It’s All About the Colour.



And now for some epic trivia! Because haven’t we had enough serious news this year?

Warning: I do tend to get a little obsessed with colour. Ahem.

This week is proving to be a topsy-turvy one. Lots of bitsy things to do that break up my day. Today is no different, (I’m writing this as I wait for something).

It’s been tricky to break into anything more than a canter, which tends to test my patience, (patience is not a virtue I have ever possessed). But I do think this time of year can be a bit like that. I do find that we’re a bit mad here in Australia, having the end of the school and uni year fall right on Chrimble-time. I mean really, egads. All of the things all at once.

Instead of having the skype-y type of call that was planned for yesterday, I went on a detour, straight into painting (some of) my balcony. Because it’s not as though I have anything else to organise (*snort*). But painting and general physical labour is something I crave. Especially if I’m feeling a bit melancholy or stressed, (more on that anon). It’s my therapy and meditation in one.

And it is painting season, after all. For the first time in months the weather is clear and dry. So, carpe diem, wot?

The balcony has been one of my chief botherations since we moved to Rapunzel’s 18 months ago. You would think that the teeny-tiny goblin’s kitchen, or the telephone-sized bathroom would be my main bugbears. But no. It’s the colours.

I’ve banged on plenty about my sensory issues, and there’s none more acute for me than colour (also possibly smell). And ever since we moved here the colour of the balcony, and house trim in general, have set my teeth on edge. Because on the outside bits, it just hasn’t entirely looked like a house where we live.

Objectively speaking, there’s nothing about it that’s offensive. Objectively speaking. I just think that coppery brown, together with dark Aussie green, (the most prosaic and bloody unromantic of greens), teamed with ghost-gum white, amount to the design Trifecta of Woe.


We’re keeping the main colour of the house because it was only recently painted when we took up residence; and even if we had pots of money I think it’s a bit revolting and wasteful to change the whole thing based upon one of my whims. It’s actually quite a pleasant, warm colour, but it falls completely flat with that black-green, and ghost-gum white.

For months we ruminated on colours. I initially wanted a deep red trim, but it was just going to be too heavy for the dinky 1980’s architecture. Eventually we settled on another sensible green, called “moss”. It’s still a dark green (to ground it all), but this time it contains some yellow to go with the warmth of the house colour. Add to that a very not-sensible “wasabi” green (a bright green that lives up to its name) to cover just the bits that are white on the front balcony.

This maketh me a happy Rapunzel’s Cottage dweller.


In between appointments, and meetings, and writing, and life, whenever I have an hour or so, I whip out my magic paintbrush and swipe it over posts and railings. I’m nearly out of paint now, (we have a paint budget that we need stick to), and this is going to be a big job, beause I have to get around the entire trim of the house, including the baseboards!

It’s hard to capture in the pics, (especially the tonal difference between the dark greens) and I still have a long way to go before I’m finished, but I love how the bright green (specifically chosen to pick out the bright greens of the maples in Spring and Summer, as well as tree ferns that surround us), actually blends into the environment far more than the ghost-gum white ever did.

We only really use this south-facing balcony in Spring and Summer, because it’s like the Antarctic in the cooler months, (truly, we wave at imaginary penguins in the general direction of the South Pole). It’s almost always in the shade all year round too. But the sunny greens give it a lift, methinks.

That green is possibly one of the only bright colours I would use on an exterior at this latitude.

Well, enough already, friends. I well understand if you’ve switched off by now. I am a total nerd when it comes to this stuff.

Before I do more work, I’m off to sit on my balcony with a cup of what I call “nervy tea”: chamomile, lemon balm, lemongrass, lavender, and spearmint to be…pernicket-tea, (see what I did there?)

Oh dear. Something must be done.


And regarding the aforementioned melancholia, I suspect it’s a kind of “post-partum” sadness that comes with finishing a big project, and right before the diving into another. I do feel decidedly lacklustre, and also I think just a bit weary. It’s been quite a year, hey luvs?

I’m looking forward to curling up at the end of the year with books by Juliet Marillier, and Sharon Blackie, John O’Donohue, Mr Gaiman and generally people who help restore the soul and soothe the heart. xx

6 thoughts on “It’s All About the Colour.

