Admittedly, I’ve never been comfortable living with high-octane hues. That’s why much of my home speaks in quiet neutrals and easy earth tones. I much prefer to write about color than to dwell in it. This may also explain why I get so excited when projects showcasing vibrant palettes cross my desk.
For me, the most compelling pages often feature colorful spaces that are smart and witty, which as it turns out, frequently describe the people who live in them.
Case in point: my dear friend, the late Mary Brown Malouf—the editor of Salt Lake magazine who penned countless food stories for our pages. Mary’s kitchen was bubblegum pink, a shade she matched to a piece of Bazooka chewing gum. Expressive, eccentric, warm and welcoming. That room was Mary.
Pink was more than a color for Mary. It was a daily ritual, like walking her cat, slipping on a pair of cowboy boots and arming herself with stacks of bracelets and rings before conquering the day. Mary dressed in pink, decorated with pink, tinted her hair pink and enthusiastically sipped bubbly pink. She was the most ardent advocate of pink—or any “real” color for that matter—that I’ve ever known.
Mary rejected pink’s reputation of being silly and simple. To her, it was a gloriously complicated color, and she didn’t discriminate. Flamingo? Fuchsia? Rosé? Gypsy? Elvis’ Cadillac? You bet. To her, pink had range and depth: Fabulous and fragile, soulful and smart, romantic and rebellious, irreverent and endearing. The same can be said of Mary, who passed away late last year in a bizarre accident on the California coast. A wave literally swept her into the ocean. Her death, it turns out, was as astonishing as her life.
During one of our memorable chats regarding color, I asked Mary whether she knew the song “Think Pink,” from the classic movie “Funny Face.” She did, of course. (Mary knew everything, but that’s another story). The song celebrated pink in a campy musical number:
Red is dead, blue is through,
Green’s obscene, brown’s taboo
And there is not the slightest excuse
for plum or puce
In typical form, Mary simply quipped, “You never hear songs about beige, do you?” She had me there.
This brings us back to my innate comfort living with neutrals and earth tones. It’s a funny thing about comfort, though. Too much of it, and I start craving something more, something different. That may explain my hallway’s new tribal rug defined by bold geometrics and pulsating shades of saffron, cocoa, claret, and—you guessed it—pink.
Mary, I think, would have been tickled.
And that tickles me.
This editor’s note was included in our Spring 2021 print issue. The magazine is available on April 1st.