Color My World
Nothing else unifies a design so well—or brings a vintage property up to date so quickly.
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Mary Roper shivers a bit when she recalls the feeling she got after the walls in every room in her house were painted white.
“We were just moving in, and we thought white would make everything feel fresh and neutral,” she recalls. “Instead, it was cold. Even worse, it was boring.”
Thirteen years and four renovations later, her home is warm and vibrant. Walls are swaddled in chamois, buffed in bronze and cheered by the palest yellow, all hues that might have been distilled from the earth.
“The variations in tone feel good, not jarring, as you pass from room to room,” says Roper, a color and design consultant.
Since the day they bought their circa 1963 brick Cape Cod home in a lovely, leafy neighborhood in Brandywine Hundred, Roper and her husband, Roy, have been improving it. They’ve worked in stages, prioritizing by need and budget, starting with an overdue kitchen update and the structural stabilization of a first-floor laundry room that had been added in the 1970s.
In addition to cosmetic improvements—such as freeing hardwood floors trapped beneath shag carpet—the couple also enclosed a screen porch to create an airy, light-filled home office and installed a tranquil master bath with an angular, raised ceiling and lots of storage.
But before they launched their fourth and most ambitious renovation, the Ropers shopped for houses.
“It makes sense to find out if you would be better off buying something else before you put yourself through the inconvenience of a project,” she says.
After a thorough search of both new and existing houses from Pennsylvania to Newark, the Ropers decided staying put would work best for them.
“We realized that we would have to put money into whatever house we bought to make it the way we want it,” she recalls.
To carry out their long to-do list, the couple turned to Gary Munch of Boss Enterprises Inc. in Wilmington.
“Our initial plan was to open up the living room, dining room and kitchen on the first floor,” Roper says. “But Gary helped us to see that we might be asking the house to be something it was never intended to be.”
So instead of knocking down walls, the couple decided to build on the firm foundation they already had, subliminally creating an open feeling via a comprehensive color scheme that would draw the eye through the house.
Color My World continues on page 2