Color - that second thing every room needs

Hi folks. I hope you are in a mellow saturday mood, enjoying the drizzle outside if you are in New York City. Or another fine place where there is drizzle aplenty. So satisfying to sit and write in a lovely room when the weather is less than inviting. If you don’t have this for yourself - a little place to plop down and be indoors - a place that can get a little messy and still hold and inspire you and your wild mind —I hope you’ll contact me sometime, because I want this for you. I want this for everyone, my intrepid small space adventurers.

What I mainly want for you is a feeling. Whether you get that feeling from interiors or some other way. How you get the feeling isn’t all that important. But the feeling itself is. The feeling I am having today is at its core calmness, ease, a little sublime. And there is a little excitement around the edges of the feeling. The room I’m in has such a satisfying mix of colors - blue-grays and purples, and pinks, and blue-greens, that, along with the gray day out the window, I’m feeling how I can only imagine a rich person must feel, somehow content that their needs are well met, that now it is all about simple pleasure of attention and sharing the wealth.

I have a hard time writing about color. To me, a beautifully painted room, ‘decorated’ with care and restraint, and one that makes me slip into a grounded comforted mindset, defies description; it is only really available to the body as lived experience. But I want to try to convey why paint color is what every room and living space needs, even as I accept that this blog post will fall short somehow.

After all, how to talk about color? As soon as I say brown, someone thinks of chocolate ice cream brown, someone else thinks of coca cola brown, someone sees dried soil, a pair of hiking boots, another sees a heavy mahogany dresser, another the UPS truck. One persons sees a cup of black coffee, another mocha with cream. There are thousands of browns.


If I say blue-green, someone sees robin’s egg, another the ocean, and another mallard duck feathers. Words are at best approximations of colors. And what we are labeling in standard ways conjure up vastly different images and experiences and feelings from one person to the next. Sometimes words even pull us out of our experience of color; as if the experience of color and the experience of language occupy parallel nonintersecting neural pathways in the brain. I revere words, but if by some cruel joke of the universe I had to choose between colors or words, personally, in this lifetime, I would choose colors— dreamy, liquid, heart-rending colors.

Are you affected by color in your environment? I think it is possible that some are more affected than others. I’ve worked with the gamut. Some folks love interior color, paint all the time, and like it ‘just so’ - you know who you are. In those instances, the service I’m providing is that of a second pair of eyes to a palette that is already taking shape. Offering fresh insights, tweaks here and there, and getting them out of their particular box of visual experience. Seeing through two sets of eyes can really break open a whole host of new possibilities for an interior. On the other end of the spectrum are people who take a little convincing that painting their place is the way to go. It’s really fun to see people experience a room transformation and be wow’ed by how different it feels (and how different they feel in it). Most folks fall somewhere in the middle - partly enthusiastic and partly hesitant to paint; possessing a discriminating eye to some extent. But regardless, I’m here to tell you, you want to get that paint color right. We all thrive in spaces that pay homage to our uniqueness, relieve stress, and reinforce safety and conjure possibility.

So, in my list of 6 things a room needs, I put color second, after privacy. If you are buying curtains or rugs, obviously color has to be considered before privacy. But I think it is alway possible to get some placeholder curtains in a neutral shade from a store with a lenient return policy, until you’ve figured out your palette. That’s not as easy with rugs; but still doable at a place like ikea for example, who have maybe one of the most generous return policies of any store. So first, get you some privacy, any which way you can, then go straight into considering color.

Here’s why color ranks so high on my to-do list when making or making-over a space. Color touches everything else - everything you are going to need to buy or trade out will be a color; and you will save money, time, and agony considering color right up front. Not a rigid palette necessarily, but ideas as to what might constitute a reasonably edited palette. Sometimes your palette hinges on the colors of the stuff you already own. For example I have a blue-green sofa that has been with me forever. It’s a fairly muted color, and I do love it, but I still have to design my palette around that color every time. I can’t just pretend this big ole sofa is not there. I could slipcover it or replace it, and maybe one day I will, but I haven’t run out of ideas yet for a palette that includes duck egg green; so she persists.