  1. It’s funny because I thought at first of some deep red too just looking at pics. But it would be a completely different contrasting effect, like a frame to the garden view, no blending at all. Is that a pond I see in the background?


    1. I was so tempted to paint the red, Pia. But if I showed you a picture of the front of the house you’d see why it would look too much. The house is on stilts, and wrapped around the bottom with baseboards. They need to be the whatever the colour the house trim is – but it’s such a vast expanse that it limits the choices a bit. Red would have been far too strong, and made my little brown house look like a pimple on a pumpkin. So to speak!
      And that’s not a pond – I think what you’re referring to is the neighbour’s property. They’re going to do interesting things there soon with chook houses and vegie gardens. It will be quite fabulous when they’re done! xx


  2. i’m enchanted by the greens, especially the wasabi one. green is my favorite color, if i had to choose one, and i love nearly every shade of it. brilliant foil for the brown siding, and always a lovely choice as a backdrop to blossoms and autumn leaves. i share your sensitivity to color; i will overlook cheerfully a non-functional heater, a seriously drafty window, a wonky cooker, but living with a vile or even just offensively beige wall? nonono.i once lived in a cottage with what i referred to as the “livid lemon” kitchen. probably painted that color to be ‘cheery’. only helen keller could have found that soul-sucking ice-cold yellow cheery…it was the very first thing attended to after moving in.

    i’m always a little sad at the end of the year. and this year, especially; it feels like a lot of things have died, or are dying, some of them Big Things. i have a profound sense of weariness, and a strange longing to ‘go home’, wherever and whatever that might mean. probably i should go out into the leafless damp cold and plant something, or clean out something inside—heaven knows there is plenty that needs it!

    i too have my “pernicki-teas”…and very useful they are! lately, a combined decoction of hawthorn and infusion of nettle, and a bedtime tonic of passionflower, skullcap, and valerian. there’s a chinese traditional formula of various things that is attempting to deal with my temperature derangement, not very successfully thus far. i really love a tea of skullcap, lavender, and lemon balm, but i need to reorder some herbs. lemon balm being the only thing that thrives in my shady little yard…

    i will join you in curling up with some soul-soothing books. i just put “scatterlings” on my gift list…martin shaw being most congenial just now.

    your parrot friends will look very beautiful against the green railings. 🙂


    1. Green is also one of my favourite colours. I adore green – come to think of it, I always manage to paint something green. At some point! I can’t choose a favourite colour though…every one of them except beige. Pretty much.
      I can well understand your aversion to that yellow kitchen. I had to rapidly disappear the greige that was in mine, when I moved in here. It’s so much about the tone, hey? Because I’m not particularly build-y, I love wielding a paintbrush to effect transformations!

      We’re a veeeery conservative culture here when it comes to colour. It’s not like in other parts of the world where people are allowed to paint their rental properties. And people tend to go for beige and white, (although I do love a white wall at times). But apart from a bit of effort, it’s pretty low risk slapping some colour on. You can always change it if you get bored of it, or you don’t like it, hey?

      That bedtime tonic of yours sounds like just the ticket. Valerian (I think) knocks me out. I have the biggest, wildest dreams ever on that one. I think I might need some at the moment, because it really allows my mind to rest on a deeper level than usual. Because my brain is always “on’.

      And thankyou for reminding me of Scatterlings! I must get hold of a copy. Although I don’t think my library has one at this point. It looks so good!

      Oh, and the parrots have already been showing off on the balcony : ) xx


  3. That looks really lovely. Normally I adore this time of year, but its been all strange this year, and I can’t get my head around the fact we have yet to do Christmas. The entire world feels kind of off-kilter. But looking at your photos I can imagine the peace of your place, and would love to be sitting there listening to bird song and enjoying the pretty colours.


    1. Ah, Sarah. I’m really feeling the same way. And I usually love, (and anticipate) the cosy, gentle, spirit of this time of year. I’ve been reluctant to talk about how I’m just not feeling it right now, because I don’t want to sound like a grinch. It’s not actually “bah humbug” at all, it just seems to be passing me by, and I can’t quite catch the tide of it all. I’m trying to embrace this off-kilterness and create a different rhythm to how I usually do all this. Blessings to you. xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s