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!


Seeing the Light…Metamerism

Seeing the Light…Metamerism

Metamerism, commonly defined as the optical phenomenon of colors seeming  to match under one light source, yet appearing different under another, is fascinating, and perplexing.  Why and how does it occur?

Well, the answer, from my research, can get pretty complex…involving such things as CRI, or color rendering index, SPD, or spectral power distribution,  spectral reflectance distributions  and  reflectance curves.

I became interested in metamerism afresh after viewing a webinar on the subject created by the paint company Sherwin-Williams.  I must admit, I watched and listened to this recorded webinar several times, took notes, and then watched/listened to it  again. Light in tone, with fun images, and plenty of humor, the webinar contained information that has taken me time, focus, and further research to even begin to understand.

Because I find the subject so complex, I have decided to devote a series of Artissima blogs posts to metamerism, and attempt to break it down into comprehensible chunks…siting examples and resources along the way which I hope will be helpful.

Color involves light, the object illuminated, and the observer of the illuminated object.   As color is a function of light, very simply put, the color that we (the observer) see  is  reflected light waves.   In essence: “Visible light is made of seven wavelength groups.  When light hits objects, some of the wavelengths are absorbed and some are reflected, depending on the materials in the object. The reflected wavelengths are what we perceive as the object’s color.” —  Put another way; “Objects affect light by selectively reflecting or absorbing light of different wavelengths. So an object that absorbs most blue wavelengths and reflects most red wavelengths will usually appear red to our eyes. The actual color it appears to us is dependent on the spectral composition of the light reflecting off the object.” –

Let’s  look at four kinds of metamerism…

Sample metamerism: What we think of as “metamerism” is actually one type, sample. When two color samples appear to match under a particular light source but do not match under a different light source, this is called “sample metamerism.”   Sample metamerism has to do with differences in each object’s spectral reflectance distribution, or its response to light, characterized by the wavelengths that it primarily reflects. When the spectral reflectance distributions of the two samples (the objects themselves) differ, the color of each will look different in different lights.

Illuminant metamerism: Easily confused with sample metamerism, illuminant metamerism occurs when the spectral reflectance distributions of the two color samples observed are identical.  These identical samples are seen under different lights sources with differing spectral power distributions  (SPD,  or,  the output of a light source, characterized by its relative strength at each wavelength)

Thus, Sample Metamerism occurs as a result of  differences in the reflectivity of the color samples themselves, and Illuminant Metamerism occurs as a result of differences in the output of the light source itself, under which we are viewing the color samples. (Confusing…I think so…but with careful study of the differences, they can become clear)

Illuminant metamerism is not often seen, unless  the observer use a  light box to see identical samples illuminated by both light sources separately, yet simultaneously.  Again, this type of metamerism is created by differences in the light source only, not in the samples themselves.

The complex phenomena of SPD/Spectral Power Distribution,  Spectral Reflectance Distribution, and Spectral Distribution Curves will be discussed in greater depth in a subsequent  post on Metamerism.  It can take fortitude to keep them all straight!

Observer metamerism: Do we all see color differently?  It is commonly agreed upon that we do, assuming that each individual  possesses adequate color matching aptitude. Observer metamerism can occur because of differences in color vision  from one person to the next. Again the process of seeing is complex, but for the purposes of this post, suffice it to say  that the physical act of seeing, what happens in each person’s eyes and brain when they see an object in whatever light, can alter  their color perception. A common source of observer metamerism is color blindness,  but it occurs with the “normal-seeing”  as well.  In the case of observer metamerism, two lights or surfaces  may be a color match for one observer but not for another.

Geometric metamerism: The angle, distance or light position from which identical colors are viewed may change the color that we see. The distance between a woman’s eyes is, on average, slightly less than a man’s.  This slightly different angle of stereoscopic viewpoint may be why men and women have been known to perceive colors differently!  Most of us have probably had the experience of  two samples appearing to match when viewed from one angle, but then not matching when viewed from another angle.  Examples would be the color variations that appear in pearlescent auto finishes or “metallic” paper. This may be something to think about when using specialty finishes in interiors, fashion and works of art.

I hope this post on Metamerism has lit a fire in your belly to know more about it.  I know will be continuing my research, and delving further into the subject to help demystify it for both YOU and me.

The subject of color, light, and the relationship between the two is so vast, multifaceted and complex, that it will never be demystified completely.  Thus we have a lifetime of color mystery and magic to look forward to.   We can join in the efforts of fearless color explorers through the ages, and add our own special hue…ah, I mean, view (!), to their findings, while enhancing our own knowledge base and experience.

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!