So start thinking about your palette from the get go. And don’t be afraid of paint. But what about white? Or that creamy off white that is already on the walls? What about not painting? Why is color necessary at all? Why can’t I live my life out of a restoration hardware catalog, with deconstructed furniture and narry a color in sight? Because most of us are not that cool. Most of us, and I’m convinced of this, do not thrive in a dull colorless environment with one leather sling chair, taupe bedspread and stark white paint everywhere. We just don’t. We’re not that aloof. The eye wants something to light upon, something to engage it. We are warm people with myriad feelings and urges. We want reverie, variety, stimulus. We want to know we are alive. Color fulfills that desire to some extent. It reflects back the immensity in us.

Theres are such things as too much color, stressful color combinations, and downright bad palettes. So do pick color with care. Or with help. But don’t forego color because you feel you don’t have the daring or the skill or the experience to pick colors that will work for your space. Don’t do that to your body.

Six things every room needs

Good morning and happy new year! Woohoo, we made it to 2019! I hope every manner of good experience sweeps through your small but delightful space in the upcoming year. And that this is the year you find a veritable fortune of support, strength, optimism and surprise within your walls and within your heart.

Let’s get right down to it. Six things. I want to talk about the six things, six catch-phrases, six concepts, six words to jot down as you roam about your place and check in with it in this dawn of a new, more plentiful, more intimate relationship with your home. The six words are intended to capture the spirit of what I”m talking about rather than point to a fact or any true. If this is true for you, yippee! Use this idea. If this is not helpful, then create your own list or riff off of this one until you find your six things, or five or two. or eleven.

I find this little list of sparky words helpful anytime I feel a little lost as to what a room needs. Thats when I use it as a checklist, like okay this is good, but this is a bit lacking. So you can use it to survey your space and see what comes up. So kindof diagnostically. You can also use it therapeutically, like, today Im going to work on X in the study, or Y in the entryway. It is nice to sometimes substitute these words for other words you might use on a todo list that feel more punishing. Like instead of saying, I’m going to hang curtains today (that sounds like drag doesn’t it), you might say I’m going to enhance my privacy.

So thats the first word, Privacy (You thought I was going to say color didn’t you? That’s coming up). Privacy is number one because it really encapsulates a main reason we live in our space. Why don’t we all just pull out our sleeping bags and sleep in the lobby? Why don’t we spill out into the streets and all just sleep and cook and read in the park? We could try that and it might be more social for a while, but we would soon long for a sense of privacy, security, dignity that having your own space —whether it is a studio apartment or a 2 bedroom penthouse—that we command and where we feel unbothered by others. We get to be kings and queens here.

So the apartment itself is a means for essential privacy. If you live alone you know this especially well. In your own space you can wear what you want, talk to yourself, do anything you want and no one knows. It’s like the opposite of the internet. Like everything, privacy is a double edged sword. In one sense we need it. The chance to let it all hang out, to be accountable to no one but our selves, to really hear and register our most personal thoughts and feelings. To run the whole show. On the other hand, privacy can precipitate a strain of laziness. No one knows or cares what we are doing in here all by ourselves, so we can eat chocolate coated breakfast cereal for 72 hours if we want. Never make the bed, and sleep till 1 pm. Stare at paint chips all day (Yes, I’m telling on my self a little.) But in the context of interior color and space, I’m going to talk about privacy as a good and desirable thing. You do with your privacy whatever you like. No judgement. No judgement in 2019, friends.

A sense of privacy, and some degree of control over that privacy, is essential to the feeling of wellbeing in a room. You may very well have your own apartment, your name on the lease or mortgage, and still feel that you are being invaded by your neighbors or elements from the outside. So when I talk about privacy in decorating, I am talking about the next level of privacy beyond a locked door. When you rent an apartment in NYC, or maybe anywhere I’m not sure, often when you move in, it is completely empty save for the blinds on the windows. That’s how essential privacy is. Even the landlords get how essential privacy is.

There are two levels and four types of privacy. The two levels are actual privacy (like your neighbor can’t actually walk into your apartment) and perceived privacy. Its important to recognize that the more sensitive you are to your environment, or maybe the more porous or merging-oriented you are (see last post) as a person, the more actual and perceived privacy co-mingle. And in truth, regardless, the body responds to perceptions over facts. So if it sounds like there is someone crawling through the window to get you, the body responds with an adrenaline surge as if there is someone uninvited entering your space. Best way to illustrate this is watching a TV show. If you are sitting on your sofa immersed in a tv show in which a meteor is hurling through space and coming straight toward you, and if it is filmed in a particularly realistic of 3D way, the fact that you are watching tv goes away in your perception; and on contact you totally brace sitting there on the couch as this huge rock threatens to take you out, as if it is coming straight for you in real life. What the body-mind is perceiving is activating various internal processes and it is not logical.

