|Le moulinsur la Couleuvre à Pontoise(1881) by Paul Cézanne|
Like artists, homeowners often experience the terror of the blank canvas. What furniture is appropriate? What wallpaper should we hang? What tile should we install? There are so many choices—sometimes even the best of us freeze up. Instead of moving forward, we stop, as if waiting for divine revelation.
While it may not solve every design dilemma, I’ve always believed that having the right color palette in hand is the best first step. Once you’ve chosen your primary, secondary and tertiary colors, the rest of the battle (and yes, sometimes renovation feels like winning a war) is just so much easier. Surprisingly, these colors often coexist in one item—like they were best friends all along—and this item can provide inspiration throughout the rest of the project. Whether it’s a rug, a vase or a swatch of wallpaper, this one piece acts as a trustworthy guide, a la Lewis and Clark, as you venture forward through uncharted territory.
Fortunately, I think this is where the Victorian enthusiast draws more comfort than other homeowners. We have an abundance of reference material available, from period-inspired wallpapers to historically accurate paint palettes to professional color experts. There are historical societies and other experienced homeowners. There are a plethora of books and, if you live in the right neighborhood, a bounty of local turn-of-the-century homes that have already been lovingly restored.
And, of course, there is our magazine—Victorian Homes.
For the Victorian homeowner, a blank canvas doesn’t have to be feared. It can—and should—be the onset of an exciting adventure. Brushstroke after brushstroke should exhilarate and stimulate and motivate you on to the next.
Because the bottom line is, more than any other homeowner, color, paint and wallpaper truly are our friends.