The scarlet life


I LIVE in a red house, and I sit in a red living room.

And at no time is that red more flagrant than when the dawn sun rises over the mountains in March and streams in from the huge eastern window.

The back of the sofa seems yellow here, but it’s very red. The ceramic floor is brown with a reddish cast. My favorite color is not red, but green. No matter.

The house exterior is, of course, red, and that would be overboard above the Rio Bravo, up there among people more conservative about their surroundings.

Up there where I once lived I would have lived in a red house, but it never occurred to me. Anyway, neighborhood associations would frown upon red, thinking it excessive, not nice. We have no neighborhood associations down here. We do as we please.

It pleases me no end to live in a red house, sit on a red sofa and sip black coffee on beautiful mornings in March or any month. The scarlet life, yep.

14 thoughts on “The scarlet life

  1. I have spent far too much time trying to figure out why primary colors suit Mexico and seem out of place up north. But none of my theories seem to hold up in practice. So, I have given up analysis in favor of enjoying my new colorful life. Perhaps you like living in red because you have drained the Red from your political life. A red Mexico, instead of a Red Mexico. Sounds good to me.


    1. Steve: You bring up something interesting, the fact that things sometimes seem quite appropriate in one place while the same thing seems totally wrong in another place. I do not understand it.

      My red house, for example, would seem absurd in Kansas or New York or Oregon, but down here it’s just fine.

      As for a Red Mexico, thank the Goddess that’s not what we have here, though many long for it. The dimwitted are ever among us.


      1. Historically, people have mostly built houses with the materials at hand.You get used to seeing lots of similar architecture and color wherever you live. If you took a wood frame house out of the upper midwest and plopped it down in Mexico it would look pretty odd, just as your house might look out-of-place up here. It’s all about the familiar.

        This, of course, does not take into account the folks with too much money in their pockets who like to import building materials from all over the world and build themselves faux French chateaux in Connecticut or Italian villas in California. They look pretty odd too, although probably less so than they do around here 🙂


        1. Loulou: That does make sense. We do have, in my area, a wooden house that is built traditionally by the indigenous folks hereabouts. But in most of Mexico you don’t see many wood houses.

          I think the Maya build wood homes way down near Guatemala.

          Both of those traditions are pre-Spanish.


    2. I think the reason that brightly-colored houses look fine in Mexico and less-so NOB is the light, which is different in Mexico, and thus renders the colors differently.


  2. I like color in general. I have my favorites, but red is a good one. And a nice red sofa, even better. It enlightens the senses…

    Funny, green is my favorite color. My bedroom is. Besides, it looks good on me. It has so many variables. And I enjoy a garden or landscape, where green stands out – in various shades.


    1. Andean: Sitting on my red sofa, which was beige the first nine or so years of its life, gives me a tingle too, a sense booster. Plus, it looks good on me, I think.

      Green is the color of Mother Nature, so we must all love it. It looks good on me too.


      1. I look bilious in green. I prefer neutrals, browns and oranges for interiors in this part of Central America. It seems to hush the intensity of the sun.


  3. After living for years in apartments that were various shades of beige, when I bought my first house (which I still inhabit) I wanted COLOR. So the house itself is Prussian blue, with cream window frames and maroon accents. The living room is hunter green. My bedroom is a deep blue marbleized finish, the office is eggplant, and the bathroom is eggyolk yellow, while the kitchen is peach-colored.

    I’m thinking I’ll fit right into Mexico if I ever get a place there.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we love red too, but save it for clothing and objects.


  4. I think culture is part of the reason for the paint styles to differ. In New Orleans, I bought a house that came with Pepto Bismol colored walls, inside and out. No one thought it was odd. In Honduras, I am renting a house that jars my senses because it’s a jumble of colors, inside and out. However, the occasional guest or taxi driver who passes almost always likes the tapestry of colors. Honduras is a place where many cultures have melded.


    1. Ms. Chica: Pepto Bismol, as it is often referred to here too, is popular in Mexico. I prefer to simply think of it as pink — without the upset tummy connections. My first house here, a rental, was mostly of that shade, and I liked it.


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