Once you see that no one is breaking in or that the meteor threat has dissipated, your body then relaxes. Unless it doesn’t. So in one sense it is no big deal. And the perception of danger and escape from danger in and of itself is not harmful. We are built for that up and down of life. So long as the the ups and downs are clear. But a sustained or repeated feeling of uncertainty regarding whether or not you are alone —being unable to say for sure because you are getting mixed signals from your environment —that in my view can challenge one’s health and wellbeing.

Okay, so the two levels are actual and perceived. Most of what room decor deals with is perceived obviously. But remember your body doesn’t know the difference when it comes to sounds and some visuals.

The four types of privacy relate to the three senses through which you can perceive events and stimuli outside of your apartment (sight, sound and smell) and a fourth type of privacy which is more subconscious, that relates to a felt sense of privacy and security. So 2 levels, 4 types, we will maybe go into more detail about these in upcoming blog posts. But for now, maybe just take in the notion that privacy is multifaceted, it is largely perceptual, and the experience of privacy is connected with your neuro-immuno-endocrine system as well as your ability to relax, enjoy, and thrive in the space.

So what in a room promotes a feeling of privacy or actual privacy? Some things that are obvious and others that are less so. First the obvious, everything that goes on the perimeter of your space - rugs on the floor and window treatments are what leap to mind. Lots more talk about rugs in upcoming posts too. Just had a highly fantastic rug experience when I swapped out a mishmash of old cheap area rugs in my living room for an incredible, appropriately large sized rug. And I feel so much better in my space. Remind me to tell you my rug-tale later. But that’s another story.

So yes, rugs, especially if another family or person lives below you. But, really rugs create a wonderful feeling of cocoon-y pleasure and security even if you are on the ground floor. Window treatments - blinds, shades, curtains, sheers, etc. Again more details later on ways to approach the myriad options for creating privacy with curtains.

The less obvious means for creating privacy have to do with furniture arrangement, flow, and coziness. When you create human-sized pockets of space for the various functions you perform in your home, you feel held by space, you feel secure, and there is sense of privacy and peace. So if you have the rugs and windows addressed and you still feel like somethings not quite right, there might be a way to rearrange the furniture or add bookcase or something to create more a nook-vibe.

Soundproofing, or noise-reducing. In some ways this is the biggest urban living challenge of all. I do feel like I’m constantly on the run from noises in the environment that range fro annoying to downright upsetting. And one to the reasons I’m not entirely on board with the minimalism movement—although I am in many regards—is that that stuff, especially large stuff, absorbs sound. So furniture, rugs, textiles are helpful in making a space livable not only for the immediate purposes but for sound absorption. Food for thought before you throw out that old couch or extra bed.

A word on smell. That might seems like a weird thing to categorize under privacy. But think about the experience of smelling your neighbors cooking through an open window, smelling indoor smoke that wafts under the front door. It can be pleasant or unpleasant. The point is it isn’t yours. Its a side effect of someone else’s endeavor. Invasive smells may not be a part of your apartment experience at all—they weren’t for me until my current one —or if you do experience environmental smells, you might be entirely unbothered by it. And that is great. But if you are bothered by apartment building smells, don’t let it be passive. You can do things about it. And if you are a little bothered by it, better to acknowledge that to yourself and address it (mind-body, physical barriers, fans, and counter smells are ways) than let it nibble at your body’s ability to relax.

So I’ve gone on quite enough for one post about Privacy - the first touchpoint for enjoying your small space. I’ll summarize - privacy - good. The feeling of privacy is just as important, perhaps more important, than actual privacy. Privacy can be invaded by the awareness that other people can (a) see in (e.g., no curtains), (b) unwanted environmental sounds (e.g., neighbor’s radio), and (c) unwanted environmental smells. Also (d) a feeling of privacy created by the way you arrange furniture in your space, the energy flow in your space, and how you inhabit your space.

