Thursday, December 27, 2012

The FRESH Approach to Choosing Exterior Colors

All of the Myan Calendar 12-21-12 talk of new beginnings vs. doomsday has sparked an early New Years Resolution attitude in me.  I will continue to expand my knowledge of color and design in 2013.

As a color consultant I provide the guidance and solid recommendations to my clients in choosing interior or exterior colors for their home or business. 

Taking courses online allows me to refresh some knowlege and learn new information that help walk clients through the decision process of choosing colors that make their space personal to them and make design sense and universal appeal where needed.

My latest course on AEC Daily:

The FRESH Approach to Choosing Exterior Colors

The five steps for color placement:
Fixed Features, Regional colors, Environment & surroundings, Style of home, Historic or 'Have to use Colors'

This consultation was a perfect worst case senario.  The brick is orange/terra cotta/black.  The new roof is light gray.  The siding was a beige.  Conflict!  The homeowners and I found a new siding color that makes the two largest fixed features in two different tones and color families work together.  A new focal point front door helps define the entry too.  A happy ending.

 Gray/blue color cast

 Shutters are the darkest color

 Front entry stands out most

Of course I've taken the classes regarding color & light, color foundations, and paint technology, as well as universal design and generation shifts, but to date my favorite and hardest class (read: most hand written notes) is fire stop: fire safe building construction.  Don't be 'that fix it guy'.  Hire a professional builder; let Code inspect before things are sealed up.

I'm looking forward to tackling more of the courses on my 'interest' list.   

Knowledge is power.  The more I can learn and share in some way with my clients, the better.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Neutral Trap

I've noticed it happening, variations of 'current', safe warm/stone grays are taking front stage when I'm analyzing color ideas for a client.  This past week I worked with two different clients that weren't afraid of color and I found myself having to turn off the neutral button in my brain. What a nice pick me up!

Gray is still the 'new beige' but you can fall into neutral land just as easily with this update and have one color staring back at you in every room.  The trick to update a space without ending up just shifting from all beige or 'builder white' walls to all taupe or gray takes a little faith to think outside the conservative box.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pick Me!

'Are people still using accent walls?'

Yes, but not for the sake of just having one because others do.  Some
rooms just don't have the right space or wall to accent.

On a recent consultation a client had a perfect niche area in the
kitchen to differentiate the eating area.

Niche area as accent wall

All of the rooms were originally off-white, floor to ceiling.  We broke up the
eye strain in two ways: 

To bring a pop of color, an accent, into the space we defined the eating area with a warm browny orange.

In the kitchen we found a soft color to meld in with the tiles, and repeated the color on the upper walls in the two front rooms you see when you enter in the front door.  The wainscoting was painted an antique white in both rooms for balance with each other and the ceiling.

  This helped create a break from the carmel color we used in the foyer.

The great room flows directly from the foyer and has some architectural detail at the ceiling.  For a subtle transition the walls were painted an almond color, which is lighter than the foyer, but darker than the off white ceiling. 

To add some interest I recommended painting the angle section the wall color.

Color is so transforming.  This house became more of a home when the floor-to-ceiling 'builder white' was switched up by adding an accent area in the kitchen with a stronger, saturated color and defining, yet unifying, the other main floor rooms with a analogous color scheme.
Need help ~making color personal~ ?   Contact me for a color consulting appointment for your next project.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

That Color Doesn't Look Like That In My Room!

Had a little run in with a color trouble maker, metamerisam (me tam'er ism).

Natural light

Incandescent light

It's not surprising as a color consultant to have run-ins with a color 'changing' under different lighting or in different rooms.  It is our expertise that helps clients find that perfect color in an otherwise troubling room.  It is always interesting when the color change/result is more drastic in a particular case compared to more subtle differences.

The three lighting sources that can 'change' a color are natural/direct sunlight, indirect sunlight and artificial light.  Artificial light adds another level depending if the bulb is halogen (most like, but not the same as, daylight), fluorescent (shows more cool tones), or incandescent (shows more warm tones).

That's why you may pull some paint chips from the paint store just to feel like you are back at square one in finding the perfect color once you get the paint chips home.  Retail/commercial buildings usually have fluorescent lighting, where as your home most likely does not.  Your friend's or neighbor's house may face the same direction as yours, but each room is different.  A blue that looks great in the store looks baby blue at home.  A tan in your friend's great room pulls more yellow or orange than you planned. 

