Monday, February 6, 2012

It's all about the Color

Day 49 of 365 Tiny Changes

I watch a lot of home improvement shows on TV.  I like to watch them to get ideas, or learn about new products, or learn how designers problem solve.  Some of these shows pretty much ignore the home owner.  They introduce them at the beginning of the show and then send them away until the big reveal at the end.  The shows I really enjoy, though, are the one’s that really work with or at least really interview the home owners.

One of my favorite “issues” that the designers come up against is a home owner that is afraid of color.  I like this issue, because I just don’t get it. 

What is it like to be afraid of color?  Do they own black and white TV’s?  Are their cars some version of gray?  Are all of their clothes tones of black and white?  This is a fear that is far beyond my comprehension.

Invariably though, the viewer discovers that the home owner really doesn’t have a true fear of color.  It’s more like they have a fear of choosing the “wrong” color.  Again, I don’t get it.

To me, color is color.  There are no “right” colors or “wrong” colors.  Some colors may be more pleasing to my particular senses.  I suppose, that would make the colors I don’t particularly like the “wrong” colors for me. However, the person standing next to me, you for example, may really love my “wrong” colors, so that would make those colors “right” colors for you.  Right?

Ultimately, the viewer discovers that the home owner actually has a case of WWOPT (What Would Other People Think?)  This I understand.  This illness is everywhere, it’s in every neighborhood, every walk of life.  It’s reached pandemic proportions.  It’s a horrible disease.  WWOPT stifles creativity, causes the victim to become judgemental, and generally makes the world boring beige.

The victims are all over my neighborhood.  I went for my walk this morning and witnessed the damage WWOPT causes.  My neighborhood was once a little town all its own.  At some point it was annexed into the larger city to the north.  I find it very interesting to walk through the neighborhood and look at the different styles of homes that exist there, because they tell the story of good economic times. 

The homes furthest to the north, Folk Victorian's, were built around 1900-1910.  There aren’t very many of these homes.  As I walk south, I come to the most popular version of homes in the neighborhood.  These homes were built between 1910 and 1930.  If you are at all into architecture types, you will know what I mean when I tell you that these homes are classic Arts and Crafts style homes.  As I move further south I come to the next most popular style homes that were built in the late 40’s, post WW II.  Finally, as I walk to the southern most area of our neighborhood I come to the newest homes built here.  Mid-Century Modern, built in the 50’s and early 60’s.

This was a working man’s neighborhood, and still is.  The homes are modest and the yards are small, and for the most part, well maintained.

Unless you are aware of all of the different types of architectural styles here, you would probably find a walk through my neighborhood boring.  There really isn’t much to look at.  Most of the homes are occupied by victims of WWOPT disease.  The majority of them are painted white.  There are a few that are beige and off white.  There is the occasional soft green home.  That’s it. 

Are you aware that color in infinite?  That’s right there are more colors out there than you will ever be able to enjoy in your life time.  Yet, the owners in my neighborhood have chosen to stick to the “safe” colors.  The neutrals.  Hundreds of homes.  Hundreds of opportunities for self expression and the entire neighborhood is stuck on the neutral palette.

I am here to tell you there is no such thing as an “unsafe” color.  These home owners are worried about what other people would think about their color choices.  How sad. 

I applaud the peoples of the Caribbean.  They paint their homes bright yellow and blue and even pink.  They aren’t “afraid” of a little color.  When I see these homes or even pictures of them, I think happy thoughts.  I imagine the people living in these homes must like to have fun and enjoy life.  When I walk through my neighborhood and look at the lack of color present, I think the people that live here are boring and maybe a little sad.

I propose that we should paint our houses our favorite color.  Imagine it.  You turn onto your street and see your home, bathed in your very most favorite color, in front of you, in all its glory.  You know that when you walk into your door you will be blanketed and protected by your favorite color.  Who wouldn’t feel safe and happy then?  No sad sacks in neutrals allowed.

I’m happy to report that our home is a stand out in our neighborhood.  Our home is a dark gray with teal blue shutters and awnings, and a raspberry front door.  Our house is adorable.  What do other people think?  Who cares?!  It’s our home and it makes us happy to walk through a raspberry colored door.

We have a couple of stand out neighbors, too.  The lady down the street painted her front door purple.  The man around the corner decided to house the cast of that movie about the gnomes.  He has every yard decoration and gnome ever created in his front yard and he named his place “Marty’s Hacienda”.  Tell me that man isn’t about having fun in life.

Of all the things one can choose to be afraid of in life, color is not one of them.  If we stop worrying about what other people think and go with the colors we love, we will be much happier and have the benefit of living in a much more colorful world.

Tiny Change 49:  I will strive to cure my WWOPT disease and go with the colors or other things in my life that I enjoy.

If you would paint your home your favorite color, what wonderful color would you come home to each day?  If this isn’t something that you want to rush out to do, maybe because it’s not a good idea to paint outside in the winter, what can you choose to make more colorful in your life?  Your shoes, your purse, your glasses, your underwear...?

Best Regards,


Tiny Blessing of the Day:  I am blessed to have the gift of eyesight to be able to enjoy all the beautiful colors in the world.

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