Now before I sign off, I just want to mention that I’m not suggesting that you board up your windows, keep your curtains fully closed, and slide an armoire in front of your door, as if outside contact is universally harmful and evil. I’m not suggesting you shutter yourself in your space for a month. Quite the opposite. What I’m trying to say is that privacy is a thing your body wants - to varying degrees for various duration - and until you stop to think about it and feel into your experience of it, you might be missing out on an opportunity to enhance your experience of body, home and life. By embracing privacy, your body can be natural, easy, and unresponsive to the outside. It is healthy. It is also mostly subtle.

Ask your self right now as you read this, how private am I in this moment? Maybe on a scale from one to ten - one being I’m in a busy public space so not at all private, to ten I’m alone, no-one can see in, and there are no noises or smells that are pulling me out of my privacy. Then ask yourself, how private do I feel? You might be entirely private by the definition I’ve suggested here, but not feel private. Despite being in a private environment right now, you might feel somehow on display (hello my fellow extraverts), or that someone might at any moment barge into your space, even as you sit there alone, even knowing the door is locked and that is nearly impossible. So privacy is created in space and in the mind.

Now quickly, there is an existential/philosophical/spiritual if you will facet to privacy too. And that relates to aloneness. A deep sense of felt privacy is something you can drop into no matter where you are. It is a sense that you are autonomous, that you and you alone are piloting this ship. That you alone get to contain and ferment all the inputs into your body through the senses and into your mind through memories, thoughts, beliefs, ideas you have gathered from others near and far. You are unique. Absolutely astoundingly unequivocally unique in your being and experience and your interface with all of life. If for some reason you feel remote from the truth of your uniqueness, maybe investigate what is interfering with privacy in your life. Privacy of thought, feeling and will. And can you access greater privacy of being by tweaking your control and use of privacy in the home?

So, as a teaser, the other 5 things every room needs are: color; function; simplicity, cohesion, and life. All of these facets are achievable with design and decor. And they all promote harmony for the body mind of the experiencer. And we will talk about all of them, to come.

Peace out.

Merging with space

I only have a few minutes to write today so I thought I’d chew on something simple, like merging with space. Haha. What the hooha? I know. I’ll see if I can lend language to something that I do instinctually and then see if I can break it down. For the record, I don’t think it as a good thing to do or a bad thing, nonetheless, it happens, and so one might as well attempt to understand and maybe even work with it.

A good place to start perhaps is the idea of objective vs. subjective. When I’m flipping through a magazine I am mostly in an objective stance. I’m out here in the world of my room or whatever and the room in the magazine is somewhere else. We are separate. From that place of separate I can look at the rug in the image, the sofa, the paint color, the art on the walls, and think to myself, like that, like that, don’t like that. I wonder why they chose that. Ooo that’s a pretty print, etc. Take it apart. There is as much merging so to speak as is necessary to send most of my focus to the room in the magazine instead of having my focus in the room I’m physically in, but thats about it. I’m mainly in objective mode. Separate, and from there I can think and be critical. Opinionated. There’s not a ton of fun in this mode, but it feels like I’m gathering data and learning. Sharpening my senses a bit. Sometimes though an image is so inviting, I flip into merging. I’m kindof there. In the room in the image more than in the room of my body. The boundaries are gone for a brief instant and I’m just as much in that room as the photographer who took that picture.

This word reification, a very interesting word, comes up in my mind as I type this. I’ve only encountered this word in Buddhist or psychospiritual teachings in which to reify somethings is generally taken to mean exist in a state of dualism, as in separate from, like that is over there and I am over here. Almost insist, so to speak, on separateness between the observer (me) and the observed (that over there thingy). To objectify. There’s almost something pushy about reifying something. Like hey, if you left that alone, it wouldn’t need to be that thing you are trying to make it be. It’s manipulative a little. Like I’m going to take this lovely wafting cloud and make it a bunny rabbit, because thats more interesting than the simpler version when it was just a cloud; or I’m going to make this person’s perfectly innocent and natural existence and make it mean something quite specific to serve my own purposes. Reification. I’m not sure those are good examples, but maybe. I’m trying to understand it.

If you look up reification, dictionaries talk about taking the abstract and regarding it as concrete. Like justice is a thing, society is a thing, which I guess is pretty useful since that helps us talk about difficult subjects and maybe it helps us work with concepts in a way that helps organize the mind, link it to other things we know about already, or creates a way to take action with regard tot he reified thing, or who knows. But my impression is that is different; that to reify something is do something that is not really necessary, not really helpful. Dictionaries also talk about reification in the context of Marxism, which is not something I know anything about but can only imagine it is not the best.

