The magic of color
Good morning, lovely people of Butler County! Recently, I experienced one of those moments in life that changes the course of a day—truly a heavenly message. At the time, I was deeply concerned about a family member who was going through a difficult time. This spiritual event managed to marry my concern for my family member to my interest in the magic of color. (Like all designers, I am a visual person, and sight is my keenest sense.)
A visit from the heavens
I will remember the morning the blue jay visited for as long as I live. I was reviewing a column when I heard a loud thump on the kitchen or dining room window. I rushed out to the patio to see if I had an injured bird on my hands, and I found a brilliantly handsome full-grown blue jay. I could tell he was indeed stunned; the impact was hard enough to ground him. I immediately picked him up, sat down in a chair and softly assured him that he would be OK. As I stroked him, he seemed perfectly content to allow me to help him. Not once did this beautiful bird struggle to free himself from me. At that moment, I knew this moment was spiritual.
As I continued to comfort this beautiful bird, I had the opportunity to study his breathtaking coloration. The multiple shades of blue in his feather combination made me smile from ear to ear. As I eased his clenched feet and worked with his extended wing, we became comfortable with one another. He allowed me to check his neck for injury and ease the open wing back to his side. As I looked at this beautiful bird resting peacefully on my lap, I said out loud, “God, don’t you dare let him die in my hands!” Once I thought the blue jay was calm and steady, I placed him on the chair. When he fluttered to the ground, I picked him up again and sat with him, soothing him with “You’re OK, buddy.” When I felt he was ready to fly, I stood up and opened my hands. He steadied himself in my palms, flew to the roof and then soared to the heavens.
After my blue jay took off, I sat on the patio for some time, basking in the pure joy that had interrupted my morning. At that point, I returned to the house and composed a letter to my beloved family member, using my blue jay experience to illustrate how we all need help sometimes—from friends, family and even strangers.
After meeting the blue jay, I will never see blue in the same way! I wanted to redress my entire house in all his glorious shades. The variety of blues, grays and whites were so skillfully placed on that bird, including the black feathers, feet and beak. My mind went wild with what I could do with that amazing collection of hues.
In my mind’s eye, I could see my kitchen redone in the joyful, God-given colors that made that blue jay magnificent. I stood at the kitchen door and envisioned the cabinets painted in the rich blue that is the predominant color of a blue jay. I saw the walls in the delicious creamy white, with a hint of blue. Door and window frames would be the same blue as the cabinets. I would replace the countertops with cara marble to give me the beak and the tummy feathers.
I would install a handsome farm sink in white with polished chrome hardware in a vintage design to reflect the age of the home. I would use polished chrome on the cabinet hardware plus add a pair of polished chrome sconces to the upper cabinets on either side of the sink. With splendid red shades, the sconces would cast the perfect evening light. Stainless steel appliance would create a soft contrast with the beautiful blue cabinets. (Side note: Please be sure to read my upcoming column on major appliance finishes. I think you will agree with me!)
For window treatments, I envisioned Roman shades with soft scalloped edges in a lovely toile fabric with scenes of birds soaring freely. Bright nickel flush-mount carriage lanterns rather than chandeliers would add that bit of jewelry at the ceiling. I could refinish my cookbook case in cardinal red for a shock of color to heat up the gentle color palette. Finally, I would replace the rugs with very “God Bless America” red, white and blue braided rugs.
With that single magical moment with the blue jay, I envisioned all these changes! As I’ve mentioned on various occasions, observing the wonders of nature can lead you, too, in a wonderful design direction. While I always loved blue, after my recent experience with nature in such an upfront and involved manner, I will soon be inviting more blue into my home.
I will end today with a quote from Albert Einstein:
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
To my lovely readers, I will be taking some time off and not returning until after Labor Day. I will be back to visit with you then!