, or would. Can you imagine
what it feels like several times a year, for such a massive
storm to be headed your way, and not knowing if it will hit
where you are living at 3:00 a.m., or miss this time? And we,
along with most of you I am sure, have extended help to those
devastated by these hurricanes, and try to understand how
difficult it would be to deal with such destruction, and pick
up the pieces and start over.
But as Dastowers said, this is a decorating forum, and is that
place where we can turn for advice, and we can also offer
advice and experience, and encouragement to others who need
it. It is a place where many people, (including generous
professionals) visit, and guide each other through many of the
questions or problems we will encounter when building or
renovating or decorating a home. Sometimes people need a
second opinion, or sometimes they will be the one offering one
to someone else, who is just beginning their project. It is a
place we can use as an escape, and it is a place where we will
learn and where we will share/teach someone else. It is a
place where you can talk about so many things that others in
your everyday life are not experienced with. Or have no
interest in. You will find friends on the forum that are
passionate about many different things having to do with
putting together a home for yourself, and your family. How
many friends in real life like to talk about all of this, or
have this kind of experience or knowledge?

RE: MAGNAVERDE, regarding your advice to Shelly2
Posted by: magnaverde (My Page) on Sun, Nov 20, 05 at 20:45
This is why I love this forum: articulate people who can
express widely differing opinions in a civilized manner. Not
like the board I used to post on, which finally got shut down
because of rudeness & hypersensitivity.
"Pet peeves"? I agree that it's always nice when a friend
compliments something I've done--actually, we're only talking
theory here, not reality, since not a single one of my pals,
and only one of their wives has ever praised my decor--so I
can't imagine getting all bent out of shape if somebody asked
me what color I had used on my walls. As bnicebkind points
out, sharing is a big part of friendship, whether it be
sharing a paint color, or a recipe--something else no one has
ever asked me for, althought I make a mean piece of toast--or
a radial arm saw. If no one ever shared anything, we'd all
still be living in caves, and how would I pay the bills then?
No, sharing is good.
But Suszann is right, too. What's not good is buying six
gallons of the "perfect" paint color--based on a picture you
saw online. Here's a good example: the photo of that room with
the blue divan & the accordion at the top of this thread. Yes,
it's cheesy--I got the photo on ebay as an example of What Not
to Do--but it looked totally differernt when I saw it on
somebody else's computer. The original had that weird red tint
that comes with old photos that haven't been stored properly,
so I tweaked it to get rid of the red and made the walls a
nice crisp white, then I posted it. Except that when I saw the
room on a different computer, the walls had turned a pale
peach.
What if that really were my room? What if someone asked me for
the color name, based on what they saw on their own screen?
The actual color would have nothing to do with the color they
saw, and once they got it up on the walls, they would end up
hating their room. That's what's wrong with playing copycat
with stuff that's online. It's why I don't provide color
names.
Speaking of white walls, a lot of TV decorators love to make
fun of them, but they serve a purpose, one that bnicebkind
probably appreciates more than the rest of us. They might not
be all that exciting, but no one ever ended up with a basement
full of tester quarts of white paint. You can call white walls
boring & unadventurous, but they're as close to foolproof as
you can get, and one day, when exhasusted amateur decorators
everywhere are sick to death of the frustration & expense of
countless failed attempts at the "perfect green" or the
"perfect peach"--which, by the way, don't exist--we'll go back
to white walls with a sense of utter relief. Personally, I
can't wait. Not that I don't like colored walls. In the right
places, I do. But I see way more failures than I see
successes. Which, of course, is why there are professional
decorators. Their services aren't free, but then money is only
is only one factor in anything's true cost. There's also time,
which, for most of us, is already in short supply. Why waste
it?
And as for the morality issue--the relative importance, that
is, of the wrong paint color vs. a destroyed home--I came up
with a solution that works for me a long time ago, the day I
found a wonderful scroll-end Empire sofa from about 184O, with
lustrous crotch-grain mahogany & a worn velvet the soft yellow
of creme brulee on the very same day that the Illinois River
