All You Need Is Paint (Or Paintings)

The Walloon Lake home featured in this issue, designed by Cynthia Evans Interiors, reminded me of my cottage in northern Michigan.

 The Walloon Lake home featured in this issue, designed by Cynthia Evans Interiors, reminded me of my cottage in northern Michigan. Evans, the Walloon Lake homeowners, and I belong to the same color club, where we strive to inject lots of color in many areas of  the home.

Megan SwoyerI’ll begin with my penchant for cherries. Long ago, when we first purchased the cottage, I named one bedroom the Cherry Room. Next, I purchased cherry bedsheets, created cherry watercolor art to frame and hang on the wall, lined a lampshade with cherry-themed ribbon, and even talked my artist brother-in-law into painting cherries all over a vintage chair I’d picked up at a flea market.

I also purchased little sculpted cherries to scatter atop a dresser, and painted vintage side tables a glossy cherry red. The valances had to be cherry-colored, too, so I used red-and-white fabric scraps from my husband’s grandmother’s collection to sew some window treatments.

Looking around the place, I could see color opportunities galore. But first, the previous owner’s browns would have to go. Out went anything brown or beige, unless it was salvageable and could be transformed into another color. Picture frames were emptied, but the frames remained — and were painted in a fresh, springy periwinkle.

Then it was on to the lamps. Towering dark wooden table lamps were hauled outside for a big-time makeover. First, I painted them with a primer. Then I had to make some color decisions. I settled on periwinkle for the back room and a soft pink for the front room.

As the lamps dried, I conferred with my brother-in-law again. This time, I asked if he would paint flowers around the lamps’ bases. I envisioned daisies and ivy on the pink lamps. For the periwinkle lamps, he created a lighthouse motif, echoing the scene of a nearby landmark.

I painted bedside tables and chests a crisp white so they’d pop when placed next to green walls and would complement our green-painted furniture.

Enough color? Never! Our wall art includes pastel-hued hydrangeas, bright star-gazer lilies, green lily pads, and zesty pink coneflowers. Then there’s the painting of a large pheasant. He arrived shortly after I spotted my brother-in-law tossing it into his garbage can.

“What are you doing?” I asked. He casually remarked that he was throwing away a pheasant. “What? I love this!” I cried. He said it was just a demonstration piece that he’d created and used for the art classes he taught. “Oh, no,” I said. “I have just the place for it!” I made him sign it, and the painting now takes center stage on a wall above a sofa. It’s glorious, in a large, retrofitted teal frame some other color-lover found and passed on to me.

Cherries, lighthouses, flowers, lily pads, pheasants — my husband and I have adorned our northern retreat with touches of things we love, wrapped in a colorful world.

Now back to the Walloon Lake wonder. For the homeowners and designer, the colors of the home were inspired by a couple of paintings. That’s thoughtful design. As Paul Gauguin once said, “Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.” And isn’t cottage living all about dreamy?

P.S. To complement your own imagination and creative color vision, our Buyer’s Guides (which follow our home stories) feature lots of inspiring sources, including paint colors, for your waterfront retreats. Check them out.

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