"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
– William Morris, Pioneering British Arts and Crafts Movement Designer and Poet
Paid Partnership acknowledgement
This Afterword was created in collaboration with Handy Paint Products. As integral characters to my storyline, I couldn't ask for a more meaningful partner in concluding this narrative.
If you're not squeamish about spoilers (and want to know more about Handy), I've earmarked the page for you to read right here.
Literary Life Lessons:
a Word from Your author
From my early elementary school days getting lost in the pages of Little Women, I've found that there is no feeling quite as riveting, outraging, or victorious as arriving to the conclusion of a good book. Be it a strong storyline, captivating character development, or relatable references; an engaging narrative has the ability to inspire action, create conversation, and even, uncover fresh facets of our own lives.
In the most enthralling tales, the afterword, usually written from the author's perspective (well hello there), is a section at the end of a book that "addresses the inspirations behind, or challenges involved in, the book’s development; giving further depth to the overall story" (as defined by my most recent MasterClass). When books have an engaging or complex backstory, Authors may use an afterword to tell that story. Which brings us to today, my dear reader.
The Afterword addresses the inspirations behind, or challenges involved in, the book’s development; giving further depth to the overall story.
With paint as our protagonist, it is my sincere hope that this much anticipated (...by yours truly) entryway conclusion piques enough interest and inspiration for the writing of your own vibrant story (or...house project) with patience and purpose.
So without further ado,
This Is where the story ends. Or, perhaps, Has Only Just Begun.
*Flips the page*
Coloring The Character arc:
If Walls Could Talk
When we were first introduced to the inspiration behind The Plant Penthouse entryway in November of 2019, it was a space *yearning* for verve and vibrancy; but a space completely unaware of it's true potential.
With that scene set, I would like to formally introduce you to my entryway prior to any...character development. Apparently, Sunflower Yellow and Goldenrod were strong contenders that fall. (sorry no time for questions):
The decision came down to Goldenrod or Pure White. Much like my personality, I was going all or NOTHING. Suffice it to say, I was not ready to fully commit to color (but just you wait), so Pure White prevailed but for a season, and a clean slate was paved for new beginnings.
Then, on a cheery April afternoon in 2020's very much unprecedented times, the following images were pinned (do you...see where we're heading):
And one late night trip to Home Depot later...a star (...and immediate regret) was born:
Wow the execution was impeccable. I find that paint preferences (...and overall design decisions) are quite telling of a character's location in their life journey. We'll call this the entryway's "I cut my own bangs" phase...
I find that paint preferences (...and overall design decisions) are quite telling of a character's location in their life journey.
For every impulsive action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The reaction to the impulse in this tale went something like this:
Have you ever used the Sherwin Williams ColorSnap app? Well, after all of 30 minutes on this app, I was emboldened to march to the Sherwin Williams store and purchase a gallon of SW Cerise sight unseen. Why spend money on a sample when you know who you are?!
Nearly three years have elapsed since this project took place, and there are more questions than answers. One question I don't have is how *crisp* the paint job on those corners was! I am impressed. The trick here is to paint over your painters tape with the color on the adjacent wall, so when you get into the main event, no bleeding occurs! Works every time.
Our paint protagonist may be playful, but she sure is precise.
As the Author of this telling tale, I would be remiss to dismiss the true plot twist of this story: being ahead of our time in embracing the 2023 color of the year. Was Pantone watching this entire story unfold?! We'd like to think the answer is a resounding yes.
For additional context:
Viva Magenta Color Psychology
Reds are power colors that celebrate life. As a bright, crimson red, Viva Magenta balances boldness with a feeling of fun. This dynamic mix exudes rebellion, but not at the expense of softness. It embodies an expression of fierce grace, inspiring us to show up with confidence and humanity. The digital space has accelerated globalization, and as a result, we are more deeply connected to each other than ever before. We can never fully understand what lies beneath the surface of the friends and strangers we meet, but we can always work to deepen our empathy. The Color of the Year 2023 speaks to our desire to take on new challenges and try the unconventional while meeting others with compassion.
