By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
Walking into the residence hall lobby is a little bit like walking into Wayne and Mimi Barnard’s bedroom.
Several of the residence hall lobbies are now reflecting the influence of Barnard’s house, and the sage green on the lobby walls of Adams and Smith halls is identical to the color on the walls of the Barnards’ bedroom.
“I think your house should reflect who you are, just like the residence hall lobbies should reflect its occupants,” said Dr. Mimi Barnard, director of residence life education and housing.
The Barnards spent a year and a half building their house, and Mimi spent a good deal of time deciding on the “right greens, the right yellows.”
So when the time came to give the residence hall lobbies a facelift, Barnard said she naturally drew on the experiences she’d had building her house.
“There’s actually a psychology to color,” said Barnard, whose husband, Wayne, is dean of Campus Life. “It was easy to fall back on what I knew, and one thing I bring to this role is the fact that I do have a feminine perspective, and I do value the aesthetic of a living environment.”
Dijon honey from her living room brings warmth to Nelson Hall, khaki from son Collin’s room adds masculinity and an inviting presence to Mabee, and the sage green in Adams and Smith halls gives a feeling of soothing sanctuary and rest.
“You can buy a gallon of yellow paint for the same price as a gallon of white paint, so why don’t we make it beautiful if we can?” she pointed out.
Barnard’s favorite hall is Nelson. Thomas Kincade paintings grace the honey-colored walls and six maroon couches with colored circles face each other, along with several striped plush chairs. A wooden dining table, chairs and beaded lamps add the finishing touches, but purple chenille draperies are on the way.
“That’s why Nelson is my favorite,” Barnard said matter-of-factly. “I know what those draperies are going to look like.”
Sarah Lee, junior biochemistry major from Abilene and desk-worker in Nelson, spent time in the lobby last year as well, visiting her sister.
“When I first walked in and saw the changes, I was surprised,” she said. “It looks a whole lot better and I like the colors a lot.”
The lobby of Adams and Smith halls isn’t even a shadow of its former self. Light-colored stone tile replaced the old flooring in the entry hall and a new Dr. Pepper machine is wedged into a corner.
The multi-colored carpet boasts colors from maroon to green to orange to brown, making it easy to blend the green walls and maroon couches like those in Nelson, while leaving room for future decorating.
“Adams and Smith is a hard hall because you’ve got women on one side and men on the other,” Barnard said. “You don’t want to do something too feminine, but you also don’t want to do something too masculine and this is the perfect match of those.”
Barnard wanted Mabee to look and feel like a guy’s room but still be warm and inviting like a living room. Kincade has a place on these walls as well, but the pool table seems to be the main object of attention.
The couches and chairs are male versions of the ones in Nelson, sporting a deeper and more prominent blue.
In Edwards, Barnard had a hard time working around the beautiful pink marble in the entry. She used a royal blue chenille fabric and put a faux finish on the walls.
“I have an agenda to get all the dorms done as money and resources allow,” she said.
Barnard also put pool tables in all the dorms.
Emily Payne, director of Nelson, said her favorite part of the redecoration is the new pool table.
“My husband likes it,” she shrugged.
Barnard received some criticism from people who thought the pool tables would go unused by the students, but the opposite has proven true.
“The students use the pool tables all the time,” she said emphatically. “We need places where they can congregate that are healthy.”
Barnard added that in addition to the renovations already completed, she is interested in redoing Sikes, new furniture for McDonald, some updating in Gardner and some outdoor furniture for Morris.
“You have to take this kind of thing one day at a time and see how the budget goes,” she said.