I recently helped a client find a new color for a master bathroom.  It is located on the same side of the house as the dining room, but has a single window compared to a door wall and is on the second floor compared to the main floor. She is keeping the existing earthy brown/terracotta tiles and wants a lighter earthy feel, but not peach or brown.  In the dining room we reviewed a few color chips she had pulled.  Knowing we had to look at the colors in the actual space I added some color chips to our assortment. 

When we moved the color chips into the master bathroom, metamerism went to town taking neutral tans that can look yellow vs. peach and turned them muddy looking.  We switched gears and found colors that looked carmel (in the dining room) held their own and didn't turn muddy in the actual room's lighting.  It was a good challenge to show my client why the color would need some depth, some umph, to not crumble or disappear next to her tile, and more so why we had to look at the colors in the space to be painted, not solely in a room with better seating :)

So now you know the name of the trouble causing, although natural occurring, circumstance.  If you get really stuck and need help finding the color to ~make your space personal~ contact me for a color consultation.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

What Do You Do With All This Stuff?

Living thirty to forty years in one home has a way of creating many collections of pictures, photos, vases, candles, glass collectibles, knick get the idea.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Not Just A Door

Who's that knocking at my door?

Picture a sun bleached & faded gray, metal, cold, less than happy, tired door as your entry to your home away from home ~ work. Blah! Just a week ago the employees of a local restaurant/brewery that is full of life, warmth, fun, excellent food and service were trudging up to this uninspired entry I just described.

However, now they are greeted with a fresh coat of paint on the exterior walls and a new warm gray door, in Benjamin Moore's Silhouette AF-655

Employee Entrance

The painter had approached me for help on what to do with the tired, faded door.  Patrons do walk past this door if they park in the West side of the parking lot, so he thought the door could 'disappear' as the employees know where it is, but patrons wouldn't notice it.   This works great in areas that have a lot of angles or non-primary doors that make the space look chopped up if every door jam and door are not the wall color.

Since the painter was meeting with the owner the following day to make a final color selection I suggested three options:
  1. Paint the door the same color as the walls to make the door disappear. 
  2. Paint the door a shade (darker version) of the wall color.  I picked out a brownish orange color so it didn't read dark orange. 
  3. Paint the door a gray.  That's where my color expertise came in. 
A traditional metal gray would have felt cold and more strongly contrast with the warm orange wall.  A stone gray would be warmer, but may not stand strong next to the amount of orange. I found a gray in-between these characteristics that looks gray, but warm, but not too soft. 

Before I got to stop by for the 'after' picture the painter called me to say my color choice "gives the door a designer touch".   I'll take that complement :0)

Hopefully the employees feel a welcoming to their home away from home.

Have door or angled architectural details you can't decide if you want to accent or make disappear?  Contact me for a consultation and I will ~Make Color Personal~ for you!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Have You Picked Up On Your Trend?

It starts as a single purchase; an accent your favorite color.

I seem to be on a red flower trend.  I bought these pillows from Target last spring to add a punch of color to our outdoor furniture set. 

On an exploritory stop to Pier One this past week I saw this amazing rug hanging on display:

I can so picture this in my living room/office!  But to not buy on impulse I am going to analyze/comparison shop.  I believe in time tested purchases; not too trendy, but enough to update a space and last more than a season.

The colors available for the spring season are so bright and plentiful!  Which brings me back to my trend.  I have been looking for new foyer and garage door entry rugs.  The entrances are not in direct view of each other, but they need to tie in~meaning they don't have to match exactly, which gives me more creative room!   Here's what I found, and knew I didn't need to look any futher :)

Notice the red flower theme I seem to be on?  What I love about these coodinating rugs is :
  1. They don't match exactly
  2. They relate to each other with theme and color tones
  3. They relate to (without matching exactly) the porcelain tile colors
  4. They relate to the rooms that flow off the entries
Now to find a living room/office rug that doesn't get the floral theme out of control, but ties in a transitional style.

Do you need help deciphering and pulling together your trend 'likes'?  Are your room wall colors flowing with your theme?  Call me for a consulting appointment if you get stuck.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fabulous Color at the Fabulous Fox Theater

 Fox Theater Lobby

 If you look closely to the right side of the picture you'll see a banner for the teen band Big Time Rush concert.  While it wasn't a play or traditional theater production that brought me to the Fox Theater in Detroit this past Saturday evening, I enjoyed taking in the beauty of the restored building. (The concert was a fun night out  with my daughter too!) 

