When Hedy Red Dexter’s dad died, she painted his cane pink. She wanted to display it in her loft, but could not stand to have a mopey, brown piece of wood contaminating her carefully colored home.
Every Denverite who has passed the warehouse-style lofts at 18th and Park after sundown knows where Dexter lives. Hers is the home doused in hot pink and fluorescent red lights, impossible to miss from the street.
It’s not just pink-shaded lamps, which are LED, low-watt and number in the hundreds, that generate the neon glow. It’s also what those lamps are lighting up: It’s difficult to find a wall or a piece of furniture in Dexter’s loft that is not red or pink. Sometimes things are white, like her washer and dryer, but self-applied pink or red polka dots handily dispose of that dullness. A huge, pink beach umbrella hangs upside down beneath the skylight, ensuring that sunlight gets dyed pink before it reaches Dexter.
She’s enveloped by an endless chatter of bubblegum colors and zany shapes. She would not feel right any other way.
“It’s what calms me and energizes me, and that’s the best way I can explain it,” Dexter says. “If there’s someplace where it’s all cool colors, like blues and greens, I am not comfortable. I’m not comfortable unless I am surrounded by warm-slash-hot colors. And I need lots of it.”
This, from a person with jet-black hair and a gray sweatsuit. Dexter, who created her name from scratch — she began life as Harriet Louise Weiss — can’t stand wearing colors.
Not that you’d know, because she isn’t seen all that often. Despite her home’s center-stage presence, Dexter is an extreme homebody. She doesn’t go out much (even less often since Amazon began delivering food), which is why she has everything she needs at her pink loft: workout machines, a home office where she works as a professor for an online university.
She’s kind of cranky about the outside world, which is comparatively drab.
“I’m just better off staying inside,” Dexter says, laughing. “I’m really not fit for public consumption.”
She tells me and Kevin, our photographer, that we’re the sixth and seventh people to be inside her loft since she moved in a little over six years ago.
Dexter showers with rock stars.
The only things in her home that get as much play as endless, striking colors are posters of rock stars. Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and the Rolling Stones watch over her at every turn, whether from a towering wall plastered with their faces or in her shower, where Bono makes an appearance as well.
“I don’t know why, but I have always wanted to be surrounded by faces,” Dexter says. “So every single poster on my wall is a face. Every one of them.”
Maybe it’s obvious by now that Dexter is eccentric. She has a doctorate in experimental psychology, but don’t try to pin her personality on that — I did, and I was wrong. She simply does what she feels and feels what she does. The basis for her pink loft was comfort. But she also likes the attention. Since she was a kid, Dexter says, she has done things that get people to look her way.
“I don’t wonder what people think when they drive by,” she says. “I just know that they look. It doesn’t matter what they think. But I like that they look.”
Kevin and I were not the first reporters to be drawn to her home like bugs to a lamp post.
Dexter used to live in Boulder in an attic with tinted skylights and pink lamps that emanated an electric pink aura. A Daily Camera reporter approached her to do a story after wondering what the hell.
She was more than willing to talk about her home with the reporter, and the newspaper printed the story. When it finally came out, Dexter had to laugh.
All of the pictures were printed in black and white.