flooded a small town downstream from where I lived.
If I had simply gone ahead and bought the sofa I had spent
several years looking for, while there were suddenly-homeless
people reduced to living in tents, I would feel bad, and the
sofa would remind me of my own selfishness every time I sat on
it. On the other hand, if I gave over every penny in my bank
account to the flooded-out people, there would still be
hundreds of homeless people and I would have ended up sittong
on the floor for years. Neither choice semed good, so I
compromised.
I decided I could buy the sofa--or anything, for that matter:
clothes, books, casettes (this was the early 8Os),
whatever--but I had to give an equal amount to charity. It
worked out fine then, and it still works now. I can buy any
foolish thing I feel like, without feeling the slightest bit
of guilt--as long as I balance it out with an equal amount for
other people. It's so simple. So, in theory, every rejected
paint color I choose does somebody somewhere some good. At
least, it would if I ever chose a wrong color. But I'm lucky
that way: I have perfect pitch in color. Either that, or I'm
just easily satisfied. Or maybe they're the same thing. If
not, they're close enough.
Which brings me to my last point: the quest for prefection.
Forget it. You won't find it, not in this world, anyway. And
even if you could, who would want it? Not me. The great
decorator Nancy Lancaster (see above) said it best:
"Understatement is extremely important and crossing too many
t's and dotting too many i's make a room look overdone and
tiresome."
Besides, color on the wall of any room is only one part of a
larger whole, and what's important is the big picture.
Sometimes, the best discoveries happen by chance. Somebody
drops a glob of rubber on a hot stove and voila' we have
Vulcanized rubber, the basis for modern tires. Somebody else
wants to make dinner for the emperor after a hard day in
battle, but there's nothing but leftovers. Presto! chicken
Marengo. Let's face it: life's a crapshoot. When you look at
the news, you realize we could all of us go at any time. Why
get too hung up on decorating.. Obsessing over anything is
bad, but everybody needs a bit of diversion. My Tupperware
grandmother used to remind me and my brothers (not that it did
any good): a place for everything, and everything in its
place. That goes for life, too.
My first boss in the decorating world was an incredibly
talented & incredibly sharp-tongued woman of 6O, with hair as
orange as Clairol could make it. Phyllis claimed to have
invented the color orange, which wasn't true, but she was, I'm
sure, the first to slap it on the walls in 195Os Peoria. She
also had a ton of tinkling gold charm bracelets on each arm
that let you know she was approaching, and a toxic cloud of
mingled Chanel No. 5 & tobacco smoke that lingered behind when
she moved on.
Phyllis refused to be ruffled by anything. Shipping delays,
flawed fabrics, a broken pipe in the warehouse, impatient
clients, all were met with Phyllis' deadpan "Oh, well..." Her
calm demeanor sometimes veered into zombie territory, but she
soothed local attorneys famed for their hair-trigger tempers,
reassured third wives who quaked in awe at tales of their
predecessors' exquisite taste, and dissuaded hot-shot young
brokers ready to plunk down megabucks for glitzy Vegas-style
atrocities that would have gone out of style in six months.
She was the clucking mother hen to all the nouveau-riche
chicks in town who dreaded making some fatal faux-pas that
would brand them forever as country-club trailer-trash, and
she refused to sell the same chintz twice, so that none of her
old money clients--and she had a ton of them--ever had to
worry about seeing their sofa at their social inferiors'
houses. She was everyone's best friend. One time when I was
freaking out over a chair that had come back from the
upholsterer with the stripes upside down, she bet me lunch
that the clients wouldn't even notice. They didn't. We ended
up at the most expenxive restaurant in town and it cost me
$6O--this was 15 years ago--at a time I was still trying to
pay for school on two part-time jobs. When I started whining,
she just said "That's OK. This will teach you not to panic
over nonsense. It's not rocket science."
Unfortunately, Phyllis died a few weeks before I finally got
my design degree, but I think of her all the time. How could I
not, with her personal motto hanging above my desk? She worked
it herself, in orange & black petit point one year when she
was laid up at home from one of her not infrequent auto
accidents (she drove like a maniac). The frame is 188Os
Anglo-Japonesque and the Victorian script is so elaborate you
can just barely make out the words among all the orange
curlicures: ""Oh, well."
Regards,
MAGNAVERDE.
[p.s. to Elizabeth Pinelake: Phyllis would have loved your
confident style. Your place sounds awesome.]



