Saturday, June 27, 2015

Paint Colors – Your mileage May Vary

Seattle House via Home Bunch
One of the reasons designers are reluctant to name the paint colors in their space is that it will look different in yours. Your space is different. Your accessories are different. Your fabric is different. Your site is different. Your light is different. The colors and plans for each project are developed as part of a contiguous whole.
Before anything is even put to paper consideration is given to how the space is used. Do you gather around the island to eat? Do you need access to cooking.nytimes.com for recipes? Do you have young children? Teenagers? No children? Empty nesters who host large family gatherings? Do you entertain casually or formally? Many, many questions are asked so that the space can work for you.
After all this, the design plan is developed. After the roughouts, aka the bubble drawings, are done, the plan is put to paper or computer, today. After the design is finalized, the floorplan layout is drawn, the reflective ceiling plan is drawn, etc. etc., the color scheme is developed. The big ticket items, usually the floors,  are decided first. These are coordinated with the cabinets or other case goods.
So you see, there are many variables. Even if you are changing only colors, with no other planned changes, the process is more complex than repeating a gorgeous color from a space you've seen.

Let's say you have cherry cabinets and have seen a gorgeous space with white cabinets and Benjamin Moore OC-140, Morning Dew on the walls. Which gives the look of one of the trendy new grays you have seen. 

You are in love. 
But,...

You have a member of the family, ahem husbands you know who you are, who insists the cabinets are stained. 

Trust me on this one, pairing OC-140 with Cherry Cabinets will look like so much Pistachio green ice cream thrown up on the walls, especially in strong sunlight. Unless you plan on a complete redo, that is, change the back splash, change the granite, paint or replace the cabinets, and change the flooring, it will not match your vision of that picture. 

Add in the complications of your space’s lighting, both artificial and natural, which is determined in part by the orientation of your house, i. e., darker northern light or full bake west sun, and you can have a serious headache. All this when all you wanted was to update your paint to the newest trendy grays!

What do I recommend? A neutral such as Benjamin Moore Greenbrier Beige, HC-83. This is a neutral which softens the edges of the super cherry cabinets, yet gives an updated look.
How do I know? Well, trust me, I know. Thing is, we know what to do to correct the error before the day is done. Next week, we may have some pictures of the story.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Benjamin Moore Whites


Benjamin Moore White Chocolate Trim
from Homebunch
I've never been a huge fan of white. Most times I need a deeper hue to feel at home in a room, something like the Pashmina, AF-100, on the ceiling. Lately I have been searching for whites that have some warmth, but are not too yellow, brown or green or thin feeling. The builder white which was used in this house has a thin feeling to it. Benjamin Moore's White Chocolate, what a great name!, is a bit too green for my tastes. Love it in pics, not a fan of it on the chip. 
 
Home of Lindsey Bierman
Southern Living
Phoebe Howard Designer


I have used Benjamin Moore Ivory White, 925, before. Though I used it largely for trim. It is very white, though not as stark as Atrium white.

Lynda Reeves,
Canadian House and Home
Benjamin Moore White Down
Philip Mitchell Design
from TheWriterandResidence
White Down, 970
Dream House Studios
from Homebunch
Benjamin Moore White Sand 964
White Sand and its paint strip companion Maritime White are two other beautiful warm whites.


Maritime White
Benjamin Moore 963
Old Country House
Lee Pruitt
Memphis Magazine
Maritime White, 963, Walls
Bennington Gray, HC-82, Cabinets
Benjamin Moore Temporal Spirit, 965 on the walls
Monmouth Beach House
Ivee Fromkin
Another paint strip companion, Temporal Spirit, 965 is also stunning. In fact, that entire paint strip has just the right colors. Though Seapearl, 961, may be just a bit too green.
Ami McKay
Dove Wing, 960, via Decorpad
Duffy Design Group
Benjamin Moore Seapearl, 961
via Decorpad

Maybe I should have named this post the 960 paint strip! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Everything I Know About Color I Learned from Watching Black & White Movies

Jane Greer and William Holden
Out of the Past
via The Film Stage

Black and White Movies made great use of contrast to create a sense of tension or drama in a scene. Dark played against light draw the eye to the action in or mood of the scene. Notice how your eye focuses on the faces above, you find yourself wondering, what is going to happen next?



Last Year at Marienbad via linstudio

Of course, painting a room in the same colors as the movie sets is not something you'd want. This set used the complementary colors of purple and yellow to produce depth, the colors produce a scene which appears to painted black and white, and mimick the look of the moulding. Shading of various shades of purple fools the eye into believing there is there is expensive moulding on the walls. Thus creating a sense of luxury for the room and allowing the white gown worn by the star to be perceived as white on screen, without disappearing against the walls, as would have happened had the walls actually been painted white.

The Colors in the Room, Last Year at Marienbad via The Criterion Collection


As contrast was used to create tension and drama in Film Noir movies, it can be used to draw the eye to the focal point of a room in your home, though in better colors. Occasionally, I use software to remove the color from a room. Reduced to the grayscale, the eye sees only the contrasts in the room.

Jane Lockhart, via Homebunch
Kendall Charcoal HC-166

Jane Lockhart, via Homebunch
Grayscale

The focal points are highlighted, the table, the plates on the wall and some features, the chandelier, for example, fade into the background. How different would this have looked had the table been all white with white chairs? 



Benjamin Moore, Caponata AF 650 on walls
Trim & Ceiling Chantilly Lace, OC-65
Guess what happens here? Yes, there is a lot of contrast, which is still visible in gray scale, but...
Benjamin Moore, Grayscale
The chartreuse book covers disappear. In grayscale, all of the books being of similar intensity look to be the same color.



Joanne Smith Design,
from Home and Garden Design Ideas



The island, lights and stools become one block of dark color, nearly the same intensity. The colorful greenery near the sink still has some contrast to the white cabinets, but there is little else to draw your eye away to the stove area. Though the first picture is refreshing and calm, the second, in grayscale, is loaded with drama.

Real Simple, via Inspired Hue


This one should come as no surprise. The blue-green and the gray are the same intensity. With no color, the white dishes barely stand out! However, this was a surprise:
via Inspired Hue

The door just doesn't stand out as much as it does in color! 


Mr. Blandings Dream Home, via CaryGrant.net

The door on Mr. Blandings house stands out as much or more! 
Candice Olson, Candice Tells All
Originally found on Buffalo Real Estate News

Candice Olson creates a fabulous room at once calm and full of drama. The fireplace stands out because of the use of high contrast with the book shelves, mirror, and lamps.


Bottom line is, to create a focal point consider contrast as much as color.  Choose paints with varying intensities. Say, a paint from the top of the strip for the trim, two shades darker for the rest of the room, and one from the bottom for an accent wall. Stand back and take a look, is there drama? If so, focal point done.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Great Walls of China

China, whether transferware, majolica, or collected ironware is a classic way to add interest to walls. Personally, consignment shops, TJ Maxx, Homegoods and eBay and Goodwill stores are favorite sources for transferware and majolica. 


James Radin

Charles Faudree
Charles Faudree was a master at symmetrical arrangements of sconces, platters and other French and English transferware. 


Charles Faudree, in French Country Signature

Kelly Weastler, Viceroy Santa Monica
Kelly Wearstler took symmetry to an new level of complexity with this stunning pattern at the Viceroy Santa Monica.


Lisa Cogdon, Dwell

Club Monaco, StepIntoTheWindow
Lisa Cogdon, Dwell
Lisa Cogdon, Dwell

Asymmetrical Patterns fascinate me and require a highly refined sense of pattern placement and development. I am scouting for a wall for just such an arrangement.

Regardless of how they are symmetrical or asymmetrical, whether in a china cabinet or hung directly on the wall, expensive antiques or special to you collections, china brings a lot of design pizzazz for the buck to a room.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why I Stopped Being Green

Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls from Homebunch


Nope, not what you think, I haven't scrapped the mulching mower. I still return my milk bottles for deposit and recycle the newspapers. I just am over that insipid off white with a green undertone that was ubiquitous in the 50's, 60's and '70's. The color was similar to Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls OC-122 / 2145-70.  I say similar, but not the same, it was a great deal "dirtier" and yet not completely grayed.



Of course there are exceptions. The gorgeous cabinets at the top of this post are painted in Cotton Balls. 

This paint goes very well with the stacked stone installations used in Mid Century modern Houses. In fact, the same house in grey could look horrible.

Mid-Century Home, in Ridgewood from B.E.L.T

The problem with this color of greyish-yellow-green-white was that it was overused. There must have been thousands of conversations just like the one in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, when Mrs. Blandings asks for "a sort of grayish yellow green" among her other color specifications!

You got that Charlie?
Red, green, blue, yellow, white.


Why did these work so well? This particular combination is a lightened red, that is a tint of red, in the stone, with a tint of green. It is a classic complementary color scheme. This color scheme is somewhat tricky to pull off, too saturated and your house is like Christmas! Every Day! 
Limesickle Benjamin Moore


Over the years, stacked stone waned, fabric colors changed, yet the paint stayed the same. The  Singerie below, does not coordinate well with the color strip on which cotton balls resides. In fact, once past Limesickle, the paint begins to look muddy or dirty rather than the soft green it is.  When paired with either a gray or blue gray strips the colors work better together.




Take a look at what happens with the two images below. Next to the blue and white Chinoiserie, the paint chip looks very green and the white on the blue fabric looks yellowed. The exact same paint chip next to the smoke Chinoiserie makes the white in the fabric look crisp, while the paint shows the light gray-green shade of off white cast it truly is. Trust me, those are the exact same images of the exact same paint chip!



Moral to the story? Get a sample. Always get a sample. Then start by choosing your big ticket items first, floors are an example, upholstery is another, in neutrals. Then choose your paint and accent fabrics. Frankly, when I am working with a raw, unfinished or newly constructed space, and working on the boards, I assemble samples of everything all together in one place on a super white board to reduce color distractions. Oh, and did I tell you that you need to consider how much light does or does not stream into your space? No, well that's another blog post for another day.

Did you catch how often Schumacher has recreated this fabric?