What distinguishes this year’s Color of the Year from last year’s — PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri, which also married the technical with nature — is Viva Magenta’s ability to answer our collective need for strength.
Viva Magenta offers us the assurance and motivation we need to weather long-term disruptive events. Three years deep into a pandemic, facing a war, an unstable economy, social unrest, supply chain breakdowns, and mounting climate change, we need to heal. And still, we need to find the motivation to continue. Here, Viva Magenta cloaks us in both power and grace, and sends us out into the world with the verve we’ve yearned for.
ALL OF THAT. Pantone summarized the 2020 Cerise decision with words that will float us right to resolution. Is there anything left to be said?
LearningS from the Past:
Inspired by The arts (...& Crafts)
The year is 2023 and we have an affinity for slow living, gardening, calming music, rest and all things lovely. We have embraced a soft life era and the time-honored design philosophies cherished during the Arts & Crafts movement of the early 19th Century.
As summarized by Sherwin Williams (another familiar face throughout this tale):
"Mention the Arts and Crafts style and most people think of bungalows and mission furniture. But it was more than a period, it was also a mindset — devoted to the honesty of craftsmanship, simplicity in the design and the joys of nature, hearth, and home. Color palettes recreated the earthy shades found in building materials, or the blues and greens of handmade ceramic tiles. Unpainted woodwork and solid-colored, never papered walls let the simple beauty of every object in the home shine through."
Leaning into the joys of the Arts & Crafts Movement allowed us to, finally, find our stride in this book. Emphasizing nature and simplicity of form? Check and check.
Before we reintroduce our refined Protagonist, let's quickly flip to a chapter that alludes to our joyous ending. In the well loved prequel, we discovered a literary revelation that sets the tone for the final entryway expose: the understanding that basing design developments around a central rug creates character congruence. Say that one 10x fast. Not to recreate the wheel, a little research led to FLOR's Among the Wildflowers Carpet Tiles in Ivy and my pen was flying.
Described as, "A graphic floral pattern rug inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, these romantic and natural forms evoke colors found in meadows. The raised loops frame out the organic forms to give it added depth and dimension." All boxes were checked, and upon arrival, they surely delivered on all promises. ONWARD!
To Paint a Penthouse
Any other paint loyalists out there? As this would be the third (...and fourth) time repainting The Plant Penthouse entryway, our story arc is locked in at this point in time. Sherwin Williams is the preferred paint and Handy Products are my preferred tools. They just get the job done, without deviation (...even when I change course).
Time for a color breakdown
Decisions, decisions. Which would you chose?
Vogue Green was chosen for hue, but truthfully more so for the name (above any design preferences); hence it's expedient elimination.
Oh, Rock Garden. Based on Sherwin Williams' accord I was to let this dark, saturated green help me 'find my inner calm'. Tinged slightly with blue gray undertones, this hue pairs well with cool gray neutrals. So, obviously I bought a gallon and went to WORK. Upon completing everything but the wall edges, I was uneasy. The color was far too light. It appeared a hunting green, in my humble opinion, rather than an intimate secret garden. THE TRAUMA! While no tears were shed, sleep was lost and google took a few more hits than usual that night. The very next morning, I do believe I was one of the first customers at my local Sherwin Williams (which has the absolute BEST team led by the kindest manager. Hi Alex!). On this delightful trip, the colors that follow were picked impromptu.
Roycroft Bottle Green is from the Arts & Crafts - Interior Historic Colors collection (need we say more?!). I did not have my rug sample with, however, I was determined to find a green that closest resembled the deep blue-green in my rug, and by golly, I knew we were onto something.
Rookwood Shutter Green felt moody enough to get the job done, but would it be too dark?