So the point is if you are busy objectifying or reifying, you can be sure you are not really merging. Like you’re in your agenda sortof complicating things. Merging to me is somehow drifting close to something, so close to it, that the boundaries are less apparent. The distinctions get fuzzy, not because they aren’t real, but because they don’t seem all that relevant or helpful. So subjectivity—a word that I think carries a lot of unnecessary baggage in this day and age — is a sort of merging with and just being with. A stepping into the experience of a moment or of a place, or of a place in a moment, without clamoring for separateness. It’s maybe the opposite of reifying. And it feels different. It’s a bit warmer. And its scarier.

So why on earth would someone want to merge with a space and time? Well, a bunch of reasons. One is for no reason, it just happens naturally. These are our highly sensitive people, our empaths, and our feelers, and many artists. Their natural inclination is to go toward (to merge) rather than away (to observe). They’re merging all over the place for better or worse. Then there’s flow. You are merged with time and space so you kindof disappear. There’s a pretty cool book about that called Flow by Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi. You feel really alive in flow, you are creative, you are unaware of yourself and of time passing, and all manner of positive things go on in flow. Another reason is to feel empathy and maybe forgiveness. If you can merge with someone your know, you will stand up for them, advocate for them, care, love, shelter, be curious about them.

Some actors merge with their characters, which in my book is also an act of empathy. Super daring actors will go right to the edge of not knowing the boundaries between themselves and their characters, to the point that some never make it back. Separating is seeing the bus driver, remembering the perfectly true fact that I’m not a bus driver, and feeling our separateness as natural. I don’t have the uniform, I don’t have the bus driving skill, I don’t have the job, all true. Merging is for a flash of an instant feeling like I’m just as bus driver as the bus driver even though that isn’t logical; on some plane of existence there exists the possibility that I am a bus driver, our identities are not different. Somehow they merge. I don’t go and kick him out of his seat and take the wheel, but i feel our shared humanity more keenly than our separateness. Because, apart from driving the bus well, there is no need for him to be distinct from me. Again I’m not really sure if that is not reifying him but I think its in the same ballpark. And as someone who acts from time to time, I can attest to the peculiar act of attempting to embody another person by releasing mental boundaries intentionally. But back to environments.

When we find our selves spending lots of time protecting our being or our senses from insults, we develop a solid reification habit I would say; and merging comes less easily. Everything is over there apart from me. There’s no intimacy with life, environment, the world. Which means you don’t get to enjoy that melty pleasure of merging. When an environment is not friendly, which could mean anything from wild animals roaming the halls and clawing at your front door to the place is just a serious mess of unfixed papers and unwashed laundry and dishes in the sink, we close down our senses. Noone wants to merge the senses with dirty dishes i don’t think. But the opposite is also true - When we put a little time and energy into creating lovely heart-opening space to live in, and we cultivate the ability to regulate when we are merging with vs. guarding against, more warmth can come into our being, more flow, less opinion, and less boundary and barrier to the entirely unfickle splendor of this world. And energy flows in the body when we are relaxed. Won’t get into the whole cortisol thing in this post, suffice it to say that staying in a state of stress is not natural and hormones go wild and wreak havoc on the body. Relaxation, the opposite.

Well somehow that went in a pretty different direction than I thought. I was going to talk about the value of merging in picking paint and in decorating. So let me leave it at this: merging is risky but more fun. and merging isn’t really sanctioned or talked about in our culture, so its a rarer behavior in my experience. I think choosing paint and decorating your space takes a mixture of merging and separating, both subjective and objective; we research a little, plan a little, then feel it out a little.

Hope that made some sense. Please feel free to share any thoughts feelings insights or stories. So long, until next post

The urge to paint

Someone recently commented to me that the testimonials on this site are really powerful. And I agree, they are. I can remember working with each person and the excitement that poured out of them - and into those testimonials - when they saw the potential of their space brought to light with paint. People get really excited about paint; which for a long time I didn’t even stop to consider, like why is that? I was jus so comforted to find that I wasn’t alone in that regard, i just, in a sense, thought, well, some people are like me - they really enjoy the power of paint. They love a beautiful space and having a hand in transforming space is creative and satisfying.

