A Friend in Need

I received a bit of a frantic 911 email from a friend recently.  Her son and my oldest are in the same class.  They had been living in England and returned to the states when our boys were entering pre-Kindergarten.  
My antenna was up as her son’s comment the first week of school, “Red is really dark pink,” sent our household into turmoil as my eldest refused each and every red shirt for weeks following.  His favorite color was red.  Nearly every shirt he owned was red.

Eventually the drama died down and now it is truly comic as this particular boy is one who easily attained the Blandings’ seal of approval.  “That kid is just a good egg,” claims Mr. B each time he crosses the threshold be it car or home.

It is fortunate for me that his mother is bright and funny, for otherwise I would have a hard time focusing on what she is saying as she has porcelain skin and dark, thick, naturally curly hair the kind of which I have dreamed my entire life.  

But she is bright and funny so I jumped at the chance to see her new digs when she raised a red flag.

It is a lovely home.  The kind of home that is gracious enough to be regal when you want it to be, but warm and comfortable all of the time to welcome the children and family and friends that will knock about its walls.  We moved from room to room while she showed me fabric samples and paint and wonderful furniture.  

If she suffered at all it was from too many good choices.  It was nearly all there we just needed to pick the best of what she had gathered and shift a bit here and there.  

I suggested woven shades for the sun room/office off of the dining room.  She was a bit skeptical as she had an impression of screened in porches and summer cottages.  It was the one room that still needed a paint color when I left.  Wonder if I should suggest dark pink?
After mentioning an affinity for Michael S. Smith, I started there first.  Top three images, Smith’s Houses with wordsmith Christine Pittel; next two images Farrow & Ball, The Art of Color; then, just to prove these bamboo shades can swing, Candace Bushnell’s apartment from So Chic by Margaret Russell; that nearly perfect room, Albert Hadley from Adam Lewis’s Albert Hadley: The Story of America’s Preeminent Interior Designer; and, finally, another classic, Kevin McNamara from The New York Times Book of Interior Design and Decoration.
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16 thoughts on “A Friend in Need

  1. i love woven woods.
    I love them layered with a beautiful flanking fabric. They add such dimension to a room. and I love a pink room with a flat bamboo woven on the window. great choice. I’m with you on that one.

    (remind her that they shed~people seem to be alarmed when they find little pieces on the floor after a few months)

  2. penelope Bianchi said…
    Oh, Please! Tell me you charged a design fee!!

    After nearly 40 years in this business……..(decorating)…please don’t tell me you gave it away??

    My Mother (when she posted the bond for my resale certificate 39 years ago)..said…….”always charge. this is a job..and although you adore it…….it is a lot of work. do not leave out your friends. charge them…just the same. You will spend your whole life working for friends…….old…..and new! Be sure to charge!!

    excellent advice! I hope you did!


    December 17, 2008 12:46 AM

  3. I love the last two pictures… In the Hadley interior, the curtains look amazing – I am just wondering if the black and white fabric is from Hadley…

  4. Patricia, forgot to mention your comments in Elle Decor. So true, a home should have that lived in, comfortable,not so perfect look. Congrats!

  5. I, also, LOVE bamboo shades…..they add so much to draperies on a window.

    That home is wonderful! I love a home that is lived in also and not so PERFECT!

  6. Growing up a friends fathr was a federal judge. His sole choice dressing in the morning was to select a white Brooks Brothers shirt.

    Naturally, his sons rebelled and took to wearing the pink button downs from BB which threw the old man into a fit.

    Whenever challenged by the old man, my friend and his brothers would tell him don’t worry dad they are light red.

  7. Megan – thanks for the tip – I didn’t know that myself.

    Penelope – she insisted!

    Hansaxel – I’m sorry that I don’t know, but love the black and white and tortoise together.

    Courtney – I completely agree.

    Karena – thanks, it’s entirely surreal.

  8. Be sure to read House Beautiful’s monthly column on Color — yes — Pink is the featured color in the fresh-in-the-door January 2009 issue! (Page 14-15) Some truly wonderful ideas and recommendations! My favorite is Robin Bell’s suggestion of BM”s “Old Country” (OC-76) which reminded the designer of the mats around old French drawings! Yummy!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage (who is rarely in the pink — but often in the red)

  9. A friend indeed, Mrs. B.!

    Should you need ammunition, I remember reading somewhere that women were once forbidden to wear pink as it was a derivative of red, itself the colour of Mars — who was, of course, the god of war. Pink was reserved for men.

  10. I’m a former Kansas Citian, and I had those same bamboo shades in my place at the Knickerbocker Apartments in 1977. Although my walls weren’t black, they were a very dark chocolate brown, with white woodwork.

    In case you’re not familiar with the apartments, Knickerbocker Place is a one block street in midtown KC, west of Broadway and between the Uptown Theatre and Kansas City Life.

    At one time, it was a private street, like Janssen Place, and still had gas streetlights when I lived there. The huge old vintage apartments lined both sides of the street until KC Life took out the north half for expansion in later years.

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