I have been feeling a not-so-healthy dose of stress recently. Maybe it's all the snow. And my foot - while healing - is still, you know, une problème. I was talking to my mom about it yesterday, and she said, "Kate, do what you tell me to do: go find your happy." And she was so right.
I decided to take a quick gander at my Pinterest boards and see if anything might get me going. My "Home Inspiration" board is my most "free-wheeling" board, if you will, and contains all sorts of things that inspire me, many of which are not at all home-related, but which, in my mind, inspire the way a home might be decorated. I found a collection of pins that all fell within the same sort of color family - a hot pink meets coral meets peach meets sunset - and suddenly inspiration hit.
There is a perfect color of orangy-pink that only a truly perfect sunset can produce, and that has long been my favorite color. When I was a child, my parents decided to call the color "Kate Hufft Pink" (Hufft is my maiden name) because I'd get so darn excited about really good sunsets (still do), and now, in my adult life, Matt has, in jest, decided to call it "KHP" (Kate Hufft Pink) and mocks me mercilessly whenever we see a sunset (the running joke of our vacations now is that we always end up going to places that supposedly have incredible sunsets -- Bali, California, etc. -- and then never see a sunset because of clouds or fog). I used to hate when he joked about KHP, but I've since learned to embrace it and allow the experience to further hone what I do believe to be the most perfect color on earth.
"Is that KHP?" (said in the Zooey Deschanel "Is that rain?" voice from the 2012 Apple iPhone commercial)
"There's not enough orange."
"Yes. It's not even close. Not every sunset is KHP."
"It's too pale. The color isn't saturated enough."
"I don't know why, ask a scientist. And that purply-blue color is gross."
"Because it is."
"Don't you think it's gross? It's murky and sad without a deep orange to offset it. I want it to be vibrant and happy."
"[Sigh.] I don't know, Matt. I just do."
He asks "why" like a 5-year-old (purposefully), and I allow it to happen until I hit the end of my ability to critique the not-quite-right sunset. Often it's not the sunset that makes the color. It's the sunset juxtaposed against whatever else is going on. It's the textures, the patterns, the feeling of being outdoors in the warmth of fresh air. It's the sensation of spring and summer. Of a day ending and an evening just beginning. It's the need for darkness and shadows to be present to bring out the vibrancy of the light but saturated bright, pink-y orange. It's that bright pink-y orange. Really, it's that deep, reddish orange. But more than that, it's realizing that, when we're not able to chase down the perfect sunset (or even have a chance to see one), we can help create our own -- through imagination, inspiration, and the beauty of the world that surrounds us.
And that is what inspired me for today's post. It's not just sunsets that can create the color. It's flowers and fashion and textiles and... everything else. No single image is quite right, but together they start to paint the picture of my favorite color. A color that's ephemeral, that must be chased, that doesn't truly exist on its own, but that nonetheless surrounds us and reminds us of the passage of time (in a good way, in a carpe diem kind of way). It's the color that reminds me of childhood and vacations and chasing dreams. The color that combats the winter blues and inspires me (and hopefully you!) to keep looking for all that is beautiful in the world. The color that makes me truly happy.
Below are some representations of my favorite color. What's your favorite color? And why?
(Thanks, Mom, for helping me find my happy.)
Happy inspiring! Happy color hunting!
As a child, my parents' home was an endless place for exploration, and I remember going to great lengths to carve out cool secret spaces where I could hang out and just be. We all, children and adults alike, have a natural inclination to carve out our own space -- a room of one's own -- that we create -- that is ours -- and that allows us to find ourselves.
When I took a space-planning class at Parsons, one of the assignments was to figure out what you would do with an awkward, small, 6'x8' windowless alcove that branched off of a hallway. Thinking like a child, this would have been a no-brainer. It would be an empty canvas for play -- for forts and make-believe and escape from grown-ups. For an adult though, this assignment was a challenge. As adults, we are weighed down by practicality, and we need to find a way to be creative within those constraints. Would you make it an office nook? A closet nook? A storage nook? What about a reading nook? What practical purpose would it serve?
I have of course lost the assignment and can't remember what I chose to do (a comfy chair for reading?), but I decided to challenge myself again today. Let me tell you - it was FUN!
This is what I came up with: a space for creativity, comfort and inspiration. A space with a base of white where I can layer as much color and texture and pattern as I can muster. A space with furniture that has beautiful lines, that bridges the world between antique and
modern. A space that you could spend an entire day in and not even notice that time has passed.