And I think all of that is true: A) I’m not the only paint enthusiast on the planet, we are many, B) paint is fucking powerful in its ability to transform a space, and C) painting a room is a creative act and carries with it that pride of creating something from nothing. And is sufficient reason, more than sufficient, to do it, just all of that right there.

But deep in my heart, I know paint is actually more than that. I’ve been batting about some theories as to what is really going on when people choose paint and paint successfully, arriving at revelations like the ones in my testimonials. And you can just go with me on this, you don’t have to buy it or believe it as I do. The first theory I’ll call “the urge to paint”. The urge to paint is a thing, it really is, I believe that and I have felt it deeply. It has a level of mystery to it so i cannot unpack it fully, but I can describe it and you can tell me if you agree that it is a distinct phenomenon and/or if you have ever experienced it. Sound fair?

The urge to paint first shows up as a vague discomfort. We’ll call that phase 1. You’re just not digging where you live. Or you are little perturbed every time you go into that one room in your place; or it could be even more focal than a room, it could be what I call a zone, which is a part of room, maybe a reading corner or where the bed is or the peculiar space between an entryway and a closet or something. Regardless of the size, sweep, and location of this spot, you just sense deep in your body that it feels off. And you feel off every time you walk into it or near it. Sometimes it feels off because it has been neglected, not really dealt with in terms of function or decor. Sometimes it feels off because you already painted it or put something there — a shelf a plant whatever — and it isn’t gelling with the space. And most importantly it isn’t gelling with your body.

And usually during phase 1, there is a correlating funk going on in your life. But in phase 1, you don’t know that your blindingly tangerine hallway is related to your inability to pay your bills on time, for example. How could you know that? It makes absolutely no sense that your behavior and your happiness related to paying your bills on time could—in any plausible scenario— have anything to do with having chosen the wrong paint color for your hallway. Often during phase 1, there is a welling sense that you should move. You’re just not comfortable here; life isn;t going the way you’d like in one or more areas, and maybe you should just pack up and move to Ft. Greene. Or fuck NYC altogether, I should just move to Beacon and be done with it. Thats phase 1.

If phase 1 is characterized by vague discomfort and overblown remedies, phase 2 is characterized by a sense of agency. The connection between your apartment and your life are not there yet necessarily, but on some level that DIY spirit starts to show up and you start imagining how you could address some of the things you don’t like about your space, those little pockets of “this feels off”. Sometimes the idea of color change enters the mind in this phase and you start going to the hardware store and staring down that wall of paint chips. Maybe you start combing through magazines or pinterest or Houzz for images of rooms that appeal to you, looking for elements you could steal and superimpose onto your rooms. That color but brighter, that color but softer, that lamp, that canopy bed, that rug but in yellow. You start wondering what it would feel like to move the bed over there, further from your neighbors barking dog. You start noticing that the standard issue light fixtures on the ceiling look like single breasts which either delights you or makes you explore changing them out for something a bit less freudian. You start to engage with your space, talk with your space, wonder, dream, imagine, visualize. And the weird thing is, in phase 2, your discomfort actually grows. The urgency heightens. The body wants to feel easier. And there must be a way.

Ah, phase 3! Your urge to paint is at mach 5. You know you need a change, you are prepared to do it, you really don’t like the idea of moving at this point (what a pain in the neck) because you suspect you’ll go through the same agony once you get to wherever you are going, and you find your self carving out blocks of time in your schedule to prepare the walls to paint and ordering items willynilly on amazon - a new shower curtain, two stools that actually match for the kitchen counter, light fixtures that don’t resemble pointy breasts. You’re dipping your toe in. You’re in motion. You’re going for it. This is the phase during which time the urge to paint is driving you and you are responding. Good for you! But here’s the rub - you’re winging it. You’re just winging it. It feels so good to have moved beyond phase 2 that you kindof hurl yourself to a result and cross your fingers that it will manifest in the way you hope. Truth be told we all do this - I do this. And sometimes you’re spot on and your results are amazing! And other times you are painting and repainting. Ugh! Or your results you’d judge to be maybe a 6 out of 10 and you just lose momentum and talk yourself into being happy with what you have achieved. Then a year later, your old friend - the urge to paint - shows up again and you’re off to the races once more.

