Love Can be More Elegant the Second Time Around
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: I’m a newly wed at age 63! My new husband will move into my home, and I want to make it feel fresh and different. (I lived here with my late husband for 42 years.) I’d appreciate a few ideas on how to spruce things up without a major makeover, especially in the master bedroom. I plan to keep my antique furniture, and I want to make the room feel just a little more masculine.
A: Think paint. It’s always the quickest and easiest way to rehab any room.
Other fast and effective change-agents — especially in a bedroom — are linens and accessories. A new, tailored comforter or bedspread — or canopy, if you’re blessed with a four-poster — will give any old bedroom a fresh attitude. New sheets, especially with your new monogram, of course, will provide a subtle welcome to your new husband.
And while you’re at it, rearrange your furniture, too. A new spouse merits a new perspective.
Otherwise, changes can be as major as new carpeting or as subtle as a new arrangement of pictures on the wall. Here’s inspiration from designer Phoebe Howard, aka the “Mrs. Howard,” who owns a line of interior design stores in the South with her husband Jim. We borrowed this quiet, elegant photo from her first book, “The Joy of Decorating” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) to show how effective sotto voce colors and a classic, symmetrical furniture arrangement can be.
Phoebe has hung framed prints around the room in what she calls “orderly grids” to give structure to the walls. Chalk one up for masculinity. Then she balances the grid with feminine, soft bed hangings, scalloped linens and the graceful S-curves of the l9th-century English mahogany stool.
With its gentle tone-on-tone color scheme and timeless antiques, this is a serene scene well set for grown-up happiness the second time around.
Q: Where do color trends come from?
A: From everywhere in the world, according to two color experts, Doty Horn of ColorVoyant and Lisa White, creative director of WGSN, the trend analysis and research firm.
They predicted color trends of the future — well, as far as 2013 and 2014 — for members and guests of IFDA (the International Furnishings & Design Assn.) last week during the huge and hugely influential New York International Gift Fair. Among their prognostications:
— Pattern-on-pattern is back, with color as the common denominator.
— Fragility, which Doty defines as “feminine strength” — will be an earmark of coming colors. Look for crumpled-, shattered- and worn-color effects. For lace, look for stitched and frayed finishes, and for “smoggy” and feathery colors, as well.
— Neon brights will offer balance to such fragile effects, says Doty. Think citron, orange glow and yellow, yellow, yellow!
— Local color will take on new meaning, according to Lisa White. Expect renewed interest in classic crafts such as patchworks and ikats, batiks, tie-dyes and African tribal decorations.
— She also foresees “Missoni” effects in color mixes, spatter motifs and yellow, yellow, yellow! as we move into 2014.