Benny’s Tacos: A Color Story

Benny’s Tacos: A Color Story

WEBkSome stories have happy endings…like this lovely outside patio at the new Benny’s Tacos in Santa Monica, CA. But let us start at the beginning of our color story.

Once upon a time, there was a rather unfortunate-looking building in a prime location on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.

web2It was actually a great, solid little building, but the colors inside and out just did not make it special-looking.

web1The building came up for sale, and Benny, the owner of Benny’s Tacos decided to purchase it, and open a Santa Monica location of his popular “Benny’s Tacos and Chicken Rotisserie” already located in Westchester/West Los Angeles. He asked me to provide some consultation on interior and exterior paint colors.

web3As construction got underway, a number of samples were painted up inside. Benny was interested in greens, and I thought warm earthy hues such as Dunn Edwards DE5340 “Wheat Bread” would work well for a neighborhood eatery that was sure to become popular with the locals quickly.

WEBgBecause the building was set somewhat back from the street, and could be dwarfed by a large structure to one side, it needed a strong, exterior body color, as opposed to the off-white it had been painted before.

WEBfBenny found the amazing Dunne Edwards hue, “Gothic Revival Green” (DET 507), from the beautiful “Then, Now and Forever” collection. Warm and rich, it evokes the green of avocados and guacamole!

WEBhA deeper color that could be used as a unifying factor on all of the trim both inside and outside, offsetting the body colors was key.  From several deep grays  Sherwin Williams “Iron Gate”, SW2926 was chosen.

WEBlA bucolic exterior setting was created, enhanced by  bright blooms,  dark shutters and the ever-present Southern California sunshine.

WEBjThe large windows and outdoor dining create a seamless continuity from inside to outside.

WEBaOn the inside,  Gothic Revival Green (DET 507) the exterior body color, was painted below the chair rails, its strong hue lending a sense of stability and solidity to the foundation.

WEBc The softer, lighter DE5340 “Wheat Bread” was painted above, creating  a sense of light, height and spaciousness to a relatively small room.

WEBbReflecting the exterior,  “Iron Gate”, SW2926  graces the Dado rail, and the interior trim details including windows and door frames.

WEBdThis was a demanding project for Benny, and I was happy to be among the color voices he asked to chime in on the scheme. The result is beautiful, and the building is completely transformed, both inside and out.

Thank you Benny/Benny’s Tacos, for the opportunity to be part of this story. It is just beginning, happily for Santa Monica!’

Buen Apetito!

 

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The Power of RED: Doors

The Power of RED: Doors

Why use red on a front door?

(Or a side, service or interior door, for that matter?!)

It seems that all can agree that RED is energizing.

Here we  explore why…and why red so often greets us as the port of entry into all sorts of spaces.

val_bAn earthy, pink-toned red works well on this door, which receives in strong sunlight, with the warm-toned earthy brown house body color.

soulA deep, strong red door offsets buttery yellow walls, and stands out in a large Pilates studio space without dominating it or taking away from its serenity.

gu_aNot a front door here, but strong bright red works just as well on this service door, providing contrast to the complex taupe field hue which dominates the exterior.

WEBaStrong red makes this door quite visible and shows us where to go,  even behind bars, albeit, decorative ones!

WEBbComplimentary greenery flanks this glistening red door, giving it even greater “pop”, and attracting us to the entrance, and the house.

WEBcThe red door leads our eye to the entry, and offsets the quite brown of the shingles, and potentially somber black shutters and trim.

WEBdA less brilliant red makes a quieter statement, but a strong one, nonetheless, the color offsetting the dark steps, and drawing our eye up to it..

WEBeNestled within the entrance alcove, this red door gives relieves the expanse of  ochre colored stucco surrounding it.

WEBfThe red of the door is picked up as an accent color in the trim, and Victorian detailing and ornamentation, adding a sense of fun and whimsy to the entry.

WEBiRed on the front door of a Santa Monica mortuary: life affirming, warming, comforting, path finding, getting us where we need to go…inside top face loss, establish ritual to move through it, and do what must be done.

WEBjRed side doors of the same mortuary…again, letting us know where we need to go. keeping us energized and focused, doing what we need to do.

WEBkAnother “cottage” beauty…this bright  red door fairly beams out its cheerful, inviting, life-affirming greeting, and seems to say…come in!

What do You think about Red Doors? Do you have a favorite? Please share about it with us in the comments, and your thoughts on why Red Doors persist as a theme in our architectural color culture!

Here’s to energizing entrances to all sorts of spaces!

Contemplating Color – Three Year Round Up

Contemplating Color – Three Year Round Up

In the spirit of the process of the necessity of the…well…updating, overhauling, revamping, refurbishing, and just re-ing the online presence of the ArtiFactory Studio, and Artissima ventures…and, about to add/subtract/move around work from my site, I thought I would share some of the color design work completed since my last site update…er, 2010…and spend a few happy moments contemplating color, and its magic.

