Imagine if you will a room, not overly large, rectangular in shape. Now add into this space five windows, three doorways, six built-in bookcases and one fireplace. This sounds like a room with quite a lot going on, doesn’t it? As some of my readers may remember from an earlier post, I was contemplating painting my home office all one color, in high gloss. Yes, this is the room in question, and yes, I finally did it.
Once upon a colonial time, rooms were mostly painted one color, before the advent of “white-trim-and-colored-walls” as an American design mantra. Recently premier shelter magazines have shown more and more rooms without (gasp!) white trim – beautiful rooms with walls and trim all wrapped up in one rich shade. Libraries, offices, living spaces with traditional or eclectic décor — I will admit I was both intrigued and a tad envious.
My office, with its white woodwork, tiny slivers of painted wall and numerous portals, was a visually distracting experience. But the view out the windows is lovely and green. Ah, inspiration! Could I erase the line between indoors and out, setting my desk in the yard, at least virtually?
Out came my fan decks, searching for the perfect green. But this one is too yellow, this too blue, this too gray — I felt like Goldilocks. I decided to use the custom-blended olive green (in Benjamin Moore's Aura, naturally) previously relegated to those tiny bits of wall — a color I loved, but never had enough of. Green decorating, with the color green — two favorites rolled into one task.
Down came the five enormous balloon shades left by the previous owner. Even designers need an incentive to replace what were clearly custom, albeit weighty and grandmotherly, window treatments. (Those window treatments I happily donated to a fellow designer's tag sale to raise funds for Komen CT). The influx of light was astounding.
Sometimes painting a room simply means moving all the furniture into the center and covering it with a tarp. But is my case, everything was already in the center of the room. The desk had been nigh impossible to get through the narrow doorway, so it was staying. And if it was staying, I was staying too, with files and computers and projects, oh my!
And those six, overstuffed bookcases? All needed to be emptied, onto the floor of this not overly large room. Stacks and stacks to be navigated around, sorted through and eventually re-shelved. Surely I can endure the disruption for a week? A little voice in my head is wondering if there really is anything wrong with white bookcases and trim. Hundreds of books made their way to the town library. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
But I carried on – and the result is truly… lush. That’s the best way to describe my home office’s new aura (no pun intended), like sitting in a rain forest. Those of you who thrive in all-white spaces may shudder, but this room now embraces me in glorious, warm, contemplative color. The new, spare Roman shades, in Quadrille’s Conga Line (moss & aqua on tint) trimmed with Robert Allen’s Cabin Weave (surf), add a funky vibe without being cliché. It feels so like working outside, I’m tempted to swat the mosquitoes.
Sorry, can’t show the rest of the room without blowing the mystique that designers live in pristine spaces. It’s a working home office that looks like total disarray – and not in an artful, dressed-for-a-magazine way!