Off the Rack - Back in Black

At first I thought the altitude was making me light-headed.

But after returning to the plains I was assured that my original assessment was correct.

Black is the new black at least when it comes to wall color in the September shelter mags.

Shiny or matte, paint or paper, I applaud them all.

I considered matte black walls in the dining room of our first house and a friend with solid, if conventional, taste gasped, "It will look like a chalkboard! Don't!"

In a crisis of confidence I demurred. It was not the the first time nor the last that I allowed someone else's opinion to change my course.

I rarely look back on these shifts with relief and often with remorse. Life is shockingly unsure. Be bold.

Images from top: Bookshelves and tray-top table, Mark Badgley and James Mischka's Kentucky library, Elle Decor, photography by Roger Davies; Robert Duffy's Provincetown library, Elle Decor, photography by William Waldron; Windsor Smith's entry and glimpse of game room, House Beautiful, photography by Victoria Pearson; Eric Cohler's Manhattan bedroom, House Beautiful, photography by Jonny Valiant; Houston home designed by Rob Southern, House Beautiful, photography by Victoria Pearson (the paint here is actually a smidge brown); Jane Krakowski photographed for Town & Country by John Huba in Steven Gambrel's New York townhouse. All images appear in the September 2009 issues.