The house I think of as my childhood home was my grandparents' home in a metropolitan neighborhood called Golden Gate near San Juan, Puerto Rico. Every street was named after a precious stone. They happened to live on Amethyst Street. That's where I grew up, a vibrant and colorful culture under most unusual and colorful circumstances. I was named after a girl scout who came to sell cookies door-to door with her sister. My mother (while pregnant with me) heard one of them call out her sister's name, Gretchen. She fell in love with the sound. My life has been a whimsical journey since the day I was born. The only other Gretchen I knew was a German Shepherd who happened to live on my grandparents' street. Little did my mother to know that I would one day end up with the last name Schauffler, and that as Gretchen Schauffler (a perfectly respectable German name) I would color consult in over 3,000 Pacific Northwest homes and create a paint line in my garage. Devine Color ended up selling in 1,800 Target stores nationwide. For a long time when I would show up at people's houses they'd expected a 5'10 German blonde woman.
My life started by accident on my parents' honeymoon. I was named on a whim. Nothing was ordinary about my life, my family, or my name, and this turned out to be an extraordinary thing.
I moved to Oregon from Puerto Rico and created a paint line called Devine Color, Color Therapy From the Northwest. The paint went on like yogurt and looked like chiffon. It exceeded everyone's expectations. It changed the way the Pacific Northwest lived with color. But what I really did was trust in my hormonal superpowers and a new sense of purpose that caused me to quit my very lucrative pharmaceutical sales job to stay home when I had my daughters. I had neither real experience as a mother (who does until they are one), a cook, or a housekeeper. My grandmother saw the kitchen as a black hole that would trap me forever if I learned how to cook. So she didn't teach me. She said I had bigger things to do than to sweat in the kitchen. Lucky for me I had a mentor in Martha Stewart. At the time she was spearheading a domestic revolution. She had women embracing their stay-at-home mom role and inspiring them to become experts of their own domains. She had them cooking, gardening, and decorating. I was no cook, but I took what I learned from my grandmother who loved to sew, and my grandfather who loved to paint and put my knowledge to good use. I sewed my own clothes. I painted my walls with amazing custom colors, full of sunshine and vitality. My home felt like it greeted you at the front door. It had a spirit, an energy, and a personality. This resonated so strongly with neighbors and friends that I soon found myself being hired to lead them into simple conversations about color, helping them reach authentic conclusions about how they wanted to live. Then they painted with my custom colors, and life felt extraordinary.
When I started Devine Color, all I could think about was my kids. I compared myself to other mothers, I thought of the things I wanted to have, I had no time, and there was no place like home. Today, Devine Color is a line of interior design products and services that includes paint, flooring, bath remodeling, and color services. My kids are are all grown up, I don't care what others think, I think about things I want to do right, I have no bedtime, and there is still no place like home. I continue to help others choose color according to their own personal legends (if you read The Alchemist, this will make sense). And due to my grandmother's end of life experience in a nursing home, I have now began using my talents and expertise to transform the world of senior living with Seniority Rules. I collaborate with architects and developers in using color to enhance the emotional well-being of their residents, employees, and visitors. I created Color With Benefits™, a philosophical color process and protocol with the emotional benefits of color in mind.
But wait, there is more! There are many conversations about life that I want to have based on my color philosophy. I want to talk about how to connect personally and universally, understanding differences that make us stronger, and using harmony to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. If you think about living life in the same way I think about living with color it will paint the picture quite clearly. I hope to become a go to destination for those who want more out of color and life. Check out COW.