Little Pink (and Green, Red, Yellow) Houses for You and Me

‘Color Your Happy Home’ is for adults
Durell Godfrey at a Feb. 4 book event at BookHampton in East Hampton Dell Cullum

From playhouses and knitting to a well-stocked pantry and the perfect crafts room, Durell Godfrey’s second coloring book, “Color Your Happy Home” (Harlequin, $15.99), written with Barbara Ann Kipfer, is a celebration of all things cozy, comforting, and . . . well, homey. Things like coloring on a cold winter afternoon while your daughter is home sick from school, or pulling out the markers at the coffee table while a blizzard rages outside. I admit it; I like to color, and it is for the legions of people like me, adults who are finding their way back to this simple, meditative pleasure that “Color Your Happy Home” is made. 

Ms. Godfrey, a contributing photographer for The East Hampton Star who worked for many years as an illustrator for Glamour magazine, made her first foray into the world of coloring books for adults two years ago with the publication of “Color Me Cluttered” (Penguin Random House). 

“When I did the first book, I had no relationship to the people who color,” she said last week. “I had no idea what my market was. I had no idea who colors.” 

This time around she knows her audience, sometimes on a first-name basis. She has met some in person and connected with many more via Facebook, where she has set up pages for each book and invited colorists to share their finished work. Some even post animated time-lapse videos showing their pictures taking shape. “People who share their colored pages with me have become pals, even though I’ve never met them,” Ms. Godfrey said. 

She reads reviews, writes thank-you notes to reviewers, and takes their critiques and those of die-hard colorists to heart, paying attention to what they like and what they do not, what excites them and what bothers them as they color. “This book is really catering to the colorists,” she said of “Color Your Happy Home.” 

“Color Me Cluttered,” which was published in late 2015, only had drawings. Ms. Godfrey wanted her second book to be a little different, “a coloring book you could read.” Ms. Kipfer, the author of “14,000 Things to Be Happy About,” a best-seller listing all manner of things that make you smile, came to mind because Ms. Godfrey “felt that her lists and the phrases would work very well as a meditation along with the coloring book.”

Ms. Kipfer had been a fan of Ms. Godfrey’s back when she was at Glamour. When she was working on “14,000 Things,” she asked Ms. Godfrey to send her portfolio to her publisher, hoping she might illustrate the book. “I didn’t get the job, but she continued to be a fan and we stayed in touch a little bit,” Ms. Godfrey said. 

In reaching out to her, Ms. Godfrey gained not only a collaborator, but her agent, who found the publisher and negotiated the contract. “It was lucky on 100 different levels,” Ms. Godfrey said. “They gave me two months from the time I signed the contract to deliver the work.” 

The drawings drove the text. “Each time I finished a drawing, I would send it by email to Barbara so she could be doing it along with me. . . . Because she’s used to short phrases, the final product is just perfect with her text.”

For a page titled “Summer,” Ms. Kipfer’s list includes “dancing in the rain, sunglasses and T-shirts, having a hammock or porch swing, the hot breath of a summer wind, fragrant fresh flowers, chilled soup, camping out, seasonal fruits and vegetables, the cacophony of meadows and marshes . . . 87 shades of green.” Ms. Godfrey’s accompanying drawing is of a wicker chaise lounge on a porch overlooking the ocean, with the Montauk Lighthouse in the distance. There’s a pitcher of lemonade, a book left open on the floor, a cat curled up on the lounge, and another peeking over its edge. 

If you look close enough, every page is a story, told the way each reader wants to tell it. “I try to have a different door that you can approach each drawing with,” Ms. Godfrey said. She tells a story to herself as she draws, and if you ask, there is usually much more to it than can be seen on the page. “There are little things going on that when you get into the picture I think you notice.” In a drawing titled “Evening,” you can just imagine how the night will unfold: two martinis on the coffee table, crackers and a cheese board, wood in a fireplace ready to be lighted, a throw blanket tossed over the arm of a couch. 

As a photographer, Ms. Durell calls herself a hunter-gatherer, which is how she is described in the shopping guides she frequently does for The Star. (One of them is in these pages.) She will “collect” dozens of images of, say, stained glass windows in churches, birdhouses, cupolas, or dogs in cars. That impulse and her individual way of seeing can be seen repeated on the pages of “Color Your Happy Home.” 

“I knew some things that I wanted to include and I mentally walked around a house and an apartment figuring out what I hadn’t drawn in the first book,” Ms. Godfrey said. “I wanted cityscapes, exteriors and interiors, easy and hard, and I wanted to amuse the colorer.”

She completed the drawings for the book last March and is now on the hunt for her next project.