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Rated: E · Fiction · Comedy · #2224474
Writer's Cramp. 6/16/20. W/C 798
Seeing Red


I love the color combination of sage green and red. So I thought a green on the walls and some red rugs would look good. Green in the kitchen, in the hallway. Scatter rugs all throughout the house. Then we could find some accent art with those same colors. That was the idea.

My notes are in the desk, next to the color cards for the paint and fabric swatches for curtains. I even went so far as to take pictures and storing them on the computer. All would be shared with the decorator when she arrived this afternoon.

I’d been given an allotment of any amount. My husband had left the dollar amount up to me. “Use your better judgment, darling. I trust you.” Wonderful, thinks I. Carte blanche to do whatever I choose. He trusts me.

Right on time the doorbell rings. I greet a woman of undetermined age.

“Mrs. Harris? I’m Delphine deMet.” She held out a slim hand.

“Ah, welcome Ms. deMet. Come in.” I showed her the way to my office.


We sat around my desk. All gathered materials for the project cover my desk. Ms.deMet fingered each item in turn. We discussed my plans and she seemed agreeable. A price was set. Terms were agreed upon. Work will commence in a week.


Jack and I cleaned up the house, moved everything out of the way on the first floor and moved out for a few weeks.

The first night out of our home, we chatted about the plans.

“I think she’ll do a good job, Milt. She had good references. I liked what she had to say.”

Milt plumped a pillow on the bed. “I hope so. I’m not keen on being here. This place is okay, but I’d rather be in my own place. A vacation is somewhere warm, not here in Ohio, in February, in a Holiday Inn.”

“It’s not forever. And think how nice things will be when all is done.” I snuggled next to Milt.


After the allotted two weeks, I went back to our home. Ms. Delphine deMet had been given two weeks and $7,000 to redecorate the first floor of 100 West Chestnut Street, Ashland, Ohio, I had given her my notes, color choices, fabric swatches, pictures of ideas and had discussed all with her during our first meeting. We also talked many times over the internet and by phone.

Outside our beautiful home where once were flower beds with perennials now were rocks. Boulders, small rocks, and gravel where once were beautiful blooms. I walked up the steps and through the door into a house that looked like a magazine shoot. Everything was neat and in its proper place.

But then the problem immediately hit me. Color. There wasn’t any. All was black or grey or white. The walls were black, the ceilings were black. The floors were white. There was no artwork as discussed. No curtains only blinds. And they were grey. The furniture was black and grey. Even the kitchen was in monotone colors. Not a hint of color anywhere.

Astonishment took my breath away. I just stood and twirled. It had to be a bad dream. Perhaps if I walked outside and came back in.

I dialed Delphine’s number, didn’t even give her a chance to say hello. “What the blazes did you do to my house, missy?”

“Mrs.Harris! Hello, I guess you’re inside, what do you think? I went with the black, white and grey rooms, where the subtle equilibrium of opposing elements creates a stunning effect that's greater than the sum of its parts.”

“Bull crap. You didn’t listen to a thing I said. I wanted sage green with red accents and I came home to find black and white and grey!” I was yelling and arguing with a designer who probably got a degree from the internet. And watched too many DIY videos.

“Well, I thought the bold use of black details would be a visual reminder of the power of negative space. Beyond the symbolic resonance, black and white interiors are effortlessly chic and they rarely go out of style.”

“I am not paying you to design with ‘symbolic resonance’. I am paying you to design as I ask, a wonderful space full of green and red. So march on over here, remove all this ‘negative space’ or you will have a negative bank account. Comprende?”

“Um, well, you see….”

“And put back my flower beds. You have one week.” I clicked off the phone and wondered how I would tell my husband. Perhaps I’ll tell him things were taking longer than planned. That might be a good way to approach this. Another week at the Holiday Inn won’t kill us. We are enjoying the indoor pool.



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