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On the absence of color contrast

Looking through the radio room railing to the living room fireplace

I’ve had a lot of doubts about the lack of contrast in my interior color scheme. The pine floors are lot like the rosy beige walls, the pine trim, the gray-pink marble, and even the almond Formica in the kitchen. I made the decision not to stain the wood and alter the natural colors, though, not out of an opposition to contrast, but rather out of a sense of honesty and humility in the materials used. Pine is pine. Formica is Formica. It would be dishonest, in my mind, for pine and Formica to try to pretend to be something they aren’t. Pine, like all children, is beautiful just the way it is.

So I was interested to find a piece in the Washington Post about a decorator — a Southerner, no less — who intentionally avoids color contrast.

I am reminded of advice I’ve given other people often enough: Just do what feels right to you and don’t be overly influenced by the opinions of others. Still, I am pleased to know that there are professorial decorators who agree that lack of contrast does not necessarily indicate a lack of imagination.

I am reminded of a time some years ago when a friend made fun of me for singing what he thought was a silly and obsolete old song, “My Funny Valentine.” Then he heard Matt Damon sing it in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

“See there,” I said. “Truly being cool is about knowing what to like before Matt Damon gives you permission to like it.”

I like my honest, unremittingly neutral colors.

Washington Post


  1. Quetal wrote:

    So are you concerned about what people are thinking or what you are thinking? I think it looks good from my limited perspective.

    On another note, sorry about your Chicken being strangled – I always thought in the country Chickens roamed freely, similar to what I see on my way to Oakley (a farming community) and those Chickens aren’t strangled or snatched?

    Best to you


    Friday, July 17, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  2. mountain madness wrote:

    How was your chicken strangled?

    Friday, July 24, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

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