by Debra Wade
The other day I met a client for a consultation in their home. I walked into the space of white walls, bare windows and furniture lined up around the perimeter of the room, a voice inside of me sighed, “so much undeveloped potential.” And then I grinned, because, of course, that’s why I was there.
Over the years as a designer and “environmental psychologist,” I have learned to draw out the higher calling of a home. A home has the potential to inspire and support its inhabitants. It has a silent voice that yearns to be recognized as vital and valuable.
The spirit of home was first most visibly captured by mid to 18th century French interiors with complete floor-to-wall-to-ceiling designs. All surfaces of the homes were given equal emphasis. The rooms celebrated continuity throughout, even if a bit over the top. Then, take away the French rococo effects, and add a century or so, and you find the whole house concept being carried on by Frank Lloyd Wright and other modernists.
This sort of continuity would serve my clients well, and I would guide them to choosing colors that spoke to them–a deeply personal process–through my Integral Color
Plan. The Integral Color Plan is a question-and-answer program that helps clients identify colors they resonate to in their deepest selves.
My clients were ready to begin by looking at the long-life colors of their home, which for them were basically neutrals. We started with the wood floors and developed a color palette.
In the north-facing living room the walls would be painted a warm blonde and the ceiling and trim would be ivory. In the adjoining dining room to complement existing art, they chose to paint the ceiling a soft sky blue with ivory trim, and a multi-colored grass cloth wallcovering in blue, blonde and natural tones to complement the wood floor.
In the kitchen, walls and ceiling would be pale yellow and ivory trim. A color-washed endwall treatment in saturated colors of sunshine would be sure to lift their hearts each day. We added a glass tile back splash to reflect light with soft blues, greens, and yellow, and stripe fabric with similar colors for surrounding chairs and bench seat. In a short time, the whole place came alive with light and ambience.
Happiness and inspiration replaced complacency and boredom. And I wasn’t the only one grinning.