Alternatively in phase 3, you employ a method to get closer to your dream space, or you hire some color consulting (hello there ;) or interior decor help and get closer to your ideal space that way. Then instead of having to convince your self you like what you’ve achieved, you actually do. and you can move forward with your life, garnering the newfound power and energy you’ve liberated in your environment and applying it into your everyday existence.

And here’s why my testimonials are so glowing: when you come out on the other end of phase 3 and are in love with your newly decorated home, it feels like love. I’m not going to soften that language since I get it, it sounds overblown. It is not over blown. It feels like love. You and your space are in love. That “you are so perfect, my heart is so full, how did I ever get so lucky?!” phase of love. You get to wake up together every morning and feel each others affection and warmth. It is a mutual shared space form of love. And then your life starts to shift, for the better, and you fall in love again. And you can’t quite figure it out but at this point you can connect the dots, ever since I painted my space I wake up feeling differently and my day unfolds differently and I’m moving through my world with more dignity and pride and a sensuality. And I feel seen. Yes, I feel seen by my apartment. And that is one of the best feelings there is. Because whether you realize it or not, your glorious, lovely, humble, cohesive, energized, relaxing space is reflecting back those qualities in you, that were there all along.

Which brings us back to this mysterious urge to paint. It is a beckoning. Your apartment feeling “off” is just the conduit for the message and the message is this, “you deserve to feel amazing” “you deserve to feel unstoppable” “you deserve to feel a sense of integrity as you move through your day” “you are capable” “you are worthy of great beauty” “you are loved”. There are other ways to hear these messages. Your apartment isn’t the only way to liberate your mind and open your heart. But it is one way. And when it wriggles into your consciousness and your body as “must. paint. apartment. now.”, I encourage you to heed it. You deserve to feel amazing at home.

More later on my other theories. Maybe tomorrow I’ll talk about light, which is another major reason people respond so intensely to paint. Would love to hear if any of this is resonating with you.

Happy day to you, dear readers.

First post

Good morning.


It’s two days after Christmas and I am sitting at my wee kitchen table in my apartment in Brooklyn with a cup of joe. The mug I drink from is one of those photo mugs with a picture of my mom and dad on their first ever trip abroad. Smiling at me as I enjoy my pour-over with oat milk and cardamom. They are in Italy, on a balcony, with turrets and domes in the background, the sky clear and soft purple like maybe it is approaching dusk. I believe it is Florence. My mom is wearing playful festive half-mask for some reason, and, if I had to guess, I would say it is liberating her to beam as brightly as I have ever seen. My dad also appears quite happy, which is saying something since he may be one of the most reluctant travelers on the planet. He only went to Italy at my mothers insistence and even as he was preparing to go, expressed perfect confidence that it would be a rather pointless waste of time. Yet, there he is, on my morning coffee mug, grinning with childlike glee. I believe my petite mother is more powerful than any of us in my family may know. The cup says Bongiorno! in italics across the sky of the photograph. I can say without hesitation that this campy mail-order photo-mug of my parents is one of my absolute favorite possessions. If the place caught fire, I would grab it and my custom-made silicone earplugs, my purse and a pair of comfortable shoes and be out the door and I’d be fine. I think I would.


Beyond being somehow able to mobilize my Dad to get on a plane to anywhere, my Mom is powerful in other ways too. I am convinced her powers and dedication to daily prayer are responsible for a recent upward turn in my health, and indeed a factor in my ability to sit in this chair and type out this blog post. We spoke on Christmas day and I explained that I was really worried about my left hip, which had gotten worse in recent weeks, a sandpapery-pain deep inside that was starting to interfere with my sleep. I was worried —ok I still am a little — that my next trip to the orthopedist would confirm my fear that i have some irreversible hip disorder or arthritis and I was going to need seem dreadful surgery. I asked her to pray for me, because she’s the one to ask for that kind of help. I myself practice mindfulness and energetic visualization, but she’s much more sincere and I think capable when it comes to really reaching out and making requests of the divine. She said she would, and that in fact she does every day. I asked her to maybe throw in a few extra prayers because I was really scared. And she said she would, she always does.

