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May 03, 2011

Ode to Chromatic Dare Devils

Jane Dagmi

I respectfully acknowledge the quiet strength of barely there whispers of color that cast their spell effortlessly without making a ruckus--the muted palette that has no ego and lets all other room elements take the lead.  There is, after all, a certain power in restraint.  This post is not about them.

This post is devoted to color that announces itself boldly, playfully, and undisguised.  Solid saturated fields of it, exciting patterns, unexpected hits that quicken the pulse.  I'm talking about the kind of OMG wow that catches the eye as soon as you enter a room and expresses the sheer joy of decoration.

The overly color cautious, who dwell in a land of same value beige, are starting to feel uncomfortable now.  They're scrolling down this post wondering, "What’s in it for me?"  To that I smile and reply, "If you're open to it . . . a whole new world!"

To work up an appetite for color, flip through magazines, Google your imagination away, and visit lots of shops.  Stores, as you know, use color to capture your attention.  On a recent jaunt to some of my favorite West Palm Beach antique and consignment shops, I was excited by pure lovin' color.  From dabs to gobs, I felt compelled to share.


I started my inspiration trek at Nettie's Thrift & Consignment, just south of Antique Row along Dixie Highway.  This shop always has a good supply of fun and inexpensive painted pieces.  Owner Annette Stephens elevates small, bland wicker and wood pieces to new juicy heights.  For the tonally timid, a quick inexpensive takeaway item--a painted basket or side table, a throw or painting--is an easy way to enter into the relationship with color. If something attracts you, honor your instinct.  Bring the happy piece home, and don't over think it!



More inspiration thanks to Gardenhouse, up in the Northwood section of West Palm.  Prices get a bit more serious here where photographer and furniture re-styler Cheryl Maeder uses fresh coats of paint and zippy upholstery fabrics to reanimate pieces with great bones.  Smitten am I with this funky French fauteuil.  Lucky is the woman who sits upon it in her glamorous gray bedroom as she laces her gladiator sandals or the man who places it in the corner of his tobacco brown dressing room.  Happy furniture deserves a place in your home.


I walk one block north to Circa Who, a resale store packed with 20th century furnishings, lamps and mirrors, where the prices are fair and the stuff moves.  I enter and I want!  It's that simple.  It's that appetizing.  Owner Tracy DeRamus created a juicy backdrop that accentuates the shapely curves and angles of the items she sells.  "I love color," she says, "and could not decide which one would pop best, so I picked them all!"  Random stripes line one accent wall and a brocade stencil motif floats upon the two largest expanses of 18 foot high wall.  Same colors show up in different patterns in one big room.  Applicable in a home?  For sure!  Think entrance foyer graduating into a hallway.  Think bedroom into dressing area.

The shopping tour is over.  After multiple color punches in the course of an hour, my head is spinning.  Saturated with the desire to redecorate, it's time to go home, contemplate, make little sketches, and stare at the walls.  Thinking about change feels hopeful.  Creating it is satisfying!

At Circa Who, Tracy says, "I have been inspired by others to do what I do and I love to inspire others."  With that in mind, I recreated the Circa Who color palette. . . .



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This is such a beautifully written piece. Inspiring. Thank you!

Dear Cheryl,

When I am in need of some visual excitement, I know I can come to see you! Glad you liked the blog. Thanks for the inspiration.

Dear Cheryl,

I'm glad you are inspired to color-ize! If you haven't joined the Benjamin Moore Facebook page yet ... do so now. And when you're done colorizing, post a pic of finished room!


I'm glad my invitation inspired you. So now, what are you going to do about your gloomy hall way or bath? Huh? A stencil could enhance either area. Another idea that a friend did -- trace around the curves of a mirror and then go over the outline with paint, building up about a 3 inch border. Nice way to bring out the shape of the frame and to put a little zing on the wall.


I appreciate your enthusiasm. Thanks for the kind words!


If you're scared of color, start with a non-intimidating bit such as a pillow -- one that keeps company with the other two that came with your sofa. Or paint inside a walk-in closet and see what it can do for you!

what a wonderful blog, so inspiring and beautifully written! makes me want to go out there and put color everywhere, wait a minute I do!... I am so honored that you mention Gardenhouse on the blog. Thank you so very much for thinking of us... Cheryl Maeder of Gardenhouse

I love neutral (and always have). It's restful and if done right can still be interesting but I could not tolerate a world (or a living space) without color. Color excites the rest of the room, bringing it to life and keeps a tone on tone white and beige room from slipping into the monotonous. Even one piece of furniture with color can convert the "ho-hum" into the "delicious" and dramatic catefory.

But here... now you're talking about a whole different level of color use and it's FANTASTIC! Love the paint palette too especially since paint is the easiest, (budget-friendly too) way to dramatically alter a room. There really are so many colors in the rainbow and you're inspiring me to color-ize a space or two. Love the post!

I am truly inspired by your invitation to color my world! I'm thinking of my very drab bathroom and my gloomy hallway. love looking at pictures from your travels...looking forward to your next blog.

Love your article!!

I absolutely love color but am terrified of it!! I want bright colors that scream happy & playful. One day...

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