Marital (Decorating) Mismatches

December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

stuffAre you and your significant other on the same page when it comes to the “stuff” of life around the house? The newspapers, magazines, mail, books, TV clickers, recycling cords and the like? Are you one to snatch the Sports Page right out of his or her hands as you make your daily pilgrimage to the recycling bin? Or are you content to let paper pile up on the coffee table until you get around to reading it? If you both treat life’s eternal clutter the same way… then congratulations. At least you don’t fight about it. But what if you are mismatched? Here are some ideas:

1. Make a deal to keep the main public space (maybe the living room) clear and ready for guests who pop in. At the end of each day, spend 5 minutes picking stuff up and putting it away. If you can only manage one room of the house, then that’s okay.

2. Contain clutter with baskets and bins. Little stuff on counters and tables may drive you crazy, but your partner needs to know where to find that restaurant receipt from last weekend. Make an agreement that things left on the kitchen counter can be found in a certain basket or bin by the recharging station.

3. Which brings me to the Recharging Station. Have one. That way you can find your phone when you are ready to leave for the day and more importantly, you can contain cords and loose devices to one particular spot instead of draping them out of every outlet. Rescue the TV clickers from under the cushions and keep them in a dedicated clicker basket.

4. And speaking of baskets and bins (see #2 above), invest in them. Closets, garages, spare bedrooms, offices, and every other clutter-prone area will benefit visually from containing the loose items in baskets rather than letting loose items and papers pile up. Both partners win. One gets to keep the stuff. The other sees some semblance of organization and unity.

5. If you are the neat one of the pair, give your partner space to mess up. For people who need everything out in full view instead of behind cupboard doors, your neatnik nagging is undoubtedly really annoying. Not everybody can be as organized as you. Give your spouse a space that he or she can call home and not be under constant pressure to pick stuff up.

6. If you are the messy one, appreciate how clutter can affect your partner’s mood and even creativity. Make an occasional attempt to go through piles and purge — even if you just move piles from one area to another. Any free space will encourage marital bliss.

7. Most importantly, take a chill pill. Fighting over “stuff” is pretty silly in the grand scheme of things.

Hope this helps.

Ready to Immerse Your Home in Color?

November 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

redsAs with haute couture in the fashion world, we often look to hotels and other public spaces for trends in home color and design. Look no further than The William, a boutique hotel in New York, where each room immerses its guests in a paint bucket of saturated color punctuated by droplets of white for chroma relief. I am not sure if you can order up a particular color to match your luggage, but nevertheless, your experience there will be unforgettable.

Are we ready to move this color trend into the home? Some already have, but many of us will take a little while to move back into the rich dark hues of a decade ago. I’m just getting used to the freshness and brightness of white walls. But who knows.

BluesIf you are contemplating a project that involves intense color, start with a small space like a guest bath or a guest room where the color will make a huge impact and the cost of painting over it will be minimal. Make sure you have adequate lighting so the color will show “true” and you will not end up in a cave. And remember to punctuate your color with white or cream to make the color “pop” and add bits of black not only to avoid the I-got-lost-in-a-box-of-crayons look but also to add an air of sophistication to the project.

Full color on!

(photos from Dwell magazine)

Color Combos that Excite the Palette

November 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Like pairing a fine wine to its epicurean delicacy, some color combinations can stimulate an emotional response. Some of my leg-tingling favorites include:

The rich, regal Plum Royale 2070-20 with an icy accent of Colony Green 694 (colors from Ben Moore).

2070-20colonygreen

purplegreencombo(from Horchow.com)

The dark luscious Dinner Party red (AF-300) with a splash of Yellowstone (202)

AF-300yellowstone202

redyellowcombo(from House Beautiful)

And the soft, sultry gray hue (Elephant Gray 2109-50) with a pop of orange (Soft Glow 014).

ElephantGray2109-50SoftGlow014

orangegraycombo

It’s almost a curse to adore color as much as I do. But they love me at the paint store!

House Colors with Personality

November 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Nothing shy about this pretty pink house. And instead of tempering it with neutral (black or gray for the shutters and door), the homeowners went Victorian bold with a rich blue like Ben Moore’s Blue Macaw 784.

pinkhouse

784

When you have an old house, it’s fun to use old historic color schemes that make a statement. This one certainly does with its two-toned mustard/olive combo clarified with white trim and a traditional brick red door (Ben Moore Cottage Red).

yellowgreenhouse

PM-16

I always love a tastefully done red-white-and-blue scheme, shown here with a blue garage attached to the red house. White (Ben Moore’s Brilliant White) as both trim and accent color pulls the look together.

redhouse1

PM-4

This dark brown house is a classic New England Cape. Its simplicity is what captures the eye. No accent color needed on this traditional solid wood door with black hinges.

brownhouse1

Make a statement in your neighborhood. Tastefully, of course.

