HOMETOWN: New Orleans – Porch No. 1

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New Orleans – Porch No. 1 – Photograph by Revati Alice Locke

CONTRIBUTED BY Revati Alice Locke

A unique porch in New Orleans is almost a cliché. However, an unexpected encounter with one so covered in touch is still charming to me. I find this one particularly intriguing because it feels so private, studied, and showy all at the same time.

What makes it so? The use of red and green together can never be a mistake. This is probably one of the most common, most beloved contrasts in the world. Why? I can only guess. On the color wheel, red and green are the two compliments most similar in value yet the hues themselves, in my opinion, are more intense than any other set of compliments (violet/yellow and orange/blue). I think it has to do with instinct. The green of foliage and the red of earth or blood, an ancient complimentary set of colors indeed.

On this porch, these compliments are allowed to shine by placing them among no other color save a range of warm and cool neutrals. Furthermore, the red, green, and neutral colors are expressed in both manmade and naturally occurring materials. The painted red door is picked up again in the rusted metal boots and the brown tree cookies. The painted green shutters and mailbox are in good company with the surrounding palm leaves and other, creeping foliage. The white painted barge board is echoed in the faded drift wood and dried branches. It is this careworn surface, combined with the architectural details and delicate composition of the objects, that also make the porch feel studied and private.

At first, the red and green combination is isolated by placing it among only neutrals and then subdued by giving them the same texture as everything else. In general, the porch is greater than the sum of its parts because the compliments are both expressed and subdued.


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