Posted on February 18 2022
By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
I recently spent a month working on my recovery from a case of pneumonia at Good Samaritan Medical Center on the Flagler Drive waterfront in West Palm Beach.
I’m happy to report I’m now at home in Palm Beach and feeling so much better. I’m continuing with my therapy – and I consider part of that therapy to be writing this column, which I have done for more than 40 years. I so enjoy the chance to share design and decorating advice.
I’ve been thinking “up” these days, perhaps because for folks confined to a hospital bed, “up” is often their only view.
Yet in decorating projects, ceilings are often neglected — out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. That's never been my philosophy. Over the years, I have often recommended clients paint their ceilings a lovely color, especially light blue. It’s a surprisingly neutral hue, and on a ceiling, it reminds me of looking at a sunny sky, which is always a joy.
I am also a fan of wallpapering ceilings or tenting them. Tented ceilings are so popular in Palm Beach.
My firm even decorated a home where all the bedroom ceilings were painted in a tent-like manner – one in mango orange, one in aqua blue, one in pink and others in a soft green.
But back to hospitals. More than a few years ago — I am an octogenarian you know, and there are quite a few of us in Palm Beach — I decorated in Connecticut a hospital suite for the late actress Bette Davis and her late husband, Gary Merrill. I had the ceilings painted sky blue with puffy white clouds, at Bette’s request.
Now that I have experienced some time at Good Samaritan, I am going to recommend that the hospital add color to its ceilings. Paint might be an option, but there are manufacturers that offer gridded ceiling panels in a variety of colors; I would recommend sky blue or even sunshine yellow.
Good Samaritan is a fine hospital and I know the Palm Beach community has been generous in its support of this important institution.
I was intrigued recently to learn about the two new birthing suites at Good Samaritan decorated by the folks at Lilly Pulitzer. While I haven’t visited in person, I have seen pictures, and it’s as colorful and charming as one would expect.
I’m looking forward to visiting the suites to see them for myself. And how I would like to see the joyous world of color extended to walls in the rest of the building. I think hospital interiors should be bright and happy — a bit of decorating sunshine to help warm the hearts of those who are healing.
And speaking of sunshine, my terrific physical therapist, Darlene Golson, did so much to make my time at Good Samaritan a bit more pleasant. Now we just need some paint so the walls at the hospital will reflect the joyful spirits of the caregivers there.