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This Berkeley bungalow went from nondescript drab to warm and inviting, all due to a color shift. The owners were really ready for this, but finding the right colors which worked on the structure, integrated into the neighborhood, and didn’t get washed out by the strong sunlight, took awhile to find.

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The welcoming red door reflects the red in the plant, contrasting just enough from house body color to  become an accent. To me, this combo looks “good enough to eat”, and fits with the intimate and accessible bungalow style.

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The new colors, a chocolatey brown framed in cream, completely transformed the garage and made it clean, attractive and integrated. Color can do that.

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This modern condo building  graces the urban landscape in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks neighborhood. It’s quasi-industrial style called for a streamlined color scheme that made the most of its details: a wall of windows, large garage door, metal house numbers, and a  bright wood front entry door. Though urban, green trees flank the building.

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The green-gray body color is set off by a darker green-gray hue on the garage door and trim, which grounds the building. The many window sashes are called out by a deep burgundy red, relating to the bright entry. The palette emerges industrial yet elegant.

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The story of this quaint cottage-like house extends back through two paint jobs! The owners were not happy with colors original to the home when they purchased it, nor with a new palette designed by another consultant. They decided to keep the strong purple and green trim and accent colors, but tone them down with a deeper body hue which would tie to them, and thus minimize their visual impact. Red plantings in the window boxes add a splash of accent color that animates the scheme.

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The lower part of the house is painted in a stronger (more heavily tinted) concentration of the body color,  making it appear darker and more solid. This feeling of solidity makes the viewer feel reassured that this foundation can support the upper part of the house. The quiet field color makes an effective foil for the accent colors, plantings, foliage, and beautiful trees which grace the property.

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San Francisco is famous for its Victorian-style homes, and their multitude of decorative architectural details, can make designing a color palette both challenging and fun, to say nothing of gratifying.  The owners of this Victorian wanted an integrated scheme that highlighted its details and design, but in more subtle and retrained manner then some of the nearby “Painted Ladies“!

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Thus we chose paint “specs” (specifications, IE, the paint colors) within one color spectrum, including the pale trim, which, with its greenish undertone, related to the rest of the colors. The front and service doors, window sashes, undersides of the overhangs, and architectural details were painted in a total of seven colors.

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The front door, service door (shown above) and garage doors were each painted in a different, yet related hue. The colors range from the creamy trim, to the deep bronze-hued front door, and ornaments painted in metallic bronze. A great deal of effort, but worth it!

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This apartment building , called  ARIA, is in Canoga Park, in the San Fernando Valley Area of Los Angeles. The color scheme ideas, in coordination with the builders, operations manager and director of capitol improvements involved, ranged from brick and black colors, to earthy browns, ochers, greens and roses. Quite a process. Out of all this emerged an inviting palette which accentuated the clean lines of the building, and played a bit with its details, doors and balconies.

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The service door is painted in a more intense version of the balcony color.

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The inner courtyard serves a a central “boulevard” for the residents.

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The bright doors, and brown accents identify important areas, and assist in path finding.

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The devil is in the details!  Residents personalize their spaces.  Some like skulls, apparently.

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The play of light on the painted surface affects the way we see the colors. Warm light will make the color appear to be just that.

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The building on the other end of the block, SONATA, is a different style, but  color design of the two buildings, including their interior courtyards, was done as one integrated job.

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Using the same color on the exterior balconies on both buildings serves as a sort of “color connective” tissue.

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A “tri-play” of color: foundation, body and accents hues, set off by the white trim color..

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The green-toned hue on the stucco foundation of the building grounds it, as discussed above, and ties it to the surrounding plantings.

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Sonata’s inner courtyard. As I understand it, plants will be added. Awnings add a homey touch.

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My favorite image from the project- the back of SONATA. The muted colors on stucco, and the stairway,  railings, and balcony remind me of time spent as a student in Southern France.

Who knew?

Give me your color weary, your peeling paint, your faded siding and scuffed up stucco!  It is my pleasure, my joy, my challenge and my calling  to recreate your architectural color to as near perfection as I can and give new life to your buildings, your spaces, your environment, and maybe even your soul!

Color on…Cheers!

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.

Standing our Color Ground II

Standing our Color Ground II

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Having completed a rather large and multifaceted color consultation for a set of two buildings anchoring opposite corners of a block in the “The Valley”, I decided to disseminate the experience, and its results through a series of blog posts.

As I explore, express and evaluate this consultation over the course of several posts…there will be the time to contrast the colors that were to the colors that became, look at details, and compare 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 LA.

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This building, called SONATA, sits on the same side of the Canoga Park block as its sibling “ARIA”, but at the other end of the block, caddy corner from a heavily trafficked intersection, and is composed of both stucco  and wood siding.

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The accent color Rosewood, a Dunn Edwards hue, reflects the same accent color down the street on ARIA.  As the visible foundation color is the greenish-gray “Bison Beige” in 200% formula, it creates a complimentary pop next to the reddish Rosewood.

