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Beer Foam And Road Rash

“So, James, this is what I’m thinking,” begins Jane enthusiastically, “let’s do the foyer in Meadow Mist and then the living and dining areas in the Crème Caramel. The kitchen would look great in Sun Kisses and then we could do our bedroom in Gossamer Wings with a bold feature wall behind the bed in the Purple Princess! What do you think?”

James stares blankly into space like many men do when confronted with a collection of paint chips, fabric swatches and a hyperventilating spouse! “OK,” says Jane with a begrudging sigh, “let’s try this again ... how about we paint the entrance in pale Pond Scum and do the living and dining rooms in Beer Foam. We could then paint the kitchen Boston Bruin Gold and the bedroom in Dead Wolf with a Road Rash accent wall. How does that sound?” “Perfect!” exclaims James.

This little story proves, yet again, the importance of a name and while the male of the species rarely responds to Wistful Willow, you’re sure to get his attention with Combat Olive. Perhaps the solution would be to have ‘bilingual’ paint sample books with her colour names on one side and his on the other!

Understanding the marketing machine as I do, I have come to realize that if you change a label, you change the response. Think of New Zealand’s now famous export, the Kiwi fruit; originally named ‘Chinese Gooseberry’, it didn’t catch on but once it adopted its ‘Kiwi fruit’ moniker, it became exportable and trendy.

Of course, on a more serious note, our response to colours is really rooted in our histories and experiences. Our colour story predates even our own births. The origin of our forefathers—whether from grassy steppes, frozen tundra, or luscious forests—will have resulted in some genetic colour coding that will have been sub-consciously transmitted to, and through, us.

During our lifetimes, we continue to accumulate colour-associated memories—good ones and not-so-good ones. I spent a number of my formative years tightly bound in a dark green serge school uniform. Four decades later, I still steer clear of forest green whenever possible. To another person—one who has spent happy relaxing times in the woods—dark greens may be the hues that make him, or her, feel most comfortable and content.

All this is yet another reminder that we are individuals and the dictates of the fashion mongers must be approached with caution. The 1980s was the forest green decade … but not in my house. Then came the era of beige, beige and more beige. I ignored that one too! Listen to your own voice and wrap yourself up in the colours of your life … whatever they are.

For Colour Consultations and so much more, please get in touch with me.

Visit my website: or pick up a copy of "Nest Building: A Guide To Finding Your Inner Interior Designer" available in Nelson or online:

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