On the Avenue

On the Avenue

In San Francisco’s Richmond District, the series of North-South streets called “The Avenues” start at 2nd Avenue, and run West, all the way to Ocean Beach…which may be 50th Avenue!

Many of the houses in this area are sheathed in stucco, and may be painted in stucco paint.  The paints may come in limited colors, and the homeowner may have to make a choice of color under pressure, such as my Client did, who owns the middle house below.

Once the paint was up on the surface however, my Client and her husband knew they had to make it work.  The house was already painted, and to repaint it would be expensive, and admittedly, a real hassle.  The only option was to choose trim and accent colors in hues that worked well with the stucco house body color, and achieved what the Client wanted: a dignified, and streamlined  look, that set off the ornamental details, but didn’t add fussiness to the scheme as a whole.

We had the window frames, sashes and boxes, the ornament, the front and garage doors, a bannister, and a cross piece over the garage door to contend with.

Hillsborough Beige” HC 1033 (from Benjamin Moore’s Historical Color palette)  was chosen as the accent color, and applied to  the doors, window boxes and bannister.  Possessing the same undertone as the stucco paint over the house body, it packs a slight punch, and brings out these details without adding muss or fuss.

The fresh, yet warm quality of Benjamin Moore’s “947 Navajo White” streamlines the trim and ornamental details, while adding an element of luxuriance to the scheme.  Using the same color on the window frames and sashes also simplifies the detail, and adds elegance to the facade.

The Navajo White and Hillsborough Beige work beautifully together, adding subtle interest to the scheme.  The satin sheen of the doors provides some contrast and depth  in an understated way.  The preferred sheen for stucco tends to be  flat, as it doesn’t reflect all the shifts of plane in the surface it covers.

Greater sheen offers greater resistance to scratching and dirt.  Helpful, as front doorways tend to be heavily trafficked, and the door often take a beating!

The bannister stands out slightly from the stucco background, making it easier to see, and thus grab onto.  The scheme also manages to work with the front steps, a large area of color and texture boasting a design and colorway of its own.

The detail gleams against the understated neutral of the facade, an indication that indeed, less may very well be more!

Have YOU had an experience of “less is more’ with color?

If you feel so inclined, please share about it with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all coloring outside the lines of this thing called Life, together.

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Love Haight Victorian Color

Love Haight Victorian Color

Last summer, the summer of 2011 that is,  I was called upon to assist some very bright Clients  in assembling a color palette for their Victorian near Haight Street, in San Francisco.

The building had a lighter (creamy-white) body, with darker (pale greeny-blue) trim, and the Client wanted to reverse the value  (lights and darks) emphasis…and perhaps create a value-added proposition in the process.

The house boasts a variety of architectural details, and the two porch “roofs” or overhangs provided a particular color placement challenge.

Once we had determined that the house body would become darker in value, and the trim lighter (a more common approach in the area), the next step was to choose the body or field color, which would go pretty much everywhere on the house, except for its multitude of trim, decorative detailing, doors and roof.

I looked at a number of houses suggested by the Client, and we narrowed the body color down to three hues in the green to gray range. The Client’s painter put them up, I.E., painted out large sample swatches on the house’s exterior siding surface, which made the final choice much easier!

Extension ladders were used to reach the high-up areas. Wow. That’s high. Intrepid painter.  Better he then me!

Many details and textural surfaces up at the very top! We needed to take each of these into careful consideration when creating the color design, as the Clients wanted to both highlight the details through accent colors, and unify, integrate and streamline the building’s total look, at the same time.

In order to minimize the detail and make it more visually subtle, and the color design, building and architecture more elegant and streamlined, an interlocking palette of closely related colors from both the Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin Williams pantheons was chosen for the trim and accent colors.

