Give Dad comfort for Father’s Day

By Carleton Varney

Special to the Daily News

Every day should be Father’s Day, even if we celebrate this special occasion just once a year. May is for moms, but June is for dads and, of course, for their bridal daughters, who are so often given away, so-to-speak, by their fathers after they’ve been walked down the aisle.

Here’s a lesson I’ve learned during my career: When decorating — and when Dad is paying the bills — it’s a good idea to include him in some of the major decision-making. Now, I know there are many men who say, “I’ll leave it to her. I trust her taste. But remember, try and stay within a budget.” Oh, how often have I heard these statements over the many years that I’ve been fantasizing rooms and making them happen.

Do men really like plaids, cranberry walls, Navy blue, paneling and horse prints or paintings on the walls? In many cases, I’ve found that the answer is yes, especially when it comes to those men who are fond of the sporting life.

When asked by the owners of The Ritz-Carlton Towers in Dallas to design a model apartment for “the executive man,” most likely a bachelor, I went all the way, interpreting what I believed the man — or the dad — would enjoy most.

The design began with a Remington bronze horse-and-rider sculpture that I located at an auction house in London. The walls got a treatment of deep Toreador red over a chair rail of mahogany. Combining a natural wood element with a fiery color is a good way to spark a masculine attitude in a room.

For the floor covering, I selected a rich chocolate-brown sisal, but one with matting that would not be scratchy to bare feet. There are many wool sisal designs that are pleasant to walk on, so look around if you’re in the market for one to make sure it’s in the comfort zone.

Most men do like checks and plaids, and so do many women, when they encounter Toreador red walls and chocolate sisal flooring. So for the windows, I selected Venetian blinds of brown wood slats held together by bright red tapes and paired them, at one sliding-glass door opening to a terrace, with an over-drapery of a chocolate fabric with a red, cream and amber-gold check.

Rattan pieces by Ficks Reed filled the apartment’s dining area — deep coffee-colored bamboo dining chairs with seats covered in the bold plaid used as window drapery.

Now, really, what man doesn’t love a comfortable club chair and sofa? Some men say to me, “My wife can do as she wishes, but make certain there is at least one comfortable chair and ottoman in every room of the house, one I can sit on!” Yes, it’s so true. When selecting seating, comfort should be foremost, yet too often, rooms are designed with chairs that are far too small and uncomfortable. I know I’ve been guilty of the same thing, making everything pretty but not necessarily comfortable. I’ve learned, however, that this is a strategy that simply does not work for daily living.

So for Dad’s special day on Sunday, I send him great wishes for a year of comfort. Think comfort for the man in your life. Make sure there is a good reading lamp beside that comfortable chair and ottoman. And keep a large table chair-side on which it is easy to lay a book, a stack of newspapers, a pair of glasses, a bowl filled with nuts and a drink glass. Ahhh.

Think comfort for a happy home. And happy Father’s Day!


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