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The field or “house body” color, Dunn Edwards “Hickory” , in 75% formula, providing lightness and calm to unify the assorted materials, and proliferation of balcony “bump-out”, which accent the exterior.

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The sides of the building take up part of a block, and thus must provide a pleasing visual, and visceral experinece for the passer by.  Here we can see how both the lower, darker foundation color, and the field or body color serve as a backdrop for green plants, and gray tree trunks, which almost give the sense of a promenade or boulevard.

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The boulevard feeling is carried through the inner courtyard, where each resident has their own door, sporting a rather intense 200% formula Rosewood.  The Euro-feel awnings amplify the effect!   At the end of the “boulevard” the far courtyard wall is accented by “Hickory” in 200% formula…just that slight intensification of the color to set it slightly apart from the field color.

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my favorite shot of this building and scheme…it reminds me of where I lived and walked n Southern France many years ago. The railing, and other ironwork is painted in Dunn Edwards “Chocolate Pudding” hue!

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Because of the unification of materials, which affects how the paint color is perceived, the back of the building, to my mind, may be even more aesthetically pleasing then the front!  Fewer cars, too!

It would be fun to look at the building sibs, ARIA and SONATA together, and muse about both their differences, and their similarities.

Shall we do that in the next post?

Great, its a date then.

Take care, and, until then, Be Well…

 

Standing our Color Ground I

Standing our Color Ground I

Having completed a rather large and multifaceted color consultation for a set of two buildings anchoring opposite corners of a block in the “The Valley”, I decided to disseminate the experience, and its results through a series of blog posts.

Decorative Painting and Color can be all about sumptuousness…but it can also be about streamlining, revealing the lines, and getting down to the bones.

Taking a cue from marketing guru Seth Godin, and his concise, pith, and enormously popular blog, (called, pithily enough, “Seth’s Blog“), I am going to make these posts short, succinct, and see if I can let the images do the talking. (Well, Seth doesn’t use many images, but he is a model of succinctness, and easy to read and take in.

As I explore, express and evaluate this consultation over the course of several posts…there will be the time to contrast the colors that were to the colors that became, look at details, and compare 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 LA.

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The entry of  the building called “ARIA”…made smoother and sleeker with addition of glass, a dark, grounding foundation, and lights that ass a bit of character. Notice the integration of the brown color in the tree branches which reach out to “touch” the building, with the brown of the foundation color. not the same, but related.

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“ARIA” en totale….pops of color in the bump-outs, or balconies, both accent and tie together the sandy body or field color, and the chocolatey “grounding”  foundation color. The door is painted in a 200% formula of the balcony color,  (meaning that the amount of tint added to create the paint color is doubled, increasing the intensity of the resulting hue.)

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Streamlined greenery provides another accent hue…even more so in complementary contrast to the red in the balcony color.

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The foundation color on the balconies, and strong door color add livable accent and interest to ARIA’s inner courtyard.   If the red-toned color on the exterior balconies was carried to all of the inner balconies here, it would have been too much: over-stimulating, and underwhelming. Instead, the doors punctuate the long walls, and reflect light from their semi-gloss surfaces.  The concrete floor is deeper, with a grey cast, making it easier on the eyes then a brighter hue.

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The contrast in colors, and the textures of the smooth, semi-gloss surfaces of the doors, and the flat sheen, rough texture of the stucco walls create a pleasing visual tension.  The proper amount of tension, paradoxically creates balance…though not necessarily symmetry.

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The sun’s white light transforms how we perceive the painted color, making it appear warm and earthy,

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as opposed to cooler and grayer when not in direct sunlight.  The window profiles are painted in 200% formula of the field color, bumping it up just slightly, adding interest without visual clutter.  The metal color of the sconces is reflected in the railings and other ironwork.

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Each resident adds their personal touch…above we have a grouping of three black “sculls’…and they fit right in!

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“Windowscape”?  “Curated” grouping?  Just plain fun?  Halloween leftovers?

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Portrait of a side door….resplendent  in its Rosewood hue, framed by the Teabag– colored foundation, flanked by Weathered Brown-painted iron railings, and shining below a 100%  Hickory house body color.

Next up…a romp through the “perfect palette” of ARIA’s sister property, SONATA…a very different building situated at the other end of the block.  Their color schemes are interrelated, but not the same…because no two buildings are the same.  Even if they claim the same blueprint parents, the  way a building sits on the earth, the way its surface reflects the light, the effect of its surroundings, whether they be flat or foliage, profoundly affects the color we see.  It  is an endlessly fascinating subject, and study

Well Seth, I am not sure if I truly stayed simple…but I h  expressed my passion for color, architecture, design, and the human spirit’s quest for beauty, joy, and perfection.  That last one will always elude us, but at least we can have fun trying!

Until the next…Be Well…

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.

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!