add a little color

My introduction to the works of Alexandra Stoddard was on a shelf at a used bookstore as I was planning the design of our home. Her book Alexandra Stoddard’s Book of Color…Discovering the Joy of Color in Your Everyday Life caught my eye. Printed in 1989, it is a timeless masterpiece. The photography throughout this large book is frame-worthy.

Stoddard chose a career in interior design in the fifth grade after visiting older relatives’ homes and being disheartened by the dark, gloomy, and seemingly colorless interiors. Having formerly the intention to have a career in the horticulture field, she decided instead that “…my mission was to become an interior decorator so I could attempt to bring the colors I’d grown to love from my garden inside…I was determined to bring a garden-soaked color palette into the homes where we really spend most of our lives.”

Her Book of Color was (and continues to be) a major influence in how our home turned out.

Just before the pandemic hit, I had loaned out some of my books to a handful of friends. The books were all returned but one, and I have lost touch with the person to whom I had loaned the Stoddard book.

Deciding to replace it if possible, I searched online and found a copy at the used book site I wanted the best copy available, and the seller noted one that said, “Mint condition except flyleaf has an inscription by the author.”

Since I enjoy inscribing my own books for young readers, I felt that a note from the author would make the book even more interesting to me.

The original purchase was made the same year as publication. Stoddard was and is also a speaker/lecturer, and the book was sold to Doris who met Stoddard at one of her presentations. Here’s how the inscription reads:

December 8, 1989

To Doris, I’m so glad we met today, and I love your shop. I hope I can come, and we can have a write-in when “Gift of a Letter” is out. I’m glad you were able to come to my lecture. Affectionately, Alexandra Stoddard.

And Doris added her own note about the encounter: “She was delightful.”

I’ve decided I will contact Ms. Stoddard, now 80, and share this story with her. Because if a random stranger, having heard you lecture once, can make that lovely comment, then you deserve to know about it.


Stoddard’s website