After breaking my own heart for the third time with Rock Garden, defeat was not an option for this story, so, we did a color chip analysis in my lighting this time and photographed every angle. The clear winner quickly became Roycroft Bottle Green - I knew it! Arts & Crafts!
Here are photos To Recap This climactic chapter at your leIsure:
Did you feel the angst while reliving the transition from Cerise, to Gray, to Rock Garden to ROYCROFT BOTTLE GREEN? I know I did.
Tools of the Trade | Handy Products
Being a story of many...many colors, let me tell you, if there is one thing I've learned along the way it's this: there truly is an easier way to paint; and that is with Handy Paint Products. Affirming to be USA made, ergonomic (here, here), time saving (I can attest to this!), simple to use (can also attest), and guaranteed for LIFE, I attribute my collective painting success to my well loved Handy Paint Products.
The Handy Paint Pail, Handy Roller Cup and accompanying Liners are heroic, headlining characters.
For detailed auto-biographies of my most beloved HP characters (and where to meet them in person), please read below; or, you may flip to the final page here.
Handy Paint Pail: The Handy Paint Pail is the original do-it-better tool designed for functional, efficient painting. Built for both professionals and DIY painters (like me!), the Handy Paint Pail offers innovative features so simple anyone can use, clean and store it effortlessly. Built to last, the durable construction is made to withstand years of use with any paint or stain.
Handy Paint Pail Liners: The Handy Paint Pail Liners offer efficient clean-ups and quick color changes (which I very much so needed...wow). Designed with a perfect fit for the Handy Paint Pail, these liners save time and mess.
Handy Roller Cup: The Handy Roller Cup is the perfect solution for mini-rollers. Designed with a wide base for stability, built-in corner pour spouts and ergonomic handle, the Handy Roller Cup is easy to hold or set down while painting.
Handy Roller Cup Liners: Handy Roller Cup Liners simplify cleanup and color changes. Designed to fit seamlessly and keep any project moving, these are made from 100% recycled plastic.
Handy Craft Tray: The Handy Craft Tray is an ideal tool for small projects using a up to a 4” mini-roller. Being the EASIEST for quick clean-up, the Craft Tray is oh-so perfect for getting the job done while holding the tray or even setting it on a flat surface.
Handy Paint Tray: The Handy Paint Tray is the innovative solution for brush and roller painting. Easily holding a full gallon (this is a fact!), it has unique design feature that ensures efficient, hassle-free painting. Built for pros and DIY painters (like yours, truly), the Handy Paint Tray is designed to last and is solvent resistant to work with any paint or stain on the market.
Handy Paint Tray liners: For those who like to save time and mess, Handy Paint Tray Liners offer efficient clean-ups and quick color changes. 100% recycled plastic and designed with a perfect fit for the Handy Paint Tray; Simply snap into place and use.
Handy Paint Covers: Coming in three sizes, simply apply Handy Paint Covers to trays, pails, brushes, and buckets to keep them ready-to-go when it's time to paint again.
In my humble opinion, our personal belongings are what make a house a home. Without them, it would simply be a boring box that anyone could occupy, am I right? When you see yourself in your space, it becomes a happy place.
Be them useful or beautiful (or both) I seek to jam-pack my surroundings with personal sparks of joy. In fact, it is my favorite design trick. We will write a sequel dedicated to the finishing touches later, but for now, let's get to know what I find to be beautiful, in picture form. On the usefulness front, I've chosen to use a potting station as an entryway catchall (and garden station as the whim arises), and I am just so pleased with how everything came together.
“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all details of daily life.” - William Morris
aFter the afterWord
How does your book end? Or rather, which project(s) are deserving of a proper denouement? Do share below - I'd be so honored to know. I hope my 3.4 year journey has equipped you with the courage and confirmation to finish writing your story. That afterword is just a few pages away.
Obniski, Monica. “The Arts and Crafts Movement in America.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/acam/hd_acam.htm (June 2008)