|All of us experience Color in a different way. The way we react to color is often related to where we grew up, colors we are used to, vs. colors that are new and exciting to us. In some instances, interpretation of Color is the plain acknowledgement that a Color is right on the mark for the location it is in. More often than not, the Colors that catch our eye, that inspire and stimulate us, are the colors we don’t see every day, or are presented to us in new combination or arrangement.
I am often asked, “How can I create a mood with Color, using Colors that I see and like?” How can I translate the experience of viewing a field of wildflowers into the Colors in my home or office?”
Many people love Color, but are afraid to use it because there is no visceral link between seeing a Color and then trying to pick out a paint chip that may or not be remotely close to capturing the feeling associated with the Colors that they are trying to replicate. Many times there is a longing, a feeling for an inviting, wonderfully uplifting Color, one that exudes warmth, but no way to narrow down or pick a color that fits the bill. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith, and lots of work to pick out that Color that creates the desired feeling. The important thing is that you have the courage to experiment until you get it right, because the rewards will be generous.
I had an Oncologist call me one day to tell me he was ready to quit medicine. He was constantly depressed, feeling that every day he had to battle the mindset that he was a bystander, continually witnessing his patients fight a life-ending disease. He strongly felt that his paucity of positive thoughts was not helping his patient’s condition. His wife suggested he give me a call, because on a previous job, I had helped add a wonderfully cheery Color to a hospital where she worked. Her experience was the Color made everyone feel good. She had seen an attitude shift in the staff and patients, and thought his office needed a change.
I went to his office and the walls were dreary, cold, gray and lots of stark white, very clinical, and perfectly matched the feelings he felt everyday as he entered the office. He was depressed and so was feeling in the space he worked in. First of all, I made him chuckle, when I told him the dead pancreas pictures, of decay, and death, had to go. The charts and warnings of illness adorned his waiting room, nothing like a good colon cancer picture to look at while you wait for the doctor. His good intention to educate only brought inevitable fear and discomfort.
He agreed to a small over haul and he saw exactly what had to go. He replaced the old pictures with new ones of his favorite two subjects, funny dogs and sailing.
Life affirming is what it is all about. Creating balance. He soared to great heights with his selections. We changed the Colors on the walls to bring a warm, comfortable, uplifting, cheery place to sit and wait for the office visit. The staff became cheerier and renewed by the changes. He felt like a new person, he loved hearing the patients giggle when they saw the dog pictures, and the chatting going in the waiting room. It was so much easier to take a happy person back into the patient rooms, they were less nervous, more open to sharing what they have going on. His job was now much easier because he changed how his patients felt just by having a more healing happy environment. He said they would even be chatty and tease him about when he was wearing socks that did not match or other things unnoticed before. The waiting room decompressed the patient so his job was made easier. He was a happier guy, and that was his wife’s favorite part.
The overwhelming message to the story is that Color can make all the difference in the experience you have in a space. We all know the feeling when we walk into our favorite restaurant, our body starts to relax and our mood shifts, we feel better. Having Colors you love at home and in the office, can bring about a mood or feeling such as a gathering and festive to cook in kitchen, or a productive, energized workspace, a calming den, or a great party living room. Color, getting the right tone, can draw in natural sunlight into a space. Even very rich strong tones can be just the perfect thing for a room. It is rarely the Color a person gets wrong. It is the tone that has to be right.
Finding the right tone of a Color, it can make all the difference in how you feel. When you learn to see and understand the power of Color, you will be on your way to finding the Colors that will work for you.
Just as there are two kinds of people, there are two kinds of storage. Storage can be the place where you throw things to get them out of the way, or your invisible infrastructure. Either it is the empty space, which sucks stuff to it like a vacuum cleaner; or it is the shelves and labels that support an extended lifestyle beyond your daily routine.
In the grand scheme of things, how important is storage space? What is storage? Is it a place to fill? Or is it a place that has been created to store seasonal belongings, favorite but outgrown memorabilia, or bulky items like beanbag chairs? How do your storage habits simplify or complicate your life? I know one couple, who has a fairly sizeable house, and even though this is the case, the husband still has his office as crammed with stuff as he did when he lived in his parents’ home and all he had for an office was something a bit larger than a walk-in closet.
We have all heard the mantra, “If I only had more storage!” But to what end? Is your storage space designed for the items it will store? Is it efficient? Do you have an attic full of old clothes in many sizes that you simply haven’t gone through? Are you saving boxes of things for a time when your children can use them? How about your closets? Are they full of things that you have put specifically in that space, or was the space there and you just filled it? These are questions to ask your self.
When a person buys a home, many aspects may ‘sell’ the buyer. Sometimes it’s the number or size of the bedrooms; the look or feel of the kitchen, or the location is great. Sometimes it’s because the house has a walk-in closet and a lot of storage. Most couples check to see if there is a basement and whether it is dry. They look to see if the laundry room has an area to fold clothes. They look to see in kind of a general way is it going to be a house they can fit into easily or will it be a tight squeeze. Does it have a coat closet, pantry, workshop, and covered garage? Will the Barbie, motorized car fit under the stairs?
But on moving day often reality sets in and they see that the storage space is not what they had imagined. They need to get rid of some things or add a room to accommodate everything. Sometimes there is too much space or it is not organized well and the storage space is hard to use; it may have bad access. One of my clients has an attic, yes, but the access to it is so small that only a slender teenager can fit in, or the 5’5″ 100 lb. inspector that they, by happenstance, contracted to inspect the house prior to buying it.
If you had dream storage, what would it look like? Would you prefer perfect cubbies for shoes, cedar-lined drawers for sweaters, everything with its place and all your fingertips? Or do you prefer a large undefined space that you can remake with moveable structures to suit changing needs?
No one can predict exactly how much storage space they may need, and it’s not a question to live or die by in choosing a house. But neither should it be the last consideration. Storage is an important aspect of daily comfort. In actuality the unseen space is as important as the visible space.