Thursday, April 30, 2009

Decorating Whiplash

I find it intriguing that along with our early retirement life change, came a pretty drastic change in our taste in interior decorating. In my 18 years of marriage with Ron (21 years together including cohabitation), we’ve decorated 3 homes before moving to Chicago. Until we bought the condo, we always decorated in a very traditional style.

Color schemes changed from home to home as I went through very distinct phases, and as different houses seemed to call for different colors. In Las Vegas, I selected a pale green carpet throughout the house because it was visually cool. Moving to Memphis, the house seemed dark after the large windows and ever-present sun of Vegas, so almost every room was painted a different hue or shade of yellow.

Early on, we bought furniture from Bombay Company – lots of dark wood, Queen Anne style, and green marble table tops. When the budget was a little more accommodating, we added Thomasville. Since our combined taste remained pretty constant, we merely incorporated a few new items when we moved into larger homes.

The Chicago condo required new furniture for rooms much smaller in scale. When we began to shop, we discovered a drastic change in the design style that attracted us. Suddenly, we wanted contemporary furniture with clean lines. We bought a simple cherry wood Scandinavian bedroom suite. Next we added an ivory leather sofa with chrome legs and an entertainment cabinet and coffee table of recycled wood. The office desk/tables/shelves are aluminum with frosted glass tops. Everything we selected was 180 degrees from where our taste had been before. What a heady feeling of freedom!

So what happened? To begin with, I believe we were enthusiastically embracing the shift in our lives to more simplicity, and wanted an outward manifestation of that change. And we were (and still are) enamored with the idea of adopting a modern urban lifestyle, after so many years of suburban dwelling. But it’s amazing to me that both Ron and I would feel the desire to make these changes to our living environment at the same time. It made the whole process so fun and satisfying. We put this new home together exactly the way we wanted it, and everything about it gives us pleasure.

Did I tell you about the new color scheme? Apparently I am going through a distinctly orange phase, complemented by splashes of red, grey and ivory. The living room and the office are “Calypso Orange”, while the hallway and kitchen dining area are a lighter, almost peachy color. At Ron’s bequest, I relented and provided him some relief from orange by painting the bedroom pale denim blue. The Calypso Orange feeds my spirit in a way that’s difficult to explain. It just makes me happy! Even Ron reluctantly agrees that in the depths of the cold winter, it provides visual warmth.

( Memphis vs. Chicago living room comparison in the photos above.)

Beginning a new chapter of your life brings some unexpected changes. Enjoy them! Tell me…what changes would you make?

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