Colorful Lives, Soft Autumn Deb Willsea

September 08, 2022 4 min read

Soft Autumn Deb Willsea featured for September Colorful Lives Blog

I was excited to see Deb Willsea again on my recent travels to Cape Cod, MA. We met years ago when I did a her color analysis in Rochester, NY. Deb's petite frame and creative personality style create unique challenges in finding sizes that fit correctly while seeking unusual, creative clothing in the earthy soft autumn palette.

It was a joy to feel the harmony she had created in her home on Cape Cod using Soft Autumn colors and natural materials as we weeded out items in her closet that don't work during a recent closet "rehab". Read more about how she has incorporated the concepts of balancing a natural environment for learning in developing the Cape Cod Toy Library Inc based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy in this month's colorful lives blog.  

Kerry of Indigo Tones has helped three of us in our family to better understand the colors that best suit us – our skin tone, our hair and eye coloring and personalities. My husband and son have also appreciated Kerry’s color analysis.  Kerry’s passion around colors for people to feel their best in what they’re wearing makes sense to me. 

I’ve always been color sensitive and very aware of colors that I put together to wear. I recently found myself matching shades of navy blues for shorts and t-shirt when I was just going to the beach. I also notice and compliment others when they wear just the right colors that look fabulous on them.  I admire people who wear clothing totally in harmony with their coloring. Admittedly, I also notice when someone is wearing colors and patterns that are off for them or not in sync with the season of the year. While I might not always wear “soft autumn” colors, I definitely wear them in the fall, and I only wear “dark autumn” colors in November. When I wear soft autumn colors, I know I look my best and I receive complements wherever I go.

Soft Autumn Deb Willsea in a natural environmentWith my desire to pare down my wardrobe and keep those items that were best matched to my coloring, I recently had Kerry help me go through my closet. It was a very satisfying experience to pull out clothes that no longer suit me, even if they were pieces I loved but weren’t quite right for me because of the coloring, size, pattern or style. It was also helpful to have Kerry organize my closet by seasons of colors especially since I like to wear colors appropriate for the season. 

 Deb Willsea Soft Autumn Closet Rehab and Wardrobe ConsultationKerry’s pointing out the importance of colors we wear as well as the colors we surround ourselves with in our homes, offices, businesses resonated with me.  I feel most at home in an environment that has “soft autumn” colors of soft warm tones. I’m aware of being uncomfortable in an environment with mostly white or black unless there are soft tones such as natural baskets, soft colored furniture, objects, artwork, or fabrics.

I consistently choose a soft white wall paint, specifically “Benjamin Moore linen white” rather than any other white tone. When I’ve tried whiter tone paints, even for trim color, it doesn’t feel right to me; it doesn’t feel as warm and inviting to me.  I also avoid white furniture and stick with furniture, curtains, lamp shades etc. that are off white or natural wood tones such as maple or English pine and the beams in our home are whitewashed. The artwork we’ve chosen has soft, muted colors to purposefully give an overall calm feeling.

Soft Autumn interior on Cape Cod home Cape Cod Interior with Soft Autumn Colors

With my development of the Rochester Toy Library and more recently the Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc. I’ve had several opportunities to create aesthetically attractive and welcoming play learning environments for children and families.  I’ve especially enjoyed incorporating the Reggio Emilia philosophy that recognizes the environment as the “third teacher” with the first being the parent, and second being the teacher.

Deb Willsea founder of the Cape Cod Library

For me, it’s been especially gratifying to create environments that are developmentally appropriate and aesthetically attractive to help foster children’s curiosity and learning as well as provide a setting that is welcoming and relaxing for adults. In addition to having wooden toys in the toy lending library collection, I’ve intentionally found furniture with soft wood tones such as maple and English pine and display toys and books in baskets. I’ve purposefully chosen greens and blues for carpeting for colors in nature to provide a calm, welcoming environment for people from different cultures. 

Cape Cod Toy Library

It’s important to me to create an environment that portrays a warm and calm feeling for staff and volunteers and visitors.  Most recently, I’ve had the honor of creating an “Outdoor Play Oasis” as an outreach project of the Cape Cod Toy Library using all natural materials. Thankfully, the “autumn” colors in my home as well as in the Toy Library and Outdoor Play Oasis environments are appreciated by others.

Cape Cod Toy Library Outdoor Play Space

Watch to learn more about the Creative Community Shapes here!

"The “Environment as a Third Teacher’ is one of the most complex philosophical ideas. However, once you begin your journey into learning more and practicing these suggestions, you will experience environments in new ways. Both in your classroom environment, and also in your home environment or other spaces you encounter. You’ll be aware of that feeling when a space feels cozy and inspiring or when it feels dark, cluttered, or cold. It also means environments that support function help children and teachers work, play, and complete tasks smoothly. Creating an environment that represents your values and what you want to provide for children is one of the most powerful acts a teacher can deliver."- Megan Haynes & Priscilla Patti /Reggio-Inspired Teacher Playbook

Cape Cod Toy Library Interior


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