Elephant head centered above the proscenium. Speakers are hidden behind the quatre-foil shaped censer.

While most homes do not tend to have this ornate of detail, it will hopefully help you think twice of ignoring your pan, tray, or step ceiling. 

Do you have a ceiling you would like to see in something other than white?  Give me a call for a consultation


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kitchen ReDesign

The timing and budget finally came together for a kitchen makeover!  It's not a full makeover, but it looks different and new. 

The oak finished cabinets had lived their full potential in this colonial style house.  While there is still a distinct family room, kitchen, and dining room the freshly painted cabinets give the kitchen a feeling of more space and a softer look.

Here's the 'before'

While there wasn't dated hardware to deal with, the orange undertone of the oak finish didn't meld in with the change from traditional to transitional style in the rest of the house.

Benjamin Moore's Advance worked wonders to give the cabinets a facelift.  The latex/oil hybrid levels out beautifully! 

Here's the 'after'

After weeks of comparing three off-white/gray colors the winner was Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter HC-172

Have a project that seems too over whelming?  Call in a color professional to consult on the what and whys of the space and colors that will change it to one you love.  Click here for my contact info!  Look forward to working with you.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Now You See It~ Now You Don't!

Remodel in progress

Ahh, remodeling projects and their snowball effect!  A few months ago we changed our carpet to compressed bamboo floors in a Brazilian Teak color.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! 

They are much easier to keep clean and bring warmth to the rooms.  Because they are compressed, besides being extra durable, they don't have the traditional bamboo knots, so they look more like a traditional wood floor would. 

One project snowball I was able to avoid was buying all new wood vent covers.  We opted to not add on the cost of flush, built in covers but thought we would buy new wood vents and stain them to match.  Somehow along the way only one of the three vents could be fully removed~two of the vent bases got locked in under the bamboo floor boards.  The cost to undo the mishap wasn't worth the time and further snowballing.

After shopping around I really didn't like the ornate options of the wood vent covers.   So I went back to basics and stained my existing white metal covers with Old Master's Wiping Stain and polyurethaned with Graham's Ceramithane satin finish.

The project was fairly easy.  I sanded the vent covers with a sanding block and dusted them off.  Then I pulled out the best Crayola water paint brush from the kids' art supplies.  It was perfect to fit into the small crevices in the middle of the vent cover and worked with the oil base stain. I applied one coat of wiping stain and let it dry overnight.  The next day I applied a light second coat, but it didn't have to be perfect, because I was able to use the brush marks to help it look like wood grain.  After that dried for 24 hours I applied the topcoat to protect the vent cover from chipping. 

Now my snowball is rearranging the furniture in the living room/office.

empty nook

Latest after:

'office' after
reading nook

Do you have an open project that is snowballing and you need help?  Contact me for a ReDesign consultation and I will try to help put on the brakes where I can.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Inspiration~What is Yours?

What inspires you to add or change items and color to a room in your home? 

Daunting thought? It doesn't have to be. In fact you probably have a single item that you just love and it can be the jumping point for finding a new color for the room.  The key is that the new color(s) relate to something in the room so everything fits into place.

We made our basement into a second family room/game room.  Talk about a blank slate!  Here's our inspiration piece:

Keeping the area light, but with color, I used the rug to find the wall, ceiling, trim, accent wall and accessories colors.  Here's how it turned out:


The walls' colors are Benjamin Moore's Yellow Squash and Patriot Blue, drywalled part of ceiling is in hazelnut cream (5th wall we'll talk about in another blog). 

This room is one of my examples I can use with clients to show that a color may look beige in the store under florescent lights, but in my actual space the color looks yellow with a very slight hint of peach.  The red (peach) undertones keep the color from looking plain beige or from hollering yellow.

The blue is a very dark blue, but looks lighter and brighter up on the accent wall.  Please see a past post (here) about colors not looking dark on the wall compared to the paint chip.

The color depth on this wall makes the pictures more dimensional than against a lighter color.

Accessories using related colors to the inspiration piece
inspiration piece

Maintenance free orchid~best kind for a low natural light family room.

So, still daunting to figure out which color direction your inspiration piece can take you?  Contact me to set up a color consultation appointment and we'll make that part of the project easy breezy.