DECORATING THE KITCHEN of the first home we owned was a disaster. In my mind I saw a charming Delft-blue-and-white kitchen with bracketed wall shelves displaying glass jars full of the vegetables I would farm on the arable part of my one-eighth acre lot.
What we ended up with looked more like the interior of a junked subway car. The “white” paint I picked gave the walls an aortic, bluish tinge when paired with the gray linoleum floor. Flimsy plywood shelves bowed. A Smurf-blue window blind above the sink failed to pull the whole look together.
Over the years, I have come to understand that one of the biggest problems amateur home designers face is not imagination but vocabulary. If you don’t have the words to adequately describe what you want, you won’t get the help you need to create it.
For decades, I’ve been learning the right words, and