Category Archives: the color gray

Going Gray

Jackie's apartment

The San Francisco residence of J. Mayer and B. Blum

BY KIMBERLY MAYER

My girlfriends in Seattle told me it would happen when I moved to the islands.

“You’ll come back gray-haired wearing Birkenstock sandals,” they warned.

Well they were half right.

We were all coloring our hair back there. The San Juan Islands are more organic in every sense. Women give each other permission to go gray here.

It’s not as easy as it looks. Going gray took a number of months. My hairdresser had to remove my hair of the brown coloring, and gray what was stripped. Matching up the color with what was growing in.

“I don’t like it. I’m not ready for this,” my husband commented when the job was completed.

The next day I was flying east. I had promised to care for my father at his retirement home while my mother enjoyed a stay with friends in the English countryside. Residents of the retirement home raved about my hair. What they saw were the waves–the color was a given. I felt good enough to come home again.

Here on the island gray is the color of silver fox, oyster and clam shells, shimmering fish, Gray whales, harbor seals, dolphin, Gray heron, and fog.

I will get around to remodeling. All roads lead to remodeling lately.

Deck after rain

This weekend we painted 800 sq. ft. of decking around our island home. What had been a dark brown-red paint over cedar became a lighter gray, and the house went from being “of the woods” to being “of the water.” Gray is a nautical color, the color of sun bleached piers and teak decking on boats.

There is a gray wash to our hardwood floors. A gray stain to new pieces of furniture (Restoration Hardware outlet). A gray quartz countertop in our kitchen. A gray veining through Carrera marble tiles on the backsplash. Stainless steel floating shelves for glassware and dishes. Stainless steel appliances. Grays in slate tile floors in mudroom and bath. And now, gray decks running everywhere: down the hillside staircase, across the house, and out to the writing hut. Where I write.

I say this after having lived with earth tones all my life, on my walls and in my hair. There is a calmness and sophistication to the color gray. It is restful and it is where I am right now.

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