Dream House

Muriel Blandings: I want it to be a soft green, not as blue-green as a robin’s egg, but not as yellow-green as daffodil buds. Now, the only sample I could get is a little too yellow, but don’t let whoever does it go to the other extreme and get it too blue. It should just be a sort of grayish-yellow-green. Now, the dining room. I’d like yellow. Not just yellow; a very gay yellow. Something bright and sunshine-y. I tell you, Mr. PeDelford, if you’ll send one of your men to the grocer for a pound of their best butter, and match that exactly, you can’t go wrong! Now, this is the paper we’re going to use in the hall. It’s flowered, but I don’t want the ceiling to match any of the colors of the flowers. There’s some little dots in the background, and it’s these dots I want you to match. Not the little greenish dot near the hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish dot between the rosebud and the delphinium blossom. Is that clear? Now the kitchen is to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic hospital white. A little warmer, but still, not to suggest any other color but white. Now for the powder room – in here – I want you to match this thread, and don’t lose it. It’s the only spool I have and I had an awful time finding it! As you can see, it’s practically an apple red. Somewhere between a healthy winesap and an unripened Jonathan. Oh, excuse me…

Mr. PeDelford: You got that Charlie?

Charlie, Painter: Red, green, blue, yellow, white.

Mr. PeDelford: Check.

Perhaps you’ve seen Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Cary Grant? Myrna Loy? It’s charming. This 1940’s black-and-white chronicles Mr. and Mrs. Blandings’ love affair with a house. As with all love affairs, it has its ups and downs. It’s worth seeing to have a chuckle over his outrageous advertising executive salary alone.

If you are skipping around the blogosphere it’s likely you are in the midst of a love affair with your own home. Mine began with my room at a very young age. The items in the hutches of my yellow chinoiserie bedroom furniture were in constant motion. Books here, mice there, Madame Alexander dolls there. Books, mice and dolls jumbled all together. Shifted again to make room for my 8-track. If I’d been a smidge older I might have known the term “tablescape.” I was massing gobs of junk on my walls a la Chile’s and TGIFridays.


And then I got sidetracked.
An issue of House Beautiful in 1998 rekindled a passion for a discipline, that, when done well, is nothing short of an art. As way of introduction, here are a few rooms of my own dream house.


Movie still top courtesy of moviescreenshots.blogspot.com
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10 thoughts on “Dream House

  1. I’ve got to see this film! I’ve heard Steven Gambrel mention it before too. Sounds like it would have been amazing in color.

    What a lovely post this is. (You are very articulate!) I enjoyed hearing about your first room, and I like the color combinations of the HB interior. Are those curtains “le lac” from Brunschwig & Fils?

    Congrats on your launch, and kudos on such an original blog name 🙂

  2. Patricia- Gorgeous room! I love that lacquered yellow- I wonder how Mrs. Blandings would describe this color 😉 Also, what fabric did you use for your window treatments?

    PS- Good luck with your new blog!!!!

  3. Peak – Mrs. Blandings would call it “lucky.” Two days with the very patient Mr. Hoffman who listened with amusement to the diatribe similar to Myrna Loy’s. Thank for noticing the curtains; they are Brunschwig & Fils’s “Le Lac” in the glazed yellow colorway.

  4. Style Court – yes, “Le Lac” indeed; funny you would mention Gambrel – you know I have such a design-crush on him.

  5. I love the name of your blog! That movie is one of my all-time favorites an I about know the script verbatim. I always quote that part about the white – “not an antiseptic, hospital white, but not to suggest anything other than white!”.Then there is the great part where the architect suggest they don’t need A house, but perhaps a “series of little bungalows” so everyone can have what they want! I was delighted to find your blog – thanks for linking me, I will do the same for you. Also, love the beautiful yellow-lacquered room!

  6. Mrs. Blandings, I watched MB Builds his Dream House last night and remembered why I loved the movie so much. First, I love Colonial Revival homes and secondly, I wanted to live in that house as a kid. I hadn’t notice in the times that I had previously seen it that Jason Robards was the head carpenter who always said “you’re the captain!”. And I’d forgotten about WHAM! As always, I really liked the scene about the paint. Great inspiration for a great blog.

  7. Halcyon – thanks for taking me back to this first post – I was a wreck when I posted it. I was just considering watching the film again soon – I love Robards in that role. It’s easy to forget Grant’s frustration over the apt. at the beginning.

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