Monday, June 19, 2006

Remind you of anyone?

Hanna and I were sitting on the couch, flipping through the channels when we alighted for a moment on Miss Martha making a sufle or centerpiece or whatever it is she does, and Hanna said, "Does Martha Stewart remind you of anybody?"

I said instantly (since I'd said it before) "Billie," (my step mother) "She even looks like her. They've got the same haircut."

Hanna said "I was about to say she reminded me of Jo..." and then she stopped.

"Oh my God!" she screamed, "Martha Stewart is everybody's step-mother!"

And it made perfect sense. She's somebody you would never get to know her without a good reason. She's polite in an arogant sort of way, stuffy and strained and always knows what's best for everybody. She's infuriating but you really can't get rid of her. And she insists you do stupid things like build fallen leaf centerpieces for the dinner table or drink sake out of cups she carved by hand from a stock of bamboo outside the kitchen window.

Martha is not America's mother, she's America's step-mother. It all makes perfect sense now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Avoid White

AVOID WHITE (some advice on color)

A designer of truly manly interiors once said “Become and enemy of white, and also of beige, which is the new white.” He could just as easily have said “don’t be boring.” Whether sporting the bright colors of Caribbean houses of the deep earth tones of a WPA mountain lodge, men go for bold statements and bold colors. We like dark oak, black leather, red curtains, gold walls. White is for museums and high priced fashion boutiques. Only the minimalist modernists would disagree, but they like living spaces to look like museums. This can be a manly style, but only for a certain variety of men. I’m also quite fond of just opening the crayon box and going to it.

Right about here is where I’m supposed to talk about color theory. I’m supposed to draw a color wheel and explain that complimentary collors are the ones directly opposite the wheel from one another (like red and green), that “value” refers to the amount of grey in a color, that black is the absence of color and white is all colors mixed together. Look at the color wheel. Remember it. It’s useless. Going to Lowe’s to look at swatches is much more effective. I did. The sig-o and I went to Lowes looking for color and we picked out Perry Preston Purple, Jimmy Neutron Yellow and Spilt Milk of the Nickelodeon palette.

There are lots of architectural styles which rely on bland colors to “soften the tone.” Look at Martha Stewart: her entire palate is made up of colors you’d find in vomit; nachos vomit, with avocado green, soft cheese like yellows, chipotle pink and digested corn chip beige. Real men, who have conquered the world, bedded the prom queen and created the 440 cubic inch engine, don’t paint their pool room vomit colors.

So where do men go to find our palate? How about this: professional sports teams? Although some teams have recently shown a frightening interest in variations on turquoise or aqua (ok if you live in Arizona or Florida, respectively, but otherwise to be avoided), most teams employ well thought out complimentary color combinations that are bold, eye-catching and supremely masculine. I’m not talking about decorating a bathroom with Michigan souvenirs (though that is doable), but decorating in Maize and Blue creates a powerful image. NFL teams have spent millions of dollars to come up with their color schemes, why not take advantage of all their investment? Look at the starting grid for a NASCAR race. It is one of the brightest, most energetic color palettes you’ll ever find. How about doing the kitchen in Rusty Wallace blue and gold? Can you imagine a living room in Dale Earnhardt Jr. red, white and gold?

So here’s an idea for the next time you have to work up color schemes for your house: Take your favorite teams from each major sport, your alma mater and your favorite NASCAR driver. Now use those colors to do the living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, dining room and exterior. You can’t go wrong.