Torn Between Two Paint Hues

September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gray Owl

Gray Owl, Ben Moore

As a home stager, I suggest a lot of paint colors as I help to prepare homes for the real estate market. And by and large, grays are what sells these days. Young buyers grew up with Linen White and seem now to cringe at wall colors with a yellow base. But is gray right for your house?

If you live in an area where the weather is cloudy for much of the time or your house is nestled in the shade, then a gray interior is only going to make your visual life grayer. If you want a fresh gray interior, here’s my advice:

  • Make sure you have tons of natural light — big windows with as much light as you can get streaming in the window. That will allow you to see the gray as a distinct, intentional color and not as a shadow of a different color. You know how white and other colors can appear gray in the corners of a room? That’s what I’m talking about. You’ve chosen Gray. So show it off.
  • Add white for trim — that will make the gray pop and will avoid any semblance of dinginess. For Pete’s sake, you don’t want your house to look dirty.
  • Add some warm color — pillows, a chair, artwork. Just for contrast and to add some warmth when needed. Yellow looks spectacular with gray.
  • Pick a warm gray if you live in a cold climate or your room faces North.
  • Pick a cool gray for a warmer climate or a room facing South. The color of the light and the season will influence how your room looks. If the room looks cold, chances are that it will feel cold in there too.
  • Add wood texture to warm the room. A hardwood floor and other natural wood tones in the room will look sensational against a backdrop of gray.
Linen White

Linen White

If gray is not for you but you want to get away from the Linen White look from decades past, try one of these halfway gray paint colors. They are warm but not too yellow and will move you in the gray direction without making your house too cool. Now let’s get painting!

Gray Mist

Gray Mist (BM)

Maritime White

Maritime White (BM)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SW Color of the Year 2017

September 2, 2016 § 4 Comments

poised taupe SW 6039OKay then! If you hang around long enough…(as they say…)

Taupe is back. The color we’ve spent the last decade ridding our houses of is now Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year for 2017. Poised Taupe is the color — SW 6039 — and you have to love the description:

“Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.” — Anytime somebody celebrates imperfections, I’m in!

But here’s what you should know about taupe. It can change radically with the light and the time of day. What looks a little brown can turn pink, purple, or green depending not only on the time of day but also on the lightbulb. Just so you know. Taupe can have a pink undertone as well that clashes horribly with the orange of a red oak hardwood floor. Another caution. But paired with white like its fan deck sibling Gauzy White SW 6035, a silver metal (not gold or brass), hardwood with a gray undertone, and fabrics in other light neutrals with a pink undertone like Cultured Pearl SW 6028, and you truly have a soft, restful combination that harkens back to those glorious. taupe-filled 50s. That’s 1950s!

Personally, I’m going to ride this one out, but I can appreciate how we’re moving from the grays into the taupes (without the yellow undertone of a previous color swing). Like I tell my clients, just because it’s the Color of the Year does not mean it’s perfect for your house. If you are considering taupe, make sure you have a lot of natural light coming in the window and (hopefully) some modern furnishings, shiny metals and glass. Try to avoid pairing with cherry wood. If you have concerns, talk to me!

Meanwhile, let’s get painting.

Where to Splash Your Kitchen Color

June 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

WhiteKitchenEdgyWhite kitchens are, again, all the rage, but what keeps a white kitchen from becoming too cold and uninteresting? You guessed it. Color.

What I love about this white kitchen from Traditional Home is the strategic placement of color where it will 1) have the biggest impact; and 2) be inexpensive to change over time.

Where to put the color?

Backsplash. Since the cabinetry and counter tops are white, the backsplash is a logical place for applying a splash of color. Plus, since it’s a relatively small area in the kitchen, you can be bold with your tile choices knowing that replacing the backsplash when styles change down the road will not break the bank.

Furniture. Splashy citron breakfast bar chairs give the neutral kitchen a modern vitality that pairs very well with the traditional cabinetry. The chairs keep the traditional cabinet design and the timeless marble counter top from being too stuffy. And because there are just two chairs, theoretically you could switch them out seasonally if you wanted to and change the look of the kitchen completely.

Accessories. Always a place to introduce color, the accessories like dishes and canisters and placemats and other easily switched-out items add splashes of color all over the kitchen and are temporary. Again, you’re not locked into a color scheme that will go out of favor in a year or two. Bringing in new accessories in a new color palette will freshen up the kitchen at practically no expense.

No wonder white is such a popular color for the kitchen. It is timeless, and it goes with every decor and season. Plus by adding color in places where new color can be infused without redoing the entire kitchen, you’ve added longevity to your original white kitchen design. Smart thinking!