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clipped on: 01.10.2012 at 11:10 pm    last updated on: 01.10.2012 at 11:10 pm

RE: Magnaverde's rules (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: allison0704 on 03.08.2011 at 06:00 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Here's a post I saved. Haven't read in awhile, but knew I had it:

I think every style has the potential to become classic. Part of it has to do with psychological distance. Think of a curvaceous Chippendale ribbon-back chair from say, 174O. Today, that style is classic. In 1800, the same style was hopelessly dated, and the trend-followers--who are, like the poor, always with us, and who could afford to buy a roomful of pieces in the hot new style coming out of Paris, pieces with acres of flashy veneers & gold-plated trim--lost no time in sending that dated old Chippendale stuff to the servants' quarters. By 185O, the square, humorless Empire pieces of 1800 were on the outs, and heavily carved parlor suites with massively curved shiny backs, bulgy arms & short, squatty legs came into style. In 1900, the Empire stuff was being revived, the cartoonishly florid Victorian stuff was being broken up for firewood & the Chippendale stuff was being acquired by major museums & robber barons. In other words, "classic" is whatever the powers that be tell us it is. My advice? Pay no attention to labels, especially labels coined by the marketing boys on Madison Avenue. What do you call classic?

When I was in college, junk stores were full of chunky fumed-oak Mission furniture upholstered in black leather. They couldn't give it away. Twenty years ago, the same thing was true of the spiky-legged, bright-colored 5Os-Modern pieces that now provide the inspiration for everything at IKEA. Even ten years ago, top-quality mirrored furniture from the 193Os languished unwanted in the dusty back rooms of pricy antique shops, waiting for its chance for a comeback.

Well, the Mission/A&C revival caught me off guard, and so did the new enthusiasm for MCM stuff, but on my first day of class in design school--clear back in 1990, years before anybody ever heard of Jonathan Adler or Kelly Wearstler--I stood up in front of the class & predicted the return of the style and the restoration of the reputation of Dorothy Draper. Everybody howled with laughter.

So what's my point? That any style has the potential to be--or to become--"classic." What makes the difference is how well any style is interpreted. But don't worry about classifying rooms as being in certain styles. Names mean nothing. If you had told Ernest Hemingway you were going to decorate your living room in "Ernest Hemingway style" he wouldn't have known what the hell you were talking about, unless that you were going to using the same faded floral chintz as the slipcovers in his living room in Cuba.

Hemingway? Slipcovers? Faded floral chintz? Shabby Chic faded chintz? You see the problem with trying to label things. They seldom have any relation to reality.

Here's a photo of a room I find really appealing for its rustic simplicity: an unpretentious iron bed, wide-plank walls & ceiling, a calico hanging behind the bed, rag rugs on the floor, an eclectic mix of mix-matched wicker chairs & more substantial case pieces, inexpensive art prints in plain frames, a lamp with the shade at a jaunty angle, and at the windows and on the beds, fresh white linens. It might almost be a studio-built set for a Ralph Lauren towels ad. But no, it's a makeshift home created inside an old boxcar by a migrant worker in the Arizona desert in 1911, and if you called its decor "Shabby Chic", the hardscrabble farm wife who tried to make it attractive would have chased you out the door with a shotgun.

For our purposes here, though, the question is "At what point does a place like this change from a scorching, squalid crib for hard-luck folks barely making a living to a romanticized, middle-class fantasy of the simple life?" You see the power--for good & for bad--of putting labels on things. Would a rose, by any other name, smell as sweet?

Regards,
MAGNAVERDE.

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clipped on: 01.10.2012 at 11:09 pm    last updated on: 01.10.2012 at 11:09 pm

RE: Magnaverde's rules (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: deeinohio on 03.08.2011 at 04:07 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Here's a few:

Rule #1: Don't confuse decorating with shopping.

Rule #5 - Stop, look & listen.

Rule #12: History has all the answers. All we have to do is look them up.

Rule #16 - Decorate for the way you really live, not the way you wish you lived.

Rule #30 - Contentment comes easily to those who set their standards low.

Rule #40 - Sometimes the easiest thing to change is our attitude.

Dee

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clipped on: 01.10.2012 at 11:06 pm    last updated on: 01.10.2012 at 11:09 pm

RE: Cold & Wet...what should I do? (long) (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: worthy on 02.10.2009 at 06:05 pm in Basements Forum

Though the best way to stop water is from the outside, don't give up.

If you can see where the water occasionally comes in, try a hydraulic cement product, such as Thoro Water Plug, to see if that stops the water. You could also try coating the wall with Thoro Seal. Crystalline waterproofing can also be used on the interior, but some variations require the use of sulfuric acid washes that require a lot of caution in using. Combined with special sealants at the floor wall juncture, it can be very effective.

If these additional interior approaches are found to work, then you could use foam board insulation.

Forget the plastic. That just traps water on the wall or in fibrous insulation.

Hiding the whole mess behind a new wall will just encourage hidden mould growth.

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basement solutions
clipped on: 02.10.2009 at 09:42 pm    last updated on: 02.10.2009 at 09:42 pm