Hooray for the Red, White, & Blue
At Bobbie Maschal's house on a small island off the St. George peninsula, even the recycling bins are part of the décor. There's a red one for glass, a white one for newspaper, and a blue one for cans. The oil tank is blue. The beadboard walls are white. The stuffed lobsters under the blue wood stove are red. Maschal's SUV is red. The roof of her home is a metallic blue, and the kitchen counters are white. Even Maschal's wardrobe is entirely red, white, and blue. The only deviation from the color scheme is Clovis, the friendly Bernese mountain dog who appears at the door (red, naturally) when you knock.
"Everything that comes into this house that's another color, I take to California," Maschal says, referring to her other home in Sonoma County. "That's a normal house."
But here, at what Maschal calls Liberty Ledge, normal is not the order of the day. Here, as she notes, "Everything in this house, with the exception of the stove pipe, the spines of a few books, some house plants, and a few pieces of pine furniture, is red, white, and blue."
When asked if her decorating scheme is an expression of patriotism, Maschal, an ebullient woman, is uncharacteristically quiet for a moment. "Yes, it is, I guess. I love our country and our flag," she says, resting a coffee mug on the antique blue drum that serves as a side table in her living room. "But I also just like the way the colors go together."
The fondness for all-American hues, Maschal says, goes back to her youth, though she doesn't remember anything in particular that set it off. Later, when her son, Chip, was young, she decorated his room in red, white, and blue. Though eventually he tired of the theme, she did not. "It was easy to go from there," she explains. "He only had a bedspread and a red rug."
So Maschal began collecting tchotchkes and antiques, doodads and knickknacks. She found the sequined American flag purse and the wooden Uncle Sam, the Amish-inspired quilt and the fire-engine red folding chairs. And in the mid-1990s she bought the piece of land on which her house is now perched, intending to use it as a showcase for her collection.
Maschal worked with architect Paul Bruno Mrozinski to design the thirty-by- thirty house with an open floor plan and lots of windows. And it's those windows — as well as an open staircase that leads to a cupola above — that keep her home from boggling the mind. "There are too many 'touches,' as my mother would say," Maschal admits. But, astonishingly, the house doesn't feel overcrowded or gaudy.
It takes a firm hand to keep it that way. Maschal has put a moratorium on shopping for the house, and she's called off her annual Fourth of July party, which she says had gotten out of hand. Guests began wearing outfits that matched the house, and they'd show up with hostess gifts in tow. So it's no wonder that she's ended up with upwards of thirty red, white, and blue dish towels — and this for a woman who doesn't like to cook. "Everyone would bring me something that was red, white, and blue, which was darling," she says, adding with a chuckle, "but I'd rather have a bottle of wine."