My Love Affair With The Color White
When I was young, I don’t think I realized white was a color. Maybe that’s because the only white I knew was my puff ball cat, appropriately named Puff. And also the white Peter Pan collared blouse that I wore under my school uniform for 12 years.
At some point during my teenage years, I noticed that in fact white was a color (although scientists may disagree). White was a statement. White was pure. White was crisp. White was stylish. Perhaps that’s because a Ralph Lauren Executive lived in the building where I grew up with his beautiful wife and children. Every time I saw this woman walk through our lobby she was in white. She wore white linen shirts, she wore white tee shirts, she wore white jeans. She mixed up her white with denim and saddle leather belts and flat leather sandals. Or flip flops…she often wore flip flops. She exemplified natural beauty…as the Ralph Lauren campaign was launching in the Seventies and she epitomized that Ralph Lauren woman.
As I grew into my own style outside of my high school uniform, I introduced white into my wardrobe. In fact, throughout my twenties I wore a white tee shirt with denim jeans and a blazer, a man’s white button down shirt as a beach cover up…and white jeans when I wasn’t feeling self-conscious! Later, I wore white slacks with navy or black a lot during my real estate professional years. White became a favorite. (Especially after Richard Gere wore it so well in An Officer and A Gentleman)
And then it was time to furnish my very first Beach House in East Hampton. As a single woman ready to take on the world, I bought a weekend house and I couldn’t wait to furnish it with white slip covered sofas, white walls, sisal rugs and pine pieces. And so I did. This is where I truly felt at ease. I entertained, had great meals, great parties and wonderful memories were made.
As time moved on and I met my soul mate, we enjoyed many relaxing days in the casual beach house. After we married and were expecting our first child, we decided to sell my house in East Hampton and keep my husband’s beach house in Lavallette, NJ. After all, how could the long drive to East Hampton from New York City survive my marriage to a Jersey Guy!
A few years and 3 kids later, my love affair with white continued. We decided to build an addition of a playroom on to our small house at the beach. Again, I couldn’t wait to decorate it with white walls to display my kids’ colorful art work; white slipcovered furniture that would easily wash and feature colorful fun pillows; and a white lacquer inexpensive table for them to color at and make crafts. It was everything I dreamt it would be! White was the perfect backdrop for my kids crafts and summer memories! Although they didn’t eat Cherry Italian Ice in that room, they enjoyed coloring, play dough, pretzels and lots of washable magic marker crafts. Of course, already having a golden retriever before the kids arrived prepared me to be a more relaxed mom with furniture.
Then came the opening of The Beach Home in 2010. The first thing I did was painted the entire interior white…including the damaged brown wood floors. When it was empty…I was in love. And so it began…a true love affair with white interiors. Every item I displayed in the shop popped…from the products on shelves to the rugs on the white floors to the artwork on the walls. It also became everyone’s happy place…thus the white atmosphere allowed everyone to relax.
Next, was the beach cottage we moved into after losing our first Lavallette house to Hurricane Sandy. It had old dark vinyl flooring, heavy dark drapes, a red brick fireplace and dark furniture. One had to walk past the darkness to notice the incredible Barnegat Bay Cove was right outside those windows. And so once again… we removed everything from the windows, the walls, replaced the horrid floors with an inexpensive wood style laminate and sprayed the entire house with white paint…including the brick fireplace. It provided the perfect backdrop for me to furnish this simple house with only the items our family needs. (Of course that included white slip covered sofas again and a sisal rug J !)…the rest is history.
So here I am years later and my affinity for the color white has only deepened (although scientists will still disagree with me that white is actually a color!). My year round home makes me so happy with white carrera marble in my bathrooms and my kitchen with white cabinets…these rooms literally bring me to a place of peace. There is no noise. It’s calm. (okay, full disclosure…my white island is covered with papers and laundry while I write this blog! the spaces don’t always have to be perfect to provide that relaxed feeling J)
This year, as I celebrate The Beach Home’s 10th season in Lavallette I will continue to present a lot of white in my products and my interior designs. And I hope you will join me on this journey as I continue to educate my customers that white will never go out of style!