Pour on the color
The fuchsia-pink front door is the first sign that Pam Cumberland's Oakland County home is anything but ordinary. Step inside her cheerful early 1950s ranch and your spirits quickly lift. Bright Crayola-box colors such as tangerine, chartreuse and aqua blue fill the approximately 3,000 square feet of space. "I'm not a neutral kind of girl," Cumberland explains with a laugh. "I painted one wall with bright color in every room to liven things up a bit."
Cumberland and her husband, Glenn, lived in the house for almost 20 years before undertaking a renovation designed to open up the house. "I always loved the layout," she explains. A few years ago, they redid the kitchen with IKEA cabinets, transformed a small nearby closet into a built-in bar and converted a former laundry room into a pantry. They updated fireplaces in the living and family rooms, added bookshelves to a long hall near the bedrooms, widened doorways and reclad the exterior in new cedar shake. "The ranch already had big front windows and we loved them, so that didn't change," Cumberland says.
While she grew up in a traditional colonial, Cumberland was exposed to art and color at a tender age. "I was introduced to artists such as Matisse and always loved my crayons," she explains. "I realized that I loved having color around. I don't think the average person realizes how much we are impacted by our environment. I want to be in the midst of things that make me feel good."
For her, that includes saturated hues, large windows that let in the light and reflect the outdoors and "things that are glossy and shiny," she says. Art collected on various travels (she especially loves Sue and Russ Bolt of Charlevoix, Rick Kolb of Cheboygan and ceramic artist Mary Rose Young), favorite books and collections of things such as beach glass give the house its personal style. "I have always been stimulated by visual experiences I have had," she says. "I'm always amazed when people respond so positively to my home … for me, this is the norm."
Higher-end contemporary furniture, items from her travels, mementoes of her family and goodies from places such as Target, IKEA and Home Goods also fill her home. "It doesn't need a pedigree," she insists. "If it has fun shapes and good colors, I'll buy it." A case in point: simple glass vases filled with colorful Legos in the guest bedroom; a bowl in the kitchen filled with shiny, foil-colored chocolate eggs in colors that match the walls. "I love groupings and collections," she admits. "Anyone can create an interesting space by mixing what they have and accessorizing."
"Color changes everything," she says. Her enthusiasm is infectious. "Be bold … take the first step," she says. Paint, she says, is the most inexpensive way to give your home pizzazz without breaking the bank. She keeps the vivid hues from feeling overwhelming by wrapping them in otherwise white walls and keeping the fireplaces and floors neutral.
She shrugs off concerns about her color choices and how it may affect the future sale of her home. "The value of real estate is living in it," she says. "Why would I save it for someone else? We should be living fully in our homes every day."