I have retreated to this sanctuary, bloodied and bowed by emotional battle. In regaining both strength and autonomy, I have drawn colour into my world as an essential part of the healing process.
Colour is vital to me. The harmony of my home very much depended upon the successful blending of my favourite colours, materials, scents and tastes. During the worst of times back in the autumn, I can remember writing paragraphs of creative hope in the journal – outlining my vision for my new abode.
I wanted it to be a place of light, of soothing colour, of welcome and love. I wanted it to radiate with creativity and warmth. I wanted the energy to be positive, the garden to be fruitful, the rooms to represent feelings and shades, angles and lights of vibrant importance to me.
Colour has been central to all of this. This is, indeed, a light house. Sun bathes the rooms in its generous and shifting rays of gold. At focal points in each room, I have put receptacles of coloured glass to catch and throw further the gift of sunlight.
Surfaces are covered with old scarves, pashminas, colourful tablecloths now decommissioned from their kitchen existence. The main colours throughout the house are shades of blue (especially turquoise), green, purple and pink. The earth and water shades. The colours of so many flowers. This is not to say that the sun colours – reds, oranges and yellows – are absent, for they are not – just that I furnished and decorated the place with a specific, if organic, objective in mind: To use my strong colours to wrap a veil of peace and love and beauty and softness around my home.
Candles and tealights are alight almost constantly. Their various scents have suffused the rooms, their tiny point of light adding a richness to the scene. I am, if you like, growing both a garden and, within the walls, an atmosphere.
Velvet has always been a material I have loved to touch, to stroke, to run my hands down its gorgeous folds. It is expensive, however, so I have bought several cheap and colourful throws made of a kind of faux velvet. They shine, jewel-like, upon beds and are magnificent. Necklaces hang upon some walls – cheap ones which came with my brightly coloured tops – because I love to have diverse materials as decoration, and the coloured beads of glass reflect the light superbly.
I buy low price scented candles in plain jars – and then, once burned down, use the jars to filter the sun and send it out in elegant designs upon the white-painted walls.
It took until this weekend for me to recognise a previously unseen element of this: That my home reflects a part of me I usually deny or keep hidden in deep recesses: My femininity. I have always felt safest in my role as tomboy. But, away from my old life, deep womanly instincts have risen to the subconscious – and now, suddenly, the conscious – and, following their sweet promptings, I have created that other side of my nature, so long starved into silence and submission by my own need to appear as a tough guy: My role as a woman.