For years I had walls painted only with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and Navaho White in my home. Don’t get me wrong; I’d always loved color — in clothes, dishware, gardens, and more. But I didn’t have the courage to put it on my walls. Then, a guest at one of my gatherings, Julia Knevels of Julia Knevels Interiors in Birmingham, made a suggestion. After looking around our home’s first level, she announced, “Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Butter!” She was certain that this happy shade in the yellow family would work with our various furnishings. And she was right. The uplifting Fresh Butter (with a crisp, glossy white trim) brightens my living room, foyer, and stairway. It makes me feel as though I’m enveloped in a field of buttercups, even on the dullest gray Michigan day.
I’m happy to say that I no longer fear paint and, in fact, I’ve added Benjamin Moore’s Potpourri to our kitchen and family room walls, and Sweet Pear to the dining room and powder room. What a difference a shade — or three — makes.
Four years ago, I truly discovered the power of color. My oldest son, who was 15 at the time, had spent more than half that summer seriously ill. On many nights he would take over the guest room, so as not to awaken his roommate/brother when he couldn’t sleep. Apparently, although he was ailing, he got used to enjoying some chill time, some solitude there in that makeshift room reserved for visiting relatives (really, the space was mostly my personal “storage unit” for things like photo albums, clothes, and books). As he was coming out of those dark days, he begged for a room of his own — the guest room. I acquiesced, despite knowing it would require a great deal of work and time.
A few days went by and I’d hear, “You promised that once we got through this, you’d clean out the guest room and it would be mine.” (Children never forget a promise, do they?) I was, of course, determined to do it — I’d have given him anything to help him get better. He dove into his makeover project full-tilt. I’d return home on any given day late that summer to find yet another stack of my books at the foot of the steps, awaiting a new home. Allowing our son to oversee his new room’s design was the best therapy we could have given him. He had a goal and something positive to occupy his mind. In no time, he had the room cleared.
As for choosing the all-important wall color, he went straight to his collection of ties. “This is the blue,” he said, pointing to a traditional striped blue-and-gray tie. I talked him into painting just one wall with that color, as it seemed a bit bold. Off to the Sherwin-Williams store we went (and, yeah, I let him drive, even though he only had his permit; what fear I experienced as we buzzed south down Woodward Avenue). The paint that best echoed the blue tie was Honorable Blue (an apt name, considering how admirably he faced his challenges). We selected S-W’s Moderate White, which warmed up the blue, for the other walls. Then it was, “When can we start? When will the painter be here? Should we do carpet before or after the paint?” The carpet he chose, incidentally, was plush, in a deep blueberry color. Very nice!
Today, it’s still that inviting, serene blue space that welcomes him home from college. Color — it does wonders.