Some things seemed obvious.  The color of the kitchen should be charcoal.  The color of the living room should be white (for now.) The color of my bedroom would be the same perfectly creamy neutral as the last house.  But the dining room did not call out to me, did not whisper in my ear what color she wanted to be.

The room's important.  It is in the very center of the house.  We eat all our meals here.  I write and read the paper here. The boys sometimes do homework here.  No matter who settles here, Dexter moves in and out under the cloth playing hide-and-seek. Last week I entertained two separate groups here. The first sat round the table and spoke of family and friends, connection and loss; the second stirred cocktails and talked about Crimea and the early days of internet dating.  Each brought something to the room that will seep into the walls and settle there like the scent of freshly cooked bacon.

The color needed to be right. I toyed with those blues I love so well, their grays making them moody and complex.  But I could not see my friends in that light.  I feared we would all look ashen, the circles under our eyes deep and dark.

And then a book designed to provide inspiration offered up just that, not on its pages, but along its spine.  Pink.  Girlish, yes, but cloying? No. It's barely noticeable yet casts the rosiest glow.  Everyone should be as flush with excitement as this room makes them appear.