A news anchor's artsy side veers from the script
WCVB anchor Liz Brunner sits in her living room that is painted with bright, yet warm, colors. (Globe staff photo/Suzanne Kreiter)
From her painted toenails and tailored jacket to the furniture fabrics throughout her home, it's clear that Liz Brunner loves the color red. Yellow, too, in shades like buttercup, golden sunset, and canary.
''I love colors and textures," says the Channel 5 news anchor, who started decorating her two-story townhouse from scratch when she moved in a little over three years ago.
She prefers fabrics that blend but aren't necessarily matched, and favors textured walls that are hand painted in two-tone stripes (yellow in the living room, royal red in the guest bathroom) or covered in silk grass cloth. Brunner explains that a wooden tray she owns, painted with a delicate Oriental floral pattern in dark reds and golds, inspired the color palette of the house.
Her tastes are a mix of traditional, European, and Asian styles, much like her own background. Her mother is from southern India, her father is American; a retired minister, he spent many years living in Japan, where her parents met. Brunner was raised in Hawaii and Illinois.
The former ''Miss Illinois" and voice and music education major switched gears to work in broadcasting, first in Illinois and Florida, then in Boston, joining WCVB-TV's ''Chronicle" team in 1993. ''My life has taken such a different path than what I embarked on," she says.
Yet Brunner's artistic bent is evident in the home's decor. To the cookie-cutter townhouse, she added attractive molding around doorways and a few French doors, and had the pale maple floors of the living room stained a dark walnut and mahogany shade. She prefers the dark floors, she says, ''because it gives the room depth and grounding." Brunner's favorite spot to relax on winter weekends is on the living room sofa, upholstered in bright yellow and covered with a handful of red pillows, as it sits across from a wood-burning fireplace. On either side of the fireplace are black and gold antique Indian vases given to her by her mother.
Just off the living room is the den, which contains a plush gold and rusty-red couch and an electric piano that she uses mostly to practice music she'll be performing, such as a song for a memorial service or the national anthem for a football game. On the built-in bookcase are several photographs of family and friends, as well as a prized photo of Pope John Paul II talking to Brunner and other members of a traveling singing group that performed for him in Italy in 1985. Prominently displayed is the Emmy she received for the 1994 ''Chronicle" program ''Cape Cod by Air."
Also in the bookcase, neatly stored in specially made sliding drawers, are Brunner's 400-or-so CDs, which run the gamut from Verdi's ''La Traviata," her favorite opera, to George Benson and Usher. A sound system she had installed allows music to play in every room.
In decorating her home, Brunner splurged on certain pieces, such as the hand-carved 19th-century French armoire and an antique writing desk (which holds her laptop) in her bedroom. An authentic Chinese altar table separates the dining and living room areas. The rest of the furniture, she says, are reproductions, many of them from favorite stores Belle Maison in Newton, New England Silks & Accessories in Needham, and Cambridge's Mohr & McPherson.
A lovely painting of a flamenco dancer in a bright red skirt is straight out of the Horchow catalog, admits Brunner, ''but I liked her spirit."
Brunner's 5:30 and 11 p.m. newscasts prevent her from cooking most weeknights, but on weekends, when she's not out at various work-related and charity events, she enjoys cooking and entertaining. In the middle of her kitchen is a greenish-black Ubatuba granite-topped island, which is usually where Brunner serves cocktails and appetizers. While she rarely makes her mother's curries, Brunner prides herself on her lasagna.
In the sophisticated and mostly traditional style in which she decorated her home, only a small, abstract painting near the front door seems out of place. Brunner purchased the piece because she loved its colors and title. Called ''The Adventure of the Spirit," she says, ''That's my life."