Here’s the link:  http://www.traditionalhome.com/kitchens/design-ideas-white-kitchens?page=0

 

 

Making Sense of Color Coding

June 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

closetcolorOrganizing your clothes and accessories by color makes a lot of sense to me. You pick out your clothes by what colors you want to wear. Am I right? So going straight to the color of the day seems efficient and not only that, beautiful too. Opening the door to see a well-ordered, color-coded closet gives me joy just thinking about it.

On the other hand, I think color-coding can go a teeny bit overboard. And you’re hearing that from a home stager who lives for color and yes, making order out of chaos. But when I see a bookshelf that has been color-coded, it screams STAGED to me instead of a more sensible, and efficient, order of books by either title, subject matter, or author. How would you ever find a book if you have to remember what color it is?Library of an Interaction Designer (Juhan Sonin) / 20100423.7D.0

Having said that, I do like to group books by size on the shelves so they’re not all over the place. Bookshelves tend to look so busy in a room that some taming of the clutter helps.

If you’re organizing your bookshelves, consider breaking up the books by inserting objects you’ve collected, stacking some of the books, and even deleting a bunch of books by donating them to a book drop. If you cannot part with your books, put up floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and organize the books so you can find them again. Like a library.

Just my thought for the day. Happy Organizing!

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Color? Blue&Green

May 13, 2016 § 2 Comments

2044-62-CorinnaWhen I was in college, back in the style-challenged ’70s, my response to “What’s your favorite color?” was always “blueANDgreen.” They came as a set for me, and even the vintage floral fabrics of that decadeWaverly70sprint still have a nostalgic, times-were-great-back-then appeal.

So I am thrilled to see the combination back around, especially for the summer. Talk about bringing the outside in… is there anything more appealing than the yellow-green shades of Hosta together with the cool watery turquoise blues? The combo works for me.

hostaSo as I do every year at this time, I put away all my hot-looking accessories including my red and cream striped window treatments, art with spicey oranges and reds, and all the red pillows on the sofa, and I replace them with the cool-palette colors that remind me of summers at the lake and carefree times. Summer is here! water

(Living room photo: Bassett Furniture)

Wallpaper: Timeless or Trendy?

March 18, 2016 § 1 Comment

original_44-gatti-secret-image-wallpaperWallpaper continues to make design headlines as it rolls back into our homes. From half baths to bedrooms and dining rooms, we’re seeing it in almost every room. If you have an older home that always had wallpaper, then this is no big deal. But for some of us who have enjoyed plain neutral walls throughout, this wallpaper trend is a bit scary.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Start Small. See how you like color and pattern on a small area before committing yourself to a big project. Try papering an accent wall in your office or guest bedroom. Or even wallpaper a table top for fun. Small projects are easier to undo or live with than full-room projects. Or break the rules: Dive in and wallpaper your dining room above the chair rail. You’ll love the dramatic change.
  2. Scale matters. Select a large scale pattern for a large area. That will keep the wallpaper looking contemporary and not left over from a different design era. Or break the rules: If you love the look of small flowers in a guest bedroom, then who’s stopping you.
  3. Love it. Wallpaper is a little more permanent than a coat of paint. So you should really love the paper you select. Stay in your home’s color palette and choose something that will coordinate with adjoining rooms. Or break the rules: If you really love foil, then it’s only wallpaper. Go for it. Make your home yours.
  4. Give the walls their stardom. Since you’ve wallpapered the walls, we presume you want people to notice them so back off on the other patterns in your room to let the wallpaper take center stage. Using a neutral sofa in front of a patterned wall keeps the pattern from overwhelming the room. Or break the rules: The latest trend is mixing lots of patterns together to give a room personality. Try to stay in the same color family to avoid room overload. But again, if you love it and it’s you, then own it.
  5. Take a deep breath. Before making that decision to wallpaper your bedroom ceiling, channel your interior decorator within. Realize that unless you are restoring an historic home to its original wallpapered grandeur, wallpaper for the rest of us is yet another design trend. In 7-10 years, you may very well hate it. So be prepared to undo the trendy foil damask in your half bath. Especially if you are planning to sell your home anytime soon. Wallpaper is what we call taste-specific. Potentially you may be the only one who sees it as timeless. Just an FYI. Or break the rules: Live for TODAY!! Enjoy your wallpapered ceiling and deal with it later.

 

Photo: This lovely wallpaper is 44 Gatti Secret Image (available at http://www.notonthehighstreet.com).

Green Decorating: The Soothing Hue

March 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

St. Patrick’s Day brings us to thoughts of green. Whether it’s kelly green or any of the variations thereof, green is a versatile, natural hue that brings life and comfort to any room. It is particularly nice in rooms where you spend time revitalizing  your mind and body.

