Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Life Of Drab

Photo courtesy Flickr
Wedgewood drabware reappeared on the market after a hiatus of (I  think) a couple of hundred years. The color was appealing, and I remembered reading that service quarters in stately English homes were painted in the drab color produced by mixing leftover buckets of paint from the principal rooms.

For a lark, I tried mixing separate drabs from the exterior and interior palettes I use at the house. The experiment has been a revelation. The interior of a low-tech outbuilding is now the exterior drab. The interior drab coated a bedroom with a good view. Each space has become a calm haven, to one side of the main action in the house but gently integrated with the ordinary flow of daily life. The view room has evolved into a master suite equally comfortable for personal use, a guest room, or a small parlor. The same is true for the shed.

I find that a drab background is a flexible setting for works of art, the colors of a video display, and the varied follies of entertaining. In this increasingly urban neighborhood, drab links nature and high tech.

A hundred and thirty year old woodwork and floors grounded on the natural drab of sea grass matting anchor the subtle drabs of unpainted wood, unbleached linen, and split bamboo blinds.


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