To say that Sonia Young loves purple is a gross understatement.
She's known around Chattanooga for her love of all things violet, lavender, amethyst and mauve.
"People know who the Purple Lady is," she said. "They may not know who Sonia Young is, and I don't really care."
Indeed, purple dominates Young's home. Her kitchen has custom-made purple countertops, which complement the floral patterned wallpaper and white tile floors with purple diamond shapes. All her dishes and flatware are purple, as is a custom-made KitchenAid stand mixer, inspired by a Crayola crayon.
The master bedroom walls are a calming lilac shade, allowing the bold eggplant flowers of the bedspread to stand out. A guest bedroom features a velvet tufted headboard in an amethyst shade and a velvet tufted bench in a slightly paler incarnation of the hue.
Young's adult daughter, Melanie, does not favor purple quite as much as her mother. The room that is still hers when she comes to visit has white bedding, complemented by a wisteria colored
Using dominant colors
For those who love a color as much as Sonia Young loves purple, designers offer tips on incorporating a dominant hue into home decor.
Paint in a favorite color, either choosing a focal wall for a bolder shade or a whole room in more muted tones.
Select a focal point of furniture to draw the eye to the piece.
Use a carpet or area rug in a solid, preferred color.
Choose a neutral-color sofa with many accents in various shades of the favored hue.
Select bedding in your favorite color.
If you prefer a very bold color, consider painting a large canvas in the hue as even one extremely bright wall can soon be off-putting.
Choose accessories that feature a preferred color in a variety of patterns and textures.
Hang drapes in a favorite shade to make a bold but elegant statement.
Consider a secondary color to create a blend and complement the dominant color.
Contact your local designer.
Sources: Interior designers Marsha Yessick of Yessick's Design Center, Chattanooga; Treesa Hudson of Bradford's and Kristina Eckert of CKE Interior Design, both in Nashville.
carpet and a silk damask chair upholstered in thistle.
The house, which is designed with inspiration from Thailand, is built in three "pods," Young said. The front entrance opens into an expansive living room, in the center of which is a lowered area, set off by dark wood beams. A purple Christmas tree, complete with decorations, gifts from a bevy of friends, stands year-round. A skylight above adds natural light.
The expansive living room has two sofas. One is, surprisingly, not purple, but has an Asian inspired silk upholstery in teals and ecrus to complement the tapestry hanging on the wall. Young and her late husband, Mel, traveled extensively throughout Asia. Figurines and art featuring elephants, a symbol of wisdom in Asian culture, pervade the house as well.
The second, larger sofa is lavender, accented with pillows in various shades of the hue. Young tells a story of shopping in a Washington, D.C., Bloomingdale's and misplacing her husband. She later found him sitting on a purple sofa, the department's floor model.
"I'll take it," he told the salesperson. A month later, the piece was delivered to their door.
Mel Young embraced his wife's love of all things purple. Recently, she came across a royal purple cashmere blazer of his. She hopes to have it altered to fit her. He died in 2009 after more than 52 years of marriage.
"It's never long enough, but it's longer than most people have," she said.
Her home, their home, tells their history. What they did. Where they've been. The hundreds of trinkets, pieces of art and accessories, almost all of them in some shade of purple, were largely gifts from friends and acquaintances who wanted to be a part of the story of the Purple Lady.
In 1961, English poet Jenny Joseph wrote: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple ..."
Young, 75, isn't waiting until then.