Waking up in a green room warms a cold, white, snowy day and cools a hot, humid summer morning. It can bring the color of lush plants and trees to a city skyline view. And it can calm an agitated, overextended lifestyle at the end of another hectic day.

Green can be either warm (yellow-green) or cool (blue-green), and both pair beautifully with white. Coordinating accent colors can add energy (the complementary reds and pinks, opposites to green on the color wheel) or quiet blending (the analogous yellows and blues on either side of green on the color wheel).

I highly recommend adding green, even a mixture of greens, to your home to quiet and soothe your soul. Wherever you need a few moments of ahhhhhhh.

Paint colors above: Top left to right: Waterscape  SW 6470, Topiary Tint SW 6449, Honeydew SW 6428, Breaktime SW 6463. Bottom left to right: BM Guilford Green HC-116, Palisades Park BM 439, High Park BM 467, Dartsmouth Green BM 691.

 

 

 

Great Color Combos: Pink & Orange

February 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

TaylorSwift2One glance at Taylor Swift’s Grammy red carpet ensemble and I was inspired. What a great color combo! Reminiscent of gorgeous summer sunsets and gardens of spring tulips, hot pink and vibrant coral scream happiness and passion. No shyness there. That’s for sure.

You can bring those colors into your home. Here’s how:

Add plenty of white. Nothing brings out the true color of anything better than white. That’s why adding white flowers to a garden landscape makes the color in the garden “pop” (as we say).

Mix colors of the same Hue (color) Value (relative lightness or darkness). They will blend better together without one overtaking the other.

PBPillowpinkAdd plenty of neutral texture. Sisal rugs, nubby neutral chenille pillows, and natural (neutral) linen-like window panels will balance the powerful color statement in the room and cool the temperature down a bit.

Go part-way in. To make a major color statement without a huge commitment, stay completely neutral in the paint, furniture, rugs, and windows and add color with your accessories: art, pillows, lamp bases, and other accessories.

Look for other great color combos in fashion and nature. Find what you love!

 

Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP./ Published: 02/16/2016 9:24:16. Pillow: Pottery Barn.

From Color Inspirations to Paint

February 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

Walking into a pottery shop is like immersing yourself in a box of crayons, all pristine and unbroken with endless possibilities of combinations.

bluedishesThis set of dazzling bowls caught my eye. Mesmerizing is how I’d describe them with an array of blues from turquoise to cornflower. (The dishes are mine now.)

Whatever the inspiration, there is a paint project waiting. In my mind’s eye driving home, I see these dishes in a dining room painted any one of the colors with crisp white trim. Maybe even a shiny white bead board around the wainscoting to bring out the hues in the room. I can also see any one of these colors on the walls in a kitchen with white cabinets and a white subway tile backsplash. Or maybe one of these colors for the backsplash! (Head is spinning with ideas.)

Accent walls give us a way to add a small amount of color drama to the focal area of a room without painting everything. Especially nice in open-floor-plan spaces where walls may incorporate several rooms. How about one of these rich hues for your front door? Spring painting is right around the corner. (Ben Moore’s Calypso Blue, Bermuda Blue, and Deep Mulberry)

Let the color in front of you and surrounding you inspire you. Wrap yourself up in it. Do something for yourself and create a happy house. It’s just paint!

 

 

 

Got Personality? Show It

January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

What does your room say about you? Designer Jeffery Bilhuber (House Beautiful, Feb 2016) infused a boatload of personality and let us know a few other things as well. What this room shouts to me:gallery-living-room-1

  • Forget about symmetry. Mismatched end tables are way more interesting than a set.
  • Go ahead and mix woods. We acquire furniture from our parents, we find treasures at a flea market, and sometimes pieces have sentimental value. Use them — even if they don’t “match” your decor.
  • Add your favorite color to the room. And if you don’t have a favorite, use several. If you keep the colors at the same “hue value” (lightness or darkness of a color), they mix well together.
  • Function is important. Don’t forget that you need to set your wine glass down.
  • Forget matchy-matchy. This designer has taken that declaration over the top by using two different window shade colors. Bold and impetuous design choice there, but again, the room screams,”I want to be different.” And I applaud that.
  • Let color speak in the room by creating a neutral backdrop from which the color can “pop.” Here, the light gray walls and the neutral woven rug give the eye a rest.
  • Flowers and the little accessory details finish the room. Without them the room can look cold and staged (too many, of course, and you have a clutter zone).
  • Texture matters. That sofa looks so soft. Adding warmth and texture with pillows can warm up anything, even leather.

Bottom line: You’ve heard this before, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t just follow the design trends. Let your room reflect who you are and what you love.

 

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