Yellow Walls, Red Chandelier, & Green Chairs: Bright Colors Energize This Lakefront Home

March 24, 2015 | By | Comments (0)

By editor-in-chief Antonia van der Meer

What is it about bright colors? I feel like a magpie, incapable of turning away and drawn helplessly toward the sparkle. On the coast, the same hues seem richer and even more magnetic, as if they get souped-up power from the blue skies and water views beyond. The right combination of colors always energizes and engages me.


Lakefront Michigan House in Beach House Happy

Photo by Mark Lohman

Take this rainbow of rooms in a family’s summer lake cottage, designed by Kathryn Chaplow, for example. Its owners, sensitive to the dark days that can dampen spirits in northern Michigan, chose to take a colorful stand. In the dining area, a saturated watermelon red chandelier plays virtual tag with the sunny yellow walls. The traditional trellis pattern on the chairs is equally delightful, adding a shot of hot pink to a moss green frame. Not to be considered an afterthought, the pink and aquamarine bowls lend dollhouse cheer. Near the water, somehow bright is almost always right. It underscores the joy we feel there. That’s why I devote a whole chapter to color as a route to happiness in my new book, Beach House Happy.

Watch the book trailer, get more peeks inside the pages, and find a list of booksellers at



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