Friday, July 31, 2015


The R & R before the work
Over the last month my husband decided to redecorate the downstairs of our house instead of doing the same old cardio rehab that everyone else who has mitral valves repaired does.

He was happy to paint the house. Apparently that's what having heart problems--that are then completely fixed--does for one's mojo. And for my own, because when he asked what colors I wanted the walls I went in unexpected directions. Rather than the dark and dramatic tones I've always gone for, I wanted airy and light.

I also wanted texture.

I'm learning this concept in writing but it's even cooler visually, and once I started looking, I saw it everywhere. When we went to Montreal for our quick World Cup jaunt we saw this wall art on curved buildings, so the beauty was not only from the artists' work but the architect's.

Street-level art in Montreal

My sister Leslie makes jewelry that combines beads, leather, buttons, weaving and macrame. 

When I went to New York last week there was a street show in front of the theater...

and a sunset blazed over Manhattan and through the top edges of Citi Field.

Texture, as I understand it, is not only what you can touch, but the layering and combining of elements to create (or enjoy) a more complex, sublime experience.

All of this was inspired by our daughter Sheyanne, who had a huge Pinterest board (here) of ideas when she moved into her tiny apartment. We had much more space, and fewer ideas. Also a very tight budget. But that didn't stop her, and we followed her lead. 

We started by removing all the eye-level line-up of kid pictures, framed art projects, family photos and fading posters from the walls. Like humor is built on surprise, an interesting room has unexpected combinations that also make you feel good. 

Anyone who has read about design knows all this, and all the tips on making your home warm and inviting, but raising a houseful doesn't leave much time for thought, never mind contemplating the feng shui of our living room space. Luckily, designers who write books have a nice way of coaching you through. 
  • Remove everything from the room. 
  • Look around for an inspiration object that has the colors or feel that you want. 
  • Ask the kids for ideas.
  •  Look at your dishes, your phone case, your clothes, anything that shows what colors and patterns you like. 
We picked out wall colors that seemed to be the right tone, and checked a color wheel (for the first time ever) to see if they were complimentary. [A few times I slept with the Better Homes and Gardens book Color, it was such a revelation]. 

Diving in, Mark painted our dining room table blue found a green credenza he liked at Costco and I found some dining room chairs I liked at 

Picking up courage, we got bold on the art print sites. Most of them suggest prints based on one you say you like, or a color, or an artist. We mixed styles and eras, I ripped some photos I liked out of magazines and framed them, Mark told me he liked an artist (yes, one, Simon Bull) but had never thought to mention it. I fell in love with a Gustav Klimt print (Tannenwald). We ended up with 25 prints from and a Simon Bull canvas from ebay for under $200 total, then went to JoAnn Fabrics and bought a bunch of frames on sale. 

 Which did not fit the art, which came in 25 different sizes. There was trimming and maneuvering involved but I learned from scrapbooking that cropping is fine to amplify the essence of the picture. To get it on the wall also seemed a noble goal.

Mark found a teal couch on clearance at a local furniture warehouse to replace the dull olive one we found was broken when we moved it out of the way. That little elephant lamp is from Walmart, and is even more adorable in person. 

The rooms feel different but familiar at the same time because these ideas were all inside of us, though it feels good to get them out into the world.
The Simon Bull canvas "Living the Life"

And enjoy them while I'm sitting on the cozy new couch, getting busy with Pinterest. 

Love, Lisa

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