Benjamin Moore HC (Historical Colors palette) 108, “Sandy Hook Gray” was selected for the house body color. Its gray-green hue has a dimension of warmth, and a quiet complexity, suited to the feeling the Clients wanted to create. Sherwin Williams “Shoji White”  (SW7042) in semi-gloss (?) was chosen for the multitude of trim, as its undertone works well with the body color.

The porch overhangs were done in the body color, at 50% formula. The same ratio of tints were used, but in half the amount, creating a barely perceptible shift in value and intensity. The overhangs are also in shadow, not being exposed to direct light, thus making them read slightly darker.

SW7046, Sherwin Williams  “Anonymous”   in a satin sheen was used on the window sashes “outlining”, or highlighting the windows),  as well as on the garage door, the inside of and around the decorative , detail-filled triangles  on either side of the top of the house, and the central cross detail just below the roof’s tip.

The service door tot he right of the entry stairs was done in : Benjamin Moore HC 107, “Gettysburg Gray”, in a satin sheen, while the same spec in eggshell adorns a high-up “stripe” (architectural detail running horizontally across the upper part of the facade).

To add a touch of elegance, and “punch”, Sherwin Williams “Urbane Bronze’ SW7048 in a semi-gloss sheen was painted on the front door, leading the eye to this main entry, and providing a nice contrast to both the garage and service doors.

The deep color of the front door picks up on the dark bronze hue of the overhanging entry light fixture, packing the visual “punch”.

As a final detail, Modern Masters ME238 “Blackened Bronze” metallic paint (and accompanying varnish)  was added to the ball ornaments, and carved ornamental details within the smaller,  lower triangles.

The result is a color scheme which unifies the structure, and adds elegance and dignity to the home, while still celebrating the fun and fancy of its multitude of Victorian details, while taking every visual aspect of its front exterior into consideration.

The Clients, a bright couple with a fine eye for detail and  design, participated fully in our color collaboration, and, with their two young daughters, will hopefully enjoy their carefully colored, harmoniously hued home, for many years to come.

What color joys and challenges have YOU had lately?

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

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all coloring in our Lives  in this world, together.

Happy Hue to You!

An Amble Around the Gamble

An Amble Around the Gamble


The architectural brethren team of Greene and Greene, created (with the expertise of many) The Gamble  House, a  magnificent Arts and Crafts masterpiece in Pasadena, Ca,  It is also  a National Historic Landmark and museum.  The Greenes designed the house in 1908, for the Gamble family, of Proctor and Gamble fame.

Hallmarks of the  Arts and Crafts Movement in American Craftsman style architecture include the use of natural materials, attention to detail, aesthetics, and craftsmanship.

The Greenes, brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, were influenced by  traditional Japanese aesthetics, though they never, as we were told, visited Japan.   Outdoor  and indoor space were considered of equal importance in the design, as the Greenes used nature as a guide.

Relief and shelter from the hot sun of Southern California climes were created through wide, overhanging eaves.

The use of wood seems to be celebrated through the design, as well as the juxtaposition of textures, earthy, natural colors, and the finishes and hues of stone, metals, glass and patina, all reflecting the expression and experience of nature, the passing of time, and even planned imperfections,  which were part of the architectural and design philosophy.

Exterior porches  such as the one below are found off three of the second-floor bedrooms and were used for sleeping or entertaining. This one was used by the sons of David and Mary Gamble, as told to us by our amiable  and hardworking guide, who was entrusted with taking us through the entire first floor, and front exterior of the house in 20 minutes!  I think she stretched it to 1/2 hour, but she did it!

We will continue our “Amble Around the Gamble” series in the next post, with a focus  on some of  the wondrous exterior details of The Gamble House.  Hopefully, with a longer time next in Pasadena, I will be able to celebrate the interior of the house, right here on “Artissima, blog of ArtiFactory Studio. Ciao for now!

Have You ever visited The Gamble House, seen the work of Greene and Greene, or other Arts and Crafts buildings?

If so, please share about it with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all ambling and gambling our way through this thing called Life, together.  Happy Trails!