Accent Color Ideas for Stone and Brick Houses

November 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

graystonehouse

Choosing door or other accent colors for stone and brick homes is easier than you think. If the stone is uniform like this gray, then almost any accent color will work. This homeowner chose tomato red, something like Ben Moore’s Red 2000-10.

2000-10

With multi-colored stonework, I like to pick a color out of the palette. In this case, the homeowners chose a gray for the siding and a warm golden color for the natural-wood-stained front door. The orange tone in the wood stain, something like Minwax’s Cherrywood, brings out the depth of color in the stonework and makes the front door warm and welcoming.
stonehouse

cherry-wood

For uniformly colored red brick, you can accent with a contrasting color. And the opposite of red, of course, is green. Using a gray-green in a lighter value will prevent the house from looking like Santa’s workshop. Check out Ben Moore’s Louisburg Green HC-113.

BrickAfter1

HC-113

Blonde brick is a challenging palette but consider what hues are in the brick and tease them out. Taupe is a safe bet for the siding and a warm accent like Mayflower Red (Ben Moore HC-49) will warm up the front door.

blondebrick

HC-49

Let the stone and brick of your house speak to you. Sticking to the color palette that’s already there will make your house coordinated and happy.

Fab Front Door Color Ideas

November 14, 2014 § 3 Comments

Your front door does not have to be red. Or black. Or green. Or any other traditional color (although there’s nothing wrong with that). Have some fun with your front door color by looking around your yard for inspiration. Or step outside the box by choosing a contrasting color in an unexpected lighter tone. Once you decide on the color, spread it around a bit more by painting a bench or a pot the same color and planting annuals and other flowering shrubbery around the yard to pull the whole look together.

For a BLUE or GRAY house: Consider warm sunny yellow (Ben Moore Concord Ivory HC-12).

blueyellowhouseHC-12

For a golden BROWN house, surprise your neighbors with a light shade of contrasting blue (Ben Moore Yarmouth Blue HC-150).

FrontDoorAfterHC-150

For a white house, consider using a color from your plantings around the yard. Here, the purple lilacs provide the inspiration (Ben Moore Cabernet 2116-30).

WhiteHouseLil2116-30

For a red house, I still love creamy white trim and a navy door (Ben Moore Hale Navy HC-154).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHC-154

For a green house, use a natural wood toned door or paint it an earthy rusty brown (Ben Moore Ten Gallon Hat 1210).

greenhouse1210

And of course a yellow house still looks absolutely smashing with a traditional red door (Ben Moore Moroccan Red 1309).

yellow1309

Your front door should reflect a little bit of you and the home you’ve created on the other side of it.

Choosing House Colors in a Colorful World

November 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

whitegarage“Anyone who claims to be an expert on color is a liar,” assert Joann and Arielle Eckstut in their book The Secret Language of Color. I (hesitantly, of course) agree. Asking someone to pick a color for you is like asking a stranger to describe your personality, your favorite sweater when you were five, and your family tree. But hey, with a series of clues, we color “experts” do it all the time.

The colors you end up with for your home, your clothes, your car and everything else should be a reflection of you. But how we make those choices is dependent upon our associations between colors and objects or feelings (yellow can conjure up sunshine and happiness or anger and agitation), our culture (Americans tend to prefer blue, Asians red) and even our ability to distinguish certain colors at all (some red/green color-blind individuals see only a gray scale).

When choosing a house color, there are even more considerations: neighborhood, age of house, natural environment, and frankly whether or not you want your house to blend in or stand out. For the most part, we tend to use colors in the palette of nature: beiges, taupes, grays, greens, and occasionally reds, yellows and blues. Nature colors can blend a house into the tree-lined landscape in the backyard or the row of stone walls in the cul-de-sac. Red can echo the autumn colors lining the street or the late afternoon sunset. Yellow can fit just as well in a quaint New England town as it does along the coast of Malibu. And blue in all its various shades looks fabulous on a house between the dunes at the beach.

But what if you want your house to stand out in a world full of color? Don’t overlook white. It can be warmed up or cooled down with the seasons and it will never go out of style.  Splashing in a no-color “color” like white into a palette (whether it’s your neighborhood or the front garden) not only makes the surrounding hues more vivid but also serves as a beacon of relief in a multi-colored landscape. When choosing a floral display that I knew would be surrounded by other beautiful, multi-hued arrangements, I chose white. And sure enough, what showed up the most? White. (What color is the bride? White.) You get the picture…

Be your own color expert. Choose what you like. Fit in. Stand out. Or ask one of us to help.

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