Posts Tagged ‘contributing writer’

Embracing the Dark Side

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Today is Color Day on the ol’ blog and this morning I posted about my favorite hue which is blue.  This afternoon, contributing writer and interior designer Courtney from Courtney Out Loud is back to share his thoughts on color, specifically the darker shades in the spectrum. 

Having taken the plunge and introduced a dark paint color into our own home (the powder room) earlier this year, I have a new found affection for dark painted walls, especially ones with whites and creams layered in for contrast, burnished metallic sheens, and richly patterned or rustic wood accents.  The combination makes me want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea in these enveloping spaces. 

Please welcome back Courtney and his interview with a noted color expert on how to embrace the dark side… of paint!

“Nina Simone sang that black is the color of her true love’s hair and for me it is the color that I love most.  Something about this inky hue draws me in, settles my mind, and puts me at ease.  Clients typically come to me craving color which I am happy to deliver in all its rainbow glory but when left to my own devices, a smoky grey, nocturnal purple or saturated brown will always catch my eye.

Historically, these darker hues have been linked to nefarious activities and sinister deeds, but color research shows that the dark hues like their lighter cousins can elicit a range of reactions from relaxation to revitalization. Curious to know more about my infatuation with dark colors and how to best use them in my designs, I turned to Jean Molesworth Kee, noted architectural color consultant based in Washington, D.C. and the author of the highly regarded blog, The Painted Room.

Nate Berkus and Anne Coyle in Elle Decor

Nate Berkus in Elle Decor

Being a designer, I was bit hesitant to ask for help in understanding how to best use dark colors in spaces – let’s be honest, people pay me to help them with their overall design of which color plays a large part.  Fortunately, Jean shared that many designers as well as lay people use her services which begged me to ask…what is that that she exactly does.

“I do have a highly specialized niche, which is a luxury (not having to deal with building codes)!  Most of my work is residential– working with homeowners who want to make a change but are just spinning in the “color vortex”.

Rugo Raff Ltd. Architects

Rugo Raff Architects

That “color vortex” is something I know all too often from my own work with clients. That moment when clients need to make a paint decision many times feel like the longest part of the process.  Creating the proper background from which to anchor the design is essential and how I see paint selection. 

However, I know how difficult it is to deal with coaching design clients through the process, so I asked how it is to work with a second party (aka designers like me) and surprisingly, Jean enjoys that collaborative process.  “My ideal project involves collaboration with architects and designers on the ground floor but I’m usually working with a lot of design elements already in place.”

dark bookcases cochrane design

Cochrane Design

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Mix, Don’t Match

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Courtney Lake and I met years ago via the internet over a trellis wall and we’ve been friends and cohorts in decorating ever since.  We both live in the Bay Area, him to the east, me to the north, and we’ve met up over the years at various events. 

Courtney and I both agree with the “not everything should match” philosophy of interior design, in fact, efforts should be made to not match, but instead to complement.   Spaces should feel collected over time and the phrase “it doesn’t match” is a welcome one in our world.  Please welcome back Courtney as he explains his rules for mixing pattern in interior design. 

“I often hear this phrase uttered when working with clients “I would have never thought to put those two things together…”  I like to think this is because I am a design savant that has impeccable style and taste.  Truth is, it is because I adhere to some basic rules for mixing patterns and fabrics to create interesting combinations which Kate asked me to share with you so let’s dive right in with the first rule…

1) Build On Your Existing Canvas   Unless you are starting a room from scratch, then look to your walls for inspiration when selecting fabric.  If your walls are beige, then at last two of your fabrics should have an element of beige in them.  Typically a room’s walls are the largest expanse of color (yes beige is a color) in a space and by tying in the room’s largest element to your fabrics, you instantly are creating a sense of harmony and balance in the space.

sr gambrel living room

Steven Gambrel

2) Pattern Is Everywhere.  Take a moment and look around your surroundings. From wallpaper and wainscoting on the walls to the floorboards and carpets, pattern is everywhere so uses it to your advantage.  Take cues from the room to help determine which patterns may work.  Have a stained glass window in your living room?  Why not use damask on a chair?  If your you fireplace has mosaic tile, then you may want to avoid putting a busy pattern next to it.  Your room will give you visual notes on how to decorate it, so pay attention. 

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Summer Colour Analysis

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Summer is in full swing, can you feel it?  I can, this week especially.  July’s days are drifting into one another as we sleep in a little bit extra in the morning, and spend afternoons sipping lemonade out by the local pool for an hour or two.  I love all the kids in their bright swimsuits and towels and the moms in their swimwear in shades of turquoise, coral, orange, and pink.  Summer is the season for wearing and decorating with the brightest hues! 

I invited Shannon from AKA Design to share her thoughts on summer color, or “colour” as our Canadian friends say up north!  Please welcome back Shannon.

“Hi everyone, it’s Shannon back again to talk summer colour!  Summer is the perfect time to lighten up and have a little fun – with the colours inside and outside your home!   Whether you spend your summer days soaking up the sun by the beach or keeping cool in an air-conditioned office, your home can give you that little extra bit of summer lovin’ when you dress it up for the season.

I’m not talking about gutting and redecorating an entire room just for the summer.  What I really mean is changing up the accessories for the season; the throw pillows, the vases and maybe even the artwork.  Of course if you are blessed enough to have outdoor spaces to call your own, you can take your decorating a step further by having summer furniture, throw pillows and colourful outdoor tableware too.

Blue is most often cool in hue; perfect for spaces that you want to be calm or sedate.  It’s the colour of the sky, the ocean and twilight and commonly associated with clarity, creativity, and summer!  It is extremely relaxing to settle into a space filled with blue accents after a hot day out in the sun.  

blue tablescape vogue tori burch

 rh blue patio

blue fabrics on patio mary mdconald

Sources:  Vogue, Restoration Hardware, Mary McDonald 

 

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