I woke up the next day—so yesterday —with no pain in my hip, the first time in about 3 weeks. And more normal feeling—actually entirely normal feeling — than it had felt in months. Then when i looked in the mirror in my underwear, I noticed a tense bulge on the side of my left hip, the size of my hand. It was slightly warm, a little discolored, kindof dome shaped and tense, but not at all tender or painful. I was so happy about being painfree that I kind of disregarded the bulge and just chalked it up in my mind to ‘something shifted’ in the night. Something in my hip that had been causing all my hip trouble in the past year and half must have released, and the result was that the pain was gone and this little welp on my thigh was a transition stage. After running through and deciding a against a few horror scenarios - infection, DVT, etc… - I decided to apply ice, take it easy for the day, and see what it looked like tomorrow (i.e. today). Today, still no pain, and the thigh well is all but gone. Maybe it is the new hip strengthening exercise I am doing, maybe the bulge was related to a new cream I applied, maybe it was my own visualization and meditation work, but I can’t help but think that my mother’s faith is healing my hip. And now, hooray, I can sit down without needing to jump up in 10 minutes for pain. Life goes on and we heal. The body is trying always to heal.

All of this started as a way in to my first blog post here on what should be an entirely business-y site. I consult on interior color. This is my business site. It is new but my consulting practice is not so new. I’m trying to ‘get serious’ about my business in 2019. Haha. But I know myself too well to try and do that in a prescribed way that I might read about in Forbes. This is me, a personal type person, wanting to connect with people who feel touched by color and environment, and who are open to the idea that small spaces are the perfect canvas for inviting color organization clarity and all manner of good vibes into the home and into life. Maybe even prosperity, love, and some kind of spiritual grace. So, welcome.

I will now attempt to segue into something more on topic for a color and interior decor blog, lest I lose you for thinking this blog is all Noelle oversharing her medical woes and coffee paraphernalia. But before I do, two points about me, my mind, this keyboard, and what’s in store.

  • One is: this may be a decorating blog, or it may be a personal blog, and it may be about spirit, and it may be about health. To me they are all the same, or at least they swim around in the same soup.

  • Two is: us, you and me. Who are you? I would like to know. Do you also feel like your home affects you in surprising and fantastic ways? Do you love where you live? Do you feel comforted by living in a small space? Are you touched by colors in the world? Or do you just think I’m crazy? Do you too find that to isolate out paint color from home and life and mood and health miracles and family is just sill, or at least too much trouble? Let me know what is on your mind, dear reader, in comments. Anything (authentic) goes.

A space to write. Let’s focus there. I am so pleased I didn’t sell this little tiny table (thank you Housingworks) and chair (thank you World Market) and cushion (thank you Ikea) which barely fits in my kitchen as I have decided to dedicate this spot to writing this blog.

I know that no one reads long form blogs anymore, but I want to write this any way. Once I saw this fantastic bonkers play way-off-broadway called the Village Idiot starring Willem Dafoe, then read an interview with the great director Richard Foreman who said that these ideas came to him (I’m paraphrasing) and he just wanted to put this surreal play and story out there in the spirit of “Does anyone else feel like this?”. You’d have to have seen the play - which really dispensed with most elements of logical time-based storytelling, was full of bewildering characters, over the top costumes, and was just this eye-popping symphony of weird and wonderful craziness - to truly grasp what a strange notion that is that anyone else might “feel like this”. Yet I did. I did “feel like this” or something approximate to whatever Mr. Foreman must have felt I would imagine. So, I know this is long and somewhat rambling, and I am not so deluded to think I have the communicative abilities of the singular Richard Foreman, but I like that spirit and I want to take a risk and try my hand at it - does anyone else feel like this?

I will be re-reading this book this week -


I think he’s wonderful, this writer and psychologist and creativity coach Eric Maisel. And I will be preparing this little spot in my kitchen to be a place that nurtures my writing as new blogger.

Are you setting out to write this year? Pick up this book. I swear that a spot to write in —and i have several— is a big boost. Then after you’ve read “A Writer’s Space” and if you like Dr. Maisel’s style, pick up “Why Smart People Hurt” that is if you are a smart people and if you hurt. And I appreciate all the support out there from you all as I attempt to write consistently in 2019. I have a lot to say about color, yes, and about how all of this hangs together. Or doesn’t. Welcome to the slightly odd soup of feelings thoughts, perceptions, and sensations that is COLR.

Now go and enjoy your apartment. It is trying to talk to you. It is trying to support you. Help it. Are you interested in writing? Do you also wish long-from blogging would make a comeback? Go find a spot to do it in - a place that’s somewhat welcoming and lovely — and do it. Love your space. Love your day. Love your life. Go.