Home & Design

Green Acre #37: Color Her Cool

LittleBird Stephanie doesn’t necessarily like the color green, and yet her living room, above, and dining room are kinda mossy. / Photo by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

EVER WONDER WHY you can buy a ball gown to match your bidet?

This is not serendipity. It is thanks to the sages at the Pantone Color Institute, whose denizens conjure the colors we’ll crave several years from now—which is the lead time necessary for fashion, appliance and furniture designers to develop coordinated products and move them into stores.

Pantone’s Greenery

The same people who brought you the 1970s pestilence called avocado now present the color of the year: Greenery.  The yellow-green color of emerging ferns, it’s “a refreshing and revitalizing shade,” they say. “Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings . . . the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew . . . the fortifying attributes of Greenery signal consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

As opposed to hyperventilate.

They call it “nature’s neutral,” which you might have mistakenly assumed was some mild and fawny shade of gray, which has been the de facto color of every year for at least the last five; considered the perfect background for everything from your Picasso to your La Cornue range.

La Cornue, by the way, now offers its Chateau range, $53,600 plus freight and delivery (not available on Amazon), in five shades of light green (or a custom shade if none of those suit; there’s probably a modest up-charge involved).

The Washington Post recently offered up more than a dozen ways to use the shade at home, among them highball glasses, poufs, sheets and lamps.

Despite my delight in gardens (note I did not say gardening—I rather dislike all that sweaty schlepping and digging), I’ve never much cared for the color green. In fact, I was frightened by pea soup, promptly dropped out of the Girl Scouts after trying on the uniform and skunked out of a bridesmaid role that required a parade float of lettuce green chiffon that, 40 years later, I still recall with horror.

The green in the hallway of LittleBird Stephanie’s home is the hue familiar to diehard British mystery-at-the-manor fans. / Photo by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

Green has, however, crept up on the house over the years, nearly wrapping every room in some shade of the color. The living and dining rooms are mossy, the hallway is that murder-in-the-library hue familiar to hounds of British TV. The bathroom ceiling is as deep as late-summer leaves, and the front of the house is mostly a silvery green, except for a strange patch of gray beside the drainpipe. But don’t get me started on that.

So it seems, for once, we’re totally in step with what’s considered cool.

“Wrapping the room” is an actual decorating term, for when an entire space is a single color, or shades of a single color.

Our artist friend Jill has completely green-wrapped her rambling pre-war (do people still understand what this means? Which war?)  apartment on Connecticut Avenue. A fresh, sprightly green colors every wall, and the woodwork as well. Outside the window are great and ancient trees, and perched on a living room sofa one feels among them. There is a virtually seamless transition from the outdoors; in daylight the room is bathed in green-gold light. She doesn’t have or need a balcony or terrace.

One breathes in deeply, and exhales.

We shall never go so far. The century-old house My Prince and I occupy has chestnut woodwork that has never been painted; it still wears a somewhat crackled coat of original varnish. (One real estate agent, now deceased, though that is neither here nor there and not my fault, described the wood as suited to a funeral home.)

I prefer to think of the floors and staircase as an echo of the massive elms that line the street, the windows and glass doors their frames, and the green walls their leaves.

The house to us feels like a garden, a fine place to sit when there’s little to do outside besides curse what went wrong last season, enjoy thinking about what went well, and contemplate spring—and yet another chance to get it right.

—Stephanie Cavanaugh

LittleBird Stephanie is working on a book about city gardening. To read all of her columns, type Green Acre into the Search box at the top of the page.


2 thoughts on “Green Acre #37: Color Her Cool

  1. Carol Roger says:


    1. Thank you Carol! Any time….

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