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!

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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.

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…