The Cross House
To me, decorating is like playing 3-dimensional chess.
Every decision impacts on every other decision.
And I long ago learned that the last 10% can pull together the previous 90%. What can look horrible when almost done…can suddenly transform into fuckin’ brilliant when totally done. I have seen this time and time again.
In the parlor of the Cross House I have just barely started. Layered upon this small bit-o-done will be more color, stencils, drapery, furnishing, pictures, lighting, a rug, pillows, and so on. Each bit will play its part in the final composition.
The trick — ahhhh, the trick — is being good at chess. Will this move be the right one?
Another important lesson I learned long ago is the value of the Discordant Element. If a room is perfectly matched in every way, if every color perfectly complements every other color, and every furnishing perfectly matches everything else, the result is normally…lifeless.
Rather, rooms come alive when there is at least one Discordant Element. Or more.
I cannot explain the why of this.
As a result, I am kinda causal about making sure my every decision is perfect. A lot of what I do is more intuitive than intellectual. This feels like it will work.
And it usually does.
The color was picked for a number of reasons, but how it worked with the stained-glass windows was a vital consideration. Note how it is not a perfect match to any color in the windows. Rather, the wall color complements the windows.
Readers have reacted to the wall color. Most have stated that they like it. Some are not sure about it. Some think I should use wallpaper.
But, I have only made my first move. Who can yet predict how the game will end?
I laughed when I saw the above image. They stole my color! And several readers brought the above image to my attention today.
What is interesting to me about the image is how much it does not represent what I am doing in my parlor. While our wall colors are similar, the above dining room is very different than I would have done it. So, my mind “redecorated” the room:
- I like the modernist table and chairs. But I would center them on a rug.
- The chandelier is too small, and is hanging too high. The latter is a common problem. Sigh.
- There are two pictures on the walls. They are WAY too small. When dealing with rooms of such scale GO BIG.
- While I like the modernist table/chairs, I dislike all the other modernist furnishings in the room. They are simply too spindly for the scale of the room, and for the quality of the room. They look more dorm room than elegant 19th-century dining room. In my parlor I have a huge fully upholstered sofa (no legs showing) and two large-scale fully upholstered chairs (no legs showing). These pieces easily hold their own against the scale of the room.
- Importantly, the vivid wall color does not appear to complement the stained-glass.
- While my ceiling will also be white, this stark color will be moderated by having stencils on it. So, too, with my walls. The stencils will reduce the contrast between the contemporary colors and the period architecture. I think this is important.