Home Guru

Decorating Taste Can Change as the Years Go By

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By Bill Primavera

As an adolescent, long before I ever had an interest in interior decorating, much less the opportunity to decorate a home, I came upon a photograph of a room in one of my mother’s women’s magazines that was decorated in different shades of green.

At the time, I would say that my favorite color was green because that’s how Mother Nature chose to decorate the great outdoors.  Wasn’t I a precocious child?

At that impressionable age, I decided that my home when I grew up would be a vision in the color green.

But as I look around my home today, now that I am a grown-up (most of the time), there is not a speck of green to be found, save for one bedraggled (artificial) plant in an iron urn originally intended for the great outdoors. So someplace along the way, my vision changed.

Having gone to the College of William & Mary in that citadel of history, colonial Williamsburg, Va., which greatly influenced my taste, I assumed that I’d furnish my home in antiques, or at least reproductions of them.

But coming to New York City with only $300 in my pocket, intended for a month’s rent and a month’s deposit, I could only afford a close-out sale of a Danish Modern sofa, my sole piece of furniture, which doubled as a bed. To boot, its fabric covering was a bright shade of orange, my least favorite color.

I understand that I share my dislike for orange with Barbra Streisand who said on Oprah that she doesn’t allow it in her home. Oprah responded, “Oh, my, I’m SO glad I didn’t wear orange today,” to which Streisand characteristically responded, “I am glad, too.”

It isn’t that I didn’t try to realize my early dream of living surrounded by the color green. In fact, the first significant piece of furniture I purchased prior to my marriage (and the influence of my wife) was a Chippendale-style settee, covered in olive green damask and found at the Williamsburg shop at B. Altman’s department store. (Who’s old enough to remember that magnificent store? Years and years ago, it closed to become one of the buildings of the City University of New York.)

Rounding out the furnishings in the first apartment I had on my own were a couple of pieces of “early sidewalk,” found discarded on the streets of my first neighborhood, Greenwich Village. A bookcase and a side chair guaranteed that I’d have a place to accommodate my books and sit and read.

There have been many apartments and a couple of homes to decorate through the many years that followed and the accumulation of much furniture and décor. For some years, my wife and I owned and operated an antiques shop, and there were many times when we came upon some great pieces as we hunted for inventory that never made it to the store as we picked our favorite things for ourselves. Having such a great source for nice things to live with presented us with choices that were all but unlimited.

But there came a time when it was necessary to be more discerning about our furnishings and décor. It was when we were only two people again after the marriage of our daughter and we didn’t need – or want – a 4,000-square-foot house to take care of.

Downsizing to 1,750 square feet of living space, we faced the chore of having to get rid of furniture, mostly antique, and accessories at a point when nobody was much interested in antiques. (That lack of interest is still in effect.)

But, boy, did we luck out. Our buyers just happened to love everything about our home and invited us to leave any of our things along with the sale of the house. And we left plenty, from a formal dining room set to our living room sofa. We even left a bedroom filled with antique stenciled furniture.

Today we live more simply, enjoying only what is comfortable and what we love. It’s an easier life.

Bill Primavera is a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest-running public relations agency in Westchester, specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

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