A quick note on sourcing: the photo of the white desk with gorgeous ikat covered chair is from French Elle via the blog Absolutely Beautiful Things (fab blog, btw) (I would get two West Elm Parsons Desks, each $349 + $15 delivery surcharge, and since I can't find that exact chair, there is a French Louis XVI bergere chair for $800 that is not perfect, but similar conceptually). The chandelier is from 1stdibs (for "price upon request" = prohibitively expensive, but a girl can dream!). The sheer linen curtains are from Crate & Barrel ($39.95/panel). The sheepskin rug is from Overstock ($201.99 for 3'x5'). The Stacie 16x24" pillow ($129) and the Boho Chic 20x20" pillow ($129) are both by Kim Salmela and available at One Kings Lane right now (sale ends 11/20). The daybed is from Elle Decor via the blog Interior Walls Design (likely too big for the space, but I like the concept). The inspiration wall is from Pinterest. And are those twinkling stars on the ceiling, you ask? Why yes! They are! Click here to see how they're done. They bring both a child-like whimsy to the space and, when all the other lights are off, transport you outside so you can look at the stars and dream as you lounge on your comfy, pillowed daybed. Now - if only I had an awkward nook in which to bring this visual to life! Time to think like a kid again and create one for myself....
Now, here is the real question:
What would you do with a windowless 6'x8' alcove???
I can't wait to find out!
Remember: think like a kid!
Happy Challenging, Happy Imagining!
Staving off apartment entropy is a constant battle; I have to fight hard against my messy nature. I have been trying to incrementally de-clutter our apartment, and sometimes practicality - like having easy access to books (or, more likely, not having a receptacle to store them in) - must win, and clutter must be put on display rather than contained behind closed doors. How to cope? I have found an easy trick ("borrowed" from my good friend Kate P., who has an excellent eye) that easily makes viewable clutter appear "organized" and aesthetically pleasing: organize/arrange along a color gradient! It takes an otherwise visually distracting (and messy looking) display and makes it appealing to the eye. (And the feeling after completing this task
is downright satisfying!)
As you can imagine, this works best with books (though it can be done with other objects too). I have read that people who are hard-core organizers find this method of organizing books by color to be difficult to swallow ("How on earth would I find the book I need if it's not alphabetized!?") and others just take inexplicable offense to it (seriously, I had no idea it was so controversial), but for those of us who remember a book by its cover color rather than its title, this trick is a quick way to turn something displeasing into a lovely rainbow. It appears harmonious to the eye and creates an inner sense of order (and couldn't we all use a little of that?). Also, if you're prone to messiness like I am, it makes you feel downright pleased with yourself to be able to contain clutter in a pretty, organized fashion. It's the book organizing equivalent to making the bed (a satisfactory deed indeed).
(Side note, I love the interplay between the fashion world and the world of interiors. Chanel's Spring 2014 runway featured some major rainbow action, and I
am happy to carry that trend forward in the home. It's like having a little bit of Lagerfeld on the cheap!)
I have arranged books by color in two areas of our apartment: 1) with our cookbooks (left), which are proudly on display on the window sill in the alcove next to our kitchen (and viewable from the living room); and 2) with Matt's and my grad school books in our "office" area (thankfully hidden from living room view, but viewable in the slideshow below). The final product is decidedly less appealing with law and business school books than with cookbooks. Law books come in exactly two colors - blue and red (so stringent, these law types!) - and business school books are either case books with black binding or just atrociously ugly text books - but there is a certain level of satisfaction that can be achieved by finding a level of order and calm amid the chaos that is grad school (or really anything stressful). The real trick for organizing all those school books was scoring a ginormous bookcase from Craigslist (I refuse to pay retail for bookcases, and I'm happy to scour your local Craigslist for you), which Matt and I hauled home from a nearby apartment after work on Valentine's Day 2012 (I would make a joke about marriage and romance, but seriously, Matt's willingness to go along with my insane Craigslist furniture procurement schemes is one of his most loveable qualities).
The best thing about this color arranging process is that there is really no right or wrong way to do it, though I would not recommend removing all of your books and starting from scratch (a truly daunting scene) - much easier to pull out a few and keep the majority of your books upright and intact and then move colors around incrementally from there. I am sure you could get very rigid in following the color wheel (and really, who's got time for that?), but I tend to just go from dark to light and see what works in between. Give it a whirl and see what you think!
Happy harmonizing! :)
I am a designer and financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and sweet, art-and-design-loving toddler son and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.
Blogs/Sites I Love
A Lovely Being
Cote de Texas
Little Green Notebook
Paper + Pearls
Sadie + Stella
SF Girl by Bay
The CHICago Life
The Pink Pagoda