The Power of RED

The Power of RED

Whatever you want to say about it…the color RED elicits strong emotions. What are the associations and meanings  of this volatile color, and what does it symbolize to us?

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An effect of light: COLOR

From an energetic point of view, red is related to the Basis chakra (energy center), and influences the sex glands, and sexual energy.  It symbolizes life and reproduction.  Studies show that it is associated with both love and, to a lesser degree,  hatred,  as well as life, heat, fire and blood.

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Life Force

Red is arousing, stimulating,  and exciting, relating to both passion, strength, activity and warmth, as well as aggression, rage, intensity and ferocity.   One aspect, it would seem, that can be agreed upon, is that red is energizing!

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I am RED hear me roar!

 Synesthesia, the experience of a sensory “cross-over“, ” is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.“.  Thus a color may elicit associations with particular sounds, tastes, smells, or tactile sensations.  In the case of RED, is associates with loud sounds, specifically, the trumpet, as well as sweet and strong tastes and odors.  Red’s tactile association is firmness and solidity.

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Firmness, Solidity, Strength: holding it all together

What is in common here? Strength. No  half-way measures here…RED packs the proverbial “punch”.  Indeed, if we are punched, the area where we are impacted more often becomes red quickly, as the  the blow brings up our actual blood in response so healing/repair can begin immediately..  Seeing Red anyone?  Well, here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to You!

Let’s look at happy, healthy, healing and sometimes outrageous but always energizing uses of RED!

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Brilliant RED, setting off the adjacent gray, adds fire to this exterior architectural color scheme! Symmetry is avoided, but balance is achieved.

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Red does double duty here  energizing both door  and address numbers, again framed by cooling gray, which makes the red stand out that much more.

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The red door let’s us know exactly where to go to enter this charming Victorian, which also employs grays and blues and a touch of lavender as a counterbalance to the eye-catching accent door and architectural detail.

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The red side of this bar ties into other red hues in the flow-through living room, as well as the kitchen rug, and other details not pictured, such as a bright red teapot! Fresh white trim frames and accentuates it.

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Red is thought to stimulate the appetite, making it a natural choice for an eating area. In this home, the red of this dining room, and  the blue and gold of the adjoining hallway/entry and living room respectively create a potent triad of primary colors!

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Red associates with love and the heart, and thus is a natural, life affirming accent wall color choice for an organization like Dress for Success, which helps women prepare for fresh starts in their lives.

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The associations of red with grapes and wine may be obvious, especially to those for whom such spirits are their “life blood”. This red accent wall provides a vibrant frame around the vineyard scene.

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Red doesn’t always have to cover the wall to have an impact. Above, it is used as an energizing accent, and makes a statement in the context of the painting, textile, and rug. There is just enough to enliven a smallish room, and add warmth, layering and texture to the predominant hues of beige/cream, white and deep blue.

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The painting of red with turquoise blue in this narrow hallway packs the proverbial punch, and lights up our senses. The brightness and richness of both these colors holds our attention and really keeps us awake!

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Red and turquoise play nice together as strong accents on this painted chair, reminiscent of the Southwestern United States, in both imagery and hue.

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Setting each other off like black on white, the green background makes its compliment, red, pop! Loving ladybugs, anyone?

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Red is the perfect choice for a sidewalk “sandwich” sign, designed to attract attention, inform, point the way, and draw in customers!

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Flying high…the associations are here are clear!

What does RED mean to YOU?!

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Color: A Balancing Act 3

Color: A Balancing Act 3

 Between Unity and Complexity: Achieving Balance

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As discussed in previous posts, color balance in our environments can have a profound effect on our health and well-being. The “emotional loading of a space” in architectural psychology terminology, is the emotion we feel when we perceive color in a space. Perception happens in the brain, and is a process. What we perceive, as regards to color, and thus the resulting emotion, may be influenced by many factors, such as the size and shape of the space we are in, the interplay of the colors that are there, our state of mind, and, of course, the light. I would go so far as to include pattern and texture, weather (affecting the natural light which may be entering  and thus informing the space), cultural associations with the colors used, and our own personal associations with them.

So complex! But also, so much fun. Evocative. Provocative.

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Unity and complexity are two opposite poles, unity related to parts fitting into a coherent whole, and complexity involving variation.  Both are important.  Too much unity, and we can experience monotony and sensory deprivation, in a word, under-stimulation. Symptoms can manifest such as irritation, restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, and interestingly, excessive emotional response.  Why? As I understand it, because  we do not have enough to capture our attention, indeed, perhaps to distract us from our emotions, or to direct them.  As color consultant Helen Gurura says, “People expect all their senses to be moderately stimulated at all times.”  What is the key here? The word “moderately”.  As the saying goes…“All things in moderation…even-  moderation!”

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On the other end of the spectrum, we have complexity, which in the extreme, can lead to over-stimulation. and increase muscular tension, pulse rate and blood pressure. Hmmm…not good. Too much saturated color, brightness and pattern demand  attention both voluntary and involuntary. This can mess with our capacity to concentrate visually and thus interfere with tasks that require this, resulting in among other things, lowered productivity.

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Thus we see that both over and under-stimulation can impair our concentration..one by not giving us enough to focus on, the other by giving us too much.  In both cases we get distracted…by having not enough to see, or by being inundated by too much visual stimuli!

Our goal is balance, the balance between these two extremes, and apparently our minds, bodies, and perhaps our souls and spirits too, crave it.

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Let’s see how balance, or, “the securing of unity in the midst of variety”,  is achieved in the following spaces, visual environments, and color schemes.  We are all human, and require certain things to stay alive, and to thrive.  However our personal tastes, needs and requirements may differ, based on our genetic make-up, backgrounds, psychology, and cultural influences.  There is no one-size fits all for design. Most of us know this from experience. We may need to “play around’, to discover what fits, or “works for”  us best at any given moment, knowing that this may very well change over time!

1st_aThe inhabitant of this sleek urban space wanted a minimum of color. Warm wood, and neutrals punctuated by crisply framed black and white photographs gave her what she wanted, and saved her from the dangers of monotony, sensory deprivation, and under-stimulation. A favorite painting adds a tiny pop of color, and a variety of materials and light-reflective sheens add visual interest without bringing too much complexity into the space.

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bernalRed plays a starring role in this open plan kitchen/living room, adding strength to both spaces in the accent wall below the bar. The warmth of red, wood and rug is offset by the  white trim, and cool metal of the bar stools. Red is often used as an appetite-stimulating color in dining spaces. Here it is kept to an accent, so as not to overwhelm the space and our senses.

lomThis bedroom is in a condo that serves as an “urban getaway for its owners, who wanted a space both warm and restful for their city place, and  high on the “unity” end of the color balance spectrum.  Use of creams, ochres, and warm woods achieve this, while the painting brings in some drama and contrast (IE variety and thus complexity), while staying within the chosen color scheme.

soulAnother use of red as accent, doors are a popular surface for red hues. (Why? Check out this Houzz article on the subject!). The red door of Soulful Pilates Studio in San Francisco (painted red on both sides) ushers students and practitioners into a serene, yet energetic space. Like the bedroom above, warm, creamy ochres are used, but the palette is enlivened by colorful mats, and equipment sporting a variety of textures. The red, intense by contrast, adds complexity by creating a focal point expressing the idea of passing from the outside world to the internal realm, both mentally and physically. A multitude of windows add more visual interest, and plenty of light to the space during the day, as well as framing street “scenes”. Below, the purple mat provides pleasing and complimentary contrast to the golden walls.

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spear_eCream, red and strong pattern are used to great effect in this Parisian-inspired living/dining area,  another example of an urban “get-away” for the owners. Detail, but a minimum of artwork was added to the walls to break them up visually, and our eye is drawn down the “walkway” to the brilliantly colored and patterned curtains at the end of the corridor. The hue on the wall matches the cream in the curtains, reducing visual complexity through a limited color scheme, and the smooth, polished wooden floors warm and ground the animated, yet elegant space.  The heavy, dark painting is offset by playful patterns, streamlined ornamentation, and  an illusion, of retrained opulence. Comme que c’est tres-francais!

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There are many ways to visually balance an environment, and the approach may be different for each person.  You may try changing paint colors, adding or subtracting pattern and texture,  curating works of art, decorative items or textiles, rearranging furniture, or even changing your floor surface…with a rug, a coat of paint, or just a bit of “spit and polish”.

I hope this series of posts on Color: A Balancing Act has offered some insight into how to better live and thrive in your environment, and have more fun in it too.  Color, like most things worth investigating, is a life-time study.  Mysterious,energetic, scientific, emotional and physical…it truly seems to weave its own magic, and power.

May You use it well!

Color: A Balancing Act 2

Color: A Balancing Act 2

What is the “emotional loading of a space”?

Says Helen Gurura,  an internationally accredited colour design consultant,  and executive vice-president of the International Association of Color Consultants (IACC). “Feelings can be evoked through colour at even an unconscious level and this gives rise to the term “colour emotion”, defined as “an associated feeling or emotion induced in the brain during the colour perception process”. In architectural psychology terminology this is called “the emotional loading of a space”.  Achieving balance in colour design clearly remains a challenge though.”

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In last week’s post, we looked at a variety of exterior architectural color schemes through the lens of visual “unity” and “complexity”, exploring what creates both over and under-stimulation,  and ways of creating balance between these extremes.  The goal is to  avoid both extreme unity/monotony/sensory deprivation which results in under-stimulation, and extreme complexity/variety which can over-stimulate the senses.  As Ms. Gurura states, “The balance between unity and complexity is the first and most important rule in the design of user-supportive architectural environments.”

Essentially, we expect, and I extrapolate from  this want and need  our senses to be moderately stimulated at all times.  I must assume that  dreaming accomplishes this when sleeping…even when mediating, we are often instructed to concentrate on the breath, a sensory experience.

The built environment is a place where we may posit our dreams, our imaginations, even our breath.  When we have been “doing battle”, even if that means fighting the good fight, out there in the world, we may need our homes to return to, relax, recharge, regroup  and  catch our breath in.

Let’s relax now, take a deep breath, and enjoy looking at some interiors that were designed through placement of color, pattern, texture, and more, to not only meet the functional needs and wants of those who live and breath there, but also to express their innermost hopes, dreams, wishes and desires…and perhaps even fantasies about themselves and their lives.

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The owner of a charming home in  Berkeley, Ca, wanted to transform his son’s old bedroom into a guest room, that his fiance would claim as her own special space in the house. His love of strong color, bold artwork, rich, layered patterns and textures  is mitigated to accommodate  her taste for beige by the choice of a neutral wall color and creamy trim.

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The wall color is taken to the bookcases, which frame not only scores of colorful books, but also his son’s powerful painting. By keeping the bookcases “color neutral”, what is contained within and between them is kept front and center, and the multitude of colors and patterns do not overwhelm.

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Warmth, richness, depth,and elegance reign in this master bedroom, where the deep earthy golden-brown-with hints of persimmon wall color compliments the multi-hued wood floor, the heavy dark wood furniture, and fresh white trim.  The trim is needed to relieve the strength of the other colors, and because the room is spacious, filled with strong lines and architectural details, and  large pieces.

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Although this room doesn’t have the plethora of  color, pattern and texture in its details like the Berkeley guest room above, the complexity of its space, containing recesses, alcoves and a window seat, the variance in the texture and light reflectance of its surfaces, and the expanse of textiles on bed and chair, give it just as much visual variety and interest. The room is beautifully balanced and filled with light, comfort and calm, with enough accent to engage the senses.

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Here again pale “neutral” (read, “beige” ) walls and tile, and white ceiling contain,  frame and unify strong color and bursts of pattern,  just as the streamlined silver frames contain but do not restrain the beautiful, bright  watercolor paintings created by the owners’ children. The effect of the paintings and blue-patterned vase is amplified by their reflection in the mirror, which adds a sense of space to a smaller room. The varying colors and patterns are also on different planes: the paintings on the wall parallel to our line of sight, the counter top perpendicular to it,  the vase parallel, but below the paintings, creating a layered effect, adding complexity and variety to the space.

spear_bspear_cThe serenity of this bedroom is achieved not only with soothing neutrals on wall and ceiling, but carrying that over into large swathes of textiles such as the bedspread, pillows and throw. Layers of texture and intricacy are created  through the “distressed” mirror frame which adds a painted and reflected scene to the visual mix, and intricately detailed and tasseled window treatment which adds sheen, pattern, and a whole other level of visual interest, as well as framing the window.  Who couldn’t relax in this room?  R & R is exactly what it is for…and as unbroken as possible. As opposed to…

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the “boudoir”, in the same unit!  This room will keep you awake, though it does share the element of faux fur pillows with the bedroom. Needless to say, the owners are style Franophiles, at least with this space, which is a second dwelling for them, an urban “get-away” from their home in Napa County, CA. In this alcove, they had big  fun “papering’ the walls with a  fabulous, French-feeling fabric, placing a gold “sunburst” above the divan ( covered in the same pattern), and “peppering” it with black fur pillows.  Isn’t it wonderful to have a room where you can just go wild with the design and decor? Shouldn’t we all have that?  This room is just a little jewel box of color and pattern, and we found exactly the right paint color for the ceiling, to pull out the rich cream hue  in the fabric, and soften the pinky-red surrounding it.  Because the fabric is so all-encompassing, the walls, curtain, divan and pillows covered in it merge into one, and the complexity and visual variety is contained in that one pattern. The room is small, the room is warm, the room is happy, and the room sings…a totally different song then the bedroom,  and  another example of “securing unity in the midst of variety….”, and achieving balance, as Helen Gurura would say!

Color: A Balancing Act

Color: A Balancing Act

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We have all had the experience of sensory overload..as well as sensory deprivation.  We may experience overload when entering an environment filled with loud sounds, bright colors, an array of patterns,  and a variety of textures…to say nothing of what we may be sniffing, tasting or touching there.

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We may experience sense of deprivation when a space is too quiet, neutral, bland, uninteresting, and feels just plain boring.  We know something is “wrong”, but we may not be able to put our finger on it, literally speaking, especially if there is a dearth of textures, colors, patterns, and other visual stimuli.

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Although our tolerance for visual complexity and variety, as well as unity and coherency varies from person to person, we do expect, and maybe even need, our senses to be stimulated to some extent at all times. Perhaps we are experiencing this through dreams while we are sleeping!

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Not surprisingly, even our health and physical well-being can be affected by exposure to over or under-stimulation. Extreme unity, or monotony, can result in restlessness, irritation, a lowered ability to concentrate, wandering attention, and an overly strong emotional response.  Extreme complexity/variety can result in higher blood pressure, pulse rate, and muscle tension.  Not a good thing, as we can probably all agree.

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Knowing this, our job as color consultants/designers becomes charged with even greater purpose and meaning…how to create environments of balance (which doesn’t mean symmetry or the sum of equal parts, which might become monotonous), which support both our physical and our emotional well-being, as well as the function of the spaces themselves, and even our life’s purpose!

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Before we get either too lofty, or too weighty about all this, lets look at some color designs and palettes that achieve balance in a variety of different ways. I hope to continue to investigate, explore and disseminate the subject of color balance in further posts. Have fun!

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A nearly monochrome palette relieved by creamy white trim can be stately and restful, especially when enlivened by a multitude of decorative detail.

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Even a deep, rich, dominating hue such as a  burgundy purple can be set off by accents of an even deeper value. The dramatic shift to white in the trim frames a building that the owner wanted to simplify and streamline, while still acknowledging  its details.

B4A slight amplification in field color from the original,

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 makes this building more satisfying to look at, as it is more “complex”(contains more color) . The addition of a dark accent color on the window sashes, and a more intense door color add variety, which also increases complexity, and protects against visual monotony.

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The temptation to “go color crazy” on this magnificent Queen Anne Victorian could have created so much complexity, that our attention may have been distracted from actually seeing and enjoying its beautiful period details, such as the shift in shingle pattern, decorative insets, and dentils.

clay_cInstead, by limiting the colors to a set of resonant neutrals (field color, field color 200% formula and off white trim color), and adding accents in earthy hues of complimentary sage green and brick-red with just a touch of gold leaf,

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we are not so overstimulated by too much variety, and can actually take in and enjoy the details, colors and shapes that integrate to create a unified whole.

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The complex but neutral beige body color, and white trim are punctuated by a rich red service door, a singular detail on this building, which has very little embellishment, or even trim.

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As the owner wanted to reduce the possibility of visual complexity, subtle interest is brought in by the use of a slightly darker and more intense foundation color, which grounds and visually supports the structure. Thus both over and under-stimulation are avoided, and we experience enough visual simulation to provide a pleasing experience physically and emotionally.

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The size, style,, “stateliness” and foliage around a structure can influence color design choices, as well as how much its body is broken up  by its trim. Here the deep blue-green color of the house body is significantly relieved by the crisp white trim and garage door, as well as bright green foliage, which becomes a color accent or counterpoint to the dominating blue and white. As the building reads  tall and thin, our eye is drawn upward to the sky, which completes the picture. Not seen here is the warm brown accent color used on the planters in both the entry way and back patio, which provide  contrast to the blue and green, and complete the triad of blue, green and brown “nature’ colors.

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A unified palette can make a building stand out…even if it doesn’t contain an extreme shift in accent color. Our richly hued “old  burgundy” beauty commands the street view here.  All  the more regal for being contained and restrained in color variety, the palette is retrained yet fun, making a statement without overwhelming our senses. The building itself serves as an accent for a block dominated by pale, nondescript and rather unimaginative hues.  Maybe, stimulated, but not overstimulated by our royal example, the neighbors will be inspired to follow suite and add more local color!

If You are feeling either over, or under-stimulated in your environment, try experimenting with adding or subtracting color, pattern, texture,  changing the value (light to dark), or intensity/saturation (brightness) of the colors, changing your accent color to the compliment of the dominant color in the space, or if there is no dominant color, creating one.

You may just find yourself feeling better on all fronts!

Until next time…wishing you balance, variation, complexity, unity and coherence in your Life!

Standing our Color Ground III

Standing our Color Ground III

Having completed a rather large and multifaceted color consultation for a set of two buildings, named “ARIA”, and “SONATA”  which anchor opposite corners of a block in the “Valley”,  I am disseminating the experience, and its results through a series of blog posts.

Here I compare and contrast the two buildings, one on either end of a median-sized block in Canoga Park, a district in the San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

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We start with samples…right on the building, looking at two potential palettes. .

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The darker foundation grounds the building ARIA, punctuated with symmetrically placed balcony “bump-outs”.

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On SONATA, on the other end of the block, the same accent color was used on the bump-outs, with less of a jump in hue between the field and foundation colors.

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The service door takes the bump out accent to 200%…animating the deep foundation.

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Fewer but larger bump-outs on SONATA create a different effect. We are working with broader planes of color here, which, along with less contrast between the foundation and field color, help offset the visual “busyness” that. could result from the use of of both stucco and siding

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ARIA’s inner courtyard, softened by use of plants down the center, offsetting and complimenting the earthy orange, cream and brown hues of the building.

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In SONATA’s inner courtyard, a softening effect is achieved with the awnings, as well as the vista of green leaves from the tees beyond.  As there are no bump-outs or patios here in front of the units, the effect is almost that of an empty village street.

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Accented bump-outs offset the stronger door color, which punctuates the walls of ARIA’s courtyard.

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A poetic melding of colors humanizes SONATA, front and back.

Next up, “THE DEETS”….a fun look at some of the details which humanize a building…This is where people live, after all.

See you next time…singing our color song!

Until then, may the Arias and Sonatas of your life create a perfect harmony…and the music of your colors  and the colors of your music play beautifully together.

Re-Creational Color

Re-Creational Color

Once upon a time there was a charming house in the Glen Park District of San Francisco, that looked like this:

Now, everyone’s taste is different, and some may love to live in a house with such a color scheme, but the lovely family that lives here  did not.  Upon deciding that they wanted to change their exterior house color scheme, the owners, a married couple with a young daughter, took action.

They hired not only a house painter, but a color consultant (associated with their painter),  who came up with this color combination:

This combination of colors, as I understand it, was closer to what the owners wanted (apparently they wanted to ‘get the red out”!), but still fell short of what they felt comfortable with, to say nothing of, loved.  In short, they were discomfited.  It just wasn’t right.

The neighborhood is eclectic, and creativity abounds. However, the owners wanted a more unified look to the structure, and when all was said and done, didn’t like having different colors on the house body (above) , and the foundation (below).  They decided they wanted to change out these  colors (which covered the main area of the house), and have the same color on both the body and foundation. There was already a lot going on with the trim and accent colors, which they decided to keep.

I had the good fortune of meeting  the owners while providing in-store color consulting for Benjamin Moore Creative Paint, located on Geary Boulevard, in San Francisco.  We discussed their dilemma, and they engaged me as color consultant (number two), so that we could really, as Brad Pitt might say, make it right. We knew that we were going to select just one color for both the foundation, and upper house body, and that the chosen hue probably needed to be deeper, richer and warmer then what the previous consultant had specified.

We sampled a number of options, but they all went too violet on the house surface.  San Francisco has a very particular kind of light, and the Glen Park neighborhood can get foggy. Although the violet tones worked with the burgundy trim, it was too much, and not what the Clients wanted.  Let’s face it, we had to get it right this time!

The second go-around, we sampled Benjamin Moore 1476, “Squirrel Tail”, “Taos Taupe”, 2111-40, and “Iron Gate” 1545.  The Clients knew, hands down, it had to be Squirrel Tail.  The hue contained the right amount of warmth, a bit of richness, and it worked with, rather than competed with, the “Bottle of Bordeaux” 1357  trim, and “Tarrytown Green” HC-134 accent.

We gave a nod to the house foundation by painting it in an intensified (150%)  version of the “Squirrel Tail”, to add a sense of weight and stability to the structure, without further complicating the color design.   Both foundation and upper house body were done in an eggshell sheen to add a bit of resilience, and wash-ability, but almost no shine.  The garage door, also painted in the 150% formula, was done in a satin sheen to set it off slightly, and deflect a certain amount of contact and dirt!

The result is a unified appearance, which lent the house solidity, warmth and that touch of richness and depth the Clients were seeking. By unifying the body and foundation colors, the multitude of trim and details became less prominent, also adding to the desired unity.

Finally, we “got the white out”!

It was a pleasure to work with these wonderful Clients, and see their home transform through the healing use of color.  My hope for them is that they live long and prosper, in their “new” home.

Three times a charm!

What color dilemmas have YOU had lately, and how have you solved them?

If you feel so inclined, please share with us here.  We love to hear from YOU.

Remember, we are all healing ourselves through this thing called Life, together.

Happy Color!

Color Story

Color Story

Once upon a time, in December of 2009, I was asked to assist in color selection for the exterior of a cool sort of industrial-looking  building on Corbett Street in San Francisco. Being a condominium building with three units, it had three sets of  inhabitants, which made up its HOA, (Home Owners Association). One of these was taking charge of the painting project, and thus, of course, the colors.  I was in luck…someone, I still don’t know who, referred my services, and I am so glad they did.  Little did any of us know that our task would not be completed until June of 2011.

My clients, technically the HOA, but, in my mind, George and Garret, who were handling the process,  live part-time in Texas.  We initially discussed the importance of the materials (those that would not be painted), primarily the hand-made wooden, slatted front gate, and the beautiful multi-colored tiles of the steps and planter. These would provide the direction for the house body (main), the garage door and trim, and the window sash and balcony rail (accent) color choices.

Because the building has an industrial, almost loft-like feel, there is an interesting tension between the architecture and surrounding  foliage.  We knew that the color scheme was to be cool, stream-lined and elegant, with enough contrast to the proliferation of nature in which it would dwell, yet it also needed to complement, and draw out the browns and greens of the nearby plants, trees and bushes. I felt that the colors should provide a nod to the structure’s industrial “downtown” sensibility.

The silvery metal house numbers also support the loft aesthetic, and would become part of the color story, providing a bit of reflective gleam.

We opted for Benjamin Moore “Iron Gate”, #1545, for the house body, and Sherwin Williams “Rustic Red” # 7593 for the window sashes, and balcony railings. Keeping the balcony railings, on the left side of the building, the same accent color as the sashes provides balance, as there is a lot more red sash action going on to the right, and we needed enough red on the left to counterbalance.

George and Garret turned me on to Sherwin Williams “Iron Gate” #2926, which  they had used on their Houston, Texas home, and was already on the garage of the building.  I loved the color, and wanted to use it.  Incredibly, it worked beautifully with Benjamin Moore’s version, the “other” Iron Gate, chosen for the house body.  Fascinating to see the different takes on what hues the term “Iron Gate” conjure up!

Over the course of  a year and a half, chatting on the phone and by email in-between meetings with George and Garret when they were in town, and their painter Tony, (local), we confirmed the scheme. Tony put up samples,  and George and Garret discussed them with the other owners and got the consensus. We were finally ready for the building to be primed! Yes, we were moving ahead! We were keeping the garage door color, and adding it to the trim above, and shifting the red on the sashes and railings to something a bit more toned-down,  in better keeping with the strong wood hue of the gate. We were transforming the body color from a paler blueish green, to the richly nuanced  and deeper grayish green hue of Iron Gate, Ben Moore style. It was happening!

And…voila!  Our attention to detail, and focus on bringing together subtle, and not so subtle shifts of color finally yielded its fruit…achieving a stream-lined, elegant, “industrial” harmony, which plays nice with its natural and architectural surroundings, and integrates seamlessly into the neighborhood.  I know George and Garret will feel great every time they enter their San Francisco home.  I hope all others who are sheltered here do as well.

What color sagas have YOU participated in lately?

If  you feel so moved, please share them with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all coloring our way through this thing called Life, together.

Cheers!

Featured Work: Berkeley Bungalow

Featured Work: Berkeley Bungalow

Berkeley, California is a place of bungalows. There are many, many bungalows in Berkeley.  You might even say that Berkeley is a bevy of bungalows.  These charming houses, home to many a professional, family, and couple, are clothed in a myriad of hues, which upon occasion, an owner will decide to change.  One such delightful owner (referred by the San Francisco-based painting company, Modamas Fine Painting) engaged me  last September to guide her through the initially overwhelming and confusing process of choosing new colors for her home’s exterior. Our our first step was  to not only look at her home’s exterior with a critical eye,

but also to walk through her neighborhood  and peruse the color schemes of other bungalows.  She had several color directions in mind, and needed to narrow down the choices.

We discussed cinnamons, greens, teals and grays for the house body,  though she really wanted purple.   Ultimately, a rich yet soft Benjamin Moore brown was chosen,”Chocolate Pudding-1014“.

The warm Benjamin Moore “Antique White-OC-83” made a perfect trim accompaniment, balanced by elegant black address numbers and bannister.  The black detailing created a graphical counterpoint to the generous areas of creamy white trim.

We were then on to the all-important front door. Despite her penchant for purple, my Client saw that it did not work.  Wanting warmth and degree of contrast, we went towards red instead. Red doors are a frequent accent in Bay Area architectural color schemes, but, which red was the question?  Benjamin Moore “Apache Red-1295” reflected too much pink.  “Sweet Rosy Brown-1302” added just the right degree of redness, without creating unwanted pinkish undertones.  The entry now radiated warmth and welcome.

Finally, the front steps were painted in Benjamin Moore “Fresh Brew-1232“, grounding them and the house in a deep earthy brown, and  completing the delicious ensemble.  The steps bring out a bit of the earthy red in the door as well.

Warm white trim frames the house, giving an upward feel to the roof. The white against the sky and  tree connects the earthy house colors to the blue and green of nature.

White trimmed windows look crisp against the house’s boxy side, which is also softened by the natural wooden fence, and greenery.

Greatly  improved by the new color scheme, this area now looks tidy, compact, and integrated with the rest of the house, a perfect set of bungalow qualities!

The detached garage also greatly benefited from a new suit of “color clothes”…

Amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do…with the proper prep. of course,

especially in the “right” colors.  In this case, Benjamin Moore “Classic Colors” collection was our go-to  color source. “Chocolate Pudding”, “Sweet Rosy Brown”, “Fresh Brew”,  what a visual feast!  My visionary Client took the time to have samples put up of each color we considered, and observe how the color played on the house surface during different times of day, light, and weather.  She had the patience and the perseverance to see her project through.  As she confessed to me, ” I can’t wait to finish this project. Several times I just wanted to let it be, but I want to be thoroughly happy.” And, I am happy to report, she IS!

Have you had a interesting color connection lately?  A visionary client, an innovative creation, a heartwarming transformation?

If you feel so inspired, please share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all coloring through this thing called Life, together.

 

 

 

Featured Work- Soulful Journey

Featured Work: Soulful Journey

Soulful Pilates Studio recently opened its red doors  in the Haight-Ashbury / Cole Valley neighborhoods of San Francisco.  It  is  owned and operated by Veronique and Walter Thoma.  I had the privilege,  referred by beloved vendor,  Creative Paint,  to take a soulful journey with Veronique and Walter and help them select paint colors for the interior of the Studio.

The Challenge:

To create a serene, yet energizing atmosphere of warmth, support, and intimacy in a somewhat cavernous space with high ceilings, punctuated by a pole.   To create a space which is soothing and cheerful, yet energetic and alive.

Veronique knew she wanted Soulful’s color journey to start with yellow.  But how to find a yellow that would work over such a large surface area, yet not be overpowering, jaundiced, blinding, distracting, too bright, too drab, too gold, or too muddy?  We sampled a number of hues, but none were right. When the Thomas showed me a tiny color swatch they had found at a small boutique paint company,  I was able translate that vision into the 2154 strip of colors found in the Benjamin Moore Color Preview fan deck.  By using a system of colors that were inter-related, we were able to create interest, variety, and subtle accents in the large space, without the complications of choosing other hues, which could busy the space, creating distraction for the students.  A strong, vital red on the doors (points of entry and passage) and the bench (place of rest and changing shoes) animated the space, providing contrast and energy.

Soulful Door

The exterior of the front door was already painted in an earthy red, and we took that idea to the interior.  The door now functions as an accent which can energize a foggy day,  of which there are many in our fair City!

Not Ketchup and Mustard

“Ketchup and Mustard”?   No…. Benjamin Moore  Spanish Red” 1301, and “Straw”  2154-50.

Front Accent Wall Contrast

Three tones of a soft ochre-yellow warm the tall space without cluttering it.  The warmth  is delivered by Benjamin Moore  “Straw” 2154-50 on the walls, (and pole), and “Filtered Sunlight” 2154-60 on the trim. What a dream job it would be to concoct the names for these colors!

Back Accent Wall Moves it Forward

The accent wall in the back of the Studio is Benjamin Moore “York Harbor Yellow” 2154-40,  providing just that slight bump up in color saturation, which adds subtle interest but not clutter to the space, as they are in the same hue family.

Royal Compliments of Gold and Purple

The golden tones of “Straw”, “Filtered Sunlight”, and “York Harbor Yellow” are offset by the complimentary purple mat, a royal combination…

Energetic Entry

The red door, clothed in Benjamin Moore “Spanish Red” 1301,  pops, creating an energetic entry into the bathroom, which is

Soulful Bath

painted in  Benjamin Moore,”Semolina” 2155-40, on the walls, and “Cottontail”  2155-70 on the trim.  Again,  the use of two related hues, less earthy and more orange then those of the main studio space, varying in degrees of saturation and intensity and thus, value.

Colors Support the Function of the Space

Using a unified set of hues unified the unwieldy space, and made it welcoming and accessible to both the Clients, and their Clients: the students and practitioners of Pilates that would come to this studio to study, learn, and grow, taking their own soulful journeys here.  Red, with its associations with blood, fire, love, and life force is the perfect foil and energizer for the harmonious “yellow””.

Says Walter Thoma:
“The colors look better up than we imagined….the darker…color on the two walls looks really good”

Sometimes, what color can do for a space can come as a (happy) surprise!  The results may be…Soulful!