Melody, whose advice-and-inspiration books also include The Language of Letting Go, turned over control to Antonia Hutt, a Los Angeles interior designer with whom she'd worked before. The arrangement was as much about trust as expediency. Melody had an acute back problem and was going to have artificial-disc-replacement surgery. Her recuperation would take a few years, so she needed to make her home conducive to healing.
"When Antonia Hutt and I work together, we talk about where I am in my life, where I am with my work, where I am with my spirituality," says Melody, who had recently spent three life-changing months researching religion in China and Tibet.
Based on their discussions, Antonia decided that the dominant color should be shocking pink, accented with an intense red and orange. "I think pink is luxurious, exciting, exotic," says the designer. "I was trying to create a feeling in the space and give Melody what she needed. I wanted her to revitalize. I also thought there was a sense of humor about it."
Antonia knew Melody would be working on her next book, The Grief Club: The Secret to Getting Through All Kinds of Change, and that she'd be dealing once again with the loss of her son, Shane, who died in a skiing accident in 1991, when he was 12. "Melody was hurting in so many ways, and I wanted her to smile," Antonia says.
On Melody's daybed that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, Antonia used cushions and pillows covered in all-weather acrylic fabrics that will not mold or mildew. Antonia put polished-aluminum paisleys on the wall for a touch of exotica, without realizing at the time that they also resemble apostrophes and commas, a particularly appropriate motif for the home of a writer.