Just Say No to Taupe…and Goodbye to Guilt…



Years ago one of my favorite Interior Design authors, Alexandra Stoddard, used a phrase in one of her books which I will never forget: “the insidious, evil, creeping taupe…”

Alexandra won my heart early in her illustrious career by advocating for the riotous use of color even in defiance of the Taupe era…that dull “griege” movement that seems to have taken over the design world since the seventies, like an invasion of some alien virus that permeated the human psyche unnoticed and unchecked. Alexandra warned us, like the early warnings from environmental scientists of global warming…

You Laugh!!! You think I make funny, outrageous comparisons…and I do…I posit however, no more outrageous than ANY comparison between the inner and outer realms of man’s consciousness…the American mindset drifted off course and we became subject to the dysfunction of a society with no clear conscience…politically correct, dumbed down, made into a taupe-y mush…and hence, Clinton couldn’t inhale…but I digress…

We live racked with guilt. Whatever we do, we mustn’t offend…we go to the meeting because we should…we are nice to the ornery neighbors. We need to stand up to those who would wittingly sell us their malaise, their taupe…or, as another brilliant artist of my generation describes the problem: “Richard got married to a figure skater, and he bought her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator and he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on and all the house lights left up bright.”

How do we say yes powerfully if we don’t have the courage to say no? More importantly, how do we know we are acting out of guilt if we aren’t clear about what we really want? I question when we became so complacent, how the compromises overtook us little by little, crept into our consciousness like an alien virus…

And this relates to Interior Design HOW? Well, my influences all have a common criteria intricate to their design decisions: NATURE, the natural world. It’s integrity is built in, dependable. Where do you see TAUPE in nature? I have looked, and the answer is that you seldom find it…you see it best in the mourning dove. That’s spelled MOURNing…because taupe is just sad.

Be a good dreamer. Defend your sweet revolutionary soul. Stop the insidious habit of acting out of guilt, out of your codependent conditioning…and for God’s sake PAINT OVER THE TAUPE!


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