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DECOR SCORE- Color Me Fishy and Fab! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 16 August 2012 06:03


Always right, blue and white sparkle in a beach house makeover inspired by the blue of a trophy swordfish.

Q: Finally, this late in the season, my husband has agreed to let me update our little house at the lake, which we inherited 14 years ago from his parents and haven't changed the first iota. I'm both excited and a bit nervous, even though we don't have budget enough for a major renovation. Where should I begin? What will make the biggest different the fastest?

A: Paint. It's the least expensive, fastest and most effective change-maker in any decorator's bag of tricks.

Choose your color scheme, add in the right paint and tools, and you could have the whole place looking fresh and new in a few days' time. But "Ah," you might be saying, "There's the rub. What colors?"

Here's a no-brainer: blue and white. Didn't you say you're at the lake? Not only is blue and white both nautical and nice, it's a virtually failsafe marriage, which just might soothe yours, too. Ask men their favorite color and 57 percent will say "blue" in an instant.

In fact, in the minds' eyes of both sexes the color blue is associated with really good vibes, including high quality, reliability and dependability.

That's the word from the late Faber Birren, one of the 20th century's most sought after color analysts.

Birren also held that the one thing blue does not connote is fun, but hey, that's easily counterbalanced when you're decorating a house for lakeside holiday.

"Mrs. Howard," aka designer Phoebe Howard, the author of an excellent new book, "The Joy of Decorating" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) says she based the colors in this blueand- white beach house on the bright blue of the owners' trophy swordfish.

The fish arches over a console in the dining room, but its hue inspired the brilliant contrast that now invigorates the sitting room.

More advice for a quick makeover: The upholstery is slipcovered; the art over it is a carved panel — painted white — and the room-making pillows are easy to come by in many a decorating store.

Q: Ready for Christmas?

A: The rhetorical question is brought on by a press release we received just last week, all about house cleaning for the holidays. The company that claims to be the largest carpetcleaning company in the U.S. reports that during the peak holiday season, they alone will remove some 70 tons of dirt from America's homes. Seventy tons! Make you want to peel off your bathing suit and start scrubbing carpets right now? Or wait two moremonths and call those dirtytalking pros at Stanley Steemer.

Q: Help! The European inlaws are coming. I must furnish a bedroom and fast. I want it to be cheap, but don't want cheap to show. Help!

A: Race to your local salvage spot (Goodwill leaps to mind) and look for a vintage bedroom set or suite (pronounced "suit" in the South). We don't furnish ensuite much anymore, so there are many old sets out there, waiting for an encore.

The oldies were well-made; that's why they've lasted this long. Refresh them with a quick coat of white paint, and then update with wide, rollerpainted stripes, a couple down the front of a dresser or chest, in, say, beige or soft blue.

Striped chests were newsmakers at the Spring Furniture Market — elegant manufacturer French Heritage even showed them in colorful cabana stripes of black, red, yellow and orange!

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the coauthor of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 06:07

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