House to home: Bold strokes to set your home apart – Entertainment & Life –

You hear me say this so many times … your home is all about you. Make it look the way you feel; layer it with the moods that please you, that feed your soul, that make you smile. Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two rooms are a mirror image of each other. There is a commonality in the requirements — somewhere to sit, a table, some lights, etc. — but the style and selection of the interior decor is up to you. The challenge of shaping your rooms is a daunting task. Stepping outside the safety of the popular, accepted fashion box is not for everyone. However, if you have a bold, artsy character with a passion for theater, let your home decor shout it to the rooftops.

This is the mantra that echoes blissfully throughout Emily Henson’s newest book, “Be Bold: Interiors for the Brave of Heart,” with stunning photography by Catherine Gratwicke. Neon blue kitchen walls, vivid green backdrops, giant attention-grabbing floor lamps and chandeliers, a grapefruit yellow sofa, an oversized orange mushroom chair, a hot pink dresser, riotous patterns adorning walls, floors and furniture all jump gleefully off the pages. This brave, eclectic style is not meant to be partitioned off into a single room. The homes that are illustrated show how the individual homeowner’s outgoing style radiates throughout, brandishing shapes and colors with the swish and swash of a mighty sword.

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My glimpse into this joyous book focuses on how to create an entrance. Often left until most of the major decorating is done, the entry to your home offers the first taste of what’s to come. Here are three snapshots that leave no doubt as to the homeowner’s state of mind. All of these are brave and bold, but can be a stepping stone to any style by choosing different colors and patterns.

The staircase in a country cottage shows off the homeowner’s love for pattern and painterly detail. The painted stairs have been decorated with strips of wallpaper applied to the stair risers. Gold detail trims the edges of the steps and the end of the railing. The warm red hall walls are trimmed with hand-painted black and gold stripes. When seeing this stairway upon entering the cottage, you know that there are more original decorative wall and furniture treatments ahead.

Attention is brought to the beauty of this winding staircase contrasting light-pale-green walls with the dark painted steps. The flat finish on the walls plays nicely with the glossy finish on the steps. Custom-built cupboards are covered in a magical botanical print. Henson suggests that if you are a renter or unsure of applying patterned wallpaper, cover a cupboard or cabinet first. It’s easy to change out if you aren’t happy with your choice. The curved walls change color from floor to floor (not shown here).

Your entryway presents a welcome view to your home’s mood. Henson describes the home of a busy professional family with four children as playfully bold. The interior palette ranges from dark teal to flamingo pink to cerulean blue. Woven through the rooms is a thread of pineapple yellow. An accent color is a clever way to connect different color palettes. Here, the stairs and walls are coated in various shades of teal, with that sunny yellow connecting hue splashed on the railings and banisters.


Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to [email protected]. Visit


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