Just before Dave and I were married, a friend of the extended family asked me a question as we pored over her perfectly compiled wedding scrapbooks. (Yes, scrapbooks.) “Have you chosen your colours yet?” she asked. I didn’t quite understand. She explained to me the concept of choosing one or two colours (I henceforth began to refer to these as life colours) that she would use for eveything in her home and that the colours would take the lead on all design and style choices. It worked well for her – the minty green and eggshell that she had chosen in he paint were replicated, along with some accent colours, in Christmas ornaments, her china and the accesories on her mantle. Looked too easy to actually be that easy.
Let me start by saying I am not great at mxing and matching colours. My default colours are white, black and grey, and I’m not particularly confident about being more adventurous than this very often. But after the conversation above, Dave and I began to joke that we were “beige people.” We did have a beige couch – beige by default, of course, as Dexter had “got” to the white one we had before and beige was the Ikea slipcover of choice to hide Dexter’s fur grime. Also, beige was an easy colour to tease ourselves about because I don’t consider myself particularly stylish and beige is, at least in my opinion, kinda dull.
When Dave and I moved in together, our stuff was just a mish-mash of whatever he had in his condo + whatever I had in my apartment and we made about zero effort to change that. My design style at that time based on how I lived and the few items I chose to live with (because I can’t stand clutter), could be described as “anonymous clean” or “functional sparse.” But you know what? That kinda started to change when I started to think about how many concessions we made for Dexter and how fun it could be to personalize a space. I’m no designer, but I know what I like when I see it. Don’t we all?
I like the look of the ocean the first time she appears before you as you reach the crest of a dune (nice image, right?). I like look of the lake as she teams with sailboats early on a Saturday morning, and sea creatures fascinate me. I started small. I started thinking about a sea-themed bathroom, and I made an attempt to cultivate pretty things that I could one day incorporate into it. I picked up a number potential contributions: a beautiful drawing of an albino lobster created by a biologist-turned-artist that I found in Cape Cod, a photograph of two starfish sunbathers that I picked up on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, an old-timey set of mini fishing buoys from Florida The Pottery Barn, not to mention my replica wooden ship’s steering wheel, a piece the jury is still out on.
Our first house had little hope for a sea-themed bathroom. The main bathroom was modern and new (and beige – surprise!) with floor to ceiling tiles and left little room for change without doing major work which we were not prepared to undertake in what was already a very comfortable and stylish space. But in the new house…I think this sea theme is gonna work somewhere! Maybe everywhere! So as I fumble my way through this reno and design stuff, I find that I am actually working with a some style in mind, if not at least a couple of life colours. I am drawn to the water and always have been, I love boats marine life and beaches and I think our house just up the street from Lake Ontario is probably the closest I’ll ever get to coastal living, so with that in mind, I’ll be drawing inspiration-however subtley- from all things nautical. Can’t wait!