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Patti Lorenzi Cowger.jpg

Patti Cowger

I don’t remember where I read it or who said it, but the words made me laugh out loud. They went something like this: “When oh when will this horrid gray trend ever end?” It was the word “horrid” and this person’s utter exhaustion with gray that made me react as I did. According to design industry gurus, the gray trend (which started around 2012) is dead and the brown trend is returning. However, these gurus have been predicting such changes for the past three years. If you look in magazines, on Houzz and Pinterest, and watch HGTV shows, you’ll notice that gray is still going strong. I’m not a guru, but here are my two cents. Gray is not, and will not ever be, dead because gray is a basic, neutral color. Those who prefer cool tones will veer towards silver-gray and those who prefer warm tones will veer towards taupe-gray. Then there are those who don’t like gray at all but they don’t count in this scenario because they never would choose gray no matter how strong the “trend.” I didn’t laugh at the question because the premise was wrong but because of the person’s clear exasperation. I understand. I, too, am tired of the gray theme. I’m tired of gray kitchens, gray bathrooms, gray walls, gray upholstery, gray draperies, gray bedding, and gray rugs. But I’m tired of gray because it is always, as in always, paired with white and that’s it. Of course, this is pretty but think of all the other options. How about gray and gold, gray and navy blue, gray and lavender, gray and green? One of my favorite combinations is gray and red. Do you know what else I’m exasperatingly tired of? Carrara and Calacatta marble and quartz. They’re everywhere. Carrara is white and blurry gray. Calacatta is crispy white with bits of gold veining. Calacatta does not come from Calcutta, India but from a quarry in Carrara, Italy. I was surprised to hear a nationally-known interior designer, host and judge of a Bravo television show refer to this marble as Calcutta. I rewound my DVR to make sure I had correctly heard her say it incorrectly. I recognize the appeal of these two marbles, their similarly-appearing stone siblings, and their quartz counterparts but there are so many other options. Have you ever seen Sapphire Blue, Blue Macauba or Costa Esmeralda granite or Verde Mediterraneo marble? They are luscious. Whether gray, white, Carrara, or Calacatta, I understand the comfort in choosing materials and colors palettes you’ve seen repeatedly. If everyone else is choosing them, then they must be good. Right? Not always. But if you do go down this road, think of taking a few left turns along the way. Add big patterned tile or metallic wall covering or bold paint colors. Think about putting embossed tin tiles on your ceiling or statement-making light fixtures or oversized abstract art. If someone were to read a quote said by me, it would be, “Make your home comfortable. Make it a reflection of you, your interests, your history, and your treasures. Make it well-designed so that it never goes out of style. Make it functional to improve your daily routine. And most of all, make it unique and interesting — even if it’s gray.”

Patti L Cowger is an award-winning Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For more information about her design services, visit her website at plcinteriors.com call (707) 322-6522; or email plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net.

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