My first memory of colour was a sea-green-mauve wall-to-wall carpet in our home in Bellville. It was in the living room where only the minister ever sat and where the furniture was white, just like the thick-piled rug on that selfsame sea-green-mauve carpet.
In later years, there was my dad’s Ford Granada which was ‘ kapoen’ in colour – a dirty, yet bright orange-brown. Of course, there’s no such colour as ‘ kapoen’. That was how my father jokingly referred to it; rather than offend anyone, let’s just say the one half of that description comes from ‘ pampoen’.
Years ago when I was still a teacher, there was a minister’s wife on the staff with me. One day she fervently told me that when she had her own home, she would never ever have a cream-coloured wall. This was because in all her years of living in various manses across the country, this was the colour she’d had to face on all the interior walls. A pastoral, serviceable cream. The colour of comfort and guidance.
But one must be cautious when choosing bold colours because you might paint yourself into that proverbial corner. As I did in my previous home, a loft-type flat here in Cape Town. It was all in shades of white. Except for the kitchen. White cabinets, yes, but the countertops were a bright speckled red. Red Shimmer it was called. And believe me, it was red – and it shimmered !
That day at the kitchen store there was no stopping me. I was drawn to that red countertop like the sun to the earth. It was a cosmic moment.
Two years later, the gravitational pull had waned somewhat. It felt like the entire flat was red. That’s why I like paint so much. Within the context of a home makeover, it’s the cheapest way to make a huge difference. And if you’re tired of that Pamplona Purple a year later, a do-over is only a paint tin and brush away. No need for expensive new countertops.
When I renovated my house here in the city, I wanted the perfect blue for a focal wall in the kitchen. When I finally found the right colour, Paul the builder was given the go-ahead to start painting. That morning I even asked him to send a photo once he’d started. Alas, Paul didn’t send the photograph. When I walked into the house that evening, Paul was beaming – but I reeled. Because the blue was blue. “Paul,” I ventured, “Is this the right colour?” He replied indignantly: “It’s the colour you chose.” And it was... Now, almost two years later, I find the blue beautiful. It’s the perfect backdrop for a row of succulents in terracotta pots.
This time, the outcome was good. I have no blues about this blue.