Interior Decorating

More notes for our Big Reno.

I have two rules for decorating:

1. Start with the light. (This is also my architect's prime directive.)
2. All furniture and accessories must either be perfectly functional and neutral (e.g., sofa in ivory canvas) or they must tell a story.

Light. In the more public areas of the house, we've got an open-plan with light all through. North light in the front, south light in the back. Because of the open plan, paint colors can't just switch dramatically from room to room. But the light changes dramatically as you walk through the house, from cool bluish north light to wake-you-up south light (and lots of it). So we're stuck with neutrals throughout the open-plan parts of the house, though the neutrals vary slightly in terms of temperature. (Cool neutrals in the north light, warm ones in the south.)

Dominant color ideas: Sand. Fog. Seagrass. The silvery underside of silver maple leaves. The Atlantic Ocean on a clear day at one in the afternoon. Wet bark.

I wanted to incorporate little shots of color on the walls so the panels behind the bookshelves in the living/dining room will be a deep, rich brown. In the office, where the walls are a bluish neutral, the panels will be dark gray-blue. Like all the other trim, the bookshelves will be white painted pine. I hope.

In the private areas, I've decided to intensify whatever neutral is happening nearby. So the entryway is a medium ivory trimmed with white, and the powder room is a deeper velvety barley color (also trimmed with white, & white beadboard halfway up). White sink. Brown and white tiny floor tile. Antique bronze fixtures, maybe.

Ceilings are all white, so is the trim. Simple, clean, perhaps a little boring. So what. I like how it unifies things.

Floors - hardwood, or polished slate (dark). Where there's slate, we're covering with nice rugs (lighter).

Objects that tell stories -- stuff I've made, or collected. Paintings by my mother, by MJ's grandmother. Prints we've collected on our trips. Heirlooms. Framed photographs. Anything holds a memory or is a trace of something else. Records of all kinds, from vinyl to notched sticks. And things that work with a general "bring the outside in" motif -- leaf skeletons, pinecones, acorns, tree silhouettes, dried flowers, feathers, nests, hives (abandoned ones!), rocks, antlers, shed skins, even bones...