Recently our daughter, Laura, shopped for upholstery fabric for her sofa. Laura wanted a print which would incorporate the soft colors she loves, to accent the muted gold walls in her new home. At her first stop, Laura was told emphatically that patterned fabrics are unavailable because they are “not in style”. Only solid colors are “in”.
At the next store Laura was told that patterns were scarce, but the decorator/clerk was helpful and willing to look. Amazingly, she came up with a print in a traditional design which contained all the colors Laura desired. Both our daughter and the clerk were delighted!
Since hearing Laura’s account of shopping for fabric I’ve been musing on the patternless trend in decorating. Not only does a lack of pattern go against my grain—it seems totally unnatural. Nature is full of patterns. If we are observant we cannot look anywhere without seeing a variety of designs. Even in vast expanses of sky and sea, patterns are evident in moving clouds and undulating waves. And our personal lives overflow with patterns as well!
Not only do I love patterns, but I love to mix them up and feature them together in the smallest of areas. How many patterns can you detect in the below photo?
In this room alone, I have counted at least twenty-two patterns—including those in furniture, throw rugs, table runners, decorative shawls, afghans, and pillows. Not taken into consideration were the patterns in dishes on shelves and art on the walls.
Quite obviously, eclectic decorating is (and nearly always has been) a dominating pattern in my life! Back in the 1990s, I received so many comments (pros and cons) about my “style” that I recorded the following message on our telephone answering device: “You have reached the Beens, and the headquarters of Outrageous Home Decor.”
Unfortunately many callers failed to comprehend my funky brand of humor, and they registered rank confusion. They just didn’t get it. So we replaced that message with one that was thoroughly boring and “socially correct”.*
Returning to current decorating trends, there IS HOPE! This week I went to TARGET, in search of towels for my bathroom. We have two bathrooms in our condo: a big one for Joe and and a sweet little one for me. A private loo! How wonderful is that?!!! Having my own loo means it is ALL MINE, and I can decorate it however I wish. At TARGET I found incredibly gorgeous towels in Southwestern-ish stripes of many colors.
I bought several towels and wash cloths, and rejoiced all the way home with this amazing bounty for my bathroom which abounds in cowboy pictures, art reminiscent of New Mexico, photos of family members with horses, my Dad’s spurs, and glass ARIZONA TEA® bottles with a Western or Native American motif. (Fondly, I call the loo my “Louis L’Amour bathroom”.)
I’ve been waiting for a grandson to come over during his school break, to paint the above described bathroom. But hanging the new towels set an idea moving in my patterned brain. Wouldn’t it be fun if . . . ?
Below, you will see the fun (and funky) outcome of that idea:
When we moved here three plus years ago, the bathroom walls were already sponged with blotches of tan. I added life to the room by charging the walls with blotches of vibrant color, plus a few of my favorite words.
Having (just this morning!) added these fresh patterns, I guided my husband into the bathroom while instructing him to keep his eyes shut until we were in the room with the door shut for full effect. Even in my wildest imagination, I wasn’t prepared for Joe’s response. He broke into an immense grin and said, “That’s BEAUTIFUL!”
Then Joe added that instead of painting my bathroom we should keep my folk artsy walls this way, with the words and colorful blotches—while using the gallon of paint we’d purchased for my loo, for painting his den instead. The paint is BRIGHT, BRIGHT RED! That’s the result of nearly sixty years of happy marriage!
Margaret L. Been, ©2012
*We could only stand our generic, “socially correct” answering machine message for a very short time. Finally we changed it to one that remains right up to this minute—and will remain: “You have reached the LOVERS—Joe and Margaret